Holding (Moving the Chains #5) - Kata Cuic Page 0,1

I mention how freaking proud I am of you? Of all you’ve overcome to get here? I can’t believe I get to tell people I’m friends with the Mike Mitchell, starting rookie running back for the Albany Wolves!”

He narrows his eyes and sticks his tongue in his cheek. “While I’m flattered, I call bullshit. You’re not fine, and you’re not happy to be here.”

“Yes, I am!” It’s not a total lie. I am happy to be here. I’m also devastated that I can’t be somewhere else.

A wolf whistle diverts our attention to one of Mike’s teammates standing beside us. His leer makes my skin crawl. “Shit, Mitchell! You tore up the field tonight, and you stole the girlfriend of a top draft pick quarterback? Goddamn, man. I’m glad you’re on my team.”

That same disgust reappears in Mike’s expression. “What? No! She’s like a sister to me, Templeman! We’ve known each other since we were kids! We’re not together.”

Templeman puckers his lips like he’s kissing the air and leans against the bench. “Wanna come home with me tonight then, baby? You obviously have good taste. One of the finest WAGs in the league should never have been with a loser like Falls anyway. Did you even hear how bad he tanked at his debut game?”

“I am going to rip your eyeballs out of your skull.” I lunge at him only to be caught by the waist and hauled back.

“He’s not wrong,” Mike whispers in my ear as he physically squashes my desire for violence. “Rob Falls is a loser. You need to serve him divorce papers and move on with your life.”

“I’ll move on with my life when you move on with yours,” I hiss as I watch Templeman saunter away laughing. “Have you been on a single date since you moved to Albany?”

Mike waits a few heartbeats more before releasing me from the cage of his much stronger arms. “No, but I’ve been busy. A guy doesn’t play a game like I just did by screwing around all the time.”

I roll my eyes. “Excuses, excuses. Just admit you’re a hypocrite, and I’ll drop it.”

“I—”

He doesn’t even get out his denial when another teammate approaches us with another sickening leer directed at my chest. “Damn, woman. You’re finer in person than in that nude spread I beat off to for a whole month.”

“I am going to rip your eyeballs out of your skull,” Mike grits out before diving at him.

Thankfully, Templeman is still close enough to help me pull them apart.

“So, as I was saying,” I pant. “Just admit you’re a hypocrite. That you haven’t dated since Chelsie because you’re afraid of taking risks, and that’s because you’re still clinging to the way distant past that has no place in your future.”

Mike shakes off Templeman’s grasp with a muttered, “I’m good. I’m cool.”

“You sure, man?” The lanky guy reminds me of Alex, another friend on another football field miles and miles and heartbreaks away. Templeman wears his charm on his sleeve, but there’s an intelligence in his nearly black eyes that can’t be hidden by his bright white smile. He glances between us. “I can have security escort her out. Just say the word.”

Mike looks absolutely shocked. Whether from a new teammate stepping up to have his back or that said teammate thinks I’m the problem doesn’t matter. He wraps his big, beefy arm around my shoulders. “Like I said, we’re practically siblings. She’s just looking out for me. Same as I do for her.” He squeezes my shoulders for emphasis.

Yeah, yeah. Whatever. The big, overprotective brother thing has worn thin, especially when he won’t take his own advice.

I point at Templeman. “Take care of this big guy for me, will you? Drag him out of his house when he’s being all mopey and find him a decent woman to date. He only pretends to enjoy his solitude.”

Templeman grins and salutes. “Yes, ma’am. I got some prospects lined up. I’ll find him a unicorn by the end of the season. You have my word.”

“What the fuck?” Mike blurts at his teammate before regaining his composure. “I’ll see you later. I’m just gonna finish up here.”

Templeman shrugs, winks at me, then walks away, whistling and waving to the fans still in the stands.

Mike turns to me. “I want no part of that guy. He reminds me too much of Alex.”

“I know. That’s why I like him.” I squish Mike’s cheeks in my hands, making his face pucker up like the scared little

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