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Lucky Number Eleven (Expose #5)
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People say not to believe the things you read in magazines, but you know what? Most things you’ve heard about me are probably true.
I totally banged the reporter in the locker room after the championship game last year.
Those pictures in Expose from last summer? Those were not modified.
I’m also not really six-foot tall. (But let’s keep that between us.)
Now, I know you’re wondering about that last Expose headline—the one about me and my teammate (and ex-best friend) Finn Miller’s sister, Layla James. That one is a little more complicated.
Here’s the thing: I’ve played football my whole life. If there’s one thing I know, it’s how to adjust when the game changes. And if there’s one thing I always do, it’s find a way to win.
Granted, the stakes are higher. The playbook has changed. There’s more on the line than (another) MVP title. But guess what hasn’t changed? Me. I’m still Branch “Lucky” Best and I’m not about to fumble this one.
Grab a seat and a subscription to Expose. I’m about to make some headlines. (Again.)
TOTAL STANDALONE releasing September 7th (in Kindle Unlimited)
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The temperature skyrocketed in Chicago this week and it had nothing to do with the weather. Our two favorite ballers went head-to-head (or should we say helmet-to-helmet?) on the practice field and there’s video to prove it.
Sources tell us the (sweaty, aggressive, hot-as-hell) fight that got Branch “Lucky” Best, Finn Miller, and visiting Columbus quarterback Callum Worthington ejected from practice (you must see this video!) was not over a fumbled play. It was over nothing less than Layla James Miller, Finn’s younger sister.
Does Layla’s name sound familiar? It should. Until about five minutes ago, you could find her on Callum’s well-formed arm . . . until he gave us whiplash showing up in Tahiti with the face of Ares Cosmetics, Carly Mathewson. But Callum and Layla aren’t dating anymore, so where’s the beef?
Give us a sec.
Layla James is now scoring with Blranch. Yeah. We’ll give that a minute to sink in.
Word has it Finn isn’t all that hyped about his sister playing ball with his (former?) best friend. Branch’s playboy image is well-known and even better documented. A keyword search of his name on our site alone brings up thousands of hits of him with women and rarely are two the same.
The question remains: why does Callum care?
We’ll have to wait and see. In the meantime, we’ll be crying in our Rosé and hoping our favorite bromance gets back on track. (And, seriously, go watch that video!)
* * *
A few months prior . . .
“THIS IS WHY you’re hot.”
“Really?” I sit back, lifting a water bottle to my lips and smirk. My eyes don’t leave hers. “I had no idea.”
That’s a lie. This look, the one that’s currently melting her panties straight off her teeny little waist, has worked in my favor since I discovered it at the ripe old age of fourteen. Should it have worked on my math teacher? Probably not. But it did make acing algebra about a hundred times easier. I could use it then without even really knowing what I was doing. Now, with fifteen years of experience under my belt, I can play this look like a fiddle.
Fanning her face with a stack of index cards outlining the questions she’s supposed to ask me for Exposé Magazine—something I don’t even think she realizes she’s doing—she blinks rapidly. “Tell me something no one knows about you.”
I place the bottle on the little table beside me and shift in my seat. Her last question is the only question that is asked in every single interview I’ve ever done. Every last one. And they all think it’s so original.
I used to humor reporters and give them something to print, but in the last couple of years, I’ve thought better of it. Maybe my self-promotion has gotten better. Maybe there’s less to tell (since they already know so damn much). Or maybe I’m simply a little more cynical than I used to be. Either way, I loathe this question. It’s like just because I’m a public figure they’re entitled to every detail of my life.
“Branch,” she gulps, her cheeks turning a shade of crimson, “my notes from this interview aren’t going to be very . . . helpful.”
“And why is that?”
She refuses to look at me.
“Let me see your notes,” I say, reaching for the index cards.
“Oh, come on,” I tease. “What’s on there?”
“Just . . . I need something substantial so I don’t get fired.” The slightly pouty lips, dipped chin is a look women give me all the time.
“Yeah. You’re appealing to my emotions.”
“I don’t know what else to appeal to.”
Roaming my eyes down her face to the low-cut blouse that showcases a nice set of B-cups, I let them linger for a long couple of seconds before bringing them back to her eyes. I lift a brow. “I’m sure you have no idea other than appealing to my . . . emotions.”
“Well . . .” Her gaze drops to the paper on her lap as she turns an even deeper shade of red.
“How many interviews have you done?”
“Total? Or sports?”
“Five,” she admits with a sigh. “I only got this one because the sports writer got meningitis.”
“So you’re here by default?” I ask, leaning forward. My arms resting on my knees, I clasp my hands in front of me.
“No. I’m here because I begged for the opportunity.”
“To interview me?” I nudge.
“Something like that.”
“Do you beg often?”
Her tongue darts across her lips, leaving a trail of wetness. “Only when necessary.”
She tucks a strand of hair behind her ear. There’s something about the gesture, a tinge of normalcy behind the overt sexiness, that makes me reconsider. As I try to talk myself out of giving in, I also wrack my brain for some fun fact that can help her save her job just in case she’s not feeding me a load of shit like I suspect she is.