On the Line

A Milwaukee Dragons Novel

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Is this man: A) a super-hot NFL player, B) the guy you’re sexting, or C) your new boss?
 
If you’re Carrie Herron, the answer is: D) all of the above. First, Carrie starts exchanging steamy text messages with the sexy single dad she meets in line at the grocery store. Then she lands a job as the live-in nanny for the daughter of the Milwaukee Dragons’ newest star. With any luck, she’ll be back on her financial feet before the next cosplay convention rolls around. But when Carrie shows up for work and realizes that her new boss is the guilty pleasure in her phone, she has no choice but to try to keep things professional. Oh, how would Poison Ivy handle a temptation like Seth Chamberlain?
 
After getting traded from Houston to Milwaukee, Seth’s having a tough time keeping his head in the game, let alone making sure that his daughter is fitting in. So if the only nanny that Madison will tolerate is a grown woman who likes comic books even more than she does . . . well, so be it. Too bad the nanny is also the gorgeous redhead Seth’s been flirting with all this time. But with Carrie’s knowing glances and kissable lips driving him wild, Seth must decide whether he’s ready to put everything on the line.

Under the Cover

An excerpt from On the Line

Chapter 1

Carrie Heron’s toes wiggled impatiently inside her shoes. It wasn’t the cashier’s fault that Carrie had put off grocery shopping until eight o’clock at night, when her stomach was ready to digest itself. But it was his fault he was possibly the slowest cashier on the planet.

The man in line behind Carrie set his purchases on the belt, drawing her attention.

The first thing she noticed were his tanned arms, all thick, corded muscle. Her gaze moved up to his wide shoulders and solid chest, wearing a maroon Milwaukee Dragons T-shirt. She took in his jaw, covered in a neatly trimmed blond beard, and his blond hair, pulled into a bun at the nape of his neck. His nose was pink with fading sunburn, like he spent his days outside.

Her toes stopped wiggling so they could curl. She was a sucker for tall, muscular guys. And for beards. And man buns. And blondes. If he had blue eyes, she quite possibly would jump him right here in the grocery line. They certainly had plenty of time.

She allowed herself a glance at his eyes.

Clear, light blue.

Had someone sucked the air out of the grocery store? She felt a bit faint.

Beardy McMuscles glanced up and caught her looking. He gave her a conspiratorial smile, inclining his head slightly toward the cashier.

Carrie managed to keep her cool, smiling back and rolling her eyes. Inside, her pulse fluttered and her toes uncurled so they could curl again. Good thing she’d opted for tennis shoes and not flip-flops. She hated getting her feet wet in the rain, even a warm early-September storm like tonight’s.

She made herself look away before the eye contact became staring and he decided she was creepy. Her gaze dropped to his purchases, two items behind hers on the conveyer belt. A bunch of bananas and a box of super-plus tampons.

Tampons. Well then.

He was clearly married. And absolutely smitten, because no man bought feminine hygiene products for anyone but a wife he adored.

Like it mattered. She wasn’t going to ask him out or anything.

“That’ll be $127.49.”

The cashier’s high-pitched voice drew her attention away from McMuscles. When had food gotten so expensive? She flashed the teen a quick smile, then reached into her purse for her wallet.

Her fingers brushed her keys, cellphone, lip balm, sunglasses, a paper napkin she needed to throw away, loose change. No wallet. She set the bag on the edge of the counter and peered inside. No wallet. She took out most of the items, one by one. No wallet.

Dammit. She didn’t have time for this. Not only was she starving, but she was supposed to do laundry at her brother’s tonight. He’d threatened to start watching the last episode of The Walking Dead without her if she didn’t show.

“Well,” she said, her voice overly bright, “I guess I left my wallet at home.” She shoved her hand into her hair, trying to think. At least she was too frustrated to get embarrassed by her extreme idiocy. “Can you . . . is there a way to set this aside, and I guess I’ll run home and grab it, then come back?” She couldn’t wait and come back tomorrow. If she didn’t buy the food tonight, she’d have to get takeout for dinner. Which didn’t fit into her unemployment budget.

She resisted the urge to scream in frustration, biting down on the inside of her lips to hold in the sound.

“Sure, I can suspend the transaction and leave it at customer service,” the boy said. He barely looked older than her former seventh-grade students. Shouldn’t he be home, getting ready for school tomorrow?

“Thanks,” she said, voice weary. “I appreciate it.”

Bananas appeared in front of the cashier. “Here, add these to her total. I got it.”

Carrie’s heart stopped for a moment, leaving room for her stomach to drop to her feet. Mouth gaping, she turned to McMuscles. He was sliding his credit card through the machine.

“Wha . . . I . . . you . . .” Until a few months ago, she’d been responsible for the education of Milwaukee’s youth. Yet she couldn’t form a full word.

He grinned—of course he had perfect teeth—and for a second she couldn’t catch her breath. Hot man. Buying her groceries. She was hardly a damsel in distress—OK, maybe a little in distress, but not a damsel—and he wasn’t a knight. All those muscles would probably break his armor. But oh, she was going to swoon.

“Thank you,” she finally managed to say. With that grin, he was a million times hotter. That, and his enormous generosity, had her completely stunned.

“No problem.”

He had a deep but gentle voice, at odds with his size and immense masculinity.

When the cashier started to put his items in a bag, McMuscles waved him off. “No bag. I got it.” He took the bananas and tampons in one large hand.

“Have a good night.” The cashier handed over the receipt.

Carrie gave him another awkward smile that felt forced. She was still in shock. People didn’t buy someone else’s groceries. It was a huge gesture and she couldn’t quite wrap her mind around it. “Thank you again. Really. You don’t know how much I appreciate it.”

“No problem. I’m glad to help.” He walked beside her as she pushed her cart toward the exit.

“Your wife is a lucky woman. Very few men would be willing to buy tampons.”

He cleared his throat and looked a little embarrassed.

Why had she said that? She was racking up the idiot points tonight.
“I’m not married. It’s for my daughter.” His ears and neck turned red, which was both adorable and sexy.

- About the author -

Liz Lincoln has been concocting stories as long as she can remember, and from the beginning they involved two people falling in love. When she’s not writing, she spends her time rooting for the UW Badgers and the Green Bay Packers (or yearning for the return of football season), cross-stitching sassy sayings or nerdy characters (Wonder Woman is her favorite), and drinking too much Diet Coke. She lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with her husband, two kids, two cats, and a turtle.

More from Liz Lincoln

On the Line

A Milwaukee Dragons Novel

On the Line

— Published by Loveswept —