Publication date: July 2014
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
For Emily, going to camp, the summer before college starts, means leaving her feuding parents alone for the next eight weeks, and coming back to divorce papers is a risk she can’t take.
But no matter how many meddling phone calls, questionable hair decisions, and possibly illegal hookups she plans, her parents still march her off to Camp Champ totally against her will.
No matter. A few broken rules, and Em will be home free. That is, until she learns Tyler Ford, her baseball coach father’s star player and her drunken party hookup, is at camp, too.
For Tyler, summer is the onramp to the biggest decision of his life: med school or major leagues. Mega hot, possibly underage Emily? A complication he does not need.
But as the summer heats up with strikeouts and stolen bases will Tyler and Emily hit a home run and get what they’re after? Or will they both be thrown a curveball…in the game of love?
“Emily, there you are,” Jenny says, walking into the cabin, the screen door banging closed behind her. I fold the letter to Kat and slip it back in the box before shoving it under my bed again. “What are you up to?”
“Just got back from the batting cages. You?”
Jenny smiles. “I went up to the baseball field with some of the girls after getting done with crew.”
“Watching the boys?” I ask, despite already knowing the answer. It’s her favorite daily activity.
“Just one in particular,” she squeals, causing me to wince as she bounces across the room, still in her spandex from practice, and sits down at the end of my bed.
I push further back against my pillows to put some distance between us and roll my eyes. This isn’t a hard one to guess either. If ogling Todd were a sport, she could have earned a first place ribbon last summer.
“Let me guess, you were checking out T—”
“Tyler,” she finishes, cutting me off.
My breath catches. My Tyler?
She must read confusion on my face because she clarifies. “You know, the counselor from cabin four—the one with the crazy kissable lips.”
Yep. That’s the one.
A nerve in my neck pinches. “Yeah…I know exactly who you mean.” Considering his crazy kissable lips is all I’ve thought about for days.
“Anyway, I came to grab a blanket and some sunscreen and I’m headed back up to the field. Some of the guys are about to have a pickup game.” Jenny pushes off my bed, grabs her beach bag and starts to head out the back door before stopping and tossing me a look over her shoulder. “Btw—you can come if you want.”
A pickup game? With Tyler?
I smile, knowing the invitation is superficial, but I could care less.
I hop off my bed, throw on my tennis shoes and grab a hair tie. I’ve avoided him for long enough. If it’s games Tyler wants to play, at least this one I know the rules to.
“Oh, great,” she deadpans. “You’re coming.”
I sweep my hair into a ponytail and grab my lucky baseball hat.
“Nope. I’m playing.”
The baseball field is dusty and hot, and it’s exactly where I want to be.
Between job shadowing Doc, thinking about Emily in that teeny tiny bikini—which I completely shouldn’t be—and the pressure of choosing between medicine and baseball bearing down on me like the mid-afternoon sun, I’d almost forgotten how excited I was to spend the summer at a camp dedicated to sports.
“All right, guys, I know it’s just a pickup game, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t going to play like it’s the bottom of the ninth in the seventh game of the World Series.” Mark, one of the other counselors who plays ball claps his hands. The whistle hanging around his neck and the clipboard tucked under his arm reminds me of Coach. “Am I right?”
“Right,” the team echoes in unison before scattering to our various positions.
Grabbing the rim of my baseball hat and tugging it down low to block the sun from my eyes, I pump my fist into the hollow cup of my well worn glove and settle in at shortstop.
“Let’s do this,” I call, and then proceed to choke on the cheek full of sunflower seeds in my mouth at the sight of Emily walking out of the other team’s dugout—in something way hotter than a tiny bikini.
A baseball jersey.
Shooting me a wink, she bends down, grabs a helmet, and slips it on before approaching homeplate. She kicks in her toes, drawing up dust as she grips the bat and readies herself for the pitch.
Damn, she looks hot. And by the slack jawed faces of my teammates, and frankly, her team, too, I’m not alone in my thinking. Maybe that’s why Mark gives her a nice easy pitch right down the middle.
She hits a hard and fast line drive right between me and the second baseman, and before I can even scramble for the ball, she’s on first and smiling at me.
I shake my head. Of course she plays baseball—why wouldn’t she? She is the coach’s daughter after all.
But staring at Emily standing on first base, tying her jersey into a high knot and revealing her toned stomach, I’m starting to get the feeling she’s playing with a whole different set of rules. Ones I’m pretty sure her dad didn’t teach her.
She still lives just outside Seattle, now with her husband and cat, and loves the rain.
When she’s not writing about cute boys, first kisses and the magic and wonder of being seventeen, she’s watching The CW. And she sleeps in. Late.