Battle for the Top by Ariella Zoelle
Release Date: June 28th, 2021
Whether it’s on or off the tennis court, Knightley is always ready to battle for the top. An explosive confrontation with his nemesis Kingston leads them to take their rivalry to the next level off the court. Can two fierce adversaries turn passion into romance?
Kingston Sabatino throws fuel on my fire like nothing else ever has. Our rivalry is all-consuming since I’m determined to dethrone him and reclaim my rightful place as the number one tennis player in the world. I will beat him, someday.
When I confront Kingston after another devastating loss, the line between my rage and obsession to win begins to blur as I discover there might be another way for me to come out on top. True, I’ve never been attracted to a man before, but the temptation to have him at my mercy matters more to me than his gender. I’m not just willing to make him mine; I want to claim him as mine in every way. Having him give in to me will ultimately be the sweetest victory.
Is it really possible for me to love a man like Kingston while still wanting to be the winner?
I’ll do anything to win Knightley’s heart. That includes becoming the best tennis player in the entire world and defeating him every time we meet. Next, I’ll issue a challenge I know he’ll never be able to resist, even though he’s straight: take his passionate rage out on me in the hottest way possible. That’s how I discover he kisses to win. And I’m not about to let him stop there.
Can I help him see past our rivalry to understand that we’re perfect for each other in every way? Tennis starts with “Love-all,” so let the game begin.
Battle for the Top is a standalone novella featuring a rivals to lovers, bisexual awakening, sports romance. Full of hot banter and sexy fun, this book ends with a satisfying HEA and no cliffhangers.
Chapter 2: Kingston Sabiano
It was a pleasant change of pace to not dissolve into instant bickering, so I enjoyed the silence as we drifted in our separate thoughts. It lasted longer than I had expected before he asked me, “How long have you been planning this?”
Rather than telling the truth, I kept my answer playful. “Your arguments with reporters at press conferences give me a lot of time to think about other stuff I’d rather be doing.”
“Like me?” He scoffed at the notion. “You can’t be serious.”
I couldn’t resist teasing him a little. “Our fighting wasn’t foreplay for you?”
He turned his head to stare at me. “Seriously?”
I gave him my best attempt at an innocent expression. “What? Our banter really gets me going.”
Covering his face to hide the grin he couldn’t quite smother, he laughed hard. For once, it wasn’t bitter or haughty, but a sound of genuine amusement that warmed my heart. “Is that why you antagonize me?”
“Yes, and I’m very offended it took two years to get you to translate that into ‘please fuck me stupid,’” I said with mock upset. My peals of laughter ruined the effect, though. “How much more obvious could I be that I desired you?”
I reached out to caress his cheek with my clean hand as I gave him a sincere look. “Because all I have ever wanted these past five years was to be yours.”
“Five years? We’ve only been competing for two.”
“Yes, because it took me three years to become good enough to stand on the same stage as you.” I opened my heart up to him, hoping like hell he didn’t reject me for it. “I’ve been chasing after you since you trounced Terrence Rayston in your debut match.”
It was the first time I had ever stunned him into silence. Swallowing hard, he eventually said, “I don’t understand.”
“The media dubbed you the Iceman because of your icy blue eyes, the way you ruthlessly defeated every opponent, and your cold and aloof demeanor.” I stroked the outline of his strong jaw, amazed he hadn’t rejected me yet. “It confused me how so many people got you so wrong.”
“What do you mean?”
“You’re not ice—you’re fire.” I took a deep breath to steady my nerves. “I didn’t understand how none of them could see that you burn with a need to be the best and always win. You torched all your opponents to ashes with every triumph. It took me years to become good enough to feel your heat as I faced off against you.”
When he said nothing, I hesitated before I continued confessing. “If I didn’t beat you, you’d never notice me. That meant I had to be better than the best, because that was the only way to make you focus all your fire on me. I’m the only one who can withstand your flames. To make you see that, I had to drive you wild by being unbeatable. I want you to only burn for me.”
About the Author
Ariella Zoelle previously published as A.F. Zoelle. She adores steamy, funny, swoony romances where couples are allowed to just be happy. That means she writes low angst stories full of heat, humor, and heart. Her vast knowledge of weird, wild, and wonderful randomness colors her writing, meaning her characters have some pretty strange and entertaining interests.
There are even rumors that she’s a time management wizard who uses her magic powers to create enough free time to turn her massive horde of plot bunnies into sassy M/M romance novels. Her next feat will be turning herself into a full-time author.
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To celebrate Ariella’s upcoming release, we are giving away One of 3 backlisted eBooks by Ariella Zoelle!