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The Game Changer (The Perfect Game #2)

By:J. Sterling

The Game Changer (The Perfect Game #2)
Author: J. Sterling

Not a Dream


I opened my eyes the next morning, half terrified that it had all been a dream … albeit a beautifully hot, sweet, romantic dream. My gaze quickly fell on Jack, sprawled on the bed next to me, looking so content as he slept. The mere sight of him made my heart beat in double time, and I resisted the urge to wake him for round two. Or was it three? All the emotions from last night jumbled within me and before I could fully process them, I realized I actually felt happy. Apparently happiness had been eluding me for months now.

My new reality flooded my brain. Jack had appeared at my door last night after six months of no communication wearing a Mets jersey and holding a dozen red roses. He looked me in the eye and told me he was sorry, that he loved me, and that he would earn my trust again. I couldn't believe he was standing there, and it took everything in me to not fall apart at the mere sight of him. I wanted to take him back into my life, but I needed to know that this time it would be forever.

And now he was lying next to me in bed. I had questions about why it took him so long to get here and why he never contacted me, but honestly, at that moment, none of it mattered.

At least, that's what I tried to tell myself.

My questions could wait, but I knew they couldn't wait for long. I didn't have it in me to let things slide without an explanation. And honestly, Jack still had a lot of explaining to do.

Slowly, I rolled out of bed, trying not to wake him. I had just put my feet on the floor when he flung his strong arms around my waist, pulling me back into bed.

"And where do you think you're going?" Jack breathed against my neck.

"Wherever I want, it's my apartment," I fired back with a laugh.

"I didn't say you could leave the bed." He sounded so determined, I couldn't help but snicker.

"I don't need your permission," I shot back, and he rolled on top of me before kissing the tip of my nose.

"You have no idea how much I've missed your feisty attitude."

"Well, I haven't missed the way you try to kill me with your body weight. Ugh, get off."

"I'm trying." His face twisted in a devilish smirk as he slid his hand up the length of my bare thigh.

I swatted his shoulder before rolling my eyes. "You're such a pig."

"Yep. But I'm your pig." He leaned down, pressing his lips against mine. Instinctively, I turned my head from him, narrowing my lips into a tight, impenetrable wall. Jack leaned away from me, rolling onto his side. "What's wrong?"

I smiled, covering my mouth with my hand. "I can't kiss you like that in the morning. I have to brush my teeth first."

He nodded his head in agreement. "You do smell like a dragon."

My jaw fell open, but I quickly snapped it closed, trying my best to breathe as little as possible. "I do not. Shut up!"

He laughed, and I lost myself in his gorgeous dimples. I'd missed those.

"I'm kidding, Kitten. You smell like roses."

"How I ever missed your annoying attitude is beyond me."

"No, it's not. This is what we do. You're a pain the ass, and I put up with you."

"Oh. My. God." I pushed myself up from the bed, throwing him my best dirty look before I scurried out the door.

"I'm teasing! You're a fucking angel for putting up with my shit."

"That's right, I am, and don't you forget it!" I shouted from the hallway.

I brushed my teeth in my tiny, one-person bathroom before returning to the bedroom. Jack hadn't moved a muscle. His blue eyes locked on mine, sending chills of anticipation shooting through my veins. It was crazy how I both loved and hated the effect he had on me. I hated the way he knew what he did to me. But I loved the way he made me feel.

I should probably seek psychiatric help.

Holding back a sigh, I sat on the edge of the bed before reclining on my side and turning to face him.

"What's the matter, Kitten?" He furrowed his brows, two lines forming between them.

"Nothing," I lied.

"I know you better than that, Cass. What is it?"

"I just wanted to ask you something."

"Anything," he said, his tone sincere.

I hesitated, unsure if I wanted to broach this subject already. He had just gotten here. I had just taken him back. But my mind was relentless. It wouldn't stop with the constant demand for answers, and I knew I'd never fully be content until I had them. "What happened after I left California to come to New York?"

"What do you mean?"

"Come on, Jack. It took you six months to get here. Six months!" My tone sounded harsher than I intended, and I watched as he shifted his gaze away from mine. He exhaled slowly and ran his hands through his dark hair.

"I'm sorry, Jack. I just need to talk about this, or I'll bury it inside me and eventually explode."

He looked at me, a small, rueful smile on his face. "No, you're right. You deserve answers."

"Do we have time? I mean, do you have to go the field today?" After all, he was a professional baseball player, and the season was in full swing.

"The team's on the road. They flew me here to get settled instead of flying me there. I have to report in tomorrow morning at ten."

"OK. So, we can talk about this now then?" My pulse raced as nerves filled my body. Jack was here, with me, in my bed. He loved me, and he'd never stopped. So, why was I so nervous?

"What happened after I left for New York?"

"Do you want a play-by-play for the entire six months? I might end up boring you back to sleep."

I rolled my eyes, and he frowned. "Just tell me the good parts."

"If this were a story filled with good parts, Kitten, I would have been here a long time ago," he teased, reaching out to caress my cheek with his thumb.

I leaned into his hand and closed my eyes, lost in the comfort his touch provided. "I meant the parts that made you take so long. Give me the Cl