How many times have you read about an athlete making it to the top and then crashing and burning? It seems to happen all the time. I couldn't write about sports without addressing how hard it is for some top athletes to handle success. And thus, Nat Owen, First Base, was born.
A bit about the book:
What would you do if Lucy Albright, the hottest new female country music singer, asked you to come up to her place?
Nat Owen, formerly nobody from nowhere, now World Series MVP, followed his instincts. The star first baseman fell under the spell of the singer the minute she batted her eyelashes at him.
What about Nicki? Were they only friends, or about to become more? The female pro softball catcher and the first baseman had chemistry. Just as Nat made his move on Nicki, Lucy strutted into his life, offering stardom, glitter, and a lifestyle he could only dream about.
What’s a man to do? With his head in one place and his heart in another, Nat bounced from one to the other, trying to make up his mind. When an offer he couldn’t refuse was dangled in front of him, he went for it. Little did he know, he had a lot more to lose than his heart.
Here's the Sneak Peek:
Caution - this excerpt has not been through final proofing or editing yet.
Nat Owen, World Series Nighthawks MVP, stumbled into a taxi in front of a hotel in midtown Manhattan. Hung over from celebrating, he’d spent the night with Lucy Albright, CMA’s top female country vocalist.
Memories of last night floated through a haze of alcohol. He remembered that someone had offered him pills, and there was white powder on a mirror going up someone’s nose. He’d turned away from the drugs. He’d never taken drugs of any kind. Alcohol was a different story.
Since his intake was restricted during the season, his capacity for liquor had dropped to practically zero. It had saved him a shitload of money since he could get a buzz from only two beers. The celebrations had been champagne all the way. Lucy’s entourage had refilled his glass time and again, so he had no idea how much he’d drunk. It must have been plenty because he had a thirst that wouldn’t quit and a pounding in his head like nobody’s business.
Once inside his apartment, he downed two bottles of water. Then he opened the egg sandwich he’d picked up at the deli and took a bite. Next, he filled the coffee pot and grabbed a bottle of ibuprofen from the medicine cabinet. After wolfing down his sandwich, he popped three pain pills and washed them down with coffee.
He took a large mug of java into the living room where he sprawled on the sofa. Kicking off his shoes, he rested his feet on the coffee table. Eyes shut, he tried to recreate last evening in his mind. Had he slept with Lucy? He couldn’t remember. Retrieving his wallet, he flipped it open and, sure enough, a condom was missing.
Country music played in his brain. That’s right, Lucy and two members of her band had harmonized. He remembered a platter of sandwiches. More champagne. Someone took his hand and led him to the bedroom.
A vision of Lucy taking off her clothes popped up. Wow! Yeah. Lucy naked came back to him, clear as a bell. He’d been on the bed, and she had been riding him like a cowgirl. Her large breasts had bounced in his face. Oh, yes, it was all coming back.
Nat padded into the kitchen for a java refill but stopped to down two glasses of water first. Hell, he’d never been this thirsty in his life. As the pain receded, he grinned. Skinny, little Nat Owen from Willow Falls had banged Lucy Albright, country music star. Raised to be a gentleman, Nat wouldn’t brag to the guys about his conquest, but they’d probably guess anyway and tease the hell out of him.
Wouldn’t the folks back home be surprised? He’d been the smallest kid in his third-grade class. The fourth child of seven, he’d never been anything special. His siblings went out of their way to remind him of that every day. Whenever he acted up, his mother would turn a stone-cold eye on him and yell, “Who do you think you are?”
Hell, Nat Owen didn’t think he was anybody at all until baseball came along. What would they think of their little brother now? World Series MVP and Lucy Albright’s lover—all in one week—was more than a regular guy could believe.
After hydrating himself and popping a couple more painkillers, Nat flopped into bed and zonked out for the rest of the day. As the sun set, he awoke to the sound of text messages popping up on his phone. He read Bobby’s first.
Where the hell are you? Party at Matt’s starts NOW
Free food and booze at Matt’s. Where are you?
Missing a great party, asshole. Get to Matt’s now!
Bleary-eyed, half-asleep, and with a mouth as dry as month-old bread, Nat wracked his brain trying to remember what his friends were talking about. Then it hit him! Dusty, Matt’s fiancée, and Nicki Overton, her teammate, were making a huge pot of chili, salad, and cakes. Matt was buying a keg and a victory party had been scheduled.
The thought of chili and beer made Nat retch. He ran to the bathroom. The warm bed with soft sheets called to him. But he’d promised the guys he’d go. He was the guest of honor, so he had to show up. Then there was Nicki.
Nat had noticed Nicki when she first showed up with Dusty at Freddie’s Bar & Grill—the New York Nighthawks’ hangout. Dusty’s sidekick was the prettiest catcher he had ever seen. She had chin-length soft brown hair, huge, translucent, light turquoise eyes, and a wiry, athletic build. She played on the same women’s softball team as Dusty.
Nicki was the first professional softball player he’d met, besides Matt’s girl. They played on the New York Queens. Along with his teammates, he’d watched Nicki handle the job with cool-headed intelligence and grace. Matt and Dusty’s connection intrigued Nat. He’d never dated a female athlete before and wondered if a man and a woman playing the same sport agreed about it or fought about it. Couldn’t help but wonder if the sex was better.
He had quizzed his teammate about Dusty, never about the sex part, though he had been curious. Matt would probably laugh in his face, anyway, or punch him out. He wasn’t the kind to kiss and tell. Just twenty-nine with his career in full swing, Nat had it all—except a steady girlfriend. From time to time, he’d hook up with a girl on the road. The sex wasn’t great, but it was good enough—hell, better than no sex.
He’d wondered about that. All the guys on the team living with women appeared happier, calmer. Nat figured relationship sex must be head-and-shoulders above the get-it-while-you-can kind. He’d never had a steady girl, even in high school. At sixteen, he’d had to go to baseball practice every day after school and on Saturdays. With seven kids in his house, on Sundays, he worked at the ice cream parlor in town to help support the family. There was no time or money for dating.
Once he got into pro ball, women crawled all over him. He had flitted from flower to flower, seeing no reason to deny himself or every attractive woman who wanted a piece of him. He didn’t get puffed up about his success. Not Nat, he’d been humbled by his hardscrabble early life. Grateful to baseball for lifting him up from a going-nowhere existence, he’d focused most of his energy on staying sharp. He had worked out, practiced like a maniac, and had made it to the top.
Tomcatting on the road had lost its luster. As his teammates settled into solid relationships and prepared for marriage, there were fewer and fewer guys hitting the bars. He wanted a woman who he could talk to, about the game, life, whatever. Banging a steady diet of different women left him needing something more.
He wanted what his teammates had—a girl he could count on. The time had come for Nat Owen to admit that being on his own didn’t cut it. He needed to grow up, find a good woman, and make a commitment. Easier said than done.
Not your "cookie cutter" sports romance, Nat Owen, First Base will make you mad, make you cry, make you laugh and keep you turning the pages until you're done!
It's up for pre-order now. Release date is scheduled for April 18. Find it here:
Coming soon to paperback and audio.
Check out the other books in the Bottom of the Ninth series: