Series: Finding Love #1
Publication Date September 19, 2015
Genres: Clean Romance
Setting: Georgia Contemporary
Main Character Ages: 25-34
Written for: Adults
Julie Evans’ calm life is thrown a curve ball when her brother arrives the night before his seven-month deployment asking her to take care of his son. As a preschool teacher, she’s used to dealing with toddlers, not nine-year-olds. Noting her nephew’s interest in baseball, Julie signs him up for little league. She’s anything but thrilled to find out that his coach is a celebrity.
Eric Gibson returned to St Marys to lick his wounds and start over. But even in his hometown, he’s known more for his unfortunate appearance on a reality dating show than for his seven years in the major leagues. All he has to show for that poor decision is an ex-wife and a broken heart.
Julie’s obvious disapproval makes her the perfect choice for his team mom. If she doesn’t like him, she won’t cause any problems. But will that be enough to keep his growing interest in her in check? And as Julie’s preconceived notions about sports figures slowly unravel, will she be able to resist the man behind the public persona?
Eric glanced doubtfully at his fitted shirt and pants. If he’d been going to the couple’s shower alone, he would have settled for comfort and worn jeans. The fact that he’d sought his brother’s opinion on what to wear was an admission of his level of anxiety. Julie had agreed to come with him. Was it wrong to want to look nice for her sake?
The jarring sound of the gate buzzer jolted him out of his pensive reverie. After making sure Delilah had fresh water, he grabbed the wrapped box off the table and went out on the porch to wait. Jordan jumped out of the car and sprinted over to where he stood.
“Hey, Coach Gibson. I brought some of my Xbox games. I hope that’s okay.”
“That’s fine. You can go on in. Matt’s waiting on you.”
When Eric looked back in Julie’s direction, the greeting on his lips was forgotten. He swallowed once and then again as he watched her get something out of the backseat. The tiny straps and fitted bodice of her dress left most of her lovely shoulders and neck bare while the wide, flirty skirt hinted at nicely shaped legs.How was he going to behave with her looking like that?
“How have you not kissed her yet?” a teasing voice asked from behind him.
Did kissing her neck count for anything? Probably not in Matt’s view of the world. “How do you know I haven’t?” he muttered.
Matt snorted dismissively. “Because if you had, you wouldn’t be staring at her like a starving man waiting for the buffet to open.”
“Would you lower your voice?”
Not bothering to take his brother’s advice, Matt continued. “I approve, by the way. She’s just what you need.”
“Can we talk about this later?”
“Definitely. I want a full report of today’s events.”
Eric turned a laugh into a cough. “Get in the house before I throw you in there.”
“I’m going, sweet thing.”
“So help me, Matt, if you say another word…”
The arrival of Julie brought this conversation to an abrupt end.
“Hey, guys. Are we ready for this?” she asked with a smile.
“I think so,” Eric said.
“You kids have fun,” threw in Matt, ignoring his brother’s frown. “Don’t worry about Jordan. We’ll be fine.”
“You’ve got my number, right?” asked Julie.
“Sure do. See you later.”
Eric shook his head as he watched Matt enter the house and close the door. “He gets worse every day. Got everything you need?”
He grinned. “In that case, I think we should get going.” Once they were on their way, he glanced in her direction. “You look lovely. You remind me of a summer garden in that dress.”
“Thank you. You look like an ad for Ralph Lauren.”
“I’ve never seen any. Is that a compliment?”
“Then I thank you, too. I forgot to warn you about Thomas. He’s only slightly more mature than Matt, and neither of them knows the meaning of the word discretion. They speak first and worry about the consequences later.”
“I’ve got a brother, remember. I know how these things work. What did you get the happy couple?”
“A four-slice toaster. It’s sort of a private joke. That’s what Thomas got me as a wedding gift. I thought I’d return the favor.”
“I keep forgetting that you’ve already done this.”
Eric wished he could forget. He’d give anything to wipe out the memories of his marriage. “What did you get them?”
“Nothing as exciting as a toaster. I got bathroom towels. You can never have enough towels.”
Towels were about the only thing Sydney didn’t fight him over. To hear her talk, he would have left her destitute if he could have found a legal way to do it. In the end, he got tired of the endless arguments. What use did he have for all those things they’d bought together? The only memories they carried were bad ones. He was better off without them.
“Good idea. As far as the games go, if there’s something you don’t want to do, let me know. I’m all for being a good sport, but not at the expense of making you uncomfortable.”
“The same goes for you.”
\He cast her a teasing glance. “I don’t embarrass easily, and to be honest, I can’t think of a single game I wouldn’t be willing to play with you.”
Her eyes fell to her lap. “I’m starting to think you say things just so you can see me blush.”
Eric laughed. “You do it so beautifully; I can’t resist.”
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