Jock: A Secret Baby Sports Romance(3)By: Aubrey Irons
“I’ll check in tomorrow, Dad.”
“Go get ‘em, hotshot.”
I slip the phone back into my bag as I down the rest of my whiskey.
I’m good at what I do, and I’ve got zero apprehension about my rep and my abilities as a down and dirty negotiator to swing things in our favor. The name “LJ Jacobs” carries weight in the backrooms of clubhouses and in the banter of locker rooms - even if most of them are assuming someone who looks more like my dad than me before I show up.
Which I definitely use in my favor, by the way.
I will get Holden Cade signed to the Bulls, and I’m going to do it in spite of his juvenile bullshit. He might be used to everyone rolling out the red carpet for him, and he might be used to women going to mush and spreading their legs whenever he deigns to smile at them. But I resolve one thing right there on that rooftop patio.
I will not get caught up in the Holden Cade show. I will not be getting all tongue-tied and gushy like some kind of teenaged pop-star fan, I will not be letting Holden “get” to me, and I will most certainly not be opening my legs.
Certainly not, I say again quickly inside my own head as I head back into the bar for a refill.
It’s not the last time I reaffirm it to myself as I sit on that patio through two more drinks, or even later once I take the elevator back to my room.
In fact, I’m still repeating it, like a sort of mantra, as I crawl into bed later with visions of that chest and those abs and those sharp blue eyes dancing disturbingly through my head.
“C’mon, Randy, the fucking Bulls?”
I glare at my manager as I yank a shirt on later after London Jacobs has breezed in and blown right back out of my locker room.
“Why are we even having this discussion?”
Randy scowls at me as he pushes his thinning hair over the massive bald spot above his forehead. I’ve told him just to shave it like a man but he insists on the terrible comb-over.
“Holden, this is hardly the first time we’ve had this discussion.”
I give my very much full head of hair another pat dry with my towel before fixing it in the mirror with my fingers.
“About other teams,” I hiss under my breath as I turn back to him. “Other real teams, not the fucking Bulls.”
Randy sighs heavily. “Define ‘real teams’.”
“New York? Miami? New England? Hell, Randy, someone who’s fucking won a game at some point in the last five years?”
He looks at me pointedly. “We’ve already been through that, buddy.”
“Oh c’mon, man.” I roll my eyes as I stuff my shit back into my locker. “We did go to the playoffs last year.”
Randy says nothing and I frown at him. “Oh, what.”
“She’s right, Holden.” He shrugs. “LJ that is.”
“London, Randy. Her name is fucking London. That LJ bullshit is just to get her in the door because no one would say yes to a fucking meeting if they knew she was just another spoiled daddy’s girl.”
Yeah, I’m still pissed. I’m still pissed at the way I feel tricked into meeting her - still pissed that my usual full-bluster technique of commanding the room and owning the conversation fell flat like a bad pass.
I’m still pissed that London Jacobs didn’t look at me, and bat her eyes at me, and get all gushy with me like literally every other woman I’ve ever met.
Randy snorts. “Name aside, she knows her shit, pal.”
I groan. ”You seriously want me to consider an offer from the Bulls? The fucking joke of the league.”
All of my endorsements - well the one’s I think I still have at least - and all of my press centers on one thing: Holden Cade is a fucking winner. Shattered high school records, college MVP three years in a row, and a damn first-round pick my first year in the league. And I win off the field as much as I do on it. Fast cars, exclusive clubs, and more hot, eager chicks than I can bang in a lifetime.
Yeah, I’m a winner, and the Bulls are nothing but losers.
“Randy, there are internet memes about how bad they are.”
He grins at me. “Well, think of what it'll do for your image if you can turn them around.” He shrugs. “You put some wins up for a team like that and people are going to talk.”
“People talking about me and a team like that is what I’m afraid of,” I mutter as I stuff my phone and wallet into my pockets and head for the door with Randy in tow.
“Look, they’ve already sent preliminaries over.”
I arch a brow at him as we walk down the whitewashed hallways of the stadium towards the players’ parking lot.
Randy shrugs. “It’s actually good.”
I give him a look. “Don’t lie to me, man.”
“It’s good, really.”
I kick open the door to the parking lot.
“More than I make here?”
Randy laughs. I frown.
“Well, fuck that noise, then.”
“Holden, I’ve got a meeting next week with the owners.”
My brow wrinkles. “Who, Denver?”
He nods, swallowing slowly. “They just called me this morning to set it up.”
“Take a guess.”
I scowl as I pull out the keys to my Lamborghini and shake my head at him. “No fucking way.”
“Yes fucking way. Holden, you know she’s right. The end of last season was a miracle, and after your off-season...” he trails off and pulls a face as he shrugs. “The shit with the police, your fighting, the drinking-”
“Brandon died, Randy,” I growl through clenched teeth, feeling the rage and the burn of that memory come boiling up under my skin.
He nods sympathetically. “I know, Holden. You know I understand that. But the guys at the top don’t care about that.”
“So, what, they’re going to fire me?”
He spreads his arms. “Doubtful, but a contract renegotiation was brought up.
I swear fiercely.
“So you want me to ditch teams and get paid less.”
“It’s not that much less than you get paid now, and to be frank, it’s more than you’re going to get if they renegotiate how I think they probably will.”
I swear again as I look down at the parking lot floor.
“The Bulls are offering a ridiculous amount of money for what I know they’re working with. Seems like they're willing to bankrupt themselves to lure you away from Denver. Shit, it’s almost like it’s personal.”
It is personal. The bitter thought of leaving my hometown dances through my head like it’s been doing for months - ever since I realized that leaving this place might actually be good for me. Still, leaving feels like a slap in the face to everyone who looked up to me here; to everyone who helped bring me up from nothing to the champ I am today.
But I gotta look out for number one. And I might be going off the rails these days, but I’m not too far gone that I don’t know that if I stay here, I’m going to go down in flames. It’s just a matter of time.
“Fine,” I mutter, unlocking my car.
Randy claps me on the shoulder. “Just show up tomorrow, let her feel you out.”
I turn to him and grin widely and his brow furrows.
“I know that look, that’s what,” he says, eyeing me warily.
“Randy, you’re the one that suggested I let her feel me out,” I grin, arching my eyebrows.
He shakes his head. “Hard no. Hard, hard no.” He glares at me. “She’s not a cheerleader or some football groupie, Holden, she’s a recruiter. Her father owns the Bulls.”
“There are other girls for that, pal. There’s a fucking list of them last time I heard.”
I smirk, feeling my ego swell inside my chest. “Oh, there’s a list.”
He rolls his eyes. “So hands off the potential new boss’s daughter.”
“Randy,” I sigh dramatically. “I’m not a savage you know.”
He gives me a final warning look before he mutters under his breath and heads to his own car, leaving me chuckling to myself.
But later, all I can think about is savaging her. All I can think about after I get home to my condo is fucking tearing that conservative office blouse off of her. All I want to do is yank those jeans down over those hips and that little bubble ass, shred her panties off, bend her over the foot of my bed, and bury my face between her thighs. I can feel my blood pumping like gasoline through my veins as I pour myself a drink from my bar, taking a huge gulp as I imagine little miss prim and proper Texas riding every thick inch of my cock with nothing on but those boots, that cowgirl hat, and a look of pure orgasmic bliss on her face.
I wonder if her pussy is as tight as that attitude.
And I know Randy’s right. I know the precipice I’ve been walking on the last few months is getting narrower by the day, and as much as I fucking hate the thought, the Goddamn Bulls might just be my ticket off that ledge. I also know that pretty much means hands-off when it comes to London Jacobs, and it definitely means I should probably stop thinking about her pussy and how tight it might be.
Or how wet.
Or how eager.
Or how fucking hot she’d look with that tiny, rocking body bouncing up and down over my hips.
I quickly pour myself a second, third, and then fourth drink to try and get myself to shut up and think of something else.
It doesn’t work.
I’ve got this.
“This” being “dealing with Holden Cade.” Because I’m better than the giggling, flirty little fangirls he’s used to dealing with. Dealing with me will not be the same as the football groupies and cheerleaders I’m sure he’s used to having falling all over him.
Holden Cade is a prospect. An acquisition. A business transaction. And I won’t be taken in by a business transaction.
Especially one that’s already a half hour late for our eight a.m. appointment on the Astroturf of the Denver stadium.
I’m grinding my teeth, stuffing my laptop back in my bag, and muttering about my wasted time when he finally strolls onto the field at eight forty-five.
He’s grinning that same cocky, supremely confident smile he was yesterday in the locker room as he strides across the sidelines towards me, all hip-rolling swagger.
I swallow thickly, forcing myself to scowl at him - forcing myself to pull my eyes away and make a show of checking my watch.
I will not be taken in by this overly-macho, sophomorically infantile man-child of a meathead. I keep to schedules, and my time is important, and that panty-melting grin I’m sure he’s had plenty of practice perfecting will not be winning him any points with me today.
I make a show of checking my watch again and sighing loudly before sitting back down at the coaching table and pulling my laptop back out. I pull up my spreadsheets, forcing myself to analyze today’s benchmarks instead of the way Holden Cade’s bronzed, muscled, tattooed arms look in that sleeveless t-shirt, or the way that flop of his blonde hair looks so perfectly tousled, like he’s just woken up to me running my fingers through it.
I swallow quickly, mentally chastising myself to get it together as I stare through the spreadsheet on my screen.
This is just hormones, that’s it.
I’ve been all work and no play for a so long, that’s all this can be - pent-up sexual tension after way too long of a dry spell.
I force myself to actually focus on the spreadsheets on my laptop, and I instantly feel calmer.
“Okay, I’m here.”
“Finally,” I say with a thin smile as I turn to him.
He looks bleary-eyed and a little rough around the edges. Stubbled chin, dark circles under his eyes, and a tightness in his jaw.
I smirk. “Rough night?”
“Yeah, yeah, I’m here, okay?”
I arch my brows and turn back to my spreadsheets.
“I hear you guys are ready to drop some serious cash on me.”
I turn back to see him grinning at me even through his obviously hungover state. He brings a hand up, stretching like he just got out of bed as he runs a hand through his hair.
“Guess you need me pretty bad.” He winks at the obvious double entendre, and I swallow the heat that threatens to bloom into my cheeks.
I smile benignly at him. “We're putting a lot on the line to lure you, but I need to know you're putting something on the line yourself."
Holden flashes that smug grin again, his hand dropping to hook a thumb suggestively into the waistband of his mesh shorts.
“What do you need to see, sugar?"
I roll my eyes, only this time, there’s no stopping the blush in my cheeks.
Fuck you, body.
“Let’s run some drills.”
Holden groans. “Aww c’mon sugar, it’s the crack of fucking dawn.”
“It’s almost nine, actually,” I say primly, frowning at him. “That’s a pretty normal time for normal people to meet for business.”
“Yeah, boring people who don’t know how to have fun.”
“Well maybe some people should have a little less fun on Tuesday nights before a morning drills run-through with a scout they’re trying to impress. And again, stop calling me sugar.”
He grins. “You think I’m trying to impress you?”
“I think you’d be stupid not to try and impress me.”
Holden sighs again, bringing a hand up to rake his nails across his stubbled, chiseled chin. “You’ve seen the tapes, darlin.”
I sigh. “Your highlight reel, yes I've seen it. But I thought I made myself clear yesterday that I’m not interested in watching you perform for other people. I'm looking to see you perform for me."
My face goes crimson the second I say it.
Holden grins at me like a wolf who’s cornered his prey.
“Oh you are, huh?”
I tear my eyes back to my spreadsheets feeling the flush of embarrassment burn through me.
Spreadsheets, not that cocky grin. Not those eyes, that scruff on his chin.