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Perfect Catch(4)

By´╝ÜSierra Dean



Alice wasn’t the skinny, plastic-type girl he was used to meeting in Florida. She had more curves than a Swiss highway, and between her ample bosom and the fine fullness of her butt in those jeans, Alex wasn’t sure where he could rest his gaze without leering.

“That doughnut will hold you for a bit, but you’re going to want to take it in and get a proper replacement. I can recommend a good garage in town where they won’t look at a Porsche like it’s a spaceship. They’ll be fair in the pricing too.”

“Thanks.”

Alice collected her jacket and replaced the tools in the trunk. Finally seeing a place he might be of use, Alex grabbed the busted tire and got it stowed.

“You live around here?” He wasn’t ready to see her vanish yet and was hoping he might be able to convince her to spend a little more time with him. Perhaps someplace nicer than the side of the highway.

“Yeah. There’s a small suburb about four miles down the road. We have a place there.”

We. “You and your husband?”

Alice gave a half-smile and shook her head. “No. No husband.”

Relief hit him with a whoosh. He didn’t know her, they’d only met once before, yet he was positive he would have been crushed to discover she was off the market. As it was he would be calling his friend Tucker Lloyd—the Felons’ ace pitcher—later that night for some help with Alice insight. Tucker was engaged to Emmy Kasper, and Emmy was friends with Alice. Alex would need all the intel he could get if he had a shot in hell with a girl who looked like Alice.

And it wasn’t only her appearance. She’d changed his tire like it was the easiest damn thing in the world. Impressive didn’t begin to cover it.

Surely Emmy would be able to get him an in.

Alice shifted nervously and glanced at her car, which made Alex realize with some horror he’d been staring at her.

Think fast, you idiot.

“Know anywhere good to eat? I drove in from Atlanta. I was planning to eat at the hotel when I checked in, but…you know, room service isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.”

“Yeah, I have that problem all the time.” She snorted. She gave him a once-over, gnawing thoughtfully on her lower lip. He wouldn’t mind being allowed to nibble on it himself. “It’s nothing fancy, but we’re having pizza for dinner. I mean…if you don’t mind slumming it, you’re welcome to come.”

This mysterious we again. His curiosity was piqued. If she had a man at home, she wouldn’t invite him over for dinner, would she? But he hadn’t expected an invitation to her home at all, so Alice was already proving to be a source of confusion to him.

“I like pizza.”

“If you didn’t, I don’t think we could be friends.”

Friends.

That was totally what Alex had in mind.





Chapter Three

Alice drove ahead, slower than usual so Alex wouldn’t have any trouble following her with his spare tire on. The Porsche could run laps around her Acura on a normal day, but she didn’t think he’d be pushing it into the triple digits until he’d gotten it back in good working order.

She became suddenly self-conscious when she turned onto her block. What was she thinking inviting a multimillionaire sports star over to her little ranch bungalow? It was a nice house by Lakeland standards, and the money she got from Olivia’s paternity settlement and monthly child support helped keep them more than comfortable, but what was Alex going to think? He was used to fancy hotels and living the high life.

Alice’s life was far-flung from the five-star world Alex lived in. She’d seen all the flash and sparkle of an MLB star’s life when she’d met Matt Hernandez ten years prior. Fancy dinners and brand-new cars went hand in hand with their seven-figure incomes, and Alice knew all too well how that money tended to give them a misguided sense of the way other people saw them. Matt seemed like a great guy when she’d met him, but after he’d wined, dined and bedded her, everything changed. And when she’d told him about Olivia—or the surprise pregnancy Olivia had been the result of—she was surprised there wasn’t still a Matt-shaped hole in the wall of her old apartment.

She’d only been nineteen at the time, and to say it had embittered her to the idea of dating a baseball player again was a gross understatement.

Not for the first time during the short drive, Alice wondered at her sanity for inviting Alex to dinner. And wondered at his sanity for accepting an invitation for pizza when there would be much better food available at his hotel.

She pulled into the driveway of her house, cursing aloud to see every goddamn light on. Kevin tended to forget the bills had to be paid by someone, and that someone was her. Turning off the engine, she sat in the car for a long moment, letting her initial enraged response die down and counting to ten in her mind. Kevin was the one person on earth who could push all of her buttons without really trying. The bond between siblings only went so far to keep her from throttling him.

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