The Boys of Summer #2
January 17, 2017
LOVE ISN'T A GAME . . .
I've given up everything for the chance to play major league baseball. Everything. Now I'm so close I can practically hear the crowd chanting my name. There's nothing that could take my dream away from me . . .
Unless I lose focus. And Ainsley Burke is the most beautiful, distracting woman I've ever met. When I'm with her, I can't think of anything else.
But no matter how much I want Ainsley, there's no room for love in my game plan. I can give her a quick tour of the bases, but that's it. Then I have to let her go. If she wants to think I'm a love 'em and leave 'em player, fine.
All dreams require sacrifice. I just wish this one didn't mean tearing out my own heart.
“Can I call you, sometime?”
Ainsley looks down at the ground and crosses her arms over her chest. “Listen, I’m sure you’re a nice guy and all, but I don’t date baseball players. You guys all come in here, acting sweet and caring about the kids, but will be gone in two months. We’re forgotten all about until next spring training.”
From her spiel, I can tell someone has hurt her in the past, but I’m not willing to give up. There’s no way I can now. “Whoa, why the one-eighty?”
“I mean, a second ago I sort of thought… never mind.” I shake my head and start to walk away, only to turn back. “I don’t know about the other guys. I only know me, and I’m not like that. I’d like to prove myself. Just one date to show you that I’m genuine?”
She shakes her head no again, but there’s a glint in her eye that tells me she’s thinking about it. “I’m sorry I can’t.”
Ainsley is walking away before I can even think to form a rebuttal. Our left fielder is there to pick up the pieces and remind me that I just had the first strike out of my major league career. Wonderful.
I drag my sorry ass out toward the waiting bus with my head hanging in shame. I thought for sure I’d at least get her number and be able to convince her that I’m not an epic douche like some of the other guys.
Just as my foot touches the bottom step, my name is called from behind. In a heart-stopping moment, I think it’s Ainsley, only to find another female worker running toward me. I step away and wait for her to get to me.
“Here,” she says, slipping a piece of paper into my hand. When I look at what’s written on it, I’m surprised to see Ainsley’s name and what I’m assuming is her number. “She’ll kill me if she knew I did this, but it’s her cell. Sweep her off her feet. She deserves it.” The woman winks before running back toward the zoo.
Our catcher slaps me on my shoulder. “Well, you lucky dog.”
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Heidi McLaughlin is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. Originally from the Pacific Northwest, she now lives in picturesque Vermont with her husband and two daughters. Also renting space in their home is an over-hyper beagle/Jack Russell, Buttercup, and a Highland West/mini schnauzer, Jill.
When she isn't writing stories, you'll find her sitting court-side during either daughter's basketball games.
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