by Jen Doyle
Baseball player Nathan Hawkins needs to get away from Chicago. After a near career-ending car accident and with paparazzi surrounding his penthouse, Nate can only think of one place to go: home. But when he finds his old apartment occupied by a half-naked woman wielding a baseball bat, he's not sure what to think...except that maybe his luck has finally changed for the better.
Librarian Dorie Donelli never thought she'd get to meet her fantasy man in person—much less while she’s wearing her bathrobe. To her surprise, her nearly naked run-in with Nate leads to more unclothed encounters. But Dorie is sure their fling is only temporary. As long as she remembers he’ll be gone once his life gets back on track, she won’t get hurt. In the meantime, she throws herself into enjoying their three weeks together before he has to report for spring training and go back to his old life.
For Nate, being with Dorie is the only time in months that he finds himself smiling. Laughing. And he has no intention of letting that go. He might even be falling in love…if only Dorie will let him say the words. What they have isn’t just a dream, but the start of a dream come true.
And ate her dinner, he thought with a quiet laugh.
He’d give her back her phone and let her know he was leaving. Nowhere to stay, but he had a very expensive tiny car he could sleep in.
He found her in the bedroom, changing the sheets, which he would have told her she didn’t have to do if his heart hadn’t just lodged itself directly into his throat, cutting off any possibility of speech. Her pajama pants and T-shirt weren’t nearly as revealing as the robe had been, but her bending over the bed and straightening out the corner stirred up something deep inside of him. And now the only thing running through his mind was how soft her hair would be when he wrapped it around his hand; how warm and wet she’d be when he buried himself inside her.
“Christ, woman,” he groaned. He grabbed the doorjamb above his head and he clutched it so hard he practically splintered the wood.
She gasped as she straightened up and spun around, her hand flying to her chest. “I was… I was just…”
She bit her lip and sank down until she was sitting on the edge of the bed. Her eyes met his, and he had to tell himself he couldn’t take her right here. He needed to focus on climbing out of this hole—he didn’t have the time to fall further in, no matter how enjoyable that might be.
But he couldn’t look away.
Her eyes were a deep dark brown, the same color as the hair piled on top of her head. He wanted to trace the golden skin along her collarbone to the hollow of her throat, wanted his tongue on every part of her. And the glasses she now wore almost undid him.
If she’d been wearing those with the robe? When she’d hiked that bat up over her shoulder?
Holy. Shit. Turned out he liked a woman who would take him on without even blinking an eye. Who knew?
He especially liked it when her interested gaze traveled down his chest, past his waist… He liked it too much, actually. Only the quickly summoned thought of David Ortiz slamming into him at home plate stopped him from embarrassing himself in a way he hadn’t since he was practically a kid.
Even that almost wasn’t enough when she said, “I, um, changed the sheets. So you can take the bed.”
All control vanished as the words just came pouring out of his mouth. “The only way I take the bed is if I take you in it with me.”
His heart nearly raced its way out of his chest in the seconds before she replied, “I bet you say that to all the girls.” Laughter danced in her eyes and a wicked grin came over her face when her eyes again dropped to his cock and then quickly came back up. She bit her bottom lip before whispering, “Hungry?”
Miguel Cabrera. Adrian Beltre. Derek fucking Jeter.
He gripped the doorjamb tighter.
“I could eat,” he answered as evenly as he could manage.
For a moment they just stayed where they were, staring.
When she stood and walked toward him, he almost blinked. This was a dream. It had to be. Or some elaborate setup that Pete had come up with in order to get Nate’s mind off everything else. Put this fantasy of a woman in front of him—feisty and looking so innocent and cute while she offered up anything he wanted to take—until he was so goddamn spent he could finally get over himself and start living his life again.
Except then she brushed past him as she walked out of the room, pausing only to whisper into his ear, “I think you need another minute.”
CALLING IT is her first book, the first of two which will be published by Carina Press in 2016. It was the winner of The Beacon, the Finish the Damn Book, and the Melody of Love 2014 contests in the Contemporary Romance category, and was also the Contemporary Romance winner as well as the Grand Prize Winner of the 2014 Gateway to the Best contest.
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