Chapter Two, Part 1
The battering ram hammering away at Colt’s door woke him from a dead sleep. He cracked his eyes and squinted at his phone. Fourteen missed texts from a Miami number he didn’t recognize and three missed calls. Bam! Bam! Bam! at his door.
“I’m coming.” He rolled over, crumpling the paper Angie had given him. The phone number in bold across the top caught his eye. Double-checking confirmed the identity of his mystery caller.
“Dumbass, open up before I knock this thing off the frame,” Darius Washington’s voice came through loud and clear, too strong to be muffled by the door. His mentor when he’d joined the Thunder, Darius was a walking concrete block of a man who had a good two inches on Colt.
He crossed the room and yanked open the door. “You’re too old and fat to break down a door.”
Darius crossed his thick arms and popped his pecs. “I’m not so decrepit that I can’t still whoop your ass.”
Puffing out his chest, he curled his fingers in a come-at-me-bro motion. “Try it.”
Darius’s laugh boomed through the cabin as he strutted into the room, just as cocky as he’d been during his playing days. “Please, young’n. Like I have time to waste on teaching you a lesson. You need to get your ass in gear before that cute little team liaison blows her stack. I swear you piss off women faster than any asshole I know.”
“Angie just hasn’t realized how much she likes me yet,” Shucking off his sleep-wrinkled shirt, he pushed the last vestige of a very vivid dream about a sexy-as-hell team liaison dressed only in his jersey to the back of his mind. “Anyway, Shontelle likes me just fine.”
He tossed the shirt at Darius, who caught it with the ease of a man who’d made a very good living for a very long time taking down guys the size of foreign cars on any given Sunday. The man had spent an incredible fifteen years in the league. Not everybody did that. Shit, Colt had just hit nine seasons and everyone acted as if he were about to go out to pasture.
“That’s because my wife is blinded by the fact that you donated blood when Jace needed it for his surgery.” His face softened the way it did every time he talked about his son.
“Who knew having a rare blood type would come in handy someday?” Needles freaked him the hell out, but seeing Darius made low by worry was worse than getting poked in the arm for a good cause. “How is the little guy?”
Darius shook his head and snorted. “Giving his mama a heart attack on a regular basis.”
“So just like his daddy?” He tossed on his favorite Thunder T-shirt, wondering what it was like—the family thing. Growing up, it had just been him and his dad, who’d raised him to believe in the power of work, good food and football. Without a mom, grandparents or cousins, family never really factored into his life.
“Jace is exactly like his daddy. No need for a paternity test on that kid.” The older man checked his watch as he walked to the door. “You should think of getting a family of your own.”
“I don’t have time for that.” Not to mention he had no clue what to do with a family; his upbringing hadn’t exactly been the white-picket-fence variety. “Football, that’s all that’s important right now.”
“Young’n, your priorities are all fucked up.”
He shook his head. “No, they’re just where they’re supposed to be.”
Darius gave him a hard look before opening the door. “Come on, get your ass in gear, the party with the Thunder Dome Crew starts in five and you’re the big draw.”
“Ouch.” Colt slapped his palm over his heart and followed Darius into the hall. “You hold the Thunder’s team record for most tackles in a season and I’m the big draw. Retirement must be killing you.”
“Sheee-it, my golf game’s never been better and I never miss Jace’s baseball games.” He arched a bushy, graying eyebrow and poked a finger hard into Colt’s arm. “There’s life after the game, young’n. It’s best you start thinking about that.”
If you missed earlier chapters, you can find it here!