#Heart (Hashtag #6)

by Cambria Hebert


Best game of my entire career.

Yeah, okay, it was only my first season. And yeah, okay, I still had a lot of games in my future (God willing), but I knew without a shadow of a doubt that nothing—no game, not even a Superbowl title—would ever beat out today.

Congratulations went around the locker room. I got slapped on the back, the ass, and in the head so many times you’d think it would get old.

I was too happy for that.

I was even too happy to be bothered by the ribbing and snide remarks I heard from a few corners around the room.

Fuck them.

Rimmel was going to be my wife.

I felt my mouth pull into a wide, toothy grin. Hells yeah.

I thought back to the moment I first realized she was it for me. The night at the animal shelter when she sat on the floor, soaking wet from the rain, and Murphy crawled into her lap. She’d pulled her hair out of her face and looked up at me.

It was game over from there on out. I was hers.

Even so, I’d been a little nervous tonight before the game. Asking a girl to marry you on live television, in the middle of a giant football game, was sort of a gamble. Especially for a girl like Rim.

She liked her privacy. She liked to blend in.

Rimmel didn’t know it, but she was destined to stand out. Without even trying, she’d become the darling of the football world. The cameras loved her and got at least one shot of her sitting in the stands at every game she came to.

They watched her clothes, her hair… Hell, they even talked about her glasses.

She was an unlikely fixture in the center of a football game. She wasn’t a model, a celebrity, or even someone who wanted to draw the public eye.

And for that, people loved her. She was the girl next door, the one that everyone knew. People related to her in ways they couldn’t to all the other football elite.

I’d been planning to ask her to marry me for a while now. I’d just been waiting for the right time.

Then shit hit the fan at home.

Zach was released, he went after Ivy, tried to kill her, and almost did. Braeden made it just in time to save her life.

When I walked into her hospital room and saw her lying there battered and bruised, it served as a heavy dose of reality. We weren’t guaranteed any amount of time on this earth. We weren’t promised another day, another chance.

It sealed the deal for me. I couldn’t wait any longer to claim Rimmel in every possible way.

I called up Ron Gamble and told him I was ready. He’d been thrilled. Back when he set up a false press conference for me and basically helped me nail the bastards trying to extort money out of me in exchange for Rimmel’s life, I’d made him a promise.

I promised when I proposed, I’d do it during a game. He wanted huge media buzz, and he knew this way he’d get it.

So tonight during the game, I did it. Right there in front of thousands of cheering fans.

Goddamn, she looked so adorable in her purple Knights hoodie and glasses. The surprise in her eyes was real and so was her emotion.

The second I slid that ring onto her finger, my entire world felt complete.

As soon as I finished changing I tossed all my shit into my bag and headed for the door. I wanted to see my future wife.

“Someone’s getting laid tonight!” one of the guys hollered as I walked toward the door.

“Hells yeah!” I yelled and left them all to their dirty jokes and exaggerated moans. Those guys were a bunch of pervs.

I loved ‘em.

Well, almost all of them.

I stepped out into the quiet tunnel that led to the parking lot. I imagined Rimmel waiting out there for me and quickened my pace.

Some movement in the shadows against the wall had my steps faltering, and a small figure stepped out into the light.

I grinned. “How’d you get in here?”

She mock gasped and pressed a hand to her chest. The rock I’d just put there glistened under the light and shone brightly. “Don’t you know who I am?” she intoned.

I pretended to think it over. “Can’t say that I do.”

She started forward, her eyes never once leaving my face. “I’m the future wife of the best player on this team.”

“Ahh,” I drawled. “I thought you looked familiar.”

I dumped my bag at my feet and held open my arms. “Get the hell over here.”

She laughed and ran at me. I caught her midair, and her legs fastened around my waist like she didn’t even have to think about it anymore. She just knew where she belonged.

“Mrs. Anderson,” I growled.

“Not yet,” she sang.

“Soon.” The word was almost lost between us when I covered her lips with mine.

Her lips parted instantly, and my tongue sought hers eagerly. My fingers tightened on her hips as we went at each other right there in the tunnel. Rim’s hand fisted in my hair, and my mouth assaulted hers.

A few steps and I pinned her back against the wall, using my chest to hold her in place, and ripped my mouth free to trail hot, wet kisses down her neck and then up to nibble on her earlobe.

Her core rocked against my waist, and she groaned with need.

Impatient, her hand slid between us and started traveling low, but she couldn’t reach the part of me she wanted most. The distressed sound that tore from her throat made me laugh.

I stepped back just enough so she could slide down my body. The way she felt rubbing along my front was damned intoxicating. When her hand found and squeezed the rock-hard erection beneath my sweats, my body jerked.

“Come on,” I said, hoarse. “I got us a suite at a nearby hotel. It’s got lots of nice amenities, but we’re not gonna use them.”

Her teeth sank into her lower lip with anticipation.

“Show me,” I demanded, possessiveness flaring inside me like some incurable disease.

Rim knew what I wanted and she lifted her hand and held it out between us.

The engagement ring took over her small fingers. I’d gotten as big a diamond as I dared, knowing if I went too big, she’d refuse to wear it. Hell, I knew the three-carat stone I’d gotten was probably more than she would have wanted, but I didn’t care. That ring represented so much to me.

It represented my love for her.

It represented me.

It represented what we were to each other.

And yes…

I admit.

It was also a large warning to any guy who ever dared to look at her. Hell, they’d be able to see the glittering center stone and smaller stones around it from across the room.

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