False Start (Mavericks #1)(6)

By: Julianna Marley

She. Was. Stunning.

Watching her long blonde hair sway down her back was making his arm twitch, battling the urge to reach out and rub the smooth curls between his fingers, wondering if they were as soft as they looked. The lights from the chandeliers picked up golden strands as his eyes traveled down thoroughly enjoying the way her hips moved above her mouthwatering long legs. It didn’t help matters that she had an ass that-

“Mr. Monaghan?”

Stiffening, he turned around looking down at a man with combed over hair and a very unique bowtie.

“Allow me to formally introduce myself. I’m Ross Warren, Ms. Moore’s assistant,” he held out his hand, a suspicious crossing his face and Jax had an inkling that the neat and tidy assistant had just caught him checking out his boss. “The first course will be served shortly, allow me to show you to your seat.”

Excusing himself from the reporter, he stole another glance at Liv, now talking to the owner of the team as he followed Ross to a round table in front of a small platform and podium. Pleased to find that everyone seated at his table were close friends. No managers or commissioners that he had to make forced small talk with. Just Trevor, Chelsea, two of his new teammates and their dates and his agent Mike Brody with his fiancée. Taking his seat, he draped the white napkin across his knee. One thing was for certain as he took another sip of his beer, Ms. Moore was exceeding all expectations for the evening.

Three hours, five courses and a humbling speech from the SCWC director about the center’s efforts, the party was in full swing. The band lured guests onto the dance floor with their version of Michael Buble, as Jax sat back watching various team members and staff moving around the floor, resisting the urge to laugh at Trevor dancing in the middle of the crowd with as much finesse as a fourteen year-old kid. He was glad to be back on the field with Trevor, they had played ball together back in college before being drafted to different teams. He was one hell of a tight end and an even better friend. He was happy for Trevor too, that he found someone as great as Chelsea. Not many women would have picked up their lives and moved to another city with their boyfriend without a complaint or a second thought. He had spent most weekends and holidays with them, they were like family, but being in their company was difficult sometimes, making it hard to shake the disappointment in his own life. He was lonely. Having no parents or extended family would do that to a man. After a bad and very public breakup with his last girlfriend nearly six months ago, he promised himself he was going to focus more on matters of the field and less on matters of the heart.

This year was his year. He would do what he was brought to Carolina to do. To help build strong players and lead his new team not only into the playoffs, but secure a spot in the championship and win. It was his first year for the Mavs and he had a lot to prove to his team, to the organization, and to himself. No excuses. No distractions.

Taking a small swig of his beer, he leaned it back against his leg feeling a gentle hand rest on his shoulder. Jolting slightly, he looked over his shoulder, nearly colliding with Liv.

“I’m so sorry,” she apologized, quickly removing her hand, leaving warmth in its wake. “I didn’t mean to startle you, but its time for you to present the check for the total amount that was raised for the evening,” she explained, competing with the loud music. The feeling of her delicate breath against his face was sending sensations to places that were suddenly making his tuxedo pants tighter. Looking in her eyes a moment he watched her. Damn. A man could get lost in those eyes and since meeting her a mere few hours prior he became painfully aware that he could also see every emotion unfold inside her eyes, like a movie. Like surprise when she had met him for the first time.

Slowly shaking his head he grumbled. “Do I have to? I hate speaking at these things.”

A genuine smile washed across her face for the first time all evening, and he couldn’t have been more grateful that he was sitting down. Her smile was so bright, lighting up her entire face and powerful enough to have knocked him on his ass.

“Yes. As the host, it’s kind of your duty,” she said looking straight back at him entertained. She wasn’t going to let him off the hook. He could tell. Usually all it took was a small grin and a flash of the dimples he inherited from his mother to get anything he ever wanted from a woman. But not this woman.

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