By: Arlene Hittle
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Humor
Publisher: Turquoise Morning Press
Publication Date: March 2014
Spunky, independent graphic designer Meg Malone finds herself pregnant soon after her no-good boyfriend abandons her for the professional poker circuit. Glad to be out of that mess, she swears off relationships. Then she meets Matt Thatcher, a solid, stable man, who throws her plans a curve.
Matt, an up-and-coming minor league catcher burned one too many times by women who see him as their ticket to the good life, carefully guards his heart against “baseball babes.” He’s drawn to Meg for many reasons, chief among them she has no clue what he does for a living.
Will it be game over when their secrets come to light? Or is their budding relationship strong enough to win the World Series of love?
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“Oh God. Tell me you didn’t feed her some line so you could sleep with her.”
His brother’s reaction stunned him into silence. That’s exactly what he’d done, even if he hadn’t been conscious of it at the time. When he rediscovered his voice, he asked, “Why would that be so terrible?”
“That girl needs a man with staying power you have yet to demonstrate.”
Stan’s accusation hit him with the power of a 105 mph fastball, and Matt sank to the floor again. His butt hit the carpet with a soft “thunk.” His brother was right. These days, his relationships lasted no longer than Greg’s.
“Please tell me you’re still in the same room with her. Meg’ll feel abandoned all over again if you’re not there when she wakes up.”
Odd that Stan was more concerned about Meg than his own flesh and blood. “Are you forgetting who you’re related to? I’m your brother.”
Stan’s silence spoke volumes. Wondering how he managed to convey such strong disapproval without saying a word, Matt sighed. “I’m in the hallway outside the room. Does that count?”
“Barely.” Stan sniffed. “I suggest you get back in there, pronto.”
He started to do as his brother suggested, scrambling to his feet again. Before he took a single step toward the door, panic swelled in his throat. “I’m not ready to be a father!”
“Did she ask you to be?”
He had to admit that she didn’t. She’d merely said her future would include a baby. He, fool that he was, had assured her he was okay with that. In the cold light of day, however, he was anything but okay with the thought of being responsible for a small human. With all the time he spent on the road, he wasn’t home regularly enough to keep a houseplant alive, let alone a child.
“I’m only twenty-eight, Stan! That’s too young to be a father.”
His brother snorted. “Some men become fathers at eighteen.”
“Not good ones.”
This time, Stan chuckled. “Touché. But to hear you tell it, the team’s owners are ready to put you out to pasture at twenty-eight. You can’t have it both ways, bro.”
He ran his free hand through his hair. “Do you blame me for being confused?”
“Not at all. But you need to sort out your feelings. Fast. It’s not fair to Meg to lead her on.”
Again with Meg’s feelings? He scowled at the phone. “Your concern for Meg overwhelms me.”
“She’s already been through enough, Matty. She deserves a guy who treats her like a princess.”
Guilt stabbed at him as he remembered how vulnerable Meg had looked when she mentioned her ex being “out of the picture.” He shuddered. No way did he want to be responsible for putting that look on her face. “I can’t argue with that.”
“Then go back to bed.”
“That’s the best idea you’ve had all morning.” With that, Matt disconnected the call and re- entered his hotel room. His brother’s advice was dead-on, as usual—even if he’d never admit that to Stan. He’d be there for Meg now, when she needed him. With any luck, they’d get tired of each other before he had to commit to fatherhood.
Arlene Hittle is a Midwestern transplant who now makes her home in northern Arizona. She suffers from the well-documented Hittle family curse of being a Cubs fan but will root for the Diamondbacks until they run up against the Cubs. Longtime friends are amazed she writes books with sports in them, since she’s about as coordinated as a newborn giraffe and used to say marching band required more exertion than golf. Find her at arlenehittle.com, on Twitter or on Facebook.
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