Home > Happily Ever All-Star: A Secret Baby Romance(9)

Happily Ever All-Star: A Secret Baby Romance(9)
Author: Sosie Frost

Jack surrendered with his arms up. “I’m man enough to admit when I’m star-struck. This is Jude-fucking-Owens!”

The woman winked at me. “Oh! So you’re the one he’s been talking about. Jude this, Jude that. He won’t stop talking about you and the running game. I swear, if Jack wasn’t married to me, he’d propose to you.”

“Either way, I’m on my knees,” Jack said. “Though you’ve never complained about that, Kiss.”

The woman extended her hand with a flustered smile. “Hi. I’m Leah, and now you know entirely too much about me.”

“I’m…Jude.” I guessed they knew that—the entire league knew that. “And this is Doctor Rory Merriweather.”

The introductions were cut short as the rapid flashing of a camera blinded everyone at the bar. Lachlan’s wife, Elle, popped up beside us.

“Lachlan’s about to make an ass out of himself singing some karaoke.” She quickly changed the batteries in her camera. “I’m not missing a minute of this. You guys coming?”

Leah waved a hand, beckoning over the other couple waiting for drinks.

I didn’t need a mnemonic device to remember Piper Madison—now Hawthorne, her married name. For all twelves seasons of my career, Piper’s father served as my agent. I practically watched Piper grow up. Never thought she’d marry a man like Cole Hawthorne. Neither did her father.

However, it wasn’t Rory’s presence that kept The Beast from joining us.

It was mine.

The last thing I wanted was to be the source of another man’s guilt. Granted, Cole’s temper often got him into trouble, but that was part of the game. The life we chose was brutal and violent. I wouldn’t fault a man for doing his job.

Piper forced Cole to the bar, and she gave me a hug.

“I can’t tell you how excited I got when Dad said you were signing with the Rivets,” Piper said.

“You actually like football? When did that happen?” I asked.

She tugged on Cole’s arm. “I have a reason to watch now.”

I offered my hand to Cole. “I’m glad we’ll wear the same colors this year.”

Cole averted his gaze as he shook my hand. “Yeah. Right.”

Jack grinned. “I got a good feeling about this season. I can feel it. Jude’s gonna bust this offense wide open. Rory, you gotta clear him soon so we can get to practice.”

Rory shifted, her voice soft. “We’ll…have to see.”

The team quieted, and the excitement fizzled out. Jack cleared his throat.

“So…will you guys join us? Tonight is year two of our newest tradition. The rookies—and Lachlan—get a choice. Serenade us…or have their hair buzzed. Either way it’s a good time.”

Not exactly what I had in mind. I gestured to Rory. “We were actually planning to…catch up.”

“Table’s big enough—” Jack offered, but Leah elbowed him in the side. Whatever impression she got was the wrong one. “Oh! Yeah, sure. You guys have fun.”

Rory’s eyes widened. “Oh no. It’s not like that. We’ve known each other forever—”

Piper winked. “Nope. Don’t explain a thing. It’s about time Mr. Most Eligible got a little action.”

“But, it’s not like—”

Elle waved for everyone to scatter. “Come on, Lachlan’s up. Make hay while the babysitters and grandmas have the kids.”

That got the couples moving. The team rushed to their seats.

So did Rory. She hid her face and collapsed in the booth furthest from the bar.

Shy was cute. Embarrassed was not.

“Doc, I’ll have you know, I’m a pretty good catch,” I said. “You could do a lot worse.”

“I already did.” She shook her head. “And you’re only a catch if you let yourself get hooked.”

Like I hadn’t heard that before. “Not interested.”

“Why not? That plenty of fish in the sea line? They’re talking about you.”

“Well, they can keep trolling.” I handed Rory a menu with a suave smile. She wasn’t buying it. “There’s only one woman I want to entertain tonight, and she’s sitting across from me.”

“And this flattery has nothing to do with the concussion evaluation, does it?”

“Please, I’m nothing if not a gentleman. We’re just catching up. Having a good time.” The menu was too tiny, the lights too dim, and my vision blurring this late in the day. I’d wing it and have a cheeseburger. “Besides, what would you be doing tonight if you haven’t given me this honor?”

“Do you want the polite answer I’d give on a date, or the truth?”

“You’re talking to me, Rory.”

She poked at the napkins, ripping one from the metal container. “Well, to be honest, I’d be at home fretting. Pacing. Generally reevaluating every conceivable aspect of my life.” She waved the shredded napkin at me. “And don’t you give me that look. If you were in my shoes, you’d be doing some serious introspection too.”

“Good thing I’m not pregnant.”

“That’s a shame. I could publish your case in a medical journal. I’d never have to worry about my career again.”

“I’ll do whatever is biologically feasible to help you. It’s not often I actually like one of my doctors.”

“But I haven’t given you my verdict yet.”

And I hadn’t even begun to change her mind. “Pleasure before business, Doc.”

“That doesn’t sound very Jude Owens,” Rory said. “You’ve always been work, work, work. Work some more. Lift weights, eat right, go to sleep by nine, conditioning, training, studying…”

And look at how far it had gotten me. “Even the best of men need a night off. I choose to spend it here, with a beautiful woman.”

“Appreciating the finer things since your injury?”

And realizing how much I’d missed. A waitress interrupted us, taking our drink orders. We shouted our requests as the team cheered. Lachlan dove onto the stage and called for his rookies to take seats front and center. The bar dimmed, and a spotlight encased him in white.

“Lemme show you how this is done.” Lachlan took the microphone and blew a kiss to his wife. The music keyed up, and Elle hid her eyes as Lachlan’s hips rolled to a raunchy rendition of Heartbreak Hotel.

Hot Books
» A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorn
» Anti-Stepbrother
» Empire of Storms (Throne of Glass #5)
» Sugar Daddies
» Egomaniac
» Royally Screwed (Royally #1)
» The Hating Game
» Salvatore: a Dark Mafia Romance (Standalone
» Ruthless People (Ruthless People #1)
» To Hate Adam Connor
» Wait for It
» How to Date a Douchebag: The Studying Hours
» Managed (VIP #2)
» The Protector
» The Chosen (Black Dagger Brotherhood #15)