A/N: Because I know that you love Jacob (lol), and even better, Jacob WITH Carlisle—here’s a little bit of Jacob POV. I thought it would probably be good for you to have this before we get to this week’s chapter. 😉 This snippet takes place after Edward was traded from Minnesota to Anaheim. It is about two years into his professional career and pre-Tanya, since they met and dated while he was playing for Anaheim in California. That also means it’s prior to Along Came a Spider‘s timeline, but it gives you a data point for when Carlisle and Jacob connected originally.
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Over the ringing bells and taunting payouts, my eyes scan past the flashing lights of the expansive smoke-filled room, looking for a particular player. From where I sit at the bar, I find him, watching and wondering when I should make my move. With another sag of his shoulders in resignation, I know it’s time to abandon my perch, hoping to catch him before he departs.
“This table looks promising.” I smile at the dealer, sliding onto a stool, leaving an empty one between us.
“Maybe you’ll have better luck than me,” he mumbles.
But I’m not gambling.
I’m here for a sure thing.
“Jake Black.” I nod.
“Carlisle Cullen,” he shares.
“Cullen? That name sounds familiar.”
I don’t ask questions I don’t know. After a shrug, he sits a little taller in his chair, downing the last bit of alcohol in his glass before his bloodshot eyes study me.
“I’m with USA Hockey.”
I chuckle—it’s all about him. The dad who lives through his son vicariously. He just doesn’t realize he’s simply a means to an end for me.
“What brings you to Vegas?” I ask.
“Ice hockey? In a desert?”
“Yeah, but my son plays professionally. Maybe you’ve heard of him.”
Oh, I’ve heard of him.
Edward Cullen is low-hanging fruit and an easy choice to pursue since he isn’t on the radar of many. I’m hoping to change all that and drive up his price, which will benefit me too. Football players offer more opportunities and are always my first choice for financial advancement, but he would be my first hockey player. I need to diversify and break into the league.
“That could be it. Who does he play for?”
As if I don’t know—Edward is in California right now. I considered approaching him directly, but it wouldn’t hurt to have Carlisle in my corner and doing some of the work for me. I’m always looking for the path of least resistance. Work smarter, not harder has its merits.
I pause, to give the appearance of considering his words. “Goaltender?”
“Then I have heard of him. He just made a move from . . . Minnesota—who reps him?”
Word has it that Edward didn’t have any choice with the trade, but with his new team in dire straits regarding goaltending, I suspect he will become their starter, sooner rather than later. At this point in his career, he needs me. We’re both hungry, looking to prove ourselves. Undoubtedly, I will negotiate a better deal on his next trade out of Anaheim in a couple of years or less and make a sweet commission while doing so.
But before I get there, I need a way in, and it’s sitting right next to me. Carlisle is a little drunk, and after looking at his waning stack of chips, he is down on his luck.
“A loser. That guy is a loser. I told Edward to dump him,” he reveals with disgust. Carlisle clinks the ice cubes back and forth repeatedly toward the nearby server for a refill.
Perfect—landing Daddy Dearest will be easier than I thought. I’ll plant a few seeds of doubt, making inroads on a new client before I’m due to return to L.A. All in a day’s work.
“Carlisle, I have a proposition for you I believe will benefit us both greatly. Are you available to discuss it over dinner? My treat,” I offer, but it’s a mere fraction of what he has to offer me.
His eyes appraise me for a moment before he sets down his empty glass. “I could eat. What do you do for a living . . . Jake?”
There’s no keeping the smirk from my lips at the God-like power I wield over countless athletes. “I make dreams come true. Tell me, Carlisle, what’s yours?”
Again, I know what he wants for him and his son—that Stanley Cup. Lucky for me, he will do anything to get it.