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Claiming Lady Brinton -- Tess St. John

Chasing Time -- Available Now
Chasing Series

Eager to start over and finally put her painful past behind her, Quinn Weldon moves to Texas to teach and be near her elderly grandparents. And it’s a good thing she did, because they need help--whether they wish to admit it or not. NFL pro Andre Biel turns up in her classroom to discuss his nephew’s grade, and she’s instantly drawn to him. Problem is, she swore off athletes a long time ago.

After a disastrous engagement, Andre Biel’s priorities are his family and getting into the NFL history books before it’s time to hang up his cleats. Intrigued by Quinn, Dre struggles to keep his feelings for her neutral after they’re repeatedly thrown together to help his nephew and her grandparents.

When tragedy strikes Quinn and her family, Dre comes to their rescue. But when he faces the fight of his life, will Quinn run to his side or allow the pain of her past to stop her from taking a chance on the man of her dreams?
Chasing Time is Book 2 in the Chasing Series. All the books in this heartfelt contemporary series stand alone, but might be more enjoyable read in sequence.

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“The people you choose to surround yourself with can either help build you up or help break you…Choose wisely.” ~ J.J. Watt


Exhausted from football practice, Andre Biel yanked the chain hanging from the ceiling fan twice and reclined on the couch. The fan whirled to high, disbursing the cool a/c air. He relaxed his sore muscles. Even though he was a high school sophomore, he’d been pulled up to varsity and the games and practices were kicking his ass. He continued to rush for more than a hundred yards a game although the bigger, older players hit harder—much harder.

His sister rushed into the room. “I need help. I met a guy, and I need you to meet him and help me convince Mom he’s a good guy before I introduce them.”

Tracy’s straight black hair swayed halfway down her back as she paced the tiny living room. She darted glances at him, her eyes expectant and hopeful. Her emotions constantly ranged from happy, excited, and thrilled to depressed, sad, and miserable. Most girls at school acted the same way. They could never just be chill. People talked about teenage boys being awful, and he knew his share of guys who’d done some dumb shit to get a girl’s attention, but from everything he’d witnessed, teenage girls seemed worse.

“Why do you need my help? What’s wrong with him?”

“Nothing. He’s amazing. It’s only—” She looked down. “He’s a little older than I am.”

“How much?”

“He’s in college.”

“Forget it.”

“Please. I really like him.” The desperation in her voice caught his attention. “We met a couple of months ago at a party. Knox plays football for the University of Houston.”

“Knox Pinster?”

Her face lit up. “You’ve heard of him?”

He ignored her excitement. “What are you doing seeing a college guy? Why’s he interested in you?”

“When we met at that party, he assumed I was in college. The third time we went out I told him I was seventeen and still in high school. By then he liked me so much it didn’t matter.”

Dre didn’t dare ask what she’d done for the guy to be interested in her, afraid his sister would do almost anything to be noticed by an older guy. He ran a hand over his face. “Knox has great technique. He rarely misses a tackle.”

She beamed. “I just know you two will hit it off.”

“Mom’s never going to let you go out with him.”

“She will if you vouch for him. Please.”

Though he tried hard not to show it, he felt some crazy, protective bullshit for his sister, and she could talk him into doing just about anything. He considered himself her protector, probably because she’d lived her life without a dad. He had too, but she’d been five when Dad died and retained memories of the man. Dre, a year and a half younger, remembered nothing about him. His only knowledge of his dad came from photos and stories told by Mom, Tracy, and other people who knew him.

Of course, if he and Knox became friends the guy might invite him to parties. Dre wouldn’t mind hanging out with some college girls and other players. “See if he’s free tonight.”

“Thank you. Thank you.” She ran into the kitchen to grab the wireless phone. She often complained they needed cell phones, a luxury they couldn’t afford. His mom worked at one of the retirement homes in town and didn’t make enough to afford very many extras. Tracy tried to work afternoon jobs but never stuck with any of them. While Dre mowed their neighbors’ yards for extra money, what he earned would never be enough to pay for cell phone bills every month.

Tracy excitedly darted back into the living room. “He’ll pick you up in an hour.”


Dre ate a couple of peanut butter sandwiches and had just stepped out of the shower when Tracy hollered, “Knox is here.” The door creaked open and slammed shut. He pulled on shorts, a t-shirt, and tied his sneakers.

He exited the front door and approached the street. The afternoon sun cast a shadow from the house to take up half the yard. This neighborhood didn’t have driveways, so everyone parked on the road in front of their house.

Tracy and Knox stood beside a shiny, black Mustang. His hands rested at her waist as they talked facing each other beside the open driver’s door. At least six foot two and hair in cornrows, Knox probably weighed two hundred and twenty-five pounds. He towered over Tracy.

She giggled.

Dre rolled his eyes.

When she spotted him, Tracy said, “Dre, this is Knox.”

“Hey, man” Knox called.

Dre nodded, walked around to the passenger door, and ducked inside. The immaculate car smelled new.

Knox slid into the driver’s seat and closed the door. Tracy leaned down to look through the open window. “Have fun.”

A rap song played on the radio as they took off.

“Tracy make you do this?” Knox asked.

“Why are you hanging out with a high school girl?”

“Your sister’s hot, man. I don’t care how old she is.”

“The police might.”

Knox chuckled. “I’m not much older, nineteen.”

“You’re legal, she’s not. My mom is never going to approve. Tracy’s wasting your time, and mine.”

“I’d never consider anything having to do with your sister a waste.” His words and tone sounded defensive. Did he truly care for her?

“You’ll never believe what she made me do last Saturday night.”

Dre had no idea what Tracy told his mother about where she’d been last Saturday night, but it wasn’t out with this guy.

“She spotted a homeless woman on the side of the road and made me drive through Jangles to buy her a meal.”

Earlier this year, when Dre got his driver’s license, Mom handed him five dollars and said, “This is to buy a meal for anyone you see who is in need. I want you to be a person who helps others when you can. Do you understand?” He knew she’d said the same to Tracy when she got her license. Since he didn’t usually have a car to use because his mother worked so much, if Dre saw someone in need he’d ask whoever was driving to stop, and he’d buy the person food. His best friends, Kasey and Zack, now kept five dollars in their wallets for the same reason.

“I mean, who does that? Your sister’s different.”

Dre didn’t bother explaining why his sister bought the food. She’d clearly not mentioned Mom’s helping others’ speech. “Where are we going?”

“Thought I’d show you around U of H.” Knox sped onto the feeder road of Highway I-10 and stayed in the left lane to enter the on-ramp.

“What’s your major?” Dre crossed his arms.

“I’m taking basics for now. All I want to do is play football.”

Dre stopped himself from shaking his head. Coach Banks often told them playing pro football was unlikely. Thousands dreamed of going pro, yet few, very few, actually made it. He made certain the players planned something else for their future to support themselves.

It seemed Knox hadn’t been taught this.

“Nice car.”

“It’s my dad’s.”

The phone in the cup holder played the theme from the Addams Family. “That’s him now.” Knox reached down and grabbed it, then put it to his ear. “Hello … Sure, I’ll be right there.” He put the phone down and took the off-ramp from the highway. “I’ve gotta pick my dad up. He’s having car trouble.”

Traffic was light for Houston, which still meant lots of cars, just no slowing down. Knox took turn after turn and pulled up in front of a skyscraper.

A man in dark slacks and a cream coat holding a large cardboard box hurried their way. He motioned with his head for Knox to pop the trunk. Dre opened his door, got out to flick the seat forward, and squeezed into the back.

After securing the trunk, the man righted the seat and got inside. “Thanks for picking me up. My Beemer wouldn’t start.”

A new Mustang and a BMW, the man must be loaded.

Knox eased back into traffic. “Dad, this is Dre.”

The older gentleman twisted in his seat and held out his hand. “Mac Wallace. Call me Mac.”

Curious why they didn’t have the same last name, Dre kept that question to himself and shook the man’s hand. Mac’s white smile brightened his dark features.

“He’s Tracy’s brother,” Knox explained.

“Oh, she’s a darling girl.”

Dre suspected his sister had downplayed her relationship with Knox, especially if she’d met his dad.

“Take a left,” Mac instructed.

“I thought we were taking you home.” Knox put on his blinker.

“I’ve got a bit of business to complete on the way. It’ll only take a second.” Mac returned his gaze to Dre. “Tracy tells me you’re a running back.”

“Yes, sir.”

Mac beamed with pride. “A year ago I told Knox I’d moved to Houston and couldn’t believe it when he decided to take a scholarship from the University of Houston. If you ask me, I won the lottery to have my boy so close.” Mac explained how they’d seldom saw each other because Knox lived in California with his mother after she and Mac parted ways when Knox turned two. Mac moved a lot over the years and never lived close to Knox. “I’m so proud of him.”

Dre had never missed having a dad. Yet seeing the expression on Mac’s face as he spoke about Knox, Dre felt—the only word that came to mind was cheated. Cheated out of something special.

“Pull up behind the red truck.” Mac faced forward.

Knox stopped and set the car in park.

Engrossed in Mac’s enthusiasm, Dre hadn’t paid attention to where they were going. He peered out the window and realized the sun had set. They were on a deserted street with boarded-up storefronts.

Mac opened his door. “Knox, there are three briefcases in the box I put in the trunk. Would you get the black one?”

Knox hopped out.

“We’ll be right back, Dre.” Mac slid out and started for the truck. The truck had seen better days. Dents marred the fender, and the tailgate showed rust spots. Knox slammed the trunk closed and hurried after his father. Mac grabbed the briefcase from him and hopped inside the truck.

A sinking feeling cramped Dre’s gut.

He couldn’t see what was happening, but he also wasn’t born yesterday. Business transactions on roads like this more than likely involved buying or selling something illegal.

Dre yanked the seat adjuster, and the front seat jolted forward. He reached for the handle, opened the door, and clambered out of the Mustang.

Sirens pierced the quiet night.