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She bit her lip to keep from moaning at how damn good it felt. ” “Come with me.” He laid her feet on the ground, bent over and retrieved her shoes, then grabbed his coat and slung it over his arm. Since they held the party at one of San Francisco’s premier hotels, the room was nice. A suite, actually, with an outer room and a hallway that must lead to the bedroom. Even though the fabric separated his hands from her skin, she still felt the pressure of his hands there, and that warmed her more than his jacket ever could.
“We ended up blaming the division championship loss on the defense.” She laughed. “The defense was probably in the defensive coordinator’s room blaming it on us, so why not? Then again, her feet were in his lap and he was giving her a delicious foot rub that made her nipples tingle and her panties dampen. What it said was that California wasn’t the only place that had been in a drought for the past several years. Tara walked to the window and stared at the killer view of the city skyline, rubbing her arms as she did. Her heart kicked up a fast beat, and she became aware that she was in his room—alone.
Black hair, striking blue eyes, she knew exactly who he was—Mick Riley, San Francisco's star quarterback, and her savior from earlier today. Unfortunately, all she could do at the time was ask for directions. His endorsement contracts put him on every television in America, and probably overseas, too, hawking every product from deodorant to power tools. Fortunately, the caterer took that moment to beep in with a problem. By the time all that had been dealt with, she’d had to make a once around again to make sure no other brush fires had erupted. Many people had left, and only a few diehards remained. Stokes’s personal assistant had stopped her and told her that Mr.
She'd been so rattled after having gotten lost in the basement of the team's practice facility that it hadn't even registered who he was until the elevator had taken her to the top floor. Who wouldn't be when faced with a shirtless, sweaty, gorgeous hunk of muscle? Stokes was very pleased with the party, and he would likely use her company again. Another couple hours, and everyone was out the door.
He was hot, sweaty, and he'd been knocked on the ground so many times he'd probably eaten half the dirt on the field. Too bad, because he could have sworn there'd been a spark between them. And your job is to make sure your guests are happy, right? Sometimes I wonder about it myself.” “It’s not always about looks.He was exhausted and not in the damn mood for a party tonight. " "Yes." She stopped in front of him, and she smelled so damn good—like spring and cookies or something—that he was embarrassed, because he sure as hell didn't smell like anything appealing. When you get off, turn left again and go to the end of the hall. " She turned and practically sprinted down the hall, though how she could run on those shoes was something he'd never understand about women. Then again, it might have just been his imagination. She scanned the crowd, going blind from all the stunning female beauty in the room, many of whom had their gazes trained on Mick. " "Yes." "I'm a guest, and I'd like to get the hell out of this ballroom and talk to you. Star quarterback, fine-looking, and it had been a long time since a man paid attention to her. Granted, physical attraction is what gets you in the door.What he'd really like to do is take a cold shower, go home, and order a pizza. "Take a right turn, then at the first hallway go left. The main office is there." She studied him, then gave him a wide smile. I was afraid I was going to be lost down here forever and I'd never get these contracts signed. She sure was beautiful, but not in the way he was used to. He could just need a slap of cold water to lower his body temperature. He went back inside, grabbed the towel, and headed for the shower. You did a good job." Oh, man, she was getting warm all over. I'm glad you think so." "Not that I know a damn thing about throwing a fancy party, but I like to eat, and the food was good. Surely Tara was just misjudging his politeness for something else. Which means you're doing your job in making sure I'm happy." True enough, though for some reason she felt like she'd just been blindsided by a lineman. He sat her down on one of the cushioned benches in the outer lobby area beyond the ballroom. Plus there were some stunning women inside that ballroom, and for some reason he’d chosen her. She had to admit she wouldn’t mind a closer inspection. But there has to be something beyond that to want to keep you there.” He cocked his head to the side. I like a good-looking man as much as any woman does. I’m here to work.” He slid his hand up her back and wished she hadn’t worn such a revealing dress. I’m keeping one guest happy.” “The rest of the guests don’t seem miserable.“You don’t have to rub my feet.” “I saw you wince when you kicked your shoes off. ” She dropped her chin to her chest and shook her head. From college to the pros, women had gravitated to him like he was an irresistible magnet. But when she gave instructions, people moved and moved fast.And heard you sigh.” “It’s been a long night on very high heels,” she said with a laugh. But this tux is killing me.” He loosened the bow tie and unbuttoned the top two buttons, then shrugged out of his jacket. And he’d never been one to turn down a beautiful woman who wanted to crawl into bed with him. Until tonight, until he’d seen Tara leaning against the wall of the ballroom, not participating, just watching, the sparkles on her champagne colored dress lifting the light from the chandeliers and all the candles shining around her as if she was the main event in the ballroom. Women tended to latch onto him like he was the Holy Grail, and once they did, they never let go. But Tara actually seemed more interested in doing her job than in being with him. And she seemed more than willing to get in there to do whatever needed to be handled to get the job done.She resisted the squeal that hovered at the back of her throat, calmly thanked him, and said she’d be happy to provide event services at any time. Tara made sure the band packed up, and she thanked them, as well as the bar staff and the caterers, for doing such a great job. The team didn’t want the guys driving tonight after the party.Once everyone left, she looked around the empty ballroom, unable to resist a smile. Her first major event, and she’d pulled it off perfectly. She fell into the nearest chair, kicked her shoes off, and twisted open the top on the mineral water she’d snatched from the bar before they’d closed up. “I thought they’d never leave.” She jerked upright in her chair, half turning to see Mick walking past the rows of empty tables. We’re not leaving the hotel.” He pushed the elevator button. You know, in case there was overindulgence of all that great alcohol you provided.” She stepped in while he held the door open for her.Years ago that would have been the highlight of his night. That's when he heard the a voice outside the locker room. Man, she was a sight with her business skirt that skimmed her knees, her high heels showcasing her gorgeous legs, and her crisp white blouse and pulled-up hair. You dummy, now you're going to be lost in this cavern forever, and you're going to get fired." He leaned against the doorway as she stared down the long hall, tapped her high-heeled shoe, and mumbled some more. It can't be in the friggin' basement of this place." "No, it's not down here." She whirled, seemingly embarrassed to be caught talking to herself. Event planning the team summer party for the San Francisco Sabers had been a stroke of luck. How come you're not wearing one of those butler outfits or a white apron? Everyone else does the real work." "So you get to dress up, supervise, make sure every play goes off without a fumble." "Something like that." "And look good in case someone wants to talk to you about booking a party." "Perceptive, aren't you? " "Your party is fine," he said, leaning back and resting his arm over the back of the bench. Standing around making small talk just isn't my thing." "And yet I see you in magazines at nearly every big event in New York and Los Angeles and here in San Francisco. Nothing was going to come of it, of course, but she was going to bask in his attention for just a few moments longer. Good for my image, ya know.” She leaned back to study him. It can’t be that much of a hardship having to be with all those beautiful women.” His chest rose when he inhaled, and Tara wished he wasn’t wearing that tux. “Maybe you’re just not meeting the right woman.” “Probably because I’ve never looked for her.” He stood, held out his hand. He pulled her against him, slid his arm around her back, and drew her close. She cringed, certain she was the center of attention, but when she took a quick glance around, no one seemed to be looking at them. It would be so much easier to walk away from him if he was self-absorbed.All prim and proper, and she made him think dirty thoughts about getting her crisp white shirt all mussed up. Her eyes widened for a fraction of a second, then she headed in his direction. The owner's assistant had gotten her card from the usual team planner, who was booked solid on the date they wanted to have the party. " "And they say football players are dumb." She liked this guy. Right in the center of it all, usually with some gorgeous woman right next to you." His lips quirked in a devastatingly sexy smile that made her belly quiver. That's not what the tabloids say." She felt his arm brush against her back. "Don't tell me you buy into those rags." "Don't tell me all those women you've been hanging out with for the past ten years have been just arm candy and nothing more." "Okay, you got me there. “Yes, I can see how that would put you front and center in the entertainment news. Someone I can just talk to, have a real conversation with. Maybe it wasn’t unusual for Mick to grab random women and dance with them. But not only was he gorgeous, he was also funny, was interested in her and her career, and she liked spending time with him. It felt good to feel his warm hand at her back, to clasp her other hand in his, to feel the pressure of his thighs against hers as he expertly managed the steps and moved her around the dance floor. She leaned in a little and inhaled, amazed at the sheer size of him.No one complained, and the smiling faces all around her told her everyone was focused on what they should be focused on—football and having a good time—which meant she could take a step back and simply observe. “No, the teach-all-the-little-kids-how-to-dance kind of teacher.” She saw the pride in his eyes, and her heart melted just a little bit. She’s pretty tough.” Tara leaned forward and laid her elbows on the table. “Oh, nothing at all like yours.” “Tell me about them.” Yeah, that would send him running in a hurry. Unfortunately, it was hours later before she freed herself again.The band was kicking, the crowd was thick on the dance floor, media was in attendance taking pictures of the star players, coaches were giving interviews, and for the first time that night, Tara exhaled as she leaned against the floor-to-ceiling glass windows that showcased the beautiful city. " She lifted her gaze to the six and a half foot tall hunk of gorgeous man in a tux who'd stepped up in front of her. Everyone who watched football knew him, too, no matter where they lived. “My family just isn’t hearth and home like yours seems to be.” He laughed and placed his hand over hers. Doesn’t mean I don’t want to know about your life.” Really, he didn’t want to know about her life and the screwed-up mess that was her family. The caterers had run out of one of the meats, the head bartender had a meltdown about a waitress who decided at the last minute to have a fight with her boyfriend via text message and storm out in tears, and Tara had to make a couple frantic phone calls to get every ruffled feather smoothed.