C A T C H  A N D  C R A D L E

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Thou shalt not date thine teammates.

The UNS Women’s Lacrosse team doesn’t have an official policy against inter-teammate relationships, but those words might as well be carved into stone tablets in the middle of the field. After witnessing way too much drama in the past, Captain Becca Moore is intent on keeping her players’ love lives out of the locker room.

Becca has no time or tolerance for any distractions from the game. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what Hope Hastings has been since the day she showed up for tryouts: one walking, talking, charismatically dorky and way-too-kissable distraction.

Hope knew she was headed straight to the danger zone from the moment she saw Becca’s flame-red hair and surly captain smirk. She’s spent the past two years writing off her attraction as a harmless crush, but starting a new semester fresh out of an awful relationship makes Hope realize just how far from harmless the heat between her and Becca really is.

The friendships of a tight-knit team and their shot at the title are all lying on the line, but as Hope and Becca get closer to bending rules they’ve sworn never to break, they realize they’ve put their hearts on that line too. Losing has never been an option, but winning might cost more than they’re willing to pay.

Catch and Cradle is a New Adult F/F romance from Katia Rose that’s filled with all the hilarity and heartache of finding your way through college while discovering love, friendship, and what it means to be yourself.

E X C E R P T

There’s nothing like a cold shower after a good, long practice.

I stay in for longer than I normally do. By the time I’m patting myself dry with a towel, my hands have gone a little pruney. I throw my stuff over my shoulder and leave the stall with my towel wrapped around me like a dress.

Back at my locker, I pull on some fresh underwear and a pair of old grey sweatpants I cut into shorts. I have my head shoved in my locker as I dig around for the extra sports bra I know I have in here somewhere when I hear footsteps behind me.

“Oh hey, I didn’t—oh.”

The greeting starts out loud and confident before ending with a soft, almost breathless oh as the footsteps come to a halt.

My own breath catches, and my whole chest blooms with heat. I’m hyperaware of every bare inch of my skin as I turn my head to look over my shoulder.

Hope is standing there in a baggy t-shirt and tight running shorts. Her hair is piled in a messy bun on the top of her head, the ends of it beaded with water like she just had a shower too. She’s staring at my back, her eyes wide behind her glasses. Even under her oversized shirt, I can see the rapid rise and fall of her chest.

My whole body is tingling, and I can’t move. I can’t speak. I can’t do anything except stand there half-naked as she raises her gaze to look at my face.

Her neck is starting to flush a deep pink.

“You, uh—you have a tattoo,” she stammers, her voice so much softer than when she’s out joking around on the field.

For a second, I don’t even register the meaning of the words.

“Huh?”

“Your, uh, yeah. Tattoo. I didn’t know you—you had that.”

I force myself to swallow so I can speak. “Oh. Yeah.”

It would help if I actually had words to say. I can’t stop thinking about what would happen if she stepped closer, if I turned around.

My hands have started digging through my locker again of their own accord, like they need something to keep themselves busy. I feel my fingers catch on the fabric I was looking for.

I swivel my head back around and pull my bra all the way out of the locker. My hands shake a little as I lift them up to pull the bra over my head, tugging it down past the two lines of text inked onto my upper back. My arms don’t even feel like they’re attached to my body. I hear Hope clear her throat behind me.

“I didn’t know anyone was in here. I, uh, forgot something in my locker.”

I hear her take a few steps, and then the clicking and whirring sound of a combination lock fills the silence. I risk turning to take another look at her. I can see the tension in her shoulders. There are a few drops of water sliding from her hair and down the back of her neck.

I want to lick them off her skin.

“That tattoo,” she says after she gets her locker open. I look down and start digging for a shirt in my backpack before she can catch me staring.

“Yeah?” I ask after a few moments pass.

I look back up, and this time she’s watching me. Her eyes are on my bare stomach, and her lips are parted just a bit.

There’s no way I’m imagining this. I can’t be. That is not how you look at someone you haven’t thought about touching.

“Is it...” She drags her attention back up to my face like her eyes don’t want to obey.

I don’t want them to either. I want her to keep looking at me like that. I want her to keep looking at me like for so long one of us has to do something about it.

Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.

Part of my brain is blaring a warning siren, but it’s not loud enough for my body to listen.

“Is it from a poem?” she finishes.

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