Places In My Heart by Sheryl Lister

sheryl-lister-places-in-my-heartsmallOmar Drummond is a pro football superstar with a body that’s a pure work of art. But Morgan Gray is forbidden to act on their chemistry, or repeat their impulsive kiss. Proving her worth as a sports agent means securing the notorious celebrity as a client, not a lover. Yet between flowers, sweet notes and heady hotel interludes, Omar is shamelessly seducing her…

Other agents—and exes—have tried using Omar as a meal ticket, and he’s closed himself off from emotional entanglements. With Morgan, it’s a whole new playbook. Smart and tough, she can negotiate a contract and turn him on all in one go, and he craves more. But in matters of trust, he’s just fumbled badly. To win her he has to show her the man he can be away from the field and the limelight, and hope that this time they’re both playing for keeps.


He couldn’t take his eyes off her. His gaze traveled from her small feet in bright pink tennis shoes, up her long, smooth honey-brown legs and lingered briefly on an apple-round bottom that would make a grown man lose his mind. He continued upward to the grass-stained oversized T-shirt tied at the waist, giving him a glimpse of the gemstone in her belly ring. A ragged ponytail sat at the top of her head with bits of grass and weeds littering the strands that flowed in disarray around her mud-smudged face. Omar Drummond edged closer to the woman. She smelled like…dirt. She was stunning.

A dull thump in the center of his chest jarred him out of his thoughts.

“Yo, Drummond. Get your head in the game,” one of his teammates yelled.

“Yeah, Drummond. The object of the game is to catch the football with your hands, not your chest.”

He shifted his gaze back to the woman speaking, the focus of his musings. Morgan Gray.

“If this is any indication of your skills,” she continued, “the Cobras are in for a long season.”

“This is a just a backyard scrimmage,” Omar said mildly. “My game on the field is just fine. I’m always in the zone. Check last year’s stats.” He was one of the best tight ends in the league, but his LA Cobras team had lost the conference championship game by one point last season, costing them a coveted trip to the national championship. The loss nagged at him for weeks, and he vowed that next season they’d bring home the trophy. “Better yet, ask your brother.” Morgan’s twin brother, Malcolm, was the team’s star running back.

Morgan merely smiled while several of the guys snickered.

He moved into his position. “Are we playing or not?”

The game ended a short time later with Omar making the winning touchdown for his team. More good-natured ribbing ensued as everyone traipsed over to recover and relax in the chairs and loungers set up in Malcolm’s yard. Malcolm hosted the barbecue for his teammates and their significant others every year before the new season began.

Malcolm handed Omar a beer and lowered himself into the lounger next to him. “You redeemed yourself nicely at the end of the game.”

Omar chuckled. “Yeah. Couldn’t let your sister call me out like that.”

“Morgan has no problems speaking her mind, especially when it comes to football. She’s been critiquing my game since I was eight.” They laughed. “Your contract is coming up soon, isn’t it?”

“In about six weeks.”

“Well, with the way you’ve stepped in at receiver after Colin’s injury, Roland should be able to negotiate one hell of a deal.” Colin Rush had gone down with a torn ACL, MCL and meniscus two games into last season.

Omar’s stomach rolled at the mention of his current agent’s name, and he set the beer aside. “We’ll see,” he murmured. Roland Foster had come highly recommended by several athletes as someone who could secure the best contracts around. After two disappointing experiences with agents, Omar had counted himself lucky when the man had offered representation. True to his reputation, Roland had hammered out a deal that topped the news for weeks. But that was then.

Omar scanned the yard and saw Morgan laughing with another player’s wife. They were the only two women who had joined in the otherwise all-male football game. She had impressed him with her offensive and defensive skills. Not many women—and none he’d dated—would subject themselves to a light tackle football game and not care about being dirty or having messy hair. But Morgan was different, and that turned him on.

“Man, you don’t have anything to worry about,” Malcolm said. “Roland will make sure you stay with the Cobras as long as you want.” When Omar didn’t comment, Malcolm leaned forward. “What’s up, Drummond?”

“I can’t go into details, but I think it’s time for a change. And this time, I want to steer clear of anybody involved in league politics. I need somebody else, Mal.”

Malcolm studied him for a moment and then said, “My sister is looking to get into the business.”

“Is that right? She’s an attorney?”

“Yeah. And she’s about as far away from league politics as you can get.”

“So, she knows the game well, huh?”

“As if she’s played it all her life,” Malcolm said.

Omar had thought that was the case, but hearing Malcolm confirm it solidified in his mind that she might exactly the person he needed to help him.

“Food’s ready,” Omar heard someone say.

He came to his feet, eager to end the conversation. Omar got in line with the rest of the guests, filled his plate and crossed the yard to where Morgan sat with her food. His intention had been to talk to her about a business proposition, but as soon as he sat and opened his mouth, two other women joined them and started a conversation about some popular television show. He promptly tuned out and dug into his meal.

“What about you, Drummond?”

His head popped up, and he met Morgan’s expectant gaze. “I’m sorry. What did you ask?”

“I asked which show was your favorite—Scandal or How to Get Away with Murder?”

“I don’t watch either show.”

Morgan slanted him a look. “Let me guess. You only watch sports or sports news.”

“No. I enjoy a good comedy or action movie, but I prefer reading to television.”

Surprise lit her eyes. “Reading?”

“Yeah, you know…books.”

“Wow, really, Omar? I would’ve never figured that out,” she said teasingly and rolled her eyes. The group laughed.

Omar smiled. She’d called him by his first name, something she had never done before. Their easy rapport gave him hope that she would be receptive to his plan. They finished eating while talking, and afterward, three other guys convinced Omar to join them in a card game. He kept one eye on his cards and the other on Morgan, waiting for a chance to get her alone.

His opportunity came three hands later when he saw her go inside. It took some serious patience to finish the game, especially since his partner seemed to contemplate every round. In Omar’s mind it was simple—you either had the card or you didn’t.

Marcus Dupree, wide receiver, threw up his hands. “Grant, do you think we could finish this game before the season starts? We only have a month.”

“My thoughts exactly,” Omar mumbled.

“Patience, my brothers,” Lucas Grant said. “I have to get my strategy together.” The middle linebacker employed the same tactics when watching plays develop and stopping runs between the tackles. Though effective on the field, today it only irritated Omar.

Omar shook his head. Minutes later, he tossed out his last card and stood. “Somebody else can take my spot. I’m done.” Without waiting for a reply, he headed for the sliding glass door that led to the kitchen and stepped inside. The sight of Morgan’s long bare legs stopped him in his tracks. She had changed into another pair of shorts that stretched taut over her backside as she reached for something in a cabinet. If he could just get one touch… Omar shook himself and quickly dismissed the notion.

“I see you changed.”

Morgan whirled around. “Oh. Drummond, you scared me.”

Back to last names again. “Sorry.”

She set the glass she had gotten on the counter and went to the refrigerator. “That’s okay. I had to shower. I can only take feeling grimy for so long.”

It took him a moment to realize she had commented on his previous statement. “I hear you. But you played a good game.”

“Are you referring to the interception or the touchdown?” she asked as she poured what looked like iced tea into the glass.

“A little cocky, aren’t you?”

She leaned against the counter, wrapped one arm around her middle and took a sip of her drink. “My game speaks for itself. Yours, on the other hand, can use some work.”

Omar closed the distance between them and braced his hands on the counter on either side of her. “Is that a challenge?”

She tilted her chin and stared at him intently. “You tell me.”

Their faces were inches apart. Common sense told him he should back up, but he couldn’t. Not when her full, gloss-slicked lips were calling to him. Without thinking about the ramifications, he crushed his mouth against hers and slid his tongue inside when her lips parted on a startled gasp. She came up on tiptoe and met him stroke for stroke, causing him to groan.

A second later Morgan stiffened and tore her mouth away. She pushed against his chest. “Move.”

Omar dropped his arms. “Morgan, I—” She brushed past him, and he reached out to stop her.

She slapped his hand away and kept walking.

“Morgan, wait. I need to talk to you.”

“I think you’ve said enough,” she called over her shoulder.


lister-4smallSheryl Lister has enjoyed reading and writing for as long as she can remember. She writes contemporary and inspirational romance and romantic suspense. She been nominated for an Emma Award and RT Reviewer’s Choice Award and named BRAB’s 2015 Best New Author. When she’s not reading, writing or playing chauffeur, Sheryl can be found on a date with her husband or in the kitchen creating appetizers and bite-sized desserts. Sheryl resides in California and is a wife, mother of three daughters and a son-in-love, and grandmother to two very special little boys.


Get to know Sheryl:

  1. What is one thing you’ve always wanted to do, but have yet to do?

I would love to travel to Africa! There are so many countries I’d like to visit….Egypt, Madagascar, Morocco, Tanzania, Senegal…I think I’m going to be there a while.


  1. When is your favorite time to write?  Do you have any comfort foods to help you get through the process?


I can’t say I have a favorite time to write because I write at all times of the day. My motto is: Have laptop, will travel. When I get ready to write, I like to have mint tea (cold or hot) or at least two bottles of water, raw almonds or pistachios. I may sneak in a little piece of Payday or some chips (my weakness).


  1. Do you ever question your decision to become a writer? If so, what do you do when those doubts arise?


I often wonder if all writers have doubts at times. For me, those doubts come in when it’s time to start a new book or when I’m stuck in the middle of a story and can’t seem to find my way to the end immediately. Then it’s, “I don’t know if I can do this,” or “what if I can’t finish it?” I usually step away from my computer for a few hours or even a full day and do something else, like read, since I don’t get to do it as much as I like now. The next day, my head is clearer and I can get going again.


  1. What aspect of writing brings you the most joy?


What brings me the most joy is typing ‘the end’. It gives me such a feeling of accomplishment. A close second is hearing from readers. I absolutely delight in the emails and messages I receive and it encourages me to keep going.


  1. What are your ambitions for your writing career?


My goals are to continue to publish traditionally and independently, and to expand my published works to include single title contemporary romance and romantic suspense.

  1. Why do you write?


I write simply because I love to tell stories and because I have to. Even when I say I’m going to take off a few days and not write, I end up jotting down something on a post-it or index card, or just pulling out my clipboard and notebook paper and writing.


  1. What advice would you give to aspiring writers?


If you wait for the perfect time to start writing, you’ll never do it. Don’t wait! Read extensively in the line you want to write for. Learn everything about the craft of writing…and KEEP learning. Don’t think about writing, don’t dream about writing and don’t talk about writing… write.


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