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Eight years ago, Derrick Henderickson chose his career over his heart, not just hurting the woman he loved, but breaking her completely.
Zoey McEvoy was left shattered. Piece by piece she’s rebuilt herself to become the strong, independent woman she is today.
Now the Sexy Bad Boy of the NFL is back. And he’s determined to reclaim her heart. Zoey barley survived losing him once, she’d be decimated if he walked away again.
With so much on the line, does Derrick stand a chance of winning the Second Half?
Coach’s Shadow Trilogy Book 1
By MONICA DeSIMONE
Editorial Note: Edited for *F word.
THREE DAYS HAVE passed since I last spoke with Derrick. Although I needed the space, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t hurt by his disappearance. Again.
Lounging on the sofa in my favorite yoga pants and Eskimo Joe’s t-shirt with the boys, I’m watching The Empire Strikes Back, when the backdoor opens. The boys jump down and run into the kitchen. Thinking its Claire, because we have plans tonight, I shout out. “Grab the cheese balls and get in here! Han Solo is about to tell Leia off! And bring the wine on the counter!”
“Here you go, Duchess.” Derrick says, as he hands me the cheese balls, causing me to sputter the sip of wine that I have just taken. “I would prefer you eat something more substantial but calories are calories at this point.”
“What are you doing here, Derrick?” There’s no point in asking him how he got in. Claire and I are going to have to have a talk about privacy and boundaries.
“Claire got hung up with Jack, so I’m here to take her place. She mentioned that ya’ll were having a Star Wars marathon tonight. You know how I love me some Han Solo.”
It’s only been three days since I last saw him, but he looks good. Really good. He is wearing basketball shorts, an OSU Cowboys t-shirt, running shoes, and a backward OSU hat. You can tell that he just came from a training session because the shirt is still clinging to his chest.
“You like?” Bastard is smiling while he does a turn with his arms stretched out at his sides, then wiggles his ass in my face, and sits down beside me.
“Are you done?”
He pushes his finger into my ribcage, “You didn’t answer my question, Duchess. Do you like what you see?” He waggles his eyebrows at me, jerk thinks this is funny. Well two can play this game.
“Stop it.” I laugh, because he hit the spot that tickles the most. “I’m still not speaking to you.”
“I thought if I gave you a few days, you’d cool down enough to talk to me. Need more time?”
“Oh my God! Seriously? You opened a wound that is barely healed, dropped a bombshell about my father being the driving force behind the whole thing, and you think I need a few days? Have you taken one too many hits to that head of yours?”
Grabbing the remote Derrick puts the movie on pause, and states, “Jesus, you are such a bitch sometimes.”
“Tell me something you haven’t already said!”
Both of our tempers are starting to rise and that has never been a good thing.
“You clung to me, Zoey. You needed to find your own way and not as another shadow, and I needed to prove myself without you there in the background. Mac got that. He understood what it was like trying to prove yourself on your own merits. I needed someone kicking my ass and telling me not to give up. I didn’t need my own f***ing cheerleader telling me everything would be okay.”
That hurt. A lot. “I never knew that you felt that way about me, Derrick. I always thought that when you told me we were the Home Team, you meant it. I didn’t realize that you were threatened by me.”
“Seriously, Zoey, if I didn’t love you so f***ing much, I would put you over my knee for that comment.”
“You could try!”
“You are such a spoiled brat!”
“Excuse me? I’m a spoiled brat?”
“If Mac wasn’t afraid that he wouldn’t stop hitting you if he started, you would have gotten the spankings that you deserve years ago. Do you ever look any further than your own nose?”
At my gasp, Derrick’s tone softens. “Zoey, you are an overachiever and too damn afraid to disappoint anyone.” Moving closer to me, he continues. “Tell me, Duchess, when was the last time you didn’t accomplish what you set out to?”
“You.” I say mulishly.
“Touché. I will give you that. But, Zoey, you never lost me. I was and will always be yours.”
“Says the Bad Boy of the NFL.”
“Enough with that shit. It’s just hype. You know me, Zoey, you know that it’s all bullshit. Can we stop with the nastiness? Please? Do you think that I would have continued to follow you around for the past eight years if I didn’t love you?”
“My ass you followed me around. You just like a good fight and I never disappointed.”
“You have been so f***ing angry, Zoey. You never even spoke to me. Just sneered. I let you have your space, Duchess. It’s over. I’m done playing games with you. We fight, we fight together. Mac was right, you needed to find your own. You have. And I needed to make my own. But Jesus, you’re a bitch! You let nothing go, ever!”
Taking a deep breath and looking at the man sitting next to me, I finally get the nerve to ask the questions I want. “Then why are you still here? If I’m such a horrible bitch, why are you still here? What do you want from me, Derrick?”
Grabbing my face with both hands, he is surprisingly gentle considering the amount of anger we have been throwing at one another, and says, “You, Zoey. All I ever wanted was you.”
Meet the author, Monica DeSimone...
Monica lives in northern New Jersey with her three dogs “The Boys”; Sam, Reilly and Steeler. Raised by a football coach in the heart of Texas, football is a passion that is deeply rooted. Introduced to Nora Roberts by her mother at the age of thirteen, she spawned a lifetime love affair with books, all things romance and happily ever afters. Outside of writing, you will find Monica cooking, enjoying time with her “boys”, family, friends, and a really good Dirty Martini
Monica’s website, blog, books, etc.
Amazon Author Page:
**SPECIAL GIVEAWAY**: Monica is giving away a signed copy of SECOND HALF to a lucky (U.S. ONLY) reader who comments on her **Author Peek** or Karen’s Killer Book Bench blogs.. (International winner, an ebook copy.)
Thanks, Monica, for sharing your book with us!
Don’t miss the chance to read this book!