Title: Griff Montgomery, Quarterback
Author: Jean C. Joachim
Genre: Contemporary Sports Romance
He wants to find a wife. She doesn’t want to marry again. Not exactly a match made in heaven. Or are they? Griff Montgomery, star quarterback of the Kings and a womanizer, became a stand-in father for his widowed sister’s kids. His happy family life collapses when she moves to California. Griff wants his own family. But where does a “player” go to find a mate?
Having sworn off marriage, Lauren Farraday barely keeps her life together after her divorce. With her career shaky and depression closing in, the last thing she needs is a courtroom battle with a sexy athlete.
Forced, by a judge, into an uneasy truce, the pair denies their growing chemistry. Wary of Griff’s womanizing reputation, and hiding a secret, Lauren keeps him at arm’s length. Can the quarterback handle the truth or will he walk away, like he has in the past?
Griff Montgomery stopped on Elm Street in front of The Savage Beast. The sign said “Open.” Creaky hinges announced his arrival as he entered his favorite watering hole. Carla was behind the bar, setting up.
“Not open yet,” she called out.
“Sign says you are.”
“Griff?” She looked up. “Come on in.” She beamed a thousand watt smile at him.
He looked her over with appreciation. Carla’s got it all. Amazing body. Great personality. Her long, black hair swung down to cover her ample cleavage. She tossed it back with a snap of her head. His gaze rested on her breasts as the memory of their last tryst in her apartment upstairs lingered in his mind.
He preferred not to explain that he had no reason to be at home. “Got anything special today?”
“Yeah, Roddy’s new drink, the Savage Sunrise.”
Griff lifted an eyebrow. “What’s in it?”
“Same as a Tequila Sunrise, only papaya juice instead of orange. He says it’s healthier. I think it’s bullshit.”
Griff laughed. “Now I have to try it. Bring it on.”
She peeked at him as she mixed the drink. “Got a lot of free time nowadays?”
“You might say that,” he replied, avoiding the question, staring at the suggestive painting behind the bar.
She placed the glass in front of him. “When are you gonna fix me up with one of your hot teammates?”
“What’s wrong with me?” He took a sip and gave her a thumbs up.
“We’ve been bed buddies long enough to know it’s not happening beyond that.”
He seated his tall, rangy body on a stool. “Don’t know ’till you try.”
She wiped her hands on a towel and fixed him with a stare. “You gonna stop running around, whoring across the country and back, just for little ole me?”
“Whoring? Wait a minute…”
“That’s what I thought.” She turned her attention to a dozen wet wine glasses.
“Give me a chance, Carla.”
“To break my heart? No way. Besides, I’d hate to ruin a good friendship.” She dried some of the stemware.
He shot her a one-sided grin. “I knew you were gonna say that.”
“Burger tonight?” She raised an eyebrow.
“With blue cheese, please.”
“I know. Well done. Coming up.” She disappeared into the kitchen.
Griff looked around. He was usually at the bar after dark, when the kids were in bed or at least busy with homework. During the day, it looked different. The soft lights at night gave the wood a rich patina that faded under the harsh, afternoon sunlight. The floor looked like it needed refinishing. The barstools needed repainting. But at night, everything looked better, finer, and the atmosphere was warm and friendly.
Carla brought out his burger and poured herself a Coke. “Family took off for the West Coast?”
“They did.” He took a big bite. No one makes a blue cheese burger like Carla. “This is great, as always.”
She smiled at him. “So, now you’re looking to settle down?”
“I don’t want a traveling man.”
“One big injury and my career’s over, Carla. Time to put down roots.”
“Yeah? Tell me you don’t have a girl in every port, sailor.” She chuckled.
Griff blushed. Might have to get rid of them if I’m gonna do this.
“That’s what I thought,” she said, wiping the bar down with a wet rag.
“What about my teammates? They’re no different.”
“Oh? You telling me they’re all man-whores like you?”
“Maybe not all, but most.”
“Damn. Then bring in the few who aren’t. Let me look them over.”
He laughed. “Kinda like a cattle call?”
“More like a…a…beauty pageant.”
Conversation slowed down and ended completely in an hour when a crowd began to form. The Friday after-work folks stopping for a quick cold one before home blended with the single people who came by for a drink, dinner, and some companionship. Some made connections for the night, some only came to eat, drink, and sing.
Griff knew the regulars. He’d hung out here when Kathy and the kids had lived with him because he didn’t feel right bringing women back to the house. It was a comfortable place where he was accepted and not bothered too much for being well known. Tonight, though, it took on a different feel. No matter what happened at The Savage Beast, he wouldn’t be going home to his family.
Carla was right. They couldn’t turn a casual sexual relationship into a marriage. Still, Griff remembered the soft feel of her flesh and the raucous laughter they’d shared. But he wouldn’t want his wife working in a bar, and Carla wouldn’t want him telling her what to do.
BARNES & NOBLE