Backfield in Motion

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Chapter 1- Pretty is as Pretty Does?

“Yeah, yeah, Bruiser, all you’ll ever be is just another pretty face.”

“Never criticize the face that feeds you,” Bruce Mackey, a.k.a. Bruiser, shot back as he gritted his teeth.

Nothing but a pretty face? Hell. That wasn’t the type of thing a person tells a 230-pound premier running back for the Seattle Lumberjacks. Not that Bruiser hadn’t worked his ass off to craft that very superficial image—then worked that much harder on the football field to show the world and the NFL that he was a football player first and pretty face second.

Football was his job and his passion. On a normal day, it took two linebackers and handful of defensive backs to bring him to his knees as he fought like a wild man for a few extra yards, hence the odd nickname Bruiser.

Playing the role of a pretty boy usually suited him just fine. Other than being one tough hombre on the football field, no one expected anything serious or profound from the league’s “Hottest Hunk,” which kept even the nosiest of reporters from diving deep enough to unearth the painful truth lurking behind his carefree mask. That was just fine with Bruiser. He let his play on the field speak for itself. The rest was no one’s business but his.

Harold, the photographer, winked at him. “Hey, I’m not criticizing. That pretty face is certifiable money in the bank.”

Bruiser didn’t wink back.

Click. Click. Click.

He didn’t move, just held his pose and stared over the head of the photographer at nothing.

“Look straight into the camera. Pretend I’m a beautiful woman across the room at a party. I’m beckoning you.”

“You? I don’t have that good of an imagination. No one does.” Bruiser resisted the urge to roll his eyes. He really hated this stuff, but money was money. He had a debt to pay and an even bigger promise to keep.

“Relax. You’re too stiff.”

Stiff? Hell, his dick had shriveled to nothing on this unseasonably chilly forty-five-degree morning. It wasn’t like he was acclimated to anything below sixty degrees after spending the last several months in Southern Cal, having traded the Seattle rainy season for warm sand, mega endorsement deals, movie cameos, and bikini-clad women. He’d only returned to the Emerald City a few short days ago.

“I’m freezing my ass off. Hurry up, will ya?”

“You’re in a snit today.” Harold sniffed as if Bruiser had hurt his feelings. Well, fuck, Harold wasn’t the one standing around in a frigid horse barn wearing nothing but SportsJock underwear, a Stetson, and a pair of Tony Lamas. Harold’s assistant flitted around like a pesky fly, messing with Bruiser’s perfectly styled blond hair. He fought like hell not to bite the poor little guy’s head off just for sport.

“Okay, tease us a little. Hook your thumb in the waistband and pull it down just so it stops short of your junk.”

Bruiser knew the drill. He almost made more from modeling than he did football. Plus, he didn’t have a modest bone in his body. If they’d asked him to strip, he’d have stripped and given them the full-meal deal. But the league frowned on all-out nudity, so Bruiser’s nude modeling had to be tastefully done with the goods disguised in dark shadows.

Bruiser changed his pose, propping one foot on the hay bale.

“Turn slightly. Put your back to me. Good. Good.”

Click. Click. Click.

“Now strip off your shorts, hold them with a finger, and cover your package with your hat.”

“How does that sell underwear?” Despite Bruiser’s immodesty, getting nude fucking irritated him today.

“Do I look like a marketing person? Just another pose they asked for.”

Bruiser shrugged and shucked out of his briefs—not easy when wearing boots—and dangled them on one finger as he held his hat over his crotch area. Harold clicked away while Bruiser changed poses and forced himself to stay alert.

“I expected your dick to be so big you’d need a sombrero to cover it.”

Bruiser dropped the hat and spun around to face the speaker. Mackenzie Hernandez, known as Mac to all the guys on the team, stood in the barn door. Small and fit, with a nice little body, Mac was kinda cute with her upturned nose, mischievous deep brown eyes, and long, wavy, dirty blond hair, but she downplayed her physical attributes as if she didn’t give a shit about appearances.

Mac made a show of looking at his crotch and arching an eyebrow, not the least bit embarrassed. But then, not much embarrassed Mac.

Caught off-balance, Bruiser stared down at his dick. A sombrero? Of course it was big enough to need a sombrero. What the hell was she talking about? Even shriveled in the cold, damp Seattle morning, he didn’t think it looked that small.

Did it?

He bent down to pick up his Stetson, not bothering to cover himself, and tamped down his annoyance while ramping up the charm.

Little dick, my ass.

“Now, honey, that cuts me to the quick.” He held his Stetson over his heart and let out an exaggerated sigh.

“I sincerely doubt that. Your skin is as thick as your head is large.”

“Ah, so you admit it. I am big. I knew you were just jerking my chain. I like that in a woman.” A slow smile spread across Bruiser’s face. She’d walked into that one.

Mac’s mouth pulled into a firm, straight line, and her eyes glinted with what looked to Bruiser like murderous intent.

“You creeping up on me, honey? Just had to get a sneak peek? Don’t blame you; all the ladies feel that way.” Bruiser grinned. She deserved a little shit after the sombrero comment.

Bruiser was a flirt and tease, two of his many talents, and he didn’t discriminate. All women were fair game, regardless of age, race, or religion. And Mac was one of his favorite targets because she didn’t know the first thing about flirting. He loved to tease her, try to get beneath her tough-girl exterior. Today he’d hit pay dirt. Flustered yet clearly annoyed, Mac backed away. “I’m not stalking you. I promised Derek and Rachel I’d feed their horses while they’re out of town.”

His teammate, Derek Ramsey, and his wife, Rachel, owned the horse farm.

“Ma’am, you’ll need to leave until we’re done shooting,” Harold said. He sniffed, his boxers all in a bunch over the interruption.

Well, damn. Bruiser was just starting to feel entertained.

“Mac won’t bother me. She’s almost like one of the guys—with boobs.” Bruiser looked her up and down. “Nice boobs, though, hon.” He waggled his eyebrows. “We’ll catch up later. Once you recover from the sight of my incredible body.”

“Overconfident ass,” Mac shot back.

“Absolutely, sweetheart. You like me that way.” He winked at her, and she glared back. He was winning points today.

“I don’t like you any way but on the football field.”

Bruiser opened his mouth to fire off an answering round when Harold interrupted him. “Hey, Bruiser, let’s finish this.”

Still grinning, Bruiser turned away from Mac and struck a pose. He had a job to do and giving her shit wouldn’t get it done.

But later all bets were off.