Wild Pitch Cover Reveal
I have once again teamed up with the amazingly talented Eric Battershell Photography and Cover Me, Darling for the cover of Wild Pitch, the debut novel in the Homeruns series! This cover features Johnny Kane, a model who is not only beautiful, but also incredibly talented and kind.
Make sure you scroll down for your chance to win an advance copy of Wild Pitch or a $5 Amazon Gift Card!
There’s never been any question in Sean Tucker’s mind that he’d do whatever it took to make it to the major leagues and be one of the best pitchers of his time. The day he acknowledged to himself that he was gay was also the day he vowed to stay in the closet in order to chase his dreams. The problem is, he never counted on Mason Atley.
Sean showed rookie short stop Mason Atley the ropes, both on the field and off. The two forged a friendship which continued as both of them moved through the ranks of the farm system and into the majors. Unfortunately, there’s always been one secret Mason never felt he could share with Sean. Until now.
For seven years, Sean lived with the fact that he loved a man who would never reciprocate. When Mason admits that he’s always known he’s bisexual but has never allowed himself to pursue a relationship with a man, will Sean be able to put aside his reservations about starting a relationship with the friend he’d always assumed was straight? And more importantly, will they be able to find a way to stay together when their careers keep them apart more than they can be together?
Exclusive Newsletter Excerpt
It took me a minute to get my bearings when I first opened my eyes. Light streamed into the room from a door in the hall, so I knew I wasn’t in my hotel room. Then I remembered Mason coming in to check on me, to take care of me. I scrubbed my hands over my face, trying to sort out reality from dreams, because I vaguely remembered him standing in the doorway, muttering to himself when he thought I was asleep.
The clock on the nightstand read a few minutes after one in the morning. The condo was still as I walked to the kitchen for a glass of water. I leaned on the granite countertop, wondering if anyone but Mason had figured out what Eric and I had been doing in hotel rooms across the country. If they had, no one said anything, but that wasn’t any sort of assurance. It wasn’t exactly cool to go up to another guy and ask if he was plowing his roommate into the mattress, so they might be keeping their assumptions to themselves. And if those thoughts were floating around, today would have only helped to confirm their suspicions.
“God, you’re an idiot sometimes,” I scolded myself. “You have to be more careful, otherwise you’re going to turn into a media spectacle, which is exactly what you’ve been trying to avoid this whole time.”
“You need more help than I thought if you’re talking to yourself.” Mason’s rich voice startled me, causing me to spill half a glass of water all over the counter. I looked up and saw him leaning in the doorway, looking drop-dead gorgeous. He was silhouetted by the light streaming down the hall. His dark brown hair was long on top, sticking up in every direction from sleep. The heat of his nearly brilliant green eyes cut through the darkness. “This is why I wanted you to talk to me. When you talk to yourself in the dark, you come across as a little crazy.”
I allowed Mason to lead me into the living room and we sat next to one another on the couch. He slid closer to me and I tried to ignore the heat of his body, or the way his sweat pants shifted lower on his hips as he tried to get comfortable. He placed a hand on my knee, and my cock began stirring.
Don’t do this, I warned myself. He’s your very straight best friend. You cannot sport wood just because he’s touching you.
Maybe Mason was right; maybe I was losing my mind. “Are you feeling any better after a nap?” he asked, squeezing my knee. Yes, the nap took the edge off my anger and bitterness, but those feelings were quickly being replaced by desires I couldn’t possibly entertain.
“Yes, Mom.” I sighed dramatically. “As much as I appreciate you worrying about me, it’s really not that big of a deal. I’m angry that they traded Eric, not so much for myself but because he’s a good guy and he was happy in Milwaukee.”
“You say that, but I still worry about you,” he responded. He scooted close enough to me that I felt the heat of his body against my left. “There’s something else on your mind and you need to talk about it. It’s okay to miss him.”
“Mason, I’m fine,” I insisted. “Eric got a bum deal, I was upset that I let him leaving throw me off my game, and I got over it. Now, are we going to blow some shit up or what?”
I leaned forward to grab the controllers and looked down to see Mason’s hand still on my leg. I sunk back into the cushions, handing him his controller as I settled in beside him. A chill raced through my body when he removed his hand. He had only placed it there as a way to reassure me that he was there for me, but I missed the contact. The pressure reminding me that he had strong hands that’d feel like heaven on other parts of my body.
Every once in a while, I’d see Mason glance over at me, but the look on his face wasn’t that of a concerned friend. His eyes wandered down my chest, once landing on the slight bulge growing in my jeans. His cheeks flushed when he realized I’d caught him.
“Um, Mace…” I set my controller back on the table and turned to face him. His chest rose and fell unsteadily and his pupils were dilated to the point I barely saw the ring of emerald around the edge of his irises. My body had reacted the same way to him in the past, but never expected to see such lust radiating from him.
“Yeah?” He turned to mirror my position, not balking when his arm rested on mine and he wrapped his fingers around my forearm. I had to still be sleeping. There was no way in hell that my best friend, who happened to be very much straight and I had the memories of nights spent listening to women scream his name to prove it, was flirting with me.
Rather than ask what was on the tip of my tongue, I looked down at my arm, to where his thumb was lightly tracing circles near my elbow. His eyes followed, and then he looked back up at me. “I’m beginning to wonder if you’re the one who has some explaining to do,” I said, trying to keep my tone casual.
When Mason tried to move away from me, I placed my free hand on his leg. He looked down and back up at me and he seemed nervous. Mason Atley never got rattled. If he did, he never let anyone see it, and yet he sat inches away from me picking at lint on his pants while still rubbing his thumb over the hair on my arm.
“Fuck, I promised myself I wouldn’t do this, but I don’t think there’s any other option right now,” he groaned. He tried to pull his hand away from my arm, and I reached up to still him.
“Wouldn’t do what?” I pressed, needing to hear from him that I wasn’t delusional.
“Look, there’s something I haven’t told you. I don’t know why, since you would have understood, but I didn’t. And now, part of me thinks I’ll go crazy if I don’t tell you, but the other part of me is freaking out that you’ll be pissed,” he said quickly. “I don’t want to ruin our friendship, which is why I haven’t said anything.”
“Good God, man! Spit it out already. If it helps, I promise I won’t hit you, no matter what it is that you’re trying to decide whether or not to say.” As I waited for him to speak, I wondered if it was possible that he was getting ready to blow my mind. The juvenile part of my brain got stuck on the thought of him blowing parts of my body and decided there were much better places he could blow. “Mace, you know every skeleton hiding in my closet and you’ve never judged me for any of it, so what makes you think I’d get upset with you?”
“Because this is some pretty major shit,” he admitted. “Okay, but you have to remember that you promised you wouldn’t hit me. And if you do want to relocate my jaw, remember that you have to pitch again in a few days, and it’d suck to have to go on the DL over me.”
“Got it.” I briefly released his hand to make a cross over my heart. It was such a stupid gesture, but we’d long ago passed the point of acting like adults around one another.
“So, it’s like this…” he paused long enough to get his thoughts in order. “You’ve met my parents. You know that they’re old hippies who’ve kind of refused to grow up.”
I did know that. It was part of what I loved about Bill and Virginia Atley. They were completely opposite of everything I thought parents were; they were cool, easy-going, and Mason loved spending as much time with them as his schedule allowed, where it was like pulling teeth for me to spend more than a few hours with most of my own family. I nodded and squeezed his fingers, urging him to continue.
“When I was younger, my dad always told me that it didn’t matter what package love came in, as long as the heart inside that package was good. Looking back, I wonder if he knew about me long before I ever did, because he was constantly reminding me of that.” He huffed out a weak laugh.
“I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m bi.”
Had I been standing, I’m pretty sure Mason could have knocked me over with a feather. Not once in seven years had I thought of him as anything but strictly straight. As I sat there replaying his words, I repeatedly clenched and released my fists. He was right to make me promise I wouldn’t hit him, because that was exactly what I wanted to do. I was pissed, not because of what he said, but because he hadn’t mentioned anything in all the years we’d known one another. If he had, everything might have been different. Then again, that could have been good or bad.
“I don’t understand,” I responded stupidly. “You were the playboy of the PCL when we were out there. Even the veterans looked up to you because all you had to do was look at a woman and she’d practically drag you into a dark corner.”
Mason leaned closer to me, sliding his hand up my bicep to my shoulder. “That’s what I wanted everyone to think,” he whispered. He was so close now that all I’d have to do was lean in and I could fulfill a long-standing fantasy. But I couldn’t do that, I wouldn’t be the one to take the first step, especially since he knew the truth about Eric and me. “I knew it’d be easier that way, so I tried every flavor out there to try and find a woman who’d do it for me, the whole time wondering what it’d be like to have a strong man with broad shoulders drilling into me.”
My cock sprang to full attention at that little bit of information. Not only was the man of my wet dreams telling me that he was interested in guys, he was a bottom as well. Life seriously couldn’t have gotten any better than that.
Mason closed the gap between us, brushing his lips oh so lightly over mine. I slid my arms around his back as I opened my mouth, inviting him to deepen the kiss. “People change,” he continued when he broke contact to take a breath. “But some things always stay the same. I thought that if I found the right woman, everything else would fade into the distance, but that didn’t happen. I thought if I convinced myself that I was in love with Teresa, I’d forget about the one person I really wanted.”
“Are you saying what I think you are?” I asked, my mind still holding me back from pushing him back on the couch to give him what he seemed to be begging for.
“Yeah, I think I am.” Throwing caution to the wind, I placed my hands on his shoulders and shoved him back. His wavy hair felt like silk under my fingers as I plundered his mouth with a crushing kiss.
My cock begged to be freed from the confines of my jeans, pleaded with my hands to reach between our bodies and pull his sweats over his hips, but I couldn’t. Just like my performance earlier in the day, I allowed someone else to weasel his way into my mind and I choked.
“Mace, we can’t do this,” I said with more than a trace of resignation behind the words. “I don’t want you doing something with me because you think it’ll take my mind off what happened earlier. You deserve better than that. If you’re really interested in guys, that’s awesome, but I can’t be your guinea pig. You mean too much to me for me to lose you when you decide you want to go back to women. I wouldn’t be able to stand being pushed aside because your tastes change.”
Mason’s face contorted as if he’d eaten something sour. “Dude, you make it sound like it’s a banquet dinner and I’m going to decide I picked the wrong entrée! Why can’t life be a buffet? If I’m in the mood for a steak, I’ll have the steak. If I want the salmon, I’ll grab a piece of that. Life’s short, and I’ll be damned if I’m going to get to St. Peter and regret never trying steak. Unfortunately for me, the only cut I’m interested in is you.”
“See, that’s exactly what I’m talking about,” I countered. “Let’s keep going with your ridiculous analogy, because you seem to understand more when we’re talking about food… what happens when you try the steak, only to decide that you can’t stand it? What if you realize that what you thought was steak was closer to a nasty, fast food burger? I don’t want to take that chance.”
Mason shoved me backward, reversing our positions. He sat up on his knees, steadying himself with his hands on my shoulders. “You would never be a disgusting hamburger,” he whispered before leaning in to kiss me.
I knew it was a bad idea, possibly the worst I’d had in a long time, but I wrapped my arms around Mason’s waist as I deepened the kiss. By the time we stopped exploring one another’s mouths, we were both left trying to catch our breath. “So tell me, what cut of steak would I be?”
“Mmm, I’m thinking a Strip,” Mason teased, pulling my t-shirt over my head. He playfully bit down on my shoulder before nibbling his way to my neck. As his mouth moved higher on my body, his hands traveled down my back, sliding beneath the waistband of my jeans. “As appealing as flank sounds, I think you’re too good for that.”
I arched my back at the searing heat of his fingers digging into the flesh of my butt. “Mason…” I pleaded, although for what I didn’t know.
He continued massaging my ass as his mouth tormented every inch of the skin from my chest up. “I was thinking a tenderloin because you have no fat on your body, but feeling this, I’m thinking maybe you’re more of a bottom round roast.”
“I’ve gone from being a steak to being a roast?” I laughed, worried about where he would go if I let him keep rambling.
“Well yeah,” he responded, pulling back to look at me with those dark, soulful eyes. “Not only is your bottom nice and round, but you’ve always been home to me.”
“Okay, I think it’s time for you to shut up,” I warned him. God help me, but there was no way I could stop what he had started. He opened his mouth to speak, so I pressed my mouth to his, my tongue tracing along his lower lip.
He reached for my hand and I allowed him to lead me down the hall, knowing chances were good we’d both be filled with regret come morning. “One last thing before I let you show me everything I’ve been missing…” he turned to face me, cupping my jaw in his hand. “Don’t ever think you’re only a phase to me. I’ve wanted you since the day I met you, but by the time I knew you were gay, I’d gotten so used to hiding my feelings that I didn’t dare approach you. I meant it when I said you’re the only man I’m interested in doing this with.”
I tried convincing myself that it was a huge mistake to get involved with Mason. I didn’t want to be someone for him to experiment with, but the thought of him screwing around with random men churned my stomach. No, if this was something he really wanted to do, I would be the one he turned to, even if it wound up killing our friendship in the long run. I simply had to hope and pray that wasn’t going to happen.
“Okay,” I conceded. There was entirely too much talking going on and my balls were aching for release. I didn’t care if it was Mason’s hand or lips on me, I simply needed. And I wanted more than anything to take Mason’s cock into my mouth and show him what a blowjob was like from someone who knew what they were doing. I didn’t have any sort of proof, but I couldn’t imagine there was a woman on Earth who sucked cock as well as a man. We had the benefit of knowing what we liked and we used that information to our advantage when giving head.
Mason pushed me backward through the bedroom until I flopped onto the bed. He stood over me, staring down at my bare torso. “See, this is what I’m talking about,” he rambled. “Do you have any clue how hard it was for me to hide the hard on I would get whenever you walked around our shitty apartment without a shirt on?”
“Mace, would you please shut up and do something,” I pleaded. The corner of his mouth turned up in a cocky smirk before he fell onto the bed next to me. He propped himself up on an elbow as he stared down into my eyes. The man was a serious cocktease, and I was about to flip him onto his back and take control away from him.
“What would you like me to do?” he teased, trailing one finger from my neck, through the valley between my pecs, all the way to the trail of hair leading to my now painfully erect cock. He cupped my length and my hips bucked into his touch. “Is that what you want? Or do you want me to show you what I used to think about when you’d walk through the locker room with that ratty towel wrapped around your waist?”
“I seriously don’t care, as long as you stop chatting like an old woman at tea.” Mason draped his leg over mine, grinding his cock against my hips as he sealed his lips over mine. Good Lord, this man knew how to kiss. His tongue ventured deeper into my mouth and the moan he exhaled sent a shock straight to my dick. Pretty soon, I was going to come in my pants and I couldn’t have cared less, as long as he kept doing what he was doing.
I slid my hands down the length of his back, pausing for a moment before I took his ass in my hands, pulling him tight to my body. He followed my lead and tentatively reached between our bodies to release the buttons of my jeans. Never before had I been so grateful to Levis for inventing the button-fly.
“Damn, that’s sexy,” he moaned as he ran his hand up and down the length of my dick. The cloth of my boxers was damp with pre-come, which seemed to fascinate him. “I want to taste you.”
I lifted my hips off the bed, allowing him to strip me naked. He took his time pulling the denim down my legs, then ran his hands from my ankles to my thighs. Part of me still wondered if this was all a dream, but if it was, it was the best dream ever. I let out a gasp when his hand dipped between my legs and he rolled my balls around in his palm.
I reached for him, stilling him when I thought I saw a moment of hesitation. “Mace, we don’t have to do this,” I assured him. “I’d be just as happy jacking off while watching you do the same if you’re not ready.”
“Liar,” he countered.
“Okay, so not as happy, but it’d still be really fucking good.” The light from the hall cast shadows over Mason’s body that made his deep golden skin glisten. Without thinking, I licked my bottom lip and sighed when I could still taste him there. “The point is, if we’re going to do this, it’s going to be on your terms.”