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Once Upon A Half-Time 1(5)

By´╝ÜSosie Frost



Jack Carson jogged to Lachlan’s side. He whistled for the hulking linebacker behind him. Cole Hawthorne wasn’t as eager to find the rookie.

“Charming, you okay?” Jack offered Lachlan his hand. “It’s a little early in the day to black out. Learn from the best. You gotta pace yourself.”

He blinked, staring at Jack’s hand. He didn’t take it, instead looking up as Cole approached. Lachlan bent his neck back to gaze at the linebacker. Too much. He almost tumbled backward.

I didn’t let the blonde ponytail fool me, Cole was an absolute beast of a man. He grabbed Lachlan’s shoulder and hauled him to his feet.

“What the hell happened?” Cole asked.

“A girl…” Lachlan rubbed his head. “Rescued me.”

Cole glanced at Jack. “Don’t make me call Piper.”

“I’m serious. She tackled me.”

“Well, that bodes well for my offense.” Jack grinned. “Tackled by a girl?”

“Where did she…?” Lachlan searched the parking lot. I ducked before he saw me. “The fuck. She was here.”

“And she tackled you?” Cole said.

“Yeah. There was a car…it almost hit me.”

Jack shrugged. “Where’s the car?”

Lachlan blinked hard. “Where’s the girl?”

Jack and Cole steadied him. Neither looked happy.

“What do you think?” Cole frowned.

“Hell if I know,” Jack said. “I’ve never had to hallucinate a woman before, I always woke up to one in the bed with me.”

“Let’s get him inside to a trainer. Piper will flip shit if he’s hurt.”

“Not just Piper.” Jack slapped Lachlan’s shoulder. “Leah has him scheduled for an interview tomorrow. He’ll get my ass in trouble.”

“You? Piper’s pregnant and sleep-deprived. I’m not going to tell her that her only other client was playing in traffic. She’ll kick me out of bed and give my spot to the toddler.”

Lachlan wasn’t paying attention. He fumbled with the Tinkerbell book bag Cole pushed into his arms. “You really didn’t see a girl?”

“No,” Jack said.

“But she was fucking beautiful.”

“Most imaginary women are.”

Lachlan grinned. “I’m gonna marry that woman.”

Jack’s eyes widened. “Let’s get him a trainer.”

Cole agreed. “Immediately.”

Lachlan didn’t fight, but he searched the parking lot until the guys took him inside.

I hid behind the wall and sunk into the dirt. I wished I could breathe easier.

The SD card was safe, and Lachlan hadn’t been lobotomized by a speeding car.

So far, the day was looking up.

Except that my pocket now housed the biggest scandal to rock the league since Cole Hawthorne knocked-out Jude Owens. Maybe even since Jack Carson gave the league his middle finger and changed his image with a smile, wife, and new baby.

And while the SD card and the damning photos should have worried me most, I nearly rushed inside to ensure Lachlan was okay.

And that would be the biggest mistake of my life, even worse than stealing incriminating property from the team offices.

Whatever I felt for Lachlan, whatever thrill or fantasy I found in his arms, was over. I couldn’t get involved with a player on the team, and I certainly couldn’t fall for a man like him.

Fairy tale romances didn’t exist. Prince Charming only showed off his tight-end, he didn’t play one on the field.

For three days, I had been a part of Lachlan’s world. Now I was back in mine.

And no magic spell, wish from a magic bottle, or shooting star would bring us together again.





2





Lachlan





“Look, I’m telling you guys, she was real.”

The team didn’t believe me. Hell, I didn’t believe me.

What kind of mystery woman roamed the streets, rescuing men from speeding cars and then flittering off into oblivion? If that wasn’t hard enough to imagine, I still remembered flashes of her—some beautiful princess straddling my hips and whispering my name.

I had wet dreams that weren’t as exciting as that.

I leaned against the goal post, banging my head against the padding. It still hurt from where my skull tried to imbed itself in the pavement yesterday, but the training staffed played nice and loose with their assessments. After a couple Ibuprofen and a trip to the locker room, I was cleared to practice faster than I could say concussion.

And I wasn’t about to miss a single day of training camp.

Every camera, media outlet, coach, player, and fan waited to see the magic I would cast over the offense. I’d give them what they wanted—a little song, little dance, some gratuitous stretching in my pads as I suited up for my first official practice with the Rivets. Plus, I looked damn good in the gold and black uniform.

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