Wildcard:Volume One

By: Missy Johnson

Chapter One

“Ryder, you’re becoming more well-known for your behaviour off court than your actual career. Do you have anything to comment on that?”

I raise my eyebrows at the reporter. Flashes from cameras are going off everywhere, as you’d expect in a post-match press conference—especially for a game I’d been very lucky to win.

“Not sure what you mean there, Stan,” I say, reading his nametag. It’s been less than two minutes, and I’m already sick of where this is going. “I came here to play tennis—that’s it. It’s a damn shame that reporters like yourself having nothing better to do than focus on what I do in my private time.”

“But is it private time when you’re out until three a.m. the night before a big match?” he persists.

I shrug, and wipe my mouth in an attempt to hide my smirk. “Players prepare for matches in different ways. I’m sure for some a good night’s sleep does the trick, but for me, I’ll take an evening of rough and sweaty sex over a quiet night any day of the week.” I ignore the glare of my manager, Matt, and nod at the next reporter.

“Ryder, do you think your pre-match actions showed disrespect for your opponent today?”

“How?” I fire back. “I treated the build-up to this match just the same as I would if I were playing Nadal or Federer. You all seem to want to focus on my life outside of the court. Does anyone here have any questions about my actual tennis?”

I cross my arms over my chest as Matt bows his head and sighs. A murmur rises through the crowd before someone puts their hand up. I nod, my eyes locking onto hers. She’s a pretty little thing with long, dark hair and stunning blue eyes. I can tell she’s feisty, and I find myself wondering if that attitude carries over into the bedroom.

“You play the number two ranked player in the world tomorrow, and your fellow countryman, Jason Dillard. Will you be having an early night tonight?” she asks. Her full, red lips curve into a grin, and I can feel myself harden.

I shift in my seat and lean forward, resting my elbows on the table in front of me. “Well, that depends.” I smirk.

“On what?”

“On whether or not you’ll give me your phone number.”


“What the hell, Ryder?” Matt groans and drags me out of the room. I’m sure it’s a preventative measure—before I can get myself into any more trouble.

“What?” I protest, a gleam in my eye. One of my favourite hobbies is stirring him up. He makes it so damn easy. “You’re the one who insisted I go up there and answer some questions. I told you I wasn’t feeling it.”

“You’re going to kill me. My other ten clients put together cause half the trouble you do,” he mutters, running a hand through his short hair.

“Yeah, and I probably make you more money than all of them put together,” I smirk.

He glares at me, but he knows I’m right. “You do understand it’s a requirement that you do a post-match press conference? You know, being the professional player you are, and all.”

Matt is in his late fifties, and one of the best managers in the world of tennis. He worries too much and always focuses on the negative, but I guess that’s part of what makes him so damn good at his job. He is my complete opposite.

“Oh, calm the fuck down. They love me. Everyone does. I’m the bad boy of tennis, right?” I laugh, not concerned in the slightest by his bad mood. I know he won’t stay mad at me; he never does.

“Yes, but you don’t know when to pull it in,” he says. The frustration in his voice is obvious. “Propositioning a reporter? Not a good move, Ryder.”

I laugh. It might not have been a smart move, but it hadn’t stopped her slipping me her number as I walked through the crowd.

“Settle down, Matt. Go out and watch some tennis or something. Don’t you have any other clients here you can hassle?”

“I feel like I need to watch you,” he grumbles, scowling at me.

I reach up and pat him on the back, a laugh escaping from my lips. As if that would make any difference to my behaviour. “Tell you what: just for you, I’ll head back to the hotel and have an early night, okay?”

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