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That Passionate Season

ManLoveRomance Press LLC

Heat Rating: STEAMY
Word Count: 55,000
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Mobi

He's the hottest prospect in baseball and he's got a name to go along with it: Burn, the hot young son of a fire chief, who only dreams of playing in the major leagues. When he is drafted by the New Jersey Skyscrapers, Burn Silva is sent to gain some experience playing for the team's Single-A team, the Suns. What happens when a sexy, alluring creature like Burn hits the Florida heat?

Max Castle is a fourteen year veteran of the big leagues, but to prove he still has more to his game, he's accepted a minor league contract. His goal: get back to the Show, and the only man in his way is Burn. Trouble is, the manager has asked Max to teach Burn the nuances of the game, and their proximity leads to a shocking revelation.

Will South, the man sent to chronicle the young phenom's rise from prospect to star, knows almost next to nothing about baseball, and is about to get a fast education: not only about the game but what goes on behind the scenes, in locker rooms and hotel rooms during away games. For this sexually inhibited man, those discoveries will awaken a desire deep within him.

Excerpt

Prologue

I would never forget that summer, not the heat of those sweltering days and long nights at the ballpark as I listened for the crack of the bat and the roar of the crowd, applauded a home run or a clutch strike out that broke the opponent's momentum. Or what happened after the game, in hotel rooms and in other places I had never envisioned, wild nights of passion that exploded my preconceived notions of sex, that woke me up from my repressed, sexual slumber. Even now, as I put those recent memories to paper I am amazed at the ease with which I use the language, words that define a sport I'd known so little about when the season began, words about love that had eluded me all my life.

But let's put sex aside, if only for a moment. It's true, what I knew about baseball could fit into one column, so when the opportunity presented itself to write about the boys of summer my first and only inclination was to turn down the assignment. Several factors changed my mind, not least among them the challenge issued by my editor, who told me that this was an unrivaled chance to further my journalism career and make a name for myself beyond the constraints of a daily newspaper.

"Newspapers are dying, kid, you may as well see what else is waiting for you out there."

The grizzled old vet, chomping on a cigar, had a good point. I was only twenty-eight and still green behind the ears when it came to the more seasoned reporters at the Albany Sentinel, some of whom had been let go by economic reality. I was kept on mainly because I was cheap, also because I seemed to have no life outside our bullpen--I worked twenty four/seven. So I told him I would think about his offer, give him my answer the next morning. After downing a few beers at my local bar, I returned home--alone, as usual--and somehow still wide awake despite the alcohol swimming in my system. I started to do some research online about why the paper would invest the time and money in this subject.

The subject was not just baseball. It was a young man named Bernard Silva, known by all who knew him as "Burn." Many folks in the region knew of him already, with millions to follow in the coming months, years. He had just been drafted by a Major League baseball team, a local hero about to hit the big time.

The son of a fire chief in a small town in the nearby Adirondacks, Burn had heat to spare. In Little League he had showed off an arm unlike anyone the town of White Pine had seen, and in high school he had caught the eye of major league scouts from several teams. He could have signed with a team right after graduation but his family insisted he go to college first before testing the waters in the amateur draft. By then he'd transitioned from a pitching phenom to highly touted position player; he still had that cannon of an arm, but the power with which he swung the bat sealed his fate. No manager would relegate a power hitter like Burn to the rotation, you wanted to get him as many bats as possible, a chance to win every day rather than every five. And now with that collegiate trajectory dictated by his father coming to fruition, Burn Silva had been the number two overall draft pick, selected by the New Jersey Skyscrapers, the latest expansion team to hit Major League Baseball, and news of his multi-million dollar bonus signing had caught the attention of the entire Capitol/Adirondack region.

Burn Silva was a hot topic, not only in these parts but across the country, and I was being offered the chance to chronicle his initial days playing professional ball. Yes, I still had my concerns about whether I could do the job, but like I said, there were several factors that pushed me over the edge. The challenge issued by my editor was one, the other was the fact that I had little else going on in my life, no lover and no prospects in that department on the horizon, so the idea of a couple months on the road fueled my desire to change my own life...or at least hide from the reality of my lonely existence. But what really sealed the deal? Have you seen a picture of Burn Silva?

In a word, the man defined gorgeous. Wavy dark hair, a perpetual scruff on his cheeks, and dark brown eyes that danced even in a black and white photograph. At six foot two and with muscles to spare, he oozed heat and sexuality. An athlete in top form, he was the envy of men and the object of desire for women. If only all knew the truth. Because in the course of the ensuing summer, I had gotten to know Burn quite well.

Enough of baseball for a moment. Back to the sex.

I stopped writing as I heard the shower turn off. The season ended just a few weeks ago, and I left my job at the paper. My editor was correct; there was so much more waiting for me out in the world, and I had him to thank for how much my life had changed over the course of this past summer. Least of them my new lover, who now stepped out of the bathroom, a towel wrapped around his hard, sexy body. I loved the way his hair fell across his handsome face when wet, how his flaccid cock pushed against the terrycloth towel. It wouldn't stay that way for long.

"Hey babe," he said, coming to me, massaging my shoulders. "You gonna be long?"

"I just finished my first chapter," I said.

"Good, that shower really woke me up."

"After a summer of getting to know you I know what that means."

"So, let's go, come to the bedroom. Let me fuck you."

"Hey," I said, "what did I say...now that you and I are together?"

"Right, sorry. Man, you're really a stickler for proper English, even when I'm talking dirty," he said, "Okay, the night is young, Will, and all I want to do is make hot, passionate love to you until the dawn breaks."

"Oh hell," I said, stripping him of his towel and letting his thick cock pop up out of a nest of curly dark hair, stroking it with my hand. "I like it your way, you sexy bastard. Take me here, fuck me hard, just like you did this past summer. Let me be your catcher."

He laughed aloud; he liked it when I used baseball lingo for purposes that went behind the box scores.

It's funny how a split second decision can affect your life. Because that morning after I'd been offered this gig, with the picture of the sexy Burn Silva singed in my mind, I told my editor I would take the assignment, and that's when I realized it wasn't just Burn that I would meet that season, but an entire team of players. From flame-throwing pitchers to talented infielders and power-hitting outfielders. Most of them were new to the Game, though a couple had already seen it over the course of now fading careers. Together this tight team would play together, win together, lose together, live together, all while experiencing the highs and lows of a season of grueling baseball. All of them had one goal in mind: the Show. Getting to the Major Leagues.

Of the players I would meet, three of them would stand out for me. Because one of them would achieve his dream, getting that magical call up and never return to the minors. One of them would come to realize his role in the world of baseball. And one of them, well, he would unfortunately never play baseball again.

Oh, and of those three, one of them would become my lover.

But their stories were for another time. I put down my pen because right now my lover had other things on his crazy, sex-driven mind. That passionate season was over, a new one was beginning...for him and for me, for us. His dirty thoughts came to fruition, and I was only too happy to give them voice, loudly. Because he bent me over my desk, his throbbing cock looming, ready for entry, and I smiled back at him, knowing that every pulsing inch of him was soon to penetrate me. Then, in baseball parlance, I waved him home.

Part One

The Minor Leagues

Chapter One

Will

Beads of sweat dripped from his brow even though it was only early June and summer had not yet reached its potential here in the Adirondack Mountains. Will South's heart was beating as fast as he could ever remember, and he was questioning what had his nerves so on edge. Was it the fact that he'd accepted a job way outside his comfort zone, or because the man he'd been assigned to write about was probably the hottest guy he'd ever seen? Either way, both reasons could prove to be distractions bordering on the disastrous, as he still had a lot to learn about the job and the man, each of them inextricably linked.

Will South's life was about to change, and the ring of a doorbell was its opening salvo.

The front door opened so quickly he barely had a chance to check his appearance or come up with a proper greeting. A pleasantly plump, smiling woman with silver-colored hair and bright red lipstick greeted him; she was probably late fifties.

"You must be Will."

"I am," he said, with a polite nod.

"I'm Janice Silva...Bernard's mother."

Bernard. It felt odd hearing his full first name; everyone in the newsroom he had spoken to, as well as the gang down at the sports bar he had recently visited for background information, every article he had read, they all simply referred to him as Burn.

"Aha, I can see from your reaction you're already well acquainted with his nickname," she said with a hint of resignation.

"Burn," Will said.

"I'm his mother, so I get to call him by his given name."

"My mother calls me William, but only when she's mad at me."

Janice Silva smiled at him. "Is that a regular occurrence?"

"Less so since I moved out," he said.

She laughed with an appreciation for his wit, then invited him inside the warm confines of her comfortable home. He accepted, stepping through the threshold like it was a portal into a new, unfamiliar world, and he supposed it was an appropriate metaphor. Gone into the ether was his cramped apartment, his daily routine of waking, office, lunch, office, drinks after work, sleep, rise, rinse and repeat. Today he had taken to the road, and tomorrow joining him would be a man he hadn't yet met, a man to whom he would be linked, perhaps for forever. Will was the mere chronicler of what was to come. The star attraction and driving force in this narrative was a young man named Bernard "Burn" Silva, and it was to his home Will had come, to pick him up and journey with him to the next stage of both their lives.

"I hope you didn't have any trouble finding the house. Honor Hills is rather well known for its remoteness," Janice said, as she escorted Will into the spacious kitchen. She sat him down upon a stool situated around the island, handing him a glass of lemonade.

"An oxymoron," Will said, and when she gave him a confused look, he realized his wit would only carry him so far. So he just added, "No, I found it without any difficulty. Truth is, I grew up in White Pine, and even interned one hot summer during college for the Gazette. My parents had high hopes that I would settle in town and work at the paper."

"And why didn't you?"

"Not much chance for advancement working for a small town newspaper," he said. "It's kind of a one-man operation."

"Are you a man of ambition, Will South?"

"I like to think so," he said, taking a sip of the lemonade. It was tart and refreshing.

"Which is why my son is your subject?"

"It wasn't my choice, and truth be known...baseball, it's not my bag."

She waved him off. "When you can drop metaphors like that one, you're halfway there."

This time it was Will South who didn't understand the comment. But he waved it off, his eye catching the time on the wall clock. It was no ordinary clock, as its faux brick façade resembled a fire house; at the strike of five in the afternoon, just now, a cuckoo door opened and instead of a bird emerging, it was a Dalmatian. It barked five times.

"Clever," Will said.

"My husband bought it at some flea market years ago," she said, again with a weary designation. Will had the sense that Janice Silva had given up much of herself for the benefit of her family, as Italian as they come, and wasn't that what women of her generation were taught? Take care of your men, and they will take care of you. "How much do you know about the Silva clan?"

"I know your husband is the local fire chief, that you have two sons, one a fellow fireman and the other...well, that's where I enter the picture. The baseball phenom, right?"

"Boy was playing with balls from the moment he could hold one in his tiny grip."

Will nodded quickly, as though that's what all little boys did, himself included. He didn't volunteer the fact that he and his sister had played with her leggy blonde dolls and used to fight over which dresses they would wear to which pretend galas. His always looked better.

"I have one daughter, too, Anna Maria, but she and her husband live in Jersey. We see them mostly at the holidays. So you won't meet her today, but if you need to talk to her about any, you know, background material on Bernard, I can get you her contact info."

"Thanks, I'll let you know," Will said, again checking the clock.

"If it's Bernard you're waiting for, he'll be around shortly."

"Well, it's just, we just have tonight to get things settled before we head off."

"I'll give you your first lesson about Bernard Silva--he has no sense of time. His father and I bought him a watch for his confirmation but he won't wear it, says it weighs down his arm, affects his throw. Tells you where his mind is. He should be here any minute, since he's with his father and brother, a last minute game of touch football with some of the men of the Honor Hills fire department." She gave him a rueful look. "Which means tackle football and they'll come home a muddied mess. I just hope Burn realizes how stupid he's being horsing around with those boys. He's got a million dollar bonus and an opportunity that no one else up in these mountains has ever seen."

"That's why so much attention is being paid to him, it's why I've got this gig."

"Do me a favor, Will South. Keep an eye on my Bernard. He's talented, but he's wild."

Will sipped at this lemonade, wondered for how long he would have to make small talk. Not that he minded. Janice Silva was giving him great insight into his subject, which was the point of the home visit. In a way, Janice was an Italian version of his own WASPY mother, whom he'd just spent the past couple of days with in the neighboring town of White Pine.

After three days of household chores and a couple of drinks with his Dad down at Sally's Dive, Will had gratefully made his way to Honor Hills to begin his assignment: meet and report back on Burn Silva, the latest draftee for the New Jersey Skyscrapers ball club, called the Skys. But this wasn't just a single fluff piece, it was a rare opportunity to follow one player for what remained of the baseball season--a new recruit who would join the Single A affiliate in the Florida League, and while other papers and TV outlets would have access to him, it was Will South who would provide the regional angle of the classic story of "local boy makes good."

And just then, Will was broken from his brief reverie by the raucous sound of laughter and booming voices. He watched as three jovial, hearty-sized men entered through the back door, piling into the kitchen in a way that drained the room of its expanse. Will did a quick survey of them, figuring it was father, son, and younger son, and while the older man easily qualified as a silver fox, and the middle one was a hunky, bearded bear of a man, it was the youngest cub that had Will thinking of the old fairy tale that had things "just right." The three of them converged on Janice, kissing her cheek and eager hands grabbing for refreshment inside the fridge--beers, not lemonade, Will noted--all three of them seemingly oblivious to their guest.

Which suited Will just fine.

Gave him a chance to finally see his subject in the flesh.

In the flesh was right, as the six-two, sinewy framed man was nothing short of yum. He wore sweat pants where the crotch left little to the imagination, and his gray hooded sweatshirt was unzipped entirely, revealing a chest of thick dark hair and, surprisingly, piercings on each of his erect nipples. His face was beautiful, with a three-day growth of beard that only heightened his sexiness.

Will felt his balls constrict, and he had to douse the fire building inside him with the lemonade. Uh-oh, he thought, I'm in trouble. It was one thing to salivate over the photograph of a man, but this guy...he'd be in his company if not quite twenty-four seven, but close enough. He was glad to be sitting down behind the counter, his free hand surreptitiously trying to discourage his growing erection from reaching its full girth.

"So, who do we have here?" asked the older man, obviously Alex Silva, the father.

"Well, about time you boys noticed that we have company," she said. "Alex, Joey, this is Will South, reporter extraordinaire."

Both Alex and Joey, the older son, exchanged hard handshakes with Will, who noticed that Joey's eyes had lingered for what some would call an awkward pause. Will felt himself looking away from the big, sexy hunk. Damn but Janice had produced some fine looking men. And that's when Burn stepped up, holding out his hand, too, and Will had no choice but to accept it, standing up as he did so. He was face to face, at last, with the man he would be writing about, wishing it was not baseball related but something far more intimate, far more erotic. Will wanted nothing more than to reach out and slip his fingers through the hoops of those pierced nipples.

"So, you're Will South," the young man said.

"And you're Bernard Silva," Will answered, his grin unmistakable.

"Ah, you've been talking to my mother. Call me Burn," he said.

With that hairy chest just inches from him, Will could happily have called him rug burn.

"Okay, boys, the meet and greet is over, I've got a lasagna in the oven. Dinner is in thirty minutes, get yourselves cleaned up." Alex and Joey quickly filed out single file. They were men who lived their lives as firemen, they knew about authority. It was Burn who lingered behind, knocking back the rest of his beer. "And you, Bernard," Janice stated with a tug of her youngest child's ear, "When your mother says thirty minutes, she means twenty-nine and seated."

"Got it, Ma."

"And wear something else, and button up."

As Burn left the kitchen, she turned back to Will.

"I hate those piercings," she stated.

Will had to silently disagree with her.