The Bromance Book Club (Bromance Book Club, #1)

The Bromance Book Club (Bromance Book Club, #1)

Lyssa Kay Adams




CHAPTER ONE




There was a reason Gavin Scott rarely drank.

He was bad at it.

As in, face-planted on the carpet while reaching for the bottle bad. And too drunk to see in the dark so might as well stay down bad.

Which is why he didn’t get up when his best friend and Nashville Legends teammate, Delray Hicks, pounded on the door to his hotel room, a fourth-floor state of depression that reminded him every minute that he could at least screw up like a champion.

“Izz open,” Gavin slurred.

The door swung wide. Del flipped on a blinding overhead light and immediately swore. “Shit. Man down.” He turned and spoke to someone else. “Help me.”

Del and another giant human lumbered toward him until their four massive hands grabbed his shoulders. In an instant, he was upright and leaning against the shitty couch that had come with the room. The ceiling spun, and his head fell back against the cushions.

“Come on.” Del smacked his cheek. “Look alive.”

Gavin sucked in air and managed to lift his head. He blinked twice but then ground the heels of his hands into his eye sockets. “I’m drunk.”

“No shit,” Del said. “What have you been drinking?”

Gavin lifted his hand to point at the bottle of craft bourbon on the coffee table. It had been a gift from a local distillery to every member of the team at the end of their season a few weeks ago. Del swore again. “Shit, man. Why not just pour grain alcohol down your throat?”

“Didn’t have any.”

“I’ll get some water,” said the other guy, whose blurry face sort of resembled Braden Mack, owner of several Nashville nightclubs, but that made zero sense. Why would he be there? They’d only met once at a charity golf thing. Since when were he and Del friends?

A third man suddenly walked in, and this time Gavin recognized him. It was one of his teammates, Yan Feliciano. “Como es el?”

How is he? Gavin understood that. Holy shit, he could speak Spanish when he was drunk.

Del shook his head. “He’s about one shot away from listening to Ed Sheeran.”

Gavin hiccupped. “No me gusta Ed Sheeran.”

“Shut up,” Del said.

“I don’t stutter when I’m Spanish.” Gavin hiccupped again. Something sour came up with it this time. “When ’m drunk.”

Yan swore. “Que pasó?”

“Thea asked for a divorce,” Del said.

Yan made a sound of disbelief. “My wife said there was a rumor about them having trouble, but I didn’t believe it.”

“Bleeveve it.” Gavin groaned, dropping his head against the couch. A divorce. His wife of three years, the mother of his twin daughters, the woman who made him realize there really was a thing called love at first sight, was done with him. And it was his own fucking fault.

“Drink this,” Del said, handing Gavin a bottle of water. And then, speaking to Yan again, said, “He’s been staying here for the past two weeks.”

“She kicked me out,” Gavin said, dropping the unopened water.

“Because you’ve been acting like a douchebag.”

“I know.”

Del shook his head. “I warned you, man.”

“I know.”

“I told you she’d get sick of your ass if you didn’t get your head out of it.”

“I know.” Gavin growled it this time, lifting his head. Too fast. He did it too fast. A wave of nausea warned that the bourbon was making a run for the nearest exit. Gavin swallowed and drew in a deep breath, but, oh shit . . . sweat dampened his forehead and his armpits.

“Oh fuck, he’s turning green!” Might-Be-Braden-Mack yelled.

Massive hands grabbed him again and hauled him to his feet. They barely touched the floor as Del and Pretty-Sure-It-Was-Mack dragged him to the bathroom. Gavin stumbled to the toilet just as something the color of bad decisions exploded from his mouth. Mack swore with a gag and bolted. Del stayed, even when Gavin grunted like a tennis player in her backswing and heaved several more times.

“You never could handle the hard stuff,” Del said.

“I’m dying.” Gavin groaned again, falling to one knee.

“You’re not dying.”

“Then put me out of my mishery.”

“Trust me. I’m tempted.”

Gavin fell onto his ass and leaned against the beige bathroom wall. His knee collided with the beige tub hidden by a plastic, beige shower curtain. He made $15 million a year and was stuck in a shittier hotel room than his days as a minor leaguer. He could afford way better, but this was punishment. Self-imposed. He’d let his pride ruin the best thing that ever happened to him.

Del flushed the toilet and closed it. He walked out and returned a moment later with the water. “Drink. I mean it this time.”

Gavin opened the bottle and sucked down half. After a few minutes, the room was no longer spinning. “What are they doing here?”

“You’ll find out.” Del sat down on the lid of the toilet and leaned forward, elbows on knees. “You all right?”

“No.” Gavin’s throat convulsed. Shit. He was going to lose it in front of Del. He squeezed his eyes shut and pressed the pad of his thumb into the space between his eyebrows.

“You go ahead and cry, man,” Del said, tapping Gavin’s foot with the toe of his sneaker. “No shame in that.”

Gavin propped his head against the wall again as twin tears rolled down his cheeks. “I can’t believe I lost her.”

“You’re not going to lose her.”

“She w-w-wants a divorce, asshole.”

Del didn’t react to his stutter. No one on the team did anymore, mostly because Gavin had stopped trying to fight it around them. Which was one more in a long list of things he had Thea to thank for. Before he met her, he was self-conscious, hesitant to speak even in front of people he knew. But Thea was completely unfazed the first time he stuttered in front of her. She didn’t try to finish his sentence, didn’t look away in discomfort. She just waited until he got the words out. No one else besides his family had ever made him feel like he was more than just an awkward, stammering jock.

Which made it that much more of a betrayal when he’d discovered her lie a month ago. And that’s what it felt like. A lie.

His wife had been faking it in bed their entire marriage.

“Did she say that?” Del asked. “Or did she say she thinks it’s time to think about divorce?”

“What’s the fucking difference?”

“One means she’s definitely done with you. The other means you might still have a chance.”

Gavin rolled his head against the wall in sloppy disagreement. “There’s no chance. You didn’t hear her voice. It was like talking to a stranger.”

Del stood and towered over him. “Do you want to fight for your marriage?”

“Yes.” Jesus, yes. More than anything. And shit, now his throat was closing again.

“What are you willing to do?”

“Anything.”

“Do you mean that?”

“W-w-what the fuck? Of course I mean it.”

“Good.” Del offered his hand. “Then come on.”

Gavin let Del pull him to his feet and then followed him back into the main room. His body felt as though it weighed a thousand pounds as he stumbled toward the couch and collapsed onto the cushions.

“Nice place you got here, Scott,” Mack said, emerging from the kitchenette area. He polished a green apple on his shoulder and then took a large, loud bite.

“That’s mine,” Gavin grumbled.

“You weren’t eating it.”

“I was going to eat it.”

“Sure. Right after you reached the bottom of that bottle.”

Gavin flipped him off.

“Knock it off,” Del ordered Mack. “We’ve all been where he is.”

Wait. What? What the hell did that mean?

Yan claimed the seat on the opposite end of the couch and clunked his cowboy boots onto the coffee table. Mack leaned against the wall.

Del looked at them both. “What do you guys think?”

Mack took another bite and spoke with his mouth full. “I don’t know. You really think he can handle it?”

Gavin dragged his hand down his face. He felt like he’d walked into the middle of a movie. A crappy one. “Can someone please explain to me wh-what’s going on?”

Del crossed his arms. “We’re going to save your marriage.”

Gavin snorted, but the three pairs of eyes looking back at him were serious. He groaned. “I’m screwed.”

“You said you were willing to do anything to get Thea back,” Del said.

“Yes,” Gavin mumbled.

“Then I need you to be honest.”

Gavin tensed. Del lowered himself onto the coffee table. It protested under his six-four frame.

“Tell us what happened.”

“I told you. She said—”

“I don’t mean tonight. What happened?”

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