Nixon (Raleigh Raptors 1) - Page 2

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I scoffed, even as I glanced out over the crowd, looking for the one person I knew wouldn’t be there. A flash of memory filled my vision: long brown hair and the greenest eyes I’d ever seen looking up at me from white sheets—

“You know he’s gone celibate,” Roman remarked, bringing me back to the present.

“I haven’t gone celibate,” I threw up air quotes as we walked into The Barn. The temp dropped twenty degrees as the air conditioning hit us.

“What would you call giving up sex for the season?” Hendrix questioned.

“Prioritizing my focus.” It was that simple. That one weekend I’d spent in Vegas with Liberty, the woman who’d won the charity date auction, had been enough to fuck with my head for the last month. Hell, I still had dreams about her almost every night. “Women are a distraction I don’t need this year, and honestly, I’m just getting sick of it.”

“Women?” Roman’s eyes widened.

“No.” I took a long look at my friends and struggled for words. These guys hardly ever went home alone, especially Hendrix. “The stress and worry that comes with them.”

Hendrix opened the door to the hallway and rolled his eyes. “Not every woman is your ex, you know. They’re not all looking to trap you into a wedding ring.”

“You seriously want to tell me that every single woman out there on that sideline wouldn’t do whatever it takes to become Mrs. Hendrix?” I asked, heading down the hall toward the locker room. “Not just for the money, but the fame? Half the WAGs are just hanging around for the perks already. And you know Teagan isn’t included in that assessment.” Not that there weren’t a few solid marriages on the team, and Teagan was pretty kick-ass, but from what I’d seen, the Wives And Girlfriends, or WAGs, were mostly arm candy in search of deep pockets.

“You are so fucking jaded,” Roman chided. “I don’t get it. Your brother seems to have his shit in line.”

“Yeah, well, Nate got lucky,” I admitted. My twin, Nathan, was a defenseman for the Carolina Reapers, and not only did he manage an NHL career, but his fiancée was the real deal. Those two were head-over-heels in love, even if Harper refused to set a wedding date. I kinda loved her even more for sticking to her independent guns.

“Well, I’m just looking to get plain-old-lucky.” Hendrix grinned as we burst into the locker room.

The noise was deafening, and they hadn’t even let the reporters in yet. I’d done far too many interviews with a towel hung around my hips, hoping the thing didn’t slip on camera, so I hurried through my shower. My mother would never fucking forgive me if I gave America an eyeful of my dick.

Coach Goodman started up with his pep talk right around the time I was pulling up my shorts. The guy was one of the best in the league by the stats and the best in my opinion. He was a hulking, bear of a man who’d played pro for a season before his knee blew out, so he understood the player side of this business, too. He was fair, expected you to give a hundred-and-ten-percent on the field, and never put up with shit.

“—and that being said, we’re going to get a little reminder of my rules before the press gets at you.” He narrowed his eyes on the rookies, especially Maverick Allen, the hot-headed fullback we’d picked up in the first round out of Texas A&M. “First rule, show up on time. Glad to see you all followed that one today, and I expect you to keep it up. Second rule, you act like a Raptor on and off the field. The whole world is watching, boys, and that means every jackass move you pull is going to have a spotlight shined on your ass. Third, if you do get into trouble, your first call had better be to me. I don’t want to hear about anything from TMZ first, got me?”

The team mumbled an assent.

“Nixon, you want to offer these rookies any advice?” he asked, raising his brows at me.

I stood from the bench, still holding my shirt in my hand. “Don’t let the fame go to your head. This isn’t college, this is the National Football League, and here’s a room full of guys willing to kick your ass if you need to be reminded that you’re not the big fish in your little ponds anymore.” I warned the newbies.

A round of comments, including, “Hell yeah, we will,” came from around the locker room.

“We’re a family,” I told them. “That means check your ego at the door. You show up for your team. We’ll show up for you.”

Another round of comments agreeing with me sounded around the room.

“Lastly, wrap it up. There’s a whole flock of beautiful women waiting for you on the sidelines, at the bar, at events—hell, even in the hallways of our hotels at away games—”

Tags: Samantha Whiskey Raleigh Raptors Romance