Bravo Sydney. Bravo. And oh the sex scenes were hot as heck too. Can’t go wrong.”

“A whirlwind romance and good old fashioned unadulterated sex! You can feel the love for the characters and can really get lost in the story.”

This book is re-read material.”

Trama, isolation, courage, love. . . Anxious Love

Hopeful about his future after overcoming loss, Ryan Ware is living his dream life as a first round draft pick. He’s enjoying every crazy minute of fame, fortune, and gorgeous women.

Despite being the most sought-after writer in romance, severe anxiety keeps Leah Jones isolated. Having a regimented life keeps the triggers at bay that could put her back in the hospital, perhaps permanently.

A chance meeting in New Orleans, Leah’s brown eyes capture Ryan’s heart, and he vows to learn more about this reclusive beauty.

Can Leah’s anxieties withstand Ryan’s crazy life? Can Ryan learn enough about real love to be the right man for Leah?

Anxious Love contains explicit scenes of a sexual nature and is not suitable for readers under 18 years of age.

Read Chapter 1

Copyrighted Material Sydney Aaliyah Michelle 2016 – All Rights Reserved by SAM & Associates, LLC

Fuck, where is she?

Oh, shit, I mean, excuse me. I told myself I would stop cussing. My agent said first round draft picks didn’t need to cuss. It was fine when I was a young college punk who didn’t know any better, but I was a professional athlete, a defensive lineman in the National Football League.

I’ll never get tired of hearing it.

But, some statements didn’t quite live up to the intended meaning without a well placed Fuck.

Like now. Where the fuck was she?

“Anna?”

“Hey, Ryan. Sweetie. Doesn’t your sexy body look hot this morning.” Anna licked her lips. “What’ll it be today, proteins or carbs?”

I grinned at Anna, her inappropriate compliments made my day. Not that I was attracted to her. Guessing her age at fifty was generous. She lived a hard fifty, too. Her wrinkles had wrinkles. Her uniform, how do I say this nicely, inadequately compressed her assets. “Protein. Thanks love.”

“Sure thing, sweetie.” She reached out and pinched my chin. The first time she touched me, I had to force myself not to flinch. I figured if the old woman got a thrill from flirting with me every day, what’s the harm. Besides, I needed information.

She dropped off my four egg white and two egg, low-fat cheese, and ham omelet and refilled my coffee mug.

“Enjoy.” She winked.

“Anna? You remember the girl who used to come in here. She would sit over there.” I pointed to the booth closest to the open door. “Black girl, wavy brown hair, light brown eyes.”

“Oh, you mean Leah?” She asked, her voice rose an octave.

“Leah.” I said her name out loud and reveled in the way it sounded. The name conjured imaged of regalness, royalty, a princess. The name fit her.

“Yes, Leah. Always on her laptop typing away between bites.”

“Yeah, that’s her. What happened to her?” I shoved a fork full of eggs in my mouth but reminded myself to slow down and eat properly. First round draft picks didn’t eat like cavemen.

“She’s an interesting young lady. She doesn’t say much. Been coming here off and on for the last three years.” Anna shuffled to the counter. ”I know she lives in the quarter, but I hadn’t seen her in here for a while. Harry, you know Leah, were’s she been lately?”

I distinctive grunt echoed from the kitchen.

“Oh, you know. They cute little black girl who’s always click-clicking away on her computer.” Anna made the motion with her hands.

Harry mumbled and shrugged his shoulders. I laughed and turned back to me food, but I stopped mid bite when something on my left caught my eye.

A family of tourists pushed their way through the door and crammed themselves in the booth in front of me. I wasn’t sure if they spotted me from the street, but they recognized me. I put my head down and tuned in as they debated with their young son on whether or not he should get my autograph.

The whole fame thing was new. I attended college at Notre Dame and selected All-American the last two years, but lineman weren’t famous unless you were JJ Watt.   

The kid rolled his eyes at his parents, slid out of his both, and approached.

“Uhm, Sir.” I smiled and he blinked. “I’m sorry to bother you.” He gulped and sweat popped out on his forehead. “Are you Ryan Ware?”

“I am Ryan Ware and what’s your name.” I reached out and tousled the kid’s messy brown hair.   

“Dillon.” He breathed a sign of relief. We had introduced ourselves, his lungs kicked back in.

“Nice to meet you, Dillon.” I reached for the pen and napkin he held. His eyes grew wide as I signed my autograph. “Where you from?”

“Uh, Houston.”

“You a Texan fan.”

“Yep,” he said with his little chest puffed out. “But, I’ll root for you, too. You see, I don’t really like the Texans, but my friend Jimmy. His dad . . .”

The kid’s explanation continued, but I missed it. I spotted Leah on the street. I watched her march down the block. He dark green sun dress flowed around her, as her left hand glided down the side of the building. She paused at the street corner and survey her surroundings, but instead of heading across the street and into the diner, she took a left. I stared, watched her walk away from me. He firm slender legs took long steps, her dress exposed her the back of her knees as the wind caught it. As she stopped at the next block, I came back to my senses.

“Excuse me, Dillon,” I said as I scooted out of the booth. “Anna, keep my eggs warm, I’ll be right back.”

I side stepped a couple walking into the diner. Leah turned the corner out of sight. Her long thin fingers gripped the side of the building as she rounded it.

The French Quarter streets ran on a distinguishable north, south, east, west grid, but the streets themselves curved. If she took too many turns I would loose her. My slow jog turned into a sprint. I rounded the next corner. I called her, but she ignored me.

She rounded another corner and my stomach rolled.

Where is she going?

It was seven am. Nothing opened this early except a couple of diners, most filled with the morning tourist crowd.

She stopped to look in a store window on Royal Street. I slowed down and sighed in relief.

I reached out and grabbed her arm. My hand touched her flesh. A shock shot up my arm.

My jaw slacked as she pivoted on her left foot, raise her arms and balled her fist, ready to strike. She morphed from a carefree girl on a Tuesday morning stroll to a ninja inspired posture ready to defend herself to the death.

She is so freakin hot!

“Whoa. Hold up.” I held my hands out in surrender.

“What are you doing?” She asked, her tone strong. She stepped forward and I snapped back into defensive mode, my thumb skating over my fingers tips, ready to react.

I took a deep breath.

“I’m not going to hurt you.”

“Why did you touch me, why would you put your hands on me?”

“Leah, relax, I called you, but you didn’t respond.”

She removed her earpieces with one hand while maintaining her offensive posture with the other.

“How do you know my name?” She softened her tone.

“Anna at Poppies told me.”

Her head cocked. She eyed me with uncertainty.

I lowered my hands. Although, the threat of her hurting me hung in the air.

My heart raced and so did hers. I noted the rise and fall of her breast as my gaze landed on her cleavage. I blinked, shook my head, and focused.

“I promise, I’m not going to hurt you.” She smirked, uncertain of my intentions.

If I took a couple of steps forward, at six foot four, I would tower over her. I out weighed her by at least one hundred and fifty pounds, but a part of me thought, she could hurt me if she wanted too. She stared me down, her mind working on a plan, weighing the options on the best way to drop me and escape. I took another step back.

“Don’t hurt me, I just …” I didn’t know what I wanted. Well, I did, but —

“What do you want?”

“I used to see you,” I pointed back. “At Poppies and you haven’t been around in awhile. When I saw you, I told myself, I couldn’t risk not talking to you again.”

“Why?”

“Why? What do you mean why?” I narrowed my eyes and shook my head. She dropped her hands, which lessen the tension. Her left hand petted the building.

“Why do you want to talk to me?”

“Because you’re beautiful.”

She rolled her eyes gorgeous brown eyes and turn.

“Wait.”

She turned back. The muscles in her neck tensed. She waited.

“Fuck.” I whispered under my breath and she cracked a smile. It was slight and disappeared as soon as it appeared, but I caught it. It gave me hope, but I needed to talk fast.

“I notice you at Poppies. It’s the reason I made it my daily breakfast stop after my morning run. I looked forward to seeing you every morning. You alway seem in your own little world. I didn’t want to bother you, but when I didn’t see you the last few days, I missed you.” I said without breathing. “Is that weird?”

“Yes.”

“Hey look. We agree on something. That’s a start.” I extended my hand. “I’m Ryan Ware.”

She stared at my hand. Her eyes narrowed. She placed a hand on her stomach, the other flexed on the side of the building. She scanned the area. I turned to see what she was looking at, but my gaze returned to her when she reached out and shook my hand.

“Leah Jones.”

I had run four miles this morning. The temperature remained a humid, sweltering, eight-five degrees and her touch gave me a chill in the best way. I tried to recall if I had every been turned on by a handshake before. A hand job, yea, but never a handshake.

Leah sensed it, too.

Her throat hitched, and her breast drew my attention again.

Her gaze caught mine before working its way down to my chest. Her gazed dropped further followed by her biting her lip.   

“Oh, uhm. It’s nice to meet you, Leah.”

Fuck.

She blushed and turned away.

I can’t believe I popped a woody in front of this girl. What, am I twelve years old?

I exhaled and adjusted myself. My eyes remained on the ground.

Fuck me again, if the scripted tattoo on her ankle wasn’t sexy as hell and didn’t help my hard on go away.

My fingers twitched.

“So, uh, why did you stop coming to Poppies?”

“I uhm, kind of have a thing about being around a lot of people.” She turned back to me, “First round draft picks kind of garner a crowd everywhere they go.” I gave up trying to decipher the tattoo and grinned. She recognized me.

“I didn’t mean to run you out of your place. I could go someplace else.”

“No, really it’s fine. I found another place.”

“Oh yeah, where?”

She hesitated.

“I promise not to ruin that place for you, too.”

She laughed and my dick ached it wanted out so bad.

“I do want to see you again.” While wearing a pair of jeans. “Maybe I could take you out to dinner or something?”

Leah touched the building, her brow scrunched up, contemplated my invitation.

“Or something?”

“Yeah, I could wear a disguise if it will make you feel better.”

She smiled. The breeze blew. Relishing the opportunity to touch her, I reached up to push a strand of hair off her face. She beat me to it as she took another cautious step back.

“I don’t usually go out with strangers, but —“

“But, I like the sound of that.” She arched her eyebrow and I shut up before she changed her mind.

“There’s a bar on Iberville called 21st Amendment. I hang out there sometime during the day. My friends own it. I’ll be there tomorrow around three if you want to stop by for a drink.”

“21st Amendment. Prohibition, right?”

“Very good.” She giggled. “They taught you that at Notre Dame.”

“Nah, I learned that from Boardwalk Empire.”

She laughed out loud and it sounded so good and stopped too soon. She scanned her surroundings and walked away.

“Tomorrow at three?” Confirming we had definite plans.

She waved. I noted everything before she disappeared. Her lean calves, her muscular thighs visible beneath her flirty little dress. I caught a glimpse of the profile of her round ass as she turned the corner.

I collapsed against the building, waiting for my own lungs to kickstart.

When I regained composure and the ability to walk, I pushed off the building and headed back to Poppies.

Perplexed at how getting drafted, signing a multi-million dollar contract and achieving all my goals paled in comparison to meeting Leah.

Fuck me, I mean. . . oh hell, fuck me, I am in trouble.