I can’t tell you guys how much fun I’ve had writing the baseball trilogies. And, so far, you all seem to be loving them, too. As one reviewer said, “She hit, she ran, she scored.” Why thank you!
So, I did leave a little opening in the books to write one last story and I think I just might. Anyone remember Jason Denali? I think Jason needs his own book, don’t you? Here’s a little clip of Jason and his interaction with Gage’s mom in book three:
Barb Collier knocked on Jason Denali’s front door. She’d waited until noon to come see him, knowing he’d be sure to be awake by then. He had to be at the ballpark at one thirty that day for practice before the evening game. She knew all of her boys well, and knew Jason was just the one to help her with her little project. Even if he didn’t want to help her for his sake, this tub of fudge she’d made for him—and the promise of more to come—would be enough to convince him. Jason could always be bought with home-cooked food.
“Hey, Mama,” Jason said with a big smile when he opened the door. He’d called her Mama for a long time now, first as a way to egg Gage on, but eventually because it just seemed to suit them both. Barb loved to mother all the boys on the team, and several of them called her Mama now as well. She didn’t mind it a bit.
“Hey, my baby,” she said, kissing him on the cheek as she stepped inside. “Saw that home run against the Hawks. Beautiful, baby, just beautiful.”
Jason grinned back at her as he led her into the kitchen, eyeing the Tupperware container in her hands.
“Thanks. We’ve had some good games lately.” His eyes were still focused on the tub of fudge.
“Oh, for heaven’s sake, boy,” Barb said, opening the top and sliding it toward him. “Just don’t eat too much or you’ll have to lay on your side and roll to the ballpark for practice. The coach’d love that.”
Jason grabbed two large pieces, one for each hand, and bit off a big bite. “No, ma’am. Not too much,” he promised and she rolled her eyes at him. Jason wasn’t known for self-control, and Barb had had little success in trying to rein him in. He was one of her more wild boys in the bunch.
“What brings homemade fudge and a beautiful woman to my doorstep?” he asked around a mouthful of fudge.
“I need your help,” said Barb. She didn’t believe in beating around the bush or being coy about what she wanted done. She was happy to come right out and tell it like it was. “I want Gage to be the third victim of the Triple Play Curse.”
Jason’s mouth all but stopped its chewing, and his eyes went wide. She saw him swallow the bite of fudge down with a giant gulp, and then he began to laugh.
“You want what?” he asked, shaking his head, as if to try to clear out the cobwebs her statement had seemingly caused.
“I want Gage to be the third victim of the curse. And I think you should help me.”
“How do you even know about … that?” he asked and she smiled.
He seemed to be just as afraid to talk about the curse as the rest of the team. She’d been banking on that. From where she was standing, it was clear, Jason didn’t want to be its third victim anymore than Gage did.
“From that column. You know, that guy. What’s his name? The one that prints more about what you guys did over the weekend and who bought new underwear than he does about the game itself. And, I got to thinking, if there’s a curse on this team, I want it to hit Gage and hit him hard. I’m getting older and I want grandbabies while I can still enjoy them.”
“You’re not old, Mama,” said Jason, but she swatted the air in front of him, pushing away his objection.
“Nonsense. I’m not getting any younger, that’s for damn sure. I want grandbabies while I still have the energy to enjoy them and keep up with them. If I wait around for Gage to fall in love on his own, well, it’s liable to be a decade before the boy realizes he’s ready for love. So, I’ve taken matters into my own hands.”
“How’d ya do that?” Jason asked, putting the rest of his fudge down on the counter. Apparently, she’d killed his appetite. Well, at least she had his attention.
“I’ve arranged for a woman I think is the perfect match for him to be his new housekeeper. Well, actually, her mother’s his housekeeper, but Talia is filling in for two weeks. So, I don’t have much time. I’m hoping a little competition from you will move things along.”
Now Jason just watched her, jaw halfway to the floor.
“I’m going to arrange a get together with Gage and some of the boys, and you’ll be there. I’ll make sure Talia’s there, too. I want you to hit on her.”
“Excuse me?” She could see him swallow, as though he’d just realized his mouth had been hanging open.
“Competition is the fastest way to get Gage to look at Talia and see her for what she is. Gorgeous, sexy, and right smack in front of him.”
Jason shook his head. “I don’t—”
“Besides,” Barb said, with a smile, “if Gage is the third victim of the curse, the curse ends and you don’t have to worry about it hitting you. I know how you love being a bachelor, Jason. Wouldn’t want that ending anytime soon, would you? If you want to save yourself, help me nudge Gage in the right direction.”
Jason’s eyes were wide as platters now. “That’s devious, Mama. Just downright devious.”
“Are you in?” she asked, carefully pulling the container of fudge away from him a few inches.
“Hey!” he said, pulling at the fudge. “You play dirty, lady.”
She held the fudge tightly, smiling at him fully as he shook his head. “Yes, I do. Now are you in or out, Jason?”
He nodded glumly and she slid the container toward him again, releasing it.
He continued to shake his head as he took a bite of fudge and cradled the container against his chest with one arm. “Tricky, tricky, lady.”
Barb smiled. Yes, when it came to getting her grandbabies and making sure Gage found love, she’d play as tricky and dirty as she had to.
If you haven’t read the series, you can grab the first one on Amazon, here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00OQVBV5C