He runs his hand through his hair, flashing a lopsided grin then a wink. “Sorry. I meant are you my personal PR person now?”
That word zips through me like an electric charge. A light gust of wind blows my hair across my cheeks, and I tuck the strands behind my ear, grateful for the temporary distraction courtesy of San Francisco’s windy morning. I shiver lightly from the chill. “Yes, that seems to be the case, and I’m happy to do it.”
He cocks his head to the side. “Are you like my babysitter?”
My jaw drops. “What? No. No. No. That’s ridiculous. I’m not a babysitter.”
He arches a brow. “A nanny?”
I smirk. “Jones, I would hope you’ve outgrown the need for a nanny.”
“That’s up for debate, it seems. But maybe you’re my governess?”
I roll my eyes and gesture to the car at the curb. “I’m not your nanny, I’m not your babysitter, and I’m definitely not your governess. I’m here to help you create the best image possible. I can market, publicize, and help you manage putting the best foot forward,” I say, my tone earnest, my meaning important. “I believe in what I do. I know you’re a great guy, and I want the world to see what I’ve seen in the last couple days.”
“That’s why I said yes when Ford asked for my help. I’m not interested in being anyone’s au pair. I am very interested, though, in showing this city what good things our team does on and off the field. Including you.” I take a breath and try to read him. To understand what’s beneath the teasing. I think I know what it is. He wants a choice. “But if you don’t want me to help out, I’ll step back and we can stick to just the calendar. I told Ford I’d do this for your new deal, because I want to be the one to help you if you need it, and it’s the kind of help I can give. Since you signed the contract yesterday, and the folks at Paleo Pet are local, they want to stop by the shoot later today. Take some pictures, chat, and so on. I’m happy to be there by your side the whole time, making sure you’re comfortable with everything, and you’re represented in the best way possible. But if those aren’t your wishes, and if it isn’t what you need, then I’ll be hands-off. I hold up my palms as if I’m backing away.
In a heartbeat, he grabs my wrists. Possessively. A thrill rushes through me, like a drumbeat pulsing in my veins. I look away from him briefly. I can’t make eye contact when he does this, when he touches me. If I do, he’ll know. He’ll realize I’m just like all the other women who fling panties at him, who chase him down in bars, who line up at the players’ entrance to become his football floozy for the night. I won’t ever be someone’s football floozy, and I can’t let him see for a second that I want some of the same things those other women want from him. Him.
“Don’t be hands-off,” he says, his voice soft.
“The combination of heart, humor, and heat is enough to have me fawning all over Jones.”
-Sarah-Musings of the Modern Belle