Carolyn LaRoche grew up in snow country but fled the cold and ice several years ago. She now lives near the beach with her husband and their two sons. She’s been known to lug her laptop to the baseball fields and keeps a notebook by her bed to jot down the next big story idea in the wee hours of the night.
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Daisies in the Outfield
After his professional baseball career crashed and burned, Jamie escaped to the scenic coastal town of Falmouth for a fresh start. With a new career that fit his personality, Jamie lived life on his terms. His terms were simple—fight fires for the adrenaline rush, coaching MLB hopefuls for the love of the game, and spending his nights with one of the many pretty faces that crossed his path. Plenty of women passed through his life but none had tempted him to settle down. Until a feisty brunette changed all that. Too bad the sexy paramedic had no interest in Jamie or spending the night with him. She carried an attitude as thick as her New York accent and he wanted to coax a smile on her face.Mandy was running from something and Jamie couldn’t help but be intrigued. Can a sexy little wager convince a confirmed bachelor and a woman running from her past to take a chance on love? Goodreads Amazon US Amazon UK Amazon CA Amazon AU iTunes Nook
When a terrible injury ended his pro career, Grant knew nothing would ever take the place of his one and only love—baseball. Fighting fires didn’t hold the same kind of excitement as catching a ninety mile an hour fast ball at Fenway Park but he loved every minute of it. Especially when he met the sassy, sexy as hell paramedic that’s as complicated as a three-alarm fire. Callie had already lived through her fair share of serious. At twenty-eight, her current plans for the future included having a good time and enjoying the MLB hopefuls that showed up on the Cape every May to play in the summer baseball league. College boys were fun but didn't hold half the appeal as the sexy firefighter that kept showing up when she least expected it. He wanted her and she wanted absolutely none of it. Or, so she thought. Grant could not only set her body on fire with just a look but with only a few kisses she started to forget that serious was off the table for her life. After hiding so much for so long, can she open her heart up and trust that Grant’s in it for more than just the chase?
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An Excerpt from Daisies in the Outfield
"Come on, Sally, when's dinner gonna be served?" All the guys had a girl name for their night on kitchen duty. Jamie's was Sally. Grant had been harassing him big time and it was getting way beyond annoying. Every time the door to the house opened, he held his breath hoping Mandy would walk in.
"You'll get your food when it's ready," he snapped, not bothering to hide his annoyance.
"Touchy today, aren’t we. Is it your time of the month, Sally?"
"Go to hell." Jamie stirred the sauce then poured the five pounds of pasta into the oversized colander to drain it.
"Damn, man. You need to get laid something serious."
"You might not understand this, but there is more to life than getting laid and getting drunk."
"Tell that to my liver and my dick. They are pretty feisty little guys and they want what they want when they want it."
"You really need a life, Grant."
"I have a great life. A job I like, a twenty four hour grocery store across the street and
plenty of pretty ladies around town with a thing for firefighters."
"Why don't you and your dick go tell the guys grub's on. I need to step outside for some air."
"Thinking about my parts got you all hot and bothered, does it?" Grant left the kitchen laughing and Jamie stepped out the back door to the little grassy area behind the fire station. Stretching, he let the cool ocean breeze that always accompanied nightfall, wash over him. The smell of sand and salt assaulted his senses. It was a heady combination on a warm summer night. Even better if he had a certain woman in his arms watching the waves crash in over their toes.
"Hey," a voice called out quietly from the dimness of dusk. A very familiar voice. A voice that made his heart jump around wildly in his chest. Mandy.
He turned around and saw her standing at the corner of the building, peering at him with an amused look on her face. Suddenly feeling a little shy, he replied, "Hey, yourself," instead of striding over and taking her in his arms like he had ached to do all day long. Mandy giggled and twisted her hands in front of her.
"What's so funny?"
"Well, I came here to meet a guy named Jamie but it looks like I've found Betty Crocker instead.”
Oh, shit. The apron!
"You got a problem with a man in an apron?" He grinned and she laughed again, shaking her head.
"No. I don’t suppose I do."
"Good." This time he did close the distance between them but he didn’t touch her. She shivered a little and he hoped it was because of his proximity and not the evening breeze. "It's a house joke. The guy on kitchen duty has to wear one—the frillier, the better—and he gets a girl name. Hazing at its best, I suppose."
"My what?" It was getting hard to think when all he could focus on was her lips and how badly he wanted to taste them.
Mandy ran a finger lightly up his arm until she reached the place where the full length apron started up around his neck and hooked her finger there. "Your girl name. What is it?"
"Hmmm…I've always had this secret fantasy of kissing a girl named Sally. Ever since I heard the song Mustang Sally."
"You have? Maybe we should do something about that."
"Maybe we should." Mandy was more
relaxed than he had seen her over the last few days, flirting with her words and ravaging him with her eyes. He sure liked this side of her.
Jamie bent down and scooped her up in his arms. Mandy wrapped her legs around his waist and her arms around his neck. She leaned back slightly and murmured, "Oh, Sally. You have the most amazing—eyes." She ran her tongue over her lips, never once looking him the eyes.
"So do you," he replied focused only on those now slightly dampened lips. The space between them disappeared as she took his mouth with a passion he wouldn't have thought her capable of. Worried one of the guys might walk outside and see them, he carried her into a stand of pine trees on the side of the building, never once breaking their contact. She let a tiny little moan escape as she ended the kiss.
"I'm sorry. I couldn't help myself." She sounded embarrassed.
"I never want you to not do that if you have the urge. Did that even make sense?" He chuckled huskily against her throat as he placed tiny little kisses across the neck line of her top. The thin, silky material was erotic, caressing his chin and cheek as he explored the bare skin of her shoulder with his tongue.
"Yes. It made sense." She pulled his mouth back up to hers. "I feel like doing it again."
Jamie dropped to his knees, setting Mandy gently onto the ground. He sat in the cushion of the pine needles and pulled her onto his lap. "Then by all means—"
The second kiss was better than the first as his tongue sought hers. She was as fervent as he was in her desire to get as close as possible. If he weren't in uniform, twenty feet from ten other guys, he would have given into her every demand. As it was, they were about to go to a place he wouldn't return from without an ice cold shower so he pulled back reluctantly.
"Did I miss something?" he whispered against her ear.
"This morning I wasn't sure I would ever see you again. I mean, there was something—"
"I know. I'm sorry. I was having some doubts but then I talked to Callie and worked a few things out."
"I like when you talk to Callie." He grinned and pressed a kiss to the side of her neck, behind her ear. "Can you talk to her more often? Preferably on a day when I am not on duty?"
Mandy laughed. "I think that can be arranged."
"Are you hungry?"
She shook her head. "Not anymore."
There was no mistaking the meaning in her words. "Yeah, me either. Unfortunately, I have to get back inside. The captain can be a bit of a ball-buster."
Mandy moved to stand but Jamie pulled her back in, crushing his lips to hers in one last hard kiss. He wanted to remember the feel of her lips all night long. She snaked her arms around his neck and murmured, "I know exactly what you mean."
His hands slid up her back slowly, slipping under the hem of her top and finding the soft skin of her lower back. A groan rumbled through his chest. Frustration mounted and that ice cold shower was definitely about to become reality.
"I should go," she whispered. "I don’t want you to get in trouble on my account. I'm thinking you are going to need those balls your captain will want to bust in the near future."
He groaned again, this time in sweet agony over the image her words had conjured in his mind. They walked out of the stand of trees hand in hand, Jamie cursing his need to be employed.
"Are you sure you don’t want to come in for a bit?"
She shook her head. "No. I don't want to get in the way."
"You are never in my way."
He loved the way all her skin, not just her face, changed colors when she was embarrassed. Half the time he said stuff like that just to make her blush.
"See you for the game tomorrow night?" he asked, wrapping his arm around her waist and pulling her in for one last kiss.
"Wouldn't miss it for the world, Coach." She batted her eyelashes exaggeratedly and gave him a sugary sweet smile.
"Good. I'll make sure one of my uniforms is clean just for you."
"You can but you'll be wasting your time." Mandy stepped away and gave a little wave. "I never lose a bet. Enjoy the rest of your shift."
He watched as she walked away, stopping just before she turned the corner and blew him a little kiss.
What the hell was all that?
That was a side to Mandy, he hadn't expected. All her temperature changes over the past few days hadn't prepared him for what had just gone down.
The door opened behind him. "Where the hell'd you get off to, man? I was about to call in search and rescue."
"Nowhere. I've been out here the whole time."
"You've got dirt on your knees."
"I dropped something."
"And found it by rolling around under the trees?" Grant reached up and pulled a pine needle out of Jamie's hair.
"I guess so."
"You look like a freak in that apron."
"Mandy likes it."
Grant's eyes widened as he scanned the area. "She's here?"
"Was. I invited her for dinner."
"Well, why didn't you all come inside then?"
Jamie turned and grinned at his friend. "Because she skipped the meal and filled up on desert."
"You dog! You didn't—?"
"No! Not that. I would have but you know, work and all."
"Always getting in the way of the good stuff," Grant grumbled as they returned to the kitchen. "If I could get paid for having sex, I would."
"You can. But, you can also get arrested for it."
"I meant legally, you ass hat! Maybe I'll become a porn star." He gyrated his hips exaggeratedly, making Jamie laugh.
Jamie pulled off his apron and tossed it to Grant. "Sorry, dude. You better stick with fighting fires. You're on cleanup. I need a shower."
A very, very cold shower.