Harper Duquaine is back for another season of fantasy football! This time she’s a year wiser and prepared to dominate the league. But while she finally seems to have her fantasy life in order, reality proves more challenging.
Her plans to peacefully play house with her boyfriend come to a halt when the high school suddenly names Brook its head football coach. The promotion comes with more responsibility on the field and less time at home. It also unexpectedly means more work for Harper, who already has her hands full helping a friend pull off the perfect proposal (while dodging questions about when she and Brook are going to get hitched already). Plus, a new development at work could leave her—and half of the fantasy league—jobless.
With the complications of her career and being “Mrs. Coach” adding up, Harper wonders if she’s committed to the life she’s already building or if there is something else out there.
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Despite my best attempts at shaking off the pre-draft jitters, they’re in full effect with only fifteen minutes to go before the draft begins. I’m not even worried about the draft. I’m concerned that I haven’t heard from Brook. What if he has to pick his team on auto-draft? That wouldn’t be the most terrible thing for the first few rounds. He’s drafting eighth, which should get him a decent running back, and a good wide receiver in the first two rounds.
But after that, who knows what he’ll end up with? He might not get a quarterback or end up with three kickers or four defenses.
I could text him to find out what’s going on, but . . . no. I’ve already sent one check-in message today. I’m not going to play the role of desperate, annoying girlfriend. Not this early in the season.
J.J. doesn’t bother hiding his glee at the prospect of Brook ending up on auto-draft.
Despite considering Brook one of his best friends, he’s obnoxiously competitive. About fantasy football and everything.
Until last season, Brook had finished in first or second place every year in the league’s history. But now that J.J. is the defending league champion, he’s determined to finish on top.
J.J. corners me in the kitchen after he finishes his self-guided tour of our apartment. “So this is it.”
“Yep.” I don’t bother to tear my eyes away from the spinach and artichoke dip in the Crock-Pot .
“It’s not very big.”
“It works for us.”
“Right.” Leaning a hip against the counter, J.J. spoons some of the dip onto his plate.
“I’m still surprised you guys got a place together, because, well . . .”
I wish I was strong enough not to take the bait, but I have to ask. “Why?”
“Mr. Perfect never really struck me as the living in sin type. I always assumed he was saving himself for marriage. You on the other hand . . .” J.J. takes a bite of the dip and wrinkles his nose, then takes another bite. “It seems a little hypocritical for a Bible-thumper like him to be shacking up with his girlfriend. But Brook is a changed man since he started penetrating your line on a regular basis.”
Dozens of thoughts flood my head, each wanting to be said. But if I say, ‘Brook isn’t a
Bible-thumper,’ it sounds like I’m saying it’s bad he goes to church with his family every week.
And then there is J.J.’s obsession with our sex life. He constantly finds new euphemisms disguised as sports metaphors to shock me. He once asked if Brook has ever eaten up my secondary. I’m not even entirely sure what that means, but I don’t want to know.
Through my teeth, I hiss, “You’re amazing.”
“Oh yeah?” He leans forward, invading my personal bubble to the point it could nearly pop. “Tell me more.”
“After last year, I was fairly certain there wasn’t a way you or any person could be a bigger dick. You keep proving me wrong.” I slam the crock pot lid. “Enjoy the freaking dip.”
I leave him gaping—a chip frozen midway to his mouth—and head toward the bedroom.
I should’ve known better than to talk with him this close to the draft. I shouldn’t have let him get me riled up, but seriously. How can he say Brook is one of his best friends when he’s always slamming him?
And what’s wrong with me for continuing to hang out with him? And what about Brook?
Are we secretly drama addicts? That can be the only explanation.
Laura Chapman is the author of Going for Two, First & Goal, The Marrying Type, and Hard Hats and Doormats. Her work also appears in Merry & Bright, A Kind of Mad Courage, and the holiday collection All I Want For Christmas from Marching Ink. She loves Huskers and Packers football, Netflix marathons, and her cats, Jane and Bingley. Laura makes her home in Nebraska, where she is penning her next novel. Be sure to check her out on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
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