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WrittenBy... Jill Lynn Anderson


Recently finished. I love this screwball couple! 


Abbott and Costelnik

Who's on First?

Chapter One

Lola dusted her nacho crumbs off the bobbleheads. The stadium crowd roared and she rushed from the concession area to see the action on the field.

A crowd had gathered at the entrance of the stands and the man in front of her blocked her view. Lola’s five foot one inch height wasn’t accommodating in crowds as it was, and this man had a good foot on her. She stood on tiptoes to try to see over him, but only caught a glimpse of the field.

She tapped his substantial shoulder. “Who’s on first?”

 “Molina,” he said without turning to her.

“Who’s at bat?”

“Casper Bailey.” He shifted slightly to the right and gave Lola a better view.

Lola cheered, “Come on, come on!” If anyone could be counted on to give the Yankees the lead, it was the team’s star rookie.

The crack of the bat brought the crowd to their feet.

The ball was going. Going.  Gone.

Shivers of excitement raced up Lola’s arms. “Yeah!” No matter how many times she saw a home run, she got the same thrill she had when she’d seen it decades ago as a little girl.

The man turned to her. “Wow!”

His green eyes sparkled in celebration. Thick, honey-colored hair curled against his neck. Lola’s mouth watered. She whispered, “Wow.” The angles of his face were so smooth she wished she had her camera to capture their perfection.    

“Go Yanks!” His high-five caught her by surprise. The box of nachos in her hand hit his chest and cheese splotched onto his T-shirt.

“Oh, my goodness,” she said as she tried to wipe off the glob. “I’m  sorry.” Instead of removing the cheese, she’d only succeeded in spreading it to his sleeve.    

He gave her a crooked smile. A smile that said sexy in thirty-seven languages. “It’s okay.”

Mesmerized by the glimpse of dimples in his cheeks, Lola absentmindedly sucked the cheese goop off her fingers. As her face heated with awareness, his smile grew and the dimples proved their extraordinary depth.

“I’m sorry,” she said again. “Follow me out to the concourse and I’ll give you a new T-shirt.”

“Pardon me?”

 “Over here.” She led him to her vendor table. “We’re selling them.”

“We?” he asked as they approached the abandoned station.

“Well, looks like I’m the only one selling them at the moment.” Lola looked right and left.  Sandy had flitted off for the hundredth time. It was a wonder no one ran off with half the merchandise. “But, this one’s on me, of course.” Lola fingered through a folded stack of Yankee shirts and her gaze drifted down the man’s body to judge his size. From the broad shoulders she’d tapped to the hard chest to the long legs to the glimpse of solid biceps under his sleeves, the man was phenomenal. Everywhere. Flustered, she pushed her dark hair behind her ears. It had been ages since she’d had such an intense attraction to anyone. “I’d guess you’re a large.”

“Yes,” he said. “But I don’t want you to get in trouble for giving me a shirt.”

“Oh, I won’t. It’s my family’s business.” She pointed to the Costelnik & Company sign. “I’m Lola.”

He smiled and pointed to himself. “Abbott, and I appreciate the shirt. Normally, I wouldn’t care about what I was wearing, but today’s a special occasion.”

 “What kind of special occasion?” She handed him the shirt just as Sandy slithered back to the table.

“Pay attention during the seventh-inning stretch. You’ll see.”

“Okay, I—”

“Hi.” Sandy interrupted and gave Abbott a flirtatious smile. “Bet you’ll look good in that shirt. Bet you’d look even better without a shirt.”

Lola couldn’t believe Sandy could be so blatant, but when humor danced in Abbott’s eyes, Lola wished she would have thought to say it.

“You’ll let me know, I’m sure.” Abbott smiled. Though Sandy had made the provocative comment, Abbott winked at Lola before he stripped off the soiled shirt.

Lola itched to run her hands across his chest.  She linked her fingers together behind her back.  Customer service rule one: do not touch. Lola ought to know; she trained the staff.

“Meeeow,” Sandy said in appreciation.

Lola wanted to scream,  I saw him first!  Instead, she said nothing as Abbott pulled the new shirt over his head.

“How’s it look?” he asked.

As if Sandy was seriously contemplating his question, she made a show of tilting her head back and forth in a cutesy fashion.

 Lola gritted her teeth. Bobblehead.

 “You looked much better without it.” Sandy fluffed her blonde hair with her fingertips.

Too much hair dye had to have penetrated her brain.

Lola finally found her voice. “It looks nice. The darker color blue suits you.”

Oh, Lord.  The darker color blue suits you. Had she really said that?  It sounded like something a grandmother would say. First thing in the morning, Lola was going blonde. Ever since Sandy had gone blonde, she’d no doubt been having more fun.

“Thanks, ladies,” Abbott said.

“Anytime. And anything.” Sandy’s voice purred with suggestiveness.

 “Nice meeting you,” he said and walked away.

He was hardly out of hearing range when Sandy tugged on Lola’s arm. “Do you realize who that was?”

“No. Who?” Lola asked.

“Abbott Harp. As in Richard Harp’s younger brother.”

“No!” Lola said. Richard Harp was Casper Bailey’s agent. Lola had been trying for months to talk to him about approaching Casper  for an endorsement. He’d be perfect as the face  behind the video game her friend George had developed. George’s game was nothing short of genius, but without the backing of a big-named baseball star, Lola’s uncle—CEO of the company—refused to put the game on the market. Lola had left seventeen messages for Richard Harp, and he’d yet to return her calls. Richard kept tight reigns on his rookie sensation. And Lola wanted to be the one to break those reigns to show Uncle Stewart she could do more than sell bobbleheads.

“What’d he mean about you watching the seventh-inning stretch?” Sandy asked.

“I don’t know. Said it was a special occasion.”

“It’s now.”

“Oh.” Lola looked at the customers approaching their table.

“Go ahead.” Sandy poked Lola in the back with one of the giant foam fingers. “I’ll take care of them.”

Lola might have been touched by Sandy’s generosity if she hadn’t have seen the group was comprised of good-looking men.

Lola made her way to the stands and searched left and right, not sure what she was supposed to be looking for.  Finally, her gaze landed on the scoreboard. Oh, no! Abbott—larger than life on the jumbotron—was down on one knee in front of a blonde goddess of a woman. He was proposing on the scoreboard at Yankee Stadium. That was his special occasion. Lola’s spirits plummeted. So much for intense attraction.

The crowd cheered as he held out the ring.

The woman stood from her seat, and so Lola wouldn’t have to watch her throw her arms around Abbott’s neck, she squeezed her eyes shut. It would be bad enough to hear the crowd clapping when the woman accepted and the organist played Here Comes the Bride. The blonde bride.   

Lola waited, but instead of cheers, she heard gasps, moans and a scattering of boos. And then laughter.

“What a loser,” a man in the stands said. “Big-shot proposal and she says no.”  He hooted with laughter. “Tell me he doesn’t look like a jackass.”

Lola opened her eyes and looked at the scoreboard. The screen still held Abbott’s image. His blonde goddess was nowhere to be seen. He tossed the ring from hand to hand. His expression was more neutral than Lola could have imagined for a man humiliated in front of a crowd of thirty-five thousand.

Lola winced when she saw the price tag attached to his shirt dangling down his arm. She hadn’t thought to remove it.

 The darker blue really did suit him, though.         



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