Please welcome Louisa Masters with
The Athlete And The Aristocrat
a Dreamspun Desires title
Sometimes love takes balls.
Newly retired championship footballer Simon Wood is taking on his next challenge. His plan for a charity to provide funding for underprivileged children to pursue football as a career has passed its first hurdle: he has backers and an executive consultant. Now it’s time to get the ball rolling.
Lucien Morel, heir to the multibillion-euro Morel Corporation, is shocked—and thrilled—to learn his father has volunteered him as consultant to a fledgling football charity. Better yet, the brains behind it all is heartthrob Simon Wood, his teenage idol and crush.
Although Simon and Lucien get off on the wrong foot, it’s not long before they’re getting along like a house on fire—sparks included. But with the charity under public scrutiny, can their romance thrive?
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An Exclusive Excerpt from The Athlete and The Aristocrat
Simon and Lucien are about to meet for the first time to being planning a new charity to fund underprivileged kids.
When Lucien entered the meeting room that had been allocated for his use while he was in London, he found Simon Wood sitting at the table working on a laptop. The man was so involved in what he was doing that he didn’t look up, and Lucien took the opportunity to study him.
Lust kicked in his gut.
He’d never met Wood in person before, and that was a damn shame, because television and photos didn’t do him justice. The black hair was cut short, but still thick and silky-looking. His jaw and cheekbones could have been chiseled by a master sculptor, and his skin lacked the pallor many of the English had—probably due to hours spent outside on the football pitch. He was wearing a tailored shirt, open at the collar, and Lucien’s gaze followed the line of that throat down to where a light smattering of hair was visible….
He swallowed. Focus, Lucien! He could not allow himself to be distracted. This project was something he’d always dreamed of, and if he wanted to convince his father to support similar ones in the future, it had to be a runaway success.
He cleared his throat and closed the door behind him. Wood looked up and smiled, and Lucien was glad he still had his hand on the doorknob, because his knees may have gone a little weak.
“Lucien Morel?” Wood asked, standing, and Lucien let go of the doorknob and crossed to the table, reaching out to shake the other man’s hand.
“Yes. A pleasure, Mr. Wood. I’m a big fan.” He forced the words through his suddenly too-narrow throat and wondered what the hell was wrong with him. Even as a teenager, he’d always been confident.
“Simon, please. We’re probably going to be spending a lot of time on this, and I’m not really good with formality.”
“Lucien,” Lucien offered, convinced he must be going insane because for some reason Simon Wood’s accent was turning him on.
He pulled out a chair and sat a bit hurriedly. A British accent, turning him on. He needed to get the hell out of England.
Wood—Simon—resumed his seat. “So, Lucien, what do you think of this project? Your father gave me the impression that you were pretty excited about it. I know I am. I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts on the plan—you have so much more experience in this than I do.”
Damn. Lucien inwardly cursed his father. He hated looking foolish.
“My father was right—I’m definitely excited.” He forced himself to ignore the unintended double entendre. “This is the kind of project I’ve been wanting to be part of for a long time.” There, that was safe. “But my father neglected to pass on a copy of the business plan. Do you have one here? We should go through it together.” That was reasonable, and no need to mention that he’d had no idea about the program until half an hour ago.
Except the look Simon gave him was somehow both surprised and disappointed, and Lucien felt like a schoolboy being called on the carpet. Clearly Simon thought Lucien hadn’t been bothered to prepare for the meeting.
About the author:
Louisa Masters started reading romance much earlier than her mother thought she should. While other teenagers were sneaking out of the house, Louisa was sneaking romance novels in and working out how to read them without being discovered. She’s spent most of her life feeling sorry for people who don’t read, convinced that books are the solution to every problem. As an adult, she feeds her addiction in every spare second, only occasionally tearing herself away to do things like answer the phone and pay bills. She spent years trying to build a “sensible” career, working in bookstores, recruitment, resource management, administration, and as a travel agent, before finally conceding defeat and devoting herself to the world of romance novels.
Louisa has a long list of places first discovered in books that she wants to visit, and every so often she overcomes her loathing of jet lag and takes a trip that charges her imagination. She lives in Melbourne, Australia, where she whines about the weather for most of the year while secretly admitting she’ll probably never move.
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