Line Drive by Erin Lindsey Maurer
A Philadelphia Liberty Romance #1
Mattie Duvall is just starting to rediscover his dreams. Signing with the minor league Philadelphia Liberty gives him a second shot at playing professional baseball. What he didn’t expect was to fall for the cider-haired pixie haunting his dreams. Ashlynn Davis isn’t looking for love. She’s busy chasing down her own big dream: finding a way to use her cooking skills to give back to Philadelphia’s less fortunate. The two cannot deny their mutual attraction, or that they’re heading rapidly towards that four letter word they thought they’d never say: LOVE. When secrets from Mattie’s past bubble to the surface, Ashlynn begins to question her position in his life. Can the two put the past behind them in time to race toward a future together? Or is love destined to play second fiddle to big dreams and even bigger secrets?
What’s more fun than giving your readers a real peek into my new book? Line Drive is the love story of Mattie Duvall and Ashlynn Davis. In addition to Mattie’s outfielder position with the Philadelphia Liberty, he is also the owner/head baker of Jean-Jacques Bakery. Ashlynn is a culinary instructor with dreams of turning her love of cooking into a way to give back to Philadelphia.
Here are a few of my favorite scenes:
I had just popped the last bite in my mouth when the doorbell rang. I gave Rainbow a quizzical look. “Our sweets have arrived,” she sang as she danced off to answer the door. The more time I spent with Rain, the more she reminded of a gypsy. I was definitely going to have to get her help in redoing my bedroom. She could help me turn it into a colorful, carefree retreat.
Moments later, Rainbow returned carrying a white pastry box. Trailing behind her was a man who was tall, dark, and handsome. “Ashlynn, meet Mattie. Mattie meet Ashlynn.”
For a moment, I just stared slack-jawed. Either he was really gorgeous or I had officially been single for way too long. His dark wavy hair was just a touch too long and curled over his brow. His dark eyes reminded of melted chocolate. Sweet treat, indeed.
Wait, what was I doing? I was staring at my friend’s boyfriend as if he was a piece of meat. Recovering slightly, I managed to stammer “Uhh, hi. Nice to meet you.”
The bowling alley was not a posh, glamorous place. It was a traditional alley, with harsh
lights and an odd collection of old men and young couples. It smelled like nacho cheese and beer. Vastly different from the gallery, it was kind of perfect. Ashlynn’s green eyes twinkled in the harsh lighting. She looked relaxed here, more like she herself.
A few frames later, I realized we could both use a bowling coach. I also realized that I could not remember the last time I had had this much fun away from baseball. After a particularly horrible throw, I offered to help Ashlynn. “Oh really? You’re two pins ahead and suddenly you’re an expert? Well okay, big boy, get up here and show me how it’s done!”
Pulling her close, I intended to guide her hand with mine. She wiggled her butt against me, and I completely lost all train of thought. It showed, because together we threw a gutter ball. “Oh, I stand corrected. You are an expert,” Ashlynn mocked me, as she turned in my arms to pull me closer. Rising on her toes, she brought her mouth to mine. Again, a single kiss pushed me to the very edge of my control. This time, I was the one to step back.
“Keep that up and you’re going to force me into a cold shower,” I said with a groan.
“I’ll take that as a compliment,” Ashlynn grinned. “Okay, now it’s your turn. Let me help you with your form.”
Eventually, our game turned into a competition of who could bowl the worst. It was a dogfight to the end. Ashlynn and I took up the lane for three hours, laughing and cutting up. She was so much fun to be with. She had even surprised me with a plate of soft pretzels and my favorite beer. I have no idea how a girl could make me so nervous and so comfortable at once. By the time the manager told us the alley was closing, I knew one thing for certain: Ashlynn was special. I was in some serious trouble.
Looking around the room, I realized Carmen and Scott had gotten us here under false pretenses. This was not a full team dinner. The only people in attendance were Mattie, myself, Rainbow, Nick, Carmen, Scott, Sophia, and Doug. I knew her ultimate goal was to get the dish on Mattie and I, but I hoped she didn’t have any ideas about fixing up Rainbow and Nick. I loved my cousin, but it would take a really special man to match Rainbow’s gregarious personality. Not to mention, I was pretty sure Nick only had eyes for Soph, despite the fact that she’d been with Doug for years.
“They started talking about my makeover. I don’t have the heart to tell Carmen that I wasn’t exactly comfortable in that getup,” I admitted.
He kissed me on the forehead before answering. “You looked amazing last night. But, ya look more like yourself today. I kind of prefer natural Ashlynn.” A look in his eyes and it was obvious he was being genuine. I could not help but swoon. Could you resist a man who loved your casual look most of all?
I couldn’t help but realize this was just a little bit perfect. Honestly, for me, the perfect guy was one who would bring me coffee and cuddle with me on the couch. If we could have a funny movie or a great baseball game on the television while we cuddled that was just a bonus. Mattie squeezed my hand again, as I settled back against him shooting him a grin.
Shortly after the game ended, Carmen called us to the table. You could tell she was a baseball wife. She adjusted meal times around the games with ease. With the season’s under way, I am sure she was already planning portable meals and TV dinners. The guys would either be at the stadium or glued to the TV.
We were barely into the meal when my cousin asked the question I had been equally anticipating and dreading. “So, 14 do you plan on making my Ashlynn your girlfriend?” Nick asked. Shooting Nick a death stare, I nearly choked on my roasted vegetables. Wasn’t this a conversation Mattie and I should have on our own?
Mattie was startled, but to give him credit, he recovered beautifully. “Well 22, I was planning on talking to her in private, but I want her to keep seeing me.” He squeezed my knee and leaned closer to my ear. “Only me,” he said low enough that only I could hear him.
Now it was my turn to be completely taken off guard. I felt my face burn knowing I was probably turn fifty shades of red right now. I took a deep breath, before answering, hoping my voice didn’t waver. “Really?” Mattie nodded. “Well, I would be happy to see where this takes us, Mr. Duvall.”
As Dad helped me pull our bags from the car, I could hear Rain and Mom laughing in the kitchen. “Some things never change,” I said, pointing toward the kitchen window. “Those two can’t be together for twenty minutes before the giggles begin.”
We stood watching the two for a few moments, the silence comfortable, almost welcoming. Like me, I was sure Dad was noticing how much Rainbow and her mother resembled one another. Mom was certainly more conservative in a pair of jeans and a caramel colored sweater. She was a bit softer, her hips fuller, her eyes wiser. But, in the personality department, she matched Rainbow pound for pound.
“Mattie-boy,” Dad’s booming voice interrupted our little viewing party. “The laughter in that kitchen, that’s what’s life’s all about. If you ever find a girl whose laughter sounds like music, marry her, don’t think twice.” Dad’s smile told me all I needed to know. After all these years, Mom was still the love of his life.
“I think I already have.” I spoke softly, curious how Dad would react. He didn’t speak, just clapped me on the shoulder, and continued bringing bags into the house. I couldn’t help but catch the big grin he’d tried to hide.
Who’d have thought, my tough-as-nails Dad was a mushball when it came to love.
Ashlynn was practicing a perfect icing swirl. Her pink tongue darted out between her lips in concentration. She was so adorable, I couldn’t resist the urge to be a little naughty. Taking my icing bag, I squeezed a perfect line on to Ash’s neck. Mmm, peppermint buttercream and that honey sweetness that was unique to her. Yep, no way would I ever get tired of this.
I muffled her squeal by slowly, deliberately licking the icing off her neck. She turned to face me, a wicked smile lighting her face before she reached up to claim my lips. Man, I could kiss this girl for days.
Her tongue darted in between my lips, claiming mine in a sensual dance. Oh yes, this was perfection. A sticky mess interrupted my moment of bliss. I blinked in surprise; Ashlynn’s wicked laughter became the first clue as to what assaulted me.
That little vixen had smashed a cupcake over my head. Oh no, she had just declared war. I chased her around the counter, icing bag in hand. Cornering her, I piped buttercream into her hair. She surprised me with a puff of flour to the face.
From there, a full-scale food fight was launched, the cupcakes, icing bags and cream puffs suddenly transformed into assault weapons. I was chasing Ashlynn around the bakery floor, when she slid into me, knocking me on my butt. I fell flat on my back, with Ash’s soft curves nestled on top of me. I couldn’t help but noticing just what having her spread on top of me was doing to my body.
“I surrender,” I muttered before capturing her mouth in a hot kiss.
“Mmm, me too,” she answered, sealing our truce with another kiss. “You taste like chocolate.”
About the Author
Erin Lindsey Maurer grew up surrounded by stories. She made up stories about well everything and often got caught reading under her covers with a flashlight. Today, she is still cooking up tales, with a spicier spin. Line Drive is the first title in her Philadelphia Liberty series, celebrating the boys of baseball and the women they love.