Bad Boys of Football #1 - Game For Love - Bella Andre Page 0,2

never been an option. Not for her, not even after her son and daughter-in-law died in a private plane crash, leaving her with a five-year-old who had more energy than sense. And not for Cole.

Sure, he was athletic, but his grandmother was the reason he'd made it into the pros, when it would have been easier to quit and get a "real" job at least a hundred times.

He dropped his towel to the floor and yanked open the closet. It was time to stop crying like a baby over his day. He was going to get dressed and find himself a good girl, damn it.

If there was someone looking down on him from up above--and Cole had more reasons than most people to think that there was, after some of the pileups he'd walked away from on the field--he was pretty damn sure that He was laughing right now, saying to anyone who would listen, "Do you believe that dick wad actually thinks he's going to find a good girl to bring to his grandmother in the next eight hours? I've saved his ass too many times before. This time, I think I'll let him fry."

But Cole didn't care. He'd made a promise to his grandmother, and by God he was going to keep it.

* * *

Anna stuck out in the night club like a sore thumb. And she had only herself to blame.

After Jeannie and Dave had left for their honeymoon, Anna's three remaining sisters and spouses decided they weren't ready for the party to end.

"You've been so busy that you probably want to go back to your room and soak in the tub, don't you?" Jane said when they told her their plans to go out dancing at the Wynn Las Vegas.

Her sister was right. She was dying to kick off her shoes and veg out in front of some brainless TV. But, again, Anna was struck by the inadvertent subtext of her sister's sentence: We all know how boring you are. The whirlpool tub is going to be the highlight of your day, isn't it?

For the second time in one day, Anna bristled at what her family thought about her.

Evidently she was not only gutless, but boring, too.

And here all this time, she'd thought she was perfectly normal.


But as she looked at her sisters and brothers-in-law happily paired off all around her while she stood solo, Anna made a split-second decision. "Actually, I'm in the mood to dance."

Six sets of eyebrows went up. Finally, her oldest sister, Jill, said, "But you didn't even dance at Jeannie's reception."

Of course she hadn't. She didn't dance. Ever. But the pity in her siblings' eyes cracked something inside Anna's chest wide open.

She was sick and tired of always standing on the sidelines, watching everyone else have fun. Especially when all it had ever gotten her was the prospect of a quiet night in her hotel room.


"You know we'd love to spend more time with you," Joanne said with gentle understanding in her eyes, "but we understand if you're tired."

"I was saving my energy for tonight," she'd told her stupefied siblings as she'd swept out of the reception hall, her head held high, her shoulders thrown back in what she hoped was a confident, ready-to-have-lots-of-fun way.

She'd show her family. Not only was she going to dance, but she was going to find the most dangerously sexy man in the room to be her partner.

Oh yes, she'd have them all gaping at her as she did the bump and grind--or whatever it was called--with a hot hunk.

The only thing was, she thought as she all but gulped down another glass of Chardonnay the cute bartender at the Tryst nightclub in Wynn Las Vegas had handed her, it was one thing to make a silent vow in the heat of the moment ... and it was another entirely to actually make good on it.

Thirty minutes after her reckless declaration at Jeannie's reception, Anna had to admit that she was way beyond her comfort zone. She wasn't used to such loud music, or being around half-naked people who all seemed to like being smashed against each other like sweaty, drunk sardines.

What had made her think she could come to a casino nightclub and not just fit in, but own it?

The only things she owned were pink bunny slippers and a library card that had been used so many times the numbers were almost all smudged off.

Glad that her sisters and their husbands were all too