Excerpt: The Hardest Fall - Vilma Iris | Lifestyle Blogger

The first time you meet someone, you make eye contact. You smile, say hello. Should be simple, if you’re anyone but me. The first time I met Dylan Reed, I found myself making eye contact with a different part of his body. You see, I’m very good at being shy, not to mention extremely well-versed in rambling nonsense and, unfortunately, rather highly skilled at making a fool of myself in front of a guy I’m attracted to.

At the time, I knew nothing about him and thought none of what I said would matter since I’d never speak to him again. Turns out, I was very wrong. He was the star wide receiver of the football team, one of the few players expected to make it into the NFL, and I ended up seeing him all over campus.

I might have also propositioned him, run away from him, attacked him with a cooking utensil…and…uh, maybe I shouldn’t tell you all of it. It’s pretty normal stuff, things you’d expect…from me. Eventually, the time came when I couldn’t hide anymore–not that he’d have let me even if I tried.

Before now, he never knew I was secretly watching him. Now that we see each other every day, he knows when I have a hard time looking away. It doesn’t help that I’m not the most subtle person in the world either.

He smiles at me and tells me he finds me fascinating because of my quirks. I can’t even tell him that I think my heart beats differently whenever he’s around.

He thinks we’re going to be best friends. I think I have a big thing for him, and the more I get to know him, the more I don’t care that I’m not allowed to be his friend, let alone fall for him.
The thing is, that’s exactly what I’m doing–what we’re doing, I think.

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Excerpt: The Hardest Fall
By Ella Maise

Excerpt: The Hardest Fall

Ella Maise’s THE HARDEST FALL has been a bestseller since it’s release, but if you’ve not read this love story yet, I wanted to give you a sneak peek below at what you can expect. This is a standalone, slow-burn sports romance, and best of all, you can start reading it right now!

It was only a few days into my move when I started to get back into my routine—or more like a new routine. We had a home game in two days and I was more than ready to play. I was doing my third set of push-ups when I looked up and saw Zoe rubbing her eyes as she walked straight into a wall, missing the bathroom door by ten inches or so.

“Fuck!” she hissed out in a low voice, this time rubbing her shoulder.

I dropped my head and tried to keep in my laughter. When I looked back up, I saw her looking over her shoulder toward my room right before she hurried into the bathroom and gently closed the door.

Two hundred twenty-three.

Two hundred twenty-four.

Two hundred twenty-five.

I heard the door click open then careful footsteps followed. When there was a loud gasp, I lifted my head, my gaze slowly making its way up her long smooth legs. Her hand was clutched over her chest and she was doing that deer in the headlights thing again. I smiled.

“Good morning, Zoe.”

Letting go of her chest, she pulled at the hem of her t-shirt and took a few side steps toward the kitchen. Her eyes though—they stayed put on my body.

“Hello to you too. You scared the shit out of me.”

I ducked my head and chuckled quietly. “I can see that.”

“Uh, what’s going on here?” she asked in a rough voice still laced with sleep.

“Getting in my push-ups.”

A few more steps to the right and she reached the island. Keeping her gaze on me, she held on to the edge of the counter as if it was helping her stay upright, skipped the two bar stools, and walked around until she stood over the sink.

“Isn’t it a little early to do push-ups?”

Two hundred thirty-six.

“I always wake up at six AM and get them done.”

“So, this is an everyday occurrence?”

“Yeah.” I dropped my head down and ignored the slight tremor in my arm muscles.

“Weekends too?”

“Yeah.”

“Oh, okay. That’s…good to know.” Zoe reached for the glass sitting next to the sink—eyes still on me—opened the fridge, took out a water bottle, unscrewed the cap, and poured it into the glass. After a second of hesitation, she grabbed it and took a few gulps.

I looked back down to hide my smile and kept counting.

Two hundred forty-five.

Two hundred forty-six.

Two hundred forty-seven.

“Uh, and good morning…buddy.”

“Sorry?” I grunted and looked up.

“You said good morning and I didn’t say it back. I’m not really awake yet…might also be dreaming, can’t be sure completely about that. Just in case I’m not in a dream and you’re really there doing push-ups…good morning to you, too, buddy.”

“You’re really getting into this buddy thing, huh?”

She lifted a small shoulder, causing her very oversized t-shirt to slip and give me a view of the smooth skin so innocently hiding underneath the fabric.

“I’m liking the idea more and more.”

Keep counting, Dylan. Keep going.

Two hundred sixty-one.

Two hundred sixty-two.

Two hundred sixty-three.

When I reached three hundred, I grunted and jumped up. Grabbing the towel I’d left on the couch, I wiped my face. “What are you doing up this early anyway? I haven’t seen you around in the mornings these last few days. I only see you in the evenings.” Not that she was around all that much. Whenever I came in, she found somewhere to disappear to.

She was still standing behind the sink, holding the glass in both hands as she took small sips and kept her eyes on me.

“Because I’m a normal person? You know, one who doesn’t get up at an ungodly hour? Today I’m meeting with a girl who’s paying me to take a few shots of her for her fashion blog. She wanted the streets to be empty, and according to her, her skin looks best with the early sunrise. No sane person would get up this early in the morning, but…work.”

“Yeah? A fashion shoot, huh? Sounds fun.”

“As I can see with my own eyes, you’re not a sane person either, so…your idea of fun might be a little skewed.”

Tossing the towel back over the couch, I dropped my ass on the floor and started on my sit-ups.

“Okay, what’s happening now?”

“Sit-ups.”

I heard a little groan, but instead of glancing at her, I kept my eyes forward and kept going. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see her moving around, and even if I hadn’t been able to, the sounds of cabinets opening and closing and flatware rattling reached me just fine.

Forty-one.

Forty-two.

Forty-three.

Forty-four.

When there was a long stretch of silence, I spoke up without breaking my focus.

“What’s up, buddy?”

“What’s up?” she returned back.

I could feel her eyes sweeping over my skin like the gentle touch of a feather. My dick stirred in my sweatpants. “You’re staring.”

“How do you know I’m staring? You’re not even looking at me.”

“I can feel your eyes on me,” I grunted.

“You can feel my eyes—of course you can. Well, I’m not staring because there is something to stare at, I’m only looking toward you because…you’re in the way of my view at the moment and I don’t know where else to look.”

Curious, I turned to see what she was doing. I tried to maintain my pace and keep counting in my head at the same time, but she was making it hard. She was standing in the exact same spot, only difference was this time she had a blue bowl in one hand and a spoon in the other. The dish was full of what I could only assume was the cereal that was heading toward her pink lips. I tried to meet her eyes, but her gaze seemed glued somewhere else—namely, my torso. So I was the breakfast entertainment. For some reason I couldn’t quite articulate, I didn’t mind her gaze on me, and trust me, if it had been anyone but her, I would’ve minded. Being gawked at usually broke my concentration, thus pissing me off, but I’d never had a set of eyes moving over my body feel like fucking feathers, of all things. My body heated, and I was pretty sure it wasn’t because of my workout.

“You’re having breakfast and still staring,” I grumbled, sweat starting to pour off my forehead already as each rep got a bit harder and my dick did the same.

Her spoon paused midair, and then she was chewing again. “I think so. Yes.” There was a loud clink when her spoon hit her bowl and she winced, but two seconds later the chewing started back up. “They always say breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and I think I’m becoming a believer.”

One hundred.

Finishing my first set, I lay flat on the ground and shook my arms to relax my muscles as I slowly caught my breath.

“So do you always do this…half naked?”

I smiled up at the ceiling. “If it’s bothering you, I can do it in my room from now on. I only came out here because I didn’t think you’d be awake yet.”

“Nope, it’s fine. Just wanted to check.”

There was a two-second pause before she spoke up again.

“Always at the same time?”

“Are you gonna come out every morning and keep me company?”

Taking a deep breath, I started on the second set.

A hundred and one.

A hundred and two.

A hundred and three.

“Nope.”

“You sure? You thought about it for a second there.”

“Yup. Nope.”

A hundred and ten.

A hundred and eleven.

Feeling that addictive good burn in my stomach, I pushed through my second set in no time.

I heard loud coughing so I glanced her way. “More?” Zoe asked in a squeaky tone when I went for the next hundred sit-ups.

“Yeah,” I puffed out. I miraculously managed to finish my last set with only a few glances thrown my curious observer’s way. At least my dick was behaving. A few times when I looked, she quickly averted her eyes and became increasingly engrossed in her cereal bowl or the sink. Standing up, I wiped off my forehead, chest, and stomach. Throwing the small towel over my shoulder, I moved toward my intriguing roommate. Her eyes followed my every step.

Stopping when only two steps separated us, I leaned against the marble counter. “Hi. How is your morning going so far?”

She made a few vague noises then cleared her throat after swallowing a mouthful of cereal. “Just like any other morning, really. Nothing special is happening. Yours?”

It was hard holding back my grin, so I chose not to. “I’m really enjoying it so far. Thanks for keeping me company.” It looked like she was still having trouble holding my gaze when we were standing close to each other. Oh, she tried, I’ll give her that, but it only lasted a couple seconds before she shifted her focus to my ear. I’d noticed the chosen spot could also be my mouth if I was smiling or talking.

“You want cereal?” She stirred her spoon in what must have been very soggy cereal by that point then sipped a little milk from the edge of it.

“Nope.”

“Coffee?”

“No.”

“Cereal?”

I laughed. “I’ll grab something with the boys.”

“Water, then?”

“I wouldn’t say no to that.”

She shuffled back and reached up to grab a new glass from one of the cupboards to my left, and I had to grip the edge of the counter in a white-knuckle hold when my attention dropped low.

Eyes up, Dylan. Don’t look at her ass, man.

I only saw a flash of light blue against her pale skin before she dropped back down on her heels and filled my glass with water before handing it to me.

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