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Authors: Liz Matis

Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #Genre Fiction, #Sports, #Contemporary, #Romance, #Fiction

Huddle Up

BOOK: Huddle Up
9.07Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

Little Hondo Press

[email protected]

Huddle Up

Copyright © 2014 Elizabeth Matis

Kindle Edition

Digital ISBN: 978-0-9840098-6-2

Print ISBN: 978-0-9840098-8-6

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, scanning, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system now known or hereafter invented, without permission in writing from the author.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

Also by Liz Matis

Playing For Keeps – print, eBook, and audio book

Love By Design – print, eBook, and audio book

Going For It – print, eBook and audio book

Real Men Don’t Drink Appletinis – eBook

Praise for Liz Matis
Love By Design

RT Book Review:
Readers will get a kick out of these characters as they walk through a world of fashion and celebrities and soak up all the glitz and glam that a wild child and a bad boy could possibly provide.

Love on the Book Shelf:
Don’t hold this book too tight-you-you’ll burn your fingers.
It’s also the perfect just-before-bedtime reading, if you’d like some nice, sultry dreams.

Totally worth it.

Playing For Keeps – Fantasy Football – Season 1

RT Book Reviews:
Playing For Keeps is entertaining … an engaging storyline will keep readers turning the pages … readers will enjoy the unfolding relationship and anticipate the sequel featuring the secondary characters

Book Junkie:
In Liz Matis’ latest from Little Hondo Press, Playing For Keeps you will get a wildly sexy romance with depth and laughs. A page turner, bring on the sequel.

Going For It – Fantasy Football – Season 2

RT Book Reviews:
Readers will wholeheartedly enjoy the cat-and-mouse game the main couple plays. Expect a large dose of spice, surprises, and a story that’s perfect for the front page of a tabloid. The sequel to Playing For Keeps is a touchdown!

Book Junkie:
I loved GOING FOR IT because falling hard and fast for two witty, feisty and completely honest characters that do nothing if not capture your heart and take you on the wild ride that is their love story.

Huddle Up

Fantasy Football – Season 3

By Liz Matis

To Angel, Love Billy – August 2007

Angels arrive on a

ray of light

they say

My Angel arrived on a


one hot summer night

and remained


once upon my mortal kiss

Chapter 1

ess than twenty-four hours ago Billy Burner discovered he’d fathered a child. Maybe. Now he stood outside O’Malley’s Pub clutching the demand for a court-ordered DNA test in his hand.

His playbook didn’t have a section on fatherhood. The chapter on greedy, conniving women he knew by heart. So why hadn’t Angel sued him for child support after he signed his first pro contract two years ago? And why had she waited until now, six years after he’d last seen her, to spring a kid on him? It must be a lie. Only the date of birth nagged at his conscious. Had their teenage summer romance produced a love child? He wanted answers and wanted them in person. Face to face.

Or did you just need the excuse to see her again?
No way.

His agent, Carlos, had advised him not to come to the small Ohio town where he once attended football camp, warning him it was a ploy for his money or at the very least for attention. Carlos was probably right. God, Billy hoped so. With the final preseason game only days away, he needed the matter settled so he could have a clear head. The head coach of the NY Cougars gave him forty-eight hours to be back on the field. And that was twelve hours ago.

Opening the door, he shut his watering eyes against the reek of stale tobacco, spilled beer, and another scent he couldn’t quite place. God, it smelled worse than the locker room. With his manicured fingers, he pinched the bridge of his nose to ward off the stench. He stepped into the bar area, his Italian shoes crunching peanut shells with every footfall. The custom-made suit fit him like armor, strong enough to block any female tactics Angel might employ.

The bartender, who was big and bad enough to step in and play on any defensive line, hadn’t changed a bit. Hoss even wore the same battered leather biker vest. “Well look who has the balls to show up here.”

“Huge ones.” In enemy territory Billy knew when to go on the offensive. “Where’s Angel?”

Hoss hurdled over the bar and planted himself in front of him. The attempt at intimidation almost made him roll his eyes. As a tight end Billy faced off every Sunday against a line of men who wanted to break his legs.

“If you hurt her, you’ll be answering to me,” Hoss warned.

Hurt Angel? Billy held in a laugh at the absurdity of it. It was he who needed protection from her cutting words that had stabbed his once tender teenage heart. Now women claimed he didn’t have one.

Billy weaved his way through the Tuesday night crowd to the back room where four regulation-sized pool tables sat. Various framed billiard posters graced the walls. His favorite, a group of dogs shooting pool still hung in the same spot above the jukebox. Cigarette smoke swirled in the air, hazing the bright lights hanging above the tables. The ‘no smoking’ laws didn’t apply to an illegal pool hall like O’Malley’s.

Her laughter filled the air. Memories of those hot summer nights in her arms reeled through his mind like a highlight film. Drawn to the sound, his gaze searched for the girl he once loved. Glued to the spot in the doorway, he was fairly certain it wasn’t from the gum stuck on the sole of his shoe.

Angel O’Malley leaned across the pool table, her breasts nearly grazing the green felt. Her blouse gaped, exposing the porcelain sheen of her skin. It was perhaps the only angelic thing about her. Then again wasn’t porcelain glazed at very high temperatures? Her raven hair tumbled over one shoulder, a black as sin waterfall cascading into the river Styx.

He suspected he wasn’t the only man more interested in how she filled out those tight jeans than in the game in progress. With her bewitching green eyes fixed upon the nine ball and her slender fingers cradling the cue stick, she stretched across the table and lined up a nearly impossible shot. He held his breath in anticipation as she slowly drew back the stick. She hit the cue ball with a driving force that sent the nine ball on its planned trajectory. It spun for the side pocket like a perfect spiral hurled by a quarterback. When the ball sank, high-fives and money were exchanged.

“Who’s next?” she shouted. She lifted a beer to the first lips he’d ever kissed.

“I am,” he bellowed.

The buzz of the bar fell silent, until only Kid Rock’s All Summer Long blared from the jukebox.

He gained a small satisfaction from seeing the bottle halt midway to her mouth. A moment later she faced him with a smile that could seduce the devil. Or him. No, he told himself, that was a teenage boy’s memories trying to worm their way back to the surface. He buried the foolish feelings. Billy wasn’t that naïve kid anymore.

“What’s your game, stranger?” she asked.

The muscle in his jaw twitched. And Hoss thought Billy had balls? Angel not only played games, she stacked the rules in her favor. Six years of silence and now out of the blue a paternity suit. She hadn’t bothered to answer the two letters he mailed. He figured she taken off to Vegas the first chance she got and joined the women’s pro pool circuit. It was her dream. And he held her back or so she said when she cut him loose. His ego still stung from her parting words,
‘Oh, and I faked it.’

There she stood, still playing pool in her father’s dive of a bar and drinking beer. For a moment it felt like he’d stepped back in time. Nothing had changed, except she had a child. His child. Maybe, he reminded himself.

“I don’t play games.” He strode forward and tossed the court papers onto the pool table. “Why is the mother of my child hustling pool?”

A fleeting moment of hurt etched her beautiful face and Billy regretted his words but then her brows furrowed.

“Everyone out,” ordered Angel.

Maybe she didn’t want any witnesses, which was fine with him. The paparazzi would crawl up his ass and take pictures of the event if they knew. After the fiasco with fashion’s new it girl, his coach had read him the riot act. Billy’s job was to play football and his ugly mug belonged on the sports pages not in celebrity rag magazines. But if Angel’s angle wasn’t to attract media attention, then she wanted money. Why now?

And why after all these years did his heart still race at the mere sight of her. Carlos had been right, Billy should’ve stayed away and let the lawyers handle it. God, and he’d been worried about female hysterics when he should’ve been worried about his own state of mind.

Chapter 2

s the crowd filed out of the back room, Angel took a long pull on the first beer she’d had in months. Wasn’t it just like the universe’s twisted sense of humor to have Billy Burner return on the same night she allows herself to have some adult fun? There he stood, indignant in his misconception, accusing her of hustling pool and child abandonment.
Well, you were hustling. But Billy would know all about child abandonment.
She wouldn’t even be hustling if she hadn’t needed the money to buy groceries.

Grabbing a cue stick, she chalked the tip with practiced seductive strokes designed specifically to throw off the men she played against. Using her long bangs as a shield, she covertly examined Billy and compared the man in front of her to the memory of the teenage boy she once loved. Six years roughened the boy band cuteness that high school girls once wrote about in their diaries. He’d grown an inch or two, which now meant he had a clear foot over her 5’5” self. She couldn’t see the muscles, but thanks to his near naked TV ads for a men’s cologne, she knew exactly what lay beneath the suit that would’ve hung off his seventeen-year-old frame.

His face was devoid of the easy smile with dimples deep enough to get lost in. Instead he wore a determined frown. Only the shaggy blond hair that had come to be his trademark remained. And, of course, the eyes, such a striking cobalt blue that she’d only known one other human to possess. Her daughter. With that thought her weakening knees straightened and so did her backbone.

“You too, Hoss. Out.” The bartender was more of a family friend than an employee, but this was between her and Billy.

“I’m not leaving you alone with him,” he said as he folded his arms.

“Damn Hoss, you really think I could hurt Angel?”

The unmistakable catch in Billy’s voice surprised her. Perhaps some part of him still cared. She mentally shook off that silly schoolgirl fantasy. Look where it got her the last time, a candidate for MTV’s 16 and pregnant.

BOOK: Huddle Up
9.07Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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