That's not a batter; that's a walking wet-dream. Through the grid of his catcher's mask, Senior Chief Gunner's Mate Hank-The Wall-O'Mara watched the opposing team's last minute addition to the roster approach the plate. Usually, he liked his women on the long, lean side. Small women made him feel awkward in his solid 6' 4" frame.
For this woman, he'd put up with feeling awkward. She had all the right pieces in all the right places-curves, bumps, satin-skin, ocean deep green eyes and dewy, pink, kiss-me-naked lips. He licked his own lips at the thought and gave a low, soundless whistle.
Down boy. He crouched, holding his mitt at half-mast. The last inning of the command fast-pitch softball championship is no time to get distracted. From the look of the batter, we've got no worries. So calm down and concentrate. You can put your moves on her after she strikes out.
As she settled in at the plate, Hank couldn't help but appreciate the compact lines of the woman. He ran his eyes boldly up her trim ankles and sleek calves, past slender thighs, and round hips to a tiny waist. All encased in skin-hugging denim. Above that waist, the gentle swell of her breasts arrested his inventory. Bigger than a mouthful, smaller than a handful, they gave a pleasant distortion to the hot pink letters, L-T.-S-L-U-G-G-E-R, scrawled across her black T-shirt. Resisting the urge to discover the exact color, shape, texture and taste of those twin mounds caused Hank no small amount of pain.
Uh oh. The meaning of that lushly stretched phrase finally registered. Lt. Slugger. Why did the wet dream have to be an officer wet dream?
Off duty, off base, he didn't mind an occasional outing with a female sailor, even one with bars on her collar, but he drew the line at climbing into bed with one. Sleeping with officers was just plain stupid, and Hank wasn't stupid. What a shame that God created Lt. Slugger with beds in mind.
She shifted, and her breasts swayed. Mesmerized, Hank licked his lips again. Somebody coughed. Still Hank stared. I bet she's soft. Real soft.
Another cough, louder this time, followed by, "Hey Wall. Play ball, will ya."
Hank shook his head and raised his mitt. "Uh, yeah, sure thing Ump." As he lifted his gaze, he caught speculation in the Lieutenant's misty green eyes. He looked away and focused on flashing signals to the pitcher.
Hank motioned for a straight pitch. With a batter this small, the worst they'd have to sweat about was a line drive. Even the rookie right fielder could handle that, especially with the rocket he had for an arm.
But Hank figured he didn't have to fret on the rookie. The Lieutenant couldn't possibly have much power in her slim shoulders. Even if she hit the ball, those shapely legs weren't long enough to carry her very far, very fast. She'd be out before she got to first base.
He balanced on the balls of his feet and nodded to the pitcher. The guy wound up and let go with a straight slow ball that crossed the middle of the zone. The Lt. swung and fanned air. The ball smacked into Hank's mitt.
He grinned and raised his gaze to hers. Her eyes filled with a sea of cool assessment. He lofted the ball toward the pitcher and cocked an eyebrow. "Too fast, Ma'am?"
She blinked, quirked one corner of her mouth and settled into position again, giving a sexy little wiggle to her hips. Hank felt his jaw go slack. She turned her head back to him. The action rubbed pale, silky curls across her nape, just where Hank imagined placing a tiny bite. "Not me, Chief? How about you?"
"Uh, no Ma'am." His grin broadened, and he aimed a quick glance at her hips. "You've got a nice swing, real smooth and easy."
She smiled and once more blinked spiky black lashes at him. Her voice came at him low and inside. "Why thank you, Chief."
His heart skipped.
The ump shouted, "Play ball!"
The Lieutenant turned away and resettled her stance.
Hank signaled for another strike.
She tipped it back.
The ball plopped gently into his mitt once more. Damn, this is too easy. "With all due respect, Ma'am, that's our best pitcher out there. He can't throw 'em much slower."
She gave Hank an easy grin. "I like mine hard and fast, sailor." Her smoke and whiskey voice licked at his ears, then bit down hard.
Every nerve in his body stood on alert. How could he refuse a challenge like that? "Whatever you say, Ma'am."
Hank sent the ball back to the pitcher and watched the petite officer sway into her stance. He crouched. Then signaled for the outfield to move in. When they had, he gave the sign for low, fast and away.
The pitcher nodded, wound up, and let 'er rip. Hank heard the bat crack and stared as the ball took high flight into right field. The batter sprinted toward first. Hank kept the ball and the rookie in sight. Back, back, keep going. The kid back peddled, his eyes on the ball.
No! Hank knew the moment his teammate looked into the sun and lost the ball. It fell to earth ten feet to the rookie's rear and bounced hard all the way into the farthest corner of right field. By the time the kid found the ball and was set to throw, Lt. Slugger rounded second and picked up speed.
We're still okay, Hank told himself. If the rookie sends it home, we're fine. Hank tensed and set himself to catch the throw from the kid.
What the…? Damn rookies, he cursed silently as he watched the right fielder fire the ball at the third baseman. With the runner nearly at third, he'd never make it.
"Cut it off and throw it home, Joe." Hank yelled to the shortstop. Joe would get the job done, they'd been playing ball together since before Hank left high school.
The Lieutenant sailed onto third. Joe leapt. He landed hard, nearly losing his balance. The runner kept going. How could such a small woman move so fast, Hank wondered and set himself to catch Joe's bullet.
The ball hit the edge of Hank's mitt. He reached for it. Felt it settle into the leather and turned.
The woman steamed on. Damn she's a game little thing, but she's up against The Wall. Just where I want her. Hank grinned and waited, defending home plate as if attacked by an entire fleet.
Five feet away, the runner should have stopped. The only way she could score would be to literally knock him off his feet. Hank's grin broadened. She'd never make it. Nobody ever broke through The Wall.