PITCH PERFECT by LuAnn McLane
A Cricket Creek Novel
Cricket Creek, Kentucky, is a sweet river town known for its theater, shopping, and cuisine. But tough times are crushing tourism - until a hard-swinging baseball team and three hometown heroes begins to revitalize the community one inning at a time….
Determined to prove her independence, Mia Monroe is no longer Daddy’s little rich girl. Buying an old car with the last of her money, she sets out for who knows where… until her clunker clunks out in Cricket Creek. With no plan and no credit cards, Mia has to find more resilience than she’s ever never needed before. And a little help from an attractive new acquaintance wouldn’t hurt…
As first baseman for the Cricket Creek Cougars, Cameron Patrick has two jobs: win games and stay out of trouble. If he can do both, he might just make it back to the minor leagues. He knows Mia is trouble from the moment she catches his eye - but he can’t stop looking. And maybe her kind of trouble is exactly what he needs.
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“Oh no, not now!” Mia scowled at the red check engine light and gripped the steering wheel tighter. “Come on, I filled you with premium gas you old clunker. What more do you want from me?” she grumbled but when the light flickered and then went out she managed a slight smile. “That’s more like it.” She patted the battered dashboard making the miniature hula dancer swing her ample hips. “Okay, I take the old clunker part back,” Mia added in a soothing tone and then settled back against the worn seat.
An only child raised by a long string of disinterested au pairs, Mia Monroe was no stranger to talking to herself or to inanimate objects. Since she had often been left alone to entertain herself, Mia’s possessions became treasured friends and admittedly were probably one of the reasons that as an adult she had become a shopaholic. “Dad just doesn’t understand.” She sighed and glanced over at her shiny black Prada purse that appeared ridiculously out of place perched on the worn cloth seat that must of have been red at one time but had faded to a dusty rose. The lack of credit cards inside of her matching wallet made her shiver even though the battered Camry’s air conditioner had failed her two states ago. “Shopping is my therapy,” she explained defensively.
Mia flipped her long platinum blonde hair over her shoulder only to have the warm wind from the open window blow it right back across her face momentarily blocking her view of the road. She swerved into the right lane drawing the deep angry honk of a massive truck.
“Sorry!” Mia winced as she jerked the car back into her own lane. The hula dancer’s hips bounced like crazy and Mia giggled in spite of her dire circumstances. She decided that when she purchased a new car the happy hula chick was coming with her. Oh and she would purchase a brand new car with her very own hard earned money. “And I’ll pull up that circular drive and park it right at my father’s front door!” she announced to the hula dancer who wiggled her head as if in disagreement. “Oh don’t go shaking that head of yours. I will if it’s the last thing I ever do!” Of course Mia didn’t have anything ironed out like where she would live or a really super job lined up or anything of that nature. Minor details, she thought with a lift of one shoulder but then frowned when she recalled her last conversation with her dad. “You’ll be back by the end of the summer,” Mia mocked in her father’s deep tone of voice. “Labor Day,” he had added, “Something you’ve never had to do.”
“Ha!” Mia said and smacked the steering wheel hard enough to make her hand smart. “I have… skills! And just who does he think is going to plan his lavish parties at his house? Huh? Entertain his clients?” She flipped one hand in the air and swerved again. “And just who will find impossible to get Cubs and Bulls tickets to seal the deal?” She gave her hair another toss only to have it fly back once more across her face. She gave it an impatient swipe but several strands clung to her lip gloss. “I was his personal assistant and did it for free!” she grumbled. “He’ll never be able to replace me. I have connections all over Chicago.” She glanced at the hula dancer. “So what if I ran up a few credit cards? Bought a few things here and there and well… everywhere? I’m helping the economy right? ” She waved her French tipped fingers back and forth and the sunshine glinted off her diamond tennis bracelet.
When the hula dancer stared back at her with accusing brown eyes Mia sighed. “O-kaaaay, so I abused the credit cards a tiny bit. Traveled a little too much in the company jet.” She lifted one slim shoulder. “But that jab about me never having a real job was uncalled for. And my fine arts degree is not worthless! I worked hard for my father. He just didn’t appreciate my efforts.” She pressed her lips together in an effort not to cry. “I should have been on the official payroll!” she sputtered but it wasn’t that tired old argument about her working that had driven Mia away from her home and out into the cold, cruel world without credit cards or her baby blue Mercedes coupe. It was overhearing her father negotiating a ruthless business deal that had turned her blood cold. When her father had calmly explained that deals like these had paid for Mia’s lavish lifestyle she’d hotly declared that she no longer wanted his money and would fend for herself from this day forward!
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