The Rainbow League: Book One
Ian ran screaming from New York City upon graduating from high school. A job offer too good to turn down has brought him back, but he plans to leave as soon as the job is up. In the meantime he lets an old friend talk him into joining the Rainbow League, New York’s LGBT amateur baseball league. Baseball turns out to be a great outlet for his anxiety, and not only because sexy teammate Ty has caught his eye.
Ty is like a duck on a pond—calm and laid-back on the surface, a churning mess underneath. In Ian, he’s found someone with whom he feels comfortable enough to share some of what’s going on beneath the surface. The only catch is that Ian is dead set on leaving the city as soon as he can. Ty works up a plan to convince Ian that New York is, in fact, the greatest city in the world. But when Ian receives an offer for a job overseas, Ty needs a new plan: convince Ian that home is where Ty is.
“So, look, with Bryan gone and that Adam guy going MIA, there are two slots open on the team. Everyone else re-upped.”
“Good.” They’d had a great team the previous season, and after a few seasons in the league, Ty had come to loathe adjusting for new players. New guys were too unpredictable.
“I’m hoping my friend shows up while we’re manning the table so we can get him on our team before someone else gets him,” said Josh. “Once it becomes knowledge that he’s actually played baseball, everyone will be fighting for him.”
Ty cocked an eyebrow and shot Josh what he thought of as his best sexy insouciant look. “Actual baseball experience.”
Josh was unfazed. “We played together in high school.”
Ty tossed the ball in the air again. “Ha. And here I thought you were going to tell me he’d been a pro. If playing in school is the only measure, I had actual baseball experience before I joined the team.”
“You played T-ball in elementary school.”
Ty just smiled. “We have Mason, though. Much to the envy of everyone else in the league.” Actually, most of Ty and Josh’s teammates had some kind of baseball experience. Nate and Carlos—who, along with Mason and Josh, were Ty’s closest friends on the team—had played on the same Little League team when they were kids, for example. Joe and Shane had played college ball.
“Sure,” said Josh, “but it’s nice to have more than one person on the team who knows how the game works. As opposed to some other people.”
“Hey, just because I don’t give a shit about pro baseball doesn’t mean I’m totally ignorant.” Ty really pulled out the Texas when he said that, so it came out sounding like “tote-ly ig-nant.” He cleared his throat. “So where is this baseball god?”
“Dunno. He wasn’t that keen on joining, but I tried to persuade him that it would be worth it for the hookup opportunities. He seemed intrigued.”
Ty laughed. “Well, sure. Who wouldn’t be? I saw that article in the Times. Allegedly the New York gays are all joining sports leagues instead of going to bars. Which is horseshit, as anyone who has been in Hell’s Kitchen lately knows perfectly well.” Ty considered that for a moment. “Although I guess I did make it my mission to, er, work my way through the entirety of the Queens team last season.”
Josh took a sip from his water bottle and narrowed his eyes. “How did that work out for you?”
Ty shrugged. “Well enough. Every team has to have a token slut. I’m happy to fill that role.”
Josh shook his head. “Did Bill James say that?”
Ty turned and saw a blond guy making his way across the park. He was, well, he was pretty good-looking, actually. Slender in an athletic way. Jaw that looked like it could cut glass. Package nicely highlighted by the dark jeans he was wearing. “This your secret weapon?” Ty asked.
Josh looked smug.
Ty tossed the ball again.
“Hi,” the guy said as he arrived. “I made it.”
Ty took a moment to really scope out the man. He’d started cataloguing his merits when Josh slapped his arm.
“Stop that!” said Josh. “So. Ty, this is my friend Ian from high school. He just moved back to New York after many years away and blah blah.”
“And blah blah?” Ian said. “That’s my whole backstory?”
“This,” Josh went on, “is Ty. He’s second base.”
“And I Don’t Know is on third,” said Ty, holding out his hand to shake.
Ian shot him a wry smile. “Nice to meet you.” He shook Ty’s hand.
Ty supposed that this would be the moment in the movie when the music swelled, or the moment in the novel when the characters touched and electricity passed between them, but even though Ty was absolutely attracted to Ian and had already begun his strategy to get the man naked, nothing like that happened. They merely shook hands, casual as you please, as if this were a business transaction.
“I don’t get a cute tidbit of information?” Ty asked Josh. “Just ‘second base’?”
Josh shrugged. “What do you want me to say? Ian, this is Ty. He’s from Texas, as I imagine you’ve gathered from the accent. He’s been in New York about ten years. And he fancies himself the team slut.”
Ian laughed. “Nice. Every team needs one.”
“That’s what I told Josh.”
Josh crossed his arms over his chest. “So, you’re here,” he said to Ian. “Are you signing up or what?”
“Is Ty here as a sample specimen? Are all the guys on the team this hot?”
Ty guffawed. “Look at you, indirectly flirting with me. It’s the slut thing, right? The fact that I’m easy makes me intriguing?”
“Sure,” said Ian. “The ginger hair doesn’t hurt.”
“Josh, let’s sign him up right now.”
“Can you play third base?” Josh asked.