Lucky 13 (Deadlines & Diamonds)

BOOK: Lucky 13 (Deadlines & Diamonds)
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Lucky 13 (Deadlines & Diamonds, #4)

Morgan Kearns

Copyright©MorganKearns2012

Kindle
Edition

 

 

 

Praises for LUCKY 13:


My perfect man has a name now. Enrique Santiago.”

~Rhonda Plumhoff, author of Erotic Treats

 

Praises for MORGAN KEARNS
:

“Morgan Kearns is the

Queen of Contemporary Romance.”

~Kristina’s Books and More

 

“Whatever Morgan puts in ink I will read.”

~Good Choice Reading

 

Praises for OUT OF LEFT FIELD:

“…
smoothly written with a great relationship between the main characters.

~InD’Tale Magazine

 

“…a
story that comes to life in the palm of your hand and characters that work their way into your heart
…”

~Linda Boulanger, author of
To Dance with the Enemy

 

Praises for IN IT TO WIN IT
:

“I
f sweet and romance had a baby,
this book would be the finished product.”

~Romance Novel Junkies

 

Praises for FADE TO BLACK
:

“…an amazingly powerful love story…”

~Book Crazy

 

Available titles from Morgan Kearns

 

Deadlines & Diamonds

Lucky 13

Out of Left Field

In It To Win It

Fade to Black

 

Bound by a Touch Novels

Heart Ache

 

Lucky 13
is a work of fiction. The characters and events are the product of the author’s imagination and are used fictitiously. Any similarities to any persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

 

Copyright © 2012 Morgan Kearns

 

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any form or by any means without the written consent of the author, except for brief quotations used in critical articles or reviews.

 

Cover art by
Char Adles

www.romancenovelcenter.com/charadlesperger

 

Shayne’s I-shoulda-told-you-the-truth-and-I’m-sorry Steak
recipe found in
Literary Chocolate 2
by Rhonda Plumhoff

 

www.morgankearns.com

 

ISBN:
1
-
4793
-
5992
-
0

EAN13:
978-1479359929

 

Visit www.MorganKearns.com to order additional copies.

 

Ricky’s brain caught up to his body about halfway across the dance floor. As he realized what he was about to do, his steps stuttered, his mojo warring with a jolt of insecurity. Damn, he hated this part of the dating process. He watched the other guys hit on women all the time, even resorted to studying their lines, but he couldn’t flat-out lie, promise things he’d never be able to give the woman when the sun turned the western skies salmon.

His lungs released his breath about the time his feet came to a stop in front of her. “Hi.”

She smiled, and his heart dropped to his toes. “Hi, I’m Shayne.”

He stuck
out his hand. “
Enrique Santiago.”

Her hand slipped into his. The softness of her palm against his did funny things to his intestines. Her chin moved up and down in a slow, barely noticeable nod. “You’re the
Rockets
Left Fielder?”

“Yeah.” She’d heard of him?
Sweet!
“My friends call me Ricky.”

She raised one br
ow and quirked the corner of her
lip. “And am I to assume we’re friends?”

“I’d like to be.”

             

 

To
Shayne: I usually dedicate my books to my heroes, but it seemed more appropriate to give this page to you. The Xavier curse ends with you!

 

Thank you’s

 

To my readers: THANK YOU!!! Thanks for buying my books, loving them and telling your friends about them. I love getting to know you all!

A big shout-out to
my
faithful I-dotters and T-crossers; Dawn,
Dawn,
Julie, and Katie
, Thank you!

To
Natascha
:
Thanks for whipping out your fine-toothed comb.

Since b
ooks are judged by their covers
, I have to thank my fabulous
and very patient
graphic designer, Char Adles and
uber
sexy cover model, Ryan!

To my street team: Thank you for being “Team Kearns”. I love you all!!!

I never dreamed I’d need a fan club, let alone a President. Thank you, Rhonda, for your love and support and for volunteering for the position. You’re the best!!

To my friends in the writing community: Thank you for your friendship, for sharing your knowledge, and letting me bounce ideas off of you. I *heart* you!

To the four best kids in the world: Thanks for making me laugh and giving me inspiration! I love you!

To my husband: I couldn’t do what I do without your love and support. Thank you for living my Happily-Ever-After with me! I love you!

 

 

 

Lucky 13

(Deadlines & Diamonds)

 

Morgan Kearns

 

1

 

“Can I be your plus one?”

“I didn’t think you’d need on
e.” Enrique
“Ricky” Santiago
glanced up into the face of
one of
his
closest buddies
and teammate
, Mason James.
Ricky
waved a hand at the seat next to
him.

Have a seat, my man.
Where’s Chloe?”

Mason chuckl
ed, but Ricky didn’t
buy the nonchalant. “
She had a meeting
with the accountant
.”

Ricky shook his
head.
“Seriously, man, either she nee
ds to go back to high school or—

“Or?”

“Or get a freakin’ calculator.” He couldn’t bear to voice his suspicions.
By the sick look on Mason’s face, the guy already knew and wasn’t
ready to go Sherlock Holmes
on his wife’s fidelity
. “You just get here?”

“Yeah.” Mason sat and leaned back in the chair. “Why you here
all by your lonesome?”

“I don’t bring
dates to these kinds of things.
You know that.” Ricky took a swig of his Bud. “Chicks get the wrong idea, gettin’ all twitterpated over my celebrity friends.
The next thing I know they’re readin’
Brides
magazine.

Mason barked out a laugh. “I
’ve
been married so damn long I guess I’d forgotten.”

Ricky didn’t bother
say
ing
he envied the shit out his married teammates. He let his gaze drift over the sea of dancers, searching out the hap
py couple. Damn, l
ife really had a
way of throwing a curve
when you were expecting a fastball.

A feather could have knocked Ricky over when he found out the great Xavier had fallen for Frankie Hold
en
.
Okay, that wasn’t exactly right.
Frankie was one hell of a
woman. Half the team crushed on her, but that
she’d
fallen in love with
him
and
actually
married the sonofabitch
? N
obody saw that shit comin’
.

Hell, he’d never seen Xavier with a lovestruck, can’t-get-enough-of-her grin on his face. But as he swayed on the dance floor with Frankie in his arms, the look on his face hollered complete damned adoration.

Who’d’ve thunk it?

Mason knocked on the table with his knuckles. “Surprised the shit outta me, too.”

“Huh?”

“I never woulda thought he was capable of it either. I guess you just never know.”

Ricky shook his head again. “No, I guess you don’t.”

“You hear his condo’s on the market?”

“Nah.”
Ricky watched as Xavier bent down to whisper into Frankie’s ear. She tossed her head back in a laugh
Ricky couldn’t hear
before snuggling closer into her husband’s
chest. “Makes sense, though.”

“You should buy it.”

“I got a place of my own.”

Mason chuckled.
“Yeah, but can you imagine the women showin’ up on that doorstep?”

“I don’t want X’s sloppy seconds.”
He had a love/hate relationship with the former left fielder. Xavier hated him and Ricky was peachy-keen-okay not sendin’ any love back.

“At least you’d be gettin’ some.” Mason
snicker
ed when Ricky emphasized his disgust with a single finger. “I’m gonna get me a beer. You need one?”

Ricky raised
his
half-full bottle. “I’m good. Thanks.”

Mason cross
ed
the room, giving a high-five to catcher, Dominic Kane. The guy had some girl wrapped around him so tightly it looked like he was covered in a hot pink second skin.
Kane put his hands on her ass and the chippie just grinned. Ricky had to wonder whose date he’d pinched.

He let his eyes wander, surveying his teammates socializing with people he didn’t know and that’s when he noticed her.
Off to the side, standing alone, h
er slender body, wrapped in red fabric, held his attention better than a ticker-tape parade. Auburn hair caressed her shoulders, draping down her back. Her tiny waist accentuated curves that made Ricky’s blood heat.

Beautiful. No, that wasn’t enough. Breathtaking.

She crossed her arms around her middle. Her small smile seemed forced and Ricky wondered if she felt as out of place as he did. She swayed gently from side to side. What a shame she didn’t have someone to dance with.

Ricky’s brain caught up to his body about halfway across the dance floor. As he realized what he was about to do, his steps stuttered, his mojo warring with a jolt of insecurity.
Damn
, he hated this part of the dating process. He watched the other guys hit on women all the time, even resorted to studying their lines, but he couldn’t
flat-out
lie, promise things he’d never be able to give the woman when the sun
turned the western skies
salmon
.

He
released his breath
about the time his feet came to a stop in front of her. “Hi.”

She smiled, and his heart dropped to his toes. “Hi, I’m Shayne.”

He stuck out his hand. “
Enrique Santiago.”

Her hand slipped into his. The softness of her palm against his did funny things to his intestines. Her chin moved up and down in a slow, barely noticeable nod. “You’re the
Rockets
Left Fielder?”

“Yeah.” She’d heard of him?
Sweet!
“My friends call me Ricky.”

She raised one brow and quirked the corner of
her
lip. “And am I to assume we’re friends?”

“I’d like to be.”

Danger!
He had a habit of losing his heart to women he shouldn’t. Truth was, he didn’t bring women around his friends because
he
started hearing wedding bells when the guys offered a stamp of approval. As he stared into the liquid chocolate of Shayne’s eyes, warning bells blared, whistled, hollered, and warned him to take it slow.
Danger
, Enrique Santiago
!

He motioned to the open bar. “Can I buy you a drink?”

She
giggl
ed, which had been his goal. “No, I’m fi-”

“Here, Mom, I brought you some punch.”

Mom?
T
he kid had brought Ricky a punch, too. A sucker-punch to the gut.
He
had to be about twelve or so and had an inch on his mom. Brown
hair, hazel eyes, square jaw…

Holy shit!

A sickening sense of déjà-vu made Ricky’s stomach roll. He shot a glance over his shoulder just in time to see the happy couple turn. Man, it took a lot of balls to invite your baby-mama to your wedding reception.

Except as Ricky looked back at the kid, he noticed something else, the almond shape of his eyes also seemed familiar. The
y were a more masculine form of…
his mom’s.

“So, Shayne, you’re Xavier’s sister?”

She nodded.

The kid’s frown reeked of contempt.
“And you’
re the guy who stole
his position.”

“Matt!” Shayne grabbed him by the tie, bringing his nose down until it touched hers. “You apologize. That’s not the way it was and you know it.”

Matt jerked out of her hold, muttering, “Whatever,” as he stomped off, a punch glass in each hand.

Her cheeks darkened with a blush. “I’m sorry. Since
X
came back int
o my life, Matt’s been a little…
protective of his uncle.”


Back
into your life?”

Shayne
dropped her chin a bit, like the topic made her uncomfortable
. “Long story short,
we spent a lot of years apart. We’re back together now.”
She
held a hand out to him
. “You feel like dancing?”

Did he ever!

He shrugged.
“I gotta be honest, I’m not very good.”
 

She took his hand and tugged him towar
d the dance floor. “That’s
okay.
I’m really good at it. Just follow my lead.”

Oh, hell yeah, he’d follow her al
l
right. The way her hips moved with each step, he’d f
ollow her to the ends of the earth
and enjoy every step of the journey.

She abruptly stopped and turned, holding one hand at the level of his hip, the other about even with his shoulder. He
stepp
ed into her hold, seizing the chance to pull her close. She di
dn’t fight the subtle intimacy
.

Sappy love songs
played and the world around them disappeared.
As each song transitioned into the next, the woman in his arms softened just a little more. He held her close. Her hair tickled his cheek, getting caught in the whiskers he kept trimmed close to his face. She turned her head and pressed her lips to his cheek. With his heart pounding out of his chest, he turned his head and their lips met in a sweet quick kiss.

“I’m sorry.”
She put
her fingers to her mouth and
some distance between their bodies
. “
I shouldn’t have done that. I’m sorry.
It’s b
een a very long time since I’ve…um, well…
it’s been a very long time.”

He stroked her cheek with his thumb. “I’d like to kiss you again, if that’s okay.”

“I’d like that,
too,
believe me.” She shook her head
, her smile
sad
. “But I don’t think it’s a good idea. I can’t start something I can’t finish.”

Ricky’s stomach hit his Ferragamos. “Who said anything about finishing?”

She smirk
ed, her brows jogging.

He groaned. “Oh, don’t take me there,
mujer bonita
.”

“I’m not fr
om around here, and I…” The
hesitancy in her eyes broke his heart. “I’m not good at relationships. Ask X. The only one I haven’t screwed up is with my son, but he has to love me. I’m his mother.”

“No, he loves you because you deserve to be loved.”

“How do you know? You don’t even know me. I could be an axe murderer.”

“I know.”

She cocked her he
ad to the side.

“It’s in the way he looks at you. Even with his ‘whatever’
,
he respects you, and I’m guessing he knows he’s gonna catch hell for it when you guys get home.”

Ah, man,
she had a gorgeous
smile.

“Yep, he will.” She jerked her head over to
the corner where Matt moped. “And yeah, he knows it
.”

“And
that
, my fair Shayne, is
why he loves you
.”

She placed
a flat palm against his chest. Heat seeped
through the starched cotton of his shirt to scald him. “Thank you.”

“You’re welcome.” He kissed her lightly,
keeping it quick, chaste
. “Can I call you?”

She shook her head. “I don’t think so.”

Her rebuff hurt.
Using his hand on the small of her back, he guided her to the side of the dance floor. He slipped his wallet from his back pocket and pulled out a business card. “It’s not like you don’t know how to track me down, but if you change your mind, my personal cell phone number is on that card.”

He saw the war
going on in her head. C
lear as day
. S
he didn’t
want
to
want
to call him.
As she listened to her angel and devil, h
e wasn’t
sure which way she’d
go and hadn’t realized he’d been holding his breath until she smiled and
looked down at the card.

“I can’t promise—”

He kissed her to keep her rebuttal from spilling out.
H
e half expected her to slap him when he eased back. “Sorry.”

“It’s okay.” She s
ucked her bottom lip between her
teeth and Ricky barely held back a groan.

BOOK: Lucky 13 (Deadlines & Diamonds)
12.64Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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