T.K. pays Seth a visit.
There was a familiar rhythmic knock on the front door, then it opened. Seth walked toward the foyer to find his father coming in with none other than T.K. Holbrook in tow.
“Hi Daddy. What a pleasant surprise. T.K., it’s always good to see you.” Seth said as he shook T.K’s hand. “How’s the family?”
“The team is looking good for the new season.” T.K. flashed a big smile.
“I was referring to your wife and sons but it’s good to know the team is in good shape.” Seth laughed.
“Trust me, I know more about the Tomcats.” T.K. played with the brim of his white Stetson in his hand.
T.K. was a great business man but his personal life had suffered from all those years of ambition. There had been rumors that his current wife, who was significantly younger than him, had been running him ragged. He had two sons, Logan and Austin, from his first marriage, but relations between them had been strained for the longest time. The Blake men went to school with the boys who had nothing but contempt for their father for the way he’d left their mother.
“I’ll fix you both a drink.” Seth moved some things out of the way to make a path to the living room then went over to the bar.
“It’s your turn to watch all the kids tonight?” John Jacob looked around at the camping gear and toys scattered about.
“Yes. I’m setting things up while Morgan picks up a few last-minute things from the market.”
“T.K. and I were having lunch at the club. I told him how happy you were since you retired but he didn’t believe me. So I thought I’d let him see for himself.” John Jacob turned to T.K. “Does this look like a man itching to get back into football?”
“It looks more like insanity.” T.K. took a seat on the bar stool.
“This is my life these days.” Seth handed them each a glass of scotch. “Now that I don’t have the noose of a football schedule around my neck, we take more family vacations. I’m spending quality time with the kids. I even coach the soccer team at the boys’ school.”
T.K. clutched his chest as if he were having a heart attack. “Stick a knife through my heart. It would hurt less.”
“Aren’t you being just a tad dramatic?” John Jacob replied.
“No. I don’t think so.” T.K. slammed back his drink. “I thought the biggest travesty in this family was when Tate didn’t pursue a professional career in football. He had a real gift but you let him strum on that damn guitar instead.”
“The boy had a natural affinity for music. It was in his blood, you know that. Forcing him to do something else would have been wrong.” John Jacob fired back.
“Sometimes we have to steer our kids in the right direction. They don’t always know what’s best for them.” T.K. replied.
“How’s that working out for you?” John Jacob raised an eyebrow. “Logan barely spoke to you at the club today.”
“He was born with a chip on his shoulder. He got too much of his mama in him. But he’s not too proud to accept that paycheck I give him.” T.K. raised his glass as a signal for Seth to refill it.
“Logan’s good at his job. Don’t take that away from him.” John Jacob shot back. “He doesn’t put up with your foolishness.”
Seth interrupted. “If it makes you feel any better Bo has been working me like a dog down at the stables. And I don’t mean the pampered kind of dog like Rowdy or Bingo.”
“I know you have had a ton of offers since you retired, including mine to join the Tomcats organization.”
“Sure. I’ve been offered everything from announcement gigs to writing another book. But I choose to focus on my family. So if you’ve come here with another job offer, I have to decline it.” Seth folded him arms across his chest.
“Oh.” Seth unfolded his arms and ran his hand through his hair. “I’m sorry I made that assumption. I guess I’m just used to the hard sell about the Tomcats whenever I see you.”
“You may want to hold off on that apology.” John Jacob laughed.
“I know when I’m beat. But I did come here to ask for a favor.”
Seth’s eyes darted from his dad’s face to T.K’s. It was hard reading the unflappable poker faces of these business titans. T.K. Holbrook didn’t ask for favors. “OK. What is it?”
Riley Sloane. The Tomcats’ new quarterback was an arrogant idiot with a big mouth. Riley liked being the star and reveled in the fact that the world was hanging on to his every word. He’d seen one of his wild and loose interviews where Riley trashed him. He’d said Seth retired on top because he was afraid the new blood in the league would usurp his throne. He made a bold prediction that he’d break all of Seth’s football records within two years. Whatever T.K. was up to, he didn’t want any part of it.
“What about that pompous jackass?”
John Jacob let out a snort.
“Yes. Despite how he sounds when he opens his mouth, he’s a brilliant player. There are some rough edges that needs smoothing.”
“Rough?” Seth balked. “That kid has eagle talons and he’s not afraid to use them, no matter who he pisses off.”
“OK. He’s a little arrogant and likes the ladies. Who doesn’t? He’s a good-looking young man who isn’t used to the limelight and women throwing themselves at him. I knew when we signed him that he’d be a challenge but he needs the benefit of guidance from someone like you.”
“T.K., I know you have people for this. You tell me a team of image makers can’t control him?”
“He doesn’t listen to a word they say and I don’t have time to babysit him. I can hardly keep up with my wife.” His jaw ticked.
“And what makes you think he’ll listen to me?”
“Because he’d be an idiot not to listen to the best quarterback there ever was in the game.”
“Not the best. But in the top five.” Seth smiled.
“See, right there is the reason he would benefit from a sit down with you. The boy has no humility.”
“He could use a class in character building. When he wins he’s charismatic and on top of the world. When he loses he walks off the field without shaking the other quarterback’s hand after a game.” Seth said.
“I’m not the man for this. Your superstar trash talked me in that interview on Sports Live. I have a thick skin but I’m not that forgiving.”
“I was hoping you hadn’t seen that one.” T.K. scratched at his temple. “If it makes you feel any better I talked to him about that interview. I told him you were a close, personal friend and he was out of line.”
“T.K., I feel for your situation but I don’t need the headache. Riley Sloane is a walking migraine.”
“Listen.” T.K. stood. “Can you just think it over? Take as much time as you like but I guarantee that even five minutes with you and he’ll be a better man for it.”
“Son, it couldn’t hurt to mull it over.” John Jacob said.
Seth locked eyes with his dad. The subtle nod he’d gave him meant he wanted him to at least consider it. “OK. I’ll think about it.”
The love story continues! This will be Seth & Morgan’s 6th book in the series. Current playlist has 75 songs! I hope you enjoyed the pre-edited excerpt! Release date May 27th!
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