Straddling the Line

By: Jaci Burton

ONE




“HAVEN’S IN TROUBLE.”

Those were words Trevor Shay never wanted to hear, especially not less than a year after the death of Haven’s dad, Bill.

Bill Briscoe had been more than just a dorm parent back in Trevor’s college days. He and his wife, Ginger, had been like substitute parents, especially to Trevor, who’d needed guidance more than the rest of them.

And now he sat in Ginger’s living room, in a house he’d once thought of as his second home.

Trevor had always counted on Ginger’s confidence, that smile and optimism that had assured him everything was going to be all right.

Now she just looked worried.

He picked up her hand. “What’s wrong?”

“She hasn’t been herself since Bill died. You know Haven. She’s always been upbeat, and she’d come to grips with the eventuality of Bill’s death.” Ginger took a deep breath. “As we all did.”

Trevor squeezed her hand.

“It wasn’t like we didn’t know it was coming. Bill prepared us all for it, made sure we were ready. Never thinking of himself.”

He saw the tears welling in her eyes and wished he could take them away.

“I know, Miss Ginger. I know. I miss him, too.”

She grabbed a tissue. “He’d kick my butt if he saw me cryin’ over him. But Haven, she has a great life and an amazing future. She got a job with the network as a sports journalist.”

Trevor smiled. “I heard about that.”

“It’s an amazing opportunity for her. One she should be seizing. I told her that her father would be so proud of her.”

“He would.”

“Instead, what is she doing? She’s thinking about quitting the job and coming back here to live with me.”

Trevor leaned back and frowned. “Coming back here? Why?”

“I don’t know. She said something about getting a job at the local TV station instead.”

“Is that what she really wants?”

“I don’t think so.” Ginger leaned forward. “Trevor, I don’t know what to do. She hasn’t even given this new job a shot. I think she’s scared, and without her dad, she feels alone for the first time in her life.”

“She’s not alone, Miss Ginger. She has you.”

“I know that. And believe me, I don’t feel slighted in the least. I know Haven loves me. I also know she’s worried about me being here all alone. I don’t want her to make a mistake and screw up the best job she might ever have because of me, and because of her fear.”

She paused, took a breath. “I was hoping you could offer me some advice, tell me what I could say to her to make her stay in her job.”

Trevor thought about it a minute. “Let me see what I can do about that.”

“Thank you. I know you’re big in the sports world, and I don’t know if there’s anything you can do for her, but gosh, I’d sure appreciate anything. Anything at all.”

An idea formed in his head. He had the pull. He could get this done. And he’d do anything for Ginger, and to honor Bill’s memory. Haven needed help, and he sure as hell was in a position to help her.

He spent the day with Ginger, and honestly, it was great to see her again, to while away the hours talking about Bill, reminiscing about college life. Besides, she fixed him lunch, and he loved her home-cooked meals. Hours later as he sat on the plane on his way back to St. Louis for a game, Trevor already had the plan formulated. The media were constantly hounding him for a feature story on his life and career. After all, it wasn’t too many athletes who played multiple sports. At least not too many who played them well. He’d been closed off to the idea of it for a lot of reasons.

He leaned back in his seat and smiled.

Now it was Haven’s turn to shine. And he was just the person to make it happen.

HAVEN TRIED TO MUSTER UP ENOUGH SALIVA TO SWALLOW as she pressed the button to return the phone call she’d missed from her boss.

She knew what was on the other end of that phone call.

Her ass was going to be fired, less than six weeks after she’d gotten the job of a lifetime.

It would have been much better if she could have resigned. It would have looked better on her résumé, but then again, what did she care? Her career in journalism was over anyway, right?

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