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Authors: Jen Doyle

Calling It

BOOK: Calling It
2.33Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

Calling It
By Jen Doyle

Baseball player Nathan Hawkins needs to get away from Chicago. After a near career-ending car accident and with paparazzi surrounding his penthouse, Nate can only think of one place to go: home. But when he finds his old apartment occupied by a half-naked woman wielding a baseball bat, he’s not sure what to think...except that maybe his luck has finally changed for the better.

Librarian Dorie Donelli never thought she’d get to meet her fantasy man in person—much less in her bathrobe. To her surprise, her nearly naked run-in with Nate leads to more unclothed encounters. But Dorie is sure their fling is only temporary. As long as she remembers he’ll be gone once his life gets back on track, she won’t get hurt. In the meantime, she throws herself into enjoying their three weeks together before he has to report for spring training and go back to his old life.

For Nate, being with Dorie is the only time in months that he finds himself smiling.
. And he has no intention of letting that go. He might even be falling in love...if only Dorie will let him say the words. What they have isn’t just a dream, but the start of a dream come true.

This book is approximately 101,000 words

Carina Press acknowledges the editorial services of Alissa Davis

Dear Reader,

Maybe the term
isn’t a new one, but it does seem to be something that’s been getting a lot of buzz in the past year or so in the romance world. But what is an antihero? In my mind, the antihero is one who has to be redeemed, providing a delicious platform for character growth and emotional conflict. But even though he’s an antihero, perhaps doing morally questionable things we can’t always approve of, he still proves his love and devotion to the heroine, providing us as readers with the opportunity to enjoy seeing a real bad boy get his happy ending.

I love a great antihero, and this April I’m pleased to introduce you to Haithem, from
Didn’t I Warn You
by Amber Bardan. Mysterious, foreign, gorgeous, Haithem has a secret, and it’s one he’ll kill to protect until he accomplishes the goal he’s set out to achieve. Lucky for Angelina, he chooses not to kill her...but he does kidnap her, holding her against her will, using her body against her. And when he ultimately becomes incredibly possessive of her... Haithem offers Angelina a chance to feel again. But can she love the devil who’s destroying her, even as he keeps her prisoner?

Mr. Sexy
CEO Gregory Ryans might not be an antihero, but that doesn’t make him any less compelling. The second installment of Laura Carter’s darkly sexy Vengeful Love trilogy,
Vengeful Love:
, is packed with tension. Adrift in the aftermath of a murder, each desperate to protect the other, Scarlett and Gregory are faced with a harsh truth: there are some things money can’t buy.

Jen Doyle debuts with her contemporary romance,
Calling It
. After a car accident nearly ends his career and with paparazzi surrounding his Chicago penthouse, professional baseball player Nate Hawkins can only think of one place to go: home. But when he finds his old apartment occupied by a half-naked woman wielding a baseball bat, he’s not sure what to think...except that maybe his luck has finally changed for the better.

Also with a contemporary sports romance release this month is Elizabeth Harmon and
Getting It Back
. If you’re a sucker for a second-chance romance, this one will be right up your alley with a former top men’s figure-skating champion who’s willing to risk everything for a comeback—except a new start with the only woman he’s ever loved.

Mia Kay keeps things suspenseful. In her romantic suspense
Hard Silence
, an FBI profiler chasing an interstate serial killer never expects his love life and his professional life to collide. But he gets more than he bargained for when he falls for the lovely, secretive ranch owner—who just might hold the key to his investigation.

Move a little mystery into your life! In
Permanently Booked
by Lisa Q. Mathews, May-December sleuthing duo Summer Smythe and Dorothy Westin are back on the case after the murder of a dedicated librarian. To lure the killer out of hiding, they revamp the once-dull Hibiscus Pointe Book Club—and discover someone’s added more than wine, cheese and book talk to the agenda.

If antiheroes are something you’re looking for more of, we hope you’ll check out
Didn’t I Warn You
. And maybe take a peek back at Joely Sue Burkhart’s
One Cut Deeper
Two Cuts Darker
. Coming in July, don’t miss badass biker Dare as he takes on his feisty heroine in Jade Chandler’s new erotic motorcycle club series, The Jericho Brotherhood.

Coming next month: The fantastic conclusion to the Vengeful Love trilogy, male/male new-adult fare to make you happy, make you sigh and make you wish the authors would write faster, and an erotic new series from Anna del Mar.

As always, until next month here’s wishing you a wonderful month of books you love, remember and recommend.

Happy reading!

~Angela James
Executive Editor, Carina Press

Chapter One

They were crucifying him on sports radio. Again. Tonight’s theme was NateGate: Is Baseball’s Hawkins Out For Good? and, considering that he was the Nate Hawkins they were talking about, he was an idiot for listening in the first place.

“So the team’s doctors have just come out and said he’ll be fine to play in the spring, but I have to be honest, Jim. We’re supposed to believe that he’ll be good to go when pitchers and catchers report in less than a month? He’s not a twenty-two-year-old kid anymore. Bones that old don’t heal the way they used to.”

That old? He was thirty-three, for fuck’s sake.

“Marco, I’m not too worried about his knee...”

Exactly. His knee was freaking fine.

“What’s bothering me are the rumors I’m starting to hear about the Breathalyzer test results being faked.”

“Are you

And now he was arguing with the radio.

Perfect. Good thing it was practically the middle of the night and his was the only car on the highway. It would be just his luck to have someone snap a picture of him as he was yelling at his dashboard.

“I mean, the guy’s SUV rolled, what, seven times? That doesn’t just happen. And we’re getting nothing from team management despite the fact that they’ve invested a bucketload of money in him, plus nothing from the man himself... Things are not adding up. Let’s go to the phones.”

Listening to guys who were paid to stir up shit was bad enough. But the callers? Hell, no. He had to shut it off.

And yet he let it go on for another fifteen minutes. It was like driving by a wreck on the highway: nearly impossible to turn your head away.

So much for his adoring public. Christ. He was actually grateful to see the red-and-blue lights of a police car flashing behind him. He’d clearly sunk to a new low.

With relief, he shut off the radio and pulled over.

He was reaching for his license when a familiar voice came over the speaker. “You bringing your shitstorm to
town? Get out of the car, Hawkins.”

Nate grinned at the familiar voice, despite the fact that the whole point of fleeing to his mom’s house was to go off the grid for a while. “Tuck,” he said, hand outstretched as they came face-to-face. “Last time I saw you...”

The other man grabbed Nate’s hand and pulled him into a one-armed hug. “Thirteen years ago?” Tuck said. “Damn, you and Wash were on fire during that game. Don’t get me wrong, watching you behind home plate isn’t a chore. But seeing you on the court...”

Nate worked hard at not letting his smile fade as he allowed the words to die their own quiet death. He had enough on his plate without inviting the past to edge its way in, too.

After a moment, Tuck shrugged. “Guess basketball wasn’t the same without your boys behind you.”

His ‘boys.’ Right. Wash, Jason, Deke and Cal, teammates who had been as close as brothers, but with whom Nate had barely spoken in over two years. New subject. “I thought you moved to Denver. I didn’t know you were back.”

“No reason you would.” Tuck’s eyes dropped, a standard reaction these days. “You’ve been a bit preoccupied.”

That got a genuine—if harsh—laugh out of Nate. He leaned back against his car and crossed his arms in front of him. “Can’t imagine where you heard that.”

Which was a joke, of course, the radio show being case in point. The car accident itself had been bad enough, but when you were the all-star catcher for one of Chicago’s baseball teams and had just recently signed with the city’s new expansion team in a record-breaking deal, that bought you headlines nationwide.

Tuck leaned against the car, as well. “Shit, Hawk. You okay?”

Talk about a loaded question. The car accident in itself had sucked. His career being potentially over sucked shit. But to have his name still being dragged through the mud after it was all said and should have been done? He’d been in self-imposed exile for six fucking weeks and was still afraid he might just lose his shit and hurt someone.

But he’d been in the public eye long enough to know that even one grumble made you come off like a spoiled, out-of-touch asshole. “I’ve had better months.” He forced a shrug and tried not to sound bitter. “So is this about the drinking and driving thing? You want me to walk the line? Recite the alphabet?”

He’d even taken a Breathalyzer test, although that was the biggest laugh of all. One of the few things he remembered about the accident was that he’d been stone-cold sober. The results that proved it had been released weeks ago—and yet as they’d said on the radio, there was a vocal camp stirring up rumors that he’d faked it. Because the story about his (now) ex-fiancée sleeping with his (now) ex-best friend wasn’t juicy enough.

Tuck smiled. “No tests.” He nodded at the car. The limited edition Porsche Nate’s ex had given him. “This guy I used to coach apparently got himself one of these. Had to see it up close.”

That one earned a genuine smile—it felt like ages since someone had just been nice. “It was an engagement present.” One he had no love for. Which was fine because, as it turned out, Nate apparently had to give it back. Pete, his attorney, had texted that little bit of info an hour ago.

For a minute, Tuck just looked at him. Then, having obviously gathered Nate wasn’t in a mood to chat, he gave a slow nod before saying, “Heading out to your mom’s?”

“It was a last-minute thing,” Nate said. “I thought I’d surprise her.”

This time Tuck was the one crossing his arms in front of his chest. “Well, then, you might want to make other plans.”

“Why? What’s wrong with my mom’s place?”

Tuck shrugged. “This didn’t come from me, but I heard she had company tonight. I figure that’s not something you want to find out the hard way.”

“Company?” Nate repeated, belatedly realizing what Tuck meant. “My
” That was...disturbing.

“Not my business.” Tuck straightened up and smiled, signaling an end to the discussion. “The boys’ basketball team is having a run that would make The Dream proud. You should stop by. They’d be over the moon.”

Normally Nate wouldn’t hesitate—though he’d made his living playing baseball for the past twelve years, basketball was where it had all begun. But a packed-to-the-gills gymnasium wasn’t at the top of his Places I Want To Be list. He gave as noncommittal an answer as possible, said goodbye and then got back into his car, waving as Tuck drove off.

As he started up the engine, he considered where to go next. One of his sisters would be his best bet. They weren’t happy with him for being so out of touch over the past couple of years, but they wouldn’t turn him away, either. Ella was most likely asleep since she was up at dawn with her horses, so she was out of the question. And Jules, though potentially still awake, tended to have the strongest opinions about the way he lived his life. So that was a no.

Which left Fitz. She might razz him a bit, but she wouldn’t push. She might even let him hide out for a few days. Plus, he owned the apartment she lived in and had his own key. He gunned the gas and headed into town.

BOOK: Calling It
2.33Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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