It’s such a rush when you stumble onto a new review for POINTS ON A CURVE, especially when you hold a very special place in your heart for the characters, the setting and those magic moments that just happen when you write what you love.
For me, that’s sports, in particular basketball. Back in the day, yours truly was a power forward, with a mean left hook and a steam roller mentality, moving those taller guards aside like an advancing wave. I couldn’t hit a three to save my life, then or now (and *cough cough* that was before the rule change so three’s were off the table for the ladies), but in close? Well, persistence, aka rebounding, was my middle name.
Now, y’all know I love to cook or eat out (I’m easy), so combining my passion for the game with some mouth watering menu items as awkward foreplay at Rob and Tay’s initial meeting ramped the innuendo and promise of more than meets the eye…
While Arturo and a squad of ranch hands busied themselves artfully arranging small boat-like white platters of bits and bobs of undercooked seafood, I put on my Prince Charming face, smiled brightly and said, “So my sister tells me you’re in school.”
Wrinkling her nose at the punte di asparagi, she kept one eye on the grilled octopus and the other on my finger tapping an unconscious SOS on my wine glass.
Yes, I’ll fight you to the death for a piece of that knubby flesh swimming with capers and cherry tomatoes, or… yes, I’m in school. Or yes to something else.
Hard to tell, and not the best of starts.
One of the helpers graced my vicinity with bloody beef tenderloin covered with parmigiano shavings. Forgiving the gods of culinary science for fouling it with arugula and hearts of palm, I speared it with the outside fork and narrowly missed an opportunity for a quick foray to St. Luke’s emergency room for stab wounds.
Miz Tay was as quick as I suspected and she wanted that bloody bite of meat as much as, maybe more than, I did. The forks squared off in an Italian standoff worthy of the Godfather.
A gentleman would have relinquished all rights to the raw meat. I wasn’t a gentleman.
Being a lefty gave me a slight advantage. I kept the impaled temptation in place and secured my fair share with a swift, deft slice across the grain.
While Her Ladyship demurely slid the dripping bit onto her plate, I did a lift and drizzle across the dazzling white linen tablecloth, leaving a trail of shame.
Cordie blanched and looked up at some point over my shoulder. Arturo was there, he had to be. Fortunately, the kitchen noises ramped up at that point, drowning out whatever the waitstaff was thinking sotto voce.
Satisfied with the easy layup, I shoved the entire wad of tenderloin in my mouth and chewed contently. At least it gave me something to do with my mouth, because conversation wasn’t happening.
One of the minions anticipated my interest in the calamari and smoothly deposited a selection onto the plate. I nodded my thanks and slipped a quick look to my right.
She was still there. Lips pursed, not chewing.
Fink’s words washed over me as I set my fork down and waited for my sister’s next bright idea.
I was looking down the gullet of insalate, more fish, a cappuccino and desert with two forks. Then off to the theater to jam myself into a seat designed for someone five feet tall, and try not to doze off during the overture.
The adage no good deed goes unpunished sprang to mind.
Cordie giggled, reminding me of how easy it was to devil my favorite sister, and how much I loved hearing her laugh.
With nothing in mind other than to force more than a yes or no, I turned to Taylor-the-prim during a lull in the general din and asked, “So, how many times have you been divorced?”
I’ve never actually had my balls shrivel from a look, but there was a first time for everything.
While that might not seem like a promising start to the evening, Rob managed to recover some lost dignity and made sure Tay got home safely… and threw in a little sugar, too.
Here’s Tay, the day after:
Belly grumbling in time to the four-four beat, I side-stepped the makeshift kitchen and curled up on the couch, ruing eating so much the night before.
Should have known better, girl. A full belly thinks it deserves to be full all the time.
Trying to distract myself with the remembered scents and flavors of Meal Extraordinaire, instead I ended up with the savory whisper of soft lips and a hint of tongue in a lingering blend of wish fulfillment and remorse.
Robert van Horn kissed like he meant it, in a sensitive, honest, real way. Surprising me. So much so I let the wall fall, kersplat. Any other guy would have taken it as a not in this lifetime sucker, but Rob didn’t, and there was no way for me to figure how I knew that to be true. I just did.
That’s what it was. Respect wrapped around the condition that it wasn’t the end of the matter. His hand gripping mine the whole ride back to my place, the way he watched me get out of the cab, staring out the window to make sure I got inside in one piece.
Like he knew me. And he cared.
He had no reason to: I was the plus-one, fulfilling an obligation to his sister, it was over and done. It had nothing to do with me.
But his lips hadn’t said that.
“Don’t be needy, dipshit. Not now.” Flicking my wrist, I murmured, “Think about Tony and the whisk and that bit of sin…” and the hiss of breath as Rob’s eyes went molten, sable-to-gold-to-flaming-heat.
I could kiss you for that…
Standing with a jerk, I stated categorically for the walls’ benefit, “I’m so far from his type it’s laughable and I need to think about holding on for four more days, and not about him turning to watch me out the rear window of the cab.”
With a penetrating stare. Curious.
But about what?
“Not you jerk-off.”
No, not me. With my stupid cornrows and body gone to mush and self-esteem buried in a sub-basement so low down neither me, myself nor I was ever going to resurrect it.
He was being a gentleman, the son raised to do right by the women in his family. Nothing more. Nothing less.
Besides, he never asked if he could call, never said one word, just fingered my hand like he owned it, like he had a right to it.
Self-assured asshat. Prick.
The cell jingle-jangled and I saw it was local but not a number I recognized. My heart skipped a beat, then two.
POINTS ON A CURVE (Nya Rawlyns)
~~sports romance, culinary foreplay, man-to-man defense,
and a bloodhound with a nose for news~~
Roz Lee calls it “…a slam dunk romance.”
Taylor O’Brien has a checkered past—a former darling of the European Women’s Basketball circuit, she made a few bad choices along the way, mostly falling for a con man who managed to ruin her career and sent her back home to the States with her tail between her legs.
But Tay is no quitter. She vows to turn her life around by enrolling at NYU, even if that means being single and lonely in the Big Apple. What Tay never counted on was her best friend setting her up with younger brother Rob, a sports journalist who has the resources to dig into the particulars of her disgrace. It is definitely not a match made in heaven.
It takes all of Tay’s skills she’s learned on the court to deflect Rob’s nose for a story and keep him from going for the slam dunk. When they finally go head-to-head in the paint, Tay shows Rob that the best offense is sometimes a good defense, even if that means going man-to-man.
Points on a Curve is on special everywhere at $2.99
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