Double Header Read online Abigail Barnette (Hardball #2)

Categories Genre: M-M Romance, Romance, Sports Tags Authors: Series: Hardball Series by Abigail Barnette

Total pages in book: 27
Estimated words: 25091 (not accurate)
Estimated Reading Time in minutes: 125(@200wpm)___ 100(@250wpm)___ 84(@300wpm)

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Double Header (Hardball #2)

Author/Writer of Book/Novel:

Abigail Barnette

Book Information:

When Javier Vargas was traded to the Grand Rapids Bengals, he didn’t just leave his team behind; he turned his back on the love of his life. Now, shortstop Zach Martin is playing for the Bengals, as well, and Javier can’t believe he ever walked away from the scorching heat between them.

Being a Bengal brings its own complications for Zach, who’s tired of never setting down roots. Playing beside Javier, Zach is constantly reminded of their passionate nights—and the pain of his loss.

Javier screwed up one chance with Zach, and he’s not about to let a second one pass him by. With scandals swirling all around the team, Javier has to decide whether to risk the life he’s built for himself or lose the only man he’s ever loved, again.
Books in Series:

Hardball Series by Abigail Barnette

Books by Author:

Abigail Barnette Books

Chapter One

Zach Martin was showing up to work late. Real late. Fourteen weeks late.

He paced around his long-stay suite, wishing he was anywhere but Grand Rapids. He missed his house in LA. He missed his dogs. Hell, he even missed his apartment in Lakeland, where he stayed during spring training. More than any of those, he missed playing baseball, and now that he had the all-clear to get back into the game, he wished he had more time off.

He checked his reflection in the mirror and ran a hand over his jaw. Copper stubble had crept up over the past week. He hadn't been taking very good care of himself, aside from the routine visits to physical therapy. Today would be his first batting practice, and if things went well, he'd ride the bench for tonight's game and then maybe play tomorrow. No matter how long he put it off, though, he still had to face the inevitable.

Sooner or later, he was going to see Javier.

Grabbing his bag, he stepped out of the suite and directly into the blistering Michigan June. The temps were apparently a record high, which Zach could have lived with, if not for the humidity. As hot as it got in California, he rarely worried about drowning while walking down the street. The air was thick and wet and gross, and the idea of playing in it... he shook off his internal complaints and slid into the driver's seat of his rental car. Just another weird, impermanent aspect of his life. The only thing about playing for the Bengals that bore any resemblance to his old life was Javier, and the last thing he needed was his deeply closeted ex-boyfriend acting one hundred percent weird around him for the next three years.

When Zach had taken the contract with the Bengals, things had been so different. He'd planned the entire thing in his mind. Showing up to spring training, seeing Javier for the first time in four years, letting him see that Zach was fine, even better, without him. After all, Zach was dating one of the most powerful young directors in Hollywood, he'd just come off the career-high of the division championship, and the Bengals had been willing to drop a mighty big chunk of change to scoop him up.

It would have been perfect. Then, he'd decided to go for a run, deviated from his normal course one stupid time, and, distracted by thoughts of his impending triumph over his ex, he'd stepped in a gutter drain and broken his elbow and ankle at the same damn time. The deal had been inked, but he'd missed spring training and the beginning of the season. It had been all over the internet and talk radio. "Zach Martin, biggest waste of money since Delmon Zario wrecked his arm with too much Guitar Hero." Fans loved to harp on stupid mistakes, as unfair as it was to the players. Hindsight being 20/20, he could have easily avoided his injury.

Now, he didn't even know if he was going to be staying in Grand Rapids long enough to sign a lease. He’d been fine with confronting Javier when it seemed like everything was coming up Zach. Somehow, living in a corporate stay and driving a rental car didn't seem particularly brag-worthy.

The ballpark sat on the riverside downtown. Zach tried to muster up some enthusiasm for the sight of the lights peeking above the freeway as he approached. He mentally planned batting practice, every last swing. There was an old stereotype about shortstops being notoriously bad hitters, but he took pride in his average. That had been last season, though, before the Los Angeles Sewer and Water Works threw him a curveball.

He parked in the employees-only garage beneath the park and used his shiny new laminated badge to open the security doors. He'd just slip into the clubhouse nonchalantly and get changed, and hopefully, no one would make a big deal.

The second he opened the doors, he wished he'd broken both ankles and his spine. A big sheet cake with "Welcome Home, Zach Martin" sat on a table beneath a dark flat-screen television. A few guys had helped themselves to the corners.

"You're late."

Zach's swiveled round to see Taylor Coburn pulling a t-shirt over his head. "The season started in April, man."

With a laugh of relief, Zach headed over to his friend and clasped his hand. "You have no idea how glad I am to run into you, first."

"Why, are you avoiding someone?" Taylor had come up to the majors at the same time as Zach had, to play on the Oklahoma City Sooners. They'd become good friends during that season, and they'd kept in touch after Zach had gone to Portland. But there were some stories he couldn’t tell.

He slapped Taylor's shoulder and said, "Nah, just nervous. A friendly face helps."