Underdog Luke "Single" Singleton is yearning to make a comeback. After getting hit in the neck with a pitch—an injury that nearly cost him his life—he has one last chance to play for his hometown team, the Stockton Beavers. But his mom has Alzheimer's, and he's all she has to depend on. How can he pursue his career, much less someone special?
Personal care aide Roberta Bennett is done dating baseball players. Having had her share of heartbreak, she heads to Stockton hoping for a fresh start. But after she finds Luke’s mom outside, lost, and alone, she can’t refuse when he hires her on the spot. Unbeknownst to Luke, Roberta is all too familiar with the violent tendencies of the pitcher who hit him.
Now that they’re living under the same roof, the last thing either of them is looking for is a relationship. But it’s not long before they find themselves drawn to each other. And right when Luke is thinking about finally making a change to his single status, a secret from Roberta's past emerges with the power to tear them apart.
A sob rises up in my throat. "Luke, don’t you see? I can’t give you what you want. What’s done can't be undone.” The tears start flowing in earnest now, and I can't hold them back. "It’s just, at the time, I convinced myself that I was okay with it because I never thought I'd meet someone like you. I gave up on life, on ever falling in love again, on ever being happy again.” I take a shaky breath. “And now, I have nothing left to offer you.”
"Don't say that," he cries, getting up and reaching for me. "You're everything I could ever want and more. Don’t you know that?"
I shy away from him, not allowing him to pull me into the warmth of his embrace. "And do you really think I could be happy, knowing that you threw away your future on account of me? Luke, I refuse to hold you back. I want you to have everything you’ve ever dreamed of because you deserve it. That’s why I want you to tell your manager yes. You owe it to yourself, your mom…your dad…to go and play in New York.” I sigh deeply. “If you don’t, I don’t think I’d ever be able to forgive myself.” Hugging my arms to my chest, I slowly back my way out of the kitchen.
"Roberta…" he whispers.
But with silent tears streaming down my face, I keep going. Once I get inside my room, I lock the door before throwing myself down onto the bed, tugging the sheets around me that are still warm from his body.
About the Author
Collette West grew up as somewhat of a jock-nerd hybrid. Entering the world three weeks premature, her dad nearly missed her birth because he had seats behind the dugout for a sold-out, highly-anticipated match-up between two of baseball’s biggest rivals. Not to be outdone, her book-loving mom taught her how to read by the time she was three. A love of the game coupled with an appreciation for the written word were instilled in Collette‘s impressionable brain from a young age. No wonder her characters believe in the philosophy: sports + romance = a little slice of heaven.
Splitting her time between the Pocono Mountains and Manhattan, Collette indulges her inner fangirl by going to as many games as she can from hockey to baseball and downloading every sports romance novel in existence onto her iPad. When she’s not clicking away on her laptop, she enjoys walking her dog in Central Park, satisfying her caffeine craving at the Starbucks on Broadway and keeping an eye out for Mr. Right. But above all, she loves dishing with her readers. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
She is the author of the New York Kings series which includes: NIGHT GAMES, GAME CHANGER, GAME ON, PERFECTGAME, INSIDE GAME and GAME WINNER.