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25. Mai 2016


The Ninth Inning series presents Memphis Angels’ third baseman, Colby Wilson.

Colby Wilson gets talked into making a profile on a dating website. It’s been a not-so-great experience so far, especially since his teammates have given him the nickname of Sugar Daddy thanks to the mistake of sharing his experiences. Colby just wants to settle down and finally have a place to call home once and for all. Then, he decides to meet the only sane person he’s been able to talk to on the dating website.

Ariella Craft is a homicide detective who spends more time working cases than working on her love life. As a last resort, she decides to sign up for online dating and ends up talking to someone who doesn’t seem to be crazy. After taking sound advice from her sister, Ariella meets the man she’s been chatting with.

There is nothing but shock when they discover each other’s identities. Colby and Ariella need to prioritize their careers and love lives, but when devastation hits them, it’s more difficult than they both thought it would be.

Life is throwing nothing but curveballs. Colby and Ariella need to hit it out of the park before they strike out.

25. Mai 2016

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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Colby - Lindsay Paige

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Season 2 of

The Ninth Inning Series

Copyright © 2016 by Lindsay Paige and Mary Smith

Smashwords Edition

ISBN-13: 978-1310216206

All rights reserved.

Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be re-produced, 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 trade-marked 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 trade-marks 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

SIT YOUR ASS down. I watch my partner forcefully place the alleged murderer in the seat of the interrogation room. The kid already cracked me in the jaw, and Duke, my partner, chased him five blocks before getting the cuffs on him.

Lawyer, the punk kid sings. Lawyer. Lawyer. Lawyer.

Enough! I slam my hand on the table. He’s coming, but in the meantime, stop throwing the chair at the glass.

Lawyer, the kid sneers at me.

I narrow my glare at him before Duke and I walk out.

He’ll be going away for a long time. Duke and I head back to our desks.

Yep, I answer. Eyewitnesses. DNA. Hell, we practically have him shooting the victim on video.

I’ve been a detective for less than a year. Before this, I was writing speeding tickets and breaking up bar fights. There were some exciting moments, but this is where I belong.

I focus on the additional files on my desk and start at the top. It’s a never-ending pile, but I’m hoping to have a few more closed soon. I begin combing through the leads I have when I look up to see my younger sister coming through the door.

Ariella. She spins showing off her little, flowy black dress.

Wow, Alizeh, you’re one hot mama, I joke with her.

There’s my wife. Duke stands and walks over to her, kissing her lips.

Duke met my sister six years ago when she came over to cheer me on at a policeman-fireman softball tournament. Three months after that, they were officially dating, and they married a year later. Six months ago, they welcomed my nephew into the world, Little Duke.

What are you doing here? he asks her, and I tsk him.

Wrong thing to ask. I shake my head, as Alizeh’s eyes grow wide.

Duke, it’s our wedding anniversary, she hisses at him.

I know, he lies. I’m only kidding.

Alizeh lifts one brow. If you know, why ask?

Duke just chuckles and kisses her cheek. Just making sure you remember.

She rolls her eyes at him, and I laugh. Either way, I’m ready and we have reservations. Duke trails off.

Oh no, you don’t. Alizeh stomps her foot. Lil D is at Mom and Dad’s for the night. I’ve been drinking smoothies all week to fit into this dress. We haven’t seen each other in days. You’re not doing this tonight. Her sentences are short and hard. I want us to celebrate, and I want to be with grown-ups.

Baby, I just got some phone records in that I have to go over tonight. Duke looks so sad and Alizeh might cry.

I jump up from my seat. I’ll take care of it, Duke.

They both stare at me for a second, and then Alizeh hugs me tightly. Thank you, Ariella. If I don’t have sex soon, I’m going to die.

Whoa! I push her away. TMI, sis.

Duke smiles sadly. Thank you. He hands me the file.

What are families and partners for? I shoo them away. It’s not as if I have plans anyway.

I look through Duke’s file and begin making marks of calls and connections between the victim and the suspect. Before I know it, another two hours have gone by and my eyes are burning. It’s almost ten at night as I gather up my things and head off to my parents’ house.

There are no two greater people in the world. I smell apple pie as I walk in through the back door. My mom is sitting at the kitchen table with papers spread out around her. Dad has been trying for years to get her to quit, but at fifty-nine, she still runs circles around the law firm as if she’s a junior associate and not a partner and top lawyer in Tennessee.

She’d always kept her blonde hair long until last year when she chopped it off into a fashionable pixie cut. Her big blue eyes connect with me when I shut the door. Hey, Ariella, what are you doing here? She stands up, comes over, and hugs me.

Thought I’d raid your fridge. I’ve not had time to go shopping.

Have a seat. I’ll heat you something up.

Mom, I can— I stop when she gives me a look, and I turn heel and sit at the table.

Tell me about your day. She rummages through the fridge and turns on the stove.

Nothing big. Arrested another young kid, but you know how that story goes, I say sadly. Mom understands. She’s been trying for years to help delinquent children. She has saved a great number, but so many never get the chance.

I thought I heard you. Dad comes into the kitchen. He’s huge. When I was little, I thought he was a giant. He’s six foot six and solid muscle. Even at sixty-five, he still works out every single day. His skin is the color of onyx, and his shiny bald head hasn’t seen hair since before I was born. You look tired. Are you working too much? His question is stern.

No, Dad. It’s just been a long day. Where’s Lil D?

Dad smiles at his grandson’s name. Sleeping. We told Alizeh we’d keep him tonight. She and Duke need a night of silence.

I nod and watch Dad walk over to Mom and kiss her temple. Their relationship has been a tough one. Dad was a new detective when he met Mom when she was an intern in the District Attorney’s office.

Dad says it was love at first sight for them both, but in the seventies in Tennessee, interracial relationships still carried a taboo. Mom’s parents kicked her out the moment they learned of the relationship, but Dad’s parents took her right in. To this day, I still don’t know Mom’s parents, but it’s no skin off my nose.

It wasn’t easy for Alizeh and me, but our parents fought through the barriers and made a great life for us. We’re strong like our parents and they’ve been the greatest role models.

Alizeh followed Mom’s footsteps, became a lawyer, then married a detective. I’m like Dad. Career first, then family. It’s not completely true. I desperately want someone. I’m a romantic at heart; I’m waiting for my Prince Charming to come sweep me off my feet.

Mom puts a plate of chicken, corn, and mashed potatoes in front of me. I take the fork she hands me and dig in. Dad begins to bombard me with questions about my cases. You can retire a, you can’t. They’re a cop forever, and I know he misses the job. I give him a few details on some of my cases before I hug them both and head out the door.

I drive to my house in East Memphis. I love my house, but what single woman needs a three bedroom, two-bath house?

I hope someday I’ll have a family to fill it.

When I make it inside, Buster, my Alaskan malamute, jumps up on me and tries his best to lick my face, but I turn away.

Okay, Buster, okay. I calm him down and quickly take him out back to use the bathroom. I’m lucky Dad comes over and takes him out often, or lord knows the mess my house would be in.

When I come back in, after Buster plays a bit, I set the security alarm again and make my way to the living room. Since I don’t have any friends away from the force, I keep many of my files on my coffee table. I do them while enjoying whatever new love story is on cable or Netflix. If I need a break, I pick up the latest, hottest romance novel.

Tonight, I don’t do either. Instead, I pick up my personal laptop and turn it on. It’s my secret: I’ve told no one. In the past several months, I’ve registered on numerous dating sites, but one, called Memphis Locals, has led me to a friend of sorts.

The familiar ding brings a smile to my face, and Buster sits next to me on the couch.

BaseballGuy31: Hey, just wanted to say hi and hope your day went well.

He sent it just a few moments ago, so I quickly respond.

Sporty35: I just got home from work. It was okay. How was work for you?

BaseballGuy31: Long, but good. My co-worker gave me this idiotic nickname, and it’s driving me crazy because now they all are calling me that.

I laugh.

Sporty35: What is it?

BaseballGuy31: Oh, no way am I telling you. Nope. Not going to happen.

I laugh louder and then deeply yawn.

Sporty35: I’m off to bed. Talk to you soon.

BaseballGuy31: Okay. Good night.

I smile at the screen. I’m very well aware of the dangers of chatting with a stranger on the internet. I’m well aware of the dangers of online dating. However, I know how to keep myself safe, and I can’t explain why I feel connected to this guy.

We began chatting about baseball. I’m a huge sports fan. Dad, Mom, and I are massive Memphis Angels fans. It’s the major league baseball team. I’ve been playing baseball and softball all my life, and I’m still on the Police Force baseball team.

He told me he worked for the Angels and soon, we were chatting away. He doesn’t know I’m a cop nor do we know each other’s name. We’re taking it slow and getting to know each other. I like it, and it’s been fun having someone to talk to.

I check my other online dating accounts, and of course, it’s nothing but creepy men and some messages that make my stomach turn.

Can’t I just find a nice guy? I ask Buster who looks at me as if I should already know the answer to this question. I know. I know, I sigh and head to my bathroom to change.

I stare at myself in the mirror. I’m thirty-six, but I don’t think I look it. My skin is a light caramel color. My eyes are a deep brown like Dad’s. My hair is wavy when I release it from the tight bun I keep it in for work, but not overly curly. It’s easily tamed. I’m used to the stares when I’m standing next to my parents. When I was younger, it never failed that someone would ask if I was adopted.

I change and get ready for bed. When I crawl under the covers, and Buster takes position at the foot of the bed, I’m ready for sleep and then a new day to start.


HELLO? I ANSWER my phone.

Hey, what are you doing today? Jordan, one of my teammates, asks.

Stuff around the house. Why?

I need a favor.

Name it. Jordan doesn’t often ask for something, so I’m curious at the very least.

I need you to have lunch with Heidi and me.

I can’t help it. I groan. It’s our day off and you want me to spend it with you and your wife?

C’mon, Colby. She thinks you hate her, and I want y’all to be friends.

You want me to be friends with your wife?

Well, not really. Just friendly enough that she stops thinking you hate her.

I don’t hate her. Why don’t you tell her that? And I don’t hate her. I’m just not so sure I like her. She put Jordan through hell before finally she finally stopped being so stubborn.

She doesn’t believe me. So, will you? When I’m silent for too long, he speaks again. Think of it this way. When you do finally land some online sugar baby, do you want your go-to couple to hang out with to be Hector and Zoey or me and Heidi?

There are other guys on the team with girlfriends, I point out.

But you don’t really hang out with them. So, I ask again. Do you want someone who you know will call you Sugar Daddy or me? You need to think about the future implications, Colby.

I laugh because he’s blowing this out of proportion. Nevertheless, he is a friend, and if he and his wife are together again, I can do this for him. First, I have a question. "Why is this so important that it has to

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