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25. Nov. 2015


The Ninth Inning series presents Memphis Angels’ first baseman, Hector Rodriguez.

Hector Rodriguez is an easy going guy, the one who tries to make everyone laugh or smile on the hard days. He loves playing baseball, loves his family, and loves chasing the girl who has caught his eye. His two biggest obstacles are getting the girl to give him the time of day and then getting his mother to look past what she sees on the surface.

Zoey Reyes is use to people staring at her because of the tattoos covering her body, but the big tipper who has been begging for her name for two months is the only one who looks at her differently. Once Hector wears her down and finds out her name, she realizes why he is so likeable. However, it’s one battle after another for their friendship to grow and Zoey’s not sure how much stress she can handle.

Hector and Zoey are making the right plays, but will it be enough for them to come out with a big win?

25. Nov. 2015

Über den Autor

Lindsay Paige is the author of multiple Young Adult, New Adult, and Sports romances. She also enjoys writing books with characters who deal with anxiety and depression, issues which are close to her heart. Lindsay is a North Carolinian who loves watching hockey, sharing puns, having conversations with her miniature Schnauzer, rewatching episodes of M*A*S*H, and living her dream of writing books for a living.Lindsay has written the following books/series:Bending Under PressureBold as Love seriesBracing for Love seriesCarolina Rebels seriesDon’t PanicSanity seriesYou Before MeWithout a DoubtShe has cowritten the following series with Mary Smith:The Ninth Inning seriesOh Captain, My Captain seriesThe Penalty Kill trilogy

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Hector - Lindsay Paige

* * * *


Season 1 of

The Ninth Inning Series

Copyright © 2015 by Lindsay Paige and Mary Smith

Smashwords Edition

ISBN-13: 978-1311737922

All rights reserved.

Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, brands, media, and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of various products, bands, and/or restaurants referenced in this work of fiction, which have been used without permission. The publication/use of these trademarks is not authorized, associated with, or sponsored by the trademark owners.

Smashwords Edition License Notes

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to your favorite ebook retailer and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

Table of Contents

Title Page

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Twenty

Chapter Twenty-One

Chapter Twenty-Two

Chapter Twenty-Three

Chapter Twenty-Four

About the Authors

Coming Soon

I STEP BACK from the canvas and look at the splashes of colors I just added to the picture. Well, this looks like dog crap with a hint of red streaks. No wonder no one wants to purchase anything of mine, and no gallery wants to showcase it. It sucks.

I toss the paintbrush down and don’t even bother to clean it off. I don’t care right now because I need to get ready for my shift at the bar. I like my job at the Big Blue. It’s good money, and since I don’t sleep well at night, it’s almost perfect.

Once I’m out of shower, I dry myself off. I gaze in my full-length mirror at my newest tattoo—on my thigh. It’s a sunset with a whale and dolphin coming up off the waves of the beach. I check the ones on my left arm. They are to honor Aunt Lanny. She loves nature. My whole arm is a massive garden with flowers and large trees.

My right arm is for Aunt Minnie. She’s the opposite of Aunt Lanny. Aunt Minnie hates being outdoors and would rather stay indoors to paint, decorate, read old novels, and make her own jewelry. My right arm shows all of that, including the house they raised me in.

I slide into my uniform: black, very short shorts and a light blue, low cut tank top. I adjust my boobs to make them not look as saggy as I think they are. I softly rub the two tattoo ribbons that depict the birth and death of my parents. I never knew either of them. The only mementos I have are a few pictures that Aunt Lanny has of them holding me.

My parents loved the outdoors, and a few months after I arrived, they went out on a boat with some friends. In a freak accident, the boat sank taking both of my parents with them. From then on, Aunt Lanny, my mother’s sister, and her girlfriend, Aunt Minnie, raised me.

I wiggle my feet into my light blue cowboy boots and head off to Big Blue. Since I’m only a few blocks away, I walk over. I don’t use my car a lot since I’m downtown and close to everything. I mainly use it if I’m going home to my aunts.

I walk into the back entrance of the bar and wave at a few co-workers and head to the employee break room. Storm, the bar manager and my tattoo artist, meets me.

Zoey, my girl, how are you this fine evening?

I lock up my purse and turn to him. His mohawk stands tall and the tattoos on his neck seem to be more defined and bright. What do you want?

Can you work the bar tonight instead of waitress?

Sure. It’s no biggie. Either way doesn’t matter to me because I know it’s going to be a slow night. Weeknights seem to be lately.

Thanks. I owe you one. He kisses my cheek and heads off.

Mickey, my bar back, is already out there loading beers into the cooler. Hey, Zo.

Hey, Mick. I pat his shoulder and head over to the register and enter my name and count the cash drawer.

You need anything special? he asks, breaking down the boxes.

If you’re by the closet, could you grab me some more towels? I close the drawer.

No problem. Anything for you, Zo. Mickey gives me a smile and heads off. I like Mick. He’s a good kid and is working his way through college. He’s hardworking, and that tells a lot about a person.

Is this seat taken?

I sigh deeply before turning to my most annoying customer. Hello, Mr. Customer.

Hello, Miss Not Interested.

The lighting in the bar isn’t dark, so I’m able to see that golden tanned skin. His dark hair is shaped into a faux hawk today. His beard isn’t thick; it’s what I would call scruff.

I push open the cooler, pop open a beer for him, and put it in front of him. He pulls out a twenty-dollar bill. I try to give him his change, but, as always, he waves it away for me to keep it.

How’s your day going?

I tilt my head. For the past two months, he’s been coming in here and trying his hardest to get my name. I don’t usually mind giving customers my name, but it’s more fun taunting him. Besides, he gives me great tips.

My day is going well. How’s your day? I play nice.

Okay. He fiddles with the silver chain and the cross charm on it.

Something on your mind?

Are you going to tell me your name? he smirks.

I roll my eyes, but his smile is slightly contagious. Not today.

I think I’m wearing you down.

Hardly. I walk away from him to wait on a couple of women at the end of the bar. They’re already giggling and I know that they’re the laughing drunks. Ladies, may I help you?

Yes. The blonde sits taller and sticks her chest out a bit. We want two lemon drop shots and two Heinekens. Plus, we want to send two fingers of Maker’s Mark to Hector Rodriguez over there.

To who? I ask, confused.

Hector Rodriguez. The blonde points to Mr. Customer. The first baseman for the Memphis Angels.

Oh. So, he’s a baseball player. There goes my theory that he’s a personal trainer. Sure. Not a problem.

I quickly make up their order and give them the total. Blondie tells me to keep the change and writes her number on a napkin to give to Hector with the drink.

Bambi? Her name is Bambi.

I try to not to look in disgust at the horrendous name and take it over to him at the other end of the bar. "This is from the lovely ladies at the end of the bar, Hector Rodriguez."

Damn it, he growls. Now, I need to know yours.

Nope, I pop out. However, those girls have enlightened me about you. You’re a baseball player?

He shrugs. I thought you knew that already.

I shake my head. I’m not a huge sports follower. I knew you looked familiar, but I didn’t know the reason. Although, this is the first time I’ve seen you drink bourbon. I nod at the glass.

I don’t, and I’m not sure why they sent it over. He’s trying not turn his nose up at it.

"Oh, and don’t forget that Bambi sent her number, too." I tap the napkin for him and head away to wait on other patrons that are sitting down.

The evening begins to move smoothly and Hector finally makes his way to Bambi and her friend. He seems polite with them and laughs at their lame jokes. The blonde waves me over and since the music has grown louder, she leans farther over the bar at me.

I hate that I have to wave you over, but we need more drinks.

I nod and make the drinks she ordered.

You’re super nice, the blonde slurs a bit. What’s your name?

Zoey, I say without thinking and take her money.

I continue my trip around the bar checking on the customers, and I make my way back to Hector who’s by himself again. Of course, he hands me another twenty. I made another hundred dollars off him.

"Have a great night, Zoey."

I drop my mouth a bit. You got those girls to find out my name, didn’t you? I narrow my gaze at him.

I may have. He reaches down and takes the pen from my apron and writes on the napkin. Have a good night. He pushes the items back over to me and walks out.

I look down and see he left his phone number. He seems like a nice guy, but I don’t think we’re compatible.

Too bad.


FOR TWO LONG months, I've been visiting the Big Blue bar every chance I get. Finally, Miss Not Interested has a name. Zoey. I'd thought that maybe she was brushing me off because I'm a baseball player, but she didn't even know until tonight. Which means she just doesn't like who I appear to be. And that sucks.

I've never minded a good chase, and all I really know about her is her name. Yet, I've been chasing her for two months. Why? Not entirely sure to be honest. She's hot and those tats of hers drive me crazy. I've sat at the bar, watching, and wondering about all her tattoos. I only get glimpses and teases depending on what she's wearing. At this point, I might as well be a part-time stalker as often as I come to the bar and watch her.

She's slowly warming up to me though. By slowly, I mean slower than a turtle stuck in mud, trying to get out. I left her with my number, but I already know she won't reach out to me. Her constant rejection has me wondering what is wrong with me. Not that I've never been turned down before, but damn. She doesn't know me yet; nothing warrants her favorite answer of no when I ask for her name or out on a date.

No matter how much I try to figure out why she doesn't want to go out with me or give me her name and number, I come up empty, especially now, since it obviously has nothing to do with baseball. Maybe it's because I always tip her well, but that would have to be a good thing, not bad. It'll be interesting to see if she'll call me Hector or Mr. Customer next time I go in.

We've got a road trip coming up soon, and I'm hoping I can have her number by then. Unlikely, but I'll keep hoping and chasing until Zoey gives me a chance.

WE STEP OFF the field after a particularly long practice. I pull my hat off when we step inside the building, the cool air hitting my skin. After running my hands through my hair, the few reporters waiting outside the locker room perk up at seeing us. I don't mind them at all, as long as the focus stays on baseball.

You seem to be close to Blake Foster. Did you know about Jack Foster and his alleged history of abuse toward his wife and son?

I stare at the lady reporter. Blake has managed to skim by the reporters for a week now, and they've turned to me for answers because we're friends. Thanks for your time, I say before turning and walking away. Like I'm going to tell what I know to some hungry reporter.

Blake is in the locker room and I slap him on the shoulder when I pass him to reach my locker. Last night, I came up with a lame idea to get Zoey to give me her number. Lame or not, I'm trying it.

Are you going to be with Sof tonight? I ask.

No, why?

I make a show of dropping my jaw in shock. He throws a towel at me. I turn to Felix. Are you going to be with Abigail?

Nope, he answers.

Good. You two are coming with me to Big Blue. Seven o'clock.

They nod and I wonder how tonight will go. As long as Blake and Felix cooperate, my lame plan might earn me half a point with her. Half because there's no doubt in my mind it's going to take a hell of a lot more to earn a full point. I just don't know what it'll take for that yet.

We all arrive at the same time and enter the bar together. I scan the room first before confirming that Zoey is working the bar again tonight. The three of us take a seat and I flash a smile when she glances this way. She shakes her head, but I swear I see a small smile. Once she finishes with her current customer, she comes over to us.

Hey, Zoey, I say with a grin.

Hey, Hector, she replies, causing my grin to widen. What can I get you guys? She looks at Blake and Felix as she places a beer in front of me. They order and she walks off to get their drinks.

How often do you come here? Felix asks. You're on a first name basis with the bartender and she already knows what you want?

I just learned her name.

Blake laughs. That's the same chick from the last time we were here. She kept avoiding Hector and wouldn't give him her name.

Felix starts laughing. I thought she looked familiar. Have you been coming here ever since?

I nod before taking a drink. You two are going tell her how awesome I am, so I can get her number. It's taken me two months to get her name, and that’s because I was sneaky. I don't want to wait two more to get her number.

Blake laughs harder. You think that's going to impress her?

No, but shut up and do it anyway.

Zoey comes backs, places their drinks in front of them, and I want to kill them when they start talking.

We hear you're giving our boy here a hard time, Felix starts.

He's a really great guy, Blake adds. You should give him a chance before his poor heart breaks from all this rejection.

He's social, and he's funny.

He gives people nicknames like Grumpy and then comes over to their house to eat their food, so be careful about that. Aside from being annoying half the time, he's decent, Blake finishes.

Zoey is

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