Title: His Convenient Husband
Series: Love and Sports, Book One
Author: Robin Covington
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
Release Date: October 9, 2017
Heat Level: 4 - Lots of Sex
Genre: Romance, marriage of convenience, interracial romance, sports romance, LGBTQ
NFL football player Isaiah Blackwell lost his husband three years ago and is raising their teen son alone. He lives his life as quietly as his job allows, playing ball to support his family but trying not to draw unwanted attention. His quiet life is shaken up when a mutual friend introduces him to Victor, a visiting principal ballet dancer who is everything Isaiah is not.
Brash and loud, Victor Aleksandrov has applied for political asylum to avoid returning to Russia, where gay men are targeted and persecuted. He’s been outspoken about gay rights in his home country, and if he doesn’t get asylum, going back to Russia is a death sentence.
Their one-night stand turns into a tentative friendship, a relationship they both agree is temporary…until Victor’s denied asylum. Isaiah can’t offer Victor a happily ever after, but he can propose something that’ll keep Victor in the US and safe. . .marriage He just doesn’t expect his new husband to dance away with his heart.
Victor didn’t even think. If he had thought about it, he would have talked himself out of it, but his body took over, and before he knew it he’d pulled Isaiah into his arms. Nothing sexual, nothing calculated, just an embrace for a man who’d lost something precious and who’d carried the weight of his grief, and the grief of his son, on his shoulders.
Isaiah didn’t fight him, just melted against him, his large arms wrapping around Victor’s body as he allowed the moment to spool out naturally. Victor slowly released the breath he was holding, afraid that any sudden movement would spook Isaiah back into his previous arm’s length regimentation.
The house was quiet, soft music drifting out from the docking station, Evan’s muffled footfalls overhead as he undoubtedly chattered away with his best friend. He curbed his desire to make this more than it was, ignoring the voice in his head that whispered that this was what he always thought having a family would be like. A warm, safe home, children, and a man who loved him, and building a life together.
This wasn’t it, but it was as close to perfect as he was likely to get, so he’d take it. For as long as he could have it. They’d never discussed an end, but the natural end date was when he gained his citizenship. So, three years. Not long, but he’d take it, because Isaiah was quickly getting to him, taking up residence in the part of his heart he’d never thought would be filled.
Pathetic? He didn’t care. Victor was a romantic, something he had in common with Stephen. And look how Stephen had fallen. Victor didn’t have a chance.
The music switched, shifting down into a slower rhythm, not a Latin beat by any measure, but sultry. They began to move together. Victor didn’t make a conscious decision to dance, but it was the language that came most easily to him, and he responded to the natural sway of the embrace.
Isaiah followed his lead, the shuffle of their feet falling easily into a modified variation of the bachata. Limbs pressed against each other, muscles flexing as they moved slowly, finding their own pace. Victor sucked in a breath when Isaiah’s hands ran across the bare skin of his back, callouses dragging and igniting sparks of arousal in their wake. He made a sound, low but audible, and somewhere between a gasp and a moan, prompting his husband to pull back, eyes locked on his own.
Victor was relieved when he didn’t end the exquisite torture, but instead continued to maintain eye contact as they swayed together in the honey-glazed light of the kitchen. He was hard, sure that Isaiah could feel it through the thin material of his sweatpants, because he felt Isaiah’s erection through his dress pants. They shifted against each other, cocks aligning in a way that made the most of the lazy friction, sending ripples of pleasure over his skin and up his spine.
And then Isaiah pulled him closer, and Victor buried his face in the sweet dip of his shoulder, inhaling the scent of laundry detergent, cologne, and the intoxicating smell of his man. Isaiah’s hands dipped lower on his back, fingertips skimming the waistband, the occasional slip below the edge ratcheting his heartbeat up to the point where he knew it could be felt by the man holding him.
“So beautiful.” The words coasted across Victor’s skin, barely above a whisper. “Such a temptation.”
“I’m here for the taking,” Victor replied, his fingers coasting over the nape of Isaiah’s neck just to satisfy the urge to feel skin.
The moment was cloaked in madness, which was the only explanation for his mistake, and he knew it was the last thing he should have said when Isaiah went still, his fingers unconsciously digging into Victor’s hips.
They both pulled back, slowly, stubbled cheek against stubbled cheek, until their mouths were touching. Victor licked against his husband’s soft lips, begging for entrance and diving in when he was granted admission. Spice and sweet lemon and heat were everything in this kiss, more exploration than demand as they held on to each other and gave in.
The remains of dinner were around them, but this was another kind of hunger, and he’d waited too long to have it satisfied. Victor knew how good they could be together, and while he knew they would walk the razor’s edge between emotion and pure physical indulgence, he was willing to risk it. If he fell, then he’d embrace it.
But he knew he’d be falling alone.
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“I should apologize for my mother,” Isaiah said.
He stole a glance over his shoulder, watching as Victor paused his own task of stacking the leftover utensils to look up at him with confusion. There was a small outdoor kitchen, and they’d spent the last forty-five minutes putting away all of the leftovers from the party. His sexy guest had insisted that he stay and help, and Isaiah hadn’t put up much of a protest.
He’d watched all afternoon and into the early evening as Victor hung out with Evan, allowed his mama to baby him like one of her own, and inflated Mick’s ego with a discussion of all of his most popular movies. As his cousin pointed out when Isaiah had told him to shut up, he was “a big deal” in Russia.
“In fact, I think I need to apologize for Mick, too.” Isaiah chuckled, turning back to the cold bottles and fishing out two lemonades. He kicked the door shut with his foot and popped the tops off both with the under-counter opener, handing one to Victor. “I didn’t invite you to be inducted into the Mick Blackwell fan club.”
He couldn’t help but stare as Victor rose to his feet, all lean muscles and a fluidity that could be possessed by only a dancer. His T-shirt clung to his body with the sweat of their exertion, and Isaiah took advantage of his guest taking a drink from the bottle to let his attention roam down to the bulge outlined by the snug fabric of his bathing suit. Yes, he was thirsty, just not for lemonade.
“I didn’t mind. I’m a huge fan.” Victor smiled, moving closer to him and leaning against the counter. They were close enough to trade body heat, which did nothing to explain the shiver that raced across his skin when their arms brushed against each other. “I had a great time meeting everyone.”
Silence stretched out between them. It wasn’t uncomfortable, which was surprising since they maintained eye contact, almost daring the other to break the connection. It wasn’t going to be him. Victor was too compelling.
“I never did get to swim,” Victor said, nodding toward the pool and placing his bottle on the countertop. He reached down, his long fingers grasping the hem of his T-shirt and pulling it over his head, tossing it onto the counter with his drink. It wasn’t anything Isaiah hadn’t seen before; Victor’s body was exposed during his performances and on the ballet advertising posted all over town, but up close and so much within touchable reach, he had to steady his free hand on the edge of the counter. “Want to join me?”
Isaiah had been out of the game for a while, but he knew a come-on when he heard it. And this was one shot down the field to him like a football on Sunday. It was up to him to catch it or let it fumble.
And Isaiah Blackwell never fumbled.
“Sure,” he answered, stripping off his tank top as Victor kicked off his flip-flops, sauntered over to the side of the pool, and executed a perfect dive into the water. The shirt fell out of Isaiah’s hand onto the deck when Victor surfaced, the water running over his smooth skin like Isaiah wanted to do with his own fingers.
Jesus. He needed to cool off. But he knew it wasn’t going to happen if he joined Victor in that pool.
He considered it for the briefest of seconds and then followed Victor’s lead, sliding into the water and heading for the bottom. A brief touch of the bottom for luck and he aimed for the surface, coming up to his guest’s laughter very near him. He shook the water out of his face and found him right there, within arm’s reach, and looking very fuckable.
“Did you touch the bottom?” Victor asked, his smile wide and nose scrunched up in confusion.
“Yeah.” Isaiah blushed a little, embarrassed to be caught doing the childish action. But he wanted to share it with Victor, he wanted them to get to know each other. No rational reason for it except that he was drawn to him. Not just physically, but more. “I used to do it when I was a kid and taking lessons at Mick’s house. We’d race to the bottom. Winner got to pick the first Popsicle.”
“You guys grew up together?”
“After my dad died, my uncle, Mick’s dad who was my father’s brother, brought us here from Texas to live. Our place didn’t have a pool, but they did, and when Mick got swim lessons so did I.”
Victor smiled at that, shifting toward him, treading water. Isaiah let him close the distance, willing to see where this would lead. He didn’t know what it was about this man but it was there, undiluted by even the cool water.
“That’s cute,” Victor said, his hand brushing over Isaiah’s side. He expected to tense at the touch, he was so unused to it these days, but the reaction didn’t come. Instead he relaxed, leaning in to the touches hidden by the water.
“I’m not cute,” he argued lightly, knowing his tone lacked any heat to carry the day.
“Yes, you are,” Victor replied, shoving him back with a hand to his chest and then going under the water, surfacing behind him, really close this time. Close enough for their thighs to touch, chest to back. When he spoke, it was a teasing murmur in Isaiah’s ear. “Among other things.”
Isaiah spun around to face him, his hand finding smooth skin and allowing a lingering brush against a tight six-pack. “Thanks for staying to help clean up.”
“Well, everyone was here one minute and then they weren’t.”
“Yeah, I think Evan broke the sound barrier running out of here to go sleep over at his best friend’s house.” Isaiah laughed, not missing the brush of Victor’s leg against his own. “You were amazing with him. We’re close, but I don’t always get the artistic thing.” He thought about his son for a few moments and made an admission he didn’t often share. “I don’t always get the wearing dresses or makeup either, but…”
“But he’s your son and you love him and so you try,” Victor murmured, his body ebbing in the movement of the pool, moving against Isaiah in a way that only enticed him to reach out and drag him closer. “You’re a good father.”
“So, you don’t like it when a guy wears makeup?”
This close, he could see the rim of dark eyeliner around Victor’s eyes. It was subtle but effective, making his blue eyes appear huge and inviting. Makeup definitely worked on this man.
“Are you fishing for a compliment?” he asked, loving the flush that crept across his companion’s cheek. He had to trace it, lifting his hand and trailing a finger across the skin and tangling it up in a wet curl before he’d even realized what he’d done.
Victor let out a puff of surprise, leaning in to the touch as his voice went husky. “From you? Yes. I don’t think you give them often, though.”
“I don’t.” He let his free hand drift underwater, hooking behind Victor’s thigh and drawing him close, their bodies now working as one to tread the water. “But you’re a very beautiful man, no matter what you’re wearing.”
He let that sink in, loving the way Victor melted into him, wrapping around him with his legs and arms. Their bodies slid against each other, the water making even their hair like silk, and Isaiah didn’t miss the sigh that escaped the man when their cocks pressed together. Victor’s lips brushed his own, just a hint of skin on skin but full of invitation.
“So are you going to kiss me or not?”
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Meet the Author
A USAToday bestseller, Robin Covington loves to explore the theme of fooling around and falling in love in her books. Her stories burn up the sheets. . .one page at a time. When she’s not writing she’s collecting tasty man candy, indulging in a little comic book geek love, hoarding red nail polish and stalking Chris Evans.
A 2016 RITA® Award finalist, Robin’s books have won the National Reader’s Choice and Golden Leaf Awards and finaled in the Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice, and the Book Seller’s Best.
She lives in Maryland with her handsome husband, her two brilliant children (they get it from her, of course!), and her beloved furbabies, Dutch and Dixie Joan Wilder (Yes – THE Joan Wilder)
Drop her a line at firstname.lastname@example.org - she always writes back.
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