Series: Gridiron Lovers, Book 3
Hot in the Clutch by Ann Jacobs, Book Three, Gridiron Lovers seriesAfter twenty years in the NFL, Dave Delaney’s playing days are over and he’s back home in Hedgecock, Texas, coaching football at his old high school. He’s tired of meaningless sex and his empty lifestyle. Dave is ready for change and sets his sights on the girl who got away.
Diane Connors is attracted in a big way, but Dave is used to being chased by groupies almost young enough to be his daughters. He’s still a chick magnet with a wild reputation, and she’s gun-shy after escaping a miserable marriage with a bully—another local jock.
Faces flashed on the screen inside his head. Happy faces, sad ones, even Rosa’s smug visage. Dave saw thirteen year old DJ tossing a football with one of the band guys, eleven-year-old Cathy looking lost and lonely without Daisy at her side. Trying to push down the nagging pain of things he currently didn’t know how to change, he went back to the faces he’d seen at the wedding, attempting to distract himself.
Restless, Dave turned onto his side, propped his bad knee on an extra pillow and balled another one up under his head. The image of one pretty blonde wouldn’t go away, so he fixated on it, on her sky-blue eyes and hot body. He imagined those legs that wouldn’t quit, wrapped around his waist, killer heels and all. He could almost feel them digging into his naked butt.
He fisted his cock, tried to fantasize that a hot groupie was blowing him. Instead he saw Diane, her shoulder-length blonde hair tickling his belly as she lowered her face, took his swollen flesh between her soft, wet lips.
Her hair felt like silk beneath his fingers when he cupped her head, encouraged her to take him deep. The warmth of her breath sent shivers through him, made him want much more. Not just sex but the sensation of them touching shoulder to hip, of her raking her nails down his back then caressing where she’d scratched, as though she wanted more than an orgasm. A relationship. Commitment.
Fuck, he was insane. No good woman, let alone one as gorgeous as Diane, was going to fall for Dave Delaney and take on all his baggage. Trying to put her image out of his mind, Dave tightened his fingers on his cock, beat out a cadence, first slow then faster and harder, until finally he found, if not contentment, then temporary release.
But when he finally slept, he dreamed about Diane.
* * * * *
And he dreamed again the following nights although he’d sworn he wouldn’t. It wasn’t as though he could avoid seeing Diane. Hedgecock wasn’t a big enough place so anybody could be invisible. At the only grocery store on Monday, he spotted her talking with Melanie Tate in the small produce section. Today when he’d seen her go into the feed store, he had moved as fast as he could to join her, wondering as he crossed the street what he could buy since the store didn’t sell dog food and he had no other animals at his place.
He didn’t have to torture his brain because she was coming out with a huge sack of something by the time he caught up with her. “Damn, I wish I could help you with that,” he said, shooting her his best grin.
“You can. Open up the tailgate on my truck so I can stuff this inside.” She indicated a beat-up blue pickup that happened to be parked right at Dave’s feet.
The latch thankfully was loose enough that it popped open when he applied one hand, since he dared not set aside both crutches at the same time. “Here you go.” When she set the sack down, he helped her push it inside then slammed the tailgate closed.
“Thanks. Usually I try to corral Dylan so he can do the heavy lifting, but today he’s still at school.”
“I’m just sorry you couldn’t have corralled me. I promise, I’m gonna be off these crutches before long, and then I’ll be your pack mule.”
“Sounds as though you’re angling for a part-time job. I’d love to have you but I doubt you’d appreciate the pay.”
Dave grinned. “You never know. Maybe I’d want my pay in hugs and kisses and a little bit more.”
Diane’s cheeks turned a pretty pink. “If you’re anything like I remember, you’d be wanting a whole lot more.”
“Guilty as charged. I remember kissing you once. You tasted mighty sweet then. I’m anxious to find out if you taste as sweet as I remember.”
“A lot of years have gone by.” She paused, then met his gaze. “I remember that kiss, too.”
“Good. By the way, who’s Dylan?”
“He’s my son.”
During his teenage years, Dave had helped Grandma around the ranch, none too willingly. But he’d done it. Now he tried to imagine DJ helping with chores, but he couldn’t.
“I hate to say it. My boy’s so spoiled he has no concept of honest labor. You’re lucky that Dylan helps out.”
“I know. He’s fourteen going on thirty. Not at all like I remember the boys we went to school with. He’d rather stick his nose in a book than do most anything except take care of the animals. Or watch pro football on TV.” A shadow crossed Diane’s face. “Sometimes I think maybe he’s trying too hard not to be like Frank.”
Dave didn’t know how to respond to that, so he just shook his head and smiled. “DJ—he’s my son—is thirteen. I hope he doesn’t pick all my bad traits to imitate.”
As they talked he walked Diane to the driver’s side of her awful excuse for a truck and opened the door for her to climb in. “Does this thing run?”
She shrugged. “It did until I parked it here. Let’s not give it any ideas about making a visit to Artie’s Car Repair. Aren’t you supposed to be over at school, doing whatever it is that football coaches do?”
“Not until school lets out. Until then I’m all yours if you need me.”
When Diane wrinkled her nose at him, she looked cute. And sexy—but nice, too. “I’ll have Dylan unload it when he gets home from school. This smelly stuff, as you call it, is fertilizer for my veggie garden. The soil out here’s not too kind, so it needs a lot of help.”
“Hmmm. Maybe I’ll sneak over and steal a tomato or two.”
“Feel free, only there won’t be any for a couple of months yet. You know, I haven’t said it before, but I’m glad you came home.”
“Me, too. I’d like to take you out sometime soon, talk about old times. Share some meals, make a few new memories.” And find out if this attraction I’m feeling goes both ways. “How about it?”
“I’d like that, anytime I can park my son somewhere so he doesn’t get ideas that maybe his mom’s wanting another man in her life. Come by, or give me a call sometime. You’d better run along now or you’ll be late for the first day of spring practice.” The smile she shot his way had to have packed at least a thousand watts. As he limped to his silver Escalade, he waved back and grinned. His cock swelled against his jeans.
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