Baseball Series, CATCHING LUKE
When the hottest catcher in the league gets sidelined by an accident, the only one who can help him heal is the one woman he can’t have.
He needs someone like her …
Luke Garibaldi is a member of the Outlaws’ dugout of bad boys and the league’s premier catcher. On the diamond, he plays to win, but when it comes to his private life, what the league doesn’t know won’t hurt, right? He spends his off hours breaking the rules: riding his motorcycle and putting his legendary arms too close to the asphalt, and playing the field. After all, with his body and his skills, he can have any woman he wants. Except Lara.
She needs to stay far away from guys like him …
Sports therapist Lara Andretti doesn’t have time to play around with baseball players. Especially baseball players as hot as Luke Garibaldi. (Okay, maybe she has a little time to play around with a guy as hot as Luke Garibaldi.) But Lara’s not looking for anything serious, especially with Luke’s playboy reputation and cocky attitude. Besides her heart’s still hurting from the last man who crushed it, and she’s ready to leave town and make a fresh start.
But when an accident brings their lives together, and their attraction turns into something more, it becomes clear that the road to happily ever after is never easy. Can they find their way back to each other and win the game of love?
HERE’S A SNEAK PEEK!
When she pulled up to his house, her mouth dropped. This was Luke’s place? So not what she expected. The craftsman roof line and front porch appealed to her. It screamed come in, make yourself at home. The attached shop boasted the same design. She would have pegged Luke for a sleeker, more modern aesthetic when it came to his possessions. Like the Camaro and motorcycle he drove.
She took her things out of the back seat and was attacked by the cutest animal she’d ever seen. The puppy must have already been outside when she pulled up and was now sniffing her feet and wagging its tail faster than a wiper blade in a down pour. She bent down and received sweet puppy kisses. She laughed when it tried to bite her ponytail, and was just about to give in and pick it up when she heard Luke’s command to the dog.
“Down, Indy. Quit harassing the lady.”
The dog snapped to attention. Impressive. He sat on his haunches and looked back at him. Luke snapped his fingers and Indy trotted over to the porch and sat next to his owner.
“Wow, you’ve trained him well. How old is he?”
“He’s almost six months. I watch a lot of those dog shows on TV. But Indy here, he’s been a great student. Plus, he loves the treats he gets when he obeys, so it was pretty easy.”
Lara checked out Luke as she closed the car door and made her way to the stone steps leading up to where he was standing. Did the man always look hot or was it her? The way he was leaning on the railing, forearms bent, made his biceps stand out even more than normal. She suddenly had a flash of those arms around her at the engagement party, the elevator and later in her bed.
The butterflies in her stomach increased their dance. She stopped and stood two steps down from him. She reached down to scratch Indy behind his ears to tamp down the sudden urge to walk up to Luke and jump into his arms.
“So there’s hope for you.” She said.
“Well, he obviously learned from a man who knows how important it is to take direction. All I have to do is find the right incentive, or treat, and you’ll be on the road to recovery in no time.”
Oh, my Lord. Did she really just say that?
By the look on his face, he was as surprised as she was at her unintentional innuendo.
Now she had to figure out if it was actually unintentional after all.
Luke straightened up to his full six-three frame, rubbed his hand along his jaw line and looked her over. He took his time and when he was through, she could have sworn he’d physically touched her in every spot he gazed upon.
She felt embarrassed yet energized. She was here to help the man in his time of need. Not seduce him the minute she arrived. Considering how their last encounter ended, leaving him guessing how she really felt about him wasn’t such a bad idea.
Maybe all Luke Garibaldi really needed was a dose of his own medicine.
“Hmmm?” He just stood there staring at her and all he had to say in response was hmmm?
“What’s that supposed to mean?’
“I’m wondering why today you decided to let your sassy side out with me when we together at the clinic you couldn’t get away from me fast enough. What changed?”
Good question. So much had changed and yet not nearly enough. She’d been stuck in her rut of self-pity after Nate had broken her, but now that he was back, she somehow felt more confident that she’d made the right decision to work with Luke. Besides he was good for her ego.
Looking at Luke, she decided maybe it was time to let down her guard, just a little, okay maybe a lot and have some fun.
“That’s what I’ve been asking myself since I told Kelsey I’d work with you. And yes, I can now admit I’m still attracted to you. But I can set my personal feelings aside and be professional. And I believe you can do the same.”
She couldn’t read his reaction to her statement. He’d be formidable at poker. He took the cane that had been resting on the railing and took several slow steps to the front door. He held it open for her and motioned her inside.
When she passed him, he continued to stand at the threshold. “Lara, I appreciate you helping me out and for admitting your true feelings, but just because I’m capable of acting professional around you, there’s going to be no guarantees that I will, darling.” He closed the door behind her and walked towards the kitchen. He whistled all the way.
Oh, boy. How was she going to survive numerous weeks’ worth of charm and innuendo?