“Well?” I lift a brow.
His stare is decisive. No more blinking lashes to lull me into submission. I’m being dissected solely by the dominant glow of his swimming-pool blue eyes. His nose is pink from being out in today’s sun and reflective clouds. His wet hair is drying right before my eyes into touchable waves that I imagine in my fingers. I’m thankful my arms are crossed to hide them because I can feel them twitch.
I flinch at his sudden answer, most of me prepared for him to bail on this little wager. By the way he rounds the table and motions with his hand for me to step back, I start to tremble at the knees. Cue ball palmed in his left hand, stick grasped in his right, he steps into the space between me and the table and comes close enough that I can feel the warmth of the breath he exhales from his nose.
“Pardon,” he says, and I step back several feet to lean against a pub table.
Cannon positions the ball a little off-center then dabs one more dusting of chalk on the end of his cue, blowing the dust away while he looks at me, his eyes focusing away from the tip of the stick and onto my gaze. His mouth quirks on one side, and it’s in that small look that I know I’m done. I’m so fucking screwed.
He lunges over the table in a smooth pivot, bringing the stick back slowly and getting the feel of the slide before letting it rip, knocking the balls in all directions and quickly sinking one of each—a solid and a stripe. His eyes on the center of the table, he rounds it, his tongue sticking out the way Michael Jordan’s always did when he was deciding whether to put the game away with a dunk or a little fadeaway from the top of the key.
“You got a preference?” he asks.
“I…well…” I stumble on my words, his sudden confidence really nailing me to the floor.
He chuckles then bends down, lining up a shot at a solid.
“It’s alright,” he says, quickly leaning his head to one side to glance up at me and wink. “It won’t matter.”
And it doesn’t. He proceeds to sink his initial target, and then every other solid ball on the table, sometimes two at a time. I’m half expecting him to drain the eight-ball without even looking. He has to work at it a little, though, what with so many of my balls still on the table and in his way. He calls the side pocket and when the ball falls in easily, I breathe out heavily enough to flap my lips, then I drop my stick.
“Two out of three?” I scrunch my lips up with my pathetic attempt to regain my edge.
“You think it will matter?” He lays his stick on the table and saunters toward me.
My nervous knee begins to twitch, and I find myself rocking where I stand to try to keep my legs busy and my blood flowing. Cannon stops about a foot away from me, and he looks down at the floor as he slips his hands into the pockets of his jeans. I draw in his scent, letting it numb my nerves like the venom of a scorpion. I got sloppy, arrogant even. And that trust I felt so sure of is waning a little now that he’s calling in his bet. I gave him a free pass to surprise me, to ask something of me or dare me or…that’s the thing. It’s the unknown. I did that. I did that!
My hands balled into fists at my sides, I roll my shoulders back and lift my chin, determined not to let my worry shine through.
“Bet’s a bet,” I say, shaking my head with tight lips. I had no idea I was going up against a pool shark.
“That it is,” he says, glancing up while keeping his head low. The way he peers at me through the strands of his hair that now shadow his eyes is both ominous and so freaking enticing.
“Five a.m. Saint Peters Gulch. Tomorrow.” He leans in and for a moment I think he’s going to kiss me, but instead he pauses while forward on his toes. “I’ll let you know what you owe there and then.”
I swallow and he sees it, his eyes darting to that place on my neck that betrays my bravado.
“Fine,” I gurgle out.
He laughs lightly and falls back to give me some space.
“Relax, Hollis. I’m sure you’ll be able to handle it.” With one last wink, he brings his hands from his pockets and claps them a few times to remove any leftover chalk. I force myself not to look over my shoulder as he leaves, and I keep that promise to myself, spending the next twenty minutes playing out the rest of the balls on our table and realizing I never even had a chance.
I adored this series. In each book, I’ve found a favourite couple and this one was no exception.
Hollis and Cannon had a great start until it wasn’t. So sweet and promising and in a blink of an eye turning into angst. I couldn’t put it down. So addicting.
Ginger’s Scott sports YA was just such a journey. Sports melting with romance so inextricably linked. And the author did it great. Since it wasn’t that easy, writing about a woman’s place in a man’s sports, something that still nowadays is a work in progress.
There was something that instantly made me connect with the characters, Hollis was fierce, feisty and tough, because for most part of her life she had to fight and to show that she could be a man’s equal, by working harder. She wasn’t a damsel in distress and when she met Cannon, who might challenge her more than ever, she knew she was in trouble.
This character was totally someone readers could identify with.
Cannon was a mystery to me since I’ve met him in the previous book. I was intrigued by how people perceived him, somehow cold and indifferent. I felt that way in the beginning but this character was so much more, more complex, knowing how delicate this situation was, loyal to his family but also to Hollis who had totally captivated him.
Ginger Scott has a way to write about teenagers with blatant truth and issues they had to deal with were relevant. I appreciated that Hollis and Cannon didn’t go straight away with a love relationship but progressed into it by being friends, bonding naturally but still with that blurred line. I was so rooting for them. An undeniable and freaking amazing chemistry, giving me all the feels.
The duality between the main characters was interesting and captivating, like you wanted both to succeed and to make it happen. It explored how pressured and competitive it could be in the world of sports, intense competition, pressure from parents and others. I didn’t have a great knowledge of base-ball and the author seemed to have a deep understanding of the sport, making it easier to comprehend and more believable.
Varsity Rulebreaker is definitely a top favourite in sports romance, with characters driven by a strong passion and divided loyalties. Engaging and compelling.