Scoring With Santa

By: Theresa Roemer & Renee Rose

Scoring with Santa: Book One of The Second Chance Series

Chapter One

If Brandy had a quarter for every time a Phenomenal Physiques’ employee called her in to fix something, she’d be Bill Gates rich. Okay, that might be an exaggeration, but that’s how it felt. At the moment, she was soothing an irrational client.

“Ms. Johnson, I assure you it is highly unlikely your identity would be stolen from Phenomenal Physiques.” She tucked an errant strand of her pale blonde hair behind her ear. No matter how hard she tried to keep it contained in a ponytail, the front wisps always slipped out. “We take personal privacy very seriously. No one has access to your credit card number. Once you sign up, all automatic charges are handled by the credit card processing company, that, of course, guarantees security.”

Jane Johnson tightened her already thin lips. If the woman held her neck any more stiffly, Brandy feared her head would snap off. “Well, you never can be too sure these days, especially at Christmas time. My sister-in-law had her identity stolen and it took her eight months to sort out.”

Brandy attempted to beam assurance and confidence. “I understand your concerns. That’s why we take the utmost caution in handling our personal information.”

“My sister-in-law’s was stolen from her hairdresser’s—”

“Were you going to take the kick boxing class today, Ms. Johnson?” Brandy cut in, hoping to redirect.

Jane glanced over at the wall of windows to Studio A, where Alejandro—Alex—Phenomenal Physiques’ gorgeous Latino boxing coach had just started warming up his class. “Oh—yes. Yes, I am.” Her eyes kept tracing Alex’s sculpted chest and shoulders. “We’ll talk more later.”

Not if I can help it.

Brandy watched Jane hurry over to the door of Studio A, an eager smile replacing the woman’s usual dour expression.

Yes, Alex brought happiness to many women’s lives. And men’s.

“Thanks for talking her down.” Jennie, her front desk manager, screwed up her face in sympathy. “You’re so good at that. I’m sorry, she wouldn’t leave until she’d talked to you personally.”

Brandy stifled a sigh, scanning the club for any other emergencies requiring her attention. Launching the health club at 40 had been the culmination of a lifetime of hard work and dreams.

It also had been the end to her marriage, but that was another story.

Four years later, she stood poised to open three new locations. She wouldn’t just own a fitness club, she’d run an entire chain. Of course, that would likely mean three times the headaches, but it would be worth it.

Brandy looked at a particularly large, buff man who was working on the equipment with a tall, black athletic youth. Whoa... she looked closer. Not many men were that tall with shoulders as broad as The Incredible Hulk.

“Is that Rick Morehouse over there?”

Jennie blushed. Actually blushed. Rick Morehouse was said to have that effect on women. As Houston’s most eligible bachelor, the drool-worthy former Houston Texan quarterback was the darling of both the press and public. He’d coached the local high school football team to win State five years in a row and regularly made charity appearances. In fact, she’d just booked him to play Santa for Phenomenal Physique’s charity event, Fostering Christmas, a gift-giving event for foster kids.

She’d also signed up her own son, Sam, an eighth-grader, for Morehouse’s football clinic, which ran for the next few Sundays.

“Yes. He asked for you but you were busy. He needed a place to work with one of his students who can’t afford physical therapy.”

Brandy’s smile faded. “Wait….what?”

Jennie twirled a pen over her fingers and Brandy resisted the urge to snatch it from her to hurry the answer along. “Yeah. He said he needed a place and he understood you’re interested in giving back to the community, so he came here.”

Well, hell.

“Did he sign any liability waivers or complete any paperwork?” Yes, she used to be married to a lawyer. Liability concerns would forever be ingrained in her.

“Uh... no.”

“Jennie, you can’t just let people come into the club without the proper paperwork. What if something happened while they were here? I’d be liable and—” she sighed and left her drooling office manager to her pen-twirling and strode over to the pair of football players.