Briar’s Champion



Briar Thompson believes she has it all, the perfect boyfriend and a promising future, until she’s forced to face reality. With all hope of true love gone, what chances are there for a happily ever after?

Sloan Gutiérrez arrives in town to set up his home after buying a professional baseball team called The Devils. While he appreciates all females, gold diggers are always on the prowl, making his plans for the future seem elusive. The last thing he expects is to fall for the first woman he meets.


Strains of soft rock played from the house band, sectioned away from the big screen televisions with various football games stretched across the best entertainment systems money could buy. Briar scanned the crowd while toying with her drink, a ploy to make sure she paced herself. A few good-looking males without females on their arm sat at the bar and a few tables. No doubt her three best friends would pander her to the first hottie they set eyes on. When Suzanne’s jaw opened wide with her hummina expression, she whipped her head around to see what provoked the instant lust.

“Aye papi.” Briar had never seen anybody so attractive. He had to know his utter affect on anyone with a pulse. God help the person he landed, because they would need nerves of steel to deal with the onslaught of attention sent his way.

Why am I thinking this?

Suzanne nudged her under the table with a boot. “Briar, stop staring,” she hissed under her breath.

“I…ah-oh…” Tearing her gaze away, Briar felt her cheeks heat, looking at her friends. “Sorry, guess that happens when you all go speechless.” She shrugged, taking a big gulp of her margarita. A choking pain seized her before a coughing fit ensued as she tried to clear the alcohol from her wind pipe. “Ohh the burn,” she whimpered.

“Right there is one piece of sin I’d go to Hell for,” Carissa crooned.

“Amen,” both Suzanne and Darcy chimed. She wouldn’t agree and give them the opportunity to set her up with him.

“He’s okay.” Briar snuck one more peek. Her interest leaned against the bar with a beer bottle against his lips. Lucky for her, he couldn’t see her raking her gaze over him, taking in the tattoo running the length of his left arm. Nor could he see her body tremble, or smell the faint scent of her sex dampening her panties from just sizing up his entire package. She drained her margarita and turned back to her table. Her three friends gave her knowing stares.

“He is the one,” Darcy said with a smug grin.

“Definitely. She can’t take her eyes off him. And wait. Check out the way he keeps glancing our way,” Suzanne exclaimed.

“Stop. I don’t want him.” Okay, that lie didn’t count. She did want him—so bad she could taste how his skin felt on her tongue. She wanted to lick him from top to bottom like no one’s business. However, her friends did not, in no way, form or fashion, need to know that. “We just got here. Can ya’ll tone your craze to get me laid down a tad, please? I repeat I do not want him.”

“Think her nose’ll grow?” Carissa grinned.

“Wonder where he came from? He’s not homegrown here in Kansas City. He could be just passing through which is too good an opportunity to pass up girlfriend.” Suzanne’s words rang true. She’d have a chance for a one night stand without the hassle of awkward phone calls or second dates. A sexy man passing through could be the one thing to get her moving forward again.

“What color do you think his eyes are?” Darcy asked as she refilled glasses.

“Chocolate brown,” Briar answered, licking salt off the rim of her drink.

“I say black as sin,” Suzanne countered.

“Dark blue, so dark they border on black,” Carissa supplanted.

Hmmmwas there such a thing as blue-black?

If they kept staring his way, he wouldn’t need their loud whispering to know they were talking about him.

“We’re out of margaritas. Here Bri, you go get the refill and report back to us the color of his eyes.” Darci thrust the empty pitcher to her, sporting a mischievous glint in her eyes.

She took possession of the sticky container and wiped her hand on the side of her pants, hoping she didn’t leave a streak of margarita salt on them, wishing for hand sanitizer.

“You three waste no time. I love you all, but seriously? One of you could easily go see for yourselves.” Huffing a breath while glaring daggers at them, Briar tossed her hat off her head, making sure it land on her chair. She sauntered up to the bar, beaming a smile at the bartender before setting the empty container in front of him. “A refill please,” she requested as she opened her purse to withdraw her credit card. A hand snaked out to stop her and grazed over the top of her knuckles. Jolts of energy spiked across her skin, traveling with a rush to her core. She swallowed hard in an attempt to formulate a coherent sentence. Tingling deliciously from the tiny touch, the stranger’s presence overwhelmed her.

“Let me treat you.” The voice who owned the hand produced his own card and handed it directly to the bartender.

“I—we, can pay for our own,” she stammered. She waited for the deep lazy drawl in his out-of-the-blue-offer to leave his lips and caress her ears again, setting off a keg of powder to ignite within her.

“It’s my pleasure to buy four beautiful ladies a drink.” He held out his hand to her. “By the way, my name is Sloan.”

“Briar.” She returned his greeting seconds later at his prodding expression. The calloused grooves of his hand scraped her palm eliciting a silent groan of pleasure. “Nice to meet you.” She lifted her gaze level with his losing herself in the darkest brown orbs she’d ever seen—ones she’d drown in. Sloan belonged in a magazine. He did look a bit familiar but she couldn’t place his face. Possibly she’d seen him in a commercial or something.

“Thank you.” She took in the slight curve to his nose, suppressing the urge to trail her finger over it. One would think a crooked nose would make him less handsome, but the opposite gained her apt attention.

“Want to check my teeth?” he joked, his accent thick.

“No,” she responded, suddenly apprehensive. “Thanks for the margaritas. Carissa, Darcy, and Suz are sure to be thankful for the nice words and free drink.” She stepped out of arms reach.

“How about you?”

“Yes, I appreciate the gesture.” She thanked God for her mocha skin color or he’d see a definite blush tinting her face. With her hand on the pitcher, she forced herself to move back to the table. Three sets of eyes eagerly waited for her to dish the digs.

So?” Carissa prodded.

“Dark brown, so dark they melt into black. His voice seduced me. So yes, that’s one tall drink of sin right there.” She dazed off remembering how his mouth moved as he spoke, the cleft in his chin, dimples she itched to stroke. “He bought our pitcher and when he shook my hand, it felt like a caress more than a handshake.” Smiling, she continued her description. “His name is Sloan. He works hard at whatever he does.” Realizing she was giving her friends more encouragement to set her up, she topped everyone’s drinks. “We should toast to him in thanks.” She lifted her glass up, turning her body sideways. When she secured his attention, Briar kicked the others under the table to do the same. Hell, even his half nod of acknowledgment sent a jolt of lust down her spine.

“He is into you.” Suzanne tipped her drink into her mouth. “The question remains, what do you plan on doing to keep his interest?”

“Nothing.” Briar tucked a strand of her ebony hair behind her ear, sipped her drink and tried not to stalk the man with her traitorous stare. The alcohol finally took hold, working its magic, soothing her nerves, giving aid in relaxing her.

“Bullshit. He has the appearance of a sexual god. Notice his hair, his eyes, and I don’t need to remind you of his voice. We’re all melting over here, and he’s not even for one of us. Though, I might attempt to woo him my way, but it is apparent that he only has eyes for you. Imagine all the alcohol induced fornication you could embark on with him.” Suzanne sighed.

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