Boys of Summer [Secure eReader]
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eBook by Leslie Kelly & Julie Leto & Kimberly Raye
eBook Category: Romance
eBook Description: Baseball. The crack of the bat, the roar of the crowd ... and the view of mouthwatering men in tight uniforms! A sport in which the men are men ... and the women like them that way. Join three of Harlequin Blaze's bestselling authors in celebrating the men who indulge in this All-American pastime--and the women who help them indulge in other things... In "Fever Pitch", Julie Elizabeth Leto introduces Callie Andrews, a woman who's dying to have one last chance at bat... with her ex-husband! In Kimberly Raye's "The Sweet Spot", Babe Bannister discovers that striking out with a sexy shortstop isn't so bad--especially when it leads to hitting a home run with a delicious coach.... And in Leslie Kelly's "Sliding Home", we meet plain Janie Nolan. She's been sitting on the bench so long, she doesn't even realize she's still in the game. That is, until a sexy pitcher tempts her to come up to the plate and take a swing...
eBook Publisher: Harlequin/Blaze
Fictionwise Release Date: July 2006
32 Reader Ratings:
"TELL ME AGAIN why you divorced him?"
Callie Andrews held her gaze steady on the reservations computer, not needing to look up to see who had crossed the polished brass threshold of Diamond, the only four-star restaurant in Louisville's sports-entertainment district. She'd only divorced one man in her twenty-nine-year life and no one—her starry-eyed waitresses, fawning busboys or unflappable maître d'—could understand why she'd dismissed such a prime cut of a man. No one seemed able to comprehend how the marriage of a sharp-minded beauty like herself from the wrong side of the tracks and the wealthy Prince Charming from the castle on the hill couldn't have been glorious together—the stuff of romance novels and fairy tales. And even after six years since the ink on the legal papers had dried, Callie didn't have the heart, or the stomach, to explain.
Instead, she gave her hostess a sharp, humorless grin and gestured toward the computer screen so her employee could forget about Callie's ex-husband and call the next group to dine.
With a haughty roll of her eyes, the hostess grabbed a stack of menus and stalked away. Taking a fortifying breath, Callie looked up, expecting to see Donovan Ross strolling up to her, shaking hands, signing autographs and posing for pictures, as if he were the star player of the Louisville Slammers baseball team rather than the team's owner. But instead, she watched as the crowd spilled from the bar and waiting area to close in on him. A loud crowd. An angry crowd.
Callie instantly ducked around the gleaming reproduction of the Slammers' World Series trophy and barreled through the tightening throng. Though Donovan looked as unflappable as ever in his crisp burgundy polo, finely cut blazer, worn, scruffy jeans and two-thousand dollar boots, the man jabbing his finger mere inches from her ex-husband's face was not so cool.
Callie did a double take.
The man taking her ex to task was the normally soft-spoken, even-tempered mayor.
Callie slipped between the two men. "Mayor Davidson. Party of three, yes? I'm afraid your usual table won't be available for a while, so I'd like you to take my private table, if that's all right with you?"
Her gregarious tone, gentle but firm touch and subtle scans around the room broke through the mayor's bluster.
"Callie, yes…that would be lovely."
But he glared back at Donovan before leaving, jabbing his finger one last time. "I'm not through with you, Ross. You're tearing apart the fabric of this community and I won't allow it."
Cecil Boudreux, Callie's efficient maître d', suddenly appeared, his slender arm extended graciously toward the restaurant. His slightly affected French accent—Cecil had been born and raised in Kansas City more than fifty-six years ago—soothed the mayor.
"Please, Your Honor," Cecil crooned. "You prefer the aged, single malt Scotch, yes? I've already sent your server to fetch it."
With a gruff apology to Callie, Mayor Davidson followed Cecil to Callie's private table, which was always set for emergencies such as this one.
She glanced at her ex-husband, who had the audacity to wink at her, despite the fact that the crowd wasn't milling in stunned silence or breaking up now that the show was over. Antagonistic whispers flowed and several men, judging by the bulging veins and tightly clenched jaws, were considering taking up where the mayor left off. And for once, the women were scrunching up their noses at Donovan as if he carried a foul odor rather than his signature combination of heady musk and spiced sandalwood.
"May I show you to your table?" she asked him.
Donovan quirked a half grin, bringing the scar on his lower left cheek into sharp relief. It looked like a dimple and, God knew, few women could resist a man with dimples.
Luckily, she'd had practice.
"You just gave away our table," Donovan said, his voice husky, deep and heated with sensual sizzle.
She stiffened her spine with enough ice to keep his tone from melting through to those sensitive spots he knew so well. She led him away from the crowd before she responded. "That table was never ours, Donovan."
"More's the pity."
She bit her lip to keep any sharp retort to herself. She'd just averted a major disruption to her restaurant's legendary relaxed atmosphere and she wasn't about to let Donovan or his drama, flirtatious or otherwise, disrupt her business. She'd worked too hard to rise to the top of Louisville's business community to allow some tiff between the mayor and the city's favorite son to derail her success.
As she led Donovan through the main dining area, she smiled and greeted her guests with grace and ease. But about halfway through the room, she realized her ex's presence was giving everyone a serious case of heartburn—even customers who hadn't yet been served. When she met his eyes, he merely grinned. What the hell had he done? She clearly couldn't seat him anywhere in the main dining area without starting a riot.
"Did you trade Cody Cameron right before the start of the season or something? If looks could kill…"
"I'd be the main ingredient in steak tartare. You must be in heaven."
She winced. Despite her long-lasting antagonism toward her ex, she couldn't lump him in with the same unappetizing dish she refused to put on her menu. She didn't despise him. She actually still liked him, arrogance and all. And, God help her, the man's sexiness had only increased since their breakup. Their marriage had been relatively short and in the subsequent divorce, she'd received the seed money to finance Diamond, her lifelong dream, and Fever Pitch, the adjacent bar she'd designed to look more than a little like the place where they'd met seven years ago. And since he'd taken it upon himself to treat his entire team to dinner or lunch at her establishments after every home game, the restaurant had built a reputation as "the place to be" from April to September—baseball season. Her exquisite food, extensive wine list and efficient staff took care of luring customers the rest of the year. She owed a great deal to Donovan, but certainly not enough to let him disrupt the dining experience of this evening's customers.
Copyright © 2006 by Julie Elizabeth Leto, Kimberly Raye, Leslie Kelly