Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Publication Date: April 14th 2014
Author: Prescott Lane
Emory faces life’s challenges at the one place that’s never failed her, the ballet barre. But even the barre can’t steady her when fate brings her face-to-face with her old college flame, Mason, who’s hoping to return to the NFL after a career-threatening injury. Before they can surrender to their sexual desires and find salvation in each other’s arms, they need to come to terms with their past. Mason must confront the demons that have set him on a path of self-destruction, while Emory must decide whether to keep her painful secrets locked away, or expose them and risk losing the love of her life. But nothing can prepare Mason for what Emory has kept hidden, or the possibility that he himself may be to blame for the very secrets she keeps – and why they continue to haunt her.
In the cold outside their hotel, Mason and Emory waved goodbye to Steven and Olivia. When they’d left, Mason wrapped both his arms around her, then made a move towards the lobby door, but Emory stopped him, waving to the valet. “I have other plans for us tonight.” Her car appeared, and she excitedly pulled Mason towards it. Mason asked where they were going, but Emory didn’t say a word. She quickly turned on the heater, and pulled out of the hotel, stopping at a red light to reach into her glove compartment for a bandana. “Put this over your eyes. I don’t want you to know where we’re going until we get there.”
Mason smiled mischievously. “I remember doing this with you when. . . .”
“Shut up, and put it on.” She slapped his arm. “And no peeking.” Mason tied the bandana around his eyes, Emory making sure it was tight. After driving a few more minutes, he felt the car slow down, and Emory turned off the ignition, telling Mason she’d be right back. He heard the car door open and shut, then Emory talking to someone, but he couldn’t make out what was said. Suddenly, he felt a rush of cold air, as Emory opened his door, taking took his hand. “No peeking.”
Emory led him a few feet, then through a door, slamming hard behind them, causing Mason to jump. They walked through a seemingly endless dark hallway towards an elevator, and rose slowly. Mason heard a ding, Emory gripping his hand tightly. She led him out of the elevator, then a few more feet, and dropped his hand. Mason felt her hands on his cheeks, removing the bandana. It was pitch black and cold. He squeezed his eyes shut, and blinked several times, trying to adjust to the darkness. Where the hell are we?
Then he heard it -- an unmistakable sound -- and he knew. “How did you . . . .?” Mason’s jaw dropped, his eyes open wide, hundreds of beaming lights popping on at once, standing on the first row of the owner’s suite at midfield of Bank of America Stadium, looking down at the field and surrounded by 70,000 empty seats.
“Steven helped me. He’s very persuasive with management.”
“You make my surprises look amateur.” Mason pulled her to his side, kissing her nose and forehead.
“I plan on being in the stands for all of your games,” she said, taking his hand and walking up a few steps into the suite, then removing her coat, revealing a Panthers jersey, #11, with his name on the back.
“I like the way that looks.” It would look better on the floor!
Emory gave him a smile over her shoulder, and pointed to a chilling bottle of champagne. “I thought we should toast your new start.” She removed the bottle from the ice. “And our new start together.” Mason took the bottle, and placed it back in the ice, holding her tightly in his arms, as she melted into his warm body.
Mason thanked her, then pulled back slightly, looking into her eyes. “Not just for all this, which is unbelievably great, but for giving me another chance.”
“We both are getting another chance,” she said, Mason looking at her, confused. “I wasn’t there when you got drafted, so this is my chance to show how proud I am of you.”
“I wanted you there so badly that day.”
“It didn’t look that way on TV?”
“You watched?” Mason ran his fingers through his hair, remembering when his name was called, his family had erupted in cheers, and Alexis kissed him, playing it up perfectly for the cameras. I subjected Em to that.
Emory pouted her lips, and nodded. “We had dreamed about that moment for so long. I had to be there for you, even if I was alone in my bedroom.”
“God, Em, I’m so sorry.” And she wants a second chance? I don’t deserve her.
“You don’t need to keep apologizing for the past.” She shook her head. “I forgive you.”
Mason had hoped so, though she’d never told him before, but was prepared to apologize for the rest of his life if he had to. “Enough about all that, we don’t have much time.” Emory grabbed the champagne, and popped the top, pouring them each a glass.
“What should we toast to?”
“I’ll toast to you,” he said, “since I don’t need anything else.”
Mason knew exactly how he wanted to celebrate, and wanted to be completely sober. He kissed her softly, and she moaned, pulling him firmly to her. Their lips parted, and he gently stroked her tongue with his, Emory feeling a familiar spark radiating through her body. Mason felt it, too, as he slid his hand under her shirt and unhooked her bra, caressing her tenderly while they kissed. His other hand slid to her bottom, and Emory wrapped her leg around his waist, pulling him closer to her, feeling how aroused he was. Wesley’s words flashed in her mind. Congratulatory fuck!
Emory pulled back. “Probably not a good idea to have sex in the owner’s suite.” She smoothed her shirt down and hooked her bra.
“At least not on the first day,” he said. But when? The lights of the stadium went dark.
“Steven promised we wouldn’t stay too long, so I guess our time is up.”
“Our time is just beginning.”
About The Author:
She is originally from Little Rock, Arkansas, and graduated from Centenary College in 1997 with a degree in sociology. She went on to Tulane University to receive her MSW in 1998, after which she worked with developmentally delayed and disabled children. She currently resides in New Orleans with her husband and two children.