Not your mother’s romance

Consumed by the Dare

London Abbott, head librarian of the Bronx Public Library, is determined to turn a reading initiative into a raving success, solidifying the career and financial security she craves. Adding the burden of a tag-along playboy trying to improve his tarnished image is a stressor London doesn’t need, but when a trusted friend calls in a favor, she’s saddled with bad-boy football star Ryker Christiansen.

Ryker never imagined his lucrative contract with the Miami Thunder would ever be at risk, but after too many nights of partying he’s told to repair his tattered reputation or be terminated. Sent to New York to preen for the media and show his altruistic side by working with children and seniors, he’s committed to sitting in a Bookmobile with antsy kids, ornery seniors, and taking orders from a snotty librarian.

Unsympathetic, London tests Ryker’s mettle without mercy. He earns her respect by meeting every challenge she creates, proving he’s more than just one more overindulged athlete. But there is one more prize he’s determined to win, so he dares London to step out of her carefully constructed world for a walk with him on the wild side. 

London expects to bring Ryker down a notch or two, but as their slow-burning heat erupts into sexual flames, the intensity of the fire threatens to either destroy their hearts or forge them together. Discovering which comes with a price. Will they emerge stronger? Or are they destined to be…Consumed by the Dare.

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What readers are saying…

“I just freaking loved Ryker and London’s story! I laughed and cried from beginning to end! 5 Stars from me!”   -Tia

“I absolutely LOVED this sexy, funny, witty novella…and I refuse to mark it down because it’s short! It has EVERYTHING you need in a fabulous quick read. A super sexy football player, with better moves off the field than on. A strong, sexy (even though she doesn’t know it, which only makes her sexier) naughty librarian who isn’t afraid to take a stand and makes no excuses. A rowdy bunch of misfit kids and a crew of geriatric smut lovers round out the cast. The sexy is sooo hot…the club? fabulous. The way Ryker makes London own up to her smut loving side…makes her take another look and not believe everything she’s heard via television and reporters.
Great characters, witty, insta-love round out the particulars. Super writing that flows so smoothly is something I’ve come to expect from Casey Hagen…Ok, so this is only my 2nd book by her, but I’ve obviously clicked that yellow follow button up there, cuz I wanna read whatever she’s writing!
5 Stars no turnovers!”    -Rachel Bound by Books

Excerpt:

A group of ladies wearing a colorful variety of tracksuits sat at a large table in front of the far wall made up of large windows. They held cards in their hands and in the middle of the table were…well, he didn’t know what, but those weren’t poker chips, real money, or pretzel sticks.

“They’re all yours. Don’t say I didn’t warn you,” Diane said before heading back the way she’d brought them in.

Ryker shrugged. “They look perfectly harmless to me.”

“Harmless they are not,” London said with a light laugh.

Lighter than he’d heard since his time with her.

He’d like to think it was the kiss from the night before, but he had a feeling it had everything to do with her warning about what was to come.

Just as she finished her statement, he spotted a group of men in the corner. One was in a wheelchair, another with a cane, and the third so stooped he looked to be almost bent in half.

Then the stooped man grabbed at the prosthetic leg of the man with the cane and ran with it when it pulled free.

Ryker blinked.

Then blinked again.

And realized his mouth was hanging open so he snapped it shut.

“Ha…do your worst now, Cliff!” he yelled, waving the leg in the air like a club.

“Bring that back here, you son of a—”

“Hey, none of that, you old farts, there’s a young lady present!” This came from the lady in the red tracksuit, who had since stood and worked her way toward them.

“London! So good to see you, dear!” one of the ladies at the table called out.

“You too, Miss Gertie. You look radiant today!”

Red tracksuit stopped before Ryker and gave him an assessing look. “Well, aren’t you a handsome specimen!”

She then turned to London and enveloped her in what looked to be a suffocating hug if the way London’s eyes bulged was any indication.

“Good to see you, honey. Did you bring them?”

London pulled back and straightened her shirt. “I sure did, Miss Maggie.”

“You’re such a dear heart! Thank you! I swear if I had to spend one more afternoon whipping ass at poker, I was going to lose what’s left of my addled mind. How much hemorrhoid cream can one person win before it’s enough already?”

“Well, I don’t know,” London said.

“86!” She pointed a wrinkled finger right in Ryker’s face. “The answer is eighty-six damn tubes of hemorrhoid cream. I don’t even need the stuff. Now, Cliff, that old shit, needs all the hemorrhoid cream he can get. He’ll need even more if Warren doesn’t give him his damn leg back.” She turned to Cliff. “You hear that, Cliff? I’ve got just what you need. Five bucks a tube!”

Ryker leaned to whisper into London’s ear, “Holy shit.”

London grinned, her eyes gleaming with mischief. “Still think you’ve got this, Ryker?” She introduced him to “The Crew,” as they were called, eleven in all.

Seven women and four men.

The poor men. Lou stepped in with a look, and just like that, Warren returned Cliff’s leg.

Lou commanded the crew. An old mafia boss-looking type with a cool stare and deep crevices on his face that testified to a lifetime of struggles. Ryker imagined he was of the same ilk as the man sweeping his stoop from the day before. He’d probably worked harder in one year than Ryker’s own father had in his whole life.

Maggie, the mouthpiece of the ladies and hoarder of the hemorrhoid cream, took great pleasure in introducing her partners in crime.

“Would you be so kind and pull down Connect Four for us?” Miss Gertie smiled, the kind of smile that made him think of grandmas who baked fresh cookies and filled their grandkids’ bellies with hot chocolate. He’d always wanted a grandmother like that.

Just as he pulled the box out from under the stack, he jumped.

“Holy hell!” he said as he looked over at London. “Was that what I think it was?”

“Well, shit, honey, if you aren’t clear on what that was, I didn’t do it right. Come here!” Miss Gertie said.

He jumped back before the not-so-sweet grandma of the group could get another go at his ass.

Jesus.

Maggie gathered the small tubes and stuffed them in her purse. “Where did you find this one, London?”

“His services were offered by my friend, Meg. You remember her, right?”

“Teacher, right? A little light in the boob department, but a comely girl, that one.”

Ryker didn’t miss how London glanced down at her own chest and crossed her arms.

“Yes, that’s her. She’s friends with Olivia Dare Rhodes, the executive director for the Miami Thunder football team. Ryker Christiansen is their best tight end.”

“I can vouch for that!” Miss Gertie called out.

“Gertie, give the poor guy a break. Clearly, he’s not used to fast women,” Maggie said.

London snorted at that.

“London,” Ryker warned.

“What? I didn’t say a word.”

“Is it time to pick books yet?” he asked.

“Soon, Ryker,” she said with a laugh.

By soon she meant another two hours. Two freaking hours of poker with the ladies. This time with Efferdent. Ryker left the facility with two pockets full of the tablets.

He tried to leave them behind, but Miss Maggie wouldn’t have it. “Don’t even think about leaving those here. You won them fair and square.”

And what did London do during those two hours? Left him to fend for himself while she read to the guys. The guys who settled down like weary children ready for a nap. You know who wasn’t ready for a nap? Gertie.

Gertie goosed him so deep, it rivaled the most aggressive prostate exam he could imagine.

When they were finally on their way back to the library, all he wanted was a shower and a nap. “So, when Maggie asked if you brought them, what was she referring to?”

“Uh…she made a few special requests.”

“What requests?”

Her lips twitched. “I’d rather not discuss it.”

He straightened in his seat and slapped his palms on his jean-clad thighs. “Fine. So let’s talk about the kiss.”

Her knuckles went white on the steering wheel. “Let’s not. It’s best forgotten.”

Wanting to ruffle her up, he ran a finger over the back of her hand. “I’ll never forget that kiss. The way you moaned all low—”

“She wanted sex books!” London all but shouted.

“Sex books?”

She swallowed hard. “You know, The Joy of Sex, The Kama Sutra…”

“Seriously?”

She pulled to a stop in front of the library and turned off the engine. “Do I look like I would joke about this?”

“So, did you take a peek at those books before you gave them to her?”

Her head snapped around to his. “What? Of course not!”

“What’s the matter? You don’t like sex?” he asked.

“Sex is private.”

In her world, but his? “It doesn’t have to be.”

“What is that supposed to mean?”

“Maybe it’s best I show you. Tomorrow’s Friday. Go out with me tomorrow night?”

“No.”

“Come on. I dusted off my Shakespeare knowledge. I humored the ladies today. I suffered abuse at their wandering hands. I’ve been a very good helper.”

“Ryker, I’m not your type. You’re definitely not my type. There’s no point.”

He reached over and hooked his fingers in the opening of her prim, buttoned-up blouse and pulled her close. He took satisfaction in the way her eyes widened, but she didn’t pull away. “If you’re so sure, then there’s no harm in going out with me.”

“Will you leave me alone then?”

“If you want me to…”

“Fine.”

He smiled. “Be ready at seven p.m. and text me your address.” He kissed the corner of her surprised mouth. Just a quick brush, a tease, torturing them both. He pressed his forehead to hers. “Tomorrow.”

© Casey Hagen, USA Today Bestselling Author