Happy Tuesday, all! And happy release day to my friend, MJ Compton, whose sexy sports romance Summer Fling is out today from Loose Id! If you enjoy stories featuring strong heroines and hot athletic heroes, you'll love this one!
Caroline Maplethorpe spent a summer as plaything for a minor league baseball team…and oh, how Win Winston played.
Seven years later, she’s respectable, and he’s in the big leagues. Now that he’s found her again, he still wants her in a major way. But their second-chance relationship attracts too much publicity, and the third member of their long-ago ménage threatens to destroy the respectable life Caroline so carefully reconstructed after that crazy summer.
This was my life now. Calm. Orderly. Mundane. I had this great Armory Square apartment, I was on speaking terms with my family again, and I had a job I enjoyed. It was enough.
The intercom buzzed, but I ignored it. Drunks stumbling out of the multitude of bars often amused themselves by annoying the residents. Chandler would have either returned to the café or gone home, and my family always called before they visited me.
A lone figure lurched into view, shoulders hunched against the cold. Snow swirled around him. He stood under the streetlight, looking up at me.
Our gazes met. I swallowed hard. Just like that, he knew where I lived, and that was not a good thing. He stared at me for what seemed like forever, then ambled away.
My intercom belched again. I uncurled from my perch and stumbled to the speaker. “Yes?”
I still heard that voice in my dreams. I was going to have to speak to Win eventually. Might as well get it over with.
I buzzed him in. Then I opened the door and watched him lumber up the dimly lit stairs.
He was larger than life, filling my doorway with his height and bulk, bringing the cold and the scent of winter with him.
I didn’t offer to take his coat. “What do you want?”
His dark eyes glittered in the flickering candlelight. Flakes of snow melted in his black curls. “Carrie Thorpe.”
“There’s no such person,” I said.
“No wonder I couldn’t find you.” His deep voice rumbled through me. “I looked, you know. For years. On every form of social media I heard of. But no Carrie Thorpe ever popped up.”
“She doesn’t exist,” I repeated, not believing him.
“Caroline Maplethorpe slumming it in Cortland.” His tone was bitter.
“Caroline Maplethorpe trying not to trade in on her father’s name,” I retorted, stung by his accusation. The truth was far less dramatic.
Win still had the power to annihilate me, but I’d never let him know how vulnerable he made me. Survival. That was my priority.
“You’ve done well for yourself,” I said. I’d followed his career to the majors, his injury two seasons ago, and the subsequent surgery that led him to a rehab stint in Syracuse.
“If you mean better than Flash, then yeah.”
Flash. Jordan “Flash” Gordon. He’d introduced Win to me, in a manner of speaking.
“I got called up for three games, and you disappeared,” Win said. “I went a little crazy.”
“It was time for me to leave. College was starting. The timing had nothing to do with your getting called up.”
That was the truth. Part of it anyway.
He stared at me. Through me. He’d always been able to peer into the crevices of my soul.
“What do you want?” My voice shook.
The intensity of his gaze never wavered. “I don’t know.”
That was new. Seven years ago, Win Winston had always known what he wanted.
“I thought I wanted you, but now you’re telling me you don’t exist.”
There were many things I could have said. I could have asked if he’d never had a meaningful relationship with another woman, but that would imply he’d found our relationship meaningful. While it was certainly memorable, I doubted it had much meaning for him.
Didn’t he understand the rules? What we’d had that long-ago summer was a fling. He was a young, good-looking, up-and-coming pitcher, and I was a young, out-of-control, self-destructive girl on the run from emotions I couldn’t handle. I would have done anything to be able to feel.
I did everything I could in order to feel something. Anything.
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MJ Compton grew up near Cardiff, New York, a place best known for its giant, which inspired her to create her own fiction.
Although her 30-year career in local television included such highlights as being bitten by a lion, preempting a US President for a college basketball game, giving a three-time world champion boxer a few black eyes, a mention in the Drudge Report, and meeting her husband, MJ never lost her dream of writing her own stories.
MJ still lives in upstate New York with her husband. She’s a member of Romance Writers of America and Central New York Romance Writers. Music and cooking are two of her passions, and she enjoys baseball and college basketball, but she’s primarily focused on wine . . . and writing.
MJ's website: http://www.comptonplations.com/