MJ Compton and enjoy reading about her Summer FLING!
By MJ Compton
Caroline Maplethorpe’s respectable life is threatened when the man who shared her secret past as a plaything to a minor league baseball team reappears with demands she’s not sure she can satisfy.
Caroline Maplethorpe spent a summer as plaything for a minor league baseball team…and oh, how Win Winston played. Seven years later, she’s respectable, and he’s in the big leagues. Now that he’s found her again, he still wants her in a major way. But their second-chance relationship attracts too much publicity, and the third member of their long-ago fling threatens to destroy the respectable life Caroline so carefully reconstructed after that crazy summer.
I never thought the indiscretions of my youth would return to bite me in the butt by walking through the door of the Susie Buddha Café in Syracuse’s trendy Armory Square district, but they did. Or rather, one did. Winslow Winthrop Winston the Whatever, commonly known as Win.
I don’t know if I lost my ability to breathe because I was terrified he’d recognize and expose me or because he was just so darned good-looking. Probably the result of both. Win had always had a paralyzing effect on me.
Chuck somebody or other, one of the Syracuse Saltboilers baseball team board members, accompanied Win. They headed straight for our table.
There was no escape. Life as I knew it was about to end.
“James!” Chuck greeted my father.
Dad stood, shook Chuck’s hand, and then turned to Win. “Welcome to Syracuse and the Saltboilers, Winston.”
Win’s gaze, however, fixed on me. “Carrie? Carrie Thorpe?”
I held my breath. It had been seven years. Surely I’d changed enough that Win couldn’t be certain of my identity. “Caroline Maplethorpe,” I corrected in a tight voice.
That might have been the end of it except for my father’s ego. People don’t usually ignore him. He liked to think of himself as the George Steinbrenner of Triple-A Baseball, even though he owned only a few shares of the Saltboilers. And Win had ignored him.
“Do you know Caroline?” Dad asked.
I blinked and waited to see what Win would say.
Chuck interrupted. “Win, this is James Maplethorpe, one of the Saltboilers’ shareholders.”
Win’s gaze jerked away from me and focused on Dad. “Nice to meet you, sir,” he said as he gripped Dad’s hand.
“Why don’t you join us?” Dad invited. “Then you can tell me how you know my daughter.” He looked around the table, as if searching for an empty seat or two.
Of course, there weren’t any. Dad had called us all together for this dinner meeting at the minuscule Susie Buddha Café, and there was barely room for the ten of us at the table.
I briefly thought about vacating my chair. I already didn’t want to be at a family dinner. Win’s appearance put the cherry on my resentment.
“We don’t want to intrude,” Chuck said.
Win nodded at me, and the two of them continued to a tiny table crammed into a remote corner of the café.
“How do you know Win Winston?” my father asked me once the other men were out of earshot.
I picked up my glass of water and sipped. I couldn’t tell him the truth, especially not with the entire family and its satellites sitting there. Waiting. “What makes you think I know him? He didn’t even get my name right.”
I glanced at Chandler Goodeve, my date for the evening. He seemed unperturbed. He was one of the Blandroids, the men our father had chosen for my sisters and me. Beige hair, beige eyes, beige skin, well-bred, and boring. Even their names were banal: Brandon Cummings, Andrew Armstrong, and Chandler Goodeve. The Blandroids.
I wondered what it would take to provoke a reaction from Chandler. Setting him on fire? A knee in the privates?
My answer seemed to satisfy my father. At least he dropped the subject. We were supposed to be having dinner to plan a tribute to my mother during the Syracuse Saltboilers baseball game on Mother’s Day. The Saltboilers always staged their Breast Cancer Awareness Day promotion on Mother’s Day. Dad decided the Kathryn Maplethorpe Foundation should participate. Dear old Dad would do anything to make himself look good to the community. Never mind the truth. As long as the result reflected positively on James Maplethorpe, he was content.
My old resentment against him preened for a moment. Then I reminded myself I’d outgrown my rebellious teenage furor, and I was a civilized woman now. I might never forgive Dad for what he’d done, but he was still my father. And I loved him.
Besides, I had bigger things to worry about. Like Win Winston showing up in Syracuse.
My head throbbed. My appetite fled. I forced myself to ignore the twosome at the corner table. For all of Syracuse’s size—one of New York State’s “Big Five”—it’s an incredibly small town. Six degrees of Kevin Bacon could take lessons. If Win was pitching for the Saltboilers…
“What’s wrong?” my sister Victoria whispered in my ear when the server whisked away our salad plates. Across the table, my younger sister, Alexandra, watched me with solemn eyes.
I shook my head and made sure I smiled. “I don’t know why Dad has to make a big production.”
“To assuage his guilty conscience,” Victoria assured me.
She and I were close, but even she didn’t know everything about me, especially about the summer I’d met Win. That was my secret. My shame.
I glanced around the table, wondering what these people would think if they knew the truth about me. My father would blow a gasket. Polly, my stepmother, would be shocked. Her mother, Marsha Lee, would smirk and gloat. Victoria would be appalled. Alexandra would be curious. Polly’s brother, Marc, would want the prurient details, and the Blandroids would probably not react at all. They were expected to merely marry James Maplethorpe’s daughters and be appropriate husbands, as long as they used my father’s definition of “appropriate.”
Winslow Winthrop Winston the Whatever—and yeah, “whatever” really was part of his name—had it in his power to expose all my secrets and destroy the life I’d so carefully pulled back together after that summer. The summer I went crazy. It had been seven years, but there is no statute of limitations on shame.
MJ Compton grew up near Cardiff, New York, a place best known for its giant, which inspired her to create her own fiction.
Although her 30-year career in local television included such highlights as being bitten by a lion, preempting a US President for a college basketball game, giving a three-time world champion boxer a few black eyes, a mention in the Drudge Report, and meeting her husband, MJ never lost her dream of writing her own stories.
MJ still lives in upstate New York with her husband. She’s a member of Romance Writers of America and Central New York Romance Writers. Music and cooking are two of her passions, and she enjoys baseball and college basketball, but she’s primarily focused on wine . . . and writing.
MJ COMPTON LINKS
Website & Blog www.comptonplations.com
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/MJ-Compton/e/B00J9DFFIG/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1
LOOSE ID http://www.loose-id.com/summer-fling.html
ALL ROMANCE EBOOKS http://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-summerfling-1797313-149.html
BARNES & NOBLE http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/summer-fling-m-j-compton/1121879015?ean=9781623009151
GOOGLE PLAY HtTps://play.google.com/store/books/details/MJ_Compton_Summer_Fling?id=MaH1CAAAQBAJ/