As President and CEO of Boyfriend Whisperer Enterprises, Lexi Malloy is Grand View High School’s undercover Cupid. One problem: She’s stuck in the friend zone when it comes to her own crush, Chris Broder. She and Chris have been best friends since the third grade, and he doesn’t even seem to realize she’s is a member of the opposite sex.
When pretty and popular cheerleader Lindsay LaRouche hires Lexi to whisper Chris, she has to decide whether to place her commitment to her company—and Chris’s happiness—before herself.
Principal Cho calls my teammates out one by one at the pep rally. He announces my name last, and I dribble across the court, through a tunnel made up of the cheer squad as well as both the boys’ and girls’ teams, and stop at the top of the key to throw Chris an alley-oop.
He sails toward the basket, his muscles rippling as he reaches out, snatches the ball out of the air, transfers it from one hand to the other, and stuffs it through the rim. Magnificent.
I remember the precise moment I fell in love with Christian Broder. It was this past October when a bunch of us decided to play a pick-up game at the courts down at Claymore Park. It was a warm day, and Chris took off his shirt. I vaguely wondered when he’d developed pecs. I tried to defend against him on a drive to the basket, but it seemed he’d gained six inches on me overnight. He swerved around, up, and past me, and … wham. His first dunk shot.
It was perhaps the most beautiful move I’d ever seen on a basketball court. Or anywhere. Ever. I could barely breathe. Had to fake a cramp in my leg and take myself out of the game. Now, watching him soar through the air again, I have that same gut reaction. I struggle to pull myself together as he runs up and gives me a high-five.
“Nice toss, Malloy.”
“Nice tip in, Broder.”
He laughs. “Yeah, right. Tip in. I hear you.” He drapes his arm across my shoulder. “I have a great feeling about this weekend.”
I nod, unable to form words, and the rest of the pep rally swirls by in a whirlwind of pompoms and victory chants.
I crank up Mumford & Sons on my iPod and pull up the Boyfriend Whisperer Enterprises files on my tablet. With Valentine’s ten days away, I need to plot out some big moves for my clients.
I start with Jolene. I watched Brendon staring at her this afternoon during the pep rally. He’s falling hard. No need to play it subtle. He likes spicy food, so Red Hots are an obvious choice, in a heart-shaped tin. What should the card say? Something super flirty. “Let’s heat it up on Valentine’s.” No … “spice it up.” I jot that down and move on to my next client.
Just as I’m picking out a sweet YouTube link I want her to send her BF-to-be, Coach Reilly pulls my earbud out and scares me half to death.
“Malloy! I’m talking to you. What are you working on?”
I slam my tablet shut. “What? Homework. Sorry. What do you need?”
She shoves my backpack to the floor and plops down beside me. “Let’s talk about tomorrow. We’re expecting scouts from all over. Rumor has it someone from U Conn might even turn up.”
She pauses as if to gauge my reaction, so I force a smile. “U Conn? Wow. That’s great.”
She leans in. “There’ll be a lot of buzz in that arena. Parents, coaches, other players. They’ll all be talking about the scouts and about you and your future. Here’s the thing: You need to ignore them.”
“Exactly. You have one job tomorrow, and that’s to play the best game Alexis Malloy knows how to play. Run, pass, shoot, rebound. That’s it. The rest is static. Ignore the static.”
“Got it. Static.”
Coach furrows her brow. “You nervous?”
“Maybe a little.”
She pats my arm as she stands. “A little nervousness is good. You’ve got this, Malloy. You can do it.”
I smile and slump back into my seat. The fact is, I’m not at all nervous. I only said that so she wouldn’t launch into a lecture about being too cocky. She’s forever vacillating between warning me not to be too nervous and not to be too cocky, when in reality, I’m neither. The truth is, when it comes to college scouts, I just wish they’d leave me alone.
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