As the first openly gay professional football player, I can’t afford to make any mistakes, on or off the field. And the absolute biggest mistake I could make right now would be to fall for Mikey Vining, my best friend, employee and, more importantly, Coach’s baby boy. I might fantasize about Mikey at night-—every night—but actually touching him would be a serious personal foul.
And falling for him? That’s completely out of bounds.
I’ve learned my lesson about falling for one of my dad’s players. They’re a bunch of spoiled jocks with more muscles than brains. I’ve spent years learning to keep my eyes, and my hands, to myself. But resisting the temptation becomes nearly impossible when Tiller Raine and I end up together in a small cabin in a remote Colorado town.
Suddenly, there’s not much to do but look at each other. And talk. And hopefully, hopefully touch.
But what happens when our stay in Aster Valley is over and it’s time to return to the real world? Will Coach blow the whistle on our relationship? Or will Tiller admit there might actually be something he loves more than football after all?
Aster Valley, Book 1
By Lucy Lennox
When we got to the check-in counter at the airport, I split off to go to the regular people’s line while Tiller headed for the first-class one. It took him a second to realize I was no longer behind him, but when he did, he hissed at me loudly enough for everyone to hear. “Get over here, you moron.”
I dutifully followed, knowing from years of experience how this was going to play out.
“I can’t fucking believe you did this again,” he snapped under his breath.
“You cuss like my dad,” I muttered. “And you know how I feel about spending your money.”
When it was our turn at the counter, Mr. NFL Superstar turned on his charm and laid down his celebrity card. “Hi…” He squinted at the woman’s name tag. “Nessa. How are you this morning?”
She blushed right on cue and fluttered her fake eyelashes. “I’m doing great, thanks! How can I help you today, Mr. Raine?”
He put his hand on top of my head and turned me to face Nessa. “My assistant here made a mistake when he booked our reservations, and I need to upgrade him to first class to sit with me, please. We have some work to do, and I don’t want to waste our time in the air.”
It was bullshit, of course. He just preferred sitting next to someone who wouldn’t pester him about his job, the team, stats, and insider information. When I was his seatmate, he had a buffer between him and the oftentimes rabid Rigger fandom. It didn’t hurt that I was so much smaller than he was and he wouldn’t have any issues fitting his giant shoulders and legs into the space between our seats. First-class seats were big, but not NFLer big.
She clicked on her keyboard and sighed, huffed, and scraped her upper lip with her bottom teeth before finally letting out an ah-ha noise. “Got it. Gimme just one… there. I’ll print these new boarding passes out for you and get your bags checked in.”
When Tiller tried handing over his credit card, she blushed again and pushed his hand away, her own hand lingering on his. I turned around so I could roll my eyes without being rude to her face. The businessman behind us in line caught my eye.
“Is that Tiller Raine?” he whispered.
I shook my head. “Bobby Simplethorn. You probably know him from that hemorrhoid commercial.”
The man looked at me in total confusion. “What?”
I sang a little jingle. “Nothing softens bottom thorns quite like Simplethorn… No? You don’t know it? Huh. Bobby here is the CEO. That miracle cream is his baby. I can introduce you if you want?”
The man winced. “Uh, no. That’s okay. Thanks, though.”
I shrugged. “Suit yourself.”
When I turned back to face the lady at the counter, I found both her and Tiller staring at me. Nessa turned to look at Tiller with a raised brow.
“No,” he said before she could ask. “The closest I’ve come to hemorrhoids is dealing with this pain in my ass.” He thumbed at me over his shoulder. “And now I’m regretting the seat change.”
In the beginning of January, a lot- and I mean A LOT- of authors were part of a big winter giveaway. Lucy Lennox was a part of it and her contribution was a short novella called Winter Waites. Set in Aster Valley, Colorado, it featured an occupational therapist and a famous musician.
Now we officially have book 1 of the Aster Valley series. Mikey, the 5th son of a college football coach who is the complete and utter opposite of his 4 burly brothers who played sports. Oh, and he is gay. Not in the closet either, which was nice to see.
Tiller is a hot shot player on Coach’s pro team the Riggers. Problem is, Tiller really doesn’t know how to fuel his body with the right foods. Oh guess what? Tiller is also gay and out. WHEE! Don’t worry- they will hide their relationship for different reasons.
Mikey is hired temporarily as Tiller’s personal cook and dietician. Temporary turns into over five years. And when I say that, I mean there was a 5 year time jump in the book. Which is kind of cool knowing that both of these guys were crushing on each other and doing everything they could to stay away from each other. AND neither knew. HA!
Until Tiller is hurt and since he can’t play, Coach sends him off to Colorado to visit his family. Coach just doesn’t know that Mikey went along.
So Tiller and Mikey alone in a cabin- ok, cabin is a BIG stretch- in the winter with no one else around…let’s just say they finally started acting on their feelings.
What follows is an introduction to the adorable former ski resort town of Aster Valley and a few of the citizens- including who we met in Winter Waites. It is easy to fall in love with the town- and Mikey does. Mikey and Tiller start facing some facts as well. Tiller doesn’t NEED Mikey any longer. Mikey isn’t following his dream- instead he stuck with what was comfortable. But the bigger question- could Mikey leave Tiller in Texas to chase his dream in Colorado?
Mikey’s family and they way they treated him just broke my heart. His mother was just the stereotypical 50’s housewife who just deferred everything to the husband. I wanted to smack her. She was so completely clueless. Ugh.
Anyway. Mikey and Tiller were awesome together. I ADORE that they basically lived together for 5 years before anything happened. There were some really fun characters we met in Aster Valley that I can’t wait to get more of. This is definitely a series I will follow. I hope it is more than 2 or 3 books.
4.5 pieces of eye candy
After enjoying creative writing as a child, Lucy didn’t write her first novel until she was over 40 years old. Her debut novel, Borrowing Blue, was published in the autumn of 2016. Lucy has an English Literature degree from Vanderbilt University, but that doesn’t hold a candle to the years and years of staying up all night reading tantalizing novels on her own. She has three children, plays tennis, and hates folding laundry. While her husband is no shmoopy romance hero, he is very good at math, cooks a mean lasagne, has gorgeous eyes, looks hot in his business clothes, and makes her laugh every single day.
Lucy hopes you enjoy sexy heroes as much as she does. Happy reading!
To celebrate Lucy’s upcoming release, we are giving away 2 e-copies of Right As Raine!
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