MEANT FOR HER
Photographer Sierra Stratton views the world through a lens all her own. She has an uncanny sense about people, something that often causes her trouble. When she meets the sexy and brooding Evan Dorsey, her intuition tells her he’s suffering, and she wants to be the one to help him.
Evan isn’t open to help from anyone, however. His focus is on his Major League career and making himself as marketable as possible for his upcoming free agency. He plans to ride out the season in Atlanta and then sign with another team, away from the painful memories that haunt him.
Someone’s eager to send him on his way, too. Between anonymous threats and equipment sabotage, it’s clear he’s earned himself an enemy along the way. To him, it’s one more sign that he’s right to move on.
But Sierra threatens his conviction. Her contagious smile proves hard to resist, as does her kiss. She tempts him in ways he never anticipated, making him question his plans for the first time. If he’s not careful, she might just convince him that he’s meant for her.
A drunk woman fell into Evan’s lap about two hours into the wedding reception. He’d seen her coming from across the dance floor. She’d been glancing his way for the better part of an hour, so he wasn’t surprised when she made her way on unsteady legs in his direction. The part where she exaggerated a stumble so she ended up on top of his thighs was an added touch. Not a very original one, though, he thought.
“Oh!” she gasped as she pressed against his chest to steady herself. “I’m sorry. I might have had a little too much to drink.”
Easing her away from him and off his lap, he met her glassy gaze without comment. Whatever she saw in his expression had her smile fading.
“Hey there, Tanya,” came a male voice. “Everly was just asking about you. I think she’s hoping you can show her how to do this line dance.”
Evan and the woman—Tanya, apparently—looked over as his friend Cole Parker stopped a few feet away. Cole gave Tanya a good-natured smile and reached out to steady her when she swayed. She looked relieved over having been rescued from a potentially embarrassing scene.
“I’m sure she’s doin’ fine,” Tanya said with a slow wink. She reached out to hug him. “Congratulations, Cole. I’m so happy for you and Everly.”
He patted her between the shoulders. “Thanks, Tanya. Now be a sweetheart and go help my wife look like a dance champion. This is being recorded for posterity, after all.”
She laughed and waved, wobbling back to the dance floor. Evan wondered if she’d make it through the dance without breaking her ankles in her four-inch heels.
Cole took the empty seat next to him. Evan was sitting at one of the round tables in the back of the large ballroom, trying to stay away from the action on the thriving dance floor. At the moment, he was the only one sitting at the table.
“Don’t mind Tanya,” Cole said. “She’s harmless.”
“Friend of your wife’s?”
Cole nodded. “Damn, that sounds weird. I have a wife now.”
“You sure do.” Evan shook his head. “Tied down at barely twenty-six.”
Cole grinned and shoved his shoulder. They sat together for a couple of minutes, watching the crowd. The bride was holding her own with the line dance, laughing in the middle of the energetic floor. Her long red hair, worn mostly down for the mid-November wedding, bounced around her shoulders as she moved. Cole had sure married a looker. Judging by the way his friend stared at her, he was only too aware of that. He looked just as happy as his new wife did.
The wedding had been entertaining enough so far, Evan admitted to himself. Although he didn’t generally enjoy these kinds of spectacles, the couple hadn’t gone over the top in extravagance to a point that felt pretentious or uncomfortable. Considering Cole’s status as one of the best pitchers in the Major Leagues, that was really saying something. They’d been married in the bride’s church, then hosted the cocktail hour and reception at a country club in town. Soft lighting, tasteful floral, and touches of elegant décor gave the venue a romantic, welcoming feel. He supposed if he was going to attend the wedding of one of his closest friends, this one was all right.
“I appreciate you coming, Dorsey,” Cole said at last. His hazel gaze reflected his serious tone. “I know it’s a long way from L.A., but it wouldn’t have been the same without you.”
Evan shrugged. “It’s no big deal.”
“You and I both know that isn’t true.”
Not responding, Evan focused on the dance floor. He’d been friends with Cole since he was thirteen and Cole was fifteen. They’d lived down the street from each other and played together on their high school baseball team until Cole was drafted by Atlanta. Although Evan had also hoped to play for Atlanta once he graduated, that hadn’t been in the cards. He’d ended up getting drafted by St. Louis and had bounced around since then.
Still, he and Cole had remained friends, getting together whenever their teams played against each other. Prior to this, they’d last seen each other two months ago. The memory had Evan’s jaw clenching and releasing.
“Thanks for coming to the funeral,” he said at last. “I didn’t think to say anything at the time.”
“Of course.” After another moment, Cole reached over and picked up Evan’s untouched beer, taking a swig. “So, are you going to talk to Wayne about getting the hell out of L.A.?”
Evan shrugged. He still had a year left on his existing contract, though the team could option to trade him. In fact, rumors indicated they would. He was the first to admit that he hadn’t been playing at his best toward the end of last season. He hadn’t yet talked with his and Cole’s agent, Wayne Shelton, about what l