She’s playing hard to get…to win the MMA fighter of her ultimate fantasies in a sultry new novel from New York Times bestselling author Lori Foster
Vanity Baker loves a good, clean match, but she’s not above playing a little dirty. She’s wanted Stack “The Wolf” Hannigan from day one. Seems as though the best way to corral the famously commitment-phobic fighter is to insist on keeping it casual. And her plan works—deliciously well—until Stack’s past steps out of the shadows.
Stack learned early to stay free of attachments. But with sexy, forthright Vanity, he’s the one always left wanting more. Then his troublemaking family comes back into the picture, threatening everything Stack cares about—Vanity included. Suddenly he realizes they’re much more than friends with benefits. He’s ready to go to the mat for her…but will it be in time to protect the woman who’s tamed him for good?
She softened. Harking back to the idiotic joke about him being a wolf and how ladies reacted, she said, “At least I didn’t howl, right?”
Mocking her, he said, “Little bit.”
She laughed. “Well, I wouldn’t want to ruin your rep.” Now decently covered, she sat on the bed beside him and pulled on socks. “So what’s happening? A street light go out? Lady’s cat stuck in a tree? Somebody have a flat tire?”
“No, smart-ass.” Is that really what she thought they did? If so, he wouldn’t correct her. Soon enough she’d find out that, with Cannon’s leadership, they’d become watchdogs for the neighborhood. Together they’d run off drug dealers, stopped extortion, helped family-run businesses stay open, and secured the safety of the young and the elderly. Being honest, Stack told her, “But if that happened, we’d help if we could.”
“Of course you would.” She looked beneath the bed, found ankle boots and, sitting on the floor, pulled them on. “So what’s going on then?”
He eyed the boots with curiosity. Why the hell was she getting dressed? “My mom collapsed.”
Her face fell. “Oh, God, Stack.” Scrambling back to her feet, she said, “I’m so sorry!”
She looked sincerely, deeply sorry. Huh. They hadn’t yet slept together, she’d never met his mom, but she cared all the same. “My sister called while we were in the shower. When she couldn’t reach me, she called Armie.”
“She knows him?”
“They’ve met. In case of an emergency she has his number along with a few others.”
Her small hand covered her mouth. “So this is an emergency?”
“Hard to say.” He stood and buttoned up his tux shirt, leaving it untucked. “Tabby’s all into drama, so if Mom stubbed her toe, she’d be as likely to call it life and death.”
Gasping, Vanity whispered, “Life and death? That was her message?”
He had to grin at her horrified expression. “No, she just told Armie that Mom collapsed. I’ll call her on my way out to find out the details.”
Nodding, Vanity rushed to her closet and withdrew a dark poncho. She snagged his hand and started out of the room. “Come on.”
When Stack didn’t budge, she pulled up short.
They stared at each other.
“Why are you waiting? You need to make that call!”
Stack nodded. “Where do you think you’re going?”
She said that so matter-of-factly that he frowned in suspicion. “Why would you—”
Exasperated, she hooked her arm through his and tried to get him moving. “You haven’t yet met your obligations. Until you do, I’m not giving you a chance to back out.”
“Believe me, I’ll be back as soon as possible.” He allowed her to drag him to the front door. This time, knowing sex wasn’t on the agenda, he looked around with more interest.
“I’m going with you.”
“Not to a hospital to meet my family.”
Giving up his perusal of her interesting artwork, he turned to her. The innocence in her face amped up his suspicions even more. “That makes zero sense, darlin’, and you know it.”
Since first publishing in January 1996, Lori Foster has become a USA Today, Publisher’s Weekly and New York Times bestselling author. Lori has published through a variety of houses, including Kensington, St. Martin’s, Harlequin, Silhouette, Samhain, and Berkley/Jove. She is currently published with HQN.
Lori hosts a very special annual “Reader & Author” event in West Chester, Ohio. Proceeds from the event have benefited many worthy causes, including the Hamilton County YWCA Battered Women’s Shelter, the Animal Adoption Foundation, The Conductive Learning Center for children with spina bifida and cerebral palsy, and The One Way Farm, Children’s Home.
Each year Lori donates all proceeds from one book to charity. You can see the benefit romance books here.
Print copy of TOUGH LOVE and boxing glove charm for 3 winners