Read Designated Hitter (Reedsville Roosters Book 4) Online

Authors: Holley Trent

Tags: #workplace romance, #enemies to lovers, #male submissive, #athlete, #sports hero, #baseball

Designated Hitter (Reedsville Roosters Book 4)

BOOK: Designated Hitter (Reedsville Roosters Book 4)
8.56Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

SUMMARY

Desperate for a right-hand man to oversee a home renovation project, heiress Marina Cassavetes engages the services of Manservants Unlimited—a staffing company that matches women with men willing to do their bidding. When the blue-eyed brawler known as Quinn Hathaway arrives on her doorstep, her instinct is to send him away. He was fired from her father’s baseball team for being a troublemaker, and as only has two weeks to flip her house, she doesn’t have time for problems.

 

As it turns out, the former Reedsville Rooster has no fear of hard work at the job…or in the bedroom. He isn’t at all who he’d led her to believe, and she likes the real Quinn. But, Marina can’t be both his lover and his boss.

 

Unfortunately, keeping the lines from blurring in their relationship might prompt the end of their productive partnership altogether. Quinn wants to be an equal partner in Marina’s life, and not a player she can buy as easily as her properties.

 

CHAPTER ONE

“Damn it all to hell,” Marina Cassavetes muttered as she peered through her new real estate acquisition’s peephole at the asshole on the doormat.

“Shit.”

She stepped away. Throwing her hands up, she paced on the formerly-decadent carpet that needed to be disposed of as soon as reasonably possible. It reeked of piss and booze, and had certainly turned off a number of potential buyers before Marina made her cash offer on the place, but she had in the past bought foreclosure properties in far worse shape. She could deal with a bit of funk if there was profit in sight, but she didn’t know if she could deal with that guy on the doormat.

“Of all people,” she said on a sigh.

The doorbell chimed again—an anemic sound that started with a click and ended with a fizzle. Yet another thing for her to replace, but that was chump change. She stood to make upwards of three hundred thousand dollars flipping the house if she could do it quickly, but the project hadn’t been planned. At the moment, she was supposed to be on her boat sunning herself in the Caribbean and decompressing from her far too socially active spring, but she’d seen a deal too good to pass up. She’d hoped to have a project manager onboard before she did another property flip, but she hadn’t had time to vet anyone. So, she’d called an agency she’d never used before looking for a guy to act as a muscle-bound mouthpiece. It was her fault for not being more discriminating about a company that called itself “Manservants Unlimited.”

The asshole was a blue-eyed brawler named Quinn Hathaway—formerly of the Reedsville Roosters baseball team. The team her
father
owned.

“I’m coming!” she shouted toward the door, then added in a mumble, “Dammit, what am I going to do with him?”

Her father would probably have fired him. Actually, her father already had fired Quinn, or had the team manager fire him, rather. Quinn played on the minor league team up until the current season and had a well-earned reputation for being a charming dick. He’d tried to turn that charm on Marina a time or two, just to fuck with her. He’d gotten nowhere, but he likely hadn’t really wanted to, anyway. She wasn’t his type, seeing as how she had a pesky habit of keeping her legs closed for men who seemed unable to remember her name.

She drummed her fingers atop her thighs and paced a bit along the edge of the ruined rug. The Manservants Unlimited ad she’d responded to had been listed in the free, local ladies magazine—she picked one up first thing in every town she bought foreclosures in so she could get a handle on the local culture—and on a whim, she’d called the number to see what they were about. They told her she could hire a guy for as long as he agreed for anything he agreed to do. She’d put in an order quickly because she was desperate. She’d needed a guy to babysit obnoxious contractors, but she would have had better luck recruiting an indigent guy from a street corner.

Quinn. Freakin’. Hathaway.
The man who had an answer for everything and who never said no to a fight.

Although the receptionist hadn’t stated it outright, Marina got the sneaking suspicion some ladies hired the men to fulfill certain sexual desires. It wasn’t quite prostitution, but kinda smelled like it at first whiff. She certainly didn’t want that from Quinn. She didn’t even want him in the house.

Sighing, she straightened the wrinkles from her cardigan and fixed the sleeves.

He rang the bell again, and knocked once more.

I’ll just tell him the job’s off. Easy as that.

“I can do it. Not gonna let him bowl me over.” She cleared her throat, smoothed the skirt of her sundress, straightened her spine, and tugged the door open.

With his finger paused halfway to the doorbell, Quinn slowly pushed up one dark eyebrow.

She turned her reluctant gasp into a quiet growl and pinned her gaze just above his startlingly pale eyes.
Like hell if I’m going to swoon in front of this jerk.

Marina Cassavetes didn’t swoon. In fact, the men on the Roosters made a game of trying to get her to so much as smile at them. She was very good at smiling on the inside when she needed to. It was easier for her to appear as though she were in control if people couldn’t read her face. More often than not, she was pretending. Being around people drained her, and unfortunately, socialites weren’t allowed to be introverts.

Yet again, she cleared her throat and then dragged her tongue across her dry lips. “If you’re here from the service, you’re off the hook,” she said. “You can head back to the office. I’ll call them and let them know the job’s off.”

Quinn narrowed his eyes and stuffed his hands into the pockets of his sweatpants.

Gaze tracking downward, Marina gritted her teeth at the athletic display.
Is that how he shows up for job interviews? Sweatpants and T-shirts?

Not that he didn’t look good in the casual getup. There was a cowboy standing in those running shoes, and that cowboy looked mighty fine in pretty much everything—baseball uniforms included. And suits…the way that man wore a suit was nothing short of sinful.

He ground his teeth and raised his unshaven chin. “Well, well, well, Marina Cassavetes,” he drawled.

“So you
do
know my name. How nice.”

“I’ve always known your name. I just prefer to call you
baby
because it makes your daddy mad.”

“Jerk
.

He grunted. “
Damn
. Big-assed house. You know, they never give us names, just addresses. I’ve worked a couple of jobs in this neighborhood before. I didn’t know you lived here.”

“I don’t, not that it’s any of your business.”

“Renting out a house for a tryst?” He shrugged. “That’s all right. Ladies around here do that all the time. I bet a bunch recognize me.” He turned toward the road and scanned.

Marina grabbed him by the wrist and yanked him into the house. “Don’t be a dick, Hathaway. I know that’s hard for you.”

He laughed, and she slammed the door.

Growling, she jammed her index finger against his sternum and gave him the harshest look she could affect. “Don’t go getting any ideas. I called the service because it was faster than hiring someone through a recruiting agency. I’m not looking for cock, and even if I were, I would hope the guy with the appendage showed up professionally dressed.”

Quinn shrugged. “I came straight from the gym. I’m a fill-in. The guy they were gonna send got sick, lucky you.”

“Lucky wouldn’t be the word I’d use. You can go back. I’ll get someone else.”

“What do you need done?”

“Doesn’t concern you.”

He shrugged. “Doesn’t matter, I guess. You’re gonna end up paying me for the day, anyway, because I made the trip. Logged the miles and checked in on the service’s app and everything. They’ll see the GPS marker and know I was here. So…you might as well tell me what you want.”

Seething, she flexed every one of her fingers in turn to calm herself, and then again as she watched his lips tug into a smarmy grin. His light blue eyes twinkled with that trouble-making mirth that had gotten him into so many tussles with his former teammates. Most of the Roosters were brawlers, but Quinn had a special knack for starting shit.

She took a deep breath, and let it out. Then she took another one and shook out her hands.

Let’s just get this over with.

“Okay,” she said, sounding far more confident than she felt. “Fine. Discretion is written into your contract, I assume?”

“Yep.” He dragged his gaze down her body, and by the time it made it back up to her face, she had her brows knit in anger.

“Get a hold of yourself,” she snarled. “I’m not touching you, and you’re not touching me.”

“Mm-hmm.”

Teeth clamped and lips tight, she pushed out a hard exhalation through her nose
.
She was on a tight deadline and didn’t have time to replace him. Either she’d let him do the job, or she’d stay on-site to crack the whip herself. Truth be told, she really wasn’t in one of her rare people-person moods. Being snarly and tightly wound was probably a good thing when she needed to put bossy contractors in their places, but she didn’t want to be around them at all. She was damned good at her job and knew how to efficiently and economically manage a project, but constantly interacting with people exhausted her. For all intents and purposes, she was an aggressive introvert. She got shit done, but was usually wrung out at the end of the day because of it. That made getting up the next day harder.

She took a deep breath, met his ice blue gaze, and fixed her posture. She always felt more confident when she stood up straight. “Listen. I’m going to give you a day’s trial, since I’m paying for the day, anyway,” she said.

“Mm-hmm.”

She glanced at the time on her phone. “I’ve got a carpenter coming here in about twenty minutes to take measurements. He’s going to work up an estimate to replace the cabinetry in the kitchen and to repair all the wood trim downstairs.”

Quinn furrowed his brow.

“And there’s a guy coming to measure for carpets and to check out the hardwoods.”

“You’re—”

“Catch up, Hathaway. I told you I don’t live here. I bought this house to flip it. I don’t want to be here while it’s happening. I’ve got other things to do.”

She’d rather pick her nail polish off one flake at a time than be on-site, but she really did have other commitments.

“Are you serious?” Quinn asked. “You just want someone who looks manly enough to stand around and babysit your contractors?”

“That about sums it up.” Not
quite
what she wanted. She needed a proxy she could trust, but Quinn would do for a day.

“It’s like you’re using me as a designated hitter or something.”

“More like a pinch hitter,” she muttered.

He laughed quietly and folded his arms across his chest. “How long’s the job?”

“Just today. I’ll get someone else for tomorrow.”

He closed his eyes and shook his head. “Nope. I’ll tell you a secret, princess. My pay escalates depending on the length of the job. They pay me a percentage point more each day I’m on it.” He opened his eyes and grinned at her. It was a serpent-in-the-garden-of-Eden sort of grin, and while some women may have found that perfectly charming, it made Marina want to warn him off with her favorite flogger.

She rolled her eyes. Based on the rumors she’d heard about Quinn’s sexual exploits, the jerk would probably like a little pain. He hung out at the Den of Sin, after all. The Den was not only one of New Orleans’ best-kept kinky secrets, but a venue Marina sometimes frequented when she was looking for some no-strings play. It was hard finding submissive guys out in the “real” world. She’d never crossed paths with Quinn at The Den, but she knew the owner of the hotel that hosted it. Henri Beaudelaire was a sponsor of the Roosters, and Marina had it on good authority that certain team members got particular perks. Quinn had been one of those players.

“Hey,” Quinn said. “Maybe that’s chump change for you, but for me, every little bit counts.”

“I would imagine, with you losing your summer gig and all.”

His grin fell away. “Yeah. Funny how that worked out, huh? That was real sweet of your pop, yanking the rug out from under me like that.”

She narrowed her eyes and jammed her index finger at his shoulder. “You’re an entitled pile of garbage. People in the real world don’t get rewarded for bad behavior. You had to expect that after a while, folks were going to stop tolerating your smug jackassery.”

“You think that was about fighting?” He scoffed. “And first of all, I didn’t start that last fight, but I’m off the team, and the other guy’s not. Johnson got into way more fights than me.”

“I don’t care who started it. The fact of the matter was that it wasn’t your first one, not by a long shot. Whether you started all the other ones or were just the receiving party to all those blows, what’s that say about you?”

“Says I can’t catch a goddamned break.”

“No, it says that where you go, trouble follows. So, tell me, Quinn, why would I hire you for a couple of weeks, much less a day?”

“I didn’t get fired because of the freakin’
fight
.” He growled and paced in front of the door. “Look, I just want to get paid. Simple as that.”

“You were getting paid to play minor league baseball, so what of that?”

“That’s not the same thing.”

“Work is work. It doesn’t matter if it’s sports or construction. You were hired to do a job and you couldn’t abide by the code of conduct. There’s no way you can convince me that you’re not going to be a pain in my ass.”

“Dammit, I don’t want to argue this with you. Just give me a chance. I
need
the money. I called around to all my contacts to see if I could be taken on as ranch hand, but everyone’s stretched thin right now.”

“Well, right now, my
patience
is stretched thin.” Marina pinched the bridge of her nose and drew in a breath to tell him to take a hike, but then the doorbell rang.

Oh. My. God.

A glance at her watch told her that it was half past one, and that there was a carpenter outside.

Quinn pushed up an eyebrow and worked his lips into that infuriating grin, yet again. “Looks like your guy’s here.”

“Think so?”

“Mm-hmm. Gonna get the door?”

“Get out of the way, Quinn.” She nudged him aside and tugged the sticking door open.

“How are you?” she said to the guy before he could start looking her up and down like they all did. “I’m Marina Cassavetes. This is my house, my project.” She figured she ought to go ahead and get that out of the way, just in case his secretary hadn’t relayed the pertinent information to him. “Did you get the note that I need to be out of here in two weeks?”

“Uh.” He furrowed his brow and pinched his phone out of his shirt pocket. “Two, did you say?”

“Mm-hmm. If you can get the job done in seven days or less and work around the carpet and tile guys, I’ll give you an extra ten percent upon completion. Based on past experience, I can tell you what a job of this scale should cost, and that’s accounting for the materials I want to use and the number of guys I know it takes to do it. Quote me much above that, and you’re going to have to explain to me line by line what exactly the premium I’m paying for is.”

BOOK: Designated Hitter (Reedsville Roosters Book 4)
8.56Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

BeMyWarlockTonight by Renee Field
Blood Pact (McGarvey) by Hagberg, David
The Pirate Bride by Shannon Drake
Los tres mosqueteros by Alexandre Dumas
A Visit to Don Otavio by Sybille Bedford
Fight 2 by Dauphin, M.
The Ice-cold Case by Franklin W. Dixon
The Vampire's Angel by Damian Serbu