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Go Hard: A Bad Boy Sports Romance

By:B. B. Hamel

Prologue: Taylor





I was used to seeing big men.

That was my job. As a physical trainer for a professional football team, I had to constantly touch their bodies. It was never an issue, though. I was a professional, and even though the boys sometimes made stupid jokes, I knew it was just joking.

At least until I met Owen Rack.

Cocky and brash, Owen won the Heisman award and was the first pick in the NFL draft. He came to the Philadelphia Eagles to try to save their ailing franchise, and I was supposed to be the physical therapist who would work with him closely.

I could still remember the first time I saw him. It was during the summer training session. Owen came into the locker room like he owned the place. He grinned at me as I walked up to him.

“You here to stretch me out? Maybe we could go do that in the shower.”

Those were the first words he spoke to me. The other guys had all laughed, and I’d wanted to slap that cocky smile from his face.

Owen was handsome, so damn handsome. He was tall for a running back and covered in muscles. He was known for his aggressive running style, where he’d try to run guys over as he burst down the field with incredible sped.

That meant he was injured a lot. The man’s body went through more punishment than most professional athletes, and yet he didn’t seem to mind it one bit. In fact, Owen got hit, got up, and begged for more. I’d never met someone who seemed to love pain as much as Owen Rack.

It was supposed to be strictly professional between the two of us, but there was nothing professional about Owen. He was a dirty talking asshole, covered in tattoos and down to party. I hated him the second I saw him.

But that didn’t matter. I’d gone to the University of Pennsylvania and gotten my degree in sports medicine. I was just an apprentice in the physical therapy department of the Eagles organization when he joined, but because my boss got pregnant and took her maternity leave, I was quickly given some very important assignments.

His muscular body after practice, sweating and tense. He smiled at me, his eyes knowing exactly what I was thinking.

Maybe I wanted him. Maybe I wanted to give him what he wanted when he whispered in my ear. “Go ahead,” he said. “Slide my shorts a little lower. Let me show you how fucking hard you make me.”

It was my job to touch him. It was my job to take care of his body.

But he wanted me to take care of so much more.

That was before I found out about his secret. Owen Rack was a cocky asshole, and he had a darkness that followed him around. I hadn’t seen it at first, because I was too busy staring at his muscular body.

But I’d find it soon enough.

There was a shadow that followed him around. I didn’t want to touch it, but I needed to reach out, let my fingers fall through its dark film. He smiled at me, encouraging me to feel it.

I didn’t know how I got involved with a man like Owen Rack. His dark green eyes flashed as he smiled at me.

“We’re doing this together,” he whispered. “We’re going hard or else.”

I didn’t know if I wanted it. I didn’t know if I could handle it.

Owen Rack was more than he seemed, and I was afraid I’d never get away.





1





Taylor





I never thought I’d work for an NFL team right out of college, but my dream came true faster than I could have guessed.

It was complete and total luck. One of my professors at school happened to know Lucy Strang, the head of the physical therapy department for the Eagles. Lucy just so happened to be looking for an apprentice, and I just so happened to be looking for a job. One thing led to another, and somehow she hired me.

I’d never forget the first time I saw the facilities. They were huge and modern, the sort of place I’d always dreamed about working. Professional football teams had state-of-the-art technology, like imagining devices, plus cutting-edge medical theory and knowledge. I knew I was going to learn a lot, and I couldn’t wait.

That first month was amazing. Lucy was kind and welcoming, and she went out of her way to introduce me to everyone around me. She started training me immediately, giving me a crash course on how everything worked and what it would be like to be an actual physical therapist for the athletes.

At the time, I thought she was just a good boss. In retrospect, she knew something was going to happen. The thing was, at the time Lucy was eight months pregnant.

She was huge, and getting ready to burst.

That never really occurred to me. I never really thought much about what would happen when she actually had her baby. I figured she’d go on maternity leave and they’d find a replacement in the short term for her, or something like that.

I just never thought about it. Maybe I was a little naïve, or maybe I was just overwhelmed. Lucy was teaching me a lot, but it was intense.

I’d never forget the morning my life changed.

I got to the sports medicine offices at eight in the morning, the usual time, and dropped my stuff at my desk. I was relegated to a little corner of the physical therapy department, which was fine by me. It wasn’t like I was working with any athletes directly; I was mostly just following Lucy around and soaking in everything that I could.

But Lucy wasn’t in that morning. She was normally in her office, door open, looking to have a little morning chat before we started the day. But that morning she was nowhere to be found.

I sat at my desk and waited. Two hours went by, and finally I sent her an email, wondering where she was. I actually felt a little bit worried, and I had no clue what I was supposed to be doing in the meantime.

A couple more hours slowly crawled past. I was bored and a little anxious, but at least I had my computer to mess around with. I spent my morning catching up on all the new stats I’d missed in the last month because I’d been too busy learning and working hard.

That was when I got the call. My phone rang for the first time since I joined the department, and I almost jumped out of my seat. I wasn’t used to someone wanting to actually contact me.

I picked it up. “Hello?”

“Yes, hello. Is this Taylor Jones?”

“This is her,” I said.

“Hi, Taylor. This is Jeff Waters, the head of the sports medicine department. How are you?”

I was taken aback. Jeff was an important person in the department. Actually, he was the most important person in the department, and he was everyone’s boss.

“Oh, hello, Mister Waters,” I said.

“Call me Jeff. Listen, Taylor, can you come down to my office? I need to discuss something with you.”

I frowned at my computer screen. Did he know that I’d been reading about Justin Bieber for the last ten minutes?

“Of course,” I said. “When do you want me?”

“Right now, if you can. It’s about Lucy.”

I paused. “Is she okay?”

“She’s very okay. Don’t worry. Just come on down and we’ll talk more.”

He hung up. I hung my phone up and stood, a nervous energy biting at the pit of my stomach.

I headed out into the hallway and walked toward his office. I had no clue what this was about, but I could tell something had happened. Lucy was always in her office and never late. If the big boss in the department wanted to talk to me about her, that meant something was going on.

But I had no clue what it could possibly be.

Jeff’s office was on the second floor at the very end of the hall. His receptionist smiled at motioned for me to head right inside.

He was sitting behind his desk, reading something on his computer. Jeff was in his mid-fifties with full, graying hair. He was in good shape, which made sense for the director of a sports medicine department. He smiled as I sat down in the chair in front of his desk.

“Hi, Taylor,” he said. “How are you?”

“I’m doing fine. How are you?”

“Great. How has your first month been?”

“Really amazing. Lucy has been really helpful.”

“Good. She has a lot of positive things to say about you.”

That made me feel good. Lucy was incredibly kind and generous, but sometimes I couldn’t tell if she thought I was doing a good job or not.

“I’m happy to hear that,” I said, laughing.

“Here’s the thing: Lucy went into labor this morning, as I’m sure you already guessed.”

Of course she did. Why else would the head of the department want to talk to me? I felt myself relax slightly. This wasn’t about my poor choice of current event news reading, but instead about what was going to happen with the department.

“Is she doing okay?” I asked.

“She’s fine, baby is fine, everything’s great. But obviously she’ll be going on maternity leave pretty soon.”

I nodded. “Of course. That’s really good news.”

“It is, but it’s bad timing. The season is coming up, and Lucy was a really valuable asset to us.”

I nodded. “Of course. She’s really great.”

He frowned, looking down at his desk. “Here’s the thing, Taylor: Our organization recently made some big moves in the draft, as I’m sure you’re aware.”

I nodded. I was very aware. The Eagles had traded money and a player to move up in the draft, and they had managed to snag the top running back, Owen Rack. I’d seen Rack play, and he was absolutely incredible. He played like an animal, running right up the middle and trying to steamroll men. He was big and strong and mean as hell, and he had a bad-boy reputation already.

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