For five years, Cecilia Morgan’s entire existence has revolved around playing personal assistant to self-centered former NFL quarterback Wade Carter. But just when she finally gives her notice, his father’s health fails, and Wade whisks her back to his hometown. CC will stay for his dadfor noweven if that means ignoring how sexy her boss is starting to look in his Wranglers.
To say CC’s notice is a bombshell is an insult to bombs. Wade can’t imagine his life without his “left tackle.” She’s the only person who can tell him “no” and strangely, it’s his favorite quality. He’ll do anything to keep her from leaving, even if it means playing dirty and dragging her back to Credence, Colorado, with him.
But now they’re living under the same roof, getting involved in small-town politics, and bickering like an old married couple. Suddenly, five years of fighting is starting to feel a whole lot like foreplay. What’s a quarterback to do when he realizes he might be falling for his “left tackle”? Throw a Hail Mary she’ll never see coming, of course.
Each book in the Credence, Colorado series is STANDALONE:
* Nothing But Trouble
* The Trouble with Christmas
* Asking for Trouble
About the Author
Amy is an award-winning, USA Today best-selling Aussie author who has written sixty plus contemporary romances in both the traditional and digital markets. She's sold two million books and been translated into over a dozen languages.
Read an Excerpt
There were some days Cecilia Morgan would gladly shove her boss off the top of Mile High Stadium in downtown Denver. This was one of them. Wade "The Catapult" Carter may have been QB royalty, but he was lousy at relationships. Allergic to them, actually. And today, like so many days, that was a giant pain in her ass.
"But I thought he really liked me," came the forlorn voice of another jilted Wade Carter conquest.
"Of course he did."
CC straightened her pen and her drink coaster as she sipped on her Red Bull. Comforting slightly hysterical women was all part of her job description, and she'd become a pro. This one's name was Annabel. CC knew that because Annabel had called her frequently the last few weeks, chasing Wade. God forbid he should ever give out his cell number.
Plus, she'd supplied it to the florist this morning. The florist who had a standing order for a letting-her-down-gently floral arrangement. And a drawer full of cards that all said the same thing.
I've enjoyed our time together. Unfortunately, I can't commit to further dates. Thanks for your company. — WC
For crying out loud — the man didn't even personalize it with his full damn name!
"He took me to that flashy new restaurant three nights ago. You don't take just anyone there, CC. There's a waiting list."
CC stifled a sigh. Waiting lists didn't matter when you were more famous than God and John Denver in Broncos country. Celebrity opened doors. Wade didn't use his obnoxiously, but he didn't have to.
People knew who he was.
Restaurants ushered him to tables, fancy watch companies sent him exclusive timepieces, car salesmen handed over keys.
And women opened their legs.
"Oh God." There was a long groan on the other end of the line. "He was just using me for sex, wasn't he?"
CC blinked at Annabel's candor. She drew in a deep breath and thought about a warm SoCal beach. The Pacific Ocean. Blond surfer dudes with tans and abs.
Six months. Just six more months left on her employment contract.
No more twenty-four seven availability. No more midnight runs to the nearest gas station for Wonka Nerds. No more phone calls from emotional women she barely knew.
Technically, after the call from her broker this morning, she could walk her ass out of Wade's apartment right now. One of her investments had paid off, and while it hadn't made her rich, she now had the money she needed — she didn't need any more of his. But she'd signed a contract, and Wade's lawyers did not screw around. She'd seen them in action too often.
"Wade doesn't discuss his dates with me."
CC stuck to the company line instead of saying what she wanted to say, which was, Ya think? And also, Weren't you using him, too? Bagging a famous jock for some social capital?
Bragging rights with the gal pals?
Because she knew Wade would have given Annabel the usual spiel up front. He didn't go out with any woman unless he had.
He wasn't interested in anything more than a few dates.
He wasn't interested in anything long-term.
He wasn't interested in a wife.
How many times had she heard Wade say that, either over the phone or face-to-face? "Don't fall for me, darlin'. I don't do past next week."
And as much as CC really hated this part of her job and thought Wade needed to stop treating the women of the world like he was in a candy shop and they were the buffet, he was always up-front with them.
But ... as usual, there were some who thought they'd be different.
They'd be the one.
"Don't get me wrong — it was really freaking awesome sex. I mean ... holy cow, CC, that man knows things about a woman's body. Like, knows things."
Oh God! Palm trees. Seagulls. The sound of the surf.
"He does this thing with his tongue —"
"Oookay!" CC was quick to interrupt.
Too. Much. Information. CC might have pretty much run Wade Carter's life, but there were some things she just didn't want to know about the man. Some things you just couldn't unhear.
"I'm telling you, that man has stamina."
Well, yes. He'd been the star quarterback of the Broncos for thirteen years. There were three Super Bowl rings in his safe to prove it. He had stamina.
Throw the man a parade.
"Okay, well, thank you for calling."
"No. Wait! CC?"
CC sighed. She'd never perfected the art of the polite hang-up. Wade was excellent at it, but these women broke her heart.
"You know the man. What did I do wrong? What could I have done differently?"
A humorless laugh rose in CC's throat, and she quashed it ruthlessly. What could she have done differently?
How about not putting out?
It was that simple. Her boss was a man — one with stamina and apparently crazy-good skills with his tongue she did not want to know about. One who used sex for recreation with absolutely no intention of follow-through.
In other words, he was a total, unashamed, card-carrying horn dog.
What did a woman do differently with such a man? How did she get that guy's attention? She said the one thing Mr. Hotshot Quarterback wasn't used to hearing. The one word women just didn't say to His Royal Sexiness.
Sure. He might walk away without doing that thing he did. But it might just make him work a little harder, too.
Seriously, what was wrong with these women?
She'd known treat-them-mean, keep-them-keen since she was six years old. But maybe that was just a result of having five older, very protective brothers.
Not that she'd had a chance to treat anyone mean since she'd taken up this job. Being Wade Carter's PA-cum servant for the last five and a half years had pretty much decimated her social life and killed her sex life dead.
Not only did Wade always know where she was, thanks to that annoying app he insisted she install on her phone, he was also uncannily attuned to when she was about to get lucky in her rare moments of free time. It was like he'd shoved an estrogen monitor under her skin one day when she'd been too exhausted to protest and called her when it hit the red zone.
CC dragged her attention back to the woman waiting on the other end of the phone. She should have pulled out her usual line about not discussing Wade with anybody. But she didn't. There was something in the pitch of Annabel's voice that tugged at CC's heartstrings.
She sighed as she fingered the neat stack of Post-its sitting at an exact right angle to her pen. She was tired of clucking and soothing Wade's women, of being fucking Switzerland. It felt like a betrayal of all women. "Annabel, you're perfect just the way you are. Don't change for any man, okay?"
And she hung up the phone, thunking her forehead against the desk. That was it. She was done. She couldn't do it anymore. Deal with Wade's women. She wouldn't. And, thanks to her windfall, she didn't have to. Yesterday, she hadn't had quite enough money to leave. Today — she did.
It was as simple as that.
It was time. Time to go. Not in six months, not at the end of her contract. Now.
CC pulled her head off the desk, cheered by the thought. She was ... free. She smiled and then she grinned. She could just ... walk away. A laugh pressed itself against her vocal chords, and she gave it voice.
Of course, Wade could be an asshole about it, and the thought of his lawyers sobered her laughter. She had to be smart about this, really smart. Not walk in there and tell him to shove his job and his women up his ass — no matter how tempting. Confrontation was not the way to approach the situation.
She had to pick her moment. She had to be composed and reasonable. State her intentions with clarity and sincerity and calmly hand in her notice. Appeal to him for understanding. Assure him she'd find him a top-notch replacement.
Hold his damn man-baby hand a little bit longer ... But it had to be today because her mind was made up and frankly, one more weepy phone call was going to see her spiking her Red Bull with vodka. And CC had no intentions of making a side trip to rehab on her way to California.
* * *
Wade glared at the blinking cursor on the blank screen. It'd been doing that for the last three hours. Sitting there. Blinking. Defying him.
Not too many things defied Wade Carter. Mostly, they just saw him coming and got out of his way. Everything from a three-hundred-pound linebacker to a three-hundred-pound hog.
Well ...everything except his mother. His PA. And this fucking annoying cursor.
When he'd been approached by a publishing house immediately after his retirement three years ago to write a book about his life, he'd dismissed it out of hand. But so many people had asked for his memoir since — fans and sports commentators and NFL execs — that he'd started to think about it seriously. The publishing house, who had coughed up a million-dollar advance, had offered to get a ghost writer, but Wade had refused.
He might not have graduated summa cum laude, but he was capable of writing his own story. He'd read all the great American classics and could get his head around algebra. He'd actually been a reasonable student — he just hadn't seen the point of wasting time inside the classroom when he could be out on the field, where his true vocation lay.
And now, here he was. Just him and the cursor.
Wade had no idea why it was taking him so long to write the first word. He and CC had prepared copious, detailed notes about his life and career to be included in the book.
But he didn't know where to start.
Where was he supposed to start? At the beginning? Back on the hog farm in Credence? Or when he started playing college ball for the CU Buffs? Or when he was drafted by the Denver Broncos? He'd had a long and illustrious career in the NFL before his knee had blown out for the last time a few years back.
And yet he couldn't figure out where to start.
He glanced up from his screen, seeking inspiration through the floor-to-ceiling windows throwing summer light into his office. From his penthouse vantage point, he could see the gleaming curves of the horseshoe-shaped bowl belonging to Mile High — or whatever the hell it was called these days — and, even now, he could still hear the roar of the crowd inside his head.
Behind the stadium, in the distance, stood the jagged outline of the Rocky Mountains. They rose majestically — strong and indomitable. As strong and indomitable as the spirit within Mile High on game night.
It was a view that always awed him. The juxtaposition of the modern and the ancient, the man-made and the natural. These two great megaliths had shaped him, and the sight of them both humbled and strengthened him.
It was inspirational stuff. Except today. Today, he had nothin'.
He groaned as he plonked his head on the desk, disturbing one of the many piles of neatly stacked papers CC had meticulously printed out and compiled, each marked with Post-its and labeled clearly in her legible, no-nonsense handwriting.
That handwriting irritated him more than usual right now.
"You should have gotten a ghost writer."
Wade lifted his head off the desk and shot an annoyed look at his PA lounging in his open doorway. She was in her regulation blue jeans. She always wore jeans, whether it was cold enough for them or not. It'd been one of the few things she'd insisted on when she'd agreed to be his PA almost six years ago — no more ridiculous corporate wear.
Today, she'd teamed it with a red stripy T-shirt. She thought it made her look Parisian. He thought it made her look like a tiny female version of Where's Waldo.
"There is nobody more equipped than me to write about me."
Wade tried and failed to keep the exasperation out of his voice. It was the same argument he'd had with the publisher. And won. And he was in no mood to have it with CC — again.
"Yes. But." A slice of her mahogany bangs fell across one eye, and she brushed it away. She wore them longer than the rest of her hair, which was super short and choppy all over. "Writing is a different skill than throwing a ball."
Leave it to CC to point out the fucking obvious. But still, Wade hated how this was already kicking his ass. He succeeded at everything he did. Nothing defeated The Catapult.
Not even the blinking cursor of doom.
"So I should spend weeks talking to someone else so they can tell my story?"
"Sure, why not?" She shrugged. "You do like talking about yourself."
Wade grunted as he returned his attention to the screen. "Why do I pay you so much money, again?" "Because I'm the only PA on the face of the planet who doesn't quit after you wake me at three in the morning to go and buy you Nerds and condoms."
He grinned at the memory. Yeah, she'd been really pissed about that. But it'd been the deal they'd made. Six years of twenty-four seven. He paid her a shitload of money — because he could afford it and a good PA was worth their weight in gold — and her time was his. All of it.
"That was an emergency."
She folded her arms. "Your apartment burning down is an emergency."
Wade laughed. He loved how CC didn't try to flatter him or pussyfoot around. And he appreciated it. She was like a cranky, bossy older sister — except at thirty-two, she was six years younger than him. His mother always said men needed someone to call them on their horseshit.
Well, his mother never said "horseshit" because not even forty-plus years in rural Colorado could coax the Texan Southern belle out of her. But when she said balooey, they all knew what she meant.
CC wandered into his office. "I also don't complain when I have to provide regular phone counseling to distraught women."
Wade flicked his gaze up from the damn blinking cursor. "It sounds like you're about to, though."
"Seriously, Wade." She sighed as she pulled to a stop on the opposite side of his desk, crossing her arms under her breasts.
She totally wasn't his type. He was the full jock cliché — into tall, busty blondes. And CC was his PA, and he'd promised her all those years ago, when he'd seen her knee her then-boss in the balls for making a pass, that he would never, ever go there with her.
But you couldn't beat biology. He was a man; he was genetically wired to notice boobs.
"Just give them your damn cell number already."
CC seemed testier than usual, but she was hardly a ray of sunshine at the best of times. He shook his head. Hell no. Being able to abdicate all the unpleasant things was one of the perks of being seriously fucking rich. "Annabel?" "Yes. Annabel. And before that, it was Chrissie. And before that, Shondra."
Yeah. He'd been picking some doozies lately. It didn't seem to matter how many times he told the women he took to his bed that he wasn't looking for a wife — they were getting more determined. It had taken a lot of fun out of dating. And frankly, he was wondering if dating was more trouble than it was worth.
For him and CC.
Between women and this book, he was going a little stir-crazy. Maybe he was losing his mojo?
"Can't you be a little more ... discerning?"
He propped his feet up on his desk and raised his arms to tuck his hands behind his head, the back of his chair reclining slightly. "What can I say? Women like me." Then he smiled that smile he knew would make her roll her eyes.
She didn't disappoint. He half expected her to mimic a gag reflex, but she opened her mouth to speak, instead, her face suddenly intent and serious as she took a step closer to his desk. "Do you have a moment to discuss something, Wade?"
Wade's scalp prickled at the grave note in her voice — he didn't like the sound of that. The last time she'd been this serious, there'd been a major Nerd shortage two Christmases ago. Thankfully his phone rang, cutting her off, and he grabbed it quickly, holding up his hand, indicating for her to hold her thought. He couldn't cope with a Nerd shortage and the blink, blink, blink of the taunting cursor.
Noticing the word Mom displayed on the screen, he pushed back in his chair again. Few people had this number. His parents, his brother, some old NFL buddies, and CC.
He put her on speaker. "Hey, Mom."
"Wade." The soft lilt of her Southern accent was as soothing as it'd always been. "How's my baby?"
CC rolled her eyes again, and Wade stifled a laugh. He was thirty-eight years old, filthy rich, and about as close to sporting royalty as it was possible for an ex-quarterback to be, but he'd always be her baby.
"Same old, same old."
"Staying outta trouble?"
"Always," he said and ignored CC's not-so-quiet snort.
"You're going to church?"
Excerpted from "Nothing But Trouble"
Copyright © 2019 Amy Andrews.
Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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