It was supposed to be a fling
Confirmed bachelor and former NFL superstar, Max Sumner, knows the minute he sets eyes on Devlin Darby, he wants her in his bed. The fiery photographer is temptation personified with her caramel eyes and inviting smile, and Max has never been very good at resisting temptation.
When he takes her to his bed, though, she slips under his skin in ways he never imagined, drawing out the secret he managed to hide from everyone.
Devlin Darby never wanted to be trapped. She likes her life just the way it is: carefree, wild, and all her own. Her one night with a sexy former athlete she couldn’t resist puts all that at risk. When she’s faced with the consequences of that night, she’s faced with a choice. Let an unwanted pregnancy trap her with a man she doesn’t love, or embrace and cherish her child without compromising her independence. As far as she’s concerned, pregnancy doesn’t have to mean she ties herself to the father for the rest of her life.
Unfortunately for her, Max has other ideas, and he’s not a man to take lightly when he sets his mind to something—or someone—he wants.
His Fling is the third book in The Sumner Brothers Series. It can be read as a standalone novel.
**** Please note, this is an unedited sample!
Devlin Darby moved her hips to the music, her skin vibrating with the bass beat thumping through the sound system as sweat rolled down her back. She stood on the dance floor of one of Denver’s trendiest night clubs, losing herself to the feel of the music washing over her. As a professional photographer, she traveled the world and loved every minute of it, but sometimes being back in the states gave her the chance to refuel in a way no other place on earth could.
Bonus points if that visit included good friends. This one did. Reuniting with her best friend, Maggie Lawrence, was just the break Devlin hadn’t even known she needed. Of course, watching Maggie dance was enough to bring a smile to anyone’s face. She watched Maggie with amused fascination, unable to stifle a laugh.READ MORE
Her friend’s hands waved spastically above her head as if she were flagging down a plane, her hips gyrating with the music. She was more than a bit offbeat, but who cared. Maggie laughed, her smile brighter than the flashing lights overhead. They were here to have a good time, and obviously Maggie was.
Maggie lived in Canyon Creek, Colorado, a small town Devlin had always considered her home, even though she’d only lived there until she was twelve. Despite Devlin’s countless moves around the world after leaving—thanks to her father’s military career and now her job as a photographer—Maggie and she had remained close.
In a little over a month, Maggie would marry the town hottie, Ben Sumner, something that might bring out a twinge of jealousy in even the best of women. Ben was handsome, successful, devoted and most of all, loyal. But Devlin harbored no feelings from the green-eyed monster. She had absolutely no plans to tie herself down to one man for the rest of her life. She was a free spirit, a gypsy, and she liked it that way.
She rarely stayed in one place more than a month anyway, and she didn’t see herself ever settling down, no matter how hot and successful the man was. Or how much fun they might have between the sheets.
Devlin glanced around the dance floor. A small group of Maggie’s closest friends congregated around them. Devlin mimicked their moves, laughing and dancing, not used to the female camaraderie.
She and Maggie met in elementary school when Devlin marched up to the shy girl hiding behind the monkey bars, and proclaimed, “We’re best friends now.” Maggie nodded without protest, and from then on, that’s exactly what they’d been.
Maggie Lawrence was no longer that shy girl hiding on the playground. She’d found her place in the world and a man she loved. For that, Devlin was truly happy.
“I’m so glad you’re here!” She yelled over the music. The overhead lighting danced across her sweat-streaked face.
Devlin laughed as she took in her friend’s attire from head to toe. Maggie’s outfit announced to everyone why they were there. Her friend’s bachelorette party.
A bedazzled headband sat on top of her curly auburn hair, two light-up penises wiggling above her head from springy coils. Across her chest lay a satin sash that read “Same Penis Forever.” Apparently her fiancé had found the sash before the party and written “huge” before the word penis with a permanent marker.
Devlin didn’t want to think about the size of Ben’s junk, but if his was anything like his brother’s then the banner held some truth.
She ignored the shiver of arousal that ran through her at the memories that never dimmed.
Max Sumner and Devlin had hooked up a month ago when she’d flown in from New York City on a previous visit. She’d been scouting locations for a coffee table photo book she was working on and had returned to the small Colorado town, believing the breathtaking mountain views and fresh air would provide the perfect backdrop for the project. She knew there were other reasons she’d been drawn back to Canyon Creek Mountain. It was the only place that had ever felt like home to her.
Still, the hookup with Max hadn’t been planned, and if she’d taken a minute to think, she would have stopped herself. Sadly, Max had a way of frying her brain anytime she kissed him. Devlin had always had a no-strings-attached attitude toward men. She wanted one thing only from them: sex. Good sex. And Max had given her just that.
Devlin had grown up in a house run by a dictator. Namely, her father, Louis Darby, Gunnery Sergeant. He’d controlled every aspect of her and her mother’s life. From telling them how to dress, how to wear their hair, and even her mother’s exercise regimen. His attitude toward women in general had been disgusting.
She had vowed early on in life never to let a man have that much control over her, not the way her father still did her mother.
She shook her head, banishing memories and bringing herself back to the dance floor. She focused on the addictive beat of the music, before realizing, addictive or not, she had to take a break.
Devlin leaned into Maggie, shouting in her ear above the music. “I need to go sit down, I’m beat.”
“Okay, hold on, I’ll go with you.” Maggie turned and yelled to the other women in the bachelor party group, pointing toward the general area where they’d highjacked a few tables earlier. She turned back to Devlin and grabbing her hand. “Let’s go to the bathroom.”
“No sweeter words.” Devlin laughed. She’d been drinking water tonight, volunteering to be the designated driver, but even sweating on the dance floor hadn’t stopped Devlin’s bladder from nearly exploding.
Maggie led her through the mass of people gyrating and jumping on the dance floor. They stood in a small line, their backs resting on the wall as they both fought to catch their breath.
Devlin tilted her face toward Maggie. “You having fun?”
Maggie’s eyes remained closed as a huge smile split across her face. “A blast. I’m having a blast, Devlin. It’s the best.” Her eyes fluttered open and she turned to Devlin. “I’m so glad you’re here.”
“I told you I would be.” She’d come for Maggie but even a nomad like Devlin had to admit it was nice to hang out in one place for a few weeks. She rarely stayed at her apartment in New York for that long.
The line moved quickly and both women used the facility and washed their hands. Maggie slipped her arm through Devlin’s and practically skipped toward their table.
“Oh, shit,” Maggie said, coming to an abrupt stop, her hold on Devlin’s arm making Devlin stop with her.
“What?” Devlin stared around the club.
“There.” Maggie pointed toward their table.
When her eyes followed Maggie’s finger, she echoed her friend’s sentiment. “Shit.”
Standing around their table were three burly men, eyes flashing with a mischief that said the night was about to get more interesting.
Ben Sumner stood tall above the other men, his hazel eyes glowing as he raked a hand through his dark hair, searching the dance floor.
Maggie grinned and released Devlin’s arm, walking toward him.
Devlin muttered under her breath. “What’s the point of a bachelorette party if the bachelor shows up?”
Ben’s brother, Emmett, stood next to Ben, his gaze searching the dance floor as well, probably for his fiancé, Elle. Emmett looked so much like Ben it was uncanny.
Beside Emmett stood the town contractor, and second resident hottie, Shawn Braddock—affectionately known by all the girls in Canyon Creek as Shawn “Big Cock” Braddock. Devlin couldn’t validate Shawn’s nickname, but as she joined them at the table she couldn’t help but notice him. Huge thighs clad in snug fitting jeans, shaggy blonde hair brushing against the collar of his button-down shirt, arresting blue eyes—yeah, Devlin would definitely buy a ticket for the Big Cock ride.
Suddenly a little voice inside her head taunted, liar. She would never admit it to anyone, not even to herself, but since her time with Max, she hadn’t desired anyone else the way she had him. Without realizing it, she found herself searching the area for him like a love-struck fool. Idiot.
“Looking for someone?” a deep voice growled behind her.
A smile spread across her face and her girly parts tingled when she recognized the voice.
He pressed his body into hers, and without realizing it, she sank into him, his heat both tempting and teasing her.
She breathed in, inhaling his familiar scent. Mistake. She remembered his spicy cologne from their night together. The aroma had set off a chain reaction in her body the moment she’d nuzzled against his chest and breathed him in. The scent had clung to her body for days after their time together, despite several showers.
It had been a month since they’d slept together—although what they’d done would never be called sleeping. Or even sex. It was more like red-hot-monkey-sex. Red-hot-dirty-as-sin-monkey-sex.
Despite the good time they had together, she’d known immediately that sleeping with Max had been one of the dumbest things she’d ever done. The minute he’d rolled on top of her and slid inside, she’d realized that giving her body to him had been a mistake. Devlin only gave men one night, maybe two at the most. But with Max, she’d immediately wanted more. There was something about the big, sexy, alpha-male football player that was addicting. Like that first bite of a chocolate chip cookie as it comes out of the oven, warm and melting in your mouth—
“What’s going on in that beautiful mind of yours?” Max’s voice was at her ear, his breath caressing her skin like a silk scarf.
Devlin swallowed hard.
“You look like you’re about to come all over yourself.” His lips gently brushed the shell of her hear.
Heat bloomed in her belly and she damn near did come as a dull ache throbbed between her legs.
“Which is fine by me,” he continued, “although I’d prefer for you to come underneath me, or on top of me, or—”
Devlin held up a hand to stop him. “I get it.”
He stepped back and chuckled.
She choked back a moan as the deep rumble of his laughter vibrated through her body.
This, this right here, was what would get Devlin in trouble. Dirty talk from a sexy-as-sin ex-NFL player with more ego than good sense. Getting caught up with Max would be like giving a gallon of ice cream to a woman on her period. Nothing good would ever come of it.
Against her better judgment, she turned and studied the man in front of her. He was wearing a navy-blue sweater that clung to his muscular body like cling wrap.
His faded jeans showcased powerful legs that had been honed to perfection. He might not be in the NFL any more, but you’d never be able to tell from that drop-dead body.
His dark brown hair was cut short on the sides, a bit longer on top. All the better to grab during the throes of passion, she knew from personal experience. His dark hazel eyes studied her intently, as if trying to learn her every move. No wonder his face had donned the cover of sports magazines across the world. He was, in a word, hot-as-fuck. Okay, that was three words, but she’d hyphenated.
Devlin turned her attention to Emmett who was now moving across the dance floor. She didn’t have to guess where he was going. Emmett Sumner would always find Elle Noble, no matter where she was. Moth, meet flame.
Devlin watched Elle as she gyrated on the dance floor. She was a professional dancer and owned her own dance studio, which gave her an advantage. Elle’s body was toned and lean and just the right amount of sexy to make men melt, and women want to scratch her eyes out.
Devlin had photographed Elle several times, even winning an award with a photo she’d taken of Elle before a ballet performance in college. Elle was a cancer survivor and Devlin planned to make her the centerpiece of her new coffee table photograph book benefiting an organization that provided support for cancer patients as they went through treatment.
But at the moment, Elle was lost in the music, eyes closed. Emmett honed in on her, forcing the circle of men around Elle to part with a lethal glare. Smart men. Elle finally opened her eyes and a huge grin transformed her face as she reached out to Emmett. Devlin couldn’t help but smile as the two moved together, his hands pulling her in, close and intimate as though the dance floor was theirs alone.
Devlin’s eyes scanned the floor. Maggie and Ben were off in another corner, her arms entwined around his neck, fingers in his hair, with eyes only for him.
“So much for the bachelorette party,” Devlin said, crossing her arms and glaring at Max and Shawn.
Kayleigh Montgomery, another member of the party, marched toward the table. “What are you guys doing here?” Her white-blonde hair flowed behind her, blue eyes narrowed as she studied the men.
Fast on Kayleigh’s high-heels, Lily Sumner joined the growing group around the small table. Lily was Sally Sumner’s daughter and the boys’ cousin. Last Devlin heard, Sally was now dating Elle’s father and Maggie was pretty sure Lily had the hots for Shawn but was denying it with a vengeance.
Good God, the whole group sounded like an incestuous bunch of hillbillies, a bad soap opera gone horribly out of control. As much as Devlin loved Canyon Creek, there was no way she could ever live in a place where everyone knew your name, and all your business too.
“Did you see my cousin with Elle?” Lily asked, her cheeks flushed from dancing.
“You mean book boy?” Kayleigh said, her nickname referencing Emmett’s profession as a bestselling author.
“Yeah,” Lily nodded. “I guarantee you, he’ll sneak her out of here in the next half an hour.”
Devlin looked back to the dance floor. She had a feeling Ben and Emmett hadn’t been able to stay away tonight. Sometimes she wondered what that kind of love felt like. That all-consuming love that made you crazy with need and ready to fight to the death.
Max raised his hands. “Just for the record,” he stared at all the women, “I tried to talk them out of this brilliant idea.”
The all-too-innocent look on his face made Devlin wonder if that was true.
“So why are you here?” Lily asked, hands on hips as she glowered at Max and Shawn.
“Easy, tiger.” Kayleigh laughed, patting Lily’s shoulder. “Look, obviously these yahoos aren’t going anywhere,” she pointed a thumb toward frick and frack. “Let’s go dance.” She moved her hips to the beat of the music now thumping through the club. Her tight mini skirt rode higher, her top lower. Male eyes from every direction fell out of their heads, tongues wagging as they stared at Kayleigh, including Max.
“Holy shit,” he said.
Devlin elbowed him. He just laughed. Where had that jealous streak come from?
Lily picked up the headband with wiggling penises that Maggie had abandoned on the table and put it on her head. “Dance, dance, dance!” she shouted, grabbing Max’s hand. She jumped up and down, the lighted penises bouncing above her head.
“Lil, you have to take those things off before I’ll go out there,” Max said.
Devlin quirked a brow. “I think Max should have to wear them.”
“Oooo.” Lily rubbed her hands together.
“Yes! Yes!” Kayleigh and Lily chanted in unison while Devlin grinned.
“Absolutely.” Shawn smiled.
“No! Hell no,” Max said, holding up a hand, as if he could stop them. “Come on Shawn, help me out. Men stick together.”
Shawn shook his head. “Sorry, man, but my vote is for the Dick Head to wear dicks on his head.”
Everyone burst into laughter, everyone except Max.
“Screw all of you,” he growled.
Shawn reached up and removed the head band from Lily’s head.
“Put on the dicks! Put on the dicks!” Kayleigh chanted as she clapped to the beat of the music. Soon they all joined in, cheering and chanting.
Other patrons stared at the circus unfolding in front of them.
Devlin wasn’t sure what got into her. One minute, she was strategizing how to get away from Max and all the temptation he brought with him, and the next, she was teasing him. She took the headband and slipped it onto her own head before tilting her head up to look at Max. “Come on, you big baby.”
Max snarled and let out a low growl. He leaned in close, whispering low against her ear. “I’m no baby. And if I remember correctly, you know damned well just how much of a grown-assed man I am.”
Devlin drew in a deep steadying breath.
Instead of calming her sexual appetite, another shiver of desire racked her body as Max’s rich, very male scent invaded her senses. Images of him as he lowered himself over her flashed through her mind. Memories that weren’t just images of their night together. These flashbacks were physical, visceral, affecting her as if he were running his fingertips across her skin even now.
“See, you do remember.” He chuckled as he slipped the headband off her head and placed it on his, nearly busting the plastic he was so huge. “Now, I believe the challenge was extended to me.” He touched the tip of his finger to his broad chest. “And as everyone here knows, I never turn down a challenge.”
Devlin cocked her head and laughed. “Obviously, Dick Head.”
“That’s dicks, plural.” Max pointed to the two penises bouncing above his head.
“Max!” someone shouted behind them. “Max Sumner!”
Max turned and a flash of cameras lit the area.
“Ah, shit,” he groaned.
“Seems like Mr. NFL Player of the Year just got caught wearing dicks on his head.” Shawn laughed. “That shit will go viral in like…” He glanced down at his phone then lifted it to take his own shaming picture. “As soon as I can post this.”
“Don’t you dare,” Max warned.
“Done!” Shawn shouted as he held up his phone to show his picture already posted to social media.
“I’m going to kill you.” Max stepped toward Shawn. The two had been working together recently and seemed to be growing close, but Devlin wasn’t at all sure their friendship could tolerate penis pics online.
Sensing imminent homicide, she grabbed Max’s beefy arm and yanked him toward the dance floor. “Let’s go, Dick Head, before you really do kill him.”
Max shot Shawn a middle finger as they walked away. More flashes went off.
Devlin had never stopped to think of Max Sumner as a celebrity, but his illustrious career in the NFL mixed with his playboy ways had put him in the spotlight a lot. Being out of the country most of the year, the stories never reached Devlin. Until now.
Getting involved with Max lost even more appeal. Anonymity was not only part of her business, she’d made it part of her life. She had no interest in being at the center of attention.
“On second thought,” Devlin said, releasing his arm.
“Oh, hell no, shorty, if I go down, you’re going down with me.”
Devlin had never considered herself short but staring up at this hulk of a man she felt short now, and petite, and vulnerable. Whenever Devlin felt vulnerable, she turned to humor as a shield.
She quirked a brow. “You go down, Max?”
“Someone could get hurt.” He leaned closer. “But maybe later, if you’re lucky, I’ll go down.”
She blushed, remembering the escapades. God, that was so unlike her to be shy.
He leaned in closer. “And so will you.”