Dirty Game:A Secret Baby Sports Romance(59)

By: Violet Paige

Handing it over to Cole helped. I let it go. I focused on what really mattered—Sierra and the baby. The renovations were underway at Lindy’s place. It was ours now. I don’t Sierra knew how happy it made me when she said she wanted to keep the house. I’d pay any expense she wanted to restore it to its original state.

And the nursery was going to be massive. The baby would wake up every day of the summer and see the water. Nothing made either of us happier. I might have a life in professional sports, but my children were going to grow up here in the offseason. They would learn how to respect the water. They’d learn how to respect nature. They’d learn how to respect family.

Sierra and Emily locked arms and huddled closer to the fire. “How long do you think the bromance stuff will go on?” Sierra asked. “I’m starving and freezing.”

Cole walked over to the fire. “All right, ladies, I think these bad boys are ready.” He grabbed a bucket and started shoveling the hot oysters into the empty barrel. “Who wants the first one?”

“I’ll take one.” Emily raced around the side of the roasting station to join Cole.

He slipped on a heavy work glove and began separating the shells. “Here you go. First one of the oyster roast. Hot off the fire.”

Emily smiled at him as he leaned closer, dangling the oyster out of her reach. “Cole, stop.”

I felt Sierra’s gaze as I watched her friend and my cousin. She joined me away from the fire.

“Nice toast.” She bumped my side with her hip.

“You’re the one who said I should try it.” I sipped on the drink. I was enjoying it more than any glass of wine I had ever tried. Too bad Sierra couldn’t have a taste.

“And it was perfect.” She smiled.

I laughed. “You know I almost didn’t think I was going to make it through it.”

Sierra turned toward me, sliding her free hand into mine. “I knew you could do it.” She bit down on her bottom lip. “So, what exactly is your favorite thing on this island?”

“You even have to ask?” I brushed my lips across her mouth. “I’ve never been so happy since you moved back here with me.” I felt the familiar sparks her kisses always stirred. “Part-time, or whatever you call our back and forth to Florida.”

“You weren’t too happy when you found out you had to lug my boxes down ten flights of stairs or when the moving truck got a flat tire in Alabama. Was it worth it?” She batted her eyes at me.

I ran a hand along her face, and held her chin between my thumb and finger. “Darlin’, nothing has ever been more worth it.” I closed the distance between us, and sometime during the kiss, we both lost our glasses.

“Eh-hem. Excuse us,” Emily called. “We have a boat to christen with champagne. Focus, you two.”

“You got it, girl.” I grabbed Sierra by the hand and tugged her toward the shoreline.

Emily held up the bottle of champagne she had chosen for this occasion. Cole snagged it and faced the boat.

“Just like in batting practice,” I called.

He laughed as he pulled the bottle back, focused on the target he selected on the bow, and swung forward with the full force of his arm. We cheered as the bottle shattered along the beach.

“How was that?” Cole turned to face the group.

“Let’s take her out, and then I’m headed inside. It’s damn cold.” I hopped onto the boat.

“I hear ya, man.” Cole placed Emily inside the boat before jogging to the other side to shove her off. Sierra reached for my hand as I helped her step over the side.

“You ok with this?” I asked her. “You can stay here until we get back.”

She shook her head. “No way. I’m in this with you. The boats. The island. Football. All of it.”

I leaned over to steal a kiss, feeling the softness of her lips.

“Good. I’ll get you home soon,” I promised.

It was playoff time. And we had decided to spend some holiday time at the island before heading back to Orlando. I tried not to let the post-season get under my skin. Sierra said it was meant to be this way. We could focus on each other and the baby.

There was always next season.

I stood at the captain’s chair until Sierra walked up to me. I sat her on my lap and steered over her shoulder. Maybe it was a small island, and maybe she didn’t always love it like I did, but I knew Sierra was happy here. We had found something in each other that couldn’t be abandoned or ignored. If that wasn’t love, I didn’t know what love was.

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