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Irresistibly Yours by Lauren Layne

Updated: Jan 23

Irresistibly Yours

by Lauren Layne

Published by Loveswept

Book #1 of The Oxford Series

Hotshot sports editor Cole Sharpe

has been freelancing for Oxford for years, so when he hears about a staff position opening up, he figures he’s got the inside track. Then his boss drops a bombshell: Cole has competition. Female competition, in the form of a fresh-faced tomboy who can hang with the dudes—and write circles around them, too. Cole usually likes his women flirty and curvy, but he takes a special interest in his skinny, sassy rival, if only to keep an eye on her. And soon, he can’t take his eyes off her. Penelope Pope knows all too well that she comes off as just one of the guys. Since she’s learned that wanting more usually leads to disappointment, Penelope’s resigned to sitting on the sidelines when it comes to love. So why does Cole make her want to get back in the game? The man is as arrogant as he is handsome. He probably sees her as nothing more than a barrier to his dream job. But when an unexpected kiss turns into a night of irresistible passion, Penelope has to figure out whether they’re just fooling around—or starting something real.



My thoughts are rambling and full of spoilers. Ye have been warned!

Irresistibly Yours is the first book in the Oxford series, a spin-off series from the Sex, Love, & Stiletto Series. This first book features contractor-turned-Oxford co-sports editor Cole Sharpe, and newcomer to the Oxford team as co-sports editor, Penelope Pope. I gotta admit, out of the five Oxford books out there, this one is my second favorite, which is surprising considering the simplicity of this romance.

While being simple, it doesn't mean it's not a pretty great story. The flow of the book is perfect from the start, to the very end, and the content is unique enough keep my interest. All the characters remain pretty consistent from the Sex, Love, & Stiletto series, except for one tiny thing. Back in 'Love The One You're With', Jake described Cole as rich, and therefore didn't feel like he needed a steady job, and preferred freelance work. In this one, we learn Cole is not rich. In fact, he ends up competing for a job at Oxford because he needs the money to pay for his brothers group home expenses. Not a big deal for the average reader, but for someone who has a knack for remembering these small details, a little bothersome.

Penelope Pope is a breath of fresh air to this Stiletto/Oxford world. She isn't your average woman, and that's what I like about her. Most of the women are described as having classic beautiful curves, average height ... just your basic bombshell babe. Nothing wrong with that, but it can begin to feel a bit stale in the character department after a while. Very copy-and-paste. Then Penelope Pope is introduced. Described as barely five-feet-tall, skinny with barely any curves .... barely there boobs, but with big beautiful brown eyes and a huge as hell personality. But not in the over the top way. She is just pure kindness and understanding. She's passionate. Friendly and uncomplicated. On top of that great stuff, is a total nut about sports. She is the perfect new addition to this world. A great reminder that women are unique, and can be beautiful is very different ways.

I have always really enjoyed having Cole pop up randomly in the Stiletto series. His character is wit and charm, all wrapped up in a yummy package. So, of course I was already halfway in love with the guy before this book. Then Lauren Layne has to write him in such a way that I just fall for him completely. Ugh. Sorry real life husband. In all seriousness though, Cole is another great character in this world. We knew he was charming, and funny as all hell, but we learn he is a total sweetheart in this book. A gentleman despite being known as a player. He's also lonely. Yeah, he has friends. But the only family he has is his brother, who despite living in a group care home, has a rather busy social life, and sometimes Cole feels left behind. Add to that, he's single. He's not scared of commitment. He just hasn't found a woman he can stand to be with for more than a couple of months.

Honestly, one of the reasons I love this book so much, is two, truly kind people, fall in love. Simply. No grand schemes by either party, and no articles to write that would force them to confront a part of themselves they were hiding from. Just two people, who established a pretty great friendship and working partnership together, slowly becoming attracted to each other, and falling in love. Yeah, there were hiccups. Penelope's self-esteem issues from constantly being put in the "friend-zone", and her unrequited love back in Chicago totally screwing her over and stealing her job made her a little love shy. And sure, Cole's commitment to his brothers care, and his guilt of enjoying life when his brother can't live a normal life, keeps him a little love shy as well. Otherwise, these two straight-shooters fall into place perfectly.

I totally, totally recommend Irresistibly Yours. These two characters are so much fun to read, enjoyable as heck and the romance is sweet. For those of you who like steam ... well, it's plenty steamy. I can't wait to post about the next Oxford book, 'I Wish You Were Mine'. Not my favorite ... that's the third one in the series ... but I still love it and can't wait to post about it.



Lincoln: "Hey, Sharpe. Do you know where they keep a fire extinguisher in here?"

Cole: "What for?"

Lincoln: If you stare at that girl any harder, she's going to burst into flames."

Cole: "She's not my girl. She's just ... interesting."

He paused when he'd seen that she returned and, incredibly, the woman had just become more appealing. Her face was turned to the side slightly, her notebook now on the open seat to her right instead of her lap, and she wrote furiously with her right hand, while her left hand held ... A hot dog. Be still my heart. - Cole

Cole: "First baseball game?"

Penelope: "No. Not my first game."

Cole: "Ah. Bad assumption of me. You were just so into the game ..."

Penelope: "So you figured I must be trying to figure out how it all worked? That I must be trying to understand why some of the field is green and some is brown, and whatever could those white squares on the dirt be, and why-oh-why are those men running toward the white squares, but only sometimes..."

Cole: "All right. I'm an ass. You know baseball."

Cassidy: "Sorry I'm late. I got held up."

Cole: "Third button, dude."

Cassidy: "Cole, this is Penelope Pope."

Cole: "We've met."

Cassidy: "Excellent. So then you know that Penelope is our late-stage applicant for the sports editor role at Oxford?"

Penelope: "I suppose I should have been more thorough when I introduced myself. Penelope Pope, Sports editor."

Penelope Pope might look sweet as a kitten but damned if he hadn't just felt the subtlest scratch of her claws. He admired her for it. - Cole

Cassidy: "Would you just sit down so we can do this damn interview?"

Cole: "Do we have to do it now? You seem like you're in a shitty mood."

Cassidy: "Of course I'm in a shitty mood. You just interrupted that woman's interview. She could sue us."

Cole: "Please. She wanted to go to coffee with me."

Cassidy: "Only because she doesn't know you."

Cole: "Yup, you're definitely in a shitty mood. Maybe we should reschedule-"

Text Messages between Cole and Pen:

Cole: Good. How do you feel about day-drinking?

Penelope: Depends on the day. And the occasion.

Cole: The day: Wednesday. The occasion: receiving an apology for intruding on your interview.

Penelope: Well, I DO like beer and apologies.

Penelope Pope continued to surprise him. She'd surprised him last night at the Yankees game, with her unwavering focus on the field. She'd surprised him again today with her friendly, no-strings-attached offer of coffee. She'd surprised him now, with how enjoyable she was to be around. It had taken Cole the better part of an hour this afternoon - sitting side by side with her on the bar-stools in a crappy pub, drinking crappy beer - before he finally figured out what made her so damn arresting. Penelope Pope was real. He couldn't remember the last time he's met someone who meant what they said - everything they said. But this woman had more honesty in her tiny body than the entire population of Manhattan. Yet that wasn't even the most surprising part. There were plenty people who claimed candor as a way to utter harsh statements and snide observations. What made Penelope refreshing was that her goodness was honest. Kind and straightforward. He didn't want to get all weepy and weird about it, but even he could admit that Penelope Pope was a rare creature indeed. - Cole

Penelope: "Okay, I'll tell you, but you can't tell anyone else."

Cole: "But what will I talk about at girls night?"

Cole: "Fishing? Seeing if I'm available?"

Penelope: "Definitely not. You're pretty, but don't worry. You're safe with me."

Cole: "How's that?"

Penelope starts studying him.

Cole: "Why do I feel like I should be giving you my good side? To see if I pass muster?"

Penelope: "Oh, don't fret, this is quite nice" *gestures to him*

Cole: "But you're still not feeling the pull, huh?"

Penelope: "Are you?"

Cole: "What?"

Penelope: "Take it all in. Are you feeling light-headed? Dazzled by my feminine charms?"

Cole: "ah-"

Penelope: "Exactly. You're out of my league, Sharpe."

He opened his mouth, and she shocked the hell out of him by leaning forward and tapping a finger over his lips very matter-of-factly."

Penelope: "Don't even. This is how it's going to be, okay? I don't have any illusions about the fact that I'm a friend-zone kind of girl, and I'm okay with that. Plus, lucky for you, I'm a darn good friend."

Cole: "You're a unique creature, Penelope Pope."

Text message exchange"

Penelope: Your precious Yankees aren't looking so hot.

Cole: You watch your filthy Chicago mouth.

Penelope: Hmm, maybe I need glasses, because I keep looking at my TV, and I'm seeing Chicago White Sox: 6, New York Yankees: 2 ... What are you seeing?

Cole: The Yanks will come back. They always do.

Penelope: Has anyone told you how cute your delusions are?

Cole: Not recently. Want to come over and tell me to my face?

Penelope: Nice try, Sharpe. I'm quite comfortable on my own couch, thank you very much.

Cole: Fair enough ... What are you wearing?

Penelope: Goodbye, Cole.

Jake: "Do you want to come to fucking dinner or not?

Cole: "I think I'll respectfully pass. Penelope's great, but -"

Jake: "No problem. I'll ask Lincoln."

Cole's feet hit the floor.

Cole: "Hell no."

Jake: "What's wrong with Lincoln?"

Lincoln: "Yeah? What's wrong with Lincoln?"

Jake: "Wanna come to dinner?"

Cole: "No. No way."

Lincoln: "Sure, I love dinner. When?"

Cole: "You're not going."

Jake: "Well, at least one of you has to come. If I got home and tell Grace I didn't find her tenth dinner party member, she's going to be cranky, and when she's cranky, I don't get laid."

Cole: "I'll be there."

Cassidy: "Hold up there, cowboy. There's one tiny little hurdle to get over first."

Cole: "Who gets the bigger office?"

Cassidy: "More like ... how the hell are we going to convince Penelope Pope to share the job with you?"

Cole: "You haven't told her yet?"

Cassidy: "I was going to call both of you in tomorrow."

Cole: "don't sweat it. She'll agree."

Cassidy: "How do you figure?"

Cole: "Haven't you heard? We're BFFs now."

Cole: "Oh no."

Penelope: "What?"

Cole: "That smile. It's dangerous."

Penelope: "How can a smile possible be dangerous?"

Cole: "You're so cute and clueless."

Penelope: "Oh, hi, Lincoln!"

Cole: "Oh, hi, Lincoln!" *mimicking Penelope's breathy voice

Yes, Lincoln Mathis was still the most gorgeous man she'd ever seen. Dark wavy hair, blue eyes that were both friendly and distant, practically begging a woman to fix him. Same went for the shy yet confident smile, the muscled yet lean body. Penelope felt a blast of misty water hit her cheek and turned around to see Cole holding a blue squirt bottle.

Penelope: "What are you doing? That's for misting my plants!"

Cole: "You looked hot."

Jake: "Hey, how come I didn't get invited to the arty?"

Cole: "Welcome to my office."

Penelope: "It's my office."

Cole: "Well, it should be my office. It's bigger."

Jake: "Poor guy has to compensate."

Lincoln: "Penelope, darling. You have been kissed?"

Jake: "Eh, not appropriate, Mathis."

Lincoln: "Shit. Shit. Sorry. They make you take these sexual harassment classes, but I'm so used to just saying anything around these guys -"

Penelope: "No, no, it's okay! Of course, I've been kissed. I'm thirty-one..."

Cole: "Really? Damn when I first saw you, I thought eighteen."

Penelope: "That's the lack of boobs."

Jake: "Jesus. Maybe we should shut the door before Sandra walks by."

Penelope: "Eh, it's been a while. Since the kissing."

Lincoln: "Well, what the fuck's wrong with those Chicago guys, honey?"

Penelope: "You're sweet. But I think we know that men aren't exactly barging down the door to get at all of this."

Lincoln: "I'm liking what I see."

Jake or Cole: "Oh my God."

Lincoln: "Okay, that's it! Up."

Penelope: "What?"

Lincoln: "Stand up. It's experiment time."

Jake: "No. No fucking way. This is an office, Lincoln, she's our colleague. HR or no HR, you can't just go around kissing her."

Cole: "Get it together. Jake's right, you can't just go around macking on female employees."

Jake: "Macking on. Really?"

Cole: "It's a fucking lawsuit waiting to happen."

Lincoln: "Uh-huh. You've been an employee less than a month, and you're worried about Internal Affairs."

Cole: "Fuck no, I'm worried about her."

Penelope laughs, and Cole gives her an incredulous look.

Penelope: "Sorry. It's just ... you look a lot like my dad right now."

Cole's mouth dropped open just as Jake let out a muffled laugh and Lincoln put a fist in front of his mouth, blue eyes twinkling in amusement.

Cole: "Your dad?"

Penelope: "Thanks for the kiss. I think head-holding is definitely -"

Stops talking when she notices Cassidy standing in doorway.

Lincoln: "We were, ah, doing some research." *Leaves office*

Jake: "Didn't touch her. I'm married." *Leaves office*

Cassidy looks at Penelope, then Cole. Then he merely rolled his eyes and walked away.

Cole: "What about one of the boring outfits you wear to work? Slacks and a button-down, or something?

Penelope: "Well, considering you just called said outfits boring ..."

Cole: "What do you feel most comfortable in?"

Penelope: "Jeans and a T-shirt, obviously, but sometimes -"

Cole: "Yes, Tiny?"

Penelope: "Sometimes I'm in the mood to feel pretty."

Cole: "Get dressed. If you want my help, you have to trust me."

Penelope: "Fine."

Then to his utter shock, she pulled off her robe and threw it onto the bed. He whirled around to face away from her, but not before he'd gotten an eyeful of Penelope Pope in a strapless bra and panties.

Cole: "Jesus."

Penelope: "Oh, stop. It's not like there's a whole lot going on here."

He sucked in his breath. His raging hard-on said otherwise.

Penelope: "All right. You can turn around. I'm dressed, so no more threats to your virtue."

Penelope: "Ung-uh. Remember what happened last time I wore high heels? It's a disaster waiting to happen."

Cole: "That's where I come in handy. You can hold my arm."

Penelope: "Oh yeah, because that'll make them more comfortable. Plus it's supposed to snow tonight."

Cole: "Damn it, woman. Wear your sneakers for all I care."

Penelope: "Nah. Boots."

Cole: "Fine. Can we go now?"

Penelope: "No! What about makeup? I've mastered mascara, mostly, but I could use some help on what eye shadow would look good."

Cole: "No. Hell no."

Cole: "You don't need makeup to look good, Penelope."

Penelope: "That's what guys always say the second before they give themselves whiplash looking at some gussied-up Victoria's Secret model."

Cole: "Sure. But just because we want to sleep with the Victoria's Secret model doesn't mean we want to wake up beside her in the morning."

Penelope: "Well, that's very comforting, Sharpe. But save it for someone who isn't alone every night and every morning."

Riley: "How is it working in the testosterone cage?"

Penelope: "The Oxford offices? Is that what it's called?"

Emma: "No. That's not a thing. Ignore Riley."

Riley: "Yes, but there is a lot of testosterone up there. Am I right?"

Emma: "Yes, dear, but unless we want them to start calling Stiletto the estrogen cave, I suggest we -"

Riley: "Estrogen cave sounds like a name for vagina."

Julie: "How date you talk about the good stuff while I was helping make dinner?"

Grace: "You weren't helping, Jules! You massacred the bread!"

Riley: "Julie can't cook."

Julie: "I didn't used to cook. But I've learned."

Emma caught Penelope's eye and shook her head.

Sam: "Why do I get the feeling we just walked into one of their disastrous plans?"

Cassidy: "I don't know. But they've already got most of us ringed or on the way to the altar."

Jake: "Most of us, but not all."

The other four men turned their attention to Cole and Lincoln, who'd both been looking at their phones and missed the whole thing. They looked up, then looked at each other in confusion.

Cole: "Uh, what'd we miss?"

Mitchell: "Don't even worry about it, man. Chances are you don't want to know."

Penelope: "Everything pretty has an ugly underside."

Cole: "Dark thoughts, Tiny."

Penelope: "Oh, I don't mean it in a depressed, glass-half-empty kind of way. But sometimes it's better to be prepared, you know? To be aware that for every moment of wonder, another of disappointment is likely to follow."

Cole: "So what about tonight? You seemed like you were having fun."

Penelope: "Yes! So much fun."

Cole: "So what's the downside of a happy dinner party? What's the ugly underside?"

Penelope: "The dark side will happen later tonight. When I'm almost asleep. It won't quite be jealousy, but ... something close to it."

Cole: "I knew it."

Penelope: "Knew what?"

Cole: "You're so prickly that men are too scared to try."

Penelope: "Prickly! I am no prickly."

Cole: "Not personality-wise. But romance-wise ... you're prickly."

Cole: "Well, what would make you swoon, Pope? There's got to be some shortcut to your heart."

Without realizing she was doing it, Penelope glanced at the onion ring in her hand. Thought about the way he'd ordered them separately rather than just throwing some leftovers in a box. Thought about the way he'd tried to time it so they were as hot and non-soggy as possible. Lord help her. Onion rings for Penelope were what roses and chocolate truffles were to other women. And when she glanced up and caught Cole's cocky departing wink, she saw that he knew it. He'd known it all along.

Cassidy: "Problem?"

Cole: "Why would there be a problem?"

Cassidy: "You were glaring."

Cole: "Yeah, well. The guy's a dick."

Cassidy: "Well, really glad he's on our cover, then."

Cole: "I thought you said he was a pig."

Penelope: "I'm not going to marry the guy. And you're the one who said I should let myself be wooed."

Cole: "Not by him!"

Cole: "You really don't want me to kiss you? I'm not going to force myself on a woman, so if you tell me to go, I'll go. You want me to release you, I'll release you. But I've gotta tell you, baby, the way you're looking at me ..."

Penelope: "You were just kissing another woman."

Cole: "Actually, she was kissing me."

Penelope: "And I'm sure you were just standing there, not enjoying it."

Cole: "I hadn't decided whether I wanted to get into it or not."

Penelope: "You're disgusting."

Cole: "The thing is, Tiny ... When it comes to you, I don't have to decide. I don't have to stop and think about if I want to kiss you. I know. I know every damn day when I see you put on mascara in the reflection of your computer monitor because you forgot to do it at home. I know when we go get coffee together and you can recite every single thing that happened on ESPN the night before. I know when I share my French fries with you at lunch and you eat all of them. I know -"

Penelope placed her lips against his.

Cole: "Sup, Edgar. Maybe he's lonely. Have you thought about bringing him a friend?"

Penelope: "He had a friend. Lola. She died a couple days after I brought her home."

Cole: "May she rest in peace."

Penelope: "She's totally in fish heaven where Finding Nemo plays twenty-four-seven."

Penelope had a string of cheese on her chin, and he wiped at it with his napkin and she grunted a thank-you before holding up the remote in triumph. It wasn't a sexy moment. Not in the least romantic, her happily chewing pizza while she found his sports team on TV. I could do this, he thought. I could do this every damn day. - Cole

Cole: "I've got an idea. We make a pact."

Penelope: "What kind of pact? A sex pact?"

Cole: "You're adorable. And sure, I guess it's a sex pact, in that we'll be having lots of it. But I was thinking more along the line of a guarantee. Something to ensure neither of us crosses a line we don't want to cross."

Penelope: "Go on ..."

Cole: "I will treat you with the respect you deserve at work, and then I will use your sweet body for sex after work, but Penelope Pope, I give you my solemn promise not to fall in love with you. Your turn"

Penelope: "You're leaving?"

Cole: "Damn straight."

Penelope: "Okay, well ... I'll see you tomorrow."

Cole: "What are you talking about?"

Penelope: "You said you were leaving-"

Cole: "Tiny, if you're only giving me sex on weekends, I have to take advantage of every moment. You follow?"

Penelope: "Not really."

Cole: "It's still Sunday. Sunday's the weekend."

Penelope: "So where are you going?"

Cole: "Keep up. Where do you think I'm going? We need some fucking condoms."

Going down on Penelope Pope in his office was definitely going in Cole's catalog of best erotic memories. He was damn close to coming in his pants by licking her. This was madness. Fucking madness. - Cole

Cole: "I thought you said you were not good at this."

Penelope: "Guess I just needed to do it with the right guy."

Penelope: "Cole, I swear, this is a total coincidence. I had no idea you were coming today, and ... wait, aren't you a Yankees fan?"

Cole: "I am, but-"

Bobby: "I'm a Mets fan."

Penelope: "A split family. I love that kind of drama."

Cole: "A woman who knows her hat size, Bob. Is it any wonder we adore her?"

Penelope: "You know you're ridiculously charming."

Cole: "You sound grumpy about that."

Penelope: "Let's just say I'm not exactly loving the fact that I seem to find myself on the verge of joining the Cole Sharpe fan club."

Cole: "Resistance is futile."

He tilted his head and kissed her, and then lingered. And tried very hard to ignore the sudden, forbidden thought that he wished every day could be exactly like this one. - Cole

Cole: "I don't know how I let you talk me into this five A.M. wake-up call."

Penelope: "You know exactly why we're doing this. I need to get home, and someone refused to let me go home last night."

Cole: "Tiny, the day I willingly let a naked woman leave my apartment after a world-class blow job is the day you should just euthanize me."

Penelope: "Cole and I were just - we only sometimes - we -"

Cole: "Are having rather fantastic sex."

Penelope: "Cole!"

Cole: "What, like they didn't know?"

Penelope: "It isn't serious."

Cole: "Definitely not."

Julie: "Of course it isn't. Mitchell and I weren't serious either."

Cole: "Well, Jules, I need to get Penelope home, so we'll just leave you to your speed-walking, shall we?"

Julie: "I was running."

Mitchell: "Were you, babe? Were you really?"

Julie: "Anyway, Penelope, we should grab lunch later. If you don't have plans?"

Penelope: "I'd like that."

Cole: "Careful, Pen. She wants to interrogate you about how massive my dick is."

Penelope: "Are you free later today? Lots to talk about."

Cassidy: "Just wanted to see how things are going. I think I talk to you less since you've become my employee than when you were a contractor."

Cole: "That's because you work your employees to the bone. I barely find time to eat."

Cassidy: "hmm. And yet, you do find time to have sex with your co-editor."

Cole: "Dude, are you wearing a pink tie?"

Lincoln: "I rock it. You know I do."

Jake: "So, you're sleeping with Penelope."

Cole: "Everyone knows, huh?"

Lincoln: "Definitely. I'd say it became common knowledge that you wanted her right about the time you bit my head off for kissing her-"

Cassidy: "No, before that. He definitely wanted to sleep with her that first night he saw her at the Yankees game. He just didn't know it yet."

Cole: "I do believe my ticker just skipped a beat."

Penelope: "That's all it takes, huh? A girl who likes bourbon?"

Cole: "I'm not shallow, Pen. The girl has to like baseball and bourbon."

Penelope: "Well, then, I'm your girl."

Cole: "Yeah, you are."

Cole: "I know it sounds like a line. But, swear to God, those damn big brown eyes get me every time."

Just as Cole was wondering if he should make an excuse to leave the table before he made a fool of himself, he felt the soft brush of fingers against the back of his hand. Felt as her hand slid against his until they were palm to palm. She turned her head then, meeting his eyes, smiling shyly as she linked her fingers with his. He couldn't look away, even though he knew this small woman could crack his heart in half. Aw fuck, Sharpe, you are in so much trouble. - Cole

She was now 100 percent positive that she couldn't honor her promise to Cole that she wouldn't fall in love. If she told him, she'd lose him. But if she didn't tell him ... She'd lose herself. - Penelope

Cole: "The guy is Mr. Popular. And he's been talking nonstop lately about some woman named Carly, so I'm thinking he's got a crush."

Penelope: "The Sharpe brothers have moves. Poor Carly's heart doesn't stand a chance."

Cole: "What about your heart? Where does it stand on the whole Sharpe brothers charm thing?"

Penelope's lips parted in surprise, probably at the quiet urgency in his voice. He told himself to let her go - that the food line at Yankee Stadium wasn't the time or the place to have this conversation. He didn't even know what this conversation was. Or what he wanted to hear her say - Scratch that. He knew exactly what words he wanted to hear. He wanted to know that she was his. That this was more than a weekends-only fling. That she was falling for him as helplessly as he was falling for her. - Cole

Cole: "You're eating all of that?"

Penelope: "What, you thought I'd share? Get your own food, Sharpe.

Cole ordered a hotdog and coke.

Penelope: "Yuck, no ketchup"

Cole: "It's my hotdog."

Penelope: "Which I'll be having a bite of. And I don't like ketchup on my dogs."

Cole: "What happened to not sharing?"

Penelope: "Are you, or are you not, a gentleman, Cole Sharpe?"

In response, he deliberately added ketchup to his hot dog. More than he usually would. Then he took a big bite, holding her gaze the entire time.

Penelope: "That's how it's gonna be, huh? This is our ball game future?"

He licked ketchup from his lip.

Penelope: "Game on, Sharpe."

Grace: "Penelope Pope, are you roughing up a man for his hot dog?"

Penelope: "That was the plan, until he defiled it with Ketchup. *notices Jake's hotdog* Malone. Give me that."

Jake sighed and handed it over as he met Cole's eyes with a questioning smile.

Jake: "This is the one, huh?"

Oh yes. This is the one.

Penelope takes one bite from Jake's hotdog and passes it back.

Penelope: "That's all I wanted, Cole. One bite."

Cole: "Hey, Grace."

Grace: "Hmm?"

Cole: "Remember that time you and I nearly made out for the kiss cam in this very stadium?"

Penelope: "Really. Do tell."

Grace: It's so not what it sounds like. Trust me."

Cole: "It was going to be epic, Gracie, you know it was."

Jake: "Sharpe. I will kill you."

Lydia: "Maybe get a nice push-up bra ... remind him of exactly what he kicked out of his bed."

Janie: "Mom, eeew."

Lincoln: "I didn't realize you had family in town. Badly done of me to intrude like this."

Janie: "Oh, you're not intruding."

Penelope: You're not. They came out to offer moral support in the wake of your best friend being a total jerk."

Lincoln: "What happened?"

Penelope: "The usual dude thing. He pushed me away when I got too close."

Lincoln: "Idiot."

Penelope: "Totally."

Lincoln: "It's simple, love. Before we go even a step forward, I need to know now thing. Do you love him enough to want him back, even though he's been a complete fool?"

Lincoln: "This is getting pathetic, dude."

Cole: "Shut up."

Lincoln: "Nobody blames you that you screwed it up. I mean, we all expected it."

Cole: "Oh, good, another pep talk."

Let her go, he told himself. Penelope deserved happiness, and if happiness came in the arms of another man-

Cole: "Nope. Not gonna happen."

Oh, hell. He'd been thoroughly played by his boss.

Cole: "That bastard."

Penelope: "Who?"

Cole: "Let's just say Cassidy knew exactly what buttons to push."

Penelope: "I came to be with you while your brother was in the hospital, bought balloons, and you said, and I quote, See you around, Pope. I actually went home and googled that, because I thought it might be a line from The Godfather, or some guy movie. But nope. Just you being a jerk."

Penelope: "Okay. Let's say I give you a do-over. Let's pretend we're back on the sidewalk outside the hospital. What do you say?"

Cole: "Uh."

Penelope: "Good start."

Cole: "If I got a do-over ... I'd tell you thanks for coming of course."

Penelope: "Of course."

Cole: "And I'd ... Shit. Here's the thing, Tiny. A few months ago, I made you a promise that I wouldn't fall in love with you. I'm going to have to break that promise. I've fallen in love with you, Penelope. Yes, that scares the shit out of me. And yes, it caused me to freak out. But my head's out of my ass now, and I just, I want ... I'm yours, Penelope. If you want me. Irresistibly yours. I love you. That's all I've got. I love you. Please say something."

Penelope: "Just trying to think of the best way to tell you that I broke my promise a long time ago. You're really an impossible man not to fall in love with."

Cole: "Is that so?"

Penelope: "It is. And I love you."

Cole: "Say it again."

Penelope: "No way, you say it again."

Cole: "Not until you-"

Lincoln: "Here's an idea. Say it at the same time. Then you both win."

Penelope: "Wait. Does this mean I don't get to go to the game with Todd tonight?"

Cole: "You have other plans."

Penelope: "What am I supposed to tell him? I already said I was available."

Cole: "Tell him there's been a change of plans and you'll be spending the night naked, at my place."

Penelope: "What if he asks to go later this week?"

Cole: "You're busy then too."

Penelope: "Next week?"

Cole: "Let me make this really clear. You're going to be busy all of the nights. Forever. With me."

Penelope: "Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh, it's him. Do I look okay? Do you have any lipstick?"

Cole: "Are you kidding me right now with this?"

Penelope: "Dang, I wish I were taller. Can I sit on your shoulders?"

Cole: "If you think for one second I'm going to hoist you onto my shoulders so that you can ogle another man-"

Penelope: "What is I were to ogle you?"

Cole: "Do you want me to strip? If you take me back to our room, I can definitely strip down and let you ogle, and if you're a really good girl, I might let you touch ..."


Check out the rest of the Stiletto & Oxford Series below!

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