Under Further Review is a contemporary, standalone, sports romance.
Shane Sinclair, a professional football player who does not like, entertain or talk to reporters, even when he is mandated to appear for the press conferences. Shane has his reasons for his stance, which strengthens when a reporter blurts out that his father had passed, and he was not informed yet. The only reporter that gave their condolences was one of the lone female sports reporter, Diamond Reeves. Although, Shane kept his stance about the story-hungry reporters, Ms. Reeves wiggled her way through his defenses and Shane finds that he needs to maneuver past hers so that their odd friendship can go to the next level. Shane’s ex-fiancé does not take the break up easily and sets out to cause havoc for the new couple and herself.
The regular season had started and Shane was back to his normal routine. He looked good, felt good and was playing good all pre-season. The new running back, that was there to replace him, was able to get some play time as well, which did not hinder any of Shane’s statistics. He found that when he was rested up, he could exert more energy. The press room was buzzing and lately asking more “Shane” questions to Matthew. To the point when Matthew said to him, “I wish you would stop being Switzerland. Can you at least talk to them in Morse code?”
Shane erupted in laughter at Matt’s comments, but finally responded with, “Man, I just can’t do it. I thought about it long and hard, but I just can’t. They are like vultures.”
Matt looked at him and said, “I think you didn’t take heed to my warning early on and got burnt, yet never got over it.” He patted Shane on the chest and said, “Some things you got to let go.”
Matt and Shane did not really have the heart to heart conversations, but he respected the guy as a leader and veteran of the sport. He also understood what he meant, to the point where he actually thought about how to rectify his hate-hate relationship with the media.
After their first home game, Shane, Matt and Raymond, the new running back, were at the center table on stage. They all immediately started asking questions, so Matt, being the leader he was, calls on one reporter who had a question for Raymond. Shane spotted the lady reporter that rebuffed him at the bar, he bent over to Matt and said, “Call on the lady reporter in the red shirt.”
Matt looks at him and gives him a knowing smile. Shane shook his head and waved him off. When Raymond finished answering, Matt pointed to the lady and said, “You in the red.”
Her hand was raised, but not in a way that looked like she wanted to be called on. Shane briefly thought, maybe she was right about not being good at the job. When Matt called on her, she looked surprised and caught off guard. She quickly recovered and announced, “Hi, um. I’m Diamond Reeves from WUSA. My question is, what do you guys do for fun besides these awesome press conferences?”
People laughed and even Shane smiled at her wit. He made a note that he liked that. When the room died down, Raymond answered first with, “I sail. It relieves stress for me.”
Matt said, “I hang out with my wife and kids.”
Nobody seemed to think Shane would answer, so when he slid the mic from in front of Matthew, the whole room seemed to turn and face him. Cameras and extended microphones included. They never even gave him his own microphone anymore.
“In my spare time, I work with a few charities and work on my Spanish. But what’s your real question?” Shane asked her, as she stood with her mouth wide open along with the rest of the room.
He thought the question would be a general question for everyone, so he slid the microphone back in front of Matt.
Again, she recovered and said, “Well, Mr. Sinclair, since you asked. I know you and Austin Daniels from the Falcons are good friends, but after that move you put on him.” She shook her head. “You peeped the blitz and ran right past him. You, Matt, saw the opening, passed the ball to Shane for a touchdown, then y’all had the nerve to go for the two-point play and Raymond gets the touchdown. How the hell do you remain friends? I wouldn’t be your friend anymore. Showing me up like that.”
The entire room erupted in laughter at what Shane thought was her cuteness, keen expertise of the game or just her wittiness. Shane even laughed and moved the microphone back in front of him and answered. “That’s funny. Well, to answer your question. Despite this being called a game of football, it’s still a business. And these,” he gestured to his other teammates, “are my business partners, so even though we may not always align, agree and have to run each other over, at the end of the day. We know it’s our job to do so. That’s why we push each other on a daily basis. Austin is a longtime friend and he understands the job very well. So, while it’s a game to you guys, this is our business.”
Diamond smiled at Shane, then nodded her head in approval, agreement or just acknowledgment. Shane couldn’t tell, but he nodded back. No sooner than his head came back up, the other reporters started to fire more questions at Shane. To address all of their questions, he moved the microphone back in front of Matt.
About the Author
Xyla Turner was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. As a teenager, Xyla wrote short stories and essays that have won numerous awards in local to nationwide competitions. She is an avid reader, but a sucker for romance. Specifically, sassy females and dominant males. Xyla is a dedicated educator and a life coach. Outside of reading, Xyla likes to spend time with her family and travel. She writes different genres, but her favorite is romance.
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