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Excerpt: Breaking Cage by AJ Pryor

There is speculation that he killed a girl . . . 

Journalist Hannah Black has just been given the assignment of a lifetime: Get the exclusive story from the Chicago Bears’ new starting quarterback, Derek Cage. There’s only one problem—Derek refuses to talk to reporters. The son of a famed Illinois senator, this football star despises the media.

Hannah has never been one to follow orders, especially when she wants something. When her new assignment tries to give her the brush off, Hannah won't take no for an answer, going to extremes to get the attention of this superstar athlete. 

Drawn to her quirky questions and die-hard persistence, Derek begins opening up to this rookie reporter, and he can’t stay away no matter how hard he tries. 

As the two get closer, Hannah finds herself falling for the enigmatic quarterback. But nothing’s ever easy. As a decade old secret comes to light, Hannah has to decide how far she’ll go and how many lines she’s willing to cross to keep Derek safe. 

Is uncovering the truth worth the risk of losing it all?


“I’ll make a deal with you, Hannah Black.” She turns those soulful eyes on me. “For one night, no questions.”

She glares. “A deal is when each person benefits, Derek. I’m. A. Journalist. No deal.” Her eyes roll, and she goes back to people watching, her leg bouncing in time with the country tune played by the band.

“You didn’t give me a chance to finish,” I say.

Sighing deeply, she nods curtly for me to continue.

“No questions.” She rolls her eyes again. “But you can write about anything you learn tonight. Nothing is off the record.”

Interest swims in her wide eyes as she taps the bar in thought. One, two, three, four . . . each finger taps separately, one after the other.

“No questions?”

I shake my head.

“Not even ‘What are you drinking?’ or ‘I’m drunk, will you take me home?’”

I laugh. “But if that ‘Will you take me home’ is followed by ‘and fuck me senseless,’ I may reconsider.”

“Wishful thinking, Cage. So, a night with no questions.”

“None. If you can’t figure out what I’m drinking on your own, and if I don’t know you’re too drunk to drive, we are both losers. An entire night with no questions, but you can take anything you want from it and use it in your story.”

She picks up her glass, inspects the contents, takes a big sip, and places it on the bar. “Deal.”

Three hours later, Hannah is going on and on about some dude in Los Angeles. I have no idea why she had such a crap day, but it has something to do with this guy named Spencer. “He’s going to ruin my dad.”

“Your dad?”

“That’s a question.”

Damn. I just got schooled by my own rules.

“The minute you found out his name, you should have run the other direction.”

“What’s wrong with his name?”

“Uh-uh, Angel.” Wagging my finger back and forth, I can’t help but laugh at her annoyed expression.

“Okay, but seriously, Spencer is a fun name.”

“Spencer is a name for blond surfers who have nothing but waves on their brain. You can do a lot better than a Spencer.”

“Like a Derek?” She throws a hand over her mouth, laughing. “Shit, the questions just come naturally.”

“Derek is an awesome name, Hannah.”

“Okay, okay, anyway, now that I’m a Midwesterner, I’m moving forward. Upward and onward away from . . . blond surfers named Spencer.”

“Hold up. You have lived here about a month. You can’t call yourself a Midwesterner.”

“I just did.”

“But you’re not.”

She lifts a brow, daring me to challenge her.

“Hannah, have you ever eaten puppy chow?”

“That’s a question, Cage. And a disgusting one.”

I laugh. “There are specific rules to being a Midwesterner.” I look at her black leather jacket, the low-cut dress, and her black high heels. Her skin glows like it’s fresh from the sun, yet she’s naturally pale skinned. She has that dry normal dialect that screams California. She’s fucking hot, and she’s so West Coast it’s like she’s wearing a neon sign.

“What are . . . ugh, screw this no-question game. Tell me what they are.”

“I’ll show you.”

She smiles, and it’s so sweet, so sexy, it blows my fucking mind. “By the time I’m done with you, Hannah Black, you’ll forget Spencer what’s his name ever existed in the first place.”

“Deal,” she breathes out.

If I don’t get up, I’m going to lean forward and kiss her, which would be a terrible idea, considering people surround us. I want another go at those lips and that mouth, but not here, not now. Standing, I point to the bathrooms. I figure taking a leak is the best way to save myself.

“I gotta go, too.” She jumps off the stool and brushes past me, her perfect tits sliding along my chest.

Fuck, I’m so hot for this chick.

Adjusting myself, I follow her to the back of the bar. It’s dark and quiet, most of the customers in the front room listening to the live music. We go into our respective restroom.  

She’s a reporter.

She’s off limits.

These are the rules.

These rules suck.

Hannah is standing against a wall when I leave the bathroom. Her smile is slightly crooked, her eyes filled with something that can only be lust. She outwardly scans my body when I walk toward her, as if she’s undressing me, as though she wants me as badly as I want her. She licks her lips and swallows hard, her gaze landing on mine. The air between us sizzles and my heart beats faster. My groin tightens in anticipation.

Fuck the rules.

About the Author

A.J. Pryor lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two daughters. If not home writing, you can find her at the beach, the yoga studio or the soccer field with her girls. An avid reader of contemporary romance, new adult and young adult novels, her Kindle is always within reach. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

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