The Virgin Rule Book (Rules of Love #1) by Lauren Blakely



I worked my ass off campaigning to move the team, to win approval from the NFL and the city. Plus, it makes business sense. Attendance has been dipping here because Vegas is the land of endless entertaining distractions.

I pulled it off, and now I’m bringing the Hawks to a city where the team is both hated and loved.

But at least I can see my mother, sister, and brother more regularly.

That is, when I’m not working. I have a ton of events already lined up in San Francisco, back-to-back meetings with the city regarding tax breaks, appointments with legal counsel over business operations, and interviews with a slew of candidates for the position of general manager.

Can you say busy?

I want to do my father proud. When he died, he split his businesses down the middle, leaving them to his three kids—Eric runs the private equity firm, Brooke oversees the real estate holdings, and I’ve got the team.

I need to go to San Francisco ready to tackle the job and that’s all. I don’t need sixty-seven scarves to pull that off.

Or countless shoes.

I need to shed the reminders of my datelessness.

Decisively, I snap, “You know what? Screw Samantha Valentine. I don’t need a man. My job is to bring the Lombardi Trophy to the Hawks.”

Scarlett waves imaginary pom-poms. “Two, four, six, eight, who do we appreciate? Nadia!”

I thrust a hand in the air like an orator. “I’m going to San Francisco embracing singlehood. I’ve tried dating for the past year, but I’m moving on. I have bigger fish to fry,” I declare. “And it shall begin with a culling of the clothes.”

“Brava,” Scarlett says, clapping.

Emboldened by her friendship and by my newfound determination, I saunter into my bedroom, tossing my phone on the edge of the bed then heading for the closet, where I grab a pair of black heels. “Shoes are only a sublimation. Shoes are better than necklaces, better than earrings, better than sex, or so I’ve heard, but it’s time to say goodbye.”

Scarlett clucks her tongue. “Hmm. I’m going to have to disagree on that last one. But regardless, let’s donate that pair of heels.” She motions to a pair of silver heels with a slim strap. “How about those too? They look brand-new, but I was with you when you bought them a year ago. Have they even been worn?”

I square my shoulders, owning it. “I bought those as solace after Samantha told me the land developer also didn’t care for me having—gasp!—opinions.”

“Opinions are sooo dangerous,” she says, her voice dripping with mockery. “Just keep them to yourself, you pretty little thing.” She tucks the silver shoes under her arm and points to a pair of red stilettos that look fresh out of the box. “What’s their story?”

“If memory serves, I purchased those shoes after my fifty-ninth dateless night in a row. That was the lull between the quit your job guy and an off-the-Strip casino owner who wanted to know if I would use a sperm donor if I didn’t find a man soon.”

My friend’s jaw crashes to the floor, then the one below it, maybe even to the underground parking garage of my skyscraper. “Please tell me you put him in his place. Please, please, please.”

My lips curve up in a grin. “I said, ‘If I do, I’ll be asking for a man with a high IQ and a big heart. Basically, the opposite of you,” I say with fiendish glee. “I came up with that on the spot.”

“You zinged a deserving target. Nice.” She frowns in disgust, shaking her head as she adds the red heels to the donation collection. “And these are a definite donation. We’re getting rid of all the pity shoes, because there is no pity needed in your life.”

When we’re done, the pile on my bed has grown ceiling-high, a mountain of donatable goods.

“This is good,” Scarlett says. “You’re cleaning house. Starting fresh.”

Buoyed by her support, I nod enthusiastically. “I’m going to San Francisco ready to conquer the world of football and franchises and getting back to the Super Bowl. I don’t care about dating. I don’t care about anything but a few pairs of shoes for the events I need to go to. I will take the city by storm, bring home the Lombardi Trophy, and do my father proud.”

She grabs her phone, clicks on her music app, and belts out the first anthemic notes of Beyoncé’s “Run the World” as it blasts through my penthouse.

We rock out to the woman-power anthem as we scoop up my clothes, shoes, scarves, and purses, folding them neatly, then tucking them into shopping bags to take to Dress for Success, a fantastic non-profit that helps women get back on their feet with the right clothes for job hunting.