I met the rookie baseball player with piercing blue eyes and a Southern drawl on my first day as a tour guide. Colin Winters was only supposed to be a one-night impulsive indulgence.
Instead, the easy connection between us became an addiction. Colin believed in me when no one else ever had. He encouraged me to take risks and chase my most ambitious dreams. Finally, I was taking charge of my life. Then, two blue lines change everything…
The adventure tour was supposed to be a team bonding experience. All it took was one look at Piper Rigby, the beautiful, blonde tour guide, and I was completely distracted. Her passion for life and photography was inspiring. Yet, sadly, no one had ever encouraged her to follow her dreams. I wanted to be the guy who did.
Being around her was intoxicating. She didn’t care about my major league aspirations or the money that went along with it. In fact, Piper didn’t want anything from me. Which is one of the many reasons I wanted to give her everything. We agreed to one night together, but it just wasn’t enough. One way or another, I’m determined to make her see we belong together. Even if that means taking a timeout in the friend zone for a while…
I was determined to be on that roster at the end of the weekend. I wouldn’t languish in the minors, playing year after year, hoping for something that wouldn’t happen. This was my chance. I might not get another one.
The blonde woman walked through the line of players handing out what looked like an itinerary.
When she handed it to me, a gust of wind caught the bottom of her skirt, causing it to fly up. One hand gripped the papers, trying to get the hair out of her face as the other tried to hold her skirt down.
“Shit,” she cried as the papers flew out of her hands, scattering on the driveway. Seeing that most of the guys had already gone into the lodge, I dropped my duffel on the ground, gathering up the papers before they could get picked up by the wind again.
I’d gathered most of them, but one kept taking off before I could get it. The blonde laughed at my attempts to grab it. The sound carried with the wind.
I made a final grab for it, her hand closing over mine at the last second. The heat of her skin made me pause. Crouching close to the ground, my gaze lifted from the paper we both clutched to her eyes.
Her skin was silky smooth over mine. I wanted to turn my hand so our palms touched. My heart was racing, and it wasn’t from the chase. It was her.
The air between us sparked with awareness.
Her mouth opened on a gasp as she let go of me. “Sorry.”
My skin tingled, and my brain short-circuited as I rose to full height, her head barely coming up to my shoulder.
Her cheeks were flushed as she pulled strands of hair from her face. Laughing, she said, “That wind came out of nowhere.”
One hand hovered on her skirt, presumably to stop it from flipping up again, her other hand shielded the sun from her eyes. Her eyes were a multifaceted crystal blue. I’d never seen anything like it.
My breath tight in my chest, I asked, “Are you one of our guides?”
Dropping her hand from her forehead, her eyes crinkled. “I’m kind of along for the ride.”
I remained silent, hoping she’d give me more details.
“The views will be beautiful.” Her tone was wistful.
I handed her the papers, wondering what her story was and how the view on our trip could be any more stunning than her with her blonde hair flying in the wind, her eyes wide, and her cheeks flushed.
Lowering her gaze, she tried to smooth the wrinkles from the papers.
I hadn’t really thought about what we’d see on the tour or the fact that it might be enjoyable. It was merely a task I needed to complete. “It will be if you’re there.”
Her gaze flew up to mine.
My face heated. The sun was warm on my face, the now light breeze blew her hair across her face.
A flush tinged her cheekbones. “Thank you.”
Her voice was soft, her words almost melodic.
Who was this woman, and why was I reacting to her like this?
Wanting more time with her, I asked, “Do you work here?”
It was obvious she did, but I couldn’t come up with anything more interesting to ask.
She nodded, pointing a thumb over her shoulder even though the porch was empty. “Yeah, my brother, Henry, owns the lodge.”
“Oh.” The mention of her brother made me pause. He was probably the man on the porch.
“I’m just helping out around here. I work at the barber shop.” She shrugged.
The flush on her cheeks deepened, traveling down her neck to the her chest visible in her summer dress.
She was beautiful. The silence between us lengthened, growing almost awkward. The desire to ask her more questions, to extend this moment, throbbed in my chest, but I was at a loss for what to say.
“There you are. Colin, get in here.” Rod’s voice carried from the porch.
I startled, not realizing how far we’d run from the porch to grab the papers. “I’d better go inside.”
I took long strides, eating up the distance we’d traveled.
Rod went back inside, leaving us alone again.
Sensing her walking behind me, I slowed my gait so she could catch up.
Stopping on the porch, she smiled shyly. “Thank you for grabbing the papers.”
“This one’s the best, I think.” She thrust a paper in front of me.
I liked that she was just as flustered as I was from our encounter. Glancing at the itinerary, I noticed I had an early start tomorrow. Instead of being annoyed, I was looking forward to seeing her again.
I held my hand out to her. “I’m Colin Winters.”
She clasped my hand; her skin was cool underneath mine. “Piper Rigby.”
It’s nice to meet you, Piper.”
She was beautiful in the dress, but I wondered what she’d look like tomorrow in formfitting bicycle shorts riding in front of me. Every muscle in my body tightened at the image.
Letting go of my hand, she pushed open the door. “Henry will be wondering where I am.”
She slipped inside without another glance in my direction.
I took a deep breath before following her, carefully schooling my face.
I didn’t want Coach to think I was distracted. No matter how beautiful the tour guide was, I was here to prove I was a worthy member of the team.
She grew up in a small town in Pennsylvania and currently resides in Maryland with her family.