Authors: Vivian Lux
A Bad Boy Sports Romance
All Rights Reserved
This book contains adult themes, explicit language and sexual situations. It is intended for mature audiences.
Please respect the work of this author. No part of this book may be reproduced or copied without permission. This book is licensed for your personal enjoyment only.
This book is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental. Any similarities to events or situations are also coincidental.
The publisher and author acknowledge the trademark status and trademark ownership of all trademarks and locations mentioned in this book. Trademarks and locations are not sponsored or endorsed by trademark owners.
(C) 2016 by Vivian Lux and Velvetfire Press
All Rights Reserved
BOOKS BY VIVIAN LUX:
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To B.: My partner in pretty much everything now.
To N. and E.: my little fireworks. Thank you for coming along and blowing up my life so I could reassemble it into something SO much better.
To Jill: I had no idea how much I needed you in my life. Thank you for running it so smoothly and for being my extra, much more efficient brain.
To my Vandals: You make this the best job in the world.
And to Ryan's Wine & Spirits for having the best selection in town. I couldn't have written this book without your help.
The text message alert on my phone went off the second the waitress brought out our appetizers. I smiled apologetically across the table.
But my date was too occupied with his onion rings to notice.
I slid my phone under the table and glanced at notification on the screen.
Olivia: How’s it going?
I pressed my lips together and snuck a glance at the man across the table from me. Dennis hadn’t noticed I was looking at my phone. Truth be told, I wasn’t sure he really noticed I was even in the same room as him. His eyes were fixed over my shoulder, keeping a close watch on the hockey game that blared on the screen behind us.
Yes, we were in a sports bar. A loud, boisterous sports bar. For our first date.
And they say romance is dead.
Feeling guilty, even though I had no reason to, I covertly typed my reply.
Me: Okay, I gues
Then I slid my phone behind my back and smiled winningly across the table. “So—Olivia tells me your parents are veterinarians. How wonderful to grow up with animals like that!”
He nodded, chomping loudly on his onion rings. I could smell them from across the table, and involuntarily wrinkled my nose. “Yeah, it was cool, I suppose…” The momentary eye contact he made with me drifted away, and his attention was once again rooted on the game behind me.
I felt my phone vibrate against my back.
I sighed, shifted, and slipped my phone back to my hand. My thighs were sticking to the vinyl booth. I regretted wasting my favorite blue dress on this date. It wasn’t worth it.
I looked down at my screen.
Olivia: Have you used one of my lines?
I pressed my lips together again, this time to hide the smile that desperately wanted to turn into laughter. Olivia Bryant, my best friend and fellow cubicle dweller at
Cupid’s Arrow Dating Service
, was a self-professed ‘female chauvinist pig.’ The kind of girl who watched
Sex and the City
and took Samantha as her own personal role model.
Her current obsession was what she called, ‘pickup line equity.’
“If men get to use corny, sleazy pickup lines, well then so do we!” she had crowed to me three nights ago as we shared a bottle of Pinot Grigio in my tiny kitchen. “From now on, I’m a female pickup artist. It’s the war of the sexes, baby, and sometimes you need to adopt enemy tactics to win.”
I typed back, not even bothering to hide my phone anymore.
Me: I am not going to ask him if he has any wood for my beaver.
Just typing those words made me blush like a mad woman.
Three little dots that indicated she was typing hovered on the screen. I took a quick glance at my date to see if he noticed that I was paying him no attention at all.
Olivia: That was my best one!
She wrote back, with a string of frowny-faced emojis.
Olivia: Okay, how about this. Tell him...
Olivia: ‘I wish I was your car so you could fill me up.’
I hid my laughter behind a cough, and reached for my wineglass. The only wine this sports bar had was a cheap white Zinfandel, but I wasn’t above downing half my glass at once.
This blind date was officially a disaster, and we hadn’t even gotten our entrées yet.
“Another glass of the Zin, hon?” Our waitress couldn’t have been more than eighteen years old, and she smacked her gum loudly as she talked.
Dennis finally tore his eyes from the screen, and latched them firmly on her high, padded breasts.
“I’ll take more of whatever
got,” he leered.
We had barely started drinking, but his eyes already had a drunken sheen to them. I wonder how long he was here, pre-gaming, before I had showed up. A little tiny warning bell went off in the back of my head.
The waitress rolled her eyes, but at the same time she jutted her chest out a little further. “I got whatever you want,” she flirted back clumsily.
“Excuse me,” I interjected. This was getting gross. “Could you check on our meals?” I was debating leaving, but our orders had already been put in, and I had skipped lunch in an effort to fit into this blue dress.
“Gonna be a sec,” the waitress snapped, popping her gum again. “Kitchen’s backed up. Can I get you more drinks?”
I shook my head. This was ridiculous. “Excuse me,” I said, smiling apologetically. “I’m just going to run to the ladies’ room.”
“Chicks and their small bladders,” Dennis grumbled for no reason.
The waitress just laughed and leaned all the way over our table to collect the two empty pint glasses in front of him. He practically buried his face in her tits.
I grabbed my phone and headed to the bathroom. At the corner of the bar, a small knot of men were watching the same game Dennis couldn't keep his eyes off of. My blood pressure was already spiking from Dennis’s jackass behavior, so I didn’t feel like us enduring another round of male chauvinist pigs. I decided to give them a wide berth.
“What’s up, Blue?” one of the guys called out. “Come over here and say hello!”
They were practically blocking the ladies’ room. “Excuse me!” I called out in my best no-nonsense voice. “I need to get by.”
“What’s the hurry?” the blond one asked.
“Don’t be a dick,” the third guy interjected.
He swiveled around in his barstool and gave the first guy a shove. “Go ahead,” he told me. “My friends left their manners at home tonight.”
For a second, my heart didn’t work. It was dark in the bar, dimly lit, but his eyes were even darker, almost black. His jaw was shadowed with a heavy, dark beard, but I could see the strength there, the determination. The way he looked directly into my eyes, never breaking eye contact, never dropping to check out my body, was so refreshing after a night of feeling like a piece of meat on display at the corner deli.
“Thanks,” I murmured inaudibly. Then I rushed by them and into the bathroom.
Once safely inside the stall, I whipped out my phone. A single ‘?’ was hanging there unanswered on the screen from Olivia, checking in about five minutes ago.
I leaned against the wall of the stall.
Me: How did you meet this guy again?
I was doing my damnedest not to get pissed off at my best friend for setting me up with such a dud.
She must have been waiting right by phone.
Olivia: His dad is Romeo’s vet.
Romeo was Olivia’s pit bull, the love of her life. He was more dependable than any man she’d ever met, and she told him that at least three or four times a day, with no qualms about who she said it in front of.
Me: So, you don’t actually
Olivia: I know
There was a pause, and then my phone started ringing in my hand.
She didn’t even wait for me to say hello. “Oh. Shit,” Olivia said by way of greeting.
I nodded. “Yeah, ‘oh shit.’” I sighed. “He’s acting like a complete jackass. Barely said two words to me, then totally checked out the waitress.”
Olivia growled something obscene.
“This sucks,” I went on. “The date was bad enough. And what’s worse is, now I’m alone in a bathroom stall, telling my best friend all about it…” I wasn’t going to cry.
Dear God, don’t let me cry.
“Oh, Candy,” she sighed, using the nickname that only she was allowed to call me. “Don’t get discouraged.”
“How can I not? This isn’t so much a dry spell as a full-blown drought.”
“You’ve just got a keep looking, play the game.” She paused and lowered her voice meaningfully. “Have some fun, hmm?”
“I don’t know, I’m starting to think that the guy for me, the soul mate, my one and only, whoever he is, has to be in someplace remote. Like at the base of Mount Everest, or maybe stuck somewhere in North Korea. I feel like I’ve dated the entire Chicago area already, and I don’t have much hope for the rest of America.”
“Stop thinking that a guy has to be the
,” she chided me.
It was a familiar refrain. Olivia believed in sex. Casual sex, freaky sex, sex without regret.
Well, I believed in love.
I believed in love like in the fairytales. One person to complete you. Sure, that belief had taken a beating the longer I went without finding it, but I knew it was possible. I only had to look at my parents to know that it was true.
Bill and Victoria Hunter made no sense as a couple. He was the straight-laced valedictorian of their small town high school. She was the passionate artist who skipped classes to work in the studios. When they got together in the last month of senior year, everyone thought it was just a fling before high school ended.
That was thirty-four years ago.
My parents were the very definition of the phrase, ‘opposites attract.’ But they complemented each other so completely that everyone, including their two daughters, could see that they were meant to be together. And I grew up knowing that their kind of love was out there, just waiting for me.
I just had to find it first.
“I’m just going to leave,” I sighed, rubbing my forehead. “I’ll give him some money for my burger, and get the hell out of here. Stop wasting both of our time.”
Olivia clucked sympathetically. “I’ll bring you a box of bacon chocolate chip cookies from
tomorrow,” she promised. “Sorry about this, Candy-girl.”
“It’s not your fault,” I laughed ruefully. “Guess I can’t hold you responsible for the sins of every guy I try to go out with.”
“Sure you can! What are friends for?” she chirped.
I laughed. “Thanks for the talk. I feel less like I’m ready to pull a Lorena Bobbitt on the entire male species.”
“Well, if you ever needed to, you know who to call. Love you, Candace.”
I swallowed, oddly touched by her use of my full name. “Love you, Liv,” I said, then hung up the phone.
I went to the sink, splashed some water on my face, and then immediately checked that I hadn’t made my eyeliner run. I bit my lip, straightened my shoulders, and pushed the door open again.
The noise of the bar hit me like an aerial assault. Whatever had just happened on the TV seemed to be a good thing, because the whole bar was standing up and cheering, complete strangers slapping each other on the back. Once more I found myself mystified by the unifying power of men in gaudy clothes slapping sticks or balls around a field. Or, whatever the hell they played basketball on. A court, maybe? But this was a hockey game, so I guess it was a rink?
Sports were a complete mystery to me.
I hesitated only a moment before starting back to my table. The crowd was completely distracted by the screen, but I could still feel eyes on me.
I snuck a quick peek behind me and accidentally locked eyes with the dark-eyed man sitting at the corner of the bar. He raised his glass silently in my direction.
I wanted to turn around, take one more glimpse of those broad shoulders, and cut cheekbones, but I felt like that would be inviting the attention of his asshole friends. Sighing resignedly, I resolved to make my goodbyes with Dennis and go home to a threesome with Ben and Jerry.
“There you are!” Dennis called as if I had been trekking across the Himalayas for a month. “Everything good?”
Was this guy seriously just asking me if I had a successful trip to the ladies' room?
I shook my head, “Hey, thanks for the nice time,” I lied. “But I think it’s time I head out.”
His face fell, and something slightly dangerous glinted in his eyes. “But we haven’t even had dinner yet.”
“You can have mine. Or wrap it up,” I said, throwing a twenty down on the table. “That should cover it.”
Swift as snake, he reached out and snapped his fingers around my wrist.
“Hey!” I cried out, looking down in shock.
“Sit down,” he said. His mouth was smiling, but his voice was steel.
I shook my head slowly. “No.”
“No, sit down,” he said, still smiling. Though it was more like a dog baring its teeth. “Let’s get to know each other.”
“I’ve learned all I want to know,” I said, “and you’re hurting my wrist.”
He gave a sharp tug. I wobbled on my heels and fell forward, striking the corner of my ribs against the table. “Stop it!” I called out.
“You shut up!” he hissed, looking around. “No need to get hysterical.”
“If you don’t let go of me, I’m going to scream,” I told him, looking right into his eye.
“You know, Olivia told me all about you,” he said coldly. “Where you live, where you work—”
I jutted my chin out. “Olivia would never do that.”
“You don’t know that. How would you know, you’ve barely talked to me! Why don’t you sit down, and we’ll talk about it.”
“Let. Go. Of. My
.” I was starting to feel panic close around my throat. All around us the crowd was laughing, joking, and yelling at the screen. Nobody, absolutely no one was paying attention.