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Time Out Mass Market Paperback – February 21, 2012

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About the Author

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jill Shalvis is the award winning author of over three dozen romance novels.  Visit www.jillshalvis.com for a complete book list and a daily blog chronicling her I-Love-Lucy attempts at having it all; the writing, the kids, a life ...

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

As always, Rainey's brain was full, too full, but one thought kept rising to the top and wouldn't leave her alone. "Tell me again," she asked Lena. "Why do we like men?"

Her best friend and wingman—even though Lena was no longer technically single—laughed. "Oh, honey. We don't have enough time."

They both worked at the beleaguered North District Rec Center in Santa Rey, a small mid-California beach town. Lena handled the front desk. Rainey was the junior sports coordinator, and today she was running their biweekly car wash to raise funds for their desperate sports program. Sitting on a stool in the driveway of the rec building's parking lot, Rainey directed cars in and accepted customers' money, then sent them through to the teenagers who were doing the washing. She kept her laptop out for the slow times. In between cars she'd been working on the upcoming winter sports schedule while simultaneously discussing all things men. Rainey was nothing if not a most excellent multitasker.

And maybe the slightest bit of a control freak.

"I thought you were going to try that online dating service," Lena said.

"I did. I got lots of offers for hookups."

Lena laughed. "Well, what were you looking for?"

Coffee, a few laughs, a connection… A real connection, which Rainey was missing lately. Her last two boyfriends had been great but…not great enough. Lena thought she was picky. In truth, Rainey was looking for something that she'd only felt once before, a very long time ago, when she'd been sixteen and stupid. "Men suck."

"Mmm," Lena said. "If they're very good, they do. Listen, you've had a dry spell, is all. Get back in the pool, the water's warm."

"I haven't had a dry spell, I've just been busy." Okay, so she'd had a little bit of a dry spell. She'd been spending a lot of time at work, trying to keep the teens in the North District—the forgotten district—out of trouble. That alone was a full-time job. She turned to the next car. Mrs. Foster had the highest beehive in all the land, and had been Rainey's fourth grade teacher. "Thanks for supporting the rec center's car wash," Rainey said.

"You're welcome." Her beehive, bluer now than ever, still quivered. "I was going to go to South District since they're giving away ten minute back massages with each wash, but I'm glad I didn't. I overheard about your dry spell, dear. Let me get you a date with my grandson, Kyle."

Great. A pity date. "No, that's—"

"He's quite the catch, you know," Mrs. Foster said. "I'll have him call your mother for your number."

"Really, it's not necessary—"

But Mrs. Foster was already driving forward, where her car was immediately attended to by a group of Rainey's well-behaved teens.

Okay, not all that well-behaved. Rainey had coerced them here on threat of death and dismemberment, but they desperately needed the money if they wanted a baseball and softball season.

"Score on Mrs. Foster's grandson," Lena said dryly.

"Think Kyle still has buck teeth?"

"My mom won't give him my number." Probably. Okay, she totally would. Rainey had gone to school with Kyle, so her mother would think him safe enough. Plus, she'd turned thirty last week and now her mom was on a mission to get her married before it was "too late." Hot and sweaty, Rainey swiped her forehead. It might be only June, but it was ninety degrees, and she'd been sitting out here for hours. Her Anaheim Ducks ball cap shaded her face for the most part but she could feel that she'd still managed to sunburn her nose, and her sunglasses kept slipping down her damp face.

They'd fed the teens pizza about an hour ago, and the kids were using the fuel to scrub cars and squirt each other every chance they got. They were down a few bodies since Rainey had kicked four of the guys out, the same four who always gave her trouble. They'd been trying to coerce one of the younger teen girls into the woods with them. even long before the fires had devastated Santa Rey the previous summer, the North District had been steadily deteriorating, and that core group of four were hell-bent on deteriorating right along with the area. Working at the rec center was far more than a job for Rainey. She genuinely cared about this community and the kids, but those boys had no interest in her help. She couldn't allow them back, not after today, and given that they'd called her a raging bitch as they'd vacated the premises, the hard feelings were mutual.

"Rick promised to take me out to dinner tonight," Lena said.

Rick was a lifelong friend of Rainey's as well as her boss, and also Lena's boyfriend. "Huh," she said. "He promised me some summer league coaches." Coaches who wouldn't quit when the going got rough, like the volunteer coaches tended to do. "It's three days before the start of the season."

"He's on it," Lena said, just as the man himself walked by, all dark eyes, dark hair, and a dark smile that never failed to get him what he wanted.

He flashed it at Rainey now. "I promised," Rick said.

"And I'll deliver."

"Great," Rainey said. "But when—"

But nothing. He'd given Lena a quick, soft smile and was already gone, back inside the building to wield his power there.

"I hate it when he does that," Rainey grumbled.

Lena sighed dreamily. "If he hadn't tasked me with a hundred things more than I have time to manage this morning, I'd totally want to have his babies."

"Honey, you're dating him. You've been dating him for a year now. Chances are decent that you will be having his babies."

Lena beamed, ridiculously happy. Rainey wasn't jealous. Yes, Rick was hot, but they were friends, and had been since high school. Because of it, they knew far too much about each other. For instance, Rainey knew Rick had lost his virginity behind the high school football stands with their substitute P.E. teacher. In turn, Rick knew that Rainey had tried to lose her virginity with his brother—the last guy she'd felt that elusive connection with—and been soundly rejected. At the humiliating years-old memory, she slumped in her seat. "What if my dry spell is like the Sahara Desert, neverending?"

"All you have to do is take a man at face value. Don't go into it thinking you can change them. Men aren't fixer-uppers, not like a house or a car. You buy them as is."

"Well I haven't found one yet who's not in need of a little fixing."

Lena laughed. "No kidding, Ms. Control Freak."


"Face it, Rainey, you always have to have a plan with a start, a middle and an end. Definitely an end. You have to know everything before you even get into it. Dating doesn't work that way."

"Well, it should." Rainey gestured the next car through, accepting the money and handing out more change. The teens were moving the cars along at a good pace, and she was proud of them. "Everyone could benefit from a well executed plan."

"A love life doesn't work that way," Lena said. "And trust me, you need a love life."

"You can get a love life in a specialty shop nowadays, complete with a couple of batteries." Rainey took a moment to organize the cash box and quickly checked her work email on the laptop. "Thirty new emails," she groaned. All timely and critical, and she'd have to deal with them before the end of the day. Goody.

"I could help you with some of that," Lena offered.

"I've got it."

"See? Control freak."

Ignoring that painful truth, Rainey deleted a few emails and opened a few others. She loved her job, and was doing what she wanted. She'd gone to business school but she'd come back here to do this, to work with kids in need, and to give back. The work was crazy in the best of times. But these days, in the wake of the tragic California coast fires that had destroyed three out of four of their athletic fields last fall, not to mention both buildings where all their equipment had been housed, were not the best of times. Worse, the lease for the building they were in was up at the end of the year and they couldn't afford renewal.

Problem was, she had a hundred kids, many of them displaced from their own burned-out homes. She wanted to give them something to do after school that didn't involve loitering, shoplifting, drugs or sex. She'd just started to close her laptop when her gaze caught on the Yahoo news page. Hitting the volume key, she stared at a sports clip showing a seedy bar fight between some NHL players from the Anaheim Ducks and Sacramento Mammoths.

The clip had been playing all week, because…well, she hadn't figured out why, other than people seemed to love a sports scandal. The video was little more than a pile of well-known professional athletes wrestling each other to the ground in some L.A. bar, fists flying, dust rising.

Rainey gestured another car through, then turned back to the screen, riveted by the million-dollar limbs and titillating show of testosterone. On the day the footage had been taken, the two teams had been in the Stanley Cup finals. The game had been decided on a controversial call in favor of the Ducks, killing the Mammoths' dreams.

That night at the bar, the Mammoth players had instigated the fight, holding their own against four Ducks until their head coach strode up out of nowhere. At thirty-four, Mark Diego was the youngest, most popular NHL head coach in the country.

And possibly even more gorgeous than his brother Rick.

On the tape, Mark's eyes narrowed in on the fight as he walked fearlessly into the fray, pulling his players out of the pile as though they weigh...


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Harlequin (February 21, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0373796730
  • ISBN-13: 978-0373796731
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.6 x 6.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,248,529 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis lives in a small town in the Sierras full of quirky characters. Any resemblance to the quirky characters in her books is, um, mostly coincidental. Look for Jill's bestselling, award-winning books wherever romances are sold and visit http://www.jillshalvis.com for a complete book list and daily blog detailing her city-girl-living-in-the-mountains adventures.
or email her at contact@jillshalvis.com

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By akb--bookworm VINE VOICE on March 11, 2012
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I haven't had much luck with Harlequin Blaze stories. Actually, I had sworn off Blaze...until I saw this one by Jill Shalvis. I've only read a few stories by Ms. Shalvis, which I enjoyed, and thought I'd give this one story a try. And I'm glad I did.

Rainey Saunders has crushed on Mark Diego since forever. They were always good friends as he is the older brother of one of her best friends, Rick. However, their friendship fizzled and died when she tried to throw herself at him on her 16th birthday and things didn't go well. Today, Rainey is a director at the city recreation center in charge of youth programs. Mark is a top NHL coach and plans on spending his off-season volunteering in his hometown bringing Rainey and Mark together.

Rainey has been avoiding Mark for years, but even she can't deny that sparks fly every time they come within 10 feet of each other. Mark figures he's stuck in the small town for the summer and Rainey will be a great way to pass the time. He's never had a woman tell him no before. Try as she might, Rainey can't avoid Mark forever as Mark has her in his sights and won't look away.

I absolutely loved watching Rainey and Mark dance around each other. They were both fun characters to watch as they learned to let go of their past, stretch out of their comfort zones, and come together.

The cast of secondary characters helped round out the story. I'm not usually a fan of stories that feature a group of teenagers as the teenagers are usually clichéd and or not realistic. However; the group of kids that hang out at the city recreation were really well done and actually brought out a lot in both Mark and Rainey.

My only hang up was the ending; it just abruptly ended without telling us HOW they worked things out.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By RiverinaRomantics on March 6, 2012
Format: Mass Market Paperback

Time Out definitely pulled me out of my somber mood and left me smiling. It was sweet, it was sexy and it was thoroughly enjoyable from start to finish.

Rainey starts off having one of those common moments where she is looking disheveled and dreary (actually soaked to the bone after spending a day at the fundraising car wash) when the love of her teenage years drives up.

And like you can imagine as clear as day, Mark is drop dead gorgeous and looking as good as sin.

Sparks start flying straight away with the heated tension never ending and the laughs just kept coming. This book was so light, humorous and easily enjoyable that I am craving more of Jill Shalvis's work, just so I can continue to stay in this dreamy *sigh* state.

With the perfect mix of sweet, sexy and sigh worthy moments, this is definitely a great read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Nikki B on April 2, 2012
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Trying to work some magically good PR, Mark, coach of a NHL Hockey team, goes home to help his brother and his struggling local recreation center. He never expected to run into the one woman who has haunted him for years. Rainey threw herself at him at a very delicate time and even though he wanted her it just wasn't the right time. Now he gets another chance at convincing her that now is the right time...if only for a few days.

Rainey cut all ties with Mark after she embarrassed herself and ran out on him. After all these years just a look from him can still make her heart stutter and she knows she's in deep trouble. Having a "sex only" relationship starts out as a good plan until she suddenly finds herself falling for him again. Mark isn't a forever kind of guy and he's made himself clear that he can only offer a few days. Can Rainey stop her heart from falling for the only guy she has ever truly loved?

Time Out is a short, stand alone Harlequin romance from their Blaze line. Blaze meaning spicier then their run of the mill romances. Time Out, being wrote by Jill Shalvis was a definite read for me on the authors name alone. I generally love a good Shalvis romance. As a whole I did enjoy this short book. It was hot and steamy with enough push and pull that I found myself eager to turn the page. I *may* have a slight thing with Latino men...ok ok , I do. I wanted to climb up Mark's body and wrap my legs around his head like a vise. He was yummyrific! Too bad he spends the majority of the book totally going against everything his body is telling him. He thought way to much and didn't feel what his heart was trying to tell him. He spent every turn trying to convince people that he was a normal, average guy but he spent a ton of money every time he needed something done.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Not Telling on November 7, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
This was the worst Shalvis book I've ever read. All the main characters do is have sex. They don't talk to each other about anything other than sex, or they're fighting. Then suddenly they're both so turned on they have to do it right then and there. No character development, no character growth, no maturity either.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By What's On the Bookshelf on July 2, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
I selected this book out of curiosity. First, it was about hockey... who could resist that?? Secondly, Jill Shalvis is the author. Again...hard to resist. You combine both of those, and well there was no way I couldn't at least give the book a try.

Mark is one of those guys you fall in love with from the word go. He's not only smart, he's caring and gives the same respect he expects from his players. That's what takes him home for the off season. When his players get into trouble he plans to make them do some volunteer work. There was an almost instant chemistry between him and Rainey. Their path to admitting their feelings is humorous, heart wrenching, and heart melting all at the same time.

Rainey loves what she does. She devotes her time to the kids she spends every day with, even if it means putting herself in the line of fire with their parents. When Mark shows up she's unhappy about it and wants to avoid him. But that's pretty much impossible. Rainey's one of those heroines that you can't help but root for. When she likes Mark, you like Mark. When she's mad at him, you're mad at him. I enjoyed the dynamic between Rainey and the supporting characters.

There's plenty of goodness in this book to keep you turning page after page. If you like hockey and hot guys then definitely check out TIME OUT. Even if you don't like hockey you still need to give this book a try. You won't be disappointed!
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