Home > Changing Her Plans (Santa Fe Bobcats #7)

Changing Her Plans (Santa Fe Bobcats #7)
Author: Jeanette Murray

Chapter 1


Kristen Keplar looked up as the door opened to the main lobby of the Santa Fe Bobcats offices. “Hey, honey.”

Her seventeen-year-old son let the door close behind him and walked over to her desk. He barely had to reach to lean over and kiss her cheek. God, he’d gotten even taller in the past few months. She’d thought he’d stopped growing when he turned sixteen and hadn’t budged in two years. But fate—and his father’s DNA—had decided to gift Isaac with another two inches at the last minute.

“Hey, Mom. Can I get a few bucks?”

Kristen rolled her eyes and glanced over at Marge working the secondary desk in the office. “Figures, right? It’s never ‘Hey, Mom, I missed you,’ or ‘Mom, just wanted to stop by and say hello.’”

Isaac grinned, a few strands of too-long blond hair floating down to cover one eye before he shoved it off his forehead. “Hey, Mom, I missed you. Wanted to stop by to say hi.”

They both paused, then Kristen added, “And ask for money.”

“That too.”

Mirroring his grin, Kristen shook her head and motioned for him to come around the desk. “What for this time, tough guy?”

He leaned a hip on the edge of her large, imposing desk. The desk was meant to be a staple of the room itself, as the first line of defense for the Bobcats organization. “Dylan wants to see a movie, and his mom won’t let him go without company.”

“And you graciously offered to be his chaperone,” Kristen said wryly. “Eventually that woman will have to admit her son’s almost an adult and can see a movie by himself. Damn it,” she muttered, looking through her wallet. “No cash.”

“ATM card?” her son asked hopefully, holding up hands in an innocent gesture. “I’ll bring it right back with the receipt.”

As she debated, the door leading to the hallway and the offices of the Bobcats staff opened.

Head coach of the team Ken Jordan walked through, nodding to the security that flanked the door before heading for Kristen’s desk. “Morning.”

“Morning, Coach Jordan.” She set her purse down on the floor, ready to shove her son and his need for quick cash aside for her job. This job…she loved it. Loved the purpose it gave her, the sense of accomplishment, the feeling of being indispensable. Being a mother was an otherworldly experience, but the older—and more independent—her son became, the more Kristen knew she needed challenges of her own. This job was everything she needed.

“What can I do for you, Coach?” she asked.

“Well, I… Oh, Isaac. Hey there, son.” Reaching out to pat her son on the shoulder, Coach Jordan smiled. “Haven’t seen you around much lately.”

“Baseball for school finished up last weekend. Summer travel teams start practicing this week.”

“Couldn’t get the kid to play with a pigskin, could you?” the coach asked with a teasing voice.

Kristen sighed and shook her head. “I’m ashamed to admit, he prefers the leather glove to the feel of a football. What a weirdo.”

“Thanks, Mom,” Isaac said with a groan.

“I’ll let you finish up your family thing,” Coach Jordan said, stepping back a bit.

“Oh, no, it’s fine. He just came to play the Mom’s an ATM card. Please, what can I help you with?”

“Mom’s an ATM, huh?” Ken Jordan’s eyes sparkled. He had two—no, three—daughters of his own, two of whom were still teenagers, though Irene was in college now. Kristen knew he was thinking of his own daughters and that they likely had a similar habit of dipping into their parents’ wallets for incidentals. Parental hazard of raising a teenager. “I’ve got a better idea. How much time do you have, Isaac?”

Her son glanced at her, then back at the coach. “Uh, an hour or so, I guess. Why?”

She debated kicking him for not showing more respect, but that would only draw attention. Instead, she bit back a hiss and prayed the coach wouldn’t notice or comment.

“I’ve got some furniture in my office I want moved around. I’m getting a new desk soon, and it’s going to change the configuration. Was planning to do that myself later, but if you’re willing and think your muscles can handle it…” He let that hang in the air, and Isaac jumped on it.

“I can handle it, Coach. No problem. I’ll help out.”

“I’m willing to pay, but only if you do the job right,” Coach warned.

Isaac’s head bobbed in agreement.

Kristen blew out a breath of relief. Her son had done odd jobs around the building for years now, usually as a way to keep him out of trouble. And the cash to compensate him had come from her pockets. That someone else would offer—without being asked—made her currently light wallet weep with gratitude.

But she really should protest. “Coach, you don’t have to pay him,” she began, but Jordan held up his hand to stop her.

“Kristen, if I’m using someone for hard labor, they’ll get compensated. Let’s go, son. I’ll show you what I’m thinking. Kristen, he’ll be back in a bit.”

“Oh, but what did you need from me?” she asked, standing to follow him toward the door.

“Nothing that can’t wait. It’s spring. We’ve got time.” Coach Jordan winked over his shoulder and led Isaac back into the private office areas of the Bobcats building.

 

Clayton Barnes sat with his head in his hands, debating the need for yet another six quarterback plays.

Ken Jordan had asked him to review the playbook, remove six, and add in the same number with fresh, new ideas. Not Clay’s style, personally. He preferred to have a small, solid stable of plays that were tested and validated, and not horse around with dozens of fancy trick plays that nobody could remember, half of which ended up being relegated to the back burner when they didn’t work like they should on paper anyway.

But when the head coach asked you to jump, you jumped…at least in your first year. He’d been coaching for over a decade overall between college and the pros and had no problem making waves. But he also believed in picking battles to strategically wage the war. So he’d create the new plays…but he’d push to keep the stuff that worked. If he lasted with this organization—and God, he hoped he did—then he’d be more confident on how to push back.

The sound of a grunt caught his attention, then a curse and what sounded like furniture falling. Jumping up from his desk, he rushed over toward the sound. He passed by Frank, the assistant who guarded the coaching offices like a dragon guarding an ivy-covered tower holding a princess. The man didn’t even look up from his typing as he grumbled, “In Jordan’s office.”

Clay rushed past him, noting Frank didn’t bother to even pick up the phone to call security. Crotchety old bastard.

Head Coach Ken Jordan’s office door was open, and he looked in to find someone half behind a bookcase that was threatening to fall over. Books scattered the floor in front of it, the obvious source of the thumping. And whoever was behind there made a sound that was a mixture of distress and frustration.

“What the hell’s going on in here?” he demanded, then blinked when a young man’s head popped up from behind the shelving unit.

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