False Start (Mavericks #1)(3)

By: Julianna Marley

“No, Ross!” she spat louder than she intended, nearly spitting champagne all over his patent pointed toes shoes. “The last thing I need to worry about tonight is you coming onto very large and very heterosexual football players.”

“Oh hun, lighten up, it‘s a party.”

Yeah, easy for Ross to say. He was accustomed to planning lavish and over the top events. When he answered her advertisement online about hiring an assistant planner with experience, she never expected Ross to be the one to walk through her office door on that exceptionally hot day. He had worked with some of the best designers in the city and planned events that she could only have dreamed of. When he told her that he wanted to be a significant part of a growing business where his concepts and designs would be appreciated, she had hired him on the spot. Which only added to the pressure that was building on her chest. Not only did she have to make tonight a success for her own career, but for Ross’s as well.

“Plus it would do you some good to possibly find a man who’s skilled with his hands to have a little bit of fun with,” he said eyeing her over the thin rim of his champagne glass. “Maybe one who can possibly remove that stick out of your ass?”

Narrowing her eyes, she resisted the urge to stick her tongue out at him like a four year old. There was no stick up her ass! Was there? Sure it had been a long time since her last date with what’s his name? The one with the weird ear fetish. Wait, no, maybe it was the guy who suggested going to a strip club after dinner? Whoever it was, she wasn’t walking around nasty and bitter. Was she? Before having a chance to even defend herself and her nonexistent love life, Ross placed his glass on an empty tray heading towards the ballroom doors.

“Alright lovey, work your magic. I’m going to escort the rest of our guests past the local media frenzy outside.” He disappeared through the double doors, leaving her and her apparent lodged stick to the dim lit ballroom filling quickly with an array of hard-bodied men. Men who looked anything but comfortable wearing tuxedos as women in designer gowns hung on their arms basking in their admiration.

Taking a deep breath, she started towards a large group of guests welcoming them to the most pivotal night of her career, and wondering where in the world the host of the evening was?


Studying the magnificent grand ballroom, a small semblance of hope washed over Alivia as she watched guests sip their cocktails complimenting on how beautiful everything looked. The mood inside the room was gratifying. Regardless of the ballroom being divided; the large bar attracting a younger crowd while bartenders flipped specialty drinks and the older gentlemen with their classically inspired wives engaged in conversation close to the silent auction table, the room had filled quickly with a lot of laughter and enthusiasm.

Looking around once more, she searched for any kind of sign that the host of the evening had arrived. She had never met Mr. Monaghan. Only ever heard of the great football hero. Being fairly new in town and spending all her time jumpstarting her career hadn’t left much time to have a social life outside of eating, sleeping and the business. Even most of the boxes inside her apartment were still half full, cluttering the small space. She had only talked to him twice on the phone, when he claimed that he didn’t care about color schemes, entertainment or food. “Just make it good,” he had ordered before hanging up quickly. Given carte blanche was not something she was used to, her normal work included control hungry brides breathing down her neck, or a local country club member demanding their event outshine their peers. She was grateful he had given her full reign of the event, allowing her to fine tune her design skills, but maybe it wouldn’t have killed her to have Googled him before tonight. To maybe distinguish what particular rough face she was looking for in a room packed with football players.

With a hand on her arm getting her attention, she turned around to find her best friend, Chelsea smiling back at her, as usual. Her jet black hair pulled back slightly off her face only added sophistication to the very modest, black and white floor length gown she was wearing, her tiny hand wrapped inside her boyfriend Trevor’s.

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