Home > Most Irresistible Guy (Most Valuable Playboy 0.5)(7)

Most Irresistible Guy (Most Valuable Playboy 0.5)(7)
Author: Lauren Blakely

“He’s going to be amazing,” Trent says, pumping a fist.

“He’ll be great,” Dan says, chiming in.

“Bring it, Coop,” Holly shouts.

Okay fine, we’re a tad more than overly enthused. We might be bordering on nervous. After all, last week’s game bordered on abysmal, and Cooper played terribly. There’s no way to sugarcoat his performance.

But it can’t be easy replacing a legend.

Images of the players flash on the jumbotron as the announcer shares the lineup. The visiting team is properly and soundly booed, and all the home team guys are cheered, including the last few guys announced.

Harlan Taylor, the star running back. Jones Beckett, the fantastic wide receiver. And at last, the guy I’m here for.

The announcer’s voice thunders across the stadium like an echo from Zeus. “And your new starting quarterback in his first home game . . . Cooper Armstrong.”

Everyone stands and cheers as the handsome new quarterback runs onto the field.

“That interception last week was a fluke,” Trent says with a confident nod. “Today will be different.”

“Today will be amazing.”

I hold my breath. I don’t think I will ever be able to let it out again. I’m making promises to the universe. Promises I have no right to make. I tell myself it’s just a game. It’s just football.

We’re only behind by fourteen and he can do this, he can pull out a win. But as Cooper goes into the pocket at the end of the second quarter, scanning right, scanning left as Jones runs downfield, he overthrows.

My heart craters when the ball lands squarely in the open arms of the opponent.

The crowd groans collectively.

My heart breaks a little bit when the fans boo him.

“Bring back Grant.”

“You suck.”

“Go back to the bench, bench boy.”

My jaw clenches, and I want to go personally reprimand every single naysayer in this stadium. “Mark my words,” I’ll tell them.

“Just you wait,” I’ll say.

But frustration wends through me, and I can also feel it from Trent, Holly, Cooper’s mom, and Dan. We’re all rooting for this guy so badly. We want him to succeed as fans, but mostly for him.

“Shake it off,” says Trent, talking under his breath.

Cooper’s mom waves that finger again. “You can do it.”

When the third quarter begins and Cooper starts it with another interception, my heart sags once more. Even though he delivers two touchdowns after that, it’s not enough and the Renegades finish with their second loss of the season.

Silence blankets the stadium as we leave, that clawing sense of potential doom hovering over us. I have to wonder what Cooper feels like. If he thinks he’s letting everyone down, from the team to the coach to the fans.

I want to reassure him that he’s not. That he’s got this. And I know what to do. I know how to lift him up.

Later that night I send him a text message.

* * *

Violet: Why did the football go to the bank?

* * *

Cooper: I’ve been wondering that very thing.

* * *

Violet: To get his quarterback.

* * *

Cooper: :) Thank you. I needed that.

* * *

Violet: Hey, if you have any free time this week, can you meet me at the high school field?

* * *

He writes back, telling me he’ll be there Thursday night.


We don’t need stadium lights. There is enough starlight tonight in Petaluma, our hometown.

Nearly twenty years ago, I met Cooper in this town when I was in grade school. I was riding my purple banana seat bike, and he moved a block over from my house. This is the high school we both attended, and this field is where I watched so many of his games, cheering from the sidelines.

I was never a cheerleader. Please. I’m not that kind of girl. But I still went to his games, and I shouted and clapped.

Tonight, I’m here to cheer in a whole different way. I have everything we need—a football and some music. I wait at the fifty-yard line.

When Cooper shows up a few minutes later, striding across the grass, his thumbs tucked into the pockets of his jeans, a gray T-shirt hugging his firm frame, he shoots me a curious look. “Are you my new coach?”

I toss the ball back and forth in my hands. “Nope. I want to play for fun.”

He raises an eyebrow. “Are you holding out on me, Vi? Are you really a ringer for Brady?”

I flash him a big smile. “There’s only one way to find out.”

I turn on the playlist on my phone, cueing up Guns N’ Roses’ “Welcome to the Jungle.”

“How apt,” he deadpans.

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