by Avery Flynn
Published by Entanged: Amara
Book #3 in the Hartigan's Series
How exactly has one good deed landed me in the penalty box?
Ice Knights defenseman Zach Blackburn has come down with the flu, and my BFF—his PR manager—begs me to put my nursing degree to use and get him back to health. Of course she would call in a favor for the most hated man in Harbor City.
But when he’s finally on the mend and I’m sneaking out of his place, everything goes sideways. Paparazzi spot me and pictures, plus accusations that I slept with him, fly faster than a hockey puck.
At first, all of Harbor City wants my blood—or to give me a girlie-girl makeover. But then…the team finally wins a game. And now this fickle town wants me with the big jerk twenty-four seven.
Argh. I never slept with him the first time! But no one will listen. Then the grumpy bastard goes and promises to break his no-fan-appearances rule to help raise money for a free health clinic—but only if I’m rink-side at every game. That’s not a deal I can turn down.
But when the team keeps winning, and I realize there’s more to him than his bad reputation, suddenly remembering to keep my real hands off my fake date gets harder and harder to do.
RATED: 18+ CATEGORY: MOOD:
Steamy Rom-Com Feel Good
Tomboy by Avery Flynn is the third book in the Hartigan's series, and centers around Hartigan sibling Fallon, ER nurse and volunteer at the Waterbridge clinic, and Zach Blackburn, Ice Knights defenseman, who isn't playing so hot, and doesn't play well with others; on and off the ice.
I love a good romance with a bit of sports involved. Kind of ironic considering I don't watch any sports unless there is an Olympic gold medal on the line. I have read a few sport romances, and I really enjoyed this one. It has an entertaining plot, while remaining unique in it's genre, and the action was steady, right up to the climax of the story, and had a satisfying ending. I enjoyed that unlike the last two Hartigan books, the story didn't rely on Fallon's tomboy looks and personality as much. It's stated several times that people think she isn't Zach's type, and that she needs a makeover ... she even believes she isn't his type ... but it's not something that gets between them, or has destroyed her self-worth, and I loved that. The comments hurt her, sure ... but other than a tiny moment of doubt before they first hook up, it doesn't stop her, and it doesn't bother him at all. If anything, he likes it.
Fallon is such a likable character. I love a non-fussy woman who is all about comfort instead of impressing people she doesn't know. She is also compassionate, and is one of those characters that truly wants to help. Zach, even though he has his ... moments, shall we say, is also likable. He has a rough time of it, and it takes a woman like Fallon to show him that not everyone does something nice for something in return. Their relationship together is intense and hot all at the same time, which makes for a great book.
Tomboy is an entertaining and steamy romance, that adds more heart to the Hartigan series, and leads in to her new series, the Ice Knights (which, according to what she wrote at the back of the book, she is planning on writing before continuing the Hartigan series with Finn's story, which I can't wait for, as he is a mysterious character thus far). I not only recommend Tomboy, but it's predecessors, Butterface and Muffin Top.
Top 3 Favorite Moments
1. Fallon taking care of a very moody Zach when he gets food poisoning
2. Zach having family lunch with the Hartigan's
3. Zach giving Fallon his hoodie after the altercation with a guy in the stands
4. (bonus) Fallon standing up for Zach after her brother voices his opinion of him on the phone right after their night together
5. (bonus) Zach and his team mates showing up for the charity carnival, even after being let off the hook for it
6. (bonus) Kate (Fallon's mom) wearing a # Team Zuck tee
7. (bonus) When his teammates come and furnish his living room
8. (bonus) How they told each other they loved each other in passing
9. (bonus) The proposal
Where to Buy
Zach: "Go away."
Fallon: "Not gonna happen. I promised Lucy I'd stay until I was sure you were o n the mend."
Zach: "And last night was such a good time you wanted to stay here for more? That's your idea of fun?"
Zach: "Go away. I'd rather die in here on my own than have to deal with a pain in the ass like you."
Fallon: "Really? That's what you're going with? Oh, hold on."
She started digging through her backpack.
Fallon: "Here it is."
She lifted her empty hand out of the bag and held it palm up, looking down at it with a sweet smile as if she was holding something of astronomical cuteness.
Fallon: "That's all the fucks I give about what you want."
Zach: "Is this what you wear all the time?"
Fallon: "You mean clothes?"
Zach: "What do you wear out on dates?"
Fallon: "Why? Are you asking?"
Zach: "Would you go?"
Fallon: "Do I look like I have a head injury? Hell, no."
Zach: "We both know you don't really feel bad. If you did, you wouldn't have brought the press with you. Hey, Marty."
Fallon: "Hello. I'm right here, and I can hear you."
Zach tried to smother his laugh
Fallon: "And don't you even think about answering for me."
He raised a pierced eyebrow, and his lips twitched as if her was trying not to smile, but he kept his mouth shut.
Marty: "Okay Mystery Lady, why don't you start by telling me who you are and how long you've been ... with Blackburn."
Fallon: "I am not fucking him."
Marty: "Really? That's t he story you're going with? No one's gonna believe that, even if she's a little ... rustic compared to your normal hookups."
Fallon turned to Zach
Fallon: "Would you just tell him?"
Zach: "No way, you told me not to speak for you."
And with a grin, he lifted his hand to his mouth, mimed a key turning in a lock, and tossed the invisible key over his shoulder.
Zach: "We need to talk."
Fallon: "About what?"
Zach: "The other night."
Three guys crowded in the doorway next to Kate.
Finn: "What do you mean 'the other night'?"
Fallon: "Oh, settle down. It's not medieval Ireland, and you don't have to guard my virtue - not that that ship didn't sail years ago."
Frank Senior: *gasp* "Fallon Eileen Hartigan -"
Kate: "Oh, stop sputtering, Frank. Like you were a virgin when we got married."
Fallon, Finn, and Ford: "Mom!"
Kate: "What? Your father and I have enjoyed a very healthy and satisfying sex life for almost as long as we've known each other."
The guy in the police department shirt covered his face with his hand and let out a groan.
Ford: "But we don't want to know about it."
Fallon: "I have one condition."
Zach: "I'm listening."
Fallon: "You make an appearance at a charity carnival fundraiser for the Beacon All Access Clinic. Take pictures. Sign autographs. Try not to growl at the small children."
Zach Ate More Tainted Muffins: Have you ever heard of Baby Shark?
Zach Ate More Tainted Muffins: Click this link: http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=XqZsoesa55w
Zach: Why did u do that 2 me?
Zach Ate More Tainted Muffins: Because I'm evil.
Zach: Can't disagree.
Zach Ate More Tainted Muffins: Plus it'll be stuck in your head now and when things start to get a little stressful you can just bop along to your ear worm.
Zach: There is something not right about you.
Zach Ate More Tainted Muffins: There's a lot not right with me, but that's what makes me fun.
Zach: "Are you okay?"
Fallon: "Why wouldn't I be?"
Zach: "You punched a guy."
Fallon: "I'm a nurse. I can positively swear that I'll live."
Fallon: "Do you like it?"
Zach: "Getting banged up?"
Fallon: "Your job."
Zach: "I used to love it."
Tess: "I walked into the office to find our Fallon wearing a certain tattooed hockey player's sweatshirt while he stood very close to her wearing only a pair of sweatpants that did pretty much nothing to disguise that he was thinking very hard about her."
Fallon: "Tess. You promised not to tell anyone."
Tess: "We share a bestie bond with Gina. That doesn't count as speaking out of turn."
Fallon: "Don't you dare tell Ford."
Gina: "Are you kidding? You and Zach Blackburn were all he could talk about after we got home from the Hartigan lunch the other day. If I told him this, the Hartigan family gossip bat phone would never stop ringing."
Fallon: "I really need to move out of Waterbury. My life would be so much easier."
Text message exchange:
Zach: So now is when you counter.
LL: Is that how negotiating works? You make an offer and I counter offer?
Zach: Do you always go for the sarcasm?
LL: Do you always treat people like they're dumb?
Zach: "This is going to be painful."
Fallon: "Just remember Baby Shark."
Zach: "You're evil."
Fallon: "Don't I know it. Night, Zach."
Zach: "Night, Fallon."
Zach: "Were you spying on me?"
Zach: "You totally were watching me."
Fallon: "You wish."
He turned to the woman with two small kids standing next to Fallon.
Zach: "She was checking me out, wasn't she?"
The woman just giggled, but the little girl she was with nodded yes. He turned back to Fallon, not bothering to keep the triumph off his face.
Zach: "Out of the mouths of babes."
Zach: "What's it gonna take to get you agree to be at the home games?"
Fallon: "Don't forget you want me to call before away games also."
Zach: "Yeah, that, too."
Fallon: "Two more appearances at the clinic, at least one with more of your team."
Zach: "Done. What else?"
Fallon: "If I'm working, I'm working. No guilt-tripping me for not being able to be at a home game."
Zach: "I don't like that."
Fallon: "Too bad. It's nonnegotiable. Some of us have bills to pay."
Fallon: "And I'll need the recipe for this."
Zach: "I hve to marry into the Lopez family to get that."
Fallon: "We all have to make sacrifices. And don't worry, I'll be your best man."
Zach: "You're a pain in the ass."
Fallon: "No kidding. Deal?"
Fallon: "You really like guacamole, huh?"
Zach: "Yes. It's totally my kink."
Fallon: "Brings new meaning to food porn."
Zach: "Did you have to say porn?"
Fallon: "Why? You don't like porn, or you don't like women who like porn outside of a male-gaze type thing?"
The pained groan that escaped from him said everything he couldn't at the moment because they were in the middle of Mama's kitchen as the cooks, the busboys, and the waiters sped around in organized chaos that reminded him of a hockey game. Not even the reminder of all that was on the line for him could bring his dick back under control, though. Not when Fallon was pressed up against him and asking him about porn.
Fallon: "I'll take that as a you like it a little bit too much."
Zach: "I'm trying to be good."
She leaned back against him, tilting her chin upward so that braid of hers slid down his chest.
Fallon: "And here I'd heard you were very good at being the best kind of bad."
Zach: "If we walk out of here together right now, there's only one way tonight ends."
Fallon: "How's that?"
Zach: "Naked. Sweaty. Drained. Exhilarated. Probably sore. Definitely satisfied."
Fallon: "Let's go, Zach."
Fallon: "Tonight doesn't mean a thing. I'm getting you out of my system."
Up went that pierced eyebrow, and the smile that curved his lips was anything but sweet.
Zach: "Are you saying you think about me when you get yourself off?"
Fallon: "You wish."
Zach: "I think you do, and now you have a bunch of fantasies you'd like to see happen in real life."
He popped the button of her jeans.
Zach: "But only for tonight."
Fallon: "You aren't going to get attached, are you?"
Zach: "Worried about breaking my heart?"
Fallon: "I don't think that's gonna be a problem. This is just to get you out of my system. We're clear?"
Zach: "Without a doubt."
Zach: "Like what you see?"
Fallon: "Has anyone ever answered no to that?"
His only answer was a cocky grin as he popped his jeans button open and then slid his zipper down.
Zach: "I'll take that as a yes, you like the view very much."
Fallon: "I don't know. I haven't seen everything yet. The rest could be a disappointment."
Zach: "Could be. There's only one way to find out."
Zach: "I might need a nurse. Don't suppose you know of one?"
Fallon: "That depends. Where does it ache?"
Fallon: "I bet you say that to all the girls."
Zach: "Don't see anyone else here, so why are you letting them in?"
Fallon: "You're trouble, Blackburn."
Zach: "How's that?"
Fallon: "Because that was a hell of a first period. Think you can maintain that all game long?"
Zach: "Without a doubt."
On the phone with her brother:
Finn: "Blackburn? Really, Fallon?"
Fallon: "This has nothing to do with you. And you don't gt to have an opinion about it."
Finn: "I don't like it."
Fallon: "Did you miss the words that just came out of my mouth?"
Finn: "Just be careful. Professional athletes aren't known for monogamy."
Fallon: "Who said monogamy is what I wanted? Maybe I just wanted to get laid so well that I had multiple screaming orgasms that left me in a dick coma and happy. And you know what?"
She spun around and looked at Zach still lounging in bed, the sheets tangled around his calves and his cock hard in his hand.
Fallon: "I got just that, and I'm about to get it again, not because I want him to put a ring on it, but because I like fucking him. It feels phenomenal."
Finn: "How did we end up in this conversation?" sounding completely grossed out.
Despite being about to reach through the phone and knock him upside the head a minute before, she laughed.
Fallon: "You started it."
Finn: "A fact I'll regret for the rest of my life. And I thought Mom's TMI was too much."
Fallon: "Thanks again for covering for me. Talk to you later?"
Finn: "Yeah, go ahead with -" he paused, making a gagging sound. "- whatever."
Zach: "I've never been one for the rules, anyway."
Fallon: "Your penalty minutes stats would agree."
Zach: "Such a ballbuster."
Text message exchange:
LL: Why did you tell me?
Zach: Are you gonna tell?
Zach: That's why. I trust you."
Fallon: "This isn't a good idea."
Zach: "You're right. It's a great one."
Zach: "You look so good like that."
Fallon: "Stop looking and fuck me."
Zach: "Now there's the bossy woman I know."
Fallon: "Are you okay? You just went from dirty-talking fuck machine to silent mode."
Zach: "Do you ever not say what's on your mind?"
Fallon: "Occasionally just to freak people out."
Zach: "I'm pretty sure your brothers are out there fighting with my teammates to see who gets to be first at throwing softballs to the bullseye to send me into the dunk tank."
Zach: "And what are you going to be doing while I'm doing that?"
Rising up on her tiptoes, she gave him a soft kiss that packed a harder punch than any he'd taken on the ice.
Fallon: "I'm going to sneak to the front of the line while all the boys are arguing amongst themselves."
Fallon: "Are you asking me out on a date?"
Fallon: "Considering what happens when there's not plexiglass between us, I'm not sure if it's a good idea."
Zach: "You'd rather come over here? Or I can come over there."
Fallon: "That's not what I meant."
Zach: "What do you mean?"
Fallon: "That despite my better judgment, I'm starting to like you."
Zach: "You make it sound like a bad thing."
Fallon: "More like a dangerous thing."
Zach: "I'm going to convince you to go out with me."
Fallon: "Good luck to you. I'm a stubborn woman."
Zach: "I'll have to play dirty then."
Fallon: "You can't just hang up now without more details. It doesn't work that way."
Zach: "Now you know how I felt when you sent that selfie before my plane took off. Sweet dreams, Fallon."
Zach: "We've never and I would never."
Zach: "She's too nice for me. I like 'em more bitchy."
Fallon: "Is that supposed to flatter me?"
Zach: "Does it?"
Fallon: "A little."
Fallon: "I've seen the kind of women you usually date. That's not me. I don't wear skirts and high heels. I'm not into makeup, or having my hair done, and the idea of getting a manicure gives me the shivers. I don't flirt, and I don't keep my opinions to myself to safeguard someone else's ego."
Zach: "You also wouldn't poison my muffins just so you can play nursemaid."
Fallon: "And that brings up another thing. You're on the road all the time and those hot, sexy women re going to throw themselves at you."
His eyes went wide.
Zach: "You think I'd cheat on you?"
Fallon: "No, but I think there would be comparisons, and I'd be found lacking. I'm not getting a makeover to fit better into your world."
Zach: "Did I ask you to?"
She shook her head.
Zach: "Good, because I'd hate for us to be confused on that point. A makeover is the last thing in the world you need. Those assholes on social media don't have a fucking clue what they're talking about."
Zach: "Today wasn't our first date, it was just our latest."
Fallon: "Were the others so exciting that I totally forgot about them already?"
Zach: "Smart-ass. We've been dating for weeks, but we were both too chicken to call it that."
Fallon: "You are the most frustrating man I know, and my last name is Hartigan, so that is really saying something."
Then she let the comforter drop and straddled him, still giving him the stink eye.
Fallon: "You're lucky you're cute."
Okay, he didn't understand where this was going, but any time she sat on him naked, he was in a better place than when she wasn't.
Zach: "Why's that?"
Fallon: "because otherwise I'd want to keep arguing instead of this."
She leaned down and kissed him as she brought his hands up so they covered her tits.
Fallon: "And you're going to come home after a three-game road trip and make me an omelet before I go to work?"
Zach: "If I'm lucky."
Fallon: "I think I'd be the lucky one in that situation."
Zach: "How about we agree we're lucky together?"
Fallon: "Sounds about right."
Stuckey: "Dude. I told Peppers I wouldn't punch you out if you were a pain in the ass about the furniture. The front office is already talking about trading me to Nashville. Do not increase the chances of that happening because I had to break your nose."
Phillips: "In case you missed it, the team has your back. We always have, even when you ignored us."
Stuckey: "Fuck if I know. I'm kidding. Because you're good people. The fact that you miss that half the time isn't my problem."
Zach: "So the furniture?"
Christensen: "It's our way of saying we lurve you."
Finn: "You finally have an entire weekend off, and this is what you're gonna do?"
She flipped him off.
Fallon: "You're my brother, not the boss of me."
Finn: "Thank you for that deep dive back to middle school."
He plucked the tube of cookie dough from her grasp.
Finn: "If you eat this entire thing you'll die."
Fallon: "If you don't give it back, I'll smother you in your sleep."
Fallon: "Shit. I really fucked up."
Kate: "Yes, you did. Also, watch your language."
Fallon: "I know you're mad. You have every right to be. I was wrong. I should never have disregarded your wishes. I hope someday you'll be able to forgive me. Until then, I brought your hoodie."
Too nervous after that babbling word vomit, she shoved his hoodie in his direction, hitting him square in the chest. When she started to let go, he clapped his hand over hers, holding her in place and sending a jolt of electricity through her.
Zach: "Why did you do it?"
Fallon: "I didn't want anyone to believe your parents' lies. I didn't want them to be able to hurt you anymore. I know that's probably the last thing you want to hear from me, especially after that dig I made about how dumb it was for you to ignore what they were doing, just to protect your pride. Oh God, that sounded so much better when I was planning out what I was going to say in the Uber."
He stroked his thumb over the top of her hand pressed to his chest before letting it go so it dropped back to her side.
Zach: "You thought a lot about this?"
Fallon: "Not enough, obviously. I never meant to accidentally start dating you, and I most certainly didn't mean to fall in love with you, but I did. The fact that I messed it all up will be one of my biggest regrets. I couldn't help it, though. I though, and I still do, that you're worth fight for. Well, that's what I had to say. Good luck tomorrow night. I'll be rooting for you."
Zach: "So that was your plan? Say all of that and walk away?"
Fallon: "I wanted to give you time to think about it."
Zach: "I thought about it. You are always so damn sure you're right, and that you can take on anyone's battles, that you never give anyone else the chance to fight for you. Do you have any idea how frustrating that is?"
He threw his hands up in the air.
Zach: "Very. Do you have any idea what it's like to love someone who can do the wrong thing for the right reason, which makes it impossible to be mad? I've spent most of my life pissed off and guarding against other people. Right until this bossy woman arrived on my doorstep and demanded I let her in. And now you want to go so I can think about things? Forget that. I just need to know one thing. You say I'm worth fighting for, but what about us? Are we worth fighting for? I think we are. I want to be my best with you, not because you're my Lady Luck, but because you're the woman I love."
Fallon couldn't talk. All of her emotions were blocking the words, so she nodded, tears pouring down her cheeks. Using the pad of his thumb, he wiped away her tears.
Zach: Then let's fight for us together."
Zach staring at her as she got up and held a hand to her rounding belly.
Fallon: "Are you going to stop doing that every time you see me? We do have five more months to go."
He dipped his head and gave her a quick kiss
Zach: "I'm in awe every time I see you."
Fallon: "Well, you better feed me while you stare because this baby is hungry."
Zach: "Did you really have to put the ring in a muffin?"
She shrugged and winked at him.
Fallon: "It made me laugh."
Check out the rest of the Hartigan's Family Series below