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Her Football Star Ex

Her Football Star Ex

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She swore off the man who broke her heart. He’s determined to win her back.

Main Tropes

  • Second Chance
  • Forced Proximity
  • Sports Romance
  • Small Town
  • Protective Hero
  • One Bed

Synopsis

When Emerson hears a rumor that her ex-husband, NFL quarterback Vincent Lake, is bringing a plus-one to a wedding they’re both set to attend, she signs up for online dating and hopes to find a guy impressive enough to make her famous ex jealous for the night.

Vincent should be on top of the world when he leads his team to the playoffs, but when his best friend accidentally matches with Emerson, it’s like a dagger to his heart. He knows she deserves happiness after his betrayal broke their family apart, but watching her move on is proving harder than winning the Super Bowl.

But when they’re thrown together before the wedding, and sparks reignite, Emerson begins to believe Vincent truly regrets his mistake. And even though forgiveness seems impossible, Vincent dares to hope the best love stories can come after the biggest heartbreaks.

If you enjoy sweet romance with ballad-worthy chemistry, passionate kisses and endearing characters, you'll love Her Football Star Ex. Grab your copy today!

The Rich and Famous series contains standalone romances that are full of happily ever afters.

Chapter One Look Inside

“Congrats on winning the case,” my paralegal, Kira Zigler, said after the judge had sentenced the defendant to six months in prison. “I knew you were worried about having enough evidence to convict him, but you pulled through once again.”

I smoothed my hands along my pencil skirt and stood. “I couldn’t have done it without you finding that last-minute witness, so thank you.”

Kira really was a lifesaver. Without her help, I probably would have lost my first case of the new year.

And I couldn’t have that. I needed this year to be better than last.

“Do you have any plans to celebrate your win tonight?” Kira put her bag over her shoulder, pulling her long and braided brown hair out of the way of the strap.

I shrugged and put my tablet into my bag. “I’ll probably end up taking a bubble bath or something,” I said. “Vincent won’t be dropping Jaxon back home until after dinner, so I should have just enough time to get one in before I have to get Jaxon to bed.”

I was missing my son who had been with my ex-husband for the past couple of days, so having him back with me again would be a reward in and of itself.

“A bath sounds nice,” Kira said, and I was thankful for her kind comment, instead of looking at me like my life was so dull and boring these days.

My life hadn’t always been this way, though. Before the divorce, when I first started practicing law and was winning my first cases, Vincent always made such a big deal out of it. Every ruling in my clients’ favor was worthy of celebration, and he would insist on taking Jaxon and me out to the fanciest restaurants in Denver where we’d wine and dine until we were so full we could barely walk out of the restaurant.

But that was before he’d cheated on me with his physical therapist.

Life was a lot different now.

“Are you and Derek doing anything to celebrate the Dragons winning the wild card game?” I put my bag on my shoulder and led the way out of the courtroom. “He’s got to be excited about that.”

Derek was one of the defensive ends for the Denver Dragons, the NFL team my ex-husband, Vincent Lake, was the star quarterback for. And in the six years that I’d followed the team closely—ever since I first met Vincent and fell in love with the sport at the same time I was falling in love with him—the team hadn’t made it into the playoffs.

“He’s on top of the world right now.” Kira smiled, her brown eyes sparkling with pride for her fiancé. “The whole team is.”

“I bet. It’s pretty exciting.”

“Did you watch the game with Jaxon then?” She glanced sideways at me as she pushed open the door that led to the big hall of the courthouse.

I tucked some of my blonde hair behind my ear. “He went with Vincent’s mom and sister to the game since it was Vincent’s weekend to have him. So, no, I didn’t watch the game.”

“Knowing you, you were probably working all weekend anyway.” She gave me a knowing look.

I shrugged. “You don’t win cases without preparation.”

“Well, you missed a good game.”

“That’s what I’ve heard.”

We passed by the lawyer we’d just gone up against, standing in the hall with his legal team. We’d already shaken hands in the courtroom earlier, so I simply smiled at them as we continued toward the exit doors.

“So you never said what you were doing to celebrate Derek’s win,” I said to Kira as we walked down the steps. I pulled my wool coat close as the January air sent a chill through my body. 

“My mom is cooking a special dinner for Derek and me tonight. So we’ll be heading over there once he’s back from his workout.”

“Does that mean you’ll also be doing more wedding planning?” I raised an eyebrow.

“Of course.” She smiled. “You know my mom will make any excuse to get us to her house to do wedding stuff. I think we’re finalizing the seating arrangements tonight.”

“I bet Derek’s excited for that.” I laughed, trying to imagine the big, tough guy who hit other big guys for a living caring about those particular details.

“He’s a pretty good sport. He says he’s just happy the planning is almost over and we’ll be getting married next month.”

They had purposely planned their wedding for two weeks after the Super Bowl was scheduled. That way, if the Dragons actually made it that far this year, the wedding wouldn’t interfere with it.

And if the season ended sooner than they wanted, he’d still have something to look forward to in February and they could spend the off-season honeymooning.

We made it to the parking structure where I’d parked my dark blue Mercedes. Kira and I had driven to the courthouse together since her car was in the shop. I opened the back door and set my bag on the seat next to Jaxon’s dinosaur booster seat before climbing in behind the wheel and starting the engine.

“Speaking of table arrangements,” Kira said as she turned to me after we’d buckled our seatbelts. “My mom was hoping to have the final count tonight and you’re the only one who hasn’t sent the save-the-date card back.”

I was the only one?

Man, their friends and family were on the ball. I could have sworn it wasn’t due back to them for another week at least.

I put my car in reverse. “Are you talking about the card where I’m supposed to declare whether I’m coming alone or with a date?” My lack of enthusiasm at announcing my single status to all of her friends and family showed in my voice.

“That would be it,” she said timidly.

Could I pretend I wasn’t familiar with the proper etiquette for save-the-dates? Vincent and I had eloped to Vegas after all, so we’d never had the chance to do any of the wedding-planning stuff.

But since I knew better, I decided to just go with the truth. “I’m still trying to decide whether to beg a random guy to pretend to be my date or not.”

“I hope you’re not serious,” Kira said, her voice rising with shock.

I gave a non-committal shrug.

“I really doubt you’d have to beg anyone to be your date,” Kira said. “In fact, I’m pretty sure Cade has a major crush on you and would do anything you ask him to.”

I laughed, remembering how I’d gotten the twenty-two-year-old law student at the front desk to pretend to be my best friend’s date last month when she was trying to make her now-boyfriend see what a hot commodity she was. “If I wasn’t four years older than him, I might actually consider it.”

Cade was pretty cute—almost as tall as Vincent, even. Though he definitely had the physique of a guy who worked at a desk instead of the muscular giant I’d been married to. 

But the four-year gap wasn’t that bad—especially since Vincent had been five years older than me when we started dating my sophomore year of college.

But that was just the thing. I wasn’t a cougar.  

If I was going to bring a date to a wedding where my ex-husband was set to be the best man, I needed to at least bribe someone believable.

Which reminded me…

“Do you know if Vincent is bringing a date?” I studied the traffic ahead, hoping not to seem too interested in her answer.

“I, um, I can’t really remember off the top of my head.” There was an awkwardness in Kira’s tone that told me she didn’t really want to try to remember that particular fact, either.

I glanced sideways at her. “If he’s dating someone, you can just tell me.”

It wasn’t like I could really expect to find my next soulmate before my star quarterback ex-husband found his. 

He may have decided to stay in our small town of Sutton Creek to be closer to Jaxon instead of moving twenty minutes away into Denver, but that didn’t mean I expected him to stay home alone on the nights he didn’t have our son.

I mean, he hadn’t exactly kept his hands to himself when we were together.

I sighed and pushed those thoughts away. I would never get past my anger if I kept reminding myself of the pain over and over again.

Kira cleared her throat. “I don’t think he’s dating anyone seriously, but yes, Derek might have said something about Vincent bringing a date.”

My fingers tightened around the steering wheel.

I made myself take a calming breath before I asked my next question. “Do you know who he’s bringing? The new physical therapist they hired after Victoria quit, perhaps?”

Kira shook her head, a hint of compassion in her eyes at my mention of Victoria. “The newest physical therapist is a fifty-year-old male, so I don’t think you’ll need to worry about that.”

“Well, I guess that’s good. Having such a distraction had probably kept the players from recovering as quickly as they should have in the past.” 

Having a female help with Vincent’s rehabilitation after his Achilles tendon injury had proven too much of a temptation for him to resist.

Which was why I was in this predicament of needing to find a date in the first place.

If he’d just come home after practice like he was supposed to that October night over a year ago, instead of going to the bar and getting drunk before running into Victoria who was drunk and on the rebound herself, we’d probably still be married. And I’d have a date to weddings lined up for the rest of my life.

“Maybe he’s bringing one of the cheerleaders?” I asked, still trying to figure out who he might be seeing now. “Or maybe one of the super fans who always seems to find out which hotel the guys are staying at before their in-town games?”

“Would you believe me if I told you I honestly don’t know who he’s asked?” Kira looked like she regretted bringing up the topic of plus-ones in the first place.

And I felt guilty for making this about me when the wedding was a celebration for her and Derek. It must be hard being close friends with a couple who got divorced. 

Vincent and I had been the ones to set her and Derek up in the first place. It had been the perfect match since both guys played for the same team while Kira and I worked together. We’d always had the same weekends off to go on trips together. They adored Jaxon, and once Kira and Derek were married, we had planned to ask them to be his godparents.

Things had been great.

Until they weren’t.

And now, since I was one of her bridesmaids and Vincent was the best man, I would be forced to look at Vincent across the aisle as Kira and Derek said “I do.”

It made me sick just thinking about being at the wedding with him, but not “with” him.

And, of course, all the other Dragons teammates and their wives would be there to watch it and judge me.

Since we’d never gone public with the reasons behind our divorce, all sorts of rumors had spread through the gossip mill that was the Dragon Ladies. I could only guess what they had said about me when they heard that I’d filed for divorce from the living legend that was Vincent Lake. The tabloids had certainly raked my name through the coals with all sorts of crazy conspiracy theories.

“What are you thinking about?” Kira seemed to study my face when I pulled up to a stoplight a block from our office building.

“I’m just imagining seeing the other Dragon Ladies again.” 

“I bet everyone will be happy to see you,” Kira said in her delusional, happy tone.

I snorted. “Yeah right.” They were never happy to see me, even before I stopped trying to be their friend.

I had always been a bit of an outcast from the circle of Dragons’ wives—being one of the few who chose to have a career of her own instead of staying home and raising babies. 

Could I bear sitting at the singles table with everyone watching and whispering about me? Because there was no doubt in my mind that the ringleader of the group, Chelsea Stockton, would have all sorts of things to say about me and the downgrading of my social status since the divorce.

“How upset would you be if I suddenly got the flu on your wedding day?” I looked at Kira with innocent eyes.

“Don’t even think about it.” She shook her head. “You’re a bridesmaid. You will be at my wedding.”

“Then I guess I better find a boyfriend quick because there’s no way I’m showing up alone with all those people just waiting for me to fail.”

I needed someone tall with broad shoulders. 

I started making a list of my preferences in my head.

Brown hair would be ideal, since I had a major weakness for guys with darker features. A strong jaw was also a must. Eye color didn’t really matter, as long as his eyes were vibrant with life…

I continued piecing together the physical attributes of my ideal man in my head as we drove down Main Street, scanning up his imaginary torso in my mind’s eye. A torso held a guy’s heart and securing that for the long haul had turned out to be one of the trickiest parts for me.

He definitely needed to have big, strong arms to hold me tight as we danced at Kira’s wedding. And a little scruff on his jawline wouldn’t hurt, either. I was a sucker for guys like that.

My mind’s eye pieced together my dream man’s face. But when the eyes came into focus, I gasped, because my mind had betrayed me.

I thought I’d been piecing together a dream guy whom I’d never met, but when the eyes formed, I realized I hadn’t been conjuring up someone new at all. Instead, I’d just re-imagined my ex-husband.

Ugh.

And the exercise had been going so well.

“Maybe I need to give online dating a shot,” I mumbled as I switched on my blinker to turn into the parking lot of our office building.

Our tiny town had a grand total of three single guys close to my age. And since one of them was my ex-husband, and the other two were even less charming than him, my best bet was to find someone online.

“Did you say something?” Kira looked up from her phone, like she hadn’t quite caught what I’d said.

I pulled into the parking lot and turned to Kira, trepidation filling my chest. “Do you think I’d look completely desperate if I tried online dating?” 

“Not at all.” Kira gave me an understanding smile. “Everyone is online these days. And it’s way better than the alternative of spending hours in a bar or coffee shop just hoping a guy will hit on you.”

“Plus, it’s probably better guys know up front that they’re getting two for the price of one,” I said, hoping to sound more confident about it than I really was. I could put that I’m a single mom right on my profile instead of trying to figure out a way to naturally bring it up in conversation.

Because, while I saw Jaxon as a major blessing and I was so thankful that I at least had him in my life, I knew a lot of single guys in their twenties would see it as a drawback. It would be good to just narrow things down right away.

I was quiet for a moment, just watching the snow softly fall on the windshield as I thought about actually putting myself out there again.

Sure, I could stand in front of a court all day every day and barely break a sweat. But put myself out there for guys to weigh the pros and cons of dating me?

The thought gave me hives.

Kira must have sensed my growing anxiety because she touched my arm. “You’ve only been divorced for a year. You don’t need to rush into anything if you’re not ready.”

I sighed. “But your wedding is coming up whether I’m ready or not.”

I needed a date. I couldn’t show up alone.

“I could always set you up with my cousin Marty,” she suggested. “He’s still single. He’s even asked about you a few times.”

Marty-pickle-breath Johnson had been asking about me?

I scrunched up my nose as the image of her cousin came into my mind. He wasn’t exactly ugly, but his resemblance to Mr. Collins in the latest movie adaption of Pride and Prejudice was uncanny.

And the fact that his personality was also nearly identical to Mr. Collins would be almost comical, if he wasn’t so awkward to be around.

Kira must have seen my expression because she hurried to say, “I know he’s not exactly your tall, dark, and handsome type. But he just got his Ph.D. in Physics, so what he lacks in looks he can make up for with intelligent conversation.”

Not wanting to seem completely shallow, I shrugged nonchalantly and said, “If I’m still dateless a month from now, I might take you up on that.”

Keyword: might.

Which meant I would most definitely be taking some photos and setting up an online dating profile as soon as I got home from work tonight instead of taking that bubble bath. Because there was no way I would have Marty be the guy I spent the evening trying to make my ex jealous of.

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