Excerpt 1: Alejandro
I’d only seen Alejandro on TV, but his presence seemed magnified in real life. He was Jaylon’s height but probably weighed thirty pounds less. He moved like a panther, sleek and long in a black suit “dressed down” with no tie. His short black hair shone in the arena lights, and he appeared freshly shaven. Hot damn! He sure looked more suave than any college boy I’d encountered. Was that the typical dress for medical school at Johns Hopkins? Probably not. Something told me Alex did things his own way.

As Alejandro approached, Lucia stood to hug him, shaking her head. “Hey, what’re you doing here? You didn’t tell me you were coming.”

He smiled. “Could we go somewhere to talk?”

She glanced at me. “I don’t want to leave Maddie. I dragged her here, so it’d be rude to abandon her.”

“So this is the famous Maddie.” When Alejandro reached across to shake my hand, his dark eyes burned into me. “I’ve seen you play, but it’s good to finally meet. I’ve heard great things about you.” His handshake was firm, but his hand was soft and warm, zinging a surprising thrill right through me. I realized that for at least a few moments, I hadn’t thought about Jaylon. Alejandro let go all too quickly.

His expression sobered as he looked back at Lucia. “I want to talk to you about something in private.”

She folded her arms across her chest as they both sat. “I already said no, thank you. I can’t right now.”

He frowned and squared his shoulders. Then he leaned in to Lucia’s ear and spoke to her in Spanish. She bristled next to me.

“How dare you?” she hissed.

I leaned back. What had just changed my sweet Rez into a pissy hellcat?

Excerpt 2: The Business Card
Maddie rounded the corner. She stopped short once she saw me, and her rapid blinks couldn’t hide her tears. Damn, she’s beautiful.

She threw her hand in the air as she shook her head. “Great! You catch me crying once again. You must think that’s all I do.”

I wished she didn’t feel embarrassed. Her tears didn’t make me judge her—they made me want her. The contrast between her emotional softness and her athletic toughness allured me.

“Of course you’re crying—that was a rough one out there. It’s not every day you get thrown out of practice.”

She winced. “That’s my first time ever.”

I took that in and considered all the practices of my baseball career. “Me too, actually.”

A smile appeared, then a giggle leaked out. “What the hell got into you, boy?”

“I bought a one-way ticket to loco, I guess.” Her smirk captivated me, and pretty soon I laughed too. “I don’t know what came over me.” I straightened. “Are you upset with me?”

What? You’re like the team’s hero now. Everyone loved how you went off on Coach.” She tensed, then turned to look down the hallway, but all was clear. “Everyone besides Nina, that is.”

“That girl’s got problems.” My vision narrowed. “What did she say to my sister? Lucy looked really hurt.”

Maddie bit her full bottom lip. “Definitely not worth repeating.” Her hand fluttered away from her body like she was nervous.

I noticed she clutched a business card in that hand. “What’s that?”

“Nothing.” She swept the card inside her spandex shorts. I saw a patch of toned abs when she hiked up her shirt, and I kept staring at the rectangular outline pressing against her spandex. I wouldn’t mind being that business card.