Lyric Wright is an off-beat astrophysicist whose life is falling apart around her. After losing her fiancé to a hula dancing astrologer and losing her dress to an ill-fated leap of faith, she’s sure there’s nowhere for her life to go but up. At least until she sits down on a trans-Pacific flight next to the one man she never wanted to see again — the boy she’d lost her heart and her virginity to back before she’d learned that friendship and football don’t equal true love.
Broken down quarterback Heath Montgomery is on a plane ride to nowhere. Dodging the phone call he’s certain will end his professional football career for good, he might be Texas bound, but he knows there’s nowhere for him to go but down. But that’s before his childhood best friend and confidante plops back into his life wearing nothing but duct tape and a bad attitude. Determined not to lose her again (especially since he isn’t sure why he lost her the first time) and desperate to outrun his own shadowy future, Heath sets out to take Lyric on the ride of her life. Too bad she only dates men who actually know what her butterfly nebula is…and can find it without the help of a star chart.
Add in one passive-aggressive flight attendant with delusions of couture, a cherry red car with a crush on Neil Diamond, an over-protective sister with a black belt in Krav Maga, two parents determined to marry their spinster daughter off to the hometown hero no matter the cost, and a whole lot of lingerie popping up in all the right places at all the wrong times and you’ve got an unforgettable love story that fans of Susan Elizabeth Phillips and Rachel Gibson won’t want to miss!
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Katie Graykowski writes romantic comedy with lots of heart. She likes scuba diving, Mexican food, chocolate cream cheese frosting, movies where lots of stuff gets blown up, and sparkly things. She lives in Texas with her husband, a daughter, and three K-9 kids. Katie loves to hear from her readers, so check her out at the links below.
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“Lyric?” Heath ran after her, his bad knee turning his own run into a shuffling gallop.
“I gotta pee now …” she sing-songed and picked up the pace. “And I can’t put a hold on it.”
“But how are you going to—” He watched her disappear into the women’s bathroom. “—get out of that dress?”
It didn’t take long for him to figure out that she was going to be right back out. She might not have been thinking about the mechanics of stripping off that damn dress, but he’d spent entirely too much of his adult life getting women out of their clothes to know that it was going to be a problem. A serious problem.
He glanced around, saw a small station of plastic flatware a few feet away near the restaurants. He wasn’t sure what good a plastic knife was going to do against tightly wrapped duct tape, but he was willing to give it the old Wrangler try. But when he got up to the institutional silverware holder, the only things left were a bunch of sporks and one sorry looking plastic knife. He grabbed them all, along with a couple of straws and a handful of mayonnaise packets for lubrication. He decided to leave the mustard where it was.
He made it back to the bathroom just as Lyric limped out, a look of crestfallen agony on her beautiful face. With a smile, he held up his plundered booty. “I’ve got you covered.”
She stared at the mismatched selection he’d picked up, then rolled her eyes. “I’m not a cheeseburger, Heath.”
“Yeah, well, the selection was limited. I did the best I could.” He crouched down next her. “Let’s get you out of this dress.”
She glanced around wildly. “Not here.”
“Why not here? I thought you had to go to the bathroom.”
“I’m not wearing anything under this duct tape.”
He froze, even as his heartbeat went wild. “Nothing?” She’d said so earlier, but he’d thought she was kidding. He swallowed. All that lovely white skin, and the only thing between it and him was a thin veneer of tape. There wasn’t a man alive who hadn’t had that dream a time or two.
“My dress ripped, remember?” She shuffled from foot to foot. Lyric hummed the chorus of Beyonce’s “Put a Ring on It.” Huh?
“Yeah, but what about your underwear?” “The dress was too tight. I didn’t want a panty line.” She sucked in air like it was going out of style.
“Lyric Wright, are you telling me you weren’t lying when you told me you were traveling halfway across the Pacific in nothing but duct tape?” He might have a heart attack himself, especially now that he was picturing all the bare skin just beneath his hands.
“Well, it wasn’t by choice. Believe me.” Standing up, he propelled her back through the bathroom entrance. They were already attracting a fair amount of attention, and there was no way in hell he was stripping Lyric down in front of half the men in the Austin airport.
“Heath. This is the ladies’ room.” She sounded scandalized. “Would you rather go into the men’s room and do this?” Over his dead body, but she didn’t need to know that.
“Well, no. But you’ll get in trouble.” She looked around like she was waiting for some sort of bathroom bouncer to appear and toss him out.
“By who? The bathroom police?” He laughed. “Sweetheart, we’re in the Lone Star State now. Short of losing the Super Bowl or wearing 49ers colors, there’s not much I can do in this state that will get me into trouble.”
“Seriously?” She eyed him with disgust.
“This is the great state of Texas. When people talk about the Holy Trinity, they’re talking about Jesus, the NRA, and the Fort Worth Wranglers. So yeah, you and I could drop down right here on this surprisingly clean tile and go for it, and the only comments people would make would be to offer suggestions…to you. And they’d still want me to sign their tits.”
“You know this from experience?” She glanced at the floor, and he could just see that huge brain of hers filing away the facts.
Despite the potty dance she was doing, it was really an example of Lyric at her finest. Never judgmental, simply interested in gathering information. At least, until she said, “Well, just so you know. If it gets to that, I’m taking the top. And if you hurry and get this dress off, I just might be willing to give it a shot.”
It was the wrong thing for her to say. Now his mind was filled with all kinds of inappropriate images, namely of Lyric and her double Ds above him as she followed the advice of T-shirts everywhere: Save a horse. Ride a Cowboy.
But he could tell things were getting critical, and he really didn’t want her to have an accident, so he ushered her to the large handicap stall at the back of the restroom.
As he locked the door behind them, one of the women who’d been primping at the mirror called, “When’s my turn, Deuce?”
“One at a time, ma’am. The line forms to the right,” he called over the stall door. He turned to Lyric. “All right,” he said, laying out his improvised tools on the ledge created by the toilet paper holder like a nurse preparing a tray of sterile implements. “Let’s get to work.”
Examining the duct tape like it was a medium-rare New York strip, Heath grabbed the spork in his left hand and took the knife in his right. Then he stepped back and spent a moment taking stock. Did he start at the top and work down or at the bottom and work up? Both had appeal.
Lyric danced from side to side, humming Beyoncé louder. “Do. Something.”
He hadn’t remembered her ever humming before. He knelt in front of her—genuflecting to Mistress Duct Tape—and pain shot through his bad knee at the awkward position. Gritting his teeth, he ignored it and sawed lightly at the dress’s hem. The pathetic plastic knife bent and twisted under his hand with each slice, but he didn’t want to hurt her so he kept the pressure light.
“Hurry.” She clamped her thighs together. Christ, the way she said that word—like he was inside her and she couldn’t come fast enough—turned him on.
Great, now he had a bum knee and a hard-on from hell to deal with.
Instead of focusing on the pain, he concentrated on freeing her bare bottom. Her round, lush, sexy-as-hell bare bottom. Sweat broke out on his upper lip, and he shifted, determined to concentrate on the problem at hand. “Open your legs.” It came out a little short, but seriously, if he had a nickel for every time he’d said that, he’d have a shitload of nickels. “Sit on the toilet.” Now that was a new one.
Lyric looked at him in horror, then leaned over and pulled several handfuls of toilet paper from the holder before she began arranging them as a seat cushion. Heath scooted closer to her.
“Jesus, I thought you were in a hurry.”
“I am, but there are rules. A lady squats but never sits on a public toilet. Did you know the average public toilet has two million bacteria per square inch?”
She piled more toilet paper into what could only be called a wreath arrangement on the seat. Was it a centerpiece or a toilet? He was getting confused. Especially when his old pal Lyric referred to herself as a lady. He’d never thought of her like that before.
Then again, now that he’d been this close to her luscious thighs, he’d probably never be able to think of her as anything but. He rubbed his knee. “I’ll file that little tidbit under Lyric’s Fun Facts. Right up there with the one in twenty shot of a meteorite striking a plane.”
“Okay.” She half sat, half dropped onto the seat. “I’m ready."
Heath didn’t have the heart to tell her that most of her fluffy seat cushion had landed on the floor.
“Here,” she inched her legs apart, “whatever you’ve got planned—GO FASTER.”
“Usually when I’m going at a woman from this angle I like to take my time. But in your case, I’ll make an exception.”
With all the force he could allow, he stabbed at the tape. The knife broke in half. “Damn.”
Lyric’s legs started to vibrate. “What’s taking so long? Prisoners with the intelligence of spider monkeys are able to dig out of Alcatraz with nothing but a spoon, but you can’t break me out of this dress?”
He shook his head. “There’s never a convict with a shiv around when you need one.” He had two Super Bowl rings, a Heisman Trophy, and more wins than he could count. There was no way in hell a few strips of duct tape were going to break his winning streak.
With all the murderous intent of Norman Bates’s mother with a butcher knife, Heath rammed the spork at the tape. The spork cracked down the middle and bit into his palm.
He stared at it for a second, then decided fuck it. It was past time to go old school. “Hold on honey, I’m going in.”
Licking his lips, he stuck his head between her thighs and clamped his teeth down on the tape. But the second his jaw scraped against her inner thighs, Lyric shrieked.
Her surprisingly strong thighs—who knew an astrophysicist could be so toned—clamped down on his ears and she giggled. “What are you doing? That tickles.” Lyric wiggled against him.
“My dad always taught me to use the tools at hand, and right now these are all I’ve got left.” Heath bit through the bottom edge of the dress, then spit out a chunk of tape and went for the next layer. It wasn’t the first dress he’d chewed through, but it was the first one that had stuck to his teeth.