Stealing Home - By Jennifer Seasons

Chapter 1

DESPERATION WAS A funny thing. Everybody thought they knew themselves until it crept into their subconscious like a stealth ninja. Perfectly logical, intelligent people scoffed at the idea that a single emotion could override all rational thought. To them, irrational behavior was for the weak-minded.

But raw desperation didn’t discriminate.

It changed a person.

Made them do things that in their normal, everyday lives they’d be appalled to even consider.

Raking a shaky hand through her long dark hair, Lorelei Littleton gave herself a mental kick to get on with it. Procrastination wasted precious minutes she couldn’t afford to lose.

A well of emotion rose in her throat at the thought and she felt the inappropriate urge to giggle. She did that when she was freaked out. If she gave in to the urge she’d probably just end up crying and that wouldn’t solve anything, either. Action was the only solution.

As she took a deep breath, her green eyes shifted over the crowd in the dimly lit blues bar. Nobody noticed her sitting at the back table by herself.

Not that she was dressed to command attention. That wasn’t her style. She was more of a casual girl. Other women in the bar were sleek in designer clothes with professionally highlighted hair done just so in typical man-bait fashion. Lorelei, on the other hand, slumped in her seat sans makeup, with old jeans and a faded yellow T-shirt from REI that read “I Dig Everything.” Since she was a writer for a gardening magazine, it had tickled her funny bone.

She wasn’t dressed to get a man, even though she was there for a man. She’d spent the past hour in her little dark corner watching and observing him. But he wasn’t just anyone.

He was the one. The antidote to her break from sanity.

The display on her cell phone began flashing, signaling she’d received a new text message. Picking it up off the table, Lorelei flipped it open. The text was from Dina Andrews, the woman who’d started her down this road of shady behavior. Well, no, that wasn’t exactly true. She’d started down that road all by herself, and tripped over Dina in the process. No use blaming somebody else for her long slide down from the moral high ground. She’d made that choice and could at least be big enough to admit it. Squaring her shoulders, Lorelei ignored the trail of unease skittering down her spine and quickly scanned the message.

To anyone else it would have looked like nothing but a bunch of numbers, but she knew better. It was the security code to a posh condo in downtown Denver that belonged to the man she had been watching—Dina’s ex-husband, major league baseball’s hottest catcher, Mark “The Wall” Cutter.

Snapping the phone shut, Lorelei glanced up and across the room toward the Denver Rush player. It didn’t surprise her in the least to see a big-breasted blond flirting and batting her eyelashes at the infamous ballplayer. Women had been trying since she’d arrived at seven to score a seat at his table. And why not? He was known not to discriminate. Even she, who rarely paid attention to the media, had heard of his playboy ways.

She was surprised that none of them had succeeded in landing a spot, however. It had been her impression that he was pretty notorious with the ladies. But if that was the case, she wasn’t seeing it tonight. Not that it mattered, or changed the plan either way.

The fact was he had something she needed. And she was going to get it.

Unexpected amusement filled her as the blond stalked off in a huff, her attempts to charm the catcher unproductive. It seemed that no sooner had the blond left than a brunette slithered her way over to him. Lorelei shook her head and adjusted in her seat, bumping her knee on the underside of the table as she crossed her legs.

Watching Mark Cutter get hit on was almost more entertaining than going to the movies.

Not that she could really blame the women. His team profile picture didn’t do him justice at all. The man was gorgeous. Dark blond hair, tan, tall, and powerfully built. He had delicious dimples in his lean cheeks when he smiled.

Boy, was that grin of his potent. Lorelei could feel the power of it in the pit of her stomach every time it flashed. Thank goodness he didn’t seem to be much in the smiling mood tonight. She didn’t need to be sidetracked and lose focus. Dina