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Authors: Ren Alexander

Igniting the Wild Sparks

BOOK: Igniting the Wild Sparks
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Igniting
the Wild Sparks

By Ren Alexander

 

Smashwords Edition

Copyright 2014 Ren Alexander

 

 

 

Smashwords Edition, License Notes

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you're reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to Smashwords.com and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

Acknow
ledgments

 

 

First of all, thank you to Tim and our girls. Without their patience and understanding, this book would’ve never been published. Thank you for believing in me and supporting my dream.

Thank you to Trin, who stayed with me until the bittersweet end
, and whose friendship has sustained the test of time.

Thank you to Megan. Your fierce loyalty slays me. Friendship like that is rare, as are
you.

Jaime, thank you for your unexpected friendship. You’re in inspiration to me, believe it or not. Oh, and thanks for the Finn pics. What in the hell would I do without you?

Ashley. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for your blind faith and trust in me. I’m so lucky to have you as a friend. Our chats about Barn Owl are flipping epic. Don’t forget the rooster pics and you’ll be good to go.

My assistant, Angie. Where have you been all my life? Thank you also goes to you for the Finn pics, the late-night chats, and the kick-ass attitude. Blaze of glory, girl. Let’s do this.

My tour manager Shannon. You are one crazy chick, but I wouldn’t have you any other way. Thank you for the push to get this book DONE. Now take it down a notch…or 50. JK. Not really.

Patti. Thank you for being th
e one friend north of the border that everyone should have. Just don’t tell anyone I said that.

To my
SINNERS! A.M. “Rocking Rusty Palisade” Madden, L.L. “Cool Rainbow Donovan” Collins, Skye “Fiery Turtle Bird” Turner, Ann “Huckleberry” Vaughn, Tricia “That Canadian” Daniels, J.M. “Ducking” Witt, A.D. “Wicked Stalker” Justice, and keeping us all in line and in the fence, our “Warden” Christine. Your friendship, faith, and encouragement have meant the world to me. Without you, I wouldn’t be at this point. I truly believe that. Each one of you have been awesome to me in your own way. I love every single one of you. You bitches rock!

To my Daredevils
and honorary members (you know who you are)! You daring chicks rock my glitter socks and then some! Thank you for all of your support. I wouldn’t be here without any of you, either. I can’t thank you enough. I hope I can repay all of you sometime soon.

Thank you, MB for the shirt and the fandom. Still mortifying, though.

Thank you to Dad and Ann for believing in their daughter’s dream.

Thank you to all of my readers! I have met and made so many awesome friends through this journey! I hope you’ll stay with me because in the end, that’s all we have.

 

“To thine own self be true
…”

~
William Shakespeare

 

Here we go…

To Ann Main
s,

my middle school English teacher.

You encouraged me to write

from the heart and to be fierce

about it, no matter the cost.

I miss you.

“Never mess around in a prepositional phrase.”

Got it…sometimes.

 

 

 

For MCA.

“Life comes in phases, take the good with the bad.”

 

 

 

CHAPTER 1

 

 

 

“Does Wilder make you put gloves on before handling his balls?”

Rod pulls into the parking lot at the community center, which is a little farther than a mile away from work. Our games will actually be played at another field across town, but Finn wanted us to meet somewhere that wasn’t being used by the other teams. He had also instructed us to each bring a glove so we could toss around a few balls, which was the fuel Rod needed to spew a string of anecdotes concerning Finn’s testicles.

“If so, what kind? Your softball glove would definitely chafe the sensitive skin down below, and he wouldn’t even be able to feel your fingers. Rubber gloves would be like using a condom, which I hear Wilder
hates
.” He snorts and I try so hard to ignore him. “What about those soft, winter gloves that feel like a kitten’s fur? Because, you know, you’d be petting his junk with your pussy gloves.”

I look out my window, shaking my head. “Can you just stop now?”

Obviously on a roll, he says, “When you wash Wilder’s balls, you should watch what kind of soap you use since it could turn them colors. No coach wants rainbow balls. You may as well sprinkle them with glitter then.”

I smack his arm and reach for the door. “Shit. Just shut up, Rod!” I grouse, teetering on the boarder of laughing until I cry, or crying before I break something, like Greg Rodwell’s face.

“I was talking about the softballs this time!” he lies with a laugh while stroking his arm where I hit him. “Lighten up, Hadders! You’re depressing my Garfield air freshener! Jesus!”

After a couple hours, I cried myself into a restless sleep last night. This morning, I stayed in bed until I only had 10 minutes before Rod picked me up. I’m not going to win any beauty pageants with the bags under my eyes, a half-assed ponytail and nonexistent makeup, not that I had a snowball’s chance of accidentally stumbling into last place in one of those things anyway.

Upon getting into Rod’s truck, I informed him I need to go to the jewelry store to pick up Finn’s ring after practice. Rod actually was more excited about that then I was.

I jump out of his truck as he walks around to my side with a sour look on his face. I impatiently pull at the tips of my brand new, black softball glove. “What?”

He tucks his brown glove underneath his arm and scrutinizes my body. “I can’t believe you didn’t at least sex it up a bit. A T-shirt and sweats? How am I going to cop a feel with you wearing that shit?”

Tired from a lack of sleep, I wearily reply, “You will not be copping anything, Rod, so hands off.”

He scoffs, “Well, damn. You should’ve worn a shirt that says, ‘Property of Finn Wilder. Hands off!’”

“Birthday gift,” I lamely singsong as a joke, but it comes off like a sad plea.

“I guess I’ll have to return the car I bought you,” he flatly retorts as we start walking. “Well, where’s your slutty makeup? You could have worn some instead of opting for the Michael Myers look.”

I irritably snap, “Fuck you, Rodwell.”

He wheezes in surprise and stops walking as I continue past him to Morgan, who is standing a short distance from the field. She smiles and I pause when she looks past me to Rod, asking, “Hey. Where’s our coach? I thought he would’ve driven you here.”

I resume walking and she falls into step next to me with Rod trailing after. “No, you know I haven’t seen him since Monday.”

“I thought maybe you gave in and stayed with him last night.”

I shake my head. “He wanted me to, but I didn’t.”

“So, you talked to him?”

“Yeah, finally. He was a little plastered, so he wasn’t in the greatest mood.”

Without looking at her, I still can hear the frown in her voice as I toy with my glove. “Does he get drunk
every
weekend when he’s not with you?”

Val, Gloria Charleton, Gloria’s paralegal Betsy Litman, Shasta, Sylvie, Grant and some guy I’ve never seen before come into view as we near the field. “It seems like it,” I grumble and stare out to the field instead of the group of people gawking at us.

“Ivan and I want to invite you and Finn to dinner. Maybe next weekend?”

“We’ll see.” I can’t promise anything right now. I don’t even know what today will bring.

Val jumps up from the bench she’s sitting on and practically bounds to us in excitement. I’m definitely not used to seeing her in a T-shirt and sweatpants. “Hey, guys! Isn’t this going to be fun? I’m so thrilled to be spending time away from work with some of my favorite people!”

Rod somewhat pouts, “Too bad Morgan is here to ruin it for you, Val.”

She laughs and pats Rod on the arm. “Rod, be nice.”

He stands beside Morgan and nods his head to the group of people past Val. “Who’s that guy?”

Knowing whom Rod is referring to, she answers, “That is Crick. Let me introduce you.”

He steps back and puts a hand on his hip. “Oh, Lord. I can’t even look at him when he has a name like that.”

She dubiously frowns at him. “Gregory. You’ll have to work with him on a daily basis. Get over there and introduce yourself.”

He fleetingly looks down and mutters, “Shit.” Val pulls on his arm while Morgan and I follow them to the slim, dark-haired, clean-shaven man, who looks more like a teenager, standing with Sylvie, Grant and Betsy.

Val shoves a reluctant Rod forward and he sullenly says, “Hey. You must be the newbie.”

“Yes, hi. I’m Crick Scanlon,” he says, his voice a little nasally, which worries me. Rod will be all over that. Crick immediately sticks his hand out for Rod to shake; however, Rod stares at him, unsure of what to do next. Val slaps Rod on the back, compelling him to speak again.

“Greg Rodwell.” He takes his hand out of his jeans pocket and tentatively shakes Crick’s hand.

Morgan rolls her eyes and shoves Rod’s arm, for which he gives her a dirty look. “Nobody calls him Greg. Around here he’s Rod.”

Rod objects, “Not by choice.”

“Or you can call him Dick Rod, Nimrod or Ass Rod. Take your pick.”

Crick, looking uncomfortable and a little scared, releases Rod’s hand and hastily utters, “I’ll call you Greg, if you want.”

Rod eyes Crick skeptically. “Why would you do that?”

He quickly shrugs and amends, “Whatever you want me to call you.”

“Look, you can call me Hot Lips, Sweet Cheeks, Frenchie, Mama, Doll Face, Nancy Drew, or God’s Gift to Women for all I care—though I do prefer the last one. Just know that this woman,” he jerks his thumb to Morgan, “is evil and should be publicly shunned.”

Morgan counters, “Then I’d only have you to hang out with, Sweet Cheeks. Someone might as well hand me a razor now to slit my throat.”

Rod petulantly replies, “Cut out the middle man. I’ll do it for you.”

Val steps between them. “Okay, kids.” She gives Crick an apologetic smile. “These two really are friends.” Both grimace and look away from each other like the brats they are.

He looks at Val, and then at Rod and Morgan. “Really? Wow.”

I step forward and put my hand out, smiling warmly. “Hi. I’m Hadley Beckett.” I hope he doesn’t think we’re
all
nuts.

Val smiles at me and then turns to Crick. “Hadley’s boyfriend is—”

“Not here.” I glance at Val and give her a slight headshake.

Perplexed, she asks, “Is he not coming?”

Rod can’t resist. “He hasn’t all week!”

Morgan smacks the back of Rod’s head. He pivots and glares down at her, rubbing into his hair. “Shit, Morbid!”

“When’s the last time
you
did, Rod?” Morgan taunts him. He opens his mouth and she smacks his stomach, and from the slap, I hear the solid reverb of stomach muscles that Rod claims he doesn’t have. “Don’t answer that!”

Val puts her hands on her cheeks in helplessness, while Crick stares at them like he’s witnessing aliens square dancing on thin ice.

Pulling me to the side, Val repeats her unanswered question, “Is Finn really not coming?”

Shaking my head, I say, “It’s not that. I don’t think everyone remembers that he’s my boyfriend. I only brought him around once and that was three years ago. Only you, Morgan and Rod know. Rhonda does, but she doesn’t talk to many people.”

“Why don’t you want them knowing, babe? He’s such a cutie. He’s so madly in love with you that he got a tattoo of your name, on his Sports show, no less! Why would you want to hide your relationship?”

“I don’t want to hide it. I just don’t want to flaunt it, I guess. If anyone remembers or finds out, that’s fine. I don’t want everyone thinking I’m getting special treatment.”

“Nobody is going to think that. Don’t be silly.”

I look at the patch of grass beneath our feet. “I don’t know, Val.”

She puts her hand on my shoulder. “Is there something else going on with you and Finn, babe? Why isn’t he here with you? Don’t you spend weekends with him still?”

I inhale. “We’re taking a small break.”

Her face falls in concern. “Oh, no. Why didn’t you tell me?”

“I told him I need a couple weeks before I move in with him. We’re not breaking up. I’ve reiterated that to him, but he doesn’t listen to me. He’s taking it hard.”

“He probably is worried that he’ll lose you.”

“We’ll be okay. I want to take a breather before the next step. That’s all.” Before I possibly give up everything I want to have to be with him.

Rod strides over with a smirk, apparently having recovered some of his good humor. “Hadders, your wild thing is here.”

I scowl. “Wipe the drool from your chin.”

He runs his hand around his chin and frowns. “Jerk. He’s grabbing shit out of a black truck with Ricky and some chick.” Oh, of course he’d bring Ricky. Best friends forever, no doubt. If I didn’t shower with Finn on the weekends, I’d swear he took them with Ricky. He should’ve gotten a tattoo with
his
name on it.

“He’s here with a woman? Must be Ricky’s wife, Shay.”

“I don’t know.”

Curious and antsy, I ask, “How’s he look?”

Looking skyward, Rod recounts, “He’s tall, muscular, rather handsome, Hispanic, looks like a cop…”

“I meant Finn!” I incredulously glower at him, not in the mood for jokes.

He squints at me in feign bewilderment. “Shouldn’t you already know what Wilder looks like, even with his clothes on?”

I snap my teeth shut. “Gregory.”

He tries to hide a grin. “What?”

I smack his arm for the second time in 15 minutes. “I meant, does he look happy, pissed off, apathetic or sad?”

“You do mean Wilder this time, right?” I impatiently widen my eyes at him and he rolls his. “He’s a dashing son of a bitch. I’ve told you that several times.” I hide my face in the hand of my glove, loudly growling into it with frustration. “Pathetic? That’s nice of you to say about the love of your life.”

My growling turns into whining. “
A
pathetic, Rod.”

“I heard you the first time. I wouldn’t call him a pathetic guy. I think he’s doing alright for himself.” He laughs
, edging closer to being smothered with my glove.

Conclusively deciding to give up on Rod, I glance at Ricky, followed by a blonde woman, who is not Shay, walking relatively close to Finn. Who is she? I crane my neck and narrow my eyes to see if that helps me recognize her, but it doesn’t. Studying Finn, I notice he’s wearing a pair of his worn jeans, a white Shinedown T-shirt Rod also had found for me, his dark sunglasses and a small, lopsided smile. He is carrying a white mesh bag full of softballs slung over his shoulder and there is a clipboard in his other hand. Ricky has a larger bag, full of bats—I’m going out on a limb and guessing. He’s wearing dark blue jeans, a dark blue Richmond PD T-shirt, a matching ball cap and his usual, charming smile. The blonde woman has on a white peasant top and jeans. She’s laughing at something Finn is telling her, touching his arm.
My
arm to touch.

I already hate her.

I look away and agitatedly bite on my lip. Rod leans down and whispers, “What’s wrong?” I shake my head and move behind everyone gathering. Morgan and Rod flank me, but I step back and push them closer together, so I can hide; however, they repel like trying to force the same poles of two magnets to meet.

Just arriving himself, Brandon walks up to the three and offers his hand. Finn sets down his bag against the chain link fence of the field and quickly returns to shake his hand. Brandon moves down the line to introduce himself to the other two, as well. I can’t even remember if Brandon had met him three years ago, since Finn had to leave my office’s Christmas party early to go to work.

Peering between Rod and Morgan, I see Finn raise his sunglasses as he talks to Brandon. His hair is heavily blonde-tinged in the afternoon sun. I imagine this is the last place he wants to be right now. Finn’s hair is sticking up from behind the glasses on his head, causing his hotness factor to skyrocket; thus, making me want to kiss him mercilessly and beg him to take us to my apartment.

BOOK: Igniting the Wild Sparks
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