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Listen, Pitch (There’s No Crying in Baseball #3)
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Rhys Rivera is the star short-stop for the Longview Lumberjacks. Many know him, even more love him. He has a pretty face, a quick smile, and an air of danger about him that everyone seems to adore.
He’s not known as the bad boy of baseball for nothing.
It all started with his father, who decided to be a criminal mob boss, then die.
Fortunately for his uncle, Rhys wants absolutely nothing to do with the family business and runs before anyone can figure out which way is up.
By the time his uncle, the successor to his father’s criminal empire, thinks to look for him, Rhys has made too big of a name for himself to be taken out quietly, and he wants to keep it that way.
Fast forward eight years, and Rhys is living life one breath at a time, just waiting for the other shoe to drop. That shoe coming in the form of a nosy neighbor who has no idea just how hot she is in her mail carrier uniform.
Her sweet little body and positive outlook on life make him want to laugh at how naïve she is when it comes to the way of the world.
The harder he tries to stay away, the weaker he seems to get, until one day he decides to put his morals on hold long enough to satisfy his cravings.
One time is all he needs—or so he tells himself.
But then two pink lines change everything, and suddenly, he doesn’t have just himself to worry about anymore.
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My hobbies include putting on my pajamas as soon as I get home.
-Henley’s secret thoughts
I put the finishing touches on my turkey sandwich and was about to take the first delicious bite when the music started next door.
I stared in utter horror at the wall that separated my duplex from the one next door. It vibrated and I started running.
This could not be happening. This could not be happening. This could not be happening.
I kept chanting to myself as I ran, staring wide-eyed at the door, and then the sidewalk, followed shortly by the grass, as I rounded the small dividing fence that separated my yard from my neighbor.
I hadn’t actually met this neighbor. In fact, I hadn’t really met any of my neighbors. I worked nights, and normally when people were out during the day, I was sleeping. I didn’t bother to switch to days when I wasn’t working—what would be the point?
I was a mail sorter at the post office, and worked every night of the week, and was off on weekends.
Every night but this night.
I lived with my sister. My sister was the woman that paid the bills—at least for the duplex, seeing as it was hers.
Although I made a pretty penny at fifteen dollars an hour, I wasn’t making big money like my big sister, Alana. Alana was a nurse at the hospital and worked the night shift. When she was working, which was only three days a week, my mother watched her child.
Only, this week, my mother had the flu. Incidentally, Alana’s daughter, Autumn, gave it to her.
We had two of the four females, as well as my big brother, down for the count, and nobody else could watch Autumn but me and my sister. Since my sister had already called in three times this week, I’d told her that I would call in seeing as her shift supervisor was an asshole and liked to make everything about him.
Though, now would be the time to mention that her shift supervisor was her ex-husband. Her baby daddy. Oh, and the reason that she had the job in the first place.
Regardless, her ex should’ve understood. In fact, he should’ve fucking helped.
Did he? No. Why? Because he was a titty baby and refused to be around her when she was sick.
Which was honestly quite comical seeing as he worked at the goddamn hospital with sick patients.
The noise from the party had me almost covering my ears due to the pitch. It was so loud that I could feel it in my bones.
I was different than the majority of human population. I processed things in an uncommon way compared to everyone else.
Absentmindedly, I reached up and started to fiddle with the speech processor that was being partially hidden by my hair.
Yes, people. I was deaf without it. I was not handicapped in any way. I lived a normal life. I talked a little oddly due to my first year and a half being hearing impaired, but if I wasn’t flustered, I was able to compensate.
Now, though? I was fucking flustered.
Why? Because my niece hadn’t slept in a full fourteen hours because she’d been up with the flu. She had to sleep propped up on pillows, and she had a continuous nasal drip that really rubbed me the wrong way if I focused on it too long.
I pounded on the door, wondering if anybody would hear me at all.
I pounded again.
It was less than ten seconds later that the door was yanked open and bodies started to shuffle out.
In the scuffle of those bodies leaving, they didn’t see me standing there, and dislodged me from my spot at the front door.
Not able to think with the mass of bodies, I fell backward onto my backside, hitting hard because for some reason I was trying to protect the sandwich in my hand rather than my ass.
When I hit the ground, I went back onto my back and rolled partially to my side. Yes, still protecting my sandwich. This time from the bush at my back.
The moment that I rolled, my entire world went silent.
There wasn’t a single sound in the world. Not one single one.
I guess I should be thankful that by those men coming out of the house, they’d turned on the security light as they went, because now I could clearly see everything.
What kind of fucking light was that? I sure as hell didn’t have that on my part of the duplex!
I rolled up to my knees and turned around, searching for my speech processor that had somehow gotten yanked off during my fall.
Absently I took a bite of my sandwich almost out of habit seeing as it was in my hand and hummed when I found my transmitter clinging to a twig.
Snatching it up, I stood up and turned, coming face to sternum with the biggest man I’d ever seen.