EXCERPT: Most Valuable Playboy by Lauren Blakely
Hands down, my favorite thing in the world is to score. Touchdowns. Don’t let the fact that I’m the leading pick in the Most Valuable Playboy charity auction fool you. These days, I’m only a player on the field. I’ve kept my pants zipped all season long — and it has been long — because nothing’s more important than leading my team to victory every week. Except maybe escaping from the owner’s handsy-as-hell sister who seems dead set on winning more than a date with me at the auction. Enter Violet and a well-placed Hail Mary.
She’s my best friend’s sister with a smile as sweet as cherry pie and a mind that runs quicker than the 40-yard-dash. After Violet saves the day with the highest bid, I don’t even give her a two-minute warning before I kiss her in front of the whole crowd and then announce that she’s my girlfriend. Which would be fine except my agent tells me the next day that we’ve got to keep up the act while he’s negotiating my contract. Violet says she’ll take one for the team and pretend to be mine, but our boyfriend-girlfriend scrimmage quickly turns into a full contact sport. And soon enough, I want this game with her to go into overtime. The problem is — I’ve been riding the bench for years.
How can a guy like me, who finally has a chance to prove his worth on the field, convince the girl she’s most valuable to his heart?
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The business suit woman raises a hand, offering forty-one hundred.
Maxine’s eyes laser in on me, and she slashes an arm through the air. “Five thousand dollars,” she says, jacking the price up by nine hundred and staking her claim. I shudder inside.
The guy’s eyes widen, and he holds up his hands. “I’m out.”
My stomach plummets when the business woman shakes her head.
“Going once?” Sierra asks, scanning the tables, looking for perhaps one last big spender. My eyes scan the crowd, too. Hell, maybe I’ll find an escape hatch. A trapdoor to drop into and disappear like in a magic act. Maybe Trent will learn to read my mind. Trent, I’ll cover you for anything you bid. Just raise that hand, name a price, and save me.
My best friend’s expression is merely curious now as he watches Maxine and Sierra, waiting for the verdict. My opportunity to play yard boy slips through my fingers.
The look in Maxine’s eyes is pure satisfaction as she waits for the final word. She winks at me, as if we have a secret. Holy shit. She thinks I want this. She thinks I want her to win me.
A flash of chestnut brown hair in the back catches my attention. A flurry of silver. It’s Violet, hands in the air, wildly flapping over her head in the middle of the ballroom. She brings her finger to her nose. And she’s tapping it, like fucking Santa Claus coming down the chimney, and Harlan tapping his nose to signal his agent, and all the greatest solutions in the universe at once.
My heart goes crazy.
It hammers in my chest. This is like finding an open receiver a second before you’re sacked.
“Going twice,” Sierra says, trailing off as she waits.
I raise my arm and tap my nose, too. Violet is the only one who knows I need to get out of this jam. She’s the only one I mentioned it to. And she’s the only one now who can save me.
“Ten thousand dollars.”
Holy shit. Violet does not mess around with my money. Her eyes widen, as if she’s surprised she bid that high.
My gaze finds Trent. He’s staring at his sister, slack-jawed.
Sierra’s smile is bright and wide. “Ten thousand dollars. Do we have ten thousand, one hundred?”
The room is hushed. Maxine’s expression is blank. She must be shocked. She probably didn’t expect anyone to vie with her to this extent.
I tap my foot, willing Sierra to close this quickly. Just slam the door shut, please, fucking please.
“Going one. Going twice.”
I say a silent prayer. I cross my fingers. I hope.
Maxine blinks, opens her mouth, and I steel myself for a disgustingly high counter bid.
But there’s only silence. No words come. Violet has shocked her speechless. This type of bid wasn’t in Maxine’s playbook.
Sierra raises her arm. “And a night with the quarterback is sold for ten thousand dollars.”
Talk about a Hail Mary.
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Meet The Author: Lauren Blakely
A #1 New York Times Bestselling author, Lauren Blakely is known for her contemporary romance style that's hot, sweet and sexy. She lives in California with her family and has plotted entire novels while walking her dogs. With fourteen New York Times bestsellers, her titles have appeared on the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestseller Lists more than seventy-five times, and she's sold more than 1.5 million books. In June she'll release THE KNOCKED UP PLAN, a standalone contemporary romance.