Managing Blake

MANAGING BLAKE

Book 5 in the Outlaws of Baseball series

 

Opposites attract, but do they last?
Former all-star player, Blake Anderson manages the Idaho Outlaws. He has one goal-win the league championship by the time he’s forty. A wife and kids? He can wait. He’s lived his life under the motto, ‘one night is enough’. Then the woman who he’s been lusting after from afar is available and one kiss is not going to be enough.

What happens when the right person shows up at the wrong time?
Caris Sloane needs to have a baby-now. Her well laid plans of career, marriage, and baby become flipped. Her ex, who she thought was finally Mr. Right turned into Mr. Wrong-six months ago. A lab failure destroys her frozen eggs-six days ago. She crashes a bachelor party and kisses Blake-six hours ago. Definitely wrong time. She needs a vacation and a new plan.

 

EXCERPT:

“Caris.”

Blake stood next to her and forgot what he wanted to say. He breathed in her unique scent. He’d noticed it the first time he’d been lucky enough to get close enough her. She was definitely a woman whom he should have stayed far away from. Caris had a way of looking at you that said she knew his every desire. His every dirty thought he’d ever had about her.

“Mind if I sit?” He watched in fascination as her gaze turned to him. A myriad of emotions played out on her beautiful face. From wide-eyed shock to what he imagined was her doctor face, calm and non-committal. She fascinated him.

“I didn’t think you remembered my name.”

“There are a lot of things I tend to forget, but trust me, your name would never be one.” His gaze made a slow journey from her midnight blue toenails to her glossy lips, which were currently pursed. Daring him to take what he wanted. Such as a kiss. Because maybe then he could finally get her out of his system. He knew she was way out of his league. It’s what kept him at arm’s-length ever since he first saw her. But not tonight.

“All right. But what’s different now from when you sat down before?”

He took a seat and watched as her fingers played with the wine stem of the glass he’d brought her earlier. An image of her long fingers around a certain body part flashed in his mind. He swallowed a groan and willed his body to cool down. The atmosphere in the bar didn’t help, as the pulsing music and elevated testosterone were wreaking havoc with his senses.

“That’s a great question. And all I can come up with right now is that I want to make up for my earlier rudeness. I meant to say hi, but Luke looked like he needed a pep talk.”

She peered at him and didn’t respond. Not good. In fact, her face held no indication on how she felt about his reasoning. He began to think she was using the same look she used when assessing one of her patients, and he’d be damned if she was putting him in that category. Her reaction was not what he expected. After years of women coming on to him, here was one who was doing the exact opposite.

Caris was the most dangerous kind of woman there was. At least for him. She was hot as hell, equally as smart, and couldn’t care less if he paid her any attention. She was also the type of woman you’d take home to meet your mother. If that was what he wanted. Which he didn’t.

Unfortunately, he couldn’t even if he did.

“How about I buy you another drink? To celebrate Mav and Kelsey’s wedding, and we start over? Hi, I’m Blake Anderson.” He held out his hand and gave her his best smile. He felt cheesy doing it, but anything was worth a try to get her to speak to him. To let him stay.

She hesitated. Was she deciding him worthy? He’d wait her out. When she nodded and took his hand he let out a breath he hadn’t known he was holding.

“Caris Sloane.”

“Well, damn. You two need lessons in dating. Because that was pathetic,” Noel interrupted. She looked from Blake to Caris and shook her head. “Lara, I think you and I need to go over there.” She pointed to the bar. “But not over there, because ‘he who is off my Christmas list’ is there.” Noel pointed to the Outlaws owner, Thomas ‘T.S.’ Scott. “These two don’t need an audience.”

Amused, Blake watched as Noel and Lara left. But not for long; Noel rushed back to the table.  “If you want to win her over, Blake, I suggest you do the exact opposite of her stuffy ex-boyfriend and – ow, what was that for?”

Noel glared at Lara and was pulled away from the table as Lara mouthed the words ‘sorry’ in Caris’ direction.

Blake raised an eyebrow at Noel’s tipsy antics. “I agree about your ex, but what’s her beef with T.S.?”

Caris sighed. “It’s a long story. And the reason why she’s had two drinks instead of her one drink only rule. But it’s all tangled up in girl code, and I don’t want to lose my privileges, so let’s discuss something else.”

“Sure. What did your ex do, or rather not do, that I need to do in order to win you over?”

He watched as Caris’ face turned pink. He was in trouble, not because he’d embarrassed her, but because she was still hot no matter her skin tone.

She quickly recovered. “None of your business.”

Shit. After months of lusting after her, he’d finally decided to talk her. To hear the sound of her voice, which right now sounded morning-after sexy and went straight to his shaft. Blake marveled at his body’s instant response her raspy voice had ignited. She was trouble.

They continued to stare at each other without speaking. Damn, he could get lost in the hooded glare of her silver-grey eyes. He was about to make a comment that had never failed him when a waiter appeared and interrupted his determination to get Caris to see him as a man, and not a potential patient.

“I was told to come over here and make sure you two get something to put smiles on your faces. So, what’ll it be?”

The waiter’s mouth turned up at the corner as he waited for their order.

Blake looked at Caris. “I’ll have a Knob Creek, two fingers on the rocks. What would you like, more wine?”

“Yes, thank you.”

After the waiter left with a promise to be right back, Blake tried again. “You ladies were brave to walk in here blind. What if you, and by you, I mean Kelsey, had found a stripper or two entertaining Mav?”

“We thought of that, actually.” She turned toward him and grinned.

At her sudden movement, his eyes dropped down to the opening of her blouse. With the top two buttons undone, her breasts were showcased to perfection, and he forgot what he was going to say next.

He heard her indrawn breath. His gaze shot to her face, where instead of an expected reprimand for staring at her chest, he found her lips formed in an ‘o’. She licked the lips he’d been wanting to cover with his own since he walked in the door. He had an uncontrollable urge to mark his territory in front of all the unattached men in the room.

Finally, she was showing him she was as affected as much by his nearness as he was by hers. He took it as a good sign and pushed down the nagging voice in his head that said, ‘you’re in over your head, buddy.’ He was drawn to this woman, and now that he had her talking to him, he wasn’t going anywhere.

“Um, uh, we had a plan.” Caris sat up a bit straighter. Still blushing, but she seemed less tense than when he first sat down.

“Noel and I would yell ‘Mangoes’ if there were any strippers, then we’d drag Kelsey the hell out of here.”

She took a sip of her new drink and gave him a smile that sent his pulse into overdrive.

“Mangoes?” Still lost in her smile, he gave her one of his own. “Um, that’s…”

“I know, silly, right? It was Noel’s idea, and I didn’t want to hurt her feelings by refusing her suggestion, so…anyway, it’s a good thing we didn’t need to use it.”

He laughed. “Definitely a good thing. But I think if someone had tried to sneak in a stripper, Mav would have put an immediate stop to it. He’s crazy in love with Kelsey.”

“That’s nice to hear. I didn’t realize you were so close with your players. Is that normal of most team managers?”

Blake waited a beat before he responded because to be honest, he hadn’t thought of his relationship with his players outside of baseball. He supposed he was a bit of anomaly in that he had gone from being an All Star himself one year to a coach the next. His natural inclination was to hang out with fellow players after practice sessions and road games.

When he’d begun coaching for the Outlaws, he’d just gravitated to men he would have typically befriended when he was a player. Maverick and Luke had been easy to get along with, and closer to his age. With no family of his own, he’d stayed in his comfort zone, hanging out with baseball players.

“I suppose most don’t. And some of my players don’t like me much. But with Mav and Luke, I guess we just got along, so hanging out just became natural. Anyway, enough about me. I’d like to know more about you.”

“There’s not much to tell. I’m a psychologist, I went to college with Kelsey and we reconnected when she asked me to work with Mav. I liked the friends she already had and made them mine as well.” She laughed.

Her laugh was going to be the death of him. Her smile warmed him, and he wanted more. He also wanted a kiss.

“Anyway, that’s me. What about you?”

About to cross a line, but he didn’t care. He captured one of her hands and entwined his fingers with hers. “That was a pretty short list. But we can cover our likes and dislikes another time. What I’d really like to know is, what can I do for you that your ex never did?”