Saving Maverick

By: Debra Elise

Kelsey raised an eyebrow at the mention of the media’s nickname for the team’s move to Idaho. No one in the sports world was betting he would succeed. Probably because they’d never been in his presence.

“What do you say, Kelsey? Do we have a deal?” They’d arrived at the penthouse and after stopping for introductions, T.S. guided them toward the bar for her promised drink.

What could she say? She’d already begun mapping out an aggressive social media campaign using Twitter, a few blog posts, volunteer opportunities in the community, and first and foremost, a sincere apology.

She knew she could handle the logistics of the job. But did she want to? Could she set aside her past prejudices toward baseball players and be the professional both Maverick and T.S. needed? Yeah, she wanted this job.

“So since you’re back in town, do you plan on getting together with Lara and Noel while you’re here?”

Well, well. When had T.S. become so interested in her two best girlfriends? They had been inseparable all through school until Kelsey had left for college. She’d texted them both after she booked her plane ticket to let them know she was coming to town. She couldn’t wait for some girl time.

“We don’t have anything solid planned. They know I’m in town for a short period. Why are you so interested?”

“Just wondering. Thought it would be another perk for you to agree to stay and work with Maverick.”

Uh, huh. The man was digging for information.

They arrived at the bar and while T.S. ordered their drinks, Kelsey decided to have some fun with him.

“That’s so thoughtful of you, T.S. Now, why don’t you tell me the real reason you’re asking? Which one is on your radar?”

He shifted his weight from one foot to the other and honest to god squirmed. Oh, how she was going to have fun with this.

“Nothing like that, Kelsey. You know me better. I don’t have time for relationships. I was only asking because Noel had bid on my new condo project and she didn’t win. So . . .”

“So, you want to know if she called me to curse you out or maybe to see if I could pull some strings for her?” Kelsey took another sip of chardonnay and waited him out. She’d never seen her friend speechless before.

“Nothing like that. I was only curious if she had mentioned it.” He took a large sip of his own drink and plastered a bored look on his face. Nope. She wasn’t buying it.

“No, T.S., she didn’t say a word to me. But I can find out if you want to know. Then I’ll see if she likes you or if—”

“Hell, forget I said anything. Can we get back on subject here?”

The intensity in his plea got to her. So she let him off the hook—for now.

“Sure thing, T.S. It’s important that Maverick apologizes immediately. Tonight is preferable. And he needs to mean it. He needs to prove to the national and local fans that he regrets his actions, his word choice. It’s crucial for the Pineville residents and surrounding communities to see and believe that what he said while drunk was not how he truly felt.”

“Perfect. I knew I could count on you. If he doesn’t show up tonight, we’ll get you two together first thing tomorrow morning, afternoon at the latest.”

“Wait, I have terms. Don’t you want to hear them?”

“Kelsey, I know you better than anyone else. You thrive on the challenge of turning public opinion around. You wouldn’t have flown here on a moment’s notice and come to this party if you hadn’t already committed, in your own mind, to helping me out. Name your price.”

“Damn you, T.S., you think you have me all figured out, don’t you? You have to know how tough this is for me, and yes, I really do want to help you, but—”

“Look, I know you have some concerns, so how about we do this on a trial basis for say the first week? Meet Maverick, set up a few strategy sessions, and see how it works out? I’ll pay you a retainer fee until you decide to sign a contract. And to sweeten the deal, if this goes well, I have an opening for vice president of communications I need to fill.”

“What? All this time you’ve been holding that tidbit of information back from me?” How could she turn him down now? He was talking more than a short-term job. VP of anything with a major baseball organization would mean she would no longer need to convince potential clients she was the best, even though she was. She would have a set schedule, guaranteed income and most importantly—stability.

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