Authors: Katie Rose
Tags: #Fiction, #Romance, #Contemporary, #Contemporary Women, #Erotica
Too Hot to Handle
is a work of fiction. Names, places, and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
A Loveswept eBook Original
Copyright © 2015 by Colleen Bosler Excerpt from
Loving You Is Easy
by Wendy S. Marcus copyright © 2014 by Wendy S. Marcus All rights reserved.
Published in the United States of America by Loveswept, an imprint of Random House, a division of Random House LLC, a Penguin Random House Company, New York.
is a registered trademark and the L
colophon is a trademark of Random House LLC.
eBook ISBN 97805
Cover design: Lynn Andreozzi
Cover photograph: Claudio Marinesco
“Hey, bro!” Ryan Wakeman strode into the MIXX bar at the Borgata Casino and waved at the Sonics shortstop. Jake Baldwin was, of course, surrounded by girls. A cute little blonde hopped off the stool as Ryan approached, and she blew Jake a kiss when he made it clear he was occupied.
While not the best-looking member of the team—Chase Westbrook held that title—Jake’s little-boy looks, sandy-blond hair, wide blue eyes, and sexy smile attracted women immediately. Charm he had in buckets, and when he turned the full force of his personality on an unsuspecting female, she was done.
The first baseman grabbed the recently vacated stool and signaled to the bartender for a drink. A shot of tequila appeared before him, along with an icy draft. He gave his teammate a questioning look at the amount of alcohol even as he downed the clear liquor.
“It’s off-season,” Jake said with a grin. “We don’t start spring training for a week yet. Plenty of time.”
“Apparently not for all of us.” Ryan gestured to the couple across the bar. Chase Westbrook, their ace pitcher, sat with his girlfriend, Darcy Hamilton, and was nursing a club soda. He seemed to sense their perusal and sent Jake a grin as well as a nod.
“He has to behave himself. He’s got the wife with him.”
Ryan chuckled. “She isn’t yet, but I think it’s just a matter of time.” One brow arched and he looked at Jake speculatively. “So I’m already married, Chase is on his way. What about you? Think you’ll ever settle down?”
“Not my style,” the shortstop said, and then looked at his teammate with curiosity. “I don’t know how you do it. We’re on the road all the time, a different state every week. And with spring training in Florida, there are just too many opportunities to meet girls. Some of them are so damned gorgeous. How do you stay committed?”
“That’s easy,” Ryan said. “It really is true—when you find the right one you just don’t want to cheat. Not that I don’t like to look. But that’s all.”
Jake just shook his head. “I’ve got to hand it to you and our buddy over there.” He indicated Chase. “He’s smitten. Never seen him happier.”
“I know. The man’s done.”
Jake nodded and then gestured to the bartender for another round. When the woman approached, she gave him a sexy smile.
“Hey, honey,” she whispered, leaning closer to the shortstop. “What are you doing later?”
She wore a badge that said Desiree and her voice was rich with promise. Jake allowed his eyes to travel from the top of her platinum-blond head down.
Apparently he liked what he saw. “I’m meeting someone for a couple of drinks,” he confided with a wicked smile. “But I should be able to stop back before closing.”
“Sounds good.” She bent down to get the bottle of tequila, and Jake saw a long length of tanned thigh. His eyes met Ryan’s, and the first baseman shook his head and grinned.
As if on cue, one of the Borgata waitresses, a sultry redhead, entered the bar. She glanced around, and then spotted Jake. Waving enthusiast
ically, she pushed her way through the crowd and joined him.
“Sorry I’m late.” The redhead kissed the shortstop’s cheek and gave Ryan a little finger wave. Her uniform boasted a plunging neckline, which showed off magnificent surgically enhanced breasts, and a skirt so short it barely covered her bottom. “I got held up at the table.”
Jake gave her a kiss in return. “Did you win?”
“Yes, a couple hundred bucks. Drinks are on me!” she said enthusiast
ically and then turned to the bar. Immediately, her smile disappeared as her eyes locked on the bartender. The tension crackled between them as the cool blonde and the hot redhead sized each other up like two cats in the same barnyard.
“What are you doing here?” the redhead spat, her green eyes blazing.
“Working,” Desiree sneered, pouring a drink for emphasis. “You know, real job?”
“Come on, Jake, let’s get out of here.” The redhead gave the bartender a look that could shoot daggers.
Desiree smiled. “See you later, Jakey. Once you’re done wasting your time with
The redhead looked from Jake to the other woman and approaching the bar, poured the glass of tequila over the bartender’s head. Desiree gasped, the clear liquor trickling down her hair and onto her forehead. Grabbing a towel, she rubbed the sting from her eyes, mascara smearing, and then sprang up onto the bar, livid with outrage.
“Oh, no.” Ryan tried to insert himself between the two women, but even his massive form wasn’t enough to keep them apart. A true Jersey catfight ensued even as Jake tried to pull his date out of the grip of the furious bartender.
Chase came around the bar and tried to break it up, but all he got for his trouble was a face full of beer meant for the redhead. A tough-looking thug who’d been eyeing up Desiree all evening jumped into the fray and punched Jake, correctly assessing him as the source.
Without hesitation, Jake hit the man back and within seconds, the entire bar had joined the fight. The redhead pulled Desiree’s hair and wound up with a handful of platinum extensions, while the blonde brought her to the ground.
The two women rolled on the marble floor, screaming and cursing, while manicured fists tried to make contact. Darcy leaped up and grabbed the security guard, and then tried to pry Chase out of the mass of flailing limbs. She pulled him away just as he threw up his arm to protect her from a flying beer bottle, while the guard tried to stop the brawl. Jake accidentally punched Chase, his fist connecting neatly with the pitcher’s chin, and took a hit to the gut in retaliation.
The bouncer quickly called for help, and two cops showed up in record time. The lounge looked like something out of an old western as drinks flew along with fists. One of the officers grabbed a pitcher of ice water and unceremoni
ously threw it on the two women. The redhead let out a howl, giving the man the opportunity he needed to get her off the bartender.
“Break it up!” the other policeman shouted, hauling the brawlers away one by one. He had to call for reinforcem
ents, but once security arrived along with the hotel manager, they were finally able to round up the instigators and hoist them down to the police station. Cell phones flashed, Twitter tweeted, and YouTube exploded. Within minutes, the Sonics’ fight hit social media everywhere as the fans re-tweeted the incident and shared the videos.
By morning, the Jersey team was headline news.
“What the hell is this crap?” Jeffrey Caine threw the paper across the desk where Pete Johnston, head coach for the Sonics, placidly chewed his gum. John Palmer, the team’s communications director, looked to the sky.
Pete shrugged and glanced at the lurid headlines and the nearly obscene picture of two women rolling around the floor of the glitzy nightclub. It didn’t take a practiced eye to spot several members of the Sonics, obviously in the thick of the battle.
“They’re just boys having some fun,” Pete said to the general manager as he fingered the paper, trying to suppress a smile. “They start training tomorrow. Looks like they were letting off steam and things got out of hand.”
“We can’t afford this.” The general manager got to his feet and paced the room. “The last thing we need is this kind of press. This is the year for us to make our mark, become a first-class team. Do you think you’d ever see the Yankees plastered all over the
like this? I heard the YouTube video has gone viral.”
“It will blow over,” John said with a shrug. “You know as well as I do that this will be forgotten in no time. Right now our governor is front and center with that bridge scandal. By next Tuesday this will be nothing more than a footnote.”
“What if one of them gets hurt?” Jeffrey continued in the same tone. “We need Ryan healthy and hitting. We need Jake fit and able to make the kind of plays he made last season. His contract is up this year, and New York is sniffing around. We want to make sure this is a team he wants to stay with. And we just signed Chase. If he injures his arm, we’re out that money. And for what? So that they can go to a bar and engage in a brawl like some street gang on a Saturday night?”
Pete knew better than to continue to defend the actions of his ball club. “I’ll talk to them.”
“We need more than that. We need to change the way they see themselves, make them aware of the repercussions of what they do. They seem to forget they are role models. Who is going to want to take their kids to the ballpark after something like this?”
“We’ll be all right. We’ll just have to make sure they toe the line.”
“Agreed. That’s why I am hiring a PR specialist. Have you heard of Nikki Case?”
Pete shook his head in the negative while John’s mouth opened in surprise.
Jeffrey continued. “She’s supposed to be the best in the business. I want to do what Steinbrenner did. He got rid of the long hair, the tats, and the beards. George wanted the All-American team. He understood the power of an image. That’s what I think we need.”
John snorted. “They’ll never go for it. Our club isn’t a bunch of pretty boys. They’re hardworking, hard-drinking ballplayers. They aren’t about to put on a suit to talk to the press, or starch their uniforms for a photo op.”
Pete nodded in agreement. “They’re tough guys. They hustle. They fight for every hit, every base. By the end of the game, they look like they’ve been rolling in the mud, and they should.”
“I’m not saying they need to become
models,” Jeffrey said impatiently. “What I am saying is that we have a real chance this year to make it big. We signed Chase; Ryan and Jake are healthy. We got to the Series last year, and with a little polish, a well-thought-out strategy, and some hard work, we can win. I want to show New York they aren’t the only ones who know how to put together a real ball club.”
“You know I’ll support you if that’s what you want to do.” Pete shrugged, ignoring the outraged look in John’s eyes. “I just want to tell you it’s going to be an uphill battle. Our boys are going to fight this. Especially if they think we’re imitating the Yankees.”
“I know. But I’m counting on you to make this work,” Jeffrey said emphatically, looking at John. “I want Ms. Case to have free rein. Whatever she says goes. I want her on the road with the team, making sure they stick with the program. And I want you to make it clear that this isn’t up for debate. We are heading into the new season. It’s time for a fresh start. The next headline I see about our team had better be about the effort they’re making in training, their first win, their love for children, apple pie, and America. Got it?”