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Dirty Game:A Secret Baby Sports Romance

By:Violet Paige

Dirty Game:A Secret Baby Sports Romance
Violet Paige

       Prologue





This was the last place I should be. The absolute last place. I'd woken  up this morning in hot and dusty Dallas, and now here I was standing  outside of the Dock House while boats rocked in their slips.

My heel made a hollow sound as it hit the parking lot pavement. I  slammed the car door behind me and inhaled, taking in this place and all  the memories we had made.

The wind whipped through my hair. I hesitated. This was all wrong. I  shouldn't be here, but I had to know. I had to see him again.

I pushed open the door, my heart in my throat, my palms dewy with perspiration, my breath fevered.

Was any of it real, or had it all just been a flash of summer heat?





1





Blake





I had been called a brooder, and at times much worse. I liked beer, an  occasional dip, and I loved to fuck. At twenty-six, I valued my time and  space more than the warmth of someone sharing my pillow. I didn't have  time for relationships.

And what quarterback did? I didn't need a girl to get in my head or  under my skin. One climbing into my bed was an entirely different story.

I closed the locker under where Wiley was engraved into the wood.

"You headed out?"

I turned to see one of the conditioning trainers behind me.

"Yeah."

He shook his head. "You're the only guy on the team who isn't going to Cabo or Rio. You know that, right?"

"Fuck." I laughed. "I don't need that shit. I get enough of it during  the season. The last thing I want is the fucking press following me  around."

"Going to your fishing hole?"

That's what the guys around here called it anyway. They didn't know shit  about where I was from. I was ok with that. I kept my personal life  personal. I never took them. Never even invited them.

"Something like that." I pressed my lips together.

Jones strolled through the locker room. "Dude, you're not going to Cabo with us?"

"Not this time."

I got enough of these fuckers during the season. I only had one break a year. And I wasn't going to waste it in the spotlight.

"Too bad. The girls are hot as fuck down there."

"So I hear," I answered.

"We'll miss you." Jones slapped me on the back.

The trainer bumped my fist. "Keep up the stretching and don't tweak that knee."

It had been giving me problems since spring training. One twist the  wrong way and I had been on the ground gripping my leg. The last thing I  wanted was for any of the guys to see me down. There was no room for  weakness on the field.

I had put off having surgery, but I was working through a vicious therapy regimen.

"Got it." I lifted my bag to my shoulder. "See you guys way too soon."

I walked out of the locker room ready for my time off to start.

It was only a month until practice resumed. It wasn't like I had months  to travel the world and party my ass off like these other mother  fuckers.

My job required meetings. Strategy. Planning. While they were drinking  their asses onto the floor I was watching tape. I was writing plays and  studying the competition. I dealt with the Sports Now speculation. I had  to meet with rookies. QBs never slept.

So I took my month off. And I made sure nothing interfered with it. Nothing.



I carried my 6'5" frame with confident strides across the sandy parking  lot, and threw a six-pack of beer into a cooler. Beads of perspiration  started a slow trickle down my forehead. If I didn't get on the water  soon, the fish would be running from the sun just like I was. Damn it.  This Fourth of July was hotter than hell.

I didn't practice in fucking heat like this. That's why we had an air  conditioned facility. But I wasn't in Orlando. I was back home for most  of the summer. If there was one place that didn't give a fuck that I was  an A-rated American Football Association QB, it was this island. This  tiny piece of land where I grew up.

I guided my truck under the water oaks, keeping the shoreline in sight.  The road seemed to follow the curvature of the small coastline where  years of ebbing and tiding had crept up on the pavement. I couldn't tell  you a spot on the island where you couldn't see the water. As far as I  was concerned, if it did exist, it wasn't worth mentioning.

This was my place. The only town on this planet that didn't bother me  for pictures or autographs. I could do exactly what I was doing today-go  fucking fishing with my cousin without worrying about a mob of fans.

I slowed the truck to turn onto the grassy path leading to my boat.

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw her. I'd recognize those legs  anywhere. I wasn't sure if it was the lips, the blond hair, or that  attitude of hers I wanted to break. I'd always wanted to break. Fuck.                       
       
           



       

She was the kind of girl who thought she was too good for the island.  The kind that only cruised with champagne in her hand, and nothing was  ever good enough. But she might just be the sexiest woman I'd ever  known.

When had Sierra Emory got back in town? And why was she here this summer? And why the fuck was she leaning over the bridge?

In the meantime, Cole was probably revving the boat impatiently and  already a few beers ahead. We had a full day of fishing ahead of us.

My cousin sat on the bow with a goofy grin and a beer in hand. "Let's  go, man. Where in the hell have you been? I've been sitting out here  thinkin' you weren't going to show."

"You know I'm not going to bail on you." I smiled and popped the top of  my first beer. "I had a lot of shit to get done today. I'm ready now."

I loaded the cooler, a box of tackle, and a bag of sandwiches I had  picked up from the Seaside Café into the toolbox at the stern of the  boat.

She still didn't have a name. I knew it was bad luck not to name my  boat, but I wasn't superstitious. For now, she was nameless, but I  trusted her. I had handpicked every limb of her frame and driven every  nail into her seams. My father had tried to help, but I'd refused the  free pair of hands when I had them.

I felt the back of my throat clutch at the thought.

"Can you believe it's already the Fourth? Man, this summer is flying  by." I positioned myself behind the steering wheel. "I have to report to  fucking camp soon."

I rubbed the back of my neck. I loved this place, as much as I loved  football. And right now, I didn't know which one I needed more.

"Hey, did you know Sierra Emory was on the island?" I asked.

Cole shook his head. "No. Hadn't heard that."

I didn't want to make a fucking big deal about it. "Let's get out of here."

"Yeah, we better steer clear of the cape today. It'll be full of those damn ski boats, scaring off the fish," Cole agreed.

Cole loosened the sailor's knots and tossed the ropes up on the dock.  With one hard shove, we started drifting in the creek, and I cranked the  engine. The creek was alive with jumping mullets. I steered us under  the bridge and headed east.





2





Sierra





From the small peak at the top of the bridge, the island didn't look  like much. In fact, it really wasn't much at all. It never had been. No  coffee shops. No yoga classes. There wasn't even a gym. I didn't know  how I was going to manage the rest of the summer here.

It always felt like time travel when I came home. Home. It was a weird word to associate with this place.

I might as well have jumped in a time machine. I gripped the bridge's  railing. Damn, this island was hot. I shielded my eyes from the  reflection and tried to focus on the two fading figures laughing and  sipping from koozies.

The island wasn't more than two miles wide and five miles long. When I  was a kid I'd known every square inch of it. That seemed like a million  years ago now. Exploring this place was the last thing I wanted to do  anymore. That girl no longer existed.

I shouldn't be here. Leave it to Aunt Lindy to pass her estate to me in the heat of the summer.

The boat was on the horizon now. I probably had known those guys in my  past life. There'd been a time when I'd known all the island guys. They  wore T-shirts, deck shoes and most of them walked around with a  cigarette.

Sweat trickled down my neck, and I piled my hair on my head, hoping a  breeze would find me. I had wandered a little farther than I'd planned.  My mission had been to jog to the store and pick up some ice for the  cooler, but once I'd reached the market, I'd kept running. Maybe I was  trying to outrun the heat or just outrun this feeling that I was going  crazy.

I didn't know if I could handle opening one more drawer only to find it was stuffed to the top with moth balls.

I turned from the bridge and wondered why I had ventured this far  without a car. I still had to stop by the store and walk home with a bag  of ice. The ice maker was broken and nowhere among the piles of  Tupperware and casserole dishes had I found any ice trays.

A gust of cold air hit me as I pushed open the door to the market.  Immediately, the smell of turpentine, fishing tackle, and candy bars hit  my nose. It was such an odd combination to my senses. The hardwood  floors had been worn from years of fishermen and islanders waiting in  line at the counter for their handwritten receipts. As far as I knew,  this was the last place in the world that didn't electronically print  receipts.

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