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Authors: Eve Jagger

Tags: #Contemporary, #Two Hours or More (65-100 Pages), #Literature & Fiction, #Contemporary Fiction, #Romance

A Night With Knox

BOOK: A Night With Knox
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A Night With Knox

 

By Eve Jagger

 

A Night With Knox

 

Copyright © 2015 Eve Jagger

Cover design: British Empire Design

 

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and
incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used
fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or
dead, is entirely coincidental.

 

Names, characters, places, brands, media, and incidents
are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used
fictitiously. The author acknowledges the trademarked statue and trademark
owners of various products referenced in this work of fiction, which have been
used without permission. The publication/ use of these trademarks is not
authorized, associated with, or sponsored by the trademark owners.

Table of Contents

 

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Acknowledgements

 

To Greg Maddux … every time you walked up to the mound, I smiled.

You will always be my favorite Atlanta Brave.

Pitcher, Atlanta Braves, 1993-2003

 

CHAPTER ONE

 

Knox

 

People
say baseball is all or nothing. You win. You lose. You’re
safe or you’re
out. But I can tell you it’s
not always black and white. For instance, did you know there are
seven different ways that a batter can reach first base without even
hitting the ball? Trust me, as the starting pitcher for the New York
Yankees, I’ve
seen it all. But when it comes to women, it is much more clear
cut—you can knock it out of the park
or you can strike out and anything in between is just playing the
field.

Well,
tonight I’m
ready to swing for the fences. It’s
New Year’s
Eve, and after a long, tough season on the field, it’s
good to be back in Atlanta to see my buddies again—and
I know they’ll
be partying in style. I’ll
be in the middle of the action, at their new bar, the Library.
Our
new bar, I guess I should say, although as a silent partner in the
growing nightlife empire, I don’t
do much more than front the investment and cash the checks. Still,
I’m excited
to see what Cash, Ryder, and the rest of the guys have made of our
new place—and from the looks of the
line stretching around the block, we’ve
already got another hit on our hands.

I
pull up to the bar in front of the Porsches and Mercedes parked on
the line and climb out of my rental. Sure, an electric compact isn’t
the coolest ride in town, but you try getting a rental on New Year’s
Eve with zero reservations. The guy behind the valet stand makes no
move to take my keys and looks at me like I am just your average
asshole in a Prius. I toss the keys to the young punk and ignore the
smirks of amusement from people at the front of the line. “Don’t
you know going green is the new black?” I say with a knowing
smirk “Oh, and by the way, I’m
Cooper Knox.”

I
stroll to the head of the line and give the burly security guy a nod.

“Welcome
home, Mr. Knox,” he says as he moves
aside to let me pass. But a female voice stops me.

“Oh
my god, you were so awesome this season.”

I
turn to find a trio of hot girls waiting impatiently behind the
velvet rope, poured into sexy, figure-hugging dresses.

“I’m
a Braves girl, but you had me rooting for the Yankees,”
the blonde with a come-fuck-me grin flirts.

“I
can’t believe you
didn’t make
it all the way,” another coos,
twisting her hair around her finger. “You
must have been devastated.”

I
give an easy shrug. “You win some,
you lose some.”

“You
must let us buy you a consolation drink.” The
third girl slides her hand over my bicep. Three gorgeous women and
one me. Now that’s
a lineup that I like.

“Ladies
first,” I say, ushering them into the
bar. They giggle, tottering on high heels.

“What’s
A-Rod like?” the blonde demands,
still holding on to me. “Ooh, and
Chris Young, he’s
so hot.”

“But
not as hot as you,” her friend
reassures me. “You’re
our top draft pick.”

“Seriously,
we have a pool at work!” her friend
squeals.

By
the time we make it down the hallway into the main space, I’m
regretting my offer to get them in tonight. Baseball groupies are a
dime a dozen, and these three won’t
shut up about batting stats and draft picks.

Luckily,
the bar here tonight is packed, which means they’ll
find another trophy target—and I’ll
get the hell away.

“You
have a great night,” I tell them
politely, then slip into the crowd.

“Where
are you going?” the blonde says

“But
we didn’t
take a selfie!” the third girl yells.

I
cross the room and find Parker by the bar, his ex-Navy SEAL frame
towering over the rest. “Hey, Bro.” He
claps a hand against my back in a rough hug. “Good
to see you back.”

“I
know, man. It’s
been too long.”

He
nods, looking around. He lives in NYC like me, but with my schedule,
I can barely even see him. “You
staying long?”

I
shake my head. “Just a quick trip.
Got to be back in the city tomorrow.”

“Always
so busy.” He grins.

“Not
tonight, my friend.” I catch the
bartender’s
eye and order two shots of Patron. “I
have been busting my ass all season, and tonight, I’m
making up for lost time. Been living like a fucking monk.”

Parker
snorts. “You? No fucking way.”

“Believe
it.” My gaze roams the room. “But
it’s New
Year’s Eve,
anything goes.”

“I’d
wish you luck, but you don’t
need it.” Parker nods to where my new
groupies are standing as he throws back his shot of tequila.

“Yeah,
no thanks.”

Parker
raises an eyebrow. “Hey, if you don’t
take them, I will.”

“Be
my guest.”

He
slaps my shoulder again, then downs my shot of tequila and heads over
to the ladies. Within seconds, the girls have forgotten all about me,
and are cooing over Parker’s
tattoos. I shake my head and laugh. The guy’s
always been a manwhore, and I guess he hasn’t
drunk the Kool-Aid like our buddies Cash and Ryder. Seems they have
contracted an incurable disease called love. A sight I never thought
I’d see.

Speaking
of… I find Cash mixing drinks down
the bar.

“Tell
me it isn’t true,” I
greet him. “Did Cash Gardner actually
find a girlfriend?” I ask.

“Holy
shit, Knox, you finally remember where your home is?”
Cash laughs, jumping across the bar to give me a
hug. “This is what happens when you
spend all your time in New York. You miss the Hallmark moments.”

“I
don’t know whether to congratulate
you or commiserate. What am I going to do without my number one
wingman?”

Cash
laughs. “Somehow, I think you’ll
be just fine without me.”

He’s
right. We don’t
make it two steps before a girl breaks off from the flock to join us.
“Excuse me,” she
breathes, leaning over to give us a look at her cleavage. “Are
you Cooper Knox?”

I
sigh, ready to smile and nod, but Cash answers for me. “Sugar,”
he says, draping an arm over the woman’s
shoulder and pulling her in close. “No
Yankee in his right mind would dare to party in Braves country on New
Year’s Eve.”

The
woman looks confused but I smile, playing along with Cash’s
games.

She
looks me up and down. “Oh.” Her
eyes narrow and I’m
sure she’s
going to see right through this act. “Well,”
she says, “sorry
for the trouble.” She heads back to
her friends, shaking her head.

“Thanks,
buddy,” I tell Cash.

“Sure,
anytime. But I thought you loved this shit—last
time I saw you, you were signing autographs and posing for your
baseball card.”

I
shrug. “It was fun to begin with, but
I’m over
the groupies and the diamond dolls. These women are ruthless,”
I tell him. “Seriously,
they sneak into the locker room to take photos of your dick, post
everything up online. It’s
not worth the hassle.”

“Aww,
poor little all-star,” Cash teases. I
punch him in the arm.

“Says
the new poster guy for domestic bliss.”

He
laughs.

“So,
where is this girl? I’m
guessing she must be some kind of supermodel or porn star to get you
to commit.”

“Try
lawyer,” Cash says. I whistle. “And
commitment is easy, she’d
bust my balls if I ever strayed. Come on, they’re
in the VIP section.”

He
leads me upstairs to the mezzanine balcony area, where the rest of
our group is spread out in a massive booth. Jackson and Ryder break
off their conversation as we approach. “The
last holdout,” Ryder says with a firm
handshake. “Glad you finally made it
back.”

“Glad
to be here, man. This place is booming.”

Jackson
flags down a passing waitress. “The
black sheep of our family has returned,” he
tells her as he slaps me on the back. “Bring
a round of Patron.”

The
waitress hustles to grab our shots and Cash settles next to a cute
blonde with corkscrew curls. He locks her in his arms and gives her a
kiss. This must be Savannah.

“Never
thought I’d
see the day,” I shake my head.

“I
don’t know about you,”
says a woman in Ryder’s
arms, “but I think it’s
a relief to see that his manwhore days are behind him.”

Ryder
barks a laugh and says, “The old ball
and chain—is that really the best
outcome?”

The
woman arches an eyebrow. “ Cassie,”
she introduces herself, “Ryder’s
ball and chain.”

I
smirk as I shake her hand. “You must
be quite the force to tame this fighter, Cassie.”

“Don’t
consider me tamed,” he says. “She
is just as wild as I am.”

The
waitress brings our shots. Jackson raises his glass, but before he
can get anything out Ryder’s
girl hollers, “To the Sexy Bastards, and the
women who love them!” The rest of us
follow suit, holding our shots high. I feel a knot loosen in my
chest, a rushing sense of contentment. It feels good to be back here
with the guys, just like old times. I’m
living my dream in New York, and damn if I’m
not good at what I do. But I do miss this crew—the
guys who knew me before my success, who believed in me for all those
years. Life throws us curveballs—new
jobs, new girlfriends, new cities—but
we five have been with each other through it all.

“And
to Knox,” Jackson adds. “It’s
great to have you back, man.”

Together,
the seven of us knock back the tequila. It burns on the way down,
spreading warmth across my chest.

“Now
we just have to find a way to get you down here more often,”
Ryder adds.

“Maybe you’ll
find a ball and chain of your very own,” Savannah
suggests, but Cash lets out a laugh, shaking his head.

“Not
a chance, Savy. With every woman in New York City falling on her
knees for him? What guy in his right mind would pass that up?”
Cash slaps me lightly on the back.

“Plus,”
Parker says, nodding between Jackson and me,
“Knox’d
never abandon us.”

Jackson
grins. “Three amigos to the end.”

“Cheers
to that.”

I
look down at the crowd of hot women in the bar below us. I may be
tired of baseball groupies and fangirls, but maybe I’ll
meet a girl tonight who is a football fan and has no idea who Cooper
Knox is.

I’ve
got my friends, good tequila, and nothing but good times ahead
tonight.

Yeah,
it’s good
to be home.

 

CHAPTER TWO

 

Shelby

 

I
hate this damn town.

I
try to ignore my phone, but I check it again for what feels like the
millionth time. But there’s
not a damn thing there.

Nada.

Nothing.

What
a way to kick off the New Year. Waiting for a text.

The
crowd parts and Ruby saunters through, ignoring the guys drooling at
her long red hair and legs for days. She thrusts a shot into my hand
and another into Avery’s,
who’s been
nice enough not to comment on the fact that I’ve
been dogging my phone all evening.

“To
the end of a year,” Ruby says,
holding her glass up in a toast. “May
the next bring more good things wrapped in large packages.”
She slings the shot back. Avery shoots me a side
look and then downs hers as well. I manage a weak smile that I hope
Ruby takes for enthusiasm and down the hatch the whiskey goes. The
alcohol stings but serves its purpose by making me forget my phone
for exactly two seconds.

Then
I check it again.

Come
on, Tom
.
We had such good first two
dates.
Don’t
leave me hanging
.

BOOK: A Night With Knox
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