Beyond the Bases Kaylee Ryan ~ Page 2

"Would you ladies like to join us"" I hear him ask. Drew doesn"t know the meaning of inside voice.

The blonde immediately nods while the brunette looks a little less certain. She does, however, follow her friend to the table. I stand to greet them, holding my hand out to the blonde first. "Easton," I say, shaking her hand.

"Chloe, and this is Larissa." She releases my hand and motions toward the brunette.

"Hey," I say, my voice more gravelly than I"d like. "Easton." I offer the lovely Larissa my hand. Hers is soft and smooth, a definite contrast to mine, which are hard and calloused from years of playing ball. Remembering my manners, I pull the chair out for her. She eyes me skeptically, but takes the offered seat.

"So, are you ladies new in town"" Drew asks.

"Nah, I"ve lived here my entire life," Chloe offers.

"What about you"" I ask Larissa.

"Yeah, born and raised," she says with a soft smile.

"I"ve never seen you here before," I tell her.

She tucks a strand of hair behind her ear, and I can see a slight tremble in her hands. "I don"t really get out much."

"Yeah, I had to beg and plead to get her to come with me tonight," Chloe adds.

"Not much on the bar scene"" I ask Larissa. I know the answer, just by her reactions. She"s not some barfly who"s playing coy; she really doesn"t seem to be comfortable being here.

"Other obligations," she answers.

"So y"all come here a lot"" Chloe asks.

"You could say that." Drew smirks. He"s evasive, but his smirk tells me that he knows if this girl tries to hound him here, Billy, also known as Shorty, will kick her ass out.

I keep my attention focused on Larissa. "So, what do you do""

"I"m a waitress right now. I"m working my way through school. Slowly," she adds.

"What"s your major"" She"s quiet, and not vying for my attention. That"s not something I"m used to.

"Accounting. I"m good with numbers." She shrugs before taking a sip of her beer. "What about you""

I debate on whether or not to tell her the truth, but she doesn"t seem starstruck like so many others. I decide to go for it. "I play baseball."

She raises her eyebrows.

I throw my head back and laugh. "True story. I play first base for the Tennessee Blaze."

She looks at me then to Drew and Chloe. "What"" Drew asks.

"What do you do for a living"" she asks him.

He looks at me, and I give him a subtle nod. "Third baseman for the Tennessee Blaze."

Drew gives zero fucks about shouting from the rooftops about what we do. Me, on the other hand, I sometimes like to just be Easton. In my family, that"s how things work. No matter what your profession, you"re still just one of the Monroes. "I can get you tickets to a game," I tell her.

"Uh-huh." She nods, a small smile playing on her lips.

She doesn"t believe me, and that"s okay. What"s more important is to keep her talking. I need to know more about her. For example, do her brown locks with a hint of gold feel as soft as they look" How will her lips feel pressed against mine" What does she look like underneath all those clothes" That"s a start, but I"m intrigued by the brown-haired beauty who is working her way through college and what her other obligations are that keep her from frequenting bars.

"So which restaurant do you work at""

"The Vineyard," she says, not taking her eyes off her beer bottle where she"s currently peeling back the label.

I whistle. "Nice place. I"ve been there a few times." This gets me a nod, but that"s it. What"s it going to take to get to this girl" Looking across the table, I see Drew huddled up close with Chloe, and they"re deep in conversation. What is it about Larissa that has me off my game tonight" Finishing off my beer, I stand. "Anyone ready for another""

Drew holds up two fingers, and I know he"s ordering for Chloe too. "You"" I ask Larissa.

"I really shouldn"t," she says, lifting her bottle and taking the final sip. I watch as she tilts her head back, the long column of her throat exposed. My lips ache to kiss her, to taste her skin.

Bending down, placing my lips next to her ear, I whisper, "I"ll be right back." She can"t hide the way her chest inflates with her heavy breath or the way goose bumps break out across her skin. I make my way to the bar and order four bottles of beer, all the while trying to hide my smile. She"s more affected than she lets on. When I turn to head back to the table, I see the girls are gone. Quickly, I scan the room and find them huddled over the old jukebox in the corner.

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