• “Not that all football players are stupid. I mean, you’re not stupid.” And now the chances that you’ll profess your undying love and steal a kiss before leaving are solidly lodged in never-going-to-happen land. “I can be,” he said, offering a half smile that quickly faded. “But I’d never hit a girl—or woman.” “And which one am I?” she challenged. The corners of his lips turned up. It was amazing how easily his expression slipped into warm and welcoming mode. He’d been all doom and gloom when he’d rushed into the alley, but that wasn’t Noah’s default. He upped the smile-wattage and gave her a full-blown grin. Was he aware of how inviting he appeared? His smile said come closer and I’ll show you . . . “How”

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