“What’s my kind of reward?”
“I’ve heard how the old Jack Carson would treat a lady.” I grunted as the taping began again, tethering me to the goal post. “I’m dirty, but I’m not that dirty.”
The offensive line cackled. Jack sighed, dumping a cup of Gatorade on my head.
“I was gonna take it easy on you, rookie,” he said. “I even offered to take you and my family out to eat.”
“Yeah, but you said I was supposed to pay.”
“Of course.” Jack grinned. “You treat me, and I reward you with my company and the chance to meet my son. That’s a privilege. See how this works?”
Yep. It was going to be an expensive training camp. I was the quarterback’s newest weapon, a blocker with the O-Line, and a receiver with the rest of the core. I’d owe most of the offensive vets a dinner out.
Good thing I’d soon be worth millions.
“You know…” Orlando slowed down his taping. “What if this is all a conspiracy? What if…” He pointed at Jack. “What if that girl was scamming him? Working with the driver of that car?”
“That’s some Inception-level shit.” Caleb warned. “Don’t want none of that.”
Orlando patted my head. “Maybe she knows Charming here is a momma’s boy. Maybe she heard about that big house he bought for his momma with money he don’t have yet.”
“Doesn’t everyone buy their mom a house?” I asked.
Orlando snorted. “Not like the mansion you found.”
“Hey, my mom deserves a house like that. If you only knew half of the shit I’ve put her through.” I shifted against the goal posts only to be crammed harder against the padding. “And I promised I’d get my kid brother out here before the season started. I wasn’t stepping on the field without him watching.”
“Ain’t he sweet?” Orlando cackled.
Jack shook his head. “Nah. Let him be. A man should do everything he can for a younger brother. Believe me. Good on you, rookie.”
“Yeah, Sebastian’s all about the swimming pool,” I said. “If we could figure out a way for him to play Minecraft while he was swimming…I’d be his goddamned hero.”
And I’d make it happen too, just to see the kid smile. At least…before I inadvertently electrocuted him in the pool with an extension cord, the X-Box, and his Minecraft game.
“Well, shit, you better hope you make it through camp first, rookie.” Orlando dumped two cups of Gatorade on me. “Especially if you want to keep those million dollar checks.”
I couldn’t move, but I smirked anyway, despite the foul, rain-soaked pad cushioning the goal posts and my cheek. “Don’t worry about me. I’m the fucking Heisman Trophy winner. You guys are in for a treat. Just sit back and watch the magic. Nothing’s gonna stop me.”
I wouldn’t let it.
I’d bluffed my way through two less-than-impressive practices. It just meant I had to focus more tomorrow. No sense getting bitched out by Coach Thompson three days in a row.
The guys laughed, but I turned lemons into lemon-lime Gatorade and enjoyed the sticky coolness as their drinks splashed over me.
Then she spoke.
And the Gatorade almost boiled off of me.
“Mind if I take a picture, guys? This is some of your best work.”
I tried to swing around the post to look at her, but the tape bound me in place. That was probably for the best. Just the sweet sound of her voice was enough to twist my boxers.
Hers was a song I couldn’t get out of my head. Her every word, groan, moan, and whimper had cluttered my thoughts and invaded my dreams.
The guys posed around me. Elle’s camera flashed.
It was a damn crime she held the camera instead of posing for it. Someone that beautiful deserved to be immortalized.
In fact, that was the line that won her over during the scouting combine—the fitness test used to grade the incoming draft choices. Three hundred men in peak physical condition competed for the league scouts as well as the beautiful photographer darting between events with a smirk and a flash.
But I had won. She came back with me from the bar. And she’d stayed in my bed, sunup to sun-down, for three solid days.
The only thing that might have made it better? Remembering most of it.
“Well, if it isn’t Lachlan Reed.” Elle circled the goal posts to size me up. Like she hadn’t already licked every inch of me.
I figured after the games we’d played, words we’d said, and crimes we might have committed according to statues set by twelve states, she’d have begged for a second chance or sent me some dirty texts.