The door opened. I stood, welcoming my boss as she escorted Jack’s agent inside. Jolene blushed the instant she greeted Jack, though she’d never have any luck with the quarterback.
Then again, he humped anyone who crossed his path. God only knew who Jack Carson’s next target would be. I pitied that future girl with her night of meaningless, animalistic sex in the arms of an athletic, masculine god who wanted nothing more than a couple hours of utter passion and no regrets.
At least…I thought I pitied the girl.
Jolene sat at my side, unable to look at her client. Her crush on Jack was so awkward she let me take the lead on the case even though I was still her assistant. The hotshot quarterback was a thorn in our side, but if I could keep him out of trouble, I’d get a well-deserved promotion. I wasn’t stopping until I got the partnership in Jolene’s company and became the best publicist in the city.
“Finn.” Jack nodded to his agent. “How you holding up?”
Finn wiped his forehead with a handkerchief and juggled a half-empty bottle of Pepto-Bismol. “Just got off the phone with Coach Thompson.”
Jolene and I braced for the worst. Finn pulled his phone from his pocket. His hand left sweat prints on both the cell and mahogany table. I offered him a glass of water. He declined, sipping the Pepto instead.
“Let me guess.” Jack wasn’t intimidated. Did anything ever bother him? “He’s disappointed.” He held up a hand and started counting on his fingers. “He’s panicking that I’m hurt. He’s demanding that I stay out of the spotlight. Wants me to drop the lifestyle. He’s pissed about the women, about the wreck, about the late night. He won’t say a damn thing about the teammates who actually invited me out. The blame rests solely on me.”
Finn nodded. “You left out most of the profanity.”
He gestured to me. “The ladies have delicate sensibilities.”
I declined to respond to the asshole.
It was only eight AM and already Finn loosened his tie. “Jack, you are the leader of the Rivets. On the field and off.”
“Bullshit,” he said.
“That’s your responsibility, Jack.”
“Last year, I broke two single season records and tied for another three. That’s where my leadership lies. My nightlife doesn’t matter, only if I can get the team to the championship. And I did.”
“And you lost.”
Finn said what we all thought, but it was nothing Jack wanted to hear. The chair toppled as he stood. He loomed over us with a dark scowl that made the tattoos on his arms darken in the artificial light of the conference room.
I knew he didn’t belong trapped indoors like this. A man like Jack needed to vent his frustration on the field, in the gym, or in the bed of a beautiful woman.
Or three of them, apparently.
It was easier to judge the manwhore when I wasn’t imagining what he’d do to the lucky woman.
Jack extended his arms, tightening his muscles. Broad. Powerful. “I’m paying all of you a shit ton of money to represent me. So fucking represent me. You want to pretend I’m some beacon of moral responsibility, fucking tell people I’m a damn saint. Earn your salaries like I do every goddamned Sunday. Until then, I’m out of here.”
“Jack…” I called to him before he reached the door. The phone rang as he grabbed the knob. “The League is calling. You have to talk to President Bennett.”
“Son of a—”
Jolene answered the call and pressed her fingers to her lips. She plastered on a twenty dollar smile and greeted the president as if they were old buddies instead of the monthly target of Frank Bennett’s rage against Jack.
“Frank…how are you?” Jolene immediately flinched against a hail of profanity from both the phone and Jack slamming into his seat. “We’ve been waiting for your call. I have you on speaker with Finn Smith, Mr. Carson’s agent, and my assistant, Leah Williams.”
Frank didn’t mince words. He also didn’t greet us because he had no reason to say hello. We had hardly hung up the phone since the last conversation. This scandal would result in the same meeting as before. Just like the last call. And the call before that. And the meeting before that…
Every conversation had the same concerns: booze, women, and bad decisions.
It was easier to represent players who were actually in trouble with the law. At least the public could believe they were legitimately remorseful when they got caught with the cookie jar. Jack had his hand up too many skirts to look like anything but an unrepentant womanizer.
“Carson there?” Frank’s voice bit over his name.