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Authors: Missy Johnson,Lily Jane

The Playbook

BOOK: The Playbook
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The Playbook

 

 

 

By Lily Jane

and

Missy Johnson

COPYRIGHT

 

All rights reserved

 

No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means including information storage and retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the author. The only exception is by a reviewer, who may quote short excerpts in a review.

 

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

 

Cover: Redbird Designs

 

 

First Printing: September 2016

 

Chapter One    

Jake    

“Have you heard the rumor about football players?”     

The pretty blonde perched on the barstool next to where I’m leaning giggles, her gaze darting in my direction. She flips her hair over her shoulder and flashes me a smile. Through her sheer cream shirt, I can see her nipples harden, and the fact that she's not wearing a bra tells me two things: she's probably good to go and I'm not going to have to struggle with bra clips.    

“And what would that be?” she purrs, her smile widening.    

“That we’re incredible at giving head,” I murmur, flashing her a smile that I know is going to make her knees shake.

I reach out and stroke a stray strand of hair away from her twinkling eyes. She laughs, shaking her head. But, even as she pushes me away, I’m still confident I’ve sealed this deal. In case you haven't picked up on it, chicks don’t often turn me down.

I’m one of the most sought after footballers in the United Kingdom and my reputation off the field often overshadows my skills on the field. I don’t necessarily like that my name goes hand in hand with controversy, but I don’t exactly do anything to avoid it either.   

“Really?” She laughs. “Did you start that rumor? Because you look like the type of guy who’d only care about his own satisfaction.”

Ouch
. Before I can summon up a retort, her face lights up as she spots someone behind me. I turn and straighten up as a mountain of a guy barrels toward me, his eyes blazing. I back off slightly, sensing I'm in trouble, but as he nears me, his annoyed expression is replaced with one of awe.    

“Holy shit, you’re Jake Tanner!” he gasps. He laughs and claps his hand on my back. Hard. My heart thumps, because I'm pretty sure if I were anyone else I'd be lying on my back on the floor right now, bleeding from my nose. It's not the first time my name has gotten me out of a tight situation; but just as often, it's put me into them.    

“That goal, man. I tell ya, I thought we were gone for sure, then you came out of nowhere. I love you, man.” He throws his arms around me, lifting me square off the floor.     

When he lets me go, I grin and lean back, winking at blondie, who rolls her eyes, obviously annoyed that this wasn’t going to plan. A chick as hot as her
has
to be a regular target for any guy looking for a quick fix.    

“Maybe you can test out your theory on my boyfriend,” she mutters.    

“Or maybe your boyfriend will loan you to me for the night,” I reply, holding her gaze. Her eyes widen and she glances at her boyfriend, obviously expecting him to smash my face in. Hell, I’m expecting it too. Sometimes my nerve surprises even me.    

“Uh, really?” He hesitates, then takes a deep breath. “If that’s what you want, then sure.”    

Blondie gasps and jumps off her seat.    

“Darren, you arsehole,” she rants, whacking him over the head with her handbag. He shrugs as if he can’t see what the big deal is.    

“He’s Jake Tanner, babe. You should be honored.”    

Chuckling, I cross my arms over my chest. I’m liking this guy more and more. I look back at blondie and raise my eyebrows. She huffs and stalks off in the direction of the exit. Oh well. Plenty more chicks around here who would appreciate going home with me.

And if that fails, at least I still have Darren.    

 

I talk shop for a few more minutes with my new best friend before I make up an excuse to leave. The fact that I hadn’t secured a lay is the last thing on my mind because I'll get just as much pleasure out of my hand, and with much less whining.     

Somehow I stagger the few blocks back to my flat which is situated on the top floor of one of the fanciest buildings in the city. The doorman of my building looks at me in surprise as I walk inside, probably because he’s not used to seeing me come home alone—or this early. I'm rather well known for my late night escapades.

It started when I moved away from home when I was signed to the team at seventeen. Going from having to obey parental rules to complete freedom might have freaked out some people. But not me. I loved being able to come and go as I pleased, with nobody trying to tell me what to do. And I think my relationship with my mother is better for it. Distance between us strengthens our relationship. We're too similar to share a roof.     

Peter, the doorman nods behind me, raising his eyebrows.

“Friends of yours?” he asks. I turn around and glare at the two dipshits snapping photos of me from across the road. They never fucking give up. God, I hate the media.    

The biggest downside to being a professional footballer is all the goddamned attention. In the beginning, when I was a fresh player with big expectations, it was great. All these people wanted to know about me. The novelty soon wore off when I couldn’t take a piss without having it shot from three different angles.

“Strike out, Mr. Tanner?” Peter asks in his usual friendly tone.    

“It happens to even the best, Peter,” I say, the grin plastered on my face.

He chuckles as I make my way over to the lift. Peter is a good guy, and he looks out for me. I have a feeling my mother is behind his attentiveness, but I've never asked her about it. It's strange—especially after I've just ranted about loving my freedom, but it's nice to know someone is watching my back. You'd be surprised how many enemies you develop in this industry. Especially when you're Jake Tanner. But that’s a story for another day.   

The lift pings, opening up on the top floor, just outside my penthouse. I don’t look up as I near my door.    

“Jake, I’ve been waiting for ages.”    

The double vision in front of me slowly focuses into one single image. Kendra scowls at me, her hand firmly on her hip. Oh crap. I knew it was a mistake hooking up with my sister’s best friend. Erin warned me over and over again to stay away, but, like always, I didn’t listen. And like always, Erin was right. Not that I’d tell her that. To say Kendra is clingy is an understatement. One night of wild sex and she won’t leave me alone. I don't care how hot a woman is, I don't handle crazy.    

“What are you doing here?” I ask, casually running my hand through my thick, dark curls.
Not again.
Believe it or not, I’ve been in this situation before. For a brief second, I panic that maybe in a drunken stupor, I’d called her and arranged something. I rack my brain, trying to think. I wouldn’t be that stupid…would I?   

“We didn’t have plans, if that’s what you’re wondering,” she retorts. It’s as if she can read my mind. “I just thought we were going to catch up. You keep saying you’ll call me but you never do.” I almost wince at the high-pitched whine that is her voice.    

“Sorry, I’ve been busy with shit for the team,” I mutter. I don’t know what else to say. Being blunt sure hasn’t worked.    

She leans forward and sniffs me. “Yeah, it sure smells like it.” She drags her phone from her pocket and raises her eyebrows at something on the screen. “And I see you’ve been busy.”    

I reach over and grab her phone. Fucking hell! My picture is splashed over the front page of some website. Funny thing is, what pisses me off the most is how bad the angle of me is. Though, I’m not sure which angle of me hurling my lunch up into a trash can would’ve been a good one.     

“What is this?” I mutter under my breath. I toss her phone back to her.    

I sigh, my head beginning to throb from one too many drinks. I need to sit down and I need to do it fast. I nudge past her and shove my key in the lock and open the door. I don’t bother closing it, not caring that she’s followed me inside. I stalk over to the couch and collapse in a heap, my hands shielding the light from my eyes.    

“I just thought we really hit it off.”    

I stifle a groan.    

I’m clear from the start that I’m not interested in a relationship, but there are always a few who think they can change me. Only problem is, I’m not interested in being fixed. As Kendra whines in my ear, I fish out my phone from my pocket and text my sister—because I know one call from Erin and Kendra will back off.    

Me: Can you put a leash on your pet?    

Erin: Ha! I think the term ‘you shag it, you bought it’ is appropriate here. Did I not tell you she was crazy in love with you?     

Me: Actually, you left out the crazy part. Besides, I thought that was an invitation.    

Erin: Everything is an invitation to you.    

A second later, Kendra’s phone rings. She answers it, and I half listen to the conversation as I nurse my hangover. Five minutes later she gets off the phone. She looks at me, cheeks blushing and as she picks up her knock-off Mulberry, flashes me an awkward smile, apologizes and is out of my apartment. I sigh with relief and send Erin a thanks.

Part of me thinks I should’ve let her stay, so I could get my end away, but I know it would only make matters worse. She was one type of crazy that wouldn’t go away. Still, she’s female, and she’s hot and if I remember correctly, she was very eager to please. My cock hardens and rubs against my jeans, making it tingle. Standing up, I head for the shower thinking a big load of steam will do my head good.

Walking through the apartment taking my clothes of as I go, I sigh – this would have been much sexier if I had that hot blonde from earlier here. Hell, Darren could’ve watched and maybe picked up a few pointers.

 

I sit on the side of the bath naked waiting for the water to heat up, and when it reaches temperature I step into the tub. As the hot water runs down my body I rub the water through my hair, while my free hand reaches for my cock. Rubbing the tip with my index finger and thumb, it feels amazing. I grab the full length of my cock I squeeze harder and harder as I put my hand on the wall to steady myself. Gasping, I come so fast it makes me dizzy – that or the sheer amount of alcohol I’ve consumed.

Stepping out of the shower, I put a towel around my waist and head to the bedroom. Sitting on the edge of the mattress, I pop some painkillers and fall back onto my bed. I pull the covers over me, and instantly fall asleep.

Chapter Two

Jake

It’s the next morning—at least I assume only one night has passed—when the continuous ringing of my phone finally rips me from the comfort of my warm bed. Sighing, I grope the nightstand for my phone and press answer, ready to abuse whoever it is on the other end.    

“What?” I growl into the phone.    

“Good to see you up and about early, Jake.” Serj, my agent chuckles to himself in a way that makes my blood boil. He always manages to get under my skin, and I have no idea why.   

I should be more grateful to Serj, because without him spotting me when I was sixteen I wouldn’t be where I am today. I know I owe him a lot, but the guy just irritates me so easily. Then again, most people irritate me. I guess he has my best interests at heart, but fucking hell, it's like he
tries
to get on my nerves. Since the day I signed with him, he’s treated me like a kid and seven years on, nothing has changed. Maybe I act like one occasionally, but you'd think the amount of cash he makes off me he'd be a little more thankful. Every month or so we have a massive blow out, he threatens to quit and we don’t talk for a few days, then he calls me out of the blue and we act like nothing has happened. It works well for both of us. We vent, let everything out, and then go on with our shit. I never understood why chicks bottle that shit up. If it were my sister, she’d still be grudging against me three months after the fact. 

Of course, as much as I bitch and moan, there are times when I couldn’t have lived without the guy. He cleans up my messes—and believe me when I say there are a lot of them. He's gotten me out of some pretty serious trouble in the past. Trouble that should've landed me in prison. Trouble usually caused by a chick. But, I’ve learned my lesson, at least when it comes to relationships. They always end with one person suffering, and I refuse to ever let myself be that person again. But back to Serj. I hate that he acts like I owe him something, when I’ve done just as much for his career as he has for mine.  

Maybe that's part of the problem. I don’t like owing anyone anything, because when you owe someone something, they always end up wanting it paid back.  

“Yeah, well,” I mutter. Yep. That’s the extent of my retort. God, I’m good.    

“This might wake you up a bit. You’ve been traded.”    

“What?” He’s right. I’m wide awake now. “Where?”    

“Crystal Hill,” Serj says with a sigh, naming the worst team in the whole fucking league. “You’re really that shocked, Jake? I’m shocked it didn’t happen months ago. Between the fighting, and the lawsuit—“    

“The guy threatened my sister,” I exclaimed with a laugh. “He’s lucky I didn’t kill him.”    

“No
you’re
lucky you didn’t kill him. You’re a liability, Jake. You’re a risk that nobody is willing to take.”    

“Except Crystal Hill,” I retort. I wince, wishing I hadn’t been such a dick last time we played them. I vaguely remember taunting Murray—their captain—with how good his mother was in the sack. Not my finest moment—and you’d understand if you saw his mother—but it distracted him enough to let me score the winning goal.    

“So when does this trade take place?” I scoff at the word, because no player they get in return is going to be as good as me. “And who is it?”    

“Longmure,” Serj replies.    

“Are you fucking kidding me?” I chortle. “He couldn’t kick straight if his life depended on it. He can’t even walk a straight line.”

“Yeah, well the same could be said about you,” Serj retorts, his voice dry. “Besides, even if that were even true, at least he keeps his head on his shoulders. Nobody wants to play with you, Jake. You did this to yourself.”    

Suddenly, I feel like I’m five again and in the playground trying to show my dad I’m worthy of his attention, but never quite succeeding. I was never good enough for him and he made that perfectly clear each time he bothered to actually turn up to my practices. Every drive home he would detail everything I did wrong – passing too much to other players, setting goals up for teammates, and letting them get the goals on their scoresheets. He stopped coming to games after that and even though I pretended I didn’t care, I hated him for it. I hated him even more for how he used to treat my mum and my sister.

My whole life I had to prove myself to him but I was not going to let him treat my mum and sister the same way. To the rest of the world he was a hero, but to me he was a reminder of how shitty life can be. He was such an arsehole that it was a blessing when he finally left us. I knew it was coming—we all knew it, but my mum and Erin were still devastated. Erin and mum consoled each other the night he walked out on us, but I went out celebrating, bagging myself a pair of hot brunette twins.

The only thing I learnt from my father was to put myself first and never seek approval from anyone ever again. I do what I want, when I want to, for my own reasons. Football might be a team sport, but I’m always going to put myself and my career first. If that loses me friends, then so be it. I’d rather that, than risk losing myself again.

“We have a press conference in an hour down at your new club and you’re going to stand alongside your new coach and captain and smile and pretend this is the best thing to happen to you.”    

I grunt in response. Like I have a choice.    

“The press conference starts at one. That's before two and after twelve. Not that you'd ever be early for anything in your life,” Serj barks down the phone.  

"For your information, I was born two weeks early," I mutter down the phone. “It's always so nice to talk to you, too, Serj. And, yeah, I'm fine; thanks for asking.”  

“Just don't be late, Jake," he sighs. I grin, because I can hear the panic taking over in his voice. I love winding the guy up. "I don't know how to make this any clearer. Screw this up and you'll struggle to get employment at McDonalds."  

"Well I think that is an exaggeration," I reply. "I mean, have you seen some of the people they have working there? And you'd think hiring an ex-football star with a bad reputation to flip your burgers would be an awesome business move."  

"
Jake!
"  

“So what did you get me in the end then?” I say, changing the subject. I lie back down and wait for him to answer. I'm genuinely interested because the last thing I want is to have to tone down my lifestyle. But it's Crystal Hill. They're obviously not heavily investing in other players so that should leave a bigger budget for a player who actually knows what the fuck they're doing.  

Like me. If anything, I should be seeing an increase. 

“Fifty thousand a week.”  

I sit bolt upright. Again.  

“Serj! I
was
on seventy thousand! What the fuck happened?” I growl down the phone. A twenty-thousand-dollar-a-week pay cut? How the hell am I going to manage that? I can barely get by as it is.  

“YOU happened Jake," Serj retorts. The sneer in his tone makes me want to drive over there and punch him in the fucking face. "
You
are the reason this shit is going down.
You
got transferred to a lower ranking club and
you
are the reason you are now down by twenty K a week. I am the
only
reason you’re not down by forty K a week, okay?” He sighs, the annoyance in his voice obvious, like he is about to break at any moment.  

“Well, thanks then,” I say quietly. I can tell this isn't the time to be busting his chops, and I’m not stupid. I know he’s right. Whatever way you swing it, I had it good and I fucked it up. Story of my life.

“Just don't be late. Please. And bring your A game.” He hangs up.  

 

I get to the Crystal Hill training ground at twelve thirty and spy Serj standing in the far back corner of the conference room. I raise my head in his direction in a gesture of hello. He notices me, reciprocates and walks over to me. My hands are shoved deep into my pockets as I avoid eye contact with anyone else but Serj. I don't want to be here, and I'm sure the feeling is mutual among the other players. I don’t even have to look at Murray to know he’s sneering at me. 

“Call a fucking press conference, Jake Tanner is early for something." Serj chuckles as I narrow my eyes at him. "I'm impressed, you even wore a tie,” he adds, a smirk on his face.  

“I'm bringing my A game like you said.”

To be totally honest, I'm feeling pretty apprehensive about this whole thing. Nobody likes being the new guy, especially when they've been dumped from their previous club. I’m expecting hell over the next few weeks, because if I were in my new teammates’ shoes, I’d be making it my mission to make the new guy quit within the first week. I wish I'd pulled my head in more. I wish I'd listened to Serj all those times he warned me I was pushing too far. But I didn’t, and now I have to make the best of a bad situation.

But none of that matters anymore. I'm determined to get through this the only way I know how. My way. I may feel like a scared little kid inside, but I'm not going to let on to anyone.  

Serj waves at someone behind me. I turn and see a gorgeous blonde walking in our direction. She smiles, and my cock hardens almost instantly.  

“Sorry darlin’, no autographs until after the show,” I say, winking at her. In my usual form, I assume it’s all about me. At least, I’m sure that’s what everyone thinks. The reality is, sometimes my cockiness is just a cover for my anxieties. Serj snorts next to me, and I shoot him a glare, annoyed at him for ruining my game. He shrugs, his eyes laughing and he gestures for me to continue. I smirk. Who knows. Maybe he’ll learn a thing or two. I turn my attention back to my distraction from reality just in time to see her roll her eyes.  

“Mr. Tanner." Her tone is cool as she arches her eyebrow, her heel clicking against the floor impatiently. "If you can please follow me I will show you to your seat.” Even unimpressed, her voice is like silk and it sends a shiver right down my cock.  

I follow her like a dog in heat, undressing her in my head. She says something to a passing cameraman and flashes him a smile, all the while I imagine those lips wrapped around my dick.
I bet she could take it all in.
And trust me when I say that's no easy feat.   

“Here is your seat Mr. Tanner," she says, directing me onto the small stage. "Will there be anything else you require? Her eyes lock onto mine and she raises an eyebrow, which I, of course, take as an invitation.  

I lean closer to her so that my lips are millimeters from hers. My fingers run along the edge of her face as I whisper into her ear, “Not right now, but if you come by my place later I'll show you what else I require.”  

I slip a piece of paper into her pocket with my number on it, sliding my finger out slowly. Her face flushes with color and just like that her cool,
I-don't-give-a-shit
exterior is blown.

Just like she'll be doing to me later.
   

As she walks away, she turns to look back at me, blushes again and then disappears into the crowd of reporters. Fuck! I'd nearly forgotten why I was here. As I sit in my seat, my arms crossed casually across my chest, I try and ignore the nerves building in my stomach.
Here we go.

I take a few deep breaths and wait for this circus to get underway.  

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