Rounding The Bases

An Enemies to Lovers, Arranged Marriage, Small Town Second Chance, Sports Romance.

Locke & Gwen are 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥

Leland Locke is everything I always knew he would be.

Professional baseball player and f-boy extraordinaire. 

Locke’s the kind of man no woman would ever give up a chance to call him theirs, even if for one night.

He’s just that good, and I hate that about him.

On the first day of my sophomore year of high school, I saw her and knew she was it.

That very night, I broke up with my girlfriend, Shelby Shutter. Gwendolyn York became my girl, and I became her player. 

We were best friends and each other first everything.

She’s the last girl I loved, and I’m still the guy she hates.

Now, she and her partner are on a case involving my neighbor, and I will not stop until I get the answer to the one question I still have: how did we manage to mess up something as good as us?

enemies to lovers

second chance

close proximity

marriage of conveniencebaseball player

    Gwendolyn York was the object of my teenage obsession and the cause of every hard-on that I ever got at the most inopportune moments, starting the first time I ever saw her.

    It was the first day of my sophomore year at Walton High. I was in the gym when she—the new girl—brushed against me as she walked in with the girls’ soccer team, heading toward their locker room. She then turned and looked me up and down while walking backward, objectifying me in the most appreciative way.

    I stood there, feeling a grin spread across my face as I looked her over the same way she was me. Thick, long, light brown hair with natural blonde highlights kissed by the sun and not by Ms. Sally down at Southern Beauty salon on Main Street, all knotted up on top of her head. She was about five-foot-six, a hundred pounds and twenty, but maybe more, and seeing her calves and arms were muscular and cut, and her ass … an onion, it literally brought tears to my eyes. 

    But enough about my eyes. Her eyes were stunning, a blue-gray. Her lips were so damn full, and I knew I needed to kiss them ASAP. I was utterly mesmerized.

    “New bitch, that’s my boyfriend.” Shelby Shutter, my girlfriend at the time, shoved Gwendolyn on her ass.

    Gwendolyn York sprang up off the ground, like the strong, beautiful little troublemaker I learned she is, before anyone could react. She then stepped at Shelby, taunting, “Not for long.” She did this all while looking thoroughly amused, and then stepped backward, smiling at me.

    I’m sure I looked like one of those cartoon characters with the heart eyes, birds chirping overhead, the whole bit, and then …

    “Locke,” Danny hissed.

    Thinking he was struggling, I glanced down but could not see him. However, I did see my ball shorts tented up like Barnum and Bailey’s Circus had claimed ground there instead of on the edge of town, as they did annually.

    “You mind getting your fucking dick out of my face?”

    It wouldn’t have been so bad if Coach hadn’t also seen me.

    “Kid, you want to pitch something? Grab a ball and your glove and get out on the field, for God’s sake.”

    He didn’t give me a second to reply, not that I could have denied I was hard if I wanted to, as he sprinted toward the locker room when someone yelled, “Girl fight!”

    Shelby and her three closest friends exited the locker room with bloody noses.

    Shit, I thought as Gwen stepped through the doorway with her thick as fuck hair hanging down past her shoulders, no longer in the knot on top of her head, with a smug-ass look on her pretty face.

    Ms. Toomer, the girls’ gym teacher, pulled Whitley Belington, the preacher’s granddaughter, aside as she tried to sneak out of the locker room and questioned her.

    After practice, on our way home, Coach—or Dad as I call him when not at school or on the field—said to me, “We need to discuss something before we get to the house.”

    “You teach health class.” I paused, unable to keep a straight face. “You, of all people, should know that young men my age sometimes have things pop up occasionally.”

    “Leland,” he sighed heavily.

    “One day, I’ll have better control,” I assured him, again trying not to laugh.

    “I’m sure Danny Aiken would appreciate that,” he huffed. “But that’s neither here nor there, son. Your girlfriend, the shit she and her friends pulled on the new girl—”

    “Gwendolyn York,” I say her name, which I knew by the end of the first class I had after the fight, and I loved how it sounded.

    “Will you focus?” He turned down our street.

    “I’ll do my best, Pops.”

    He rolled his eyes. “What they displayed was bully behavior. Four-on-one is not acceptable.”

    “Not going to disagree at all. But I will point out that Gwendolyn York handled it—”

    “Will you quit saying her name like that before you have another situation in your shorts? We’re just about home.”

    “It’s a name that deserves to be said like—”

    “Yeah, and less than twenty-four hours ago, it was Shelby Shutter.” He mocks my tone. “A month ago, it was Nicky Fr—”

    “It’s only Gwendolyn York.” I laid it on thick that time. “From now on.”

    “Shelby know that?”

    “Breaking up with her tonight,” I state.

    “And what are you going to say?”

    “That Coach Locke doesn’t want me dating a bully?”

    “Try again, smart ass.”

    “That Gwendolyn York is a goddess?”

    “That girl had every right to defend herself, but from what I hear, she was taunting Shelby. She’s going to be trouble, kid. You sure you need that when you’ve got two years left before—”

    “Yeah, Pops, I’m pretty sure I do.”

    “You’re the best player I’ve seen on the field my entire life, and that’s got nothing to do with you being my son. That’s a blessing you don’t want to waste.”

    “Gwendolyn York would never even try to come between me and baseball. She likes me too much to do that.”

    “So, you talked to her before breaking things off with—”

    “Not one word, Pops.” I cracked up and continued laughing as I told him, “But when you know, you know.”

    “There’s something not right with you, kid.” He shook his head, trying not to react, although I knew he wanted to laugh.

    “I got my daddy’s game and my mama’s heart,” I stated proudly.

    “Yeah, yeah, yeah.”

    Those hard-ons didn’t stop popping up at the most unfortunate times. For the remaining two years of high school, when she was my girl and I was her player, I was finding ways to hide my dick behind notebooks, duffle bags, pillows, under dining tables during family meals, and even … at church.

    All these years later, even after she broke my heart and I shattered hers, I still crave her. Hell, I popped wood just three weeks ago when I was home for my grandpa’s funeral. Well, thankfully, not at his funeral, but at Ollie’s bar after the service. We were both fucked up when we ended up in the alley out back, where we’ve now scratched each other’s itch on three separate occasions since high school.

    Since that night, that itch has only intensified, and rubbing it—or one—out hasn’t soothed it one bit. The mere mention of her name makes me want to drive into her so hard she doesn’t ever forget me and shake her hard enough that answers to all those questions spill out.

    The biggest one? How did we manage to mess up something as good as us?

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