Remember Rule Number 1?
Don't sleep with the best man.
When Nick asks Abby to stay the night in Feel My Love, she slips out without leaving a note. It's probably okay if she thinks she'll never see him again, right? I mean he doesn't even live in her town.
But that doesn't happen. Abby shows up at her son's travel baseball tryouts and the coach is her one-night stand, Nick. If her son makes the team, she's going to have to see him at every practice. (Scroll down for the excerpt).
My inspiration for Nick is my son's travel baseball coach. My son didn't make the first team he tried out for and was devastated. I gave him the speech, you know the one, even Michael Jordan didn't make his high school varsity team at first. I felt so bad for him because he just wanted to play baseball year round and get better. If he didn't make a travel team he could only play spring ball.
I researched other options, and found another team. The tryouts were the next day. My son was on board. He didn't give up, made the team, and I'm so proud of him. The best part? The coach is amazing. He's loves baseball, wants the kids to have fun, and tells them to watch baseball movies as homework.
When one of the parents asked if it was okay if the boys cry during baseball, referencing the movie, A League of Their Own, the coach said let me tell you a story. Then he proceeded to tell us how he cried when his daughter pitched for the high school boy's baseball team. He had tears in his eyes when he relayed the moment. Swoon.
So, he's my inspiration for Nick. And the best part, you can read about him now if you buy the book from my shop. PS, if you know who my son's baseball coach is, please don't tell him I wrote a book about him.
"We’re not too late, are we?” a woman with dark hair pulled back into a slick ponytail asked Ethan.
My breath caught in my chest. She looked like the photographer I’d slept with at his wedding—Abby.
“We’re just getting started. Your son’s Hunter Langley?” Ethan asked, grabbing his clipboard.
Before Ethan could respond, I stepped closer, my heart pounding in my chest. “Abby?”
Her eyes widened as her gaze flitted to my face. “Nick? What are you doing here?”
“I’m the coach.” I wasn’t sure how to process that moment because I was the guy in charge. The one who was supposed to evaluate the kids today. I didn’t have time to ask her questions about why she left the hotel room that night without a note, a kiss, or even an explanation. Besides, I was very aware that Ethan was watching our interaction.
Her forehead wrinkled. “My son is trying out for the team.”
She took a step back like she wanted to bolt.
“You’re in the right place,” Ethan said reassuringly.
I needed to stop thinking about our night together. “What was his name?” I took Ethan’s clipboard and the pencil, eager to have something else to focus on.
She licked her lips. “Hunter Langley.”
Had she told me about having a son that night? I thought I’d have remembered that detail. I hadn’t had that much to drink, and I’d racked my brain for any personal detail I could use to find her without alerting Ethan.
My stomach rolled. Was she married? I never caught her last name, so I wasn’t sure if it was the same as Hunter’s. I wouldn’t let my gaze drift to the ring finger on her left hand.
Instead, I focused on the boy standing next to Abby, Hunter. He had sandy blond hair and blue eyes. So different from his mother’s dark locks.
I forced myself to switch to my role as baseball coach. “Hi, Hunter. How long have you played?”
His gaze lifted to his mother’s. “Three seasons?”
“That’s right,” Abby said encouragingly.
It wasn’t a long time, but I’d see what he could do. Some kids had played since kindergarten. Three seasons meant he hadn’t started until spring of first grade. Some kids got better with each season; others had a natural talent. I wondered which one he’d be.
“Grab your glove and a ball, and warm up with the other kids.” I gestured toward the outfield where the others were already warming up.
Hunter nodded and took off for the dugout with his bag. He seemed eager to get started.
“I’ll help them warm up,” Ethan said, following him.
“How long are tryouts?” Abby asked tentatively.
“Two hours. Maybe less, depending on how it goes.” Thirty-four kids had checked in. We only needed twelve, maybe thirteen, to make a team. I needed a couple of pitchers, another catcher, and a couple of good fielders and hitters.
Hunter jogged over to the two lines of kids lobbing balls back and forth. He spoke to a group of three, the one kid separating from his group to pass to Hunter.
“Is it okay if the parents stay and watch?” Abby asked.
“Of course,” I said, tipping my head toward the other parents. A couple leaned on the fence to watch the progress, and others sat on the bleachers talking to each other. It was clear some of them already knew each other. It was likely a few had played together before.
The key was figuring out which ones had potential and were motivated to learn.
Instead of walking away, Abby moved closer. “I hope what happened between us doesn’t affect your decision today.”
My brow raised, and I lowered my voice. “Are you asking if our one night together would influence my decision about your son’s ability to play baseball?”
Her cheeks turned pink. “He’s obsessed with baseball. I don’t want to mess this up for him.”
“It won’t affect my decision.” I kept my tone even. I didn’t like that she thought I’d be influenced by what happened. At the same time, we didn’t know each other. That night was purely physical. I hadn’t known she’d had a son, and I was fairly positive I hadn’t told her about my nephew because he wasn’t living with me at the time.
I shouldn’t want a repeat of that night, even if it was the only thing I’d thought about for months. She was the mother of one of my potential players, and this was my home now. Besides she’d made her intentions clear—it was only one night.
Her gaze slid away; her expression uncertain. “I’m sorry.”
“I’m picking the players solely on ability. I don’t know anyone.” Except for you. And I didn’t really know her at all.
I knew how soft her skin was, what her shampoo smelled like, and what it was like to slide inside her. How warm and tight she was. The sounds she made when she came. But I shouldn’t be thinking about any of that while I was in the middle of tryouts.
“I should get back to it,” I said, gruffer than I intended.
I was hyperaware that other parents were watching us, and the last thing I wanted was any murmurings that I was playing favorites with someone’s kid. Tryouts for travel sports could be fierce. I didn’t intend to make it that way, but who knew how the other parents would react if they found out we’d slept together.