Title: Play for Keeps
Author: Maggie Wells
Series: Love Games, #2
Pub Date: April 3, 2018
Mixing business and pleasure is a dangerous game…
Tyrell Ransom, the new men’s basketball coach, is ready to whip his team into shape and start winning some games. But when compromising photos of his soon-to-be-ex-wife with one of his players go viral, everything comes crashing down. With reporters thick on the ground, Ty and his team need some serious damage control—now.
When public relations guru Millie Jenkins arrives in her leopard-print cape to save the day, things really heat up… Soon they’re going to have to work double time to keep their white-hot chemistry out of the headlines.
A rush of power pulsed through her veins. She tipped her chin and upped the ante with a full-on sassy-pants grin. “Well, good luck. I hope everything works out for you.”
He stopped, standing way too near for either of them to be completely unaffected. “I’m going to see you later, aren’t I?”
The husky, intimate timbre of his voice short-circuited her brain. “What?”
She darted a meaningful glance at Mike seated behind his desk with his hands resting on the blotter. He studied them with narrowed eyes, like they were a couple of amoebas trapped under a microscope slide. Or worse, as if they were hooligans, and he was trying to figure out which one had thrown a baseball through his window.
Clearing her throat, she arched her brows as she tried to deflect with some good old-fashioned professional detachment. “What’s scheduled for later?”
Ty tapped the travel documents in her hand with one long finger. “You, me, flying to the Big Apple.” He flattened his hand and mimed an airplane taking off. “You wanted a front-row seat for my beheading, remember?”
She blinked, then scrambled to recover as she threw up mental barriers in front of every naughty thought the prospect of jetting off to New York with this man spawned. “I’d never wish for any such thing,” she said, pressing her hand to her heart and aiming for an accent reminiscent of a scandalized Southern belle. “The dry-cleaning bill would be horrendous.”
Mike barked a laugh as he pushed his chair back. “Our Millie, the soul of sympathy.” He came around the desk and extended his hand to Ty. “Be good. Do everything the boss lady tells you to do,” he added with a nod in her direction.
“Yes, sir,” Ty answered, his smirk growing into a smile so wide, it upgraded his face from merely handsome to breathtaking. “I always do whatever Ms. Jensen thinks is best.”
“Good luck.” Mike gave Ty a slap on the back, then ushered them both toward the outer office. “We’ll be watching.”
Before she could get another word in edgewise, the door closed behind them, and she and Ty were left facing each other. At last, Ty glanced over at the solid mahogany door. “If I didn’t know he’d played football, I’d swear the guy was a point guard.”
Millie nodded. “I guess there’s a good reason they call them directors.”
The athletic director’s assistant didn’t look up or even break rhythm in her typing. “I emailed copies of your itineraries to your university and personal emails as well.”
Millie recovered first. Pulling the mantle of brisk efficiency around her like a cloak, she plastered a big smile onto her face and started toward the open doorway to the hall. “You’re the best, SaraAnn,” she called over her shoulder.
Millie laughed, and her stride hitched. Then, six feet eight inches of freight-train-solid man almost plowed right over her.
His hands closed around her upper arms. Millie wasn’t quite sure if he was trying to catch himself or keep her from falling, but she figured intention hardly mattered as long as they didn’t end up on the floor of the main hall in a tangled heap.
“Sorry,” he breathed as he shifted his center of balance to correct their momentum.
Ty repeated the apology under his breath while he straightened to his full height once again, but she waved the annoying little word away. “I didn’t use my brake lights.” Too chicken to look directly at him, she cracked open the cover and peeked at the neatly typed schedule inside as she pivoted away from him. “So I guess I’ll see you at the airport this evening.”
“About that.” He fell into step beside her, waylaying her attempt to escape. “I was wondering what you’d think about giving me a ride.”
She wasn’t sure if it was his phrasing or the hopeful note in his voice, but something set off the warning bells in her head. She paid about as much attention to the clamor as a native New Yorker does a car alarm. “A ride?”
“Not that kind of ride,” he said with a chuckle. “Wait. No.” He drew to a sudden halt, and automatically, she stopped too. His forehead puckered as he gave the innuendo due consideration. “Yes to both kinds, if you’re willing.”
“Stop.” She raised a hand to underscore the command.
A wicked smile curved his sculpted lips, but he ducked his head deferentially. “A ride in your car to the airport,” he clarified.
She thrust her hip out, standing her ground. “You locker room jocks think everything is an opening, don’t you?”
“I am a playmaker,” he countered.