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Authors: Jaci Burton

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BOOK: Straddling the Line
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“Gave up a few runs, but at least we won. So it’s all good. And what kind of assignment?”

“With Trevor. I’m doing a feature story on him for the network.”

Garrett’s brows shot up. “No shit. Are you sure the rest of us will be able to handle the ego burst from him getting all that media attention?”

“Oh, suck it up, Scott. It’s about time someone besides you pretty-boy pitchers got some focus around here.”

Trevor came up to stand next to Haven.

“Please. I’m not the one with all those endorsement deals like you, Shay,” Garrett said. “Every time I turn on one of the sports channels, I see your ugly face.”

“If I was ugly, you wouldn’t see my face so often, now would you?”

“Aww, he thinks he’s pretty. Are you sure you can handle spending so much time with this guy?”

Haven nearly swallowed her tongue as Gavin Riley joined the crowd. He kissed his cousin on the cheek and nudged Garrett in the ribs.

“Haven, this is Gavin Riley. Who’s just jealous because he thinks he’s prettier than anyone else on the team. This is Haven Briscoe. She works for the network and will be doing a feature story on me.”

She laughed. “Nice to meet you, Gavin.”

“You, too, Haven. Sorry you have to spend so much time with Trevor.”

“The network’s paying me to do it. Otherwise, no way.”

Gavin laughed and looked at Trevor. “I like her.”

“Haven and I have known each other since college. That’s why I chose her to do this whole The-Life-and-Career-of-Trevor-Shay thing. She’ll do justice to it and portray me in a fair light.”

“So you think,” Haven said with a wink to the others. “How do you know I won’t spill all your deep, dark secrets?”

“Mainly because you don’t know any of them.”

Gavin laughed. “Okay, I gotta go. Liz and my little princess are waiting at home for me.”

“I read about the birth of your baby girl, Genevieve, Gavin. Congratulations.”

“Thank you. I’m pretty stoked to be a dad. And surprisingly, even my work-obsessed wife is super excited about being a mom. Her maternity leave is about to end and she’s dreading having to go back to work.”

“I can imagine.”

“Hey, before you go, we’re doing a couples wedding shower thing after the game on Sunday,” Alicia said. “Will you and Liz be there?”

“Wouldn’t miss it,” Gavin said. “I’ll have Liz call to confirm.”

“Okay. See you then.”

After Gavin left, Alicia turned to Trevor and Haven. “Several people from the team are coming. It’s very informal. Just a get-together celebrating our impending wedding. Trevor’s invited. Will you come, Haven?”

Haven looked at Trevor.

“We’ll be there. It’ll give Haven a chance to meet everyone.” Trevor turned to Haven. “Don’t you think?”

Haven just nodded. “Sure. I’d love to. Thank you for the invite, Alicia.”

“You’re welcome. Do you have the address, Trevor?”

“Of course I . . . probably don’t.”

Alicia rolled her eyes. “This is what happens when I leave it to Garrett to invite people.” Alicia pulled out her phone. “Are you ready?”

“Why don’t you put all that in your phone?” Trevor said to Haven. “I think mine’s in the bottom of my gym bag somewhere.”

“Oh, sure.” She dug her phone out of her bag and typed in the date, time, and information. “Got it.”

“Great. See you all later.”

Trevor led her outside to his car. There were several people hanging outside near the fences.

“Do you mind waiting?” he asked.

“Not at all.”

He went over and spent fifteen minutes signing autographs and taking pictures. She liked that he took the time. Many athletes didn’t. A lot of the rookies did, because they wanted to establish themselves. But once fame hit, many felt they didn’t need their fans any longer.

Garrett and Gavin had lingered, too.

She liked this about these athletes. It showed class that they cared about their fans.

When Trevor was done, he picked up his bag and led her back to his car.

“Are you hungry?”

“Actually, yes. I thought I’d grab a hot dog and beer at the ballpark, but the game was so intense I never took the time.”

He smiled as he pulled out of the parking lot. “It was a pretty intense game, wasn’t it?”

“Yes. A good game, too. You played very well.”

“I did, didn’t I?”

She stared at him, and then he winked at her. She laughed.

“I never know when you’re giving me a hard time.”

“Good to know.”

He took a turn and headed onto the highway. It was dark. A lot of the restaurants had to be closed by now since it was almost eleven.

“Where will we eat? At home?”

“Probably. I don’t feel like crowds tonight. But I thought we’d pick up a pizza.”

“Oh, pizza sounds good.”

“What kind of pizza do you like?” he asked.

“Any kind. My favorite is sausage, though.”

“Sausage it is.”

He pressed a button on his car. The center display called a place named Imo’s. He ordered the pizza and hung up.

“It’ll be ready when we get there.”

“Convenient.”

In twenty minutes, they’d swung by and picked up the pizza and headed back to Trevor’s house. Haven was starving by the time they got inside, especially after smelling the pizza.

“You’re going to love this,” he said as he laid the box on the counter and grabbed plates.

“What would you like to drink?” she asked.

“Water’s good for me.”

“For me, too.” She fixed two glasses of ice water, then they grabbed seats at the breakfast bar. He had opened the box and the pizza looked glorious. He helped her scoop hers onto the plate.

“Best pizza around. Trust me on this,” he said.

“Right now I’m so hungry I’d eat the cardboard box. But the pizza smells great.” She took her first bite, and had to admit Trevor was right. It was excellent pizza. She ate a lot of it, too, until she couldn’t stuff another bite in her mouth. She pushed back from the counter with a grunt.

“I ate too much.”

He laughed. “I ate way more than you.”

“You’re bigger than me. You burn a lot more calories than I do, too. I’m so going to regret this.”

“You were hungry.”

“I was, but that’s no excuse to eat that much this late. Now I’ll be awake all night.”

“Come on,” he said, grabbing the now-empty pizza box to take to the trash. “Let’s go walk it off.”

“Great idea.”

She put on her tennis shoes and they headed outside. The night was clear, a little cool, but she didn’t mind that at all. The brisk weather would help clear her head—and maybe help her digest. They strolled down the long driveway and outside the gate.

She understood the privacy, the allure of this neighborhood. There were only six houses on his side of the street, all as big and as sheltered as Trevor’s. No one was out and about this late at night, so it was like the two of them were entirely alone as they walked. She wasn’t sure she’d go out on her own, but then again the neighborhood was secured by a guard and a gate.

“Do you get out and walk along here much?”

“Not really. I have the gym inside the house for exercise. But the weather’s nicer now, so it’s good to get some fresh air.”

They took a long walk, too, as there were more houses in the neighborhood than what she’d originally seen when they’d come in. The area wound around beyond just the circular block. She wished now that it wasn’t dark, that she could see beyond the thick trees that guarded the entrances to all the million-dollar estates nestled beyond the privacy fences and gates.

“This area is amazing. So private, and each property has so much space.”

“Yeah. It’s what drew me here, and it’s not stuffy or pretentious. During the day you can see people out with their kids. It’s a neighborhood to grow into.”

“So you plan to stay here in St. Louis?”

“I like it here. And it’s not too far from where I grew up in Springfield, Missouri, so it’s close enough I can still visit home. Plus, Zane will be going to school here. And he likes it here, too, so I could see him staying on after he finishes medical school.”

She liked that he thought about his family—or at least, his brother—and wanted to stay in close proximity.

“What if you got traded to another team?”

He laughed. “That’s not likely to happen.”

“You just signed with St. Louis a few years ago.”

“Yeah. That was a move my agent and I made at my request. The Rivers are a good fit for me. I like their organization, their coaching staff, and their philosophy. Plus, like I said, Zane’s here. I’ll stay here until I decide to quit playing baseball.”

She turned her head toward him as they walked. “And when will that be?”

He offered up an enigmatic smile. “When I’m done playing baseball.”

“A very vague answer, Shay.”

“It’s the only one I have right now, Briscoe.”

She laughed. “Spoken by someone used to dealing with media questions.”

They had walked all the way to the main security gate. Trevor waved to the guard on duty, then they turned around.

“Tired?” he asked.

“Not at all. Invigorated.”

They started the walk back. She was thankful they’d picked up the pace by then, because the wind had picked up, making it colder, and she could smell rain in the air.

And when she heard thunder and felt a few drops hit her skin, she looked up at Trevor; he looked at her and said, “We might get wet.”

The words had no sooner left his lips than it started raining. Hard. He took her hand and they made a run for it. She knew he could run a lot faster than her. His legs were longer, but he held back, keeping a tight hold on her hand as they dashed back to the house. By the time they reached the side entry and he keyed in the security code to the raise the garage door, Haven was completely drenched.

She toed off her soaked tennis shoes in the garage, happy to be out of the rain.

Trevor kicked off his shoes, then used his fingers to comb back his hair. “Let me go grab some towels for us. I’ll be right back.”

“Sure.”

She really wanted to strip right now, but no way was she going to walk on his expensive wood flooring in sopping wet clothes. She’d wait for the towel.

TREVOR DUCKED INSIDE AND GRABBED TWO TOWELS
from the cabinet in the laundry room in the hall, then came back out to the garage, slowing his walk long enough to get a good, long look at Haven standing there all wet.

Her hair was plastered against her face, ringlets of dark curls against her cheek. Her white T-shirt was pressed against her skin, outlining a pink bra that was nearly see-through. And since he’d flipped on the garage light, he could see plenty, including the fact that she was cold.

He wasn’t a teenager anymore. He’d seen breasts and nipples—plenty of them. But he had to admit, he liked the peek at Haven’s, and would like to see even more.

“I should strip out of these wet clothes before I head over to my wing. I don’t want to drip all over your floor.”

Frankly, he couldn’t care less about the floor. But how could he
pass up the opportunity to see an impromptu striptease? He wasn’t dumb. “Yeah, probably a good idea.”

He figured she was going to do some kind of secret wrap-the-towel-around-herself thing while trying to be modest.

Nope. She drew her top off, then undid her pants and let those drop, too, leaving her in just her underwear. She dried off as best she could, then wrapped the towel around her and picked up her wet clothes. He had only a brief view of her in her wet underwear, but it was enough to make him want to see a lot more of her skin.

She had a great body. Nice curves, long legs, and a great ass.

“Are you going to stand there dripping and ogling me, or are you going to get out of your wet clothes?” she finally asked.

“Sorry. My brain cells sank right to my dick when you started stripping.”

She laughed. “I’ll take that as a compliment. In the meantime, I’m going to go to my room and take a hot shower.”

“You don’t want to wait while I undress?”

She actually paused to look him over, then said, “Probably not a good idea. See you later, Trevor.”

He liked that she’d pondered the idea. “Yeah. Later, Haven.”

SIX

“I TALKED TO ZANE,” TREVOR SAID BEFORE SATURDAY’S
game. “He’s coming out to the game today, then we’ll visit after.”

“Really? That’s awesome. I can’t wait to meet him. Does he need someone to sit with?”

Trevor laughed. “I got tickets for him and a few of his buddies from school. I think he’ll be fine.”

“Okay. I just didn’t want him to sit alone.”

“Trust me, my brother is very rarely alone. He’s plenty social.”

She leaned back in the chair and sipped her coffee, studying Trevor. “In other words, he’s a lot like you.”

“In some ways, yeah. In other ways, we’re different.”

“How so?”

“You’ll see.”

Now Haven was very curious about Zane. “I’m looking forward to it. But first, the game, right?”

He gave her a confident smile. “Yeah.”

She waved at Alicia, who was in team uniform colors near the dugout. Haven snapped a few photos of the team in warm-ups, then made her way to her seat.

Chicago started out with two runs in the first, and the Rivers didn’t answer with any offense for the first three innings.

Haven was worried, because it seemed like the Rivers’ bats were cold tonight. But in the sixth, Henderson singled, and Sanchez doubled him home, getting one run in the sixth. The Rivers tied the game in the seventh on a single home run by Coleman.

But Chicago homered in the eighth, and the Rivers put up no more runs, so they lost a close game. She felt bad for Trevor, who went one for four on the day. The loss wasn’t entirely his fault, though, since it seemed as if all the players had mediocre offense.

“Tough loss,” she said after the game.

“It was a close one. If any of us had managed to get just one run, we could have tied the game up. I think we could have won this one.”

She wanted to lean into him, to offer him comfort. But that would be too personal, and she’d already crossed that boundary. “I’m sorry. You all gave it your best.”

BOOK: Straddling the Line
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