This bad boy needs an image makeover.
Can the quirky librarian get the job done?
He’s a Keeper, an all-new opposites-attract, grumpy-sunshine romance full of heat and heart from bestselling author Stacy Travis is out now!
Drunk-texting a grumpy soccer star?
Best worst decision of my life.
Especially when the player is the sinfully handsome, foul-mouthed Holden Sanders… my new library assistant.
The benched bad boy needed an image makeover, I needed to save my job, and his star status was just what the library ordered to raise awareness for our fundraising campaign. The press can’t get enough of Mr. Growly reading to kids.
It’s win-win and completely platonic.
Until I need a shoulder to cry on after drowning my heartbreak in too many margaritas. I only typed that invitation to his brawny biceps and perfect pectorals for fun–I never meant to hit send. Holden isn’t the kind of guy to care about tears and feelings, least of all mine. He’s made it clear good girls aren’t his type.
But he shows up–with his strapping shoulder, a box of tissues and a supersized bag of Doritos.
That’s when I realize there’s more to him than meets the eye.
One soulful, smoldering mistake of a kiss has me craving more, and the heat between us quickly builds to a blaze neither of us can control.
But I’m not the only one guarding secrets, and Holden’s might push us to the breaking point.
Even if I’m surrounded by books, I know better than to believe in storybook endings.
And yet, I want to believe… Because I know he’s a keeper.
Fall in love today!
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“Mare, I had no idea what I was in for when you stormed out of the library that day, looking to kill me for skirting my parental responsibilities.”
She squints, then her expression turns wry. “I’d never kill a person.” She tilts her head from side to side, considering. “Well, unless you burned a book.”
Nodding, I kiss her softly. “I respect that. And I want you to know you can trust me. I know people have left you behind in your past, but I hope you believe me when I tell you I’m not going anywhere. I’m here for you.” As I say the words, I believe they’re true. If I move to England, I hope she loves me enough to come with me. Even if she hasn’t said the words.
I don’t know what I’m expecting. Maybe relief or acknowledgment that she’s not going anywhere either. I want to believe she feels the same way.
I don’t expect her forehead to crease and her eyes to glisten with tears, which swell until they can no longer be contained and roll down her cheeks before she buries her face in my shoulder.
Turning us to the side, I wrap her in my arms, as the flow of tears turns to quiet sobs. I smooth her hair and give her the outlet she needs, even though I feel guilty for making her cry.
With a sniff, she leans her head away and meets my gaze. Her wet eyes glisten above pink cheeks. I wipe a remaining tear away with the pad of my thumb and rub her back gently.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to make you cry.”
“You didn’t,” she whispers, wiping her eyes. A moment later she laughs at the lie. “It was stuck inside me. You just let it out.” She exhales, tucking the emotions away.
“You okay?” I want to tread carefully until I know where she is in her head.
Nodding, she reaches for my cheek and cups the side of my face. “Thank you for saying that. I’d never ask that of you, but thank you. I love you. So much.”
I’ve been waiting to hear those words. For a moment, I’m convinced that everything between us can stay this easy. We’re both cautious, but we can cross each new line together. It feels powerful to be able to do that with her.
“I know you’d never ask. That’s why I said it. I wanted you to know.”
“I’m not going anywhere either.”
I’m struck by a foreign but welcome feeling, a realization that I can’t go backward now. I can’t be okay without her in my world. I need to tell her about the Premier League, but it can wait another day. She likes to live in the present.
She loves me.
Everything between us is still so fragile and new and good. I don’t want anything to change us.
One more day won’t hurt.
About Stacy Travis
It’s a rough world out there, and we all sometimes need a good, romantic beach read, even if we can’t make it to the beach. I’ve spent many lazy days walking the streets of Paris and other gorgeous European cities, and if I’m doing it right, I’m bringing you a dash of romance and a vacay fantasy.
I can’t sit still, so when I’m not hiking, biking or running, I’m playing a very average game of tennis. Background music for writing undoubtedly features some U2, Lizzo, Billy Joel, Pink, Taylor Swift, and Led Zeppelin. Not necessarily in that order. And if I could only eat one food group, it would be cheese. Or wine. Or bread. Are those food groups? Whatever.
Connect with Stacy
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Holden is a professional soccer player who has learnt in the most humiliating way possible that relationships are not for him, so all his attention is directed towards his career. One injury later he finds himself forced to spend time away from the game so a quiet visit with his niece to this library is exactly what the doctor order until Molly decides he is exactly what the library needs.
Molly needs her part-time job at the library so when it may be in jeopardy, she is determined to do everything she can to save it. When she convinces him to partake in story time it starts a domino effect as he is there when she needs someone the most and shows that there is much more to his cantankerous demeanor than first appears.
Neither Holden nor Molly are looking for love but it manages to find them anyway. Seeing them overcome their need to protect themselves and open their hearts to each other was everything you could want and more.