Memorial Day Part 2

When Natalie saw Cal standing at the side of the club’s pool in nothing but board shorts and sunglasses, she almost choked on the water she was floating in. She couldn’t get used to the sight of him. Nothing but masculine vitality—the kind reserved for superheroes and Greek gods—the kind that radiated charisma like a visible aura. The guy was sexy to a fault with his long chestnut-blond hair shoved carelessly back from his face and forehead. His body was rocking it, the sun glistening off his biceps as well as his shades. Today he’d shaved, so his sculpted jaw looked severe, as did his eyes when he took off his sunglasses, and they focused directly on her.

He’d been edgy since Friday evening. Ever since the moment she’d knocked his curveball deep into centerfield—a thrill she kept replaying in her mind. Cal had warned her not to tell anybody, saying it would damage his career by giving his opponents plenty of fodder to taunt him with. Her—a girl—hitting one of major league baseball’s star pitchers best pitches. She’d teased him mercilessly at first, but in the end she relented—mostly because Pinks had put everyone who’d witnessed her stellar batting skills on lockdown. Pinks was adamant about it not leaking to the press. Although he seemed to love the prospect of dangling it over Cal’s head forevermore. Still, Pinks swore them all to secrecy.

And then Natalie called her father and squealed the first chance she got.

Was that what this look was about? Had Cal found out she’d called her father? Did her dad blab to somebody else? Was the story all over social media? Oh, Lord. Is that why Cal’s gorgeous mouth was flat-line stern and directed at her?

He crooked his finger at Natalie, motioning for her to join him at the side of the pool.

Not a chance.

She didn’t know exactly what had gone down, but she could tell by the tension radiating from Cal that she was definitely in trouble. Cal had never given her this kind of look. Sexy looks, sure. Those were his bread and butter and frankly, she didn’t think he could help them. She loved it when he shot her his cute looks when they Skyped. Those playful looks really made him look more his age. But this, intense you’ve-crossed-me-and-now-you’ll-pay-the-price look? Never. Not that they’d spent all that much time together. A long weekend in Henderson back in March when they met, and then ten amazing days in April during spring training.

So, while this new look may be completely hot, it also screamed danger.

Natalie rolled off her raft deciding to hide under the water.

Unfortunately, she didn’t have invisible super powers so when she finally came up for air at the opposite end of the pool, Cal was right there scowling down at her, his flip-flops at eye level.

“Hey there, Slugger.” He crossed his arms over his chest. “You and the Cupcake get your fill of the sun?”

“You should come in,” she said timidly. “The water’s nice.”

“I’d prefer you come out so we can settle this thing.”

“This thing?”

Cal crouched down giving her plenty to look at. “Harry just reminded me I haven’t collected on our little agreement.”

“Our agreement?” Natalie squeaked, distracted by the light hair on his legs, the muscles beneath it, the bulge in his shorts that was now at eye level.

“That titillating promise you made me Friday. The one that had me thinking with the most common part of my anatomy, rather than the last tiny shred of my common sense? Darlin,” he said, leaning down further as if he was whispering in her ear. “You owe me.”

Natalie felt her face flush. “Cal.”

“That’s me. Ready, willing, and able.”

“Now? Here? You can’t be serious.”

His eyes went wide. “Oooh, but I am, Miss Great. Deadly serious.” He held out his hand and clipped, “Come on.”

She backed away, shaking her head.

“Nat. Don’t make me get in that pool. Come. Here. Now.”

With a shriek that was cut off as she dove under the water, Natalie swam as fast as she could in the opposite direction. She was just about to take a breath when she felt a sturdy grip wrap around her ankle and tug her backwards. Whatever air was left in her lungs came out in a burst of bubbles as she was roped in against a firm chest by powerful arms. Arms that could throw a hundred-and-one-mile-an-hour fastball. Damn, she loved that about him.

“Cal,” she gasped, trying to wiggle away while she pushed wet hair out of her eyes.

“Here are your glasses, Mr. Johnson,” some ten-year-old kid offered.

“Thanks buddy.” Cal struggled to hold on to Natalie with one arm around her waist and take the glasses he must have lost when he dove in the pool after her. “I appreciate you finding them for me.”

“No problem,” the kid said. “Is she the one who hit your curveball the other night?”

Natalie felt Cal’s grip tighten. She stilled in his arms.

“Excuse me?” Cal looked at the kid as if he were completely offended. “Have you seen me pitch?”

“Sure. My Mom says you’re God’s gift to baseball.”

“Does she now?” Cal’s cocky grin made its first appearance of the weekend while his eyes darted a smug look down at Natalie.

“My dad says you’re a pretty boy and you need a haircut.”

“Well, you can tell your dad to—” Natalie threw a hand over his mouth. When he pulled it away he told her, “I was just going to say he can tell his dad that I’m like Samson. My strength comes from my hair.”

“Sure you were.” Natalie looped an arm around Cal’s shoulders.

The kid pointed to Nat. “So she’s your Delilah?”

Cal looked at Natalie from the top of her head down to the bare skin shown off between the cups of her bikini top, his expression growing grim. “You may be right about that.” He grunted as he hefted Natalie’s lower body into his arms and began to walk the two of them toward the pool steps. “Later, kid,” he called.

Nat couldn’t help but look around as he carried her out of the pool, the two of them dripping water as they went. Eighty percent of the pool’s crowd was focused on them—Cal in his shades with his slicked back hair and his professional athletic physique. What a picture he must make, she thought, praying that her bikini bottoms weren’t wrenched to the side exposing a butt cheek. Of course, she thought, who’d spare me a look? No one. So she retuned her gaze to the dazzling features of her man …

And smiled.

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