James "Law" Lawless is the star second baseman for the Richmond Rogues, the wildest group of free swingers ever to barnstorm their way through the big leagues. So when he hooks up with a seductive stranger at a costume party, it feels like he just hit the winning run of the World Series.
Catherine "Cat" May was the hot number in that skimpy Wonder Woman costume. But she's not about to let Law know itespecially after he hires her to help him expand his off-the-field business empire. But how's she going to keep her identity secret when his every touch urges her to make him her very own. . .
Home Run Hero
"Hot, sexy and smart!" Carly Phillips, New York Times bestselling author
Praise for Kate Angell and her novels
"Kate Angell is to baseball as Susan Elizabeth Phillips is to football. Wonderful!" – Sandra Hill, New York Times bestselling author
"Fast-paced. Fun characters. Play ball!" –Lori Foster, New York Times bestselling author
"You don't have to be a baseball fan to enjoy Angell's sports romances. Her stories are delightful." –RT Book Reviews
"No fan of the genre should miss Angell's surefire romances." –Booklist
|Product dimensions:||4.10(w) x 6.70(h) x 1.10(d)|
About the Author
USA Today bestselling author Kate Angell lives in Naples, Florida. She's an animal lover, avid reader, and sports fan. Bookstores are her second home. She takes coffee breaks at Starbucks. Her philosophy: Out of chaos comes calmness. Enjoy the peace. Please visit her on Facebook or at www.kateangell.com.
Read an Excerpt
By KATE ANGELL
KENSINGTON BOOKSCopyright © 2012 Kate Angell
All right reserved.
Chapter One"Dude, you've got green paint behind your ears." James "Law" Lawless, second baseman for the Richmond Rogues, stared at the back of Brody Jones's head. The shortstop hadn't fully scrubbed the Incredible Hulk from the back of his neck.
The men had arrived early at James River Stadium in preparation for their upcoming game against the Ottawa Raptors. They'd worked out in the weight room for an hour and now pulled on their uniforms, preparing for warm-ups on the field. The remaining team members would be arriving shortly.
"Hickeys, Brody?" Law caught the bites and bruises on the shortstop's neck and shoulders. Red scratches ran up his spine. "Your vamp played rough."
Brody jerked on his sliding shorts and adjusted himself. "Lady was in character."
Law shoved his arms into his jersey and buttoned it down. "Did you get her name, her medical history?" In case she carried rabies.
"She called me Hulk and I called her Vampira." Brody was a nooky junkie. He preferred nameless sex. No ties. No good-byes. No morning-afters.
Law shook his head. "You're fuckin' crazy."
"So screwed up, I plan to see her again."
"Do you know where she lives?"
Brody shrugged. "East of Haunt. It was hard to drive and pay attention to street signs. She was all over me in the car." He grinned widely. "She sucked more than my blood." He kissed and told.
More than Law needed to know. "Did you see her face?"
"Nah, we stayed in costume," Brody said. "My green body-paint didn't sweat off during sex. Her white theatrical makeup glowed in the dark."
The Hulk and his vampire had chosen anonymity. Had Law and Wonder Woman connected, he would have stripped off her mask and learned her name. Set up a second date.
Brody pressed a shoulder to his locker and yawned. "Did you hook up?" he asked Law.
Law continued to dress. He wore old-fashioned short baseball pants and high socks in homage to the baseball greats who'd come before him. As he looped his belt, he was slow to say, "I met Wonder Woman."
Brody scratched his belly. "Did you join the Mile High Club in her invisible plane?"
The lady had climaxed and he'd suffered blue balls. "She booked." Law found it hard to admit. "I lost her in the parking lot."
Brody snorted. "That has to be a first. Women swarm you."
"I was in costume," Law said, defending himself. He'd dressed as an Avenger, not as a Rogue.
"You should've gone as Batman or Iron Man," Brody pointed out. "Their rich alter egos, Bruce Wayne and Tony Stark, are closer to your lifestyle. Richie Rich or Scrooge McDuck would've fit, too."
Law ignored him. The majority of the Rogues didn't give a shit about his birthright or inheritance. It was a known fact, though seldom discussed, that he came from money. He could pay a team's salary for an entire season and not make a dent in his trust fund. As long as he gave his all on game day, no one cared that his grandfather, Randall Burton Lawless, was ranked fourteenth on the Forbes 400. At eighty-six, the hotelier and CEO of Grace Hotels Worldwide allowed Law to be an athlete first and heir to the hotel chain second.
Brody grunted as he snagged a white T-shirt from his locker and pulled it over his head. "Captain America put patriotic on the map. Every woman wants a superhero."
"Wonder Woman has her own sense of justice." Law dropped onto a long wooden bench to tie his athletic shoes.
"We could hit the club again tonight," the shortstop suggested. "Maybe she'd show a second time."
Law doubted it. Wonder Woman had left so abruptly, he had the gut feeling she'd rush to return her costume and attempt to erase all memories of their dry hump on the dance floor. She'd write off her lasso and pay the rental shop for its loss.
At that moment, Law couldn't commit to another night out anyway. "We've got nine innings on a ninety-degree field. After the game, I meet with Zen Driscoll. If I'm not wiped out—"
"Don't go old on me, man," Brody said as he smeared black grease under his eyes to cut the glare of the sun. "My costume's rented for a week. I'd like to get some use out of it." He grinned. "If not Haunt, I could be Hulk at Hangovers."
Hangovers was a sports bar two blocks from the stadium, where crowds flocked nightly and the players got their egos stroked. Brody had proved an instant favorite. While Law had cut his teeth on the majors right out of college, Brody had spent three years in the minors. Nothing came easy for the West Virginian. Fans saw him as scrappy and persistent. He'd bled for his spot on the team roster, a position vacated by Zen Driscoll.
Zen had broken his ankle the previous season. The bones had healed nicely, but he'd lost the jump and pivot needed to play shortstop.
Fortunately, Zen had skills beyond baseball. He was also a financial genius. He'd left the Rogues and opened his own firm, dealing in investments, savings, stocks, bonds, annuities, mutual funds, government securities, and real estate. His specialty was matching properties and corporations to potential investors.
All the Rogues had tattoos on their groins, and Zen's read EINSTEIN. He was competent, trusted, and never let his dick think for him. Most of his teammates had sought Zen's assistance at some point to pad their retirement portfolios.
As the season progressed, Law planned to strong-arm Brody to meet with Zen. It was time the rookie invested his money in more than his dates.
Zen had given Law a list of potential investments, including Haunt. No one else knew the club was up for sale. Law hoped to close the deal today. He even had the perfect manager in mind.
Afterward, he'd look into smaller investments. Zen had assisted Law in establishing Prosper, an organization that supported graduates from the Richmond Business College in starting their careers as small-business owners.
Josh Prosper had inspired the foundation. He'd been a loyal fan of the Rogues for more than four decades. He slapped every player on the back after a game, win or lose. He went so far as to meet the team at the airport for out-of-town games, wishing them well on their departure, then welcoming them home on their return. Josh became the Rogues' good-luck charm, up until the day he disappeared.
The players had been puzzled over his unexplained absence. A month passed, and Law, Kason Rhodes, and Risk Kincaid searched him out. They'd found him sitting on the steps of his home, a foreclosure sign in the yard. Depression had wiped all expression from his face. Law had never seen a more vacant stare.
After a little nudging, Josh pressed the heels of his palms to his eyes and fell apart. He'd lost his job to downsizing and his wife to divorce, all in the same week. Bills had stacked up and credit agencies hounded him. He was close to jumping off a bridge.
He had a high school education, but company managers were looking for college graduates. Josh had filled out two hundred applications and no one had called for an interview. He no longer gave a shit.
The three Rogues came up with a solution. Kason wrote Josh a check to clear the foreclosure, which Josh insisted he'd pay back. Risk lined Josh up with a job at Jacy's Java, his wife's gourmet coffee shop. Josh was soon a barista with a cash flow.
Law went for the long-term solution. He helped Josh apply to the local business college. Once Josh graduated, Law helped him start his own business.
Josh now owned All-Sports Memorabilia. From baseball cards to autographed hockey sticks, he covered every professional sport. He'd become a new man with a bright future.
Law knew several of the professors at the college. The screening process for Prosper was rigorous. Law remained anonymous, no more than a silent partner, while those students who qualified went on to work and repay their loans. Once paid in full, each took ownership of his new business.
Many of the students were in their late thirties to early fifties, all good people with bad credit. Most had faltered under the poor economy and were trying to regain their footing. Law believed in second chances. He became their banker so they didn't have to jump through all the mortgage-lender hoops. They didn't need the humiliation of being denied credit. People deserved their dignity.
He was gratified to have sponsored twenty-two individuals, and he valued each success story.
Stretching now, James Lawless pushed to his feet. He needed to get his mind off Wonder Woman and Prosper and onto the game. The Rogues were currently second in the National League East standings, just behind the Marlins.
A commotion at the locker room entrance drew Law's attention. He glanced up to see the Bat Pack shoulder through the doors. Tight as brothers, third baseman Jesse "Romeo" Bellisaro, catcher Chase "Chaser" Tallan, and right fielder Cody "Psycho" McMillan could power the ball out of the park on just about any given pitch.
Behind the Pack came Kason Rhodes, the Rogues' intense left fielder. Team captain and center fielder Risk Kincaid sauntered in next. Starting pitcher Brek Stryker brought up the rear.
All the men were tough, dominant, and competitive. They owned cocky. Over the past four years, many of them had married. The bad boys of summer had become good husbands. While they kicked ass at the stadium, outside the park they were making babies. They'd soon be family men.
"Anyone have two lines on his pregnancy test?" Psycho asked the room at large. He stood before his locker and rolled his navy T-shirt off his shoulders. The shirt pictured a large white sperm and the words VARSITY SWIMMING.
When the players all shook their heads, Psycho pumped his arm. "Ante up then." He slipped a hundred-dollar bill from his wallet. "It's Psycho Daddy any day now."
Risk Kincaid fished out his own Benjamin Franklin. "My swimmers are faster than yours."
Psycho smirked. "I'm Olympic freestyle, old man, and you're dog-paddling."
Law shook his head. The men were betting on who would get his wife pregnant first. He watched as Psycho collected money from those in the baby pool. Psycho would later deposit the money in a savings account.
Psycho looked at Risk. "You're paying for my son's Harvard education."
"You'll have all girls." Risk's prediction made Psycho shudder. "You'll go to ballet recitals and play with dolls while I attend my son's sporting events."
"Bullshit." Psycho flipped Risk off. "I won't do Swan Lake or Barbie."
"I can picture you at a tea party," Romeo said. "A pink boa around your neck, pearl necklace, fake press-on nails."
"Asshole." Psycho shot the third baseman a dark look.
Law stood silently, taking it all in. Times had drastically changed. Not so long ago, the locker room echoed with talk of sports, booty calls, bars, and fast cars. Now fertility was the hot topic. The men were turning OB-GYN. It was weird as hell. Law couldn't wrap his head around the conversation. He had nothing to contribute.
"Boxers drop my stones," Chase Tallan grunted as he shucked his navy polo and jeans. He stood in loose blue cotton. "Jen swears Jockeys hold too much heat."
"You've got to let your boys breathe," put in Psycho, a known nudist. The man had never worn underwear.
Chaser frowned. "My wife drained our hot tub. I'm sworn to cold showers."
First baseman Rhaden Dunn sauntered into the locker room and took up the conversation. "It's abstinence at my house until Revelle ovulates."
Law listened with one ear as the men talked basal body temperature and fertility charting. They were definitely into their women. Brek gave his opinion on prenatal vitamins and folic acid while Romeo and Psycho moved to baby names: Axle McMillan worked for Psycho, but not for his wife, Keely; Romeo favored MacGyver, Mannix, or Magnum. His spouse had pulled the plug on all TV reruns.
Law found it unsettling. He missed the old locker room rants, rages, and sex talk. Single players were in the minority this season, and he felt odd man out.
"Jacy's grandmother recommended Geritol for getting pregnant," Risk announced.
Psycho stood naked before God and his teammates. "Sounds like an old wives' tale."
Romeo cut Psycho a look. "Bet you're the first to buy a bottle."
Psycho rubbed his stomach. "I'll admit I've had cravings—red licorice and black olives."
The ballplayers looked at him as if he'd lost his mind. Psycho pulled a face and stepped into his jock.
Amid it all, Law sucked air. He'd heard enough. If he listened any longer, his ears would bleed. He looked at Brody, who'd gone as white as the locker room walls. They weren't in the same place as the married veterans. Brody ran free and Law didn't do serious.
The very thought of a wife and kids proved the best contraception. Law practiced safe sex. He knew Brody packed Trojans. The kid's wallet bulged with rubbers.
"Ladies, get your ovaries onto the field." Coach Jared Dyson looked pointedly at Psycho as he passed through the room. A barrel-chested man with a tough-eyed stare, he was all baseball. "Hurry the fuck up."
Law ran his hand through his hair and slapped on his baseball cap. He realized he was in need of a cut. His hair was almost long enough to tie back. Team owner Guy Powers never complained about the length of a player's hair, though. He was more concerned about production.
Law nodded to Brody. "I'm gone."
Brody beat him to the door. Both men jogged down the tunnel toward the dugout. The remaining players showed within minutes and started their warm-ups. All thoughts quickly shifted from baby-making to kicking Raptor ass.
One fifteen. Home field, packed house.
A local recording artist sang the national anthem.
The Rogues took the field.
Play for both teams ran clean and competent; neither made mistakes or errors. The only confrontation came during the seventh-inning stretch when the mascots faced off.
That's when Ottawa's Rappy—an enormous bird with a wide wingspan and large, yellow plastic feet—drew a line in the dirt near home plate and dared the Rogues' Rally Ball to cross it.
Rally was a big white baseball with red stitching. The costume's leg- and armholes showcased long red-and-blue-striped sleeves and matching tights. Rally Ball had rolled and belly-butted the bird. Rappy then wing-slapped Rally.
The Richmond fans roared, threatening to pluck feathers. The home plate umpire separated the mascots with a warning of ejection. Both moved to their respective dugouts. Rally Ball glared over his round shoulder and Rappy spiked his yellow middle finger.
Following the disruption, the Rogues came to bat. The players' appearances were punctuated by musical selections. The songs were cranked to the max as the batters moved from the on-deck circle to home plate.
Psycho took his walk to "Crazy Train" by Ozzy Osbourne.
"Rock You Like a Hurricane" by the Scorpions gave Romeo focus.
Van Halen's "Jump" made Chaser's heart pump.
Kason made his statement with "Who Let the Dogs Out?" by Baha Men. The fans erupted with woof, woof, woof.
Psycho managed a single, but the other Rogues fanned air. Richmond again took the field. The game was now the pitcher's battleground.
Brek Stryker was on the mound for the Rogues. Diligent and precise, his ninety-six-mile-an-hour fastball dropped consecutive batters. Profanity and frustration accompanied each Raptor back to the dugout.
Overhead, summer heat stole into May, and the sun bleached the sky white. The players grew hot, sweaty, and irritable over their inability to score.
Psycho punched Romeo and Chaser in the biceps to motivate them. Romeo grunted and Chaser slugged him back. The men curled their lips and narrowed their eyes dangerously. They were mad at themselves for not bringing it. They began to battle harder.
Bottom of the eighth and the Rogues needed a rally. Brody hit fifth in the lineup, followed by first baseman Rhaden Dunn. Law batted seventh.
Excerpted from Sweet Spot by KATE ANGELL Copyright © 2012 by Kate Angell. Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON BOOKS. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Love her books, hope she keeps writing more. I've read almost all her other books and enjoyed them
I really enjoyed this book, like I've enjoyed all of Ms. Angell's books. The characters jump off the page at me and make me laugh.
The story is going great when we're interrupted - multiple times - by a different character's story. While it wasn't long, it interrupted the main story, and should have been put in a short story, or a bonus feature on a full length.
I really enjoyed this whole series and would recommend them as well as this author.
good book, but cover does not go with it
I think Ms. Angell was getting a little tired when she got this far LOL... I loved Books 1-4 but didn't like the last one quite as much... Being a sports junkie I loved the Baseball theme of these books and liked the up close and personal exposure to the players... I have a feeling they were fairly portrayed.. Lots of humor, lots of romance and a timely read as the Richmond Rogues were playing toward and won the World Series. If you like Baseball even a little bit you will like this series.
Kate Angell brings back the hot boys of summer in her latest Sweet Spot. James “Law” Lawless gives his all on the baseball field. When he gets a chance to blow off some steam he goes for it 100%. At a costume party he is enthralled by a seductive stranger who heats up the dance floor. But before he can find out her name she disappears. Catherine “Cat” May was checking out a hot bar as a potential investment for a client. She hadn’t planned on getting some heavy action with Captain America. Cat will take this secret to her grave but the jig may be up when the man behind the mask is her newest client. Law is convinced he has met Cat somewhere before. It will take all his skills on and off the field to find out the identity of his mystery woman . Cat and Law slowly take their relationship from the professional to the hot and sexy. Will Law forgive Cat her secret when it comes out? Sweet Spot is fun and sexy. Previous characters light up the pages and its nice to revisit old friends. Cat and Law are delightful and you can’t help rooting for them to find their happy ending. You can’t go wrong with any Kate Angell story.
Loved the book!
I have waited a long time for this book! Loved James Lawless and Catherine 'Cat' May. Loved seeing the rest of theguys make an apperance and a look forward at their lives at the end. I have loved this whole series and am very sad to see this is the last one :-( Great Job as always!
This a nice end to the baseball series. I loved the overall story the best and enjoyed that snippets of all the players at the very end.
This is the first book I have read by Kate Angell. Loved it. Can't wait to read the previous books in the series. (#5 in series)
A fun summer read, baseball and romance!