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Chapter 7


HIS HOUSE RESIDES IN A GATED COMMUNITY. Of course, it does. He might be a playah, but I doubt he wants a horde of women and fans crashing his home. Before we’re allowed entrance into the property, a dour guard at the front gate requests my ID. Unwilling to reveal my identity to a stranger, I start to argue, but Ty cuts me off. “Every visitor has to do it, MacKenna.”

Still fuming at Ty, I pull out my driver’s license and hand it to the beefy man. He glances back and forth between the ID and me before he steps inside the guardhouse. I suspect he’s running my driver’s license through a scanner, something that doesn’t sit right with me. Still unsmiling, he returns, hands me back my ID and waves us through.

“That was a violation of my rights.”

“They have to be careful. Many prominent families live here. Some employ their own security as well. Last thing the property management company wants is some criminal breaking and entering somebody’s home, or worse.”

He has a point. Security has to be tight to prevent a home invasion. But I don’t like to provide my personal information unless absolutely necessary. At the Outlaws’ camp, I’d handed over my license for identification, not realizing I needed to check the form that would keep my information from being entered into their database. Lesson learned. From now on, I’ll be more diligent about reading documents when my driver’s license is required.

Still, a visitor to Ty Mathews’ home shouldn’t be required to provide an ID, especially when that visitor has been shanghaied. Well, what’s done is done. Nothing I can do about it. Might as well enjoy the view. And what a view it is. The community’s Colonial houses sit on three acre lots, some with swimming pools in the back, their yards landscaped to an inch of their lives.

He drives up the driveway of a gorgeous mansion nestled between towering trees and pulls into a three-car garage in the back of the house. A huge truck occupies one of the bays. The third one contains a vehicle with a tarp thrown over it.

Once we emerge from his SUV, he leads the way into a gleaming-bright kitchen whose vaulted ceiling must be ten, eleven feet high.

“Would you like something to drink?”

“Water, please.”

He opens a subzero refrigerator, pulls out a bottle, uncaps it and hands it to me. “Make yourself at home. I’m going to change.” And then he starts to walk away, like nothing’s wrong.

Is he kidding me? “Wait.You’re not going anywhere until you explain what happened back there.”

He swivels toward me. His jaw flexing, he eats the distance between him and me. “You mean when you threw yourself at Ryan Jackson?”

He’s way into my personal space, so much I have to tilt back my head so I can glare at him. “I didn’t throw myself.” I sound like a harpy my voice’s so high. “I was talking to him. You know, like a reporter.”

His eyes narrow. “He doesn’t want an interview. He wants to fuck you.” He’s so wound up he’s practically vibrating with coiled tension.

Unwittingly, my gaze drops to his crotch. He’s hard. Very hard. Apparently, Ryan Jackson is not the only one who wants to screw me.

He manacles my arms, pulls me toward him. “And you practically invited him to do it.”

My nipples grow rock hard from being thrust into his chest. How could I be this turned on by his caveman behavior? “I did not.”

He goes on like I haven’t said a thing. “Yeah, you did. You pranced up and down that field with your hair down to your ass, your breasts bouncing all the way. Whatever bra you’re wearing? It doesn’t do shit, except draw attention to your tits.”

I wiggle in his hold. The way my body’s reacting, I can’t be this close to him. “Let me go, Ty.” When he does, I fling a hand across my chest. My nipples turn into hard little nubs whenever I get excited. And god knows I’m excited now. His behavior might be Neanderthal, but he’s turning me on. “That was not nice.”

He throws his hands in the air. “Jeesus H. Fucking Christ! I’m not trying to be nice. I’m trying to clue you in. Some of  those players you were flirting with? Half of them are aching to nail you. They think you’re easy.” He steps toward me again, and I stumble backwards. “They think all they have to do is crook a finger and you’ll fall into their laps. They’ve seen hundreds of girls like that, groupies who are only interested in one thing—bagging a Chicago Outlaw. And I guarantee you a lot of them have put you into that category.”

Tears seep into my vision. I shake my head to will them back. “I’m not like that. I’m not.” Taking another step, I run dab smack into the kitchen counter.

“Then stop acting like you are.”

“What did I do that was so wrong?”

“You flirted with them.”

My lower lip juts forward. “I did not.”

“Yes, you did. I was watching you the whole time. You flipped your hair, smiled, touched some of them. Since you don’t know shit about football, I can imagine what they were thinking.”

“That’s so unfair. I never asked for the interview with Ron. It was thrust into my lap.”

“And it was supposed to begin and end with him?”


“At the Boys & Girls Club, you were talking to players as if you wanted to interview them. What happened to change your mind?”

“Well, I met you, and someone at the club who used to play football.”

“Who?” He snarls out.

“One of the owners. My friend, Marigold, knows him from their college days.”

“Todd Gryzinsky.”

“Yes. You know him?”

“Yeah, I know him.” His eyes flash at me. “Did he hit on you?”

“No! He was at the door. After Marigold talked to him, he was nice enough to let us in.”

“He wasn’t being nice, MacKenna. If your friend looks anything like you, he admitted two smoking hot females, bait for the hordes of playahs who frequent the club.”

“Like you?” I snap.

“No. Not like me.” Two muscled arms clutch the edge of the counter, caging me in. “In case you didn’t know, I don’t chase women. They chase me.”

I blow out a disgusted snort. “Yeah. I know.” Having heard enough, I’m more than ready to leave. “Well, this has been a really nice conversation, but I’d like to go home now.”

He pushes off to wander around the kitchen, his hands jammed into his jeans pockets, his hard body in full display. My stupid heart beats a mad, wild rhythm at the sight of his broad shoulders, slim hips, and mighty fine ass.

He stops pacing and glances back, his green eyes drilling into mine. “You’re serious about interviewing players?”


“You never explained why.”

“Well, I just thought of football players as—” I can’t say that I thought of big, beefy men fighting over a pigskin as Neanderthals—  “athletes.”

“And now?”

“Well, after talking to you and Ron and watching mad dog Buchinsky work with kids as gently as he did, I’m beginning to see there’s more to them than football.”

“And that’s important, why?”

“Any reporter can cover the statistics, how far somebody threw a ball, how many balls a player caught. But I’d like to explore the human side of the players and write about them. What makes them tick? What makes them human? The newspaper’s subscribers, especially the women, would eat up those stories.”

He lets out a hard breath. “You’ll need to earn their respect before they open themselves up to you.”

“I know. How do I do that?”

He strolls up to me, all fluid grace and masculine power. “Well, for starters. You need to learn the game.”

I nod in agreement. “I’m reading up on football and doing research.”

“You need to do more than that. I can teach you.” His voice softens, as his hand reaches out to fiddle with my hair. “I can teach you lots of things.”

His body’s tight against me. His hard on’s pressed against my belly.

I glance up at him through my eyelashes. He’s so much bigger than me, so much of a man. He smells like one too. Not of that expensive cologne he’d sported at the club, but like a man who’s been throwing around some balls with kids. Nice, clean sweat and underneath it all, him.

“You drive me crazy, you know, with your soft hair, pouty lips, and milky skin.” He puts his lips to my neck, and I shiver. “You smell so good.”

Our emotions mingle, flaring up into a fiery need. I want him. I want this man more than my next breath. But there’s something he must be made to understand.

“I’m not a groupie.”

“Oh, sweetheart, of course you’re not. You’re sunshine and rainbows and everything that’s right in this world.”

Trembling with hunger for this man, all I can say is, “Ty?” 

“Say yes, sweetheart. Say yes, and I’ll give you anything you want.”

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