Authors: Lindsay Paige,Mary Smith
* * * *
Season 1 of
The Ninth Inning Series
Copyright © 2015 by Lindsay Paige and Mary Smith
All rights reserved.
Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, brands, media, and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of various products, bands, and/or restaurants referenced in this work of fiction, which have been used without permission. The publication/use of these trademarks is not authorized, associated with, or sponsored by the trademark owners.
This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to your favorite ebook retailer and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.
Table of Contents
MY PALMS ARE a little sweaty, thinking that the ever-so talented James Diamond is going to be reading for his newest book. I can’t believe I’m actually here. I take a seat near the back since most of all the other seats are taken. I’m able to spot three seats toward the end of the row. I only need two of them.
LA is coming up toward me with a scowl on her face. Her long, brown hair bounces with each stomp of her foot. “Why the hell do you drag me to these things?”
“This is James Diamond. He’s the number one mystery writer in the world.”
“Are any of his books going to become a movie?” She flops into the seat next to me.
“No,” I growl at her. “His books are too good to be ruined by a movie.” I grip my copy of Mr. Diamond’s latest novel in my hands. I’m hoping to get him to sign it.
I can still hear my dearest older sister bitching next to me about being here, but I’m not listening because in a few minutes my favorite author will entrance me.
“Excuse me, is anyone sitting here?”
I turn to the deep voice and see a tall man with shaggy dark hair looking back at me. His light brown eyes stare at me as he waits for my answer.
“No,” I say, standing up to move out of the way for him to take the seat. LA pushes me a little bit and we both step out into the aisle. The man nods and takes the seat. LA then yanks on my arm and tries to make me take the seat she had been in, next to the guy.
“What are you doing?” I whisper-yell at her.
“I’m happily married to a man I dearly love, but if I sit next Mr. Fuck-Me-Now with his bedroom eyes, I’ll be divorced by morning.”
I roll my eyes. There’s no point in arguing with her. Her head is made of stone. I smile politely at him and take the seat, still holding a death-grip on my book.
“I take it that you’re a fan of James Diamond,” Mr. Hottie speaks to me.
“I wouldn’t be here if I wasn’t.” I try to keep looking forward.
“Not everyone here is a fan, Abigail. Some of us were brought against our will,” LA jumps in.
“Shut up, Leigh Ann,” I hiss at my sister.
“You were forced to a reading?” Mr. Hottie leans over a bit to speak to LA.
“Yes. My sister here,” she points at me as if he couldn’t have figured it out on his own, “doesn’t drive, and that makes me her bitch or chauffeur, whichever you prefer.”
He chuckles at LA’s randomness. “I think chauffeur sounds better.”
I sigh deeply because I want to remind them both that I’m sitting right here and I want them to shut up.
“This is my baby sister, Abigail, and I’m Leigh Ann.” She sticks out her hand.
“Nice to meet you both.” He shakes her hand and then looks at me. I give in and take his firm grip in my hand. “I’m Felix Hernandez.”
LA gasps. “Of the Memphis Angels?”
“One and the same,” he nods.
“My husband and I are big fans. We’re excited for the season to start.”
Felix smiles and nods again.
“My very single, very attractive sister is also a fan.” LA points to me again.
I drop my mouth in horror. I hate when she does this and I’m not a fan of baseball. Well, I mean, I know baseball and have even been to a few games, but I’m not as big as a fan as LA and Harry, her husband.
“Please don’t listen to her.” I turn to him. “She takes a lot of medication.”
Felix chuckles again. “I have siblings, too. I understand your pain.”
I think he is about to say something else, but he stops when the lights go down and the stage lights go up. It’s about time for the reading to start.
I listen intently to the speaker as they introduce Mr. Diamond, and within a moment, he’s on stage. I don’t think I even blink when he begins the reading. It seems like a single second goes by and then it’s over. Darn it! I want more. My shoulders sag in defeat when my internal command goes unanswered.
The crowd begins to get up and shuffle to the main lobby where Mr. Diamond will be signing for a little bit. I’m praying I’ll be able to get my book signed.
“Great to meet you,” I tell Felix and push past my sister to get into the line. She understands my obsession with having signed books and will know to look for me in a little bit.
Thankfully, I have success and even get a selfie with him. Of course, my brown hair looks like a dirty mop, but I’m thrilled that I got one.
I search for LA and find her by the entrance door with Felix standing next to her.
Oh, good grief.
I go over to them and they both smile at me. Well, LA’s smile is as bright as a light bulb, but Felix gives a half smile.
“Did you get the book signed?”
“Yes,” I tell my sister, trying not to look at Felix. “I’m ready to go.”
“Oh, you won’t believe this.” Her eyes are wide with excitement.
“What?” I cautiously ask. I know that look and something is up.
“Felix lives in the same complex you do. He’ll take you home.”
“What?” I shake my head, hoping I didn’t hear her right. “Why would he take me home?”
“He lives near you.”
“Come on. You seriously want me to get into a car with a stranger and have him
take me home. I’ll probably end up in a ditch dead somewhere!” I’m practically yelling at her.
“I’m standing right here,” Felix interjects. “I was trying to be helpful and I haven’t murdered anyone in my life.”
“See, he’s a nice guy,” LA says cheerfully.
“Look,” I turn to him first. “I’m sure you’re a really nice guy and congrats on all your success in the baseball league, but my sister is going to take me home. Good luck.” Before he can say anything, I yank on my sister’s arm and leave the building. “What are you doing?” I ask LA as soon as we are in the car.
“Nothing. He’s a nice, millionaire baseball player. You’re a single woman. I was helping.”
“No, you weren’t. Now, please drive me home. Thank you.” I cross my arms, still holding my book to my chest.
LA doesn’t say anything as she drives me to my apartment. I keep my head down the entire ride as I always do until she puts the car in park in front of my building.
“Do you need a ride to class in the morning?”
I shake my head. “No, I’m going to take the bus.”
“Okay. Call me.”
I nod, jump out of her car, and run into my apartment. I lock the door and admire my book for another minute before going into my home office and placing it on the shelf with my other signed books. I look around and notice that my desk is full of my schoolwork. I’m not in the mood to do it right now. I’m glad I’m ahead in my classes.
I stroll into my kitchen, kicking off my shoes along the way and shedding my cardigan. I’ve been in this place for two years. I moved in shortly after I finished my undergrad degree in Literature. Right now, I’m close to completing my master’s degree. I want to be a college professor. Well, that’s what I’m leaning toward, but I’m not sure if I’ll make it or not. This semester had been tough and I can’t wait for it to be over. I plan on taking a spa day and sleeping to noon. That’s probably not going to happen, but it’s an idea.
I pour myself a glass of white wine and grab my Kindle. I curl up on my couch and flip open my latest read.
Just as I’m almost to a plot twist in the book, my phone rings. I sigh when I look at the display.
“I’m sure LA has already given you every detail,” I answer before Annie can say anything.
“Now, Abby-bear,” I roll my eyes at my childhood pet name. “LA told me you met someone and I want to hear it from you.”
“What?” I squeak. “A guy sat next to me at the reading, and LA was like a bear on honey when he said his name was Felix Hernandez.”
“You know how LA is. Her heart is in the right place.”
“Yeah, in his pocketbook,” I mumble. “I don’t need a man. I’m fine.”
Annie sighs. She’s the oldest of the three of us and almost twelve years older than I am. She’s always been like a motherly-figure to me. Annie has always been the responsible one. She finished high school and college all before she was twenty. She found a job as a teacher quickly and has been enjoying teaching first graders since then.
LA, she’s a whole other story. She’s the rebel of the three of us. She always gave my parents a rough time, but she would never back down from a fight. However, she’s very protective of Annie and me, even though she’s the middle child. She’s only five years older than I am. LA never went to college. She landed a job right out of high school and stayed there until she fell in love with her husband, Harry. His job takes care of them both and even though I never thought LA would be a housewife, she likes it. She’s even settled down somewhat.