Bad Boys of Football #2 - Game for Seduction - Bella Andre Page 0,1

lots of erotic data for her evergrowing fantasies about him. If only she didn't always make such a fool of herself around him! Her brain sputtered helplessly; her mouth said stupid things; she walked into tables and spilled drinks.

That Christmas, Dominic DiMarco was laughing with her father in front of the fire, a big-breasted blonde on his arm. The beautiful girl was tall and thin and perfectly dressed‚ÄĒeverything Melissa expected one of Dominic's girlfriends to be.

Melissa cringed as she caught sight of her reflection in a serving tray on the kitchen counter. She had a drawer full of expensive makeup she'd never had the guts to use . . . until today. Instead of pulling her unruly curls into a tight ponytail, she'd brushed her hair until it formed a halo around her head like a lion's mane. She wasn't sure if her new hairstyle was better than the ponytail, but at least it was more grown-up. As for clothes, since she attended a private school that required a uniform, she didn't have much to choose from. She'd finally decided on a pair of snug black pants her mother had bought her last year and a tight red sweater she'd borrowed from her much skinnier best friend Alice.

Watching the beautiful men and women chat, Melissa's hands grew damp and her stomach started to hurt. There was no way she could go out there; she could never compete with the supermodels enjoying her family's hospitality.

She turned to leave just as her father caught sight of her. "Melissa, come out and say hello to everyone."

Licking her suddenly dry lips nervously, praying she wouldn't make a fool of herself in front of Dominic, Melissa slowly pushed through the kitchen door and walked into the living room.

"What's that on your face?" her father exclaimed in a loud, slightly drunk voice. "And what the hell are you wearing?"

Twenty pairs of eyes turned her way, the Christmas CD playing in the background actually began to skip, and all conversation stopped.

Dying of embarrassment, Melissa barely noticed her mother moving to her side in support. Her father's blunt remarks had often hurt her feelings, but never this badly. She wanted to run out of the room, but her feet felt as heavy as bags of cement.

Desperately hoping no one else had heard her father's comments, she forced a smile. "Hi, guys," she said with a dumb little wave. She avoided Dominic's gaze. "Merry Christmas."

Two dozen gorgeous, talented men and women smiled back at her with varying degrees of pity in their eyes. It was the most awful, embarrassing moment of her life.

Her father turned to open a bottle of Cristal, and she was about to make a break for her bedroom when he peered at her again. "And what on earth did you do to your hair? It looks like you have a big orange basketball on your head."

Tears sprang to Melissa's eyes just as Dominic said, "Stop upsetting the kid." He turned to face her. "You look great," he lied, then gestured to the table of appetizers. "Are you hungry?"

Dominic's girlfriend coughed behind her hand, but Melissa knew she was disguising a giggle. Feeling like a freak show, Melissa shook her head. "I should get back to my homework now."

As soon as she turned away, her tears started falling. Dominic DiMarco would never look at her as anything other than a stupid little girl. Never.

Melissa looked up from her vivid memory to find everyone looking at her and felt her cheeks flush. Quickly, she shook off the sense that she was still seventeen, chunky, and painfully insecure. Ten years had passed since then, long enough for Melissa to transform herself from a shy, overweight teenager into a curvy, confident woman. She was currently single by choice, not because she couldn't get a date. No longer in her early twenties, she just wasn't interested in wasting her time dating guys who couldn't possibly be "the one." She was holding out for someone special . . . someone like Dominic.

He stepped out from under the lights and walked to her, and her heart pounded hard and fast.

"Don't worry. I'll be gentle. I promise," he said in a low voice that only she could hear.

She had no idea what he was talking about. But her body reacted to his deep, sexy voice, her ni**les beading against her silk bra.

"I think I missed something," she whispered. "Why is everyone staring at me?"

He grinned, his smile slow and full of heat. Melissa