- Underdog

- Prologue

Love isn't in the plans for some people's lives. Candice Kelly had long ago accepted that fact, life went on. It didn't bother her a bit to watch her best friends fall in and out of love, the pieces of their hearts being glued back together over and over. Her job was her love, it suited her well. She'd gotten over the hurt of never having anyone to lean on, besides her family, extremely quickly. As a fourteen year old she rededicated her life to Christ and had been happy ever since.

Sarah Kelly, Candice's mom, prayed daily that her daughter would be wise in her decision making when it came to men. Her profession was one where she was around men 24/7, very masculine men at that. Luckily her brother, Don Kelly, was there to watch her back. Though Candice had enough spice to fend off the football players on her own.

A smile graced Sarah's beautifully aging face. She could still remember when her daughter was very young and bandaging up the neighborhood kids. She had never lost interest in playing nurse, not even as a senior in college. Though her interests had switched to physical therapy and sports medicine. After college Candice had been signed as an intern trainer for the Cincinnati Bengals NFL team. The same team that had signed her older brother as second string tight end earlier that year. Her intelligence and talent had gotten her superiors attention, not long after she had been promoted to assistant trainer.

Sarah sighed. It was a tough job raising a daughter who was offered scholarships to attend half days of college her junior and senior years in high school. Candice had taken summer courses as well and by the time she graduated she had the main courses out of the way, leaving her well on her way to medical school ahead of other people her age.

Glancing at the phone, Sarah began pulling the ingredients for dinner out of the refrigerator. Her children should be calling soon. They were due to land in Ohio at noon. It was closer to one o'clock now.

The one problem with Candice going to college in Dallas had been the knowledge that she wasn't ever going to come back. She had insisted she would, but the South was in her blood and Sarah had known there wasn't anything in Ohio to lure her home. Not for good anyway. It was surprising to find her in Ohio after all.

On cue the phone rang. Sarah wiped her hands on the towel on the front of the stove and picked it up.

"Hello. Kelly residence," she chirped, knowing full well who it was going to be.

"Hi mom!" two voices crowed happily.

"Was your flight okay?" Sarah asked with a wide grin.

"It was great, except Candice and our new quarterback don't get along real well. Actually, Candice doesn't get along with him, he likes her just fine," Don explained, Sarah could hear the grin in his voice.

"I like him just fine, we just don't quite…"

"Hello Mrs. Kelly!" a male voice interrupted.

Sarah laughed when she heard her daughter's threats in the background.

"Clinton Joseph Montgomery! You give me that phone back this instant, or else I'll chop you into tiny pieces with a plastic knife and feed you to my goldfish!" Candice demanded.

The man presumed to be Clinton Joseph Montgomery just laughed good naturedly. Sarah liked him already.

"You don't have a goldfish Candi," he reminded gently.

"See mom, he likes her fine," Don said with a smile in his voice.

Sarah laughed and agreed. Clint sounded like he rather enjoyed the bantering.

"Did you know you raised a monkey?" Don continued on in an amicable voice.

"Didn't anyone every tell you a simple please would most likely suffice?" Sarah heard Clint ask in the background.

"Didn't anyone ever teach you that just because you're six foot six does not mean you can push us little people around! And don't call me Candi you overgrown oaf!" she heard Candice grumble.

Sarah couldn't help the laugh that escaped. Candice was not a 'little person' at a staggering five foot ten and a lean, athletic 176 pounds. No doubt this Clinton Montgomery dwarfed her though, just like the rest of the men on the team.

"Don, what's she doing to the poor man?" Sarah asked with humor tempered dread.

"She's monkey-ing up his arm to get her phone back. It's actually quite amusing," Don accounted with his usual laid back, take life in stride chuckle.

Apparently Candice got her phone back.

"As I was saying, we just don't see eye to eye on things," she panted. Sarah could picture her straightening her clothes and huffing indignantly. Sarah nodded in approval. Candice needed someone to ruffle her feathers every now and then.

"Literally," Clint added with a chuckle.

"Get your nasty breath away from my face!" Candice exclaimed.

"I'll see you guys when you get here. I love you all!" Sarah said, she couldn't wait to see her kids.

"We'll be there within the hour with the usual gang," Don agreed.

"See you then." Sarah said with a large grin.

"Love you mom!" her two kids chorused.

"Bye kids!"

"Bye!"

Before they hung up she could hear Candice threatening to castrate Clint if he didn't put her down.

Sarah shook her head and prayed for her daughter.

"Dear Lord, have you finally given my daughter someone that can handle her?"

It sounded as though this Clint could handle her just fine. Poor guy. Sarah hoped he knew what he was getting himself into.

a/n

I hope everyone enjoys this story. I ask that you bear with me for the first few chapters since I wrote them a year and a half ago. I'm trying to edit them and correct mistakes, but I'm human. I most likely missed a few! If you could point them out that would be great!

Western Princess