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Once Upon A Half-Time 1

By´╝ÜSosie Frost

1

Elle


The idiot was about to get hit by a car.

I could see the headline now.

Ironfield Rivets’ Tight-End Rear-Ended By Speeding Vehicle.

And the quote from the scene: Who needs rims when you have a fine-looking hood ornament like Lachlan ‘Charming’ Reed?

Sure. I’d concede the gorgeous football player might have made a one-of-a-kind decoration for any rusted out Hyundai that chose to drive on the sidewalk instead of the street. But it was equally likely that his hard head would have done more damage to the car and surrounding cement.

Lachlan neither saw nor heard the car. Then again, he chose to dance through the crosswalk separating the Ironfield Rivet’s practice facility from the parking lot. He bobbed to the beat blaring through his headphones, shimmied across the parking lot, and stopped to moonwalk over the curb.

Even at his most reckless, Lachlan was entertaining.

At least he’d be the sexiest roadkill in all of Ironfield.

He gyrated onto the road—one of the busier streets in the city, the party central strip of nightclubs, restaurants, and colleges. Just stepping foot into the street tempted fate in the form of a frazzled sorority girl blowing either her boyfriend or a red light on her way to class.

Lachlan slowed his two-step to toss his Tinkerbell backpack over his shoulder. He then cha-cha slid directly in front of the car.

He’d owe me for this…if he even survived.

I dropped my camera bags and burst from my hiding spot in the bushes outside the practice facility. So much for escaping the first day of training camp without anyone seeing me.

I slammed into Lachlan, throwing my weight against the six-foot-five behemoth of muscle.

If he weren’t breaking into a whip and nae-nae in the middle of the street, I’d have bounced off the pack of muscles that was his chest and landed in the gutter. Fortunately, the big lug wasn’t expecting to get blindsided by his one-night stand.

That made two of us.

He grunted as he crashed into the sidewalk. The car veered just in time. The driver slowed to ensure she hadn’t pulverized the Rivets’ newest multi-millionaire. The first-round draft choice was merely scraped, not smooshed. Satisfied, she sped off into the city. Her illegal left turn was the least of her crimes today.

Lachlan had smacked the sidewalk ass first, but he didn’t have much cushion to soften the blow.

Snips, snails, puppy-dog-tails, and two-hundred and fifty pounds of solid muscle—that’s what Lachlan Reed was made of.

At least his head had bounced off the sidewalk without leaving a dent.

I tumbled over him, scraping my hands and knees on pebbles and road debris. His elbow connected with my gut, and I coughed and sputtered as every bit of air fled from my lungs. We stumbled across the sidewalk and crashed hard between a puddle of something that wasn’t water and a glop of spitting tobacco.

I’d have rolled around in the muck—twice—over what was going to come next.

Three months.

It had been three months since I last saw Lachlan—naked, sleeping, sprawled in a Vegas hotel bed that probably should have been burned after what we did that weekend.

I never thought I’d see him again, let alone save his life or work for the same team that had drafted him. The humiliation was almost poetic. That weekend was the type of experience I promised I’d look back on as an experiment, something fun, something crazy, something I’d never regret months later in the shower as I revisited the memories with delighted shivers and absolute mortification at the things we said, did, touched, and…used.

Maybe once, in a moment of utter weakness, I’d considered calling Lachlan again. Fortunately, I knew better than to proposition the prince of the rookies for a second read-through of the Kama Sutra.

But I was strong. I hadn’t thought about him…outside of the bedroom. Hadn’t imagined him…without the detachable shower head in my hand.

The only force in the world capable of propelling me back into his lap was an out-of-control Hyundai Elantra.

God bless irresponsible college students.

I hoisted myself to my elbows and prepared for the worst. I couldn’t hide from him forever. He was officially a Rivet, and I’d probably have to take some pictures of him for the team. The assistant photographer job was great, but sometimes the best part of the gig turned into the worst—the players.

I pinched my eyes shut and greeted him with as much confidence as I could fake. It was time to blurt out everything, right then and there. I’d admit my indecency during the one-night stand and, like a Band-Aid covering up every licentious moment of our weekend, I’d rip off the shame in one fluid motion.

…Or fling it off like one of the many condoms we’d used.

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