Home > On Deck (Cessna U Wildcats #3.5)

On Deck (Cessna U Wildcats #3.5)
Author: Kimberly Readnour

 

Author Note

 

 

Thank you for your interest in On Deck. In keeping with the timeline for the Cessna U Wildcats series, this prequel takes place prior to Dalton’s freshman year. Dalton and Cassie’s story will resume in book four, Caught Looking. With that said, this prequel DOES NOT end in an HEA as they go their separate ways prior to college.

By presenting this prequel, I hope to shed some light on Dalton Boyd’s character. Introduced in Swinging Strike, he comes across as standoffish. This prequel will provide his background.

On Deck gives the backstory to Dalton and Cassie’s beginning. Coming in at a little over 24K words, their backstory would make too long of a flashback, and I felt the backstory was too important to cut. My solution was to turn it into a prequel.

This prequel can be read at anytime prior to Caught Looking. Caught Looking is projected to be released April 27th, 2022

 

 

Chapter One

 

 

High pitched laughter pulls my attention away from our spot underneath the pier. My best friend, Marty, lets out a low whistle as we take in the scenery unfolding before us.

“Now that’s a smorgasbord. You’re not going to find half-naked girls parading around willingly at that fancy college of yours.”

The corner of my mouth draws into a smirk as I digest Marty’s words. “It’s college. I’m sure half-naked girls won’t be hard to find.”

“Not as easy as that.” Marty nudges his head toward an ongoing volleyball game less than twenty yards away. Correction. An all-girls beach volleyball game with dress-code-approved bikini uniforms.

There is no argument.

The best part of Bellow Bay, North Carolina is the half-clad girls. Trust me, I may have just graduated high school, but these beach buzzards—a name we give the vacationers—love their bad boys. My tatted arms and standoffish attitude have scored me plenty of action. It’s the only time these stereotypes that continuously surround me work in my favor. But this summer will be different. I have to keep my head down and dick in my pants. I’m not screwing up my scholarship.

I shift to lean against the concrete pillar and bite back a wince. To ease the pain, I cradle my side until I get positioned. Either I’ve gotten good at hiding my bullshit, or Marty has learned to ignore it. His refusal to ask doesn’t matter. I’m out of this Godforsaken town in a few months.

My gaze strays back to the game and straight to a particular blond. She’s petite with medium curly hair and a hot-as-sin body. Toned muscular legs and soft round curves make her hard to miss. Her swimsuit is more modest than the others. I believe that style is called a French bikini, but what do I know? I like ripped jeans and a T-shirt. I’m not what one would call a fashion guru.

As if sensing my stare, her head turns right toward me. The distance between us makes it difficult to see the color of her eyes, but our gazes connect and hold. Under the shadows of the pier, I doubt she can make out much, but I wink anyway. She drops her gaze as if embarrassed and studies her feet burrowed in the sand. She’s definitely not my type. I don’t go for shy, quiet girls. They’re the ones who want more than I can give. Yet, I can’t seem to stop staring.

She glances up at me for a moment before jerking her head frontward and refocusing on the game. But did I catch a hint of a smile ghosting her lips?

Interesting.

“You coming to Rick’s party tonight?” Marty’s question pulls me back to our conversation. He lights up a joint and offers me a hit.

“No man, you know I can’t smoke. Not while playing.”

“You’re not in college yet. There are still two months before you leave.”

“I have to stay clean. Besides, I don’t want my dad finding another reason to beat my ass if he smells it on me.” I refrain from grabbing my side and give my friend a pointed look, but honestly, I don’t know how Dad can smell anything over his alcohol-laden breath.

He sighs and takes a drag before pinching the lit end with his fingertips. Once he’s satisfied with his efforts, he replaces the joint in his pocket. “So, the party?”

“I don’t know.” I turn to the waves crashing upon the shore. High tide is rolling in and will soon flood our sanctuary spot. “I have an early practice tomorrow.”

“It’s just summer ball. You’re already accepted. Have some fun.”

Before I can refute, another round of shrills grabs my attention. Mystery Girl dives and bumps the ball in time to save her team. Her laughter carries over toward us and has a melodic, almost choir-like sound. One teammate sets while the other spikes, resulting in a team point. This involves jumping. Lots and lots of jumping.

Unbeknown to the half-chub she just gave me, Choir Girl—which has a better ring than Mystery Girl—fist-bumps the brunette next to her. I try not to get lost in the wide smile plastered across her face, but this girl is gorgeous.

“Seriously, dude. You have two months left. You need to loosen up. I’ve never seen you this uptight.”

I grunt. Marty doesn’t understand I’ve never had anything to lose before. This summer, I have to stay low key. The last thing I want to do is fuck up my scholarship and be trapped in this damn town. No way am I going to be Daddy’s bitch boy at his mechanic shop for the rest of my life. Nope. I have one goal, and that’s to get as far away from him as I can.

The waves crash upon the shore as the sun begins to set. I push off the concrete pillar and bite back another grimace as pain shoots across my ribs. Fuck it. I’d rather take my chances at the party than be near my dad while he drinks himself into a coma. It’s inevitable. Today would’ve been Mom and Dad’s wedding anniversary had she not left, which means he’ll be dragging out the hard liquor. He gives new meaning to the term “mean drunk” when the whiskey bottle appears.

“Don’t worry. I’ll be there.”

“All right. I knew you’d cave.”

I shoot him a dirty look. “If this comes back and bites me in the ass, I’m kicking yours.”

“You can try. Remember, I know your weaknesses.”

“Whatever. You don’t know shit.”

I move to leave when Marty stops me in my tracks.

“Uh-huh. You better not look up then.”

Of course, when someone says not to do something, the initial reaction is always to do it. I glance upwards and let out a yelp. I dash out from under the pier. “Holy shit, that spider was huge.”

Marty busts out laughing. “Told ya. It wasn’t that big, you old scaredy-cat.”

“The body on that thing was the size of Texas, and it was hairy.” A shudder races along my spine. I fucking hate spiders. We continue across the beach. My gaze drifts straight toward Choir Girl when we reach the volleyball game. Up close, the dimples from her smile pop, giving her a cute, fresh-faced appearance. She’s every bit as beautiful as I thought and completely different from my usual taste. I don’t have time for innocence. Regardless, my feet stop moving the second she lunges for the ball and misses. The ball rolls out of bounds and straight toward me.

She jogs over, wearing a broad smile, but it’s not her face drawing my attention. Nope. It’s her full tits on display that bounce with each footstep. Holy shit, she’s stacked. My back goes ramrod straight as I suck in a breath. I want nothing more than to cradle each one in my hands. Roll her nipples in my fingers until they form nice stiff peaks I can lick and suck. My imagination delves deeper into darker fantasies until a flash of gold from her chest pulls me to the present—back to the shiny cross pendant dangling from her neck like a big warning sign. I guess Choir Girl wasn’t too far from the truth.

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