Making it to the Major Leagues is all rookie ballplayer, Rob Lee, has ever dreamed of. But now, he's a little overwhelmed with his new celebrity status. Everyone wants a piece of the new heavy hitter for the Indianapolis Bobcats. Still, he's worked hard for it, and he doesn't have many regrets. Although there is one...
If journalist Heidi Wong wants to keep her job, she needs to come up with a story—fast! That's why she tells her boss that she knows the Bobcat's reclusive new slugger, Rob Lee. And she does...in the Biblical sense. During Spring Break three years ago, she and Rob shared a torrid night on the beach. And she's wanted him again ever since.
But everyone knows reporters and athletes don't mix. Rob's contract doesn't allow him to talk to the press, and her job depends on it. Which is driving them both just a little crazy…
Each book in the Locker Room Diaries series is STANDALONE:
* Hitting It
* Sliding Home
* Hard and Fast
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
"One margarita is not a rebellion!"
I stared at my best friend while twisting my hair into a tight spiral against my shoulder. It was hot in Ft. Lauderdale, and my long Chinese hair was acting up. "I never should have told you that," I groused. One month ago, I'd mentioned that I wish I'd gone through an adolescent rebellion. I was a good Chinese girl who always colored in the lines, studied until my eyes failed me, and never, ever did anything fun. Since we'd been celebrating my twenty-first birthday with endless margaritas at the time, Samantha had taken advantage of my inebriation to bully me into joining her for spring break in Florida. It was, according to her, the perfect place to go wild.
She was right. With all the alcohol everywhere, people were losing their inhibitions left and right. And what was I doing? Wearing a one-piece swimsuit meant for doing laps and a shit-ton of sunscreen because skin cancer was real.
"But you did tell me," Samantha pressed. She was in a bikini that maximized her ample chest and tight ass. Her underwear covered more of her body than what she was wearing now, and yet she gleefully strutted her stuff in a way I'd never dare to do. There was just so much body there on display, while I felt naked in a short sundress. "And it's my job as your best friend to make sure your birthday wish comes true."
"It wasn't a birthday wish. It was a wistful side comment."
"Potato, potahto." She grinned as she shoved a brown bag into my hand. "Happy birthday!"
"You already got me a present." She'd helped to pay my airfare down here. But I was human enough to open the bag. Inside, I saw a white T-shirt and a flash of bright red. "What —?"
Fifteen feet away, the announcer at the beach bar spoke up, his voice thrumming loudly through the speakers. "Free margaritas for all the contestants in our wet T-shirt contest! Come on, ladies, what would you give for the best tequila on the beach?"
Understanding blossomed along with a full-body blush. "I am not —"
"You like margaritas, right?"
She knew I did.
"And you wanted some rebellion. What would upset your parents more than a wet tee contest?"
"Failing my LSATs?"
Samantha rolled her hazel eyes. "We're not trying to tank your future. Just cut loose and strut those boobs."
"I haven't got any to strut!" It was true. Chinese genetics didn't lend themselves to full cleavage, but that didn't stop Sam. She was busy shoving me into a bathroom of less than pleasant odors. I wrinkled my nose at more than the scent. It was the tiny scrap of red lace bikini bottom that I held out with shock. "I can't wear this! Not in public."
"Free margaritas," she repeated. "Come on, this is a tame contest. Everyone has to wear the full tee." Then she was all business as she physically stripped me out of my swimsuit. You wouldn't think a curvy, short girl could be so efficient, but Sam worked summers at a nursing home. She could strip an obese octogenarian in less than a minute. My five-foot-four body was nothing compared to that.
"Are you doing it with me?" I asked, my voice muffled as she pulled the T- shirt down over my head.
"I paid for the tee. And that's my third-favorite bikini bottom, so be grateful."
"Step in," she ordered, as she held out the red lace.
I obeyed immediately. It was her tone of voice. I'd been conditioned since birth to follow unquestioningly when a female used that tone. Thankfully, Sam was the only woman outside of my mother and grandmother who'd figured that out. But I had my own weapon to use against Sam.
"You're going with me or I'm not helping with your term papers."
She sighed. "You know that's not how that expression is used, right?"
I folded my arms across my not-so-ample chest and looked as stern as I could in a thin white tee and a scrap of red lace.
"You'll do it?" she pressed.
"If you do."
"Great!" Then she grabbed another tee out of her backpack. A moment later, she'd popped off her bikini top and pulled on the thin fabric. Then she proceeded to bunch and knot the tee in a kind of fabric magic that not only managed to support her full breasts, but also allowed them to bounce in a really attractive way.
"You were planning on doing this all along." It wasn't a question.
She rolled her eyes at me as she started yanking and knotting my top. "How many times do I have to say it? Free margaritas!"
"It's just a sales promise until we're drinking them." Was I really considering this? Could I stand on a stage in front of hundreds of leering guys and let my nipples pop like beacons? But what could it hurt? I mean, of all the possible teen rebellions, this was pretty tame. And yet it felt like I was throwing off the shackles of my strict Asian upbringing and stepping out into the true American-girl experience. Pert boobies and all.
"I need to drink at least one beforehand," I said to Sam.
She grinned and gave me a high five. "Then let's go get it."
I drank two and tried not to think of the calories. And then I was supposed to get up on the stage. It had been hard enough to walk out of the bathroom in this outfit with bodies pressed all around me. But to climb onto the stage? That took real courage, even if Samantha had blocked me in from behind. No way was she letting me escape.
At least the tequila had set up a warm glow throughout my body. And the music was nice with a good solid beat. We were supposed to pop out through a curtain in the back, get drenched in ice water, and then strut for a bit. Easy- peasy, right?
My nerves had my heartbeat thrumming in my ears. Was I really this brazen? The announcer called my name. "Heidi Va-va-va-voom!"
I shot my roommate an incredulous glare. My last name was Wong. Not a single va-va in it. Sam just gave me a thumbs-up and then pushed me through the curtain.
A roar surrounded me and a couple of wolf whistles. Oh my God, the sound was deafening. And just when I was getting my bearings against that tidal wave of sound, the water hit me. On both sides. Icy wet and straight to the chest.
I gasped as the frigid cold hit me, instinctively hunching against the impact. But then the noise of the crowd started to change. I made out some words, all of them crude. Part of me wanted to turn around and run. How dare they say those things to me? But then I'd asked for it, hadn't I? What the hell was I doing?
I don't know what got me past the panic. It could have been the tequila. Or maybe I was just pissed off. Either way, I started to shut out the noise and focus on the music. I'd been a dancer once, back when I was eight and hated the scratchy tutu. Now, I was a mature twenty-one and I'd been moving to the music in my bedroom for years. If I closed my eyes, I could almost be right back there, bebopping for my stuffed-animal audience.
So that's exactly what I did. I closed my eyes and began to dance. It was a low bump and thump, not really dancing at all, but I still did what I could. It was impossible to forget that this was in front of a zillion people — though mostly guys — all leering at my chest. But after a few moments, I began to enjoy myself.
These guys were looking at me. They were admiring my body in a purely physical way. And they liked it. Better than I liked myself. So maybe I ought to give us all a little shimmy, a little bounce, and a slow, sensuous smile.
What was the worst that could happen?CHAPTER 2
I'm not a big fan of wet T-shirt contests. I mean, I like tits as much as the next guy, plus wet ones are just hot. But the women who enter these contests are always so blatant. They fondle themselves and hump their asses in front of the crowd. It's not my style and certainly not while crammed tight against hundreds of horny guys.
But my friends were here, hooting and hollering like a pack of wolves. They claimed we were celebrating my hot new baseball career in the minor leagues, but I knew it was just an excuse for beer and babes. And hell, who was I to argue? Especially on our last night in Florida. Except, I'd thought they'd meant we'd check out a cool nightclub or something, not end up at this sweaty meat show on the beach.
Then she stepped on stage. Heidi VaVoom. I've never had a thing for Asian girls. They were a little too exotic for this Nebraska boy. Give me a strawberry blonde with freckles any day. Except with Heidi's long, dark hair and nervous flinch as she got drenched, I got a woody hard enough to pound nails. She seemed so real when every one of the others came across as a caricature.
Heidi looked awkward as hell up there, but she had breasts that made my mouth water. Just the right size — a little more than a handful — and with nipples that seemed to point straight to me. I wanted to suck on those dusky tips in the worst way. She was still cringing. I'm sure that ice water felt brutal, but then she took a deep breath. OMG, the way those sweet breasts lifted was amazing. And then she seemed to square her shoulders. I know the movement, recognizing it from every game I've ever played. There's a moment when you just take all your self-consciousness and stuff it away. It was time to get serious. And that's what she was doing.
She closed her eyes and started to move to the music. It was a deep bass thrum and every woman so far had bounced her way across the stage, booty and breasts hopping like popcorn. But not this girl. She shimmied once, then started moving in some coiling motions that made me think of what it would be like to have her body wrapped around mine. Her arms went high above her head, stretching for the blue sky, sinuous and beautiful. Her breasts lifted as she arched and then, as if I were a fish on a hook, she caught me with a single look.
She was half turned away from the stage when she looked over her shoulder, straight at me. There was joy in that look and a mischievous delight. As if she and I were in on a grand joke together. I knew that look wasn't just for me. Hell, I was just one face in a crowd, and we all roared our approval together. But I sure as hell fell for it ... and for her.
I was pushing forward through the crowd before I even knew I'd been reeled in. I'm a big guy, so it wasn't hard. Plus I was determined. I had to get to her.
There was a taped barricade holding us back, along with bouncer reinforcements. I got straight to the edge, my gaze trained on her. The music stopped and she jolted out of her dance as if coming back to reality. Then she looked out over the crowd and smiled. Sweet and triumphant. She'd probably never done something like this before in her life and was proud of herself for gutting her way through it.
Look at me!
I didn't want her exotic eyes panning the crowd. I didn't want her to see anyone but me. I should have called out to her, but my throat was too dry.
Over here! Look at me!
My mind was screaming the words, but I couldn't voice them. I was too mesmerized by her. And then it happened, just as if she had heard me. Her gaze shifted and riveted onto me, right where I stood flush against the ribbon divider, stretching a little taller than the nearest bouncer. Her eyes caught mine and they widened. Her mouth opened, and I wondered if she'd recognized me. Was she a college baseball fan?
I smiled at her. I couldn't help it. She was looking at me and I grinned like a fool.
I thought she'd heard me. I thought we had some psychic connection that would walk her straight into my arms. But if we did, it was stopped by the MC. Before I could reach out to her, the bastard stepped between us. He broke our line of sight and ushered her to the waiting area so that the next girl could come on stage.
Heidi turned away, going where she was led. And then she stepped into line beside the rest of the contestants, like a real woman in a group of blow-up sex toys. She put them all to shame, and I followed her, pushing my way through the crowd until I got within reach.
But the audience was thick here and even at my size, I couldn't muscle my way through. I had to wait ten feet away, my eyes trained on her when everyone else was looking at the stage.
I'm here. Look at me.
She didn't. Her eyes were focused on the stage where the next woman danced. I waited impatiently. Eventually whomever it was ended her dance and joined the line. A curvy strawberry blonde with a pert nose and big, wet tits. The kind of girl I would normally go for, except the only reason I noticed her was because Heidi obviously knew her. The two women clustered together, giggling in the way girls do when they're congratulating each other. Strangely, I didn't mind. Heidi was smiling at her friend. Beaming actually, and the beauty of that happiness was nearly blinding.
This was absolutely crazy. I didn't even know this woman, and yet, here I was, counting the seconds until the event was over so I could find a way to talk to her. Only two more contestants to go. I didn't watch. I was more interested in the way Heidi blushed as she talked to her friend. Her cheeks pinked and her lips curved, but she didn't show teeth. She seemed like a quiet woman, still uncertain of her beauty.
Well, that had to change. And I swore right there I would be the one to show her her real value.
Finally, they reached the end of the contestant intros, but the judging was still to come. All the women were pulled back onto the stage and one by one, they were hit by buckets of ice water while the crowd voted by applause. Heidi didn't flinch as much as the first time, but she did close her eyes. And as her breasts peaked from the cold, I cheered as if my life depended on it. I sounded like a hound dog, but I couldn't stop myself.
It took forever, and the results were idiotic. Heidi didn't win. Some woman with grossly exaggerated attributes had the crowd's approval. That was because most men were idiots. I watched as Heidi shot her friend a sideways look. The two of them shrugged, then the blonde lifted a pretend glass to her hand. Had they done this for the free margaritas? I would buy them all the margaritas they could handle if only I got some one-on-one time with Heidi.
Then the event was over. The ribbon barrier went down and guys surged forward. Not surprisingly, Heidi and her friend backed away, a little alarmed. But I was determined and pursued them as fiercely as I'd pursued my high school home run record.
Taking the clue from her friend, I nabbed a margarita pitcher. I had to reach over a slower guy, but that was the joy of having athletic reflexes. I grabbed the jug and a couple Solo cups and lifted them high above the crowd's head. Then I muscled forward until I appeared right in front of them ... and completely forgot what I was doing.
I stood there, trying to force my mouth to speak. What the hell was wrong with me?
"Hi," I finally managed to say. Then I shoved the cups at Heidi. "Drink." It wasn't even a question. "Suave" was not my middle name. Fortunately, the blonde gave me a grin.
She lifted the cups from my hand, then helped guide me in pouring. It sloshed as the ice broke, and the friend hopped back with a squeak. So much for athletic reflexes.
"Sorry," I mumbled. The blonde answered with something, but I'd already turned my attention back to Heidi. "Hi," I said again. "I'm Rob."
She smiled, and I loved the smooth perfection of her skin. No dimples, no freckles. A slight tilt to her head that let her straight, dark hair fall slightly to the left. She was stunningly beautiful.
"This is Heidi," her friend interjected.
"Yeah," I said. Oh hell. I had to find a way to talk like someone who wasn't brain damaged.
"My last name is not Va-va-voom," she said. Her voice was lyrical with mellow notes that I strained to hear above the noise of the crowd. It was like sweet chimes, and I grinned as if she'd given me a World Series ring.
"Yeah, I guessed," I said.
Her cheeks pinked again, a soft rose-petal flush that I watched with rapt attention.
"You're beautiful." Had I just said that out loud? What the hell? "I sound like a creeper. I'm usually much better at this."
Except, if I was honest with myself, I'd never been good at this. The moment I became the local baseball legend, girls started coming on to me. All I'd had to do was smile and keep hitting home runs. That was easy. But suddenly, I really needed a silver-tongue and discovered that I was completely unprepared.
I was just marshaling brain cells to come up with a real conversation when I got jostled from behind. More guys, some of them aiming toward Heidi. I blocked them. Now that I was face-to-face with her, no one was getting in. But that didn't stop them from banging into me or angling around to get at her best friend.
"This is insane," Heidi said.
"It's great," the friend replied as she winked at a flirty Hispanic guy.
I realized I had to make a move soon or I'd be shoved out of the way. Even my bulk couldn't hold off the tide of admirers. So I gestured with the pitcher. "You hungry? There's a crab shack over there."(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Hitting It"
Copyright © 2018 Kathy Lyons.
Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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