Home > Jock Wanted (Rookie Rebels #6)

Jock Wanted (Rookie Rebels #6)
Author: Kate Meader





Hale Fitzpatrick had a problem.

This wasn’t unusual—as the newly-minted general manager of the Chicago Rebels, problems were to be expected. He’d been brought on to “manage” and part of that was fixing pesky issues as they arose. A team of people existed to help him with this. The resources of a multi-million dollar sports franchise were at his disposal. Plus Hale, or Fitz as he was generally known to friends and enemies alike, could usually fix six impossible problems before he’d drunk his second cup of morning coffee.

So why was today’s problem such a pain in his ass?

He looked up from the video detailing this problem into the bloodshot eyes of the man responsible for it. Fitz had dealt with skater punks like Dex O’Malley before. A player at the last franchise Fitz managed had crashed into a police car while driving drunk and Fitz got him off with a suspended sentence and a 90-day stint in rehab. Six months later, that player lifted the Stanley Cup.

This new problem should be well within Fitz’s skillset. Dex, a newer forward with the Rebels, currently on injured reserve, had been a naughty boy, and naughty boys were Fitz’s specialty.

But the naughty boy had to want to cooperate.

“I’m not dating that.” Reinforcing his bad boy/annoying little punk attitude, Dex slumped in his seat, crossed his arms, and screwed up his mouth. “I date models, man. Women with legs for miles and amazing bodies. You want me to go against my nature? No one will believe that.”

Fitz slid a look at Sophie, the Rebels newly-promoted PR manager. She was young, possibly a little too young for this job, but she looked unperturbed, which was good because at least one of them should be less inclined to punch a team asset in the mouth.

Sophie had come up with a plan to counter the negative publicity garnered by Dex’s latest stunt. In the two months since he’d been acquired from Nashville, Dex had spent less time rehabbing his shoulder and more time hitting clubs and making headlines. Hockey wasn’t usually the kind of sport that tickled the tabloids, but Dex was making sure everyone knew he was the NHL poster boy for bad behavior. And as most of his on-camera shenanigans were sexual—never a good look in public and especially not in this millennium—the Rebels management had decided to take action. The team was in the final weeks of the regular season, the time to make a push to the playoffs. Dex O’Malley needed to focus.

Forcing him to go without sex for a couple of months was probably too much to expect. So PR has hatched a plan: public Dex would be seen with a more suitable partner and private Dex could do whatever he wanted as long as it wasn’t caught on camera.

Sophie had a stable of women on tap—actresses, Fitz assumed—who could be hired for this sort of thing. She had chosen women with wholesome looks who wouldn’t have looked out of place on an Amish farm and had offered them to Dex like a restaurant menu.

A chain establishment, where the menus had pictures of plastic versions of the food.

Fitz picked up one of the photos, an apple-cheeked blonde who looked like she regularly skied cross-country to her voluntary gig at the puppy shelter. Probably in Wisconsin. “So she doesn’t look like the clubbing type. Which is rather the point.”

Sophie took up the thread. “We need someone who will temper some of your, uh, less desirable traits.”

Dex sniffed. “I don’t see what the big deal is about that last batch of photos from TMZ. You can barely see her pu—”

Fitz held up a hand. “You can see enough. They put a blob over it.”

“That blob is there to make it seem like she wasn’t wearing panties.” Dex sounded almost disillusioned at the lengths an online tabloid would go to get clicks. “She was wearing, like flesh color ones. That rag makes its money on pretending there’s shit to see here.”

“Sure. But the video is a bit more problematic, isn’t it? You’re having sex with two women in public.”

“It was the VIP part of the club, man! It’s supposed to be private. No phones allowed.”

“Surprise, surprise, someone broke the phone rule and filmed you getting your rocks off. And more.”

“Well, yeah, it’s a good thing they showed more. Otherwise I’d have come off as, I dunno, ungenerous or something.” He raised his gaze to Sophie, adding a devilish grin. “And I’m not, as you can see and hear. That redhead was screaming when my tongue—”

“We all saw and heard,” Fitz bit out. “No need to sell your skills here.”

Sophie pressed her lips tightly, barely fighting a smile. The last thing Fitz needed was for Dex’s charms to start working on the front office staff. One targeted look from Fitz, and she wilted under his scrutiny.

“What it comes down to is this: you will be staying away from clubs and will be attending a schedule of events that we approve. As no one will believe you can actually go for a week without getting busy, we will introduce you to a nice, sweet woman who will keep your public profile on the straight and narrow.” Dex opened his mouth but Fitz raised a hand. “Details forthcoming. As you’re still on IR for the foreseeable future, your movements are restricted to the physio, the practice rink, and home. Now, get going. You’re late for morning skate.”

A mutinous-looking O’Malley left Fitz’s office grumbling under his breath. Fitz didn’t care. He’d promised the team owner, Harper Chase, that he’d take care of this. That he was the man for the job.

Fitz had to get this situation under control so he could return to the item on the top of his to-do list: poaching Bastian Durand from Chicago’s other hockey franchise, the Hawks.

Left alone with Sophie, he took another hard look at the gallery of goodness, each so wholesome his teeth hurt. “He’s got a point. No one would believe he’d date anyone with a modicum of class. Any chance we could hire a woman who’s a little more O’Malley’s speed?”

Sophie grinned. “He’s kind of charming in a trashy kind of way.”

“Do not be taken in. We need to find someone we can control, who will respect the NDA, and can keep his attention until we make the playoffs. By then, if he’s made an impact, the other players will keep him in line. Peer pressure is a wonderful thing, but right now, he’s too new to be susceptible to that.”

Fitz strummed the desk with his fingers. This shouldn’t be so hard.



Three days later …



“Oh, God, there’s a new shot of Dex.”

Tara Becker looked up from her macchiato to cast a quick glance at the phone screen of her friend, Mia Wallace.

“Yeah, saw it this morning.” That saucy devil had been caught with his hand in the cookie jar again, where “cookie jar” meant patting the ass of his latest date, a wide-eyed blonde who wouldn’t have looked out of place in the front pew of a church on Sunday. “Some idiot thought ‘let’s fix Dex up with his complete opposite.’”

“Like some sweet young innocent. An elementary school teacher type or a—”

“A veterinary assistant.”

Mia nodded enthusiastically. “Right, some chick who looks after puppies or kids. That’s what the PR people think would work.”

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