Boone (Eternity Springs The McBrides of Texas #3) - Emily March

Chapter One

Boone McBride tried hard to keep the commandments attached to Thursday-night Beer League softball in Eternity Springs, but it wasn’t always easy. Oh, he didn’t have trouble remembering to bring the beer when it was his turn or leaving his cell phone in his car at the ballpark. He wasn’t tempted to skip games or yell at the umpire or covet a different position than the one he drew from a ball cap at the beginning of the game, as was the team’s custom. What gave Boone trouble was the team’s first commandment: Thou shalt not ogle thy buddy’s wife.

Considering that he was a single man and all of the Base Invaders’ women were as hot as Austin in August, keeping the first commandment required considerable effort.

It didn’t help anything that the bleacher smoke show observed no reciprocal rule. Some of the things those women said to a man on the field could make a batboy blush.

Not that the women were vulgar. There were, after all, children present. Lots of children. So many children, in fact, that one had to question just how many home runs were hit each night in Eternity Springs. But Boone would bet the keys to his Maserati that they spent the days between games googling baseball innuendos. They didn’t spare him either. In fact, as the only single man on the Base Invaders, he seemed to get attention from all of them.

The commandments said nothing about being an ogle-ee, so Boone, being Boone, played to the crowd during his turn at bat.

He approached home plate using what he thought of as his gunslinger walk—molasses slow, thighs spread, his arms swaying. A confident swagger. A few steps from home plate, he glanced toward the bleachers and gave the ladies a wink and the bat in his right hand a slow, 360-degree swing. Wearing his cockiest grin, he took his place in the batter’s box.

The whistles and catcalls elicited a grouchy scoff from the catcher. With the hint of his native Australia in his tone, Devin Murphy said, “You’re a dick, McBride.”

“Add an adjective to that noun, and you’ve got it right.” Boone took position, bat up, weight forward, knees flexed, which served to pull the material of his softball pants tight over his ass. “I’m a swingin’ dick.”

He let the first pitch sail by.

“Strike,” called the umpire, Harry Falwell, a retired ball coach from Indiana who obviously needed new glasses.

Boone gave him a look but kept the umpire commandment.

“I think we’re good without the adjective,” Devin commented.

“Waiting for my pitch.” On the pitcher’s mound, Josh Tarkington began his windup, and Boone added, “Then I’m hitting a homer.”

The ball headed for the plate. Boone liked it. Thump. Bat connected with ball, right on the sweet spot. He stood and watched it sail over the fence before turning to tip his cap to the cheering bleacher brigade.

“Oh, go run your bases,” Devin snarled. “Better enjoy it. Unlike the rest of us, it’s the only home base you’ll see tonight.”

“You’re a dick, Murphy,” Boone replied before tossing down his bat and making the trek around the bases.

The Base Invaders won the game 9 to 6.

Boone hung around for the postgame beer, fielding dozens of questions about his cousin Jackson’s destination wedding to the lovely Caroline Carruthers, which was scheduled for a week from Saturday here in Eternity Springs. Folks were abuzz because Jackson’s ex-wife and the mother of his daughter, Haley, was a pop music celebrity who performed as Coco. She was going to sing at the rehearsal party on Friday night, an event to which all Eternity Springs residents were invited. Around eight thirty, he climbed into his Land Rover and made the short drive to his office.

Celeste Blessing had asked for an appointment, and with both their schedules, the best they’d been able to do was nine tonight. He had a little paperwork to finish up before she arrived, and he’d no sooner walked inside than his landline began to ring. That was curious. Who would be calling his business number instead of his cell at eight thirty on a Thursday night?

He checked caller ID and froze. The familiar number sent a chill of apprehension down his spine. WAGGONER, THOMPSON, AND COLE.

Boone’s stomach sank. To call his personal history with the Fort Worth law firm unpleasant was like saying the water of Hummingbird Lake was a little chilly in February. They were directly connected to the darkest days of his life, and not very long ago, any

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