Title: Stealing Home
Series: St. Michaels Duet #2
Author: Harlow Cole
Genre: Contemporary Sports Romance
Release Date: August 1, 2019
I’ve given up. On my childish dreams.
On getting out of this town. On love. On him.
I’m barely treading water.
I’m the man with it all.
The pinstriped jersey covering my back garners easy cash, flashy cars and fast women. My gilded name drapes over the city in neon. I have everything. Everything, except the thing I crave most. Ashley Foster.
There’s one addiction I never tried to beat.
They say you can never go home again. I’m out to prove them wrong. But what if returning requires facing all the things you destroyed? To what lengths would you go to earn forgiveness?
Would you beg? Would you borrow? Would you steal?
Stealing home is the riskiest move in baseball. But the reward… If it works? Winning her back is a chance I’m finally ready to take.
My pockets are filled with stars.
It’s time to follow them home.
This time, I don’t want to steal her firsts,
I want to lay claim on all her lasts.
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I pumped the gas pedal a half-dozen times, trying to will the thing back to life, as I coasted to the gravel shoulder on the side of the road. I slumped forward, resting my forearms and brow against the oversized steering wheel, locked inside disbelief of the shittiest luck possible. I’d become one of those blow-up punching dolls with the sand in the bottom. The kind fists keep pummeling ’cause the stupid thing never has the sense to stay down.
Begrudgingly, I popped the hood release and hopped down out of the cab. I had no clue how to diagnose the problem, but broken-down suckers on the roadside always pretend to look at the engine.
I played along.
Stepping up onto the rusted front bumper, I stared at the pile of dirty metal while daydreaming about tossing a match inside and walking away. At least bending over under the hood shielded part of me from the rain.
The sound of tires crunching through the gravel behind the truck brought a sigh of sweet relief. I looked back up at the heavens and felt bad for not trusting my angel to send help. Jumping down from my perch on the bumper, I brushed my hands down the front of my khaki shorts as I rounded the front of the cab to call out to my hero. Cruel disbelief blossomed in the back of my throat.
“You’ve got to be shitting me. This is not happening.”
He’s still in town?
It had been almost a week. A week of trying to make myself believe our run-in at Foxy’s was just another bad dream. Six freaking days of convincing myself life couldn’t possibly be that cruel. I’d avoided the town gossip machine buzzing furiously about his sudden return. But no one else would drive that car. It looked like money on wheels. The black paint and sleek lines made my truck’s chipped blue exterior and scratched marina logo look even more pathetic. Some folks in St. Michaels had seen a Maserati.
Nobody in town drove one.
Certainly not one with New York plates.
I lifted my face to the rain, letting it wash away my urge to cry, as the driver’s side door popped open, and my worst day of the week took a turn for my worst day ever. He was dressed casually in a pair of shiny black athletic shorts and a plain gray sweatshirt, slightly frayed across the bottom hem by time and fondness. The hood bunched up around his neck, framing the sharp jawline that sported thick, dark scruff.
Brayden Ross turned gym-rat attire into the costume of a sex god.
He suffered from that strange anomaly that saddled people with fame and fortune. As a little girl, I’d seen it in his father and his father’s friends. They seemed crisper around the edges or something. Like brand-new bills freshly spit from the ATM instead of crumpled dollars that spent life stuffed in back pockets and sweaty bras.
He didn’t walk toward me; he prowled.
Slow and steady with this sexy gait that deserved its own theme music.
The rain didn’t even try to touch him.
This second sighting didn’t level the same sucker punch. More like a queasy dysphoria. A bad case of déjà vu that punctured skin and vein. Half of me wanted to run, throw my arms around his waist, and hold on for dear life. The other half wanted to put my hands around his neck and squeeze hard.
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Harlow Cole is a former journalism student, turned techie, turned mother, who finally decided at age forty-plus what she wants to be if she ever she grows up. Her writing journey first began in sixth grade, when she and her best friend penned boy band fanfiction in an old spiral notebook. Harlow is a connoisseur of peanut M&Ms, brand-new school supplies and angst-filled love stories that always end happy. At fifteen, she met her first love. They’ve now been married for twenty years. They reside in suburban Washington, DC, where Harlow moonlights as a taxi driver for their farting beagle and teenage twins. Interference and Stealing Home are her debut novels.