A Favor for a Favor Page 2

Beyond being ridiculously tall and broad, and irritated based on his scowl, all he’s wearing is a pair of boxer briefs. I might be able to get over his overwhelming size and his insanely gorgeous dark-brown, sleep-tousled hair complemented by fiery hazel eyes, a rugged square jaw, and full lips. I can also deal with all that toned muscle and his rippling abs and bulging biceps, finished off with a nice dusting of hair that leads my eye from his navel—it’s an innie—down to his boxer briefs. But that’s where I get stuck, because his crotch has the phrase BEWARE OF FALLING ROCKS with a rockslide right where his peen should be. So now it looks as if I’m checking out his package. I kind of am.

“What the hell is going on? It’s almost fucking midnight, and you’re out here making a goddamn racket. Some of us are trying to sleep.” His voice is deep, gritty, and loud. He crosses his bulky arms over his cut chest, which should help cover up some of the nakedness but only seems to draw attention to how thick his arms are.

Also. Wow. Talk about hostile.

“Sorry. I’m having some problems with my key card and my suitcase.” I flash the key card and motion to my destroyed bag. I’m suddenly super sweaty. Likely from embarrassment over getting chewed out by a hot guy in his underwear.

Hot-underwear man scoffs. He doesn’t acknowledge my apology. Nor does he offer his assistance or tone down the dickbagness. “Where the fuck you get that key from?”

“How is that any of your business?” I scroll through my messages, trying to figure out what I’m doing wrong with the key card and the code so I can get into the apartment and away from this grade A asshole extraordinaire.

“It’s my business because you’re up here on my floor making an unnecessary amount of noise, and I’d put money on it that you paid someone off for that key card.”

I pause my message scroll so I can glare at him more effectively. “Excuse me?” This guy takes the jerk cake with his asinine accusations. Such an epic waste of hotness.

He tips his chiseled chin up, glares down at me, and jabs a finger in my direction. He really is intimidating. “Which one of the security guys did you pay off? Or were there other favors involved?”

“Favors? What are you even talking about?” I’m super confused right now.

Underpants a-hole leans against the doorjamb, smirking as his eyes move over me. I’m wearing jeans and a T-shirt with a cartoon birthday cake on it. My hair is tucked into a beanie since I’ve been traveling all day and the humidity has not been kind to it. “You think I haven’t seen this a million times? Chicks are always bribing security for keys to get up here.”

“I did not—”

He cuts me off before I can put him in his place. “Look, sweet cheeks, I don’t know what you’ve been snorting or mainlining or whatever, but there’s no way you’re getting in there without a code. And even if you do, I’m gonna go ahead and say that this whole shitshow”—he points to his face and motions toward me—“is one hell of a boner-killer, so stop embarrassing yourself and take your broke-down ass back the way you came.”

Did he just say my face is a boner-killer? I have so had it with assholes tonight.




Okay, so the boner-killer comment may have been unnecessary, but it’s midnight and I’m tired. I came out here thinking I would be confronting the dude who lives in 4001. Every time he’s in town he throws a party that lasts for days. And then it’s silence for at least a week, if not longer. Thankfully, he’s gone more than he’s here. Regardless, whenever he’s around, there are also numerous scantily clad, potentially venereal disease–carrying women hanging out in the elevator.

Instead of the 4001 douchenozzle, I’m faced with this train wreck of a woman. Granted, as bad as she looks, she’s still hot, but she’s making all kinds of noise trying to get into my teammate’s penthouse. The one he hasn’t been staying in because he bought a house or something. With his wife and kid.

My conversations with Rook Bowman have been short and not entirely pleasant. I’m not his biggest fan. Almost every time we’ve played against each other in past seasons, one of us has ended up with some kind of penalty or other for being chippy. But my loathing for him hit an all-time high when he waived his no-trade clause and joined the Seattle expansion team at the last minute. It wouldn’t have been so bad, but they also gave him the team-captain position that was supposed to be mine. His stupid fucking friendly “You can do it; we’re a team!” attitude, and being in the coach’s goddamn back pocket, only make me hate him more. I see through his do-gooder act. He also suggested that I be moved to defense, likely so I wouldn’t be competition for his coveted first-line center position. Not that I’m bitter or anything.

And now it looks like he’s got some sidepiece using the team-issued penthouse. What an asshole.

The woman sneers, her spine straightening. “I’ve had it up to here with dickbags.” She motions to the top of her head. She’s on the short side, so it’s not very high. “Thanks for being so helpful and understanding with your insults and your assholery. That was exactly what I needed after this turdheap of a day, so really, much appreciation for your creative shit-slinging.”

“I’m just telling it like it is. Not my fault if the truth hurts.”

“Jesus, you really are an asshole, aren’t you? Too bad your personality is in direct opposition to your exterior.” She rakes her gaze over me on a huff. She almost seems irritated with herself for checking me out. As should I, if she’s riding my married teammate in his spare time. “And why the hell are you out here in your goddamn underwear? Who even does that?”

Man, she’s fired up, which would be semientertaining, except it’s seriously late and I’m pissed off from having been woken up. I don’t bother answering the underwear question, since it has no relevance to this conversation. “If anyone’s being an asshole, it’s you with all the noise.”

She looks at her phone again while scrolling through messages. This time she scans the card and punches in a code. My annoyance spikes when she gets the green light. I guess Rook really does have a sidepiece, which proves he’s not as perfect as he portrays himself to be.

The woman shoulders open the door and awkwardly drags her beat-up suitcase inside. “Thanks so much for your help. It’s nice to be welcomed so warmly to the building.” She shoots me the bird and disappears inside the penthouse.

For half a second I consider whether I should call someone, like our coach or maybe the GM, but I’m not sure there’s a point. Rook is all buddy-buddy with our coach, Alex Waters, since they played together in Chicago for a number of years. And Waters is tight with the general manager. Besides, Rook’s extracurriculars aren’t my problem. If he’s cheating on his wife, I sure as hell don’t want to be in the middle of it.

I turn off the TV—which I’d fallen asleep in front of—and hit my bed. I expect to fall asleep right away, since I’m bagged, but I find myself wondering what the hell is going on across the hall for a lot longer than is reasonable.

The next morning I wake up late thanks to last night’s hallway disturbance. I set a pot of coffee to brew before I grab the paper from the hallway. I don’t read books, because they require a time commitment and I can’t stay seated or focused long enough to finish one, but the newspaper is different. I can get all the basics from the sports section and scan the current events to keep up with what’s going on in the world while I eat breakfast.

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