The scents of salty snack food, greasy hot dogs, and beer were thick in the air. The dull roar of the capacity crowd was studded with familiar ballpark riffs played on an old-school pipe organ. The St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher was winding up to deliver the strike that would end the top of the second inning, and Micah Porter was hoping he and his partner of five years could get through the rest of the game without pissing each other off.
Brody adjusted his cap over his curly blond hair. “Tell me again why we stopped coming to the ballpark?”
“Because you were trying to punish the management for destroying your childhood memories when they tore down the old stadium?” Micah shot Brody a cheeky grin. Their relationship had grown stale over the last year, but Micah wasn’t ready to let it go to hell just yet. Guys like Brody Frost didn’t come around more than once in a lifetime.
“What?” Brody sucked down half a draft beer in one long pull. “You’re staring. Do I have foam on my nose or something?”
Brody was five feet eleven to Micah’s six feet two inches. Micah carried a bit more mass in the shoulders, courtesy of his swimming background, but Brody was sleek with lean muscle and not an ounce of fat. He was a veritable god on the soccer field, and still played in a local men’s league. Micah had never been able to resist the knockout combination of golden hair and brilliant blue eyes, regardless of the potential lover’s gender. Growing up with dark brown hair and eyes had given Micah a taste for something different in his partners.
Brody lifted a brow, and Micah realized he’d been gaping in silence like a lovesick moron. “I’m just glad you’re here with me.”
Brody’s face tightened. “It isn’t that I don’t want to be with you.”
The crack of a bat striking the ball saved them the necessity of finishing that particular conversation. The crowd leaped to its feet as the should-have-been-a-strike became a base hit.
Brody seemed to forget where their conversation had been headed as he roared with their fellow Cards fans and shouted unnecessary pitching advice that couldn’t possibly reach the players’ ears. Micah wasn’t deluded enough to believe their problems could be laid to rest by an afternoon at the ballpark. He just wanted a chance to remind Brody why they had clicked so well from the beginning.
Brody had been steadily drifting away. The two of them were busy with work: Micah as a successful landscape architect, and Brody as the managing partner of a sports complex and over fifty top-notch club soccer teams spanning both genders and all ages. All that was an excuse. They had made time for each other before. Now they’d become almost a habit. Worse, Brody had starting hinting at certain “things” he wanted in life that Micah couldn’t give him.
As if I need a psychic to tell me what those are.
A young family across the aisle caught Micah’s eye. The mother and father were splitting their attention between the action on the field and the two boys sitting between them. The little guys couldn’t have been but four or six. Both wore too-big caps and clutched tiny gloves in their hands. The oldest kid tugged his father’s sleeve, and the man bent his head to answer a question.
The idyllic scene gave Micah a zing in his midsection. He hated the sensation. He didn’t dislike kids. He’d just never thought much about having a family. That was what Brody wanted. In fact, Brody wanted the whole kit and caboodle: the wife, the kids, the house in the burbs, and probably even the minivan. That sort of thing required a woman. Not that Micah was opposed to one. They had always been bisexual, so a threesome seemed like the perfect solution. They’d brought women into their sex life to keep things fresh, but those flings had never lasted. With no luck finding the right woman to share their lives, the two of them were stuck on a rocky path that Micah couldn’t see a way off.
Micah was yanked from his thoughts by a scuffle several seats to his left. A hefty guy dressed in a player’s jersey, baggy cargo shorts, and a ball cap flung up his hands. “Jeez, Mags! Watch where you plant that big ass. You almost spilled my nachos!”
The narrow aisle separating their section from the sheer drop down to the field would have been a tight squeeze for a rail-thin waif, much less a full-figured woman with generous hips and beautiful breasts like this one. A blush bloomed across her cheekbones when she stumbled on her way to the seat beside Micah. “Sorry, Danny. Oh!”
Micah reached out to grab her arm, preventing the woman with the pale red hair from pitching over the railing and falling into the crowd down on level one.
“Oh my.” She looked up, and Micah became utterly aware of her creamy complexion and warm hazel eyes. Her expression was troubled. “I’m so sorry. Did I accidentally step on you?”
Micah stilled as warmth saturated his body. The point of contact between his hand and her arm was on fire. The sensation trickled throughout his system and culminated in a hot heaviness between his legs that made his cock stand up and take notice. He’d never experienced anything like it before in his life.
Danny flicked her backside to gain her attention. “Would you hand me my nachos? The first inning is already over, and I’m freakin’ starving here.”
“Of course, of course.” She turned around and settled what was apparently her man with his food and his beer.
Micah completely forgot the game on the field. He was totally preoccupied with the couple. Danny looked like a bulldog wearing human clothing but without the winsome personality to make up for his growling, bad manners, and generally smelly countenance. “Mags,” as he’d called her, placated, cajoled, apologized, and pretty much groveled her way through the next inning and a half while not getting to watch a second of the game or enjoy a beverage or snack of her own.
“Are you watching this?” Brody murmured.
Micah cast a glance at his partner, realizing Brody was also riveted by the domestic atrocity playing out beside them. “It’s like an effing train wreck. I can’t look away.”
“Hey, babe, go get me a few more beers.” Danny waved at the redhead as though she were there for the sole purpose of doing his bidding.
She was perched on the edge of the seat beside Micah, carefully keeping her body away from his as though she didn’t want to risk any accidental contact. It looked damn uncomfortable, but Micah didn’t know how to encourage her to relax when Danny the redneck was monopolizing every second of her time with his demands.
She gave Danny an apologetically hopeful look. “Can I wait until the end of this inning?”
“What? No! I need a fuckin’ beer!” Danny appeared dumbfounded that she would even question him.
She nibbled her full, kissable lower lip. “But, Danny, I’ve already been up and down the aisle three times to get other stuff. Can’t it wait just a few minutes?”
“Bitch, you and I are going to have words when we head home.” Danny flung his almost empty nacho plate at her chest and stood up. He shoved his way through the other sports fans like an angry bear pushing through trees, earning several irritated glances and muttered curses on his way.
Brody leaned around Micah and gently touched the woman’s knee. “Are you all right?”
She swung around to face them, a blush highlighting her elegant cheekbones. “Oh I’m perfectly fine. He’s... He’s all bark. Really.”
Micah knew Brody wasn’t any more convinced than he was. “My name is Micah Porter, and this is Brody Frost. Say the word, and we’ll beat a little respect out of him.”
Her perfectly arched eyebrows shot up in surprise. “I never in my life expected to say this about violence, but that’s really sweet of you, Micah and Brody.” A smile played at the corners of her generous mouth. “Still, I’d feel guilty if the two of you got thrown out of the ballpark just for me.”
BRODY RESISTED THE urge to palm his cock and move it into a more comfortable position. The damn thing had been rock hard since the moment he’d gotten a good look at the gorgeous, buxom woman sitting on Micah’s other side. She was built like a fertility goddess, just the way Brody liked them. Full hips, a rounded bottom, and breasts that would more than fill his hands.
“My name is Magdalena, by the way,” she offered. “But I usually go by Nena.”
The skin between Micah’s intense dark eyes puckered as he frowned. “Not Mags?”
“Oh God no.” She made a face. “Nobody but my family calls me that anymore. Danny and my older brother are buddies. That’s why he does it.”
Brody was absolutely torn. A part of him wanted very much to pump Nena for information about herself. Was she really going to stay with Danny the redneck, or was it temporary? Was she interested in going out sometime? Did she like other sports besides baseball? Maybe soccer?
Yet Brody was at the ballpark with Micah, a man who had been his partner for five years and best friend for longer than that. After the last woman they’d shared, Brody had told Micah no more. Threesomes involved too many hearts and triple the drama. As nice as it would’ve been for Brody to have all his needs met in one relationship, it never seemed to work. Still, how could Brody consider hurting Micah for a woman he’d only met just because she gave him an unbelievable hard-on?
Nena had started to relax, settling into her seat and leaning subtly toward Micah as though she were getting comfortable. Surprisingly enough, the sight didn’t bother Brody at all.
Micah seemed happy enough to engage her in conversation while Danny was still out of the picture. “So do you come to a lot of ballgames?”
“Not as many as I’d like.” Nena sighed and gazed out across the field. The Cards had one out and two men on base. The organ played the familiar chords of the fight song, and the crowd screamed, “CHARGE
!” “When I was little, my oldest older brother took me.”
“Oldest?” Brody glanced at Micah. “How many do you have?”
She wrinkled her nose and managed to look even cuter. “There are ten of us altogether. I’m the youngest. I have three sisters and six brothers.”
“Holy shit,” Micah muttered. “I will never again complain about being an only child.”
Nena grinned. It made her eyes irresistibly bright. “Yep, my mom takes her Catholic duty pretty seriously. Fortunately I’m originally from Chicago, so my brother Matt is the only one of my family in the St. Louis area.”
An upbeat tune began to play on the stadium speakers, and the Kiss Cam dominated the megascreen. The crowd began cheering and laughing as couples were targeted by the cameraman and given the chance to kiss. Preoccupied, it took Brody a brief second to realize he was staring at Micah and Nena up on the screen.
“Whoops, that’s us!” Nena exclaimed.
Brody was about to respond, but one look at Micah’s expression, and he forgot what he was going to say. Micah slung one muscular arm around Nena’s shoulders and drew her in close. Before she could protest, he took her mouth in a lingering kiss.
It was as if the whole world creaked to a halt right there. Brody expected Nena to pull away, but she didn’t. Her arms snaked around Micah’s neck, and her fingers tangled in his short dark hair as she kissed him back like a woman starved for affection.
The people around them began to hoot and holler, but Micah didn’t back down. Nena whimpered, and the hair on the back of Brody’s neck stood on end. Micah had kissed maybe half a dozen women while Brody looked on. He’d never been this affected by such a sight. Never.
What does it mean?