Tucker Cassidy is going through a slump—both with his curveball and in his dating life. After having a painful altercation involving his ex-girlfriend’s knee, the professional baseball player is convinced things couldn’t get worse…until a gorgeous doctor comes to the rescue at his most embarrassing moment.
As the daughter of the owner of the St. Louis Rivers major league baseball team, Dr. Aubry Ross has been around jocks all her life. She knows the ins and outs of all their games, and she isn’t interested in playing.
When Tucker repeatedly lands in the hospital where she’s working, Aubry starts to think he’s getting injured just to see her. Tucker is both funny and sexy, and Aubry is pleasantly surprised to discover he actually respects her job.
But when her father disapproves of their relationship, will Tucker let threats of a trade get in the way of a game-changing love?
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
It was cool, dark and—most importantly—private in Clyde Ross’s wine cellar, which was why Tucker Cassidy had brought Laura, his girlfriend, down here.
She’d had a lot to drink today, and when she drank, she got loud and obnoxious.
She was also pissed at him at the moment.
Laura angry, drunk and loud? Not a good combination, especially not while they were at the house of the owner of the St. Louis Rivers. Clyde Ross was Tucker’s boss, and the last thing he needed was his girlfriend making a scene. He had enough of a bad boy image without Laura making things worse by screaming at him in the middle of Clyde’s very nice, very fancy party. .
“I don’t think there’s anything more to discuss, Tucker, about why you keep dragging your feet about the two of us moving in together.”
Yeah that so wasn’t happening. “We can talk about this when I take you home tonight, Laura.”
He’d brought her to the wine cellar in the hopes of cooling her down. Plus, they were alone here and no one could hear them. Okay, mainly no one could hear Laura, since she was the one who was doing all the talking. Loud talking. She was like a dog with a favorite bone once she got on a topic.
“We’ve been dating two whole months, Tucker. Don’t you think it’s time we make it official?”
It had been the most awful two whole months of his entire life. Okay, maybe not at the beginning. Laura was a knockout. Tall, with long dark hair, curves that just didn’t quit and the best ass he’d ever seen. She was a cocktail waitress and they’d met one night when he’d been having drinks in the bar where she worked. They hit it off right away and had gone out, had a night of hot sex and had started dating. She’d been fun, adventurous, great in the sack and they had a lot in common.
Plus, she liked baseball, and he played for the Rivers. Not that it was a deal breaker if a woman he dated wasn’t a baseball fan, but it didn’t hurt if she was. She’d come to watch him play and she actually knew the game, as opposed to other women he’d dated who claimed to but in fact didn’t know balls from strikes or a curve from a fastball. In his mind, that was a goddamned crime.
But as the weeks progressed, he’d noticed she didn’t hold her liquor well, and when she drank, she was not a fun drunk. She was loud, obnoxious and she insulted his friends. Whenever she allowed him to be around his friends. Which lately wasn’t often because she’d also grown more demanding of his time. Whenever they weren’t together, she wanted to know where he was and how soon he was coming over. In other words, when he wasn’t playing ball, she wanted him with her. Only with her. And she wanted him to account for every minute of his time.
He didn’t need a mother—he had a pretty great one already.
And now the past few times they’d been together she’d thrown down hints about the two of them moving in together. He was so not ready for that.
So now he had to redirect her and calm her down before things got out of hand.
“How about we check out Clyde’s awesome wine collection?”
She pushed at his chest. “I don’t give a shit about Clyde or his wine. I want you to make a commitment to me.”
He sighed and raked his fingers through his hair. He didn’t want to do this here, but she hadn’t left him much of a choice. “That’s not gonna happen. We’ve only been dating two months and I’m not ready to live together.”
She poked at his chest. “You know what? You’re a sonofabitch. I thought we were heading somewhere. You led me to believe—”
He was going to have to stop her there. “I never made promises to you, Laura.”
And now the tears. He’d seen a lot of those lately, too. Especially when she’d been drinking.
“I thought we were in love, Tucker.”
“I never said that, either.”
She broke down then and sobbed.
Well, shit. He walked over to her and pulled her into his arms. “I’m sorry.”
“Sorry my ass. You’re not sorry at all.”
He didn’t know how a woman could be so drunk, yet so accurate, but her knee hit his crotch at just the right angle, and he went down like a fighter who’d just been blasted by a perfect punch.
Lights out. Only instead of a hit to his jaw, she’d KO’d him right in the balls.
He vaguely registered her slurred words. “You’re a prick. We’re done, Tucker. I’m calling a taxi to take me home.”
He heard the click of her heels on the stone floor as she walked away.
He couldn’t even breathe, let alone care that she’d just fucking left him on the ground.
Jesus Christ, that had hurt. His balls throbbed like someone had—
Well, someone had shoved a knee into them.
He lay there for what seemed like hours, but he knew it was only minutes before he managed to stagger to his knees. He found the wall, still struggling to catch his breath.
In a minute. He’d be able to stand in just a minute.
“Oh, my God. Are you okay?”
He heard a female voice.
Great. Just what he needed. A witness to his humiliation.
Then cool, soft hands swept across his forehead.
“Are you hurt? Did you fall?”
He shook his head. “I’m fine.”
“You are not fine. You’re sweating and practically hyperventilating. Tell me what happened.”
His eyes were still closed and he concentrated all his effort on trying to determine if his balls were still attached to his body. He did not want some woman being nice to him.
Actually, he wanted nothing to do with any female. Possibly ever again.
He managed to stand—with the woman’s help, unfortunately.
“Tell me where you’re hurt,” she said.
He shook his head. “I’m not hurt. Just go away.”
“I am not going to go away. I’m a doctor and I can help you.”
Awesome. This night was getting worse by the second. “I don’t need a doctor.”
“How about you let me be the judge of that?”
He opened his eyes and looked over at his unwanted savior.
She was, of course, gorgeous. Which made her immediately untrustworthy, since he’d just vowed to never again fall for a beautiful woman.
She was average height, with short blond hair and the most intense blue eyes he’d ever seen. She also had the most perfect mouth—
Not that he was ever going to think about a woman in a sexual way again. Thoughts like that only led to trouble, and crushed testicles.
He leaned against the cool wall and tried to think about anything but this humiliating situation.
She slipped her fingers around his wrist.
“What are you doing?” he asked.
Fine with him. Maybe if he didn’t say anything, or look at her, she’d disappear.
But she didn’t. She kept holding onto him.
“Your pulse rate is a little high.”
He opened his eyes and looked down at her. “Not surprising since I just got kicked in the balls.”
She pursed her lips as she met his gaze. “Literally or figuratively?”
“Ouch. I can’t speak from experience, of course, but that must have been painful. What did you do to deserve that?”
Figures she’d think he was deserving of a knee to the groin. “Nothing. I had a drunk girlfriend who had it in her head we were supposed to move in together. When I tried to let her down easy,, that was her response.”
“Ouch again. Sorry.”
He shrugged. “Not your fault.”
She rubbed her hands together. “I should examine you.”
He let out a laugh. “Honey, no offense, but the last thing I want is any woman near my balls tonight. Or possibly ever again.”
She smiled. “You say that now. You’ll change your mind once they feel better. And you need to let me take a look and feel them to make sure your girlfriend—”
“Okay. To make sure your ex-girlfriend didn’t seriously injure you.”
“Uh, no. I’m okay.”
She put her hands on her hips. She had nice hips, showcased in a white lacy sundress, which was attached to one very cute figure. Not that he was into noticing that kind of thing at the moment. “Who’s the doctor here? Me or you?”
“You. Or so you say. This could be some conspiracy. You could be a friend of Laura’s setting me up for round two of let’s-destroy-Tucker-Cassidy’s-manhood night.”
Now it was her turn to laugh. “I can assure you I have no idea who your girlfriend—”
“Right. I can assure you I am not in league with your nefarious ex-girlfriend.”
“I like that.” He finally had something to smile about.
“Nefarious. It fits her. But you’re still not getting in my pants.”
“Playing hard to get, Tucker?”
He looked her over. “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours.”
“I see you’re starting to feel better. That’s a very good sign. But no, I’m not showing you mine. I am going to look at yours, though. And in your weakened condition, I’m pretty sure I can get into your pants.”
His balls still throbbed. What if Laura had broken them? What if he was unable to have kids? Not that he wanted any—right now. But someday . . .
“Okay. Fine. You’re really a doctor?”
“I really am. So drop ’em and let’s take a look at the goods.”
He reached for the zipper of his pants. “If I had a dollar for every time a woman said that to me . . .”
She snickered, moved in closer, and he caught a light citrusy scent. He breathed it in, the best thing he’d smelled all night. It smelled like renewal, like starting over.
Which was ridiculous because he didn’t even know the doctor’s name. But if she fixed him, she’d be his savior.
She cradled his ball sac in her hand, then examined his dick. There was something about having a woman so close to his goods that should be exciting as hell. But he wasn’t getting hard. He hurt too damn bad.
“It’s inflamed, but she didn’t break your penis.”
She tilted her head to the side and gave him a wry smile. “Right? She hit you pretty hard, though. Your testicles are swollen and red.”
She took a step back. “You can pull your pants up now. You’ll be sore for a couple of days, but you’re going to be fine.”
He zipped up. “I hope your husband or boyfriend doesn’t mind you inspecting my stuff down here in the wine cellar.”
“No husband. No boyfriend. I’m a resident at Washington University here in St. Louis, and way too busy for that.”
“I see. So who are you here with?”
“Oh, my father is Clyde Ross. I’m Aubry.”
Shit. Shit, shit, shit. The boss’s daughter. This night couldn’t get any worse.
“I didn’t know that. I mean, I knew he had a daughter in medical school or something. I don’t know why I didn’t make the connection.”
“No reason for you to. Nice to meet you, Tucker. I’ve seen you pitch. You’re pretty damn good.”
“So are you, Doc. Thanks for the once-over.”
“You’re welcome. I actually came down here to grab a bottle of wine for my dad.” She obviously knew what she wanted, because she made a direct beeline for a spot on the far wall and plucked a bottle from the rack before turning to face him. “Got it. Shall we go upstairs, or do you need more time to reflect on your evening?”
“No, I think I’ve spent enough time…reflecting down here.”
He led her toward the stairs, hoping like hell Aubry was discreet enough not to tell her father what had happened to him.
Still, he stopped and turned to face her. “One question.”
“Did you make me drop trou because it was medically necessary, or because you wanted to get a good look at my dick?”
One side of her mouth curved up in a sexy-as-hell smile. “Tucker. I’m surprised you’d ask that question. I am a doctor, after all.”
She turned and headed up the stairs.
Which wasn’t an answer at all.
The night was starting to look up.
But his balls still hurt like hell. After the debacle with Laura, and given the fact that the doc was Clyde’s daughter, he should definitely avoid Aubry Ross.
Or . . . maybe not.
What People are Saying About This
Praise for the novels of Jaci Burton:
“One of the strongest sports romance series available.”—Dear Author
“Jaci Burton’s stories are full of heat and heart.”—Maya Banks, #1 New York Times bestselling author
"Passionate, inventive, sexually explicit.”—USA Today
“A wild ride.”—Lora Leigh, #1 New York Times bestselling author
“Ms. Burton has a way of writing intense scenes that are both sensual and raw…Plenty of romance, sexy men, hot steamy loving, and humor.”—Smexy Books