Excerpt: PLAYER - Vilma Iris | Lifestyle Blogger

He’s a player.

He plays the bass with expert fingers. He plays women with intoxicating charm. And he’ll play me with the ease of a virtuoso.

Who better to teach me to play than the master himself?

I’m his model student, front row, pencil sharp. Pick up lines? I’ve got them. Free drinks? By the dozen. Kissing? Let me grab my chapstick.

But the most valuable lesson I’ve learned is that there’s so much I don’t know. Like why his touch sets off a chain reaction straight to my nethers. Or how I’m certain each kiss is the best I’ll ever have, until the moment his lips take mine again.

There’s so much I don’t know.
Like the fact that I’m only a bet.
But we are what we are. He’s a player, through and through.

And I’m the fool who fell in love with him.

Book Type:

Romantic Comedy

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Player
By Staci Hart

Excerpt: PLAYER

He plays the bass with expert fingers. He plays women with intoxicating charm. And he’ll play me with the ease of a virtuoso.

Staci Hart’s new standalone romantic comedy, PLAYER, is out this Thursday and centers around the fiery relationship between an accomplished bass player and his new student. You can pre-order now for 99 cents, and in the meanwhile, here’s a scene to whet your appetite.

VAL

An hour later, we found ourselves walking toward my place, Sam’s arm around my shoulder, my body tucked into his side. I had learned not to question his affection, chalking it up to another teachable moment, the feeling of what a date should be like. It was all part of the lessons, that was all.

I wondered how far our lessons would extend. How many dates would we go on? How many lessons would we have? And how far would the pretense go?

Would it turn to the physical? Because for all my worldly experience, I was wildly unpracticed. My arm wound around Sam’s narrow waist, the scent of him all over me. And I realized I wouldn’t hate those kinds of lessons. Not one little bit.

The brownstone stoop came closer with every step until there we were, standing on the sidewalk. I faced him. He faced me. The air between us crackled with anticipation. 

We both moved at once, him opening his arms for a hug and me offering my hand for a shake. With a laugh, he brought his hand down to meet mine as mine rose for a hug. 

“Come here,” he said, still laughing as he grabbed me and pulled me into his chest. His arms wrapped around me, the feeling so divine, so comforting and right, a sigh of contentment slipped out of me and into the cold autumn night.

For a long moment, we stayed just like that, saying nothing. I finally loosened my grip. He didn’t. 

And then I made a terrible mistake. 

I looked up from the circle of his arms and met his eyes.

Polished wood. Honey in sunshine. Sand in the sunset. Those eyes were on fire, his pupils open and black as ink. His lips, wide and dusky and masculine, his breath catching in his chest. 

I couldn’t breathe at all. 

“I think you should teach me how to kiss.” The words left me in a breathy rush so fast, they bounced off his lips and brushed my face again. 

His big hand slid up my ribs, up my arm, cupped my cheek. “Val,” he said, the word thick with emotion; regret, refusal, wishes, desire.

“Hear me out,” I said, taking a breath. “It’s important to know when there’s chemistry, right? How do I know if there’s more there? If I should want to kiss him, if I should want to sleep with him? How do I know it’s even a good kiss? I don’t know, but I think you could show me.”

His eyes darkened. “You don’t know how to tell a good kiss from a bad one?”

I shook my head. “I’ve been kissed, sure. Dozens of times. But I can’t seem to remember a single one.”

His inhale was sharp. Somehow we were closer. 

“Please,” I begged softly. “Will you teach me? Will you show me, just once?”

“Just once,” he said like a prayer, his eyes on my lips as he inched closer.

“Just once,” I promised, the words hanging between us for a heartbeat.

And just when I thought he’d refuse, his lips crashed into mine.

For a moment, I was lost in the shock of sensation, the fact of his mouth on mine, the demand and sweet relief. And I parted my lips to grant him entry, sighed into his mouth as his tongue tangled with mine. Our bodies were caught in an updraft, twisting together, burning like a torch. His lips—my God, had I gone my whole life without his lips on mine?—opened wider, his hand turning my face to an angle that let him in, let him take what he wanted, anything he wanted. And I couldn’t breathe without breathing him, couldn’t feel my heartbeat without feeling his against my ribs, mine thudding from inside of me like it was reaching for him. 

The depth of the kiss ebbed, then slowed. And, to my deepest regret, stopped with the coming together of his lips, the tilt of his head to bring his forehead to mine. His nose brushed the bridge of mine, and I wanted to open my eyes, wanted to see his lips, his face, his eyes. But I didn’t want to find out it hadn’t been real. 

Just once.

And that would have to be enough.

I finally parted my heavy lids with the regret of a thousand lifetimes. 

Sam leaned back, his face shadowed and eyes burning coals. “When you get a kiss better than that, you’ll know.”

And I knew for a fact that I never would.

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