Saving Maverick

By: Debra Elise

“You wish,” Maverick interrupted. “Someone’s got to keep the ball girls happy.” Mav held up two fingers to the bartender. “Whiskey, straight up.”

Off to Luke’s side, Syndi, Luke’s latest, piped in. “Hi, Maverick.” Her voice reminded him of a twelve-year-old girl’s, always so damn high. Mav was instantly annoyed each time she spoke to him. The worst part was, she was only using his buddy to grab onto someone bigger in the league. Someone with a healthier bank account and probably Hollywood connections.

Maverick decided a long time ago poaching his teammates’ women wasn’t worth the drama, no matter the bra size. Besides, in his experience the larger the cup size, the lower the I.Q., and he was past the age where he could put up with endless chatter about what the Kardashians were wearing this week or who they were dating or divorcing.

Sidestepping Syndi’s initial move to engage him, Maverick nodded at her and turned back to the bar. He grabbed his whiskey and tossed it back. Damn, only top shelf for T.S. Maybe this owner wouldn’t be such a straight-laced prick like the previous one.

He’d had his fill of the former owner, Billy Jack McGraw. The clueless owner only saw his players as cattle, not talent. Always looking for the brass ring over ability and buying out ridiculous contracts of players beyond their prime, to cash in on the name recognition.

When they lost the division, the former owner wanted out. Enter Thomas Scott, who despite his harebrained idea to set up the team in Pineville, Idaho, actually cared that the team had a winning season, not just a moneymaking one.

T.S. had the money all right, and he wanted the trophy. From what he’d heard, T.S. had played college ball but never made it to the big leagues. Maverick had to hand it to the guy, his love for the game shone through at the players’ meeting when he’d introduced himself. Of course that was before he dropped the bomb that he gained the league’s okay to move the club. Now the team was split on whether the new owner was a step up from crazy Billy Jack McGraw or a fucking genius.

Currently, the hometown golden boy in question was working hard on impressing the knockout Maverick had slammed eyes with moments ago. Something about her obvious disinterest nagged him. But he also saw a flash of challenge in her eyes. Maybe it was interest. Hell, maybe he was hoping it was.

It had always been easy for Maverick to woo women. He’d perfected his approach in college and found a slow smile and leisurely body check was his key to an instant introduction. Not this one though. Glancing again at the woman who was occupying all of his thoughts, he wondered if she realized how her ice queen persona was a turn-on.

She seemed above noticing him when he’d walked into the room, and only paused on him because he made it pretty clear where his thoughts were. Or so he thought. Damn, he loved a challenge and it had been a long time since he’d had that instant physical reaction to a woman.

Now was a hell of a time to be battling a hard-on, in the midst of a charity function full of the town’s politicos and muckety-mucks. He shifted a bit, adjusting himself, and caught a glimpse of Syndi out of the corner of his eye. He sensed the heat of the ball girl’s stare burning his back. Shit. He was so tired of these groupies.

There was a time he reveled in the nonstop attention from women, and not once did he think he’d feel any different— until the fiasco in Reno with the stripper he hooked up with while trying to resurrect his libido.

Embarrassed was too tame a word for what he felt, and to keep his inability to perform a secret he’d paid her off. His sex life and his pitching hadn’t been the same since losing the championship, but maybe one of them was showing signs of life again.

He tried catching the dark-haired beauty’s eye again as he strolled through the room away from the buffet. Not a true redhead, her dark auburn hair was swept to one side. Inexplicably, he itched to get his hands in its masses. Her curvy body gave him all sorts of naughty ideas. He rarely went for the waif look that others favored and this woman conjured nothing but thoughts of tangled sheets and heated kisses.

He watched as she raised her wine glass and gestured to the door while she responded to something T.S. had said. Damn, he wanted to be on the receiving end of all that passion. Her curves, encased in a dark green business suit, were more of a turn-on to him than the other women in the room wearing tight-fitting minis and blinged-out halter tops.

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