Six Months Prior…
Iroll over and drape my arm across the slim waist of the gorgeous woman next to me. The woman who rocked my fucking world last night.
I’m no stranger to one-night stands. In fact, I have rules to ensure all my hookups remain just that, which is why I’m waking in a high-end hotel room this morning.
My five-year-old son, Theo, stayed with his mom, Hannah, overnight, but regardless, women don’t come back to my place. The last thing I need in my life is a psycho jersey chaser knowing where I live and showing up unannounced. It’s Hooking Up 101 for the best wide receiver for the San Francisco Kingsmen.
I pull her toward me and my morning wood pokes into her ass. She stirs in her sleep and rolls over to face me. She blinks a few times before fully opening her dark, alluring eyes, focusing on me. Once opened, she widens her eyes and gasps, bolting upright in bed.
The sheet slides to her waist, gifting me the perfect view of her modest but perky breasts. Her eyes follow mine and she snags the sheet, yanking it to her neck.
I’m not sure why she’s being modest. Last night I had her bending every which way. She’s gotta be a gymnast.
I chuckle and flop on my back. “Good morning.”
I link my hands behind my head and my elbows fall to the sides. She left me enough sheet for my lower half to be covered, but her gaze roams down my chiseled chest to the tented sheet caused by my dick. She licks her bottom lip and my cock twitches, hoping that means we’ll go another round.
“Morning,” she says in a soft voice.
At the club last night, with all the music, we had to shout to hear each other. It wasn’t until we got to the hotel that I fell in love with her voice. It’s soft and alluring and comforting. Maybe she’s a nurse or something where she needs a good bedside manner.
I reach to touch her thick, wavy dark hair hanging over one shoulder, but she shuffles away. “I should probably get going.”
My forehead creases. She looks at the tent, licks her lips, and her cheeks are flushed. She wants me to convince her. “Do you have to run off so quick?”
Most one-night stands, I would have been long gone by now. Most one-night stands, I’d have left them the room service menu and a classic “had a great time” note by now. Most one-night stands, I don’t lazily wake up naked under a sheet, hoping for another round. But this petite spitfire has something the others didn’t. I just can’t pinpoint what it is.
“I need to get home.” Her eyes skim the area, searching for her clothes strewn around the room, and return to me. We weren’t exactly careful when undressing last night. The best sign of a one-night stand. “Can you turn around or close your eyes or something?”
I bark out a laugh. “Sweetie, I’ve already seen everything. A
nd hell, I’ve already tasted everything too.”
Her cheeks pinken and my heart warms from garnering that reaction from her.
“Even so, do you mind?” Her eyes widen, a tone of annoyance in her words.
“I gotta hit the head anyway.” I whip the sheet off and stand, then strut across the large suite to the bathroom, feeling her gaze on my bare ass every inch of the way.
Oh yeah, she wants me as badly as I want her again. She just doesn’t want to admit it for some reason.
I finish my business and return to the suite. She sits in the chair snuggled in the corner, buckling the ankle strap of her heel, dressed in the outfit she wore last night—a long see-through lace skirt with booty shorts underneath, a white V-neck crop, and a bright-pink jacket that ends at her waist.
While most of the other women at the club were wearing short, skintight dresses, this woman had a style all her own. It was the first thing I noticed about her and I liked that she wasn’t afraid to stand out in a crowd. It’s refreshing actually.
She rises from the chair and looks at me expectantly. “Think everyone in the lobby will know I’m doing the walk of shame?” Her laugh sounds empty.
“If they were present last night, they’d know there’s nothing shameful about it. In fact, I think we should have a do-over.” I draw her into my arms, but she places her hands on my chest to keep our bodies from being flush together.
I glance down between our bodies at my erection. “You could be too. I asked for a late checkout when we got here last night.”
She’s shaking her head before I finish talking. “I had a great time, but like you said last night—this isn’t going anywhere. We had our fun and now I need to go.”
I frown, not liking my own words being recited back to me. “Maybe I spoke too hastily.”
“No, you were right.” She steps back from me and picks up her purse from a nearby chair. “It was fun… a lot of fun.” Her gaze drags down my naked body again and she clears her throat. “But I’m not looking to get involved with anyone either.”
She makes her way to the door and I follow her.
“Let me at least give you my number. Maybe we can meet up again sometime?” I shake my head, not understanding why I want to see her a second time, but the urge isn’t one I can control at the moment.
She turns when she’s at the door. “No, thanks.”
I’m slammed by her response because, in all the years, no one has ever turned me down. I stand there silently.
She giggles, obviously satisfied with herself. “Don’t take it personally.” She turns back around and grabs the door handle, twisting.
She looks over her shoulder.
“At least tell me your name.”
Last night she said she wanted to keep names out of it. I didn’t have to tell her mine—if she didn’t recognize me, there were enough people using my first name. But no matter what I tried, she wouldn’t budge on hers. At the time, I didn’t mind. I’ll use whatever pet name when I’m between her legs—sweetie, sexy, babe—it doesn’t matter to me. But how the hell do I track her down again if I don’t have at least a first name?
“I told you last night. I don’t do names.” And with her closing the subject, she walks out of the hotel room without a backward glance.
I stand and wait a few beats, thinking maybe she’ll change her mind. Even after I shut the door, I anticipate a knock on the door that never comes.
The doorbell rings and Theo sprints past me, out of his room and down the stairs.
“Slow down! Hold on to the banister!” I shout and follow.
“Mom!” he screams.
I’ve only had him for two days, and Hannah is here to pick him up.
Theo is fussing with the lock on the door by the time I get to the foyer.
“Let me.” I reach past him and turn the dead bolt and the lock on the handle, then he twists the doorknob and opens the door.
Theo’s shoulders drop when he sees my parents, not his mom.
“Hey, what gives? Is that the kind of welcome I get now?” my mom says.
Theo gives her a smile. “I thought you were Mom. Sorry, Glamma.”
Yes, Glamma, not Grandma. Lennon—who is actually my stepmom, but I only think of her as my mom—insists that she’s too cool, too young, and too progressive to ever be called Grandma. And she’s right. I often wonder how a stuffy investment banker like my dad scored a woman who owns a sex toy company.
“Make it up to me with a hug,” she says, and Theo rushes over and squeezes her legs. Lennon bends over and kisses the top of his head.
When Theo pulls away, he goes straight to my dad and does the same. “Hi, Gramps.”
My dad musses his hair. “Hey, champ. You headed back to your mom’s house so soon?”
He pulls away and nods vigorously. “Yup. She’s taking me to the aquarium today.”
My dad smiles. “Very cool.”
“I’ve been there before with my dad. It’s so cool. You should see this one fish they have…”
Theo keeps talking as I motion for them to come in. My dad bends and picks Theo up and heads into the family room, intently listening the entire time. Lennon gives my hand a squeeze as she walks past me.
She knows how much sharing custody hurts me. The fact he has to be shuffled back and forth is not what I had in mind. But Hannah and I are better off as co-parents and friends. In the end, I have to believe that our relationship will benefit my son more than if he had two parents who lived in the same house but were unhappy.
The four of us hang out in the family room and Theo shows my parents the latest Lego firetruck he’s been working on.
After a while, my dad and Lennon share a look and Lennon stands from the couch and walks over to Theo. “Hey, why don’t you show me the new Lego sets you’ve finished in your room?”
Whenever we finish a Lego set, we place it on display on one of the shelves in his room. While I’m sure Lennon has a mild interest in seeing what he’s been working on. I get the impression it’s a ruse to get my dad and me alone.
“Oh yeah, Glamma, I almost have the entire city. Dad said next are the boats.” He takes her hand and drags her out of the room.
Soon we hear Lennon and Theo’s feet on the stairs, him talking nonstop about the one Uncle Chase had to put together because Daddy’s friends knocked it over. The kid must have been spying because Chase did an incredible job on that one.
Getting that out of my head, I turn to my dad on the other end of the couch. “Good news or bad news?”
He chuckles. “We never can put one past you.”
“You’d always try though. So—good or bad?” A million scary things go through my head. Are they divorcing? No, they seem happy. Something with my brother and sister? No way is Lennon pregnant again.
They used to try—a lot. I remember when I was twelve, and they’d pretend my dad was helping Lennon find something in the garage when in reality, they were making out or messing around. One day I called them out on it. Or when Lennon missed putting some presents under the tree on Christmas morning and I found the bag in the garage a couple of weeks later, grabbing my scooter, she tried to tell me that Santa ate too many cookies, and he must’ve forgotten the presents go under the tree.
“Well… we’re hoping you’ll think it’s good news.” My dad has his serious face on. The one I’m used to seeing when he’s working on a deal.
“Lennon and I are entering negotiations to purchase the Kingsmen. If all goes smoothly, we’ll be the owners by the time training camp starts.”
I blink and I blink again until my eyes remain wide open. I don’t know what I expected my dad to say, but it wasn’t that. “Wow. Congratulations, I guess?”
He stares at me, trying to judge my reaction. “Are you okay with this?”
I think about what my parents owning my team means for me and how it might change the way my teammates view me. “I guess… this means you guys will be my bosses.” I cringe.
My dad sighs. “Technically, yes, but you’ll get no special treatment from us, and we won’t interfere with whatever you’re doing on the field unless things really go to shit.” I
chuckle. “Thanks for the vote of confidence.”
“Truth is, we’ve been looking at buying the team for a while. You being transferred here last year was surprising, causing Lennon and I to table the conversation. We didn’t want to interfere in your life. Then we got word Giles Hanover is still looking to sell, but we would never put pen to paper without talking to you first.”
I lean back on the couch, hands behind my head. “I appreciate it, Dad, but I wouldn’t stand in your way even if I wasn’t cool with it. You guys have done so much for me and Theo over the years—”
My dad quickly interrupts me. “That’s what parents do, Brady. You know that now yourself.”
He’s right. There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for my little boy. I myself never wanted for anything growing up.
I nod. “I know. I guess I’m saying if you want to do this, you should. Realistically, I’m thirty-two. My days of playing football are numbered, whereas you could own the team for decades if you wanted. I won’t stand in the way of that.”
My dad stands and clamps me on the shoulder. “All right then. Wish us luck. Giles Hanover is a class A prick I don’t trust
with an ounce of my life.” Then he grows serious. “Needless to say, you cannot tell anyone about this.”
“My lips are sealed.” The sound of footsteps pounding on the stairs causes me to call out, “Use the banister!”
My dad smirks. “He reminds me a lot of you.”
“So, I was a complete handful at his age?”
Theo and Mom join us in the family room.
“Dad! Glamma said she’ll take me to Legoland if I’m good for Mom this weekend.” His eyes are wide and full of excitement as he bounces up and down in front of me.
“Isn’t that near San Diego?” I ask, looking at my mom.
She waves me off. “We’ll take the jet down and make a day of it.”
I’m not gonna lie and say it’s not nice to have money at your disposal, and my parents have always had money, that’s for sure. But it wasn’t until I was a teenager that they joined the one-percent club. I don’t want Theo to grow up thinking it’s normal to jump on a private plane for a day trip.
She holds up both hands. “What? I’m not allowed to spoil my only grandchild?”
She’s saved from my answer when the doorbell rings and Theo runs out of the room.
“We should get going anyway,” my dad says.
My mom looks between us. “You two spoke?”
“All’s good,” Dad says.
She gives me a hug. “Promise we won’t cramp your style.”
I laugh and pull away. “I’m more worried about the opposite really.”
She swats me on the arm and gives me a wink.
Growing up with a mom like her required being confident I could kick every kid’s butt at my school. When your mother owns a sex toy company, has tatted up her arms, and gives zero fucks what anyone else thinks, it’s hard walking in on day one of school or having her as a trip chaperone. Although everyone got to know her and loved her because she was awesome, it was hard during those adolescent years when all I wanted to do was blend in with everyone.
Then there’s the whole thing that no subject is taboo or off the table. Picture your mom giving you sex tips after she finds you having sex with a girl. And I’m not talking the usual “wear a condom” stuff either. ...