Home > The Hot Shot (Game On #4)(2)

The Hot Shot (Game On #4)(2)
Author: Kristen Callihan

“Those two are not necessarily mutually exclusive.”

“If you say so.” I leave him to fiddle with his tray. The stairwell to my loft is a vast echo chamber, and thus, before I’m halfway to the door, I can hear the guys clear as a bell.

“Maybe he’s on the can or something,” says a deep, snide voice.

“Great,” drawls another. “We’ve gotta wait for a shit? That could be half an hour at least.”

I slow my steps, fighting a laugh, and I hear a long-suffering sigh.

“Lord,” says a guy with a Southern drawl, “these boys keep leaving themselves wide open for a smack down. It’s almost too easy.”

I agree, but nearly jump out of my skin when someone starts pounding on the door hard enough that I fear it might fall from the hinges. Really, that’s just going too far.

“Dude!” Shouts an irate male. “Nip it off and open up!”

Someone mutters about having some class, but I’m annoyed now and stride to the door, ready to remind my impatient guests of their manners.

I whip open the door and find four enormous guys staring back at me. Aside from their impressive size, they couldn’t be more different in appearance. The man-mountain directly in front of me, with his full beard, man-bun and tattoo sleeves, looks as if he’d be at home in the clubs I like to frequent. He also appears to be completely chagrined, which makes me think he was the one who’d been begging for the others to have some class.

Next to him is a good-looking, lean guy with an amused smile. Short dreads spike up around his head like a crown of thorns. He’s shaking that head and giving the golden boy at his side a dry look. Golden boy is unrepentant in his glee, his light brown eyes shining with mischief.

They’re all handsome in their own way; excellent subjects for what we’re about to do.

But it is the guy behind them, looming in the background with a sour expression, who catches my eye and makes me pause. This guy is the cover model, blazing blue eyes and tanned skin. So gorgeous, he makes my teeth hurt. And he’s looking down his perfect nose at me as if my presence offends him.

His face, I know well. From TV ads to billboards, I’ve seen him smiling back at me, trying to sell me athletic gear, health drinks, and even home mortgages. He’s the quarterback, the designated king of the football team, Finn Mannus or ‘Manny’ as the press dubs him. A strange nickname, since he’s so damn pretty.

He catches me looking and quirks a brow as if to say, “Yes, I know. I’m all that and a bag of chips, but don’t even think about taking a bite; I’ve better things to do.”

And so do I. I cut my gaze away and study my other clients. They all look back at me with various levels of expectation or impatience. Dominance and testosterone radiate from them like sunlight. If I give them an inch, they’ll take over this shoot. They probably wouldn’t even notice they’re doing it; they’re clearly just that accustomed to taking charge.

I draw myself tight and try to remember what they’d been saying. Ah, yes, they were talking about shits. Lovely. It’s time to assert some dominance to my own.


* * *




* * *


There’s a lesson I learned early on in life; sometimes you have to suffer thought shit. Best just buck up and get past it as quickly as possible. As a football player, there’s a lot of shit I suffer through: physical pain, mental exhaustion, mind numbing questions from the press, rigorous diets, lack of personal time. Looking at it from the outside, you’d wonder why the hell anyone would actually want to be a pro-football player. Answer: because it is the best fucking game on earth, and I kick ass at it.

But there are days like today, when I’m asked—ordered by my team’s marketing director—to pose for a calendar, that I really question my devotion to football.

I’ve been told this is for charity, which is the only reason I agreed. Even so, I give to charity. I use my face and my name to promote causes that protect children, the disadvantaged, the abused. It’s one of the best things about my fame. But striking a pose for a beefcake calendar makes me feel like a right fuckwit.

To top it off, I’m standing outside the photographer’s door with three of my teammates, and he isn’t answering. I pound on the metal door with the side of my fist, and the sound echoes in the wide stairwell. This is technically my day off. I could have been napping, soaking in the tub—don’t knock it ’til you try it—or playing Call of Duty on my PlayStation.

Then again, if he doesn’t show, we don’t do the shoot. No skin off my nose there. “We get the time wrong?” I ask over my shoulder.

“Nope,” says Dex, my center. “In fact, we’re a few minutes late.”

Perfect. We’re sitting out here with our dicks in our hands. “The photographer had better not be having some sort of artistic huff.”

Dex shrugs, looking bored. “Maybe he’s on the can or something.”

My starting wideout, Jake Ryder seems more interested in cracking jokes.

Jake shouts at the door again, banging on it with his fist. “Dude! Nip it off and open up!”

If I wasn’t so distracted, I’d be embarrassed. I pace and eye the stairs. It isn’t too late to get away.

Unfortunately, the door whips open. A woman stands there looking pissed and kind of scary. She’s thin and tall, maybe five foot ten, which still makes her six inches shorter than me. Her eyebrows are arrow straight, not something I’d normally notice on a woman, but it gives her such a fierce expression, as if she’s an Amazonian ready to do battle, that it’s hard to ignore. Or maybe it’s that she’s glaring like she’s deciding which one of us she wants dismember first.

As if she hears my thoughts, her dark gaze snaps to me. And I swear I feel it down to my balls. She’s not pretty. No, her narrow face and high-bridged nose are too severe for pretty. Long straight hair, inky black at the roots and magenta at the tips, give her a Goth girl vibe. As does her black tank-top and black jeans. A tattoo of dogwood flowers, done in black lines, run along her left upper arm.

In short, she’s the type of female who has stayed clear of me for my entire post-pubescent life. And I’ve stayed clear of her type as well. Call it cliché, I don’t care. It’s just a simple truth; women who look like her have never had any interest in guys like me, and I’ve never given her type a second glance.

Even so, my blood quickens. Her intense stare holds power. And power is something I respect.

I hear it in her husky voice when she finally speaks. “Nip what off, do tell?”

That’s a sex voice, the kind that wraps around a guy’s dick and tugs. I absolutely do not need to respond to a sexy voice right now. Especially since she clearly considers us nothing more than a bunch of unruly boys.

Take charge. Control the situation. It’s what I do. Always. I step forward, bring her attention back to me. “We’re here for the calendar shoot.”

Her upper lip curls. “Well, I certainly didn’t think you were here for the little league group shot I have scheduled later.”

Cute. Really cute. Wait. What?

“You’re the photographer?” Dread punches my gut.

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