Ohh, it was good, it was close JB had an uphill battle with this one, mostly because she had to make a very unlikable character from the previous book sports agent Elizabeth Darnell into a likable one. She gave the tough, independent career woman Liz a decent backstory that explained why she acted the way she does. Liz had a tough shell around her heart, and the only man who could possibly crack it was the man she had secretly loved for years, her client, 1st baseman for the St. Louis River, Gavin Riley. But ever since a vulnerable Liz kissed him after being fired by his superstar pro football player brother Mick after Liz interfered in his love life , Gavin has been thinking about her.
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And he knew why. She was afraid he was going to fire her just like his brother, Mick, had. After all, Mick had hired Elizabeth first, and Gavin had followed suit. But people assumed wrong. In fact, Liz threw women at him like a pimp. Beautiful women. Actresses, models, the kind of women that made Gavin look good. Gavin had no complaints. In fact, Liz had done the same thing for Mick until Mick had fallen in love with Tara Lincoln and put an end to Liz coupling Mick with the latest and greatest starlet on the cover of whatever magazine would get him the most exposure.
Elizabeth watched over her clients like a hawk, and for her to go to complete radio silence was like giving up and letting the vultures swoop in and take over her prime real estate. Maybe it had something to do with that night Mick had fired her. Mick had walked out of the locker room, leaving Elizabeth alone with Gavin. Liz had come up to him looking all teary-eyed and vulnerable, two things that were totally uncharacteristic of her.
And walked away. It was time for her to come out and face the music. He always enjoyed watching her work a room full of hotshot jocks. Elizabeth commanded attention. Hair the color of his favorite red sports car, incredible blue eyes, creamy soft skin, and legs a man could only hope to have wrapped around him someday. And she showed it all off with practiced precision.
She was a walking sex bomb with a wicked brain. A lethal combination. But he never mixed business with pleasure, and he took his opportunities elsewhere.
He never wanted to do anything to change that. Besides, he doubted Elizabeth was his type. Gavin was pretty damned particular about the women he chose. And ballbusting women like Elizabeth? Definitely not his type. But they needed to get a few things straight, and she could only avoid him for so long. The banquet was winding down, and most everyone was leaving. Liz was with Radell James and his wife, walking toward the main ballroom doors.
Gavin shot out a side door and hung back, unobserved, while she said her good-byes. She looked good tonight in one of her usual business suits. Black, which seemed to be one of her favorite colors, and tailored to within an inch of its life.
The skirt hung just above her knee, and those shoes she wore played up her toned calves, too. She walked through the front doors of the hotel and outside with Radell and his wife. Gavin stepped outside unnoticed while Liz talked with Radell. After they left, Liz leaned against the brick wall and closed her eyes. She looked tired. Or defeated. Her guard was down. Time for Gavin to make his move. He stepped in front of her.
She started to push off the wall, but he pinned her there by placing his hand on the wall by her shoulder. There was a planter on the other side, so she had nowhere to go. What are you doing here?
You knew I was here. Her sweetly painted mouth worked, but nothing came out for a few seconds. Her gaze darted from side to side like a cornered animal looking for escape. Finally she relaxed and the old Elizabeth was back, her game face on. She tipped her finger down the lapel of his jacket.
I picked up a new client, so I had to babysit him a bit and introduce him to all the right media people. Then there was Radell, and we had a few things to discuss that were important.
Did you need me for something? We need to talk. Her expression narrowed. Or maybe never noticed before. As soon as it was there, it was gone. It was like the kiss that night, throwing him for a loop and making him second guess everything he thought about her. She never fawned over him in the same way she did with a lot of her other clients. What about you and me? He dragged his gaze back to her face, searching for a reaction.
She swallowed, and t he muscles of her throat moved with the effort. Elizabeth was nervous. This was perfect. Fortunately, the sports banquet was in the city where the Saint Louis Rivers spent spring training. Damned convenient and no travel biting into his schedule.
He traveled enough during the season, and having to add one more event where he had to hop on a plane would have been a drag. He tipped the valet when he brought the car. He and Elizabeth got in, and he zipped onto the highway. Why not one of the hotels? I want a place to myself during spring training. Gavin made the turn north toward the beach. Are you going to fire me? He turned off the highway and took the beachfront road, pulling into the garage. Elizabeth let herself out of the car and followed him inside, looking like a prisoner on her way to an execution.
He flipped the lights on and opened the sliding door leading out to the back porch. Want a beer or some wine? Trying to soften the blow? There was a long cushioned swing for two and a couple of chairs. Liz sat in a chair, and Gavin took the other one. She took the glass he offered and tipped it to her lips, taking several deep swallows of wine. He wanted to set her off balance. Liz was always in control. She was on his tail constantly, until the thing happened with his brother.
I was busy, too. Then there were the holidays. And when was the last time you missed the holidays with my family? I hardly think it would have been appropriate to spend the holidays with your family. She loves you and thinks of you as family. Personal is different from business.
Changing the Game
And he knew why. She was afraid he was going to fire her just like his brother Mick had. Oh, sure, Mick played in the NFL and Gavin played major league baseball, so in a lot of ways they were similar. After all, Mick had hired Elizabeth first, and Gavin had followed suit. But people assumed wrong. In fact, Liz threw women at him like a pimp.