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Authors: Holly S. Roberts

Kick (Completion Series)

BOOK: Kick (Completion Series)
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A Completion Novel

Holly S. Roberts


Published by H.S. Roberts

Copyright 2014
Holly S. Roberts





Holly S. Roberts

[email protected]




A Completion Novel


Printing History

eBook Edition: June 2014




All rights reserved including the right to reproduce this book or portions thereof in any form.


This is a work of fiction. ALL characters are derived from the author’s imagination.


No person, brand, or corporation mentioned in this Book should be taken to have endorsed this Book nor should the events surrounding them be considered in any way factual.

Chapter One


Holding my double soy latte and keys in one hand with my scrap bag in the other, I struggled to place the key in the car door. My trembling fingers didn’t help. I could have set my bag down or rested the strap on my shoulder, but no, that would be too easy.

The coffee tipped a little too far. I stumbled back, almost falling off my clearance, Valentino knockoffs, or Vals, as I’d named them. They still cost more than I could afford. I bought them in celebration when I finished my internship at the
Cleveland News and Journal
and they offered me a full-time position. I’d worn them exactly twice over the past eighteen months. They only had a two-inch heel, but that was the high end of my balancing act. I hid my sexy shoes beneath pants that were a little too long and definitely too baggy.

The shoes were as far as I would step to the wild side. I was too
introverted for more. And, I needed my Vals for good luck because the chief editor of the daily news division, Mr. Miller, requested a meeting with me this morning. I usually managed to stay under the radar while copy editing classified ads and rarely, if ever, saw my immediate boss. I received an email at six the previous evening requesting my presence in Miller’s office at eight sharp. He was my boss’s boss.

rest for the woefully, not so wicked! I had barely managed to shut my eyes last night as the what ifs continued spinning through my head, driving me crazy and keeping me awake. I couldn’t afford to lose my job. I barely scraped my rent together as it was. And, I had dreams—dreams of landing that big story, cementing my place in investigative journalism, and someday winning a Pulitzer. Naïve, but it was what kept me going in the boring world of classified ads where I’d worked for the past year. Ridiculous really. Who would want a reporter who stared at the ground and not into the eyes of the people around her?

I didn’t have time to wipe off the long trail of latte running down the car door
. It’s not like it mattered. Carmen, my old but reliable 1999 Ford Focus, had seen better days, but she was a champ and she’d wait patiently for her weekly bath.

After a quick sip of my latte
to help my exhausted brain function, I placed it in the center console’s cup holder, shifted my glasses up higher on my nose, and finished the commute to the high rise. The building itself spoke volumes about the
success in an industry where physical paper was the dinosaur of journalism. I had to give Bob Shirley, the paper’s owner, props for blending his physical copy daily news with today’s social media Internet craze and making money.

Please let me keep my job
, I recited repetitively while sitting in stop-and-go traffic. I’d left early enough to grab my once-a-week coffee splurge and arrive in plenty of time for the meeting. I pulled into the underground garage with ten minutes to spare and parked in my allotted space, number one-sixty-two. I tucked my keys inside my scrap bag, so named because it held everything I needed if that one big case fell into my lap. The bag doubled as a backpack, leaving both my hands free—it held small notebooks, pens, two digital recorders, extra batteries, and a used iPad, along with odds and ends of female necessities. Made of soft durable leather, my parents gave it to me as a college graduation gift.

I took
the garage elevator to the ground floor and passed security. I gave them a nervous smile, flashing the neck badge I wore in their general direction and not meeting anyone’s eyes. I waited at the inside elevators for a door to open. My appointment was on the fourth floor, but I actually worked in what my fellow co-workers referred to as the mosh pit on the second floor. It consisted of ten desks surrounded by glass offices of the paper’s lower level division heads.

doors to my left opened and I stepped inside with several other people. Someone pressed the number four button while I stood at the back trying to gain control of my sinking stomach. The doors opened twice more letting people on and off. I took a firmer grip on my bag because of my sweaty palms as the elevator pinged the fourth floor.

is was it. I lifted my chin. I had to face this head on or head up, which was completely opposite of my normal demeanor.

Following the long hallway to the back, I opened the door to
Mr. Miller’s outer office. I’d been here once before when I first started as an intern and received my obligatory tour of the building. “Ms. Avesque?” the middle-aged secretary asked with a gentle smile.

She had pretty eyes and I knew I’d have missed them if I wasn’t forcing my head to this unnatural angle called confidence.

I’m to show you into Miller’s office immediately.”

I followed her
wedged heals and black, knee-length skirt the short distance to the doom room. What would happen if I fainted or vomited up my latte on the threshold of his office?

Mr. Miller
, in his sixties with a bald head and prominent belly paunch, rose from his chair, came around his desk, and shook my hand. “Please have a seat, Cami; we have a few things to go over and I have a full schedule today.” He pulled out one of two chairs in front of his desk before walking back around and taking his. I nervously forced myself to keep my eyes even with his.

Without preamble, he began speaking
. “I’ve heard good things about you. It’s wonderful when an intern stays around and becomes a valuable asset to the
. I’ve read some of your column ideas and a few have promise.”

Good things. Strange. Was it good to be anti-social, come to work on time, and do your job without fuss or complaint? If so, I’m sure I received a rave review. And… my suggestions for the newspaper.
Everyone working at the paper had the opportunity to send emails with ideas for future stories, columns, or just basic helpful hints that would improve the paper. Mr. Shirley wanted employees to have a part of the
’s success.

All I could take from his first comments was that h
e wasn’t firing me. “Thank you, Mr. Miller,” I said as I tried to control my trembling fingers by clenching my hands together.

“Please call me Miller
like everyone else. I’d like you to tell me about your goals regarding the

oals. Crap, my stomach flip-flopped again. I fought the need to cross my arms knowing it was a defensive move.
Eyes on his, eyes on his
, I repeated silently to myself. Here goes nothing. “I’m interested in investigative journalism, being out on the street, and getting my hands dirty.” Pretending I was a normal person, forcing myself to deal with the world head on, making friends my age—the list went on and on, but I couldn’t share those thoughts. 

, and I like how you worded that. We’ve had a situation and Ted mentioned your name in last night’s meeting.”

had one of the small offices on the second floor and wrote a weekly column about consumer alerts and recalls. I’d stayed late without pay several times, Googling information and copy editing his column when he was behind schedule. He’d accepted two pieces I wrote—one highlighting safety issues with baby products and the other showing the lack of oversight in the car industry when it came to recalls. He gave me credit in his column for each piece and praised my work. Also, Ted didn’t insist I look at him.

Miller continued
. “You may have heard that Skylar Locke, one of our sports reporters, is expecting her first child. Her doctor placed her on bed rest during the next six months of pregnancy due to complications. What you might not know is that she was supposed to start a series of articles about a NRFL team…” At my blank look, he slowly defined the acronym, “National Rugby Football League.”

He thought my
shock was caused by his use of an unknown acronym, but what he didn’t know was that my mind froze on the word sports. I hated anything to do with athletes. I did not have a good history with muscle-bound brainless hardons. Even in the privacy of my small apartment, I avoided watching any sport men played with balls. A hard body flipped a switch in me and the wild side that I buried came out to play. Since high school, my wild side spelled disaster.

“Is there a problem
, Cami?” Miller was looking at me with concern.

I think I’d missed half of what he’d said. Had my face gone green? “No, Mr. umm, Miller, I’m sorry, I just…”

He cut me off. “Two brothers own and manage the team. Their father, I believe another partial owner, lives here in Cleveland and he’s a large contributor to local charities. He made a personal request to Bob Shirley during a round of golf to garner publicity. Skylar planned to spend up to four weeks following the team during their playoffs and possible championship while interviewing management and players. We expected weekly articles as the team progressed. Now, we’re re-assigning the story to you. Your plane leaves tomorrow morning.”

His beaming smile didn’t help my sudden urge to run screaming from the room
. In his eyes this was the dream of a lifetime. To me it was a very short stay of execution. “Tomorrow?”

“I know it’s short notice
, but an investigative journalist needs to be ready at a moment’s notice, don’t you agree?”

The total lie slipped from
my lips. “Yes, you’re right. Um thank you,” I said with a forced smile.

“My secretary has an envelope with your tickets, itinerary, and
a company credit card. I recommend you use the rest of the day to research rugby and make yourself familiar with the team. I’ve cleared it on the second floor if you prefer to do it from home. I’m sure you need to pack and handle any last-minute arrangements. Do you have any questions?” He began shuffling through folders on his desk; the meeting obviously over.

“Where am I going?”
I asked trying to hide my dread.

, it’s a few hours from here.”

Chapter Two


My anxiety
increased the entire walk to my car. I didn’t trust my stomach enough to check in with Ted. I shut my car door and stared at the gray wall in front of me. What the hell was I going to do? I was so nervous and maybe I wasn’t ready for the big break I dreamed of. Meeting Miller’s eyes and those of his secretary was physically painful. Without thinking, I reached for my latte and downed a healthy dose of cold coffee. Yuck! Why me? There was no way anyone could look at me and see a sports reporter. Hell, any kind of reporter, but assuredly not sports.

I pulled the large envelope from my bag and turned on the overhead light. After opening the clasp,
several sheets of paper with my schedule, boarding pass, and a credit card slipped out. I checked the itinerary first. My plane left at eight forty-five the following morning. The name of my hotel was listed next, followed by a seven a.m. appointment the following day with Van Stelson, one of the team’s owner/managers. My daily schedule or I should say the team’s schedule, followed. Glancing farther down the list, I noticed I would be riding the team bus the second Saturday after my arrival. Absolutely no escaping them. My forehead hit the steering wheel several times. I had trouble considering this entire fiasco the big break I’d prayed for. Mixing my libido with jocks was a recipe for disaster. I was completely screwed.  

In a daze,
I drove to my apartment. I sat outside in my parking spot for a few minutes wondering how I got there. After entering my small one-bedroom, three-hundred-square foot home, I opened my laptop, which sat on the corner desk in the living area that doubled as my home office. I grabbed a yogurt from the fridge to help soothe my digestion before sitting down and staring at a dark computer screen. I inched my glasses up, pressed the “on” button, and stared at the colorful desktop icons in front of me. After taking several slow bites of yogurt, my computer screen saver popped up. I absorbed the familiar words scrolling across the monitor.

BOOK: Kick (Completion Series)
4.6Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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