Bad Boys of Football #3 - Game for Anything - Bella Andre Page 0,1

was different.

Someone poured a fresh bottle of bubbly over his head and he played his part, laughing and highfiving his coach. He winked at the cameraman, knowing that his face was filling every big screen in the stadium, driving women wild. Was Julie at a Super Bowl party somewhere, celebrating the Outlaws' win? Had she seen his game-winning touchdown? Had she been impressed?

Enough! This was the best day of his life, and he was going to forget about Julie, soak it up, and let the world worship him.

A reporter shoved a microphone into his face just as security held back a disheveled man who was trying to run onto the field. The man was weeping and looked like he hadn't bathed in a week or changed his clothes in far longer.

The months of rehab Ty had forced his father into over the years hadn't amounted to shit. Ty knew what was coming. What always came in moments like these.

"I'm his father!" the man wailed at the guards. "I taught him everything he knows." No, Ty thought, I figured out how to be a goddamned football hero in spite of you . Fuck the past. He had his friends, endless gorgeous women, and more money than he could spend. He had just won the Super Bowl, and he was going to celebrate. Whether he felt like it or not.

Five months later, Ty's cell phone woke him up far too early. He ignored it, but whoever was on the other end was relentless, calling back every thirty seconds. He reached out, opened one eye, and looked at the caller ID screen.

Outlaw management. What the hell?

During the off-season, no one interrupted an Outlaw before noon. Certainly not before 8 a.m. These guys paid his bills, but he was the one filling the seats, not some guys in suits. Great players meant great TV, which meant everything to the ad men. The Outlaws' general manager, Sean, should be kissing Ty's ass right now, not pissing him off.

Ty flicked open his phone with one finger. "Ever tried waking a bear during hibernation?"

"We need you to come into the office, Ty."

Ty considered hanging up, but there was no need to be rude. "I'll look forward to seeing you in two weeks, Sean. At training camp. Good-bye."

A thick southern accent came on the line. "You'd better get your ass in here, boy, and quick." Who the hell was that? No onehad ever talked to him like that. No one dared.

"And you are?" he asked coldly.

"Bobby Wilson, your new owner. You want to keep your job, you'll be in my office in fifty-six minutes." Ty hung up and immediately dialed his agent, Jay. He'd made the winning touchdown at the Super Bowl, for f**k's sake! No team owner on earth would talk to his star that way. Not if he knew what was good for him.

Jay told him, "Let's humor the guy. Find out what he's up to." Fortunately Ty was still feeling good from a big money weekend in Las Vegas, and by the time he'd showered and headed into his living room, he was almost glad he'd gotten up so early. His Seacliff estate had a birds-eye view of blue sky over the Pacific Ocean, the normal Bay Area fog nowhere to be seen. He looked out the floor to ceiling windows to the Farallon Islands and watched surfers ride the waves while kids played on the beach below.

A couple of guys were sitting in his family room banging away on the Xbox, while another was out cold across one of the suede couches.

Ty grabbed a bottle of OJ from the built in Sub-Zero fridge. "Who's winning?" AJ mumbled something unintelligible, then jammed his thumb into a red button several times in rapid succession.

Ty liked to see his friends having a good time at his house. As a kid he couldn't bring his friends back to the trailer due to his drunk-ass dad, so he'd spent most evenings and weekends at their houses. Their mothers hadn't minded having one more mouth to feed, but he'd often felt like a leech, like he was trying to insinuate himself into everyone else's perfect family. Now his front door was always open. The party was always on. Even at 8:30 on a fine June morning, three hotties were lying out by his pool, soaking up the rays. Too bad he had a new boss to meet, or he would have joined them.

The grandfather clock in Bobby Wilson's office chimed