Double Play

Page 60

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Okay, so he no longer believed she was going to try to sneak one past him. He was just feeling a little raw, a whole lot scared, and he preferred to be vulnerable in private.
But she had his number. "You can try to piss me off all you want, Pace, I'm not leaving. As for the kids, they were worried about you. They wanted to get you something, so I drove them to the store. I also promised to bring them to visit you after your surgery, so brace yourself for that."
She'd eased their fears. She'd driven them to the store. She was going to bring them to visit him. "Saint," he wondered aloud. "Or witch?"
"I use my powers for mostly good these days."
He looked into her fathomless eyes and saw her worry for him. "I'm going to be okay, Holly."
"I know. I also know I'm driving you to the hospital."
"I can-"
"Look, I know you'd rather have Wade or Gage, or just about anyone other than me take you because heaven forbid I see you weak, but we both know they're all in Baltimore for a two-game series and you're on your own."
A two-game series that he should be pitching. A two-game series that the Heat needed to take. He'd never missed games in the majors due to injury, never. It was a bone of contention, a point of pride.
"Get in the car, Pace."
He eyed her piece of shit and then his own Mustang. Again, pride warred with ego, even more so when she took one look at his face and laughed, making him scowl. "What's so damn funny?"
"You don't want to go in my car, but you don't want me to have to drive yours home from the hospital. You still don't trust me."
He winced. "Fine. I'm an ass**le. We'll take my car."
"Good. I'll drive now so you can give me tips for later." She held out her hand for his keys. "Come on," she coaxed when he didn't move. "You can do it."
Yes, apparently he could do a lot of things. Such as crave her, the smart, funny, beautiful, warm woman who'd come to him when he'd needed her most. He couldn't have imagined that first day he'd met her, when she'd irritated him by wanting that interview, that all these weeks later he'd still be so intrigued and fascinated by her.
Contrary to his first impression of her, she was open and sweet and wildly passionate. In fact, he had nothing on her in the passion department. She was passionate about writing, about kids, about people, passionate about everything that crossed her path. She did nothing half-assed, not one single thing, and as a man who'd been passionate only about baseball all his life, he found the way she went about life incredibly . . .
It made no sense. His entire life was crumbling. He couldn't hold onto a damn pencil much less pitch a ball at ninety-six miles per hour. He was going to let everyone down from the Heat's owners to the fans . . .
And it was killing him.
And yet just looking at Holly, some of the pain and confusion and anger seemed to fade away.
Even if she wanted to drive his car. "I was going to call a cab."
"Listen, I've only had one accident," she said. "And it wasn't my fault. It was an old car and I ran out of brake fluid on a hill in San Francisco and I rolled into a house. That's all."
Jesus. "That's all, huh?"
"Well, there're the three speeding tickets, which really, if you think about it, just proves I can handle myself."
That choked a real laugh out of him. A laugh, when he was on his way to being cut open.
She held out her hand, palm up, looking quite sure of herself and, dammit, hot. "Want to know something else?" she asked.
What the hell. "Sure."
"I'm wearing a bra, but since you still have the panties that match it, I'm commando."
His mouth fell open, and she twirled for him to see. He drank her in, but she was wearing cargo pants, low on her hips but too loose so he couldn't tell. Not that it mattered, the view was mouth-watering regardless. He dropped the keys into her hand, dropped his whole damn life in her hand just to watch her walk around the car.
Holly paced the hospital waiting room, unaccustomed to the pit of anxiety in her gut. One thing about the way she moved in and out of people's lives for her job-she hadn't done a lot of worrying about them.
This time was completely different. She worried about the people she'd come to care about, a lot, but she also worried about herself because here was something new to obsess over, something that had never bothered her until now-she was halfway through her series and had no idea what she'd do when she was done. She'd always known by now, but this time she had nothing.
Because this time, she didn't want to leave.
Pace woke up from his surgery feeling no pain thanks to a pretty nurse shooting some very good stuff into his IV. "Hey, is that MLB sanctioned?" he quipped.
She smiled and patted his arm, and when he woke up again, Holly was sitting by his bed, tapping on the keys of her laptop. She looked up at his movement and offered him one of those fake smiles people gave to people who are dying.
Uh-oh. "They operate on the wrong shoulder?" he asked.
"Of course not." She got up and put her hand to his cheek. "How are you feeling?"
"No pain." In fact, the room was spinning pleasantly, centered by her hand on him. "What's the matter?" READ MORE ...

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