Home > Beyond the Game (Out of Reach #2)

Beyond the Game (Out of Reach #2)
Author: Kaylee Ryan

 

All Rights Reserved.

This book may not be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without the written permission of Kaylee Ryan, except for the use of brief quotations in articles and or reviews.

 

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, events, locations, businesses and plot are products of the author’s imagination and meant to be used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events throughout the story are purely coincidental. The author acknowledges trademark owners and trademarked status of various products referenced in this work of fiction, which have been used without permission. The publication and use of these trademarks are not authorized, sponsored or associated by or with the trademark owners.

 

The following story contains sexual situations and strong language. It is intended for adult readers.

 

Cover Design: Perfect Pear Creative Covers

Cover Photography: Sara Eirew

 

 

Editing: Hot Tree Editing

Proofreading: Deaton Author Services & Editing 4 Indies

 

 

Paperback Formatting: Jersey Girl Designs

 

 

Chapter 1

 

 

Paisley

 

There is nothing like the smell of the Blaze stadium on game day. The overpriced stale beer that permeates the air, freshly popped popcorn, hot dogs, and dirt. It smells like home. I grew up here watching my dad and honorary uncles play for the Blaze. As the family of the starting first baseman, we had the option to sit in the suites, but my mom, sisters, and I loved being in the center of the action. Seats right behind the dugout where Dad could say hi to us, and we could yell back and know that he could hear us.

I have so many childhood memories from this stadium, and I missed it while I was away at college.

Playing for my college team, a pitcher like my grandpa Monroe, I’ve played in a lot of stadiums. Sure, most were college, but none of them, even my home team stadium, ever felt like this. My home away from home.

“Earth to Paisley,” my best friend, Willow, says, waving her hand in front of my face. “Are you in there?” She laughs.

“Stop.” I swat at her hand while grinning. “It’s been a while since I’ve been here. I’m just taking it all in.”

“You grew up here. What could possibly be new for you?”

Willow and I have been best friends since day one of kindergarten. She and I played T-ball together. She liked it but never had the strong love for it that I did. She stopped playing around the fifth grade, but she has always been one of my biggest cheerleaders. She and I attended the same college and roomed together all four years. We actually still live together today. After graduation, we rented a condo not far from my parents’ place. Dad, of course, helped us find it. Even though I’m twenty-two, he likes to have me close. Who am I kidding? He likes to have all four of his girls close—his words, not mine. Regardless that my mom is his wife, he includes her as one of his girls with me and my sisters.

“It’s not new,” I finally answer. “It’s the familiarity, like coming home.”

“Girl, you and your baseball.” She links her arm through mine. “Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for some hotties in baseball pants. We better grab our snacks and find our seats, or I’m going to miss the stretches. That’s one of the best parts of the game.”

She’s not wrong. While I love the sport, no, it’s more than that. Baseball and softball are a part of me. There isn’t a single solitary thing I don’t love. Even watching the players in their uniforms. I even like to tease my dad about it. It’s fun to see him get all wound up about me dating. He claims I’m not old enough. At twenty-two, I know different, and so does Mom. The truth of the matter is I don’t know if I’ll ever meet a man who my dad thinks is good enough for me. His words, not mine, but I believe them. It’s not just me. It’s my two younger sisters, Parker and Peyton, too. We’re all three daddy’s girls.

We make our way to the concession stand and order our first round of snacks. We both get a large drink and a hot dog, which we smother in ketchup and mustard. This is just the first round. We’re seasoned pros at pacing ourselves.

“Ready?” Willow asks.

“Yes. I just need to grab some napkins.” I grab a pretty large stack and shove them into my small crossbody purse. Stadium hot dogs are messy. Well, all the ketchup and mustard I added is messy. I need to be prepared, which is something I’ve learned over the years. With my hot dog in one hand and my drink in the other, I lead us to our seats.

My family has sat in these seats for as long as I can remember. It’s a Monroe family tradition that I plan to keep alive.

“Damn, number thirty is looking fine today,” Willow says dramatically before taking a huge bite of her hot dog.

“Mm-hmm,” I agree before taking my own bite. Nothing is better than a man in baseball pants.

“Is anyone else in your family coming today? Whose ticket am I stealing?” Willow asks.

“Nobody’s that I’m aware of. Parker had a game. It started about thirty minutes ago,” I explain. My sisters, like me, followed in our dad’s footsteps. All three of us fell in love with the game and play softball.

“Good. I don’t have to censor myself.” She laughs.

“When have you ever censored yourself?” I fire back.

“When your parents are here, and Peyton. Parker’s old enough to enjoy my commentary.” She grins, and I can’t help but return it. My best friend is what my grandma calls boy crazy. She’s not one to sleep around, but she loves to flirt, and she’s made looking at the players its own sport. She blames me for dragging her to so many games over the years.

All I can do is shake my head and smile. Willow has been my person since I was a little girl, and I wouldn’t change her for the world. When we’re asked to stand for the national anthem, we turn to face the flag. Chills race down my spine as the stadium grows quiet, and nothing can be heard but the sultry voice of a local high school student singing our country’s anthem.

When it’s over, I move to sit and bump into someone. I turn to look over my shoulder and apologize, but my breath stalls in my lungs. The most gorgeous guy I’ve ever seen in my entire life is standing behind me, holding his hand up in apology.

“Sorry about that,” he says in his deep sexy voice, as he takes the seat next to mine.

I open my mouth to reply, and nothing comes out. I feel an elbow dig into my side as Willow leans around me. “Hi.”

Our sexy neighbor grins, and the dimple in his cheek pops out. His brown eyes sparkle. “Nice to meet you, ladies. I apologize.” He nods toward me.

“I should have been paying attention,” I say, finally finding my words. “I didn’t know anyone was sitting there.” He’s sitting in seats I know the team owns. He must be related to one of the players, or maybe he’s a friend. Either way, it’s going to be hard for me to focus on the game, and for me, that’s saying a lot.

“Yeah, I’m running late. Traffic.” He shrugs. “I don’t usually wait until the middle of the national anthem to show up at a ball game.”

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