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All Your Loving

All Your Loving

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"I loved this story. I think I found my new book boyfriend in this one. We all have hang-ups in real life and it's nice to see a character in a book that has some real ones that people can relate to. I didn't want the book to end." Mindy – Goodreads on ALL YOUR LOVING

With the purchase of her third bridesmaid's dress in a year, Julie Michaels is beginning to wonder when she'll find her Mr. Right but so far everyone she meets is Mr. Wrong. In between planning bridal showers and bachelorette parties, Julie needs to find a celebrity for her charity's fundraising cook off. Matt Kingsley, the ace hitter for the San Francisco Cougars would be perfect. He's rich, sexy and single... If only she didn't have a good reason to hate professional baseball players.

Julie is determined to keep Matt at arm's length, but Matt has never backed away from a challenge. And the beautiful woman who hates him makes him want to do just about anything to change her mind.


"What a great story of love and forgiveness!! This is the 3rd book in a series and each story is better than the last." Lorie – Goodreads on ALL YOUR LOVING.

"ALL YOUR LOVING made me tear up a little because seeing Julie going through that envelope is hard, but it helps her make a decision she wouldn't have otherwise. It's a very good book that just makes you want to read more. This is definitely a series that you should pick up." Kim - Goodreads

"Freethy is an expert at creating unforgettable characters." Library Journal

"A warm, moving story of the power of love." NYT Bestselling Author Debbie Macomber on Daniel's Gift
"A warm and wonderful book about love, family and everything that’s important in life. Irresistible! I loved it!" NYT Bestselling Author Susan Elizabeth Phillips on Ask Mariah


"I need a man," Melanie Hall announced, opening the door to Julie Michaels' office late Tuesday afternoon. "Handsome, rich, talented, and famous, and you're going to get him for me."

Julie smiled. "Sure I am. Right after I find one for myself." She pushed a stack of brochures and envelopes across her small, cluttered desk. "Why don't you make yourself useful and help me stuff some envelopes?" 

Melanie pushed the offending pile away. "We can do those later. We have a bigger problem."

"Finding you a man?"

"Not me, the Foundation. Kevin Markham just dropped out of the Celebrity Cook-Off."

"No," she said in disappointed surprise. Kevin Markham, an A-List actor was their big draw for the upcoming fundraiser and to lose him now was a huge blow. "What happened?"

"He got a DUI last night and has already gone into rehab. His publicist just called me. He won't be available for our events or any appearances for at least a month."  

"Damn. That's bad news." 

"It is." Melanie sat down in the chair in front of Julie's desk. "I've been racking my brain for a replacement. We need someone with wow factor—a bigger than life hero, who will help us sell out the rest of the event and do some press for us."

By the gleam in Melanie's eyes, Julie could tell she had someone in mind. "Who are you talking about?" 

"Matt Kingsley."

Her stomach knotted at the mention of the star hitter for the San Francisco Cougars.

"Any chance you could get to him?"  

"No," she said immediately.

"You don’t have any connections from when your dad was playing?"

She shook her head, her stomach tightening at the mention of her father. "My dad left me with nothing and that includes connections." 

"We're desperate," Melanie said quietly. "You know how important this fundraiser is for the Foundation. It's the backbone of our budget, and expenses have been much higher than we expected this year. If we don't pull in a significant amount of funds at the cook-off, we may have to shut down some of our programs. We have to replace Markham with someone big."

Julie leaned back against her chair with a sigh. Melanie's words were not news. She was very aware of the shoestring nature of their budget. "But why Matt Kingsley?"

"Because we've already asked everyone else we know," Melanie said practically. "Unless your friend Michael Stafford can come up with more football players to help out."

"I already signed up three of his friends for the telethon next month. I can't tap that well again so soon." 

"Exactly. That's why we need Matt Kingsley. He hit over .500 in the playoffs last year and practically won the division title single-handedly. He's a legend in the making. He's also sexy as hell. The press loves him. The fans love him. Heck, I even love him. And I'm sure you would, too, if you didn't have a hang-up about baseball players." 

Julie stood up, walked over to the window and gazed blankly out at the colorful crowds strolling along Fisherman's Wharf. She had had enough of baseball legends to last a lifetime. Her father, Jack Michaels, had been one of the greatest pitchers in the National League. But as a man, a father, and a husband, he had not come close to being a hero. 

She turned back to face Melanie. "If you want Kingsley, go for it. You don't need me." 

"I do need you. I've called his agent numerous times with no response, and I can't get past the reception in the Cougars' front office. I need you to work your magic, Julie. You're the best at signing reluctant celebrities."

She was pretty good at wrangling volunteers, but not when it came to baseball players. She hadn't been to a baseball stadium since her father had destroyed her family. 

"I told you, I don't have any connections," she said. 

"You have your last name," Robert Hudson interjected.  

Julie looked up as the executive director entered her office. Robert was her boss and a friend, but he could also be ruthless when it came to the Foundation. He had started the organization with his brother who had lost a child to cancer. For Robert, their work wasn't just charity, it was personal. 

"My last name isn't going to matter to the Cougars," she protested, even though she knew deep down she probably did have a better chance of getting to Matt Kingsley because of her last name. Dale Howard, one of her father's best friends, was still the general manager of the Cougars. But she didn't want to talk to Dale any more than she wanted to talk to anyone else on the team.  

Robert gave her a steely look that told her he didn't think much of her defense. "We need you, Julie. This is for the kids."

"You don't have to remind me," she said with a sigh. 

"Then put your personal feelings aside and get us Matt Kingsley," he said. 

If it wasn't for the kids, she wouldn't even consider what they were asking, but both Robert and Melanie were right. They needed a superstar to replace Markham and sell out the event, and if Matt Kingsley participated, it would probably be standing room only. 

"Okay," she said with a sigh. "I'll give it a shot. But I'd have a backup plan ready to go in case I strike out." 

Melanie smiled. "See, you're already thinking in baseball terms."

"But don't think about striking out," Robert told her. "We need a home run." 

* * *

Two days later Julie drove into the San Francisco stadium parking lot determined to make good on her promise to Melanie and Robert. She'd called Matt Kingsley's agent a dozen times with no return call. She'd also checked in with the Cougars' front office and had been just as stymied. She'd even tried to reach her father's old friend Dale Howard, but he was out of town. She was out of options and quickly running out of time. She needed to get to the man himself, so she was going to do what she'd never in a million years thought she'd do—she was going to stalk a baseball player. 

Spring training would be starting in three weeks, but until then, the Cougars were holding informal light practices for the players who lived in the Bay Area, and she'd seen on a recent sports report that Kingsley was still in town. The timing was actually good. If Matt was in town now, there was no reason that he wouldn't be here a week from Saturday when the cook-off was to be held. He shouldn't have to leave for Arizona until a week after that.  

A car horn blared in her ear, and she instinctively hit the brakes as a carload of three teenage girls hurtled past her. Apparently, she wasn't the only one trying to catch up with a ballplayer today. 

After parking the car, she walked through the lot, seeing the massive stadium rising up in front of her. The queasiness in her stomach grew as memories flooded her mind. The stands were empty, but in her mind she could hear the cheers and applause of game day. She could smell the hot dogs and onions and feel the damp windiness of the walkways. As a kid, she'd spent a lot of days and nights at ballparks around the country, and she could still remember the long cold nights when the game went into extra innings or the stunningly hot doubleheaders on the weekends. She'd filled herself with hot dogs and peanuts and kept track of every play so she could talk to her dad about the game later. Not that they'd actually talked much, but in her head she'd always hoped they would, and she'd always wanted to be ready, to prove she was his girl. Unfortunately, whatever happy memories she'd had of those days had been ripped out of her head by all the pain and anger that followed her father's betrayal. 

When she saw the crowd of adoring women waiting in front of the players' entrance, she wanted to flee. It was so familiar it was frightening. She could see herself as a young girl following proudly behind her dad as he made his way through the crush of fans. 

He had been her hero then. He used to put her on his shoulders so she could see among the throng of people. She'd felt so special, so important…

She forced the old images out of her head and paused at the edge of the crowd. She hadn't expected to find so many girls waiting, but she should have. The Cougars had been in the World Series last year. They had a lot of fans. She tried to squeeze past some teens in front of her, but was unsuccessful.

"Hey, wait your turn," a young girl snapped. She then pushed her aside, driving an elbow into her rib cage, and as Julie winced in pain, two more girls pushed their way past her. She was buried in the middle of the crowd.

She had to stand on tiptoe to see over the people in front of her, and she began to realize the foolishness of her mission. Matt Kingsley wasn't going to stop and chat with her, not with this mass of women waiting outside the entrance. She needed to find another way. 

She was just turning to leave when the door opened and two young men walked out.

The freshness of their smiles as they looked at the women was enough to tell her that neither was the infamous Matt Kingsley. They were too caught up in the excitement to be the veteran ace hitter for the ball club.

They stopped to sign a few autographs, reveling in the attention. One of the young girls went so far as to climb over the barricade in an attempt to steal a kiss. A guard immediately came to the player's aid, but no one seemed to be in a hurry to break the embrace.

Julie turned away with a sigh. This approach was definitely not going to work. She had seen her father dodge enough wild fans to know that Matt Kingsley wasn't going to just waltz through this pack of wolves.

She walked slowly back toward the parking lot. It was then that she spotted a very tall, well-built man striding toward a bright red Ferrari parked well away from the other cars. She knew instantly that she had found her man. Everything about him—from the stylishly cut brown hair, to the tan, to the tight jeans—spelled superstar.

In that split second, she didn't stop to think about his reaction, she just plunged forward, anxious to get the job done before she lost her nerve. She reached him just as he got to the door of his car. Breathlessly, she grabbed his arm. "Mr. Kingsley. Wait, please. I need to talk to you."

He looked down at her in surprise. "What?" he demanded.

She looked into his light green eyes and felt the breath catch in her throat. No wonder the man was a star. He was gorgeous.

"Do you want an autograph?" he asked briskly, removing her hand from his arm.

"No. I want you," she mumbled, saying the first thing that came into her mind as she stared into his incredibly sexy eyes.

"Sorry, I'm not available. Why don't you try one of the guys over there?" He pointed to the group of players now talking to the crowd. 

"No, wait. I don't mean you, exactly. I just want to talk to you. I have to ask you something—"

"Not today, sweetheart. I don't have time." His voice was filled with polite weariness.

"My name is Julie."

"Look, honey, I don't care what your name is. In fact, I think it's better if I don't know. Please just go away. I'm tired. I want to go home and go to bed. Alone."

"I just want to talk to you for a minute," she said in exasperation.

"Talk? That's a new one."

"Mr. Kingsley—"

"If I give you what you want, will you leave?"

"Yes, of course," she snapped, unaware of his intentions, until he put his arms around her. "What—what do you think you're doing?"

"Giving you what you want," he growled into her ear as his lips covered hers in a long, hot kiss.

She was so shocked by the onslaught, it took her a minute to react, and another minute to pull herself away from what was quite possibly the hottest kiss she'd ever had. "Stop," she said. "That's not what I want." 

He looked at her in surprise, and then his eyes traveled down her body, taking in her business skirt and cream-colored blouse. His hands fell from her shoulders as he gave her a wary look. "Okay."

"That's it? Okay? You kiss me and then say okay?" 

"What do you want me to say? You told me you wanted me."

"Not like that." 

"I guess we got our signals crossed. I thought you were a fan. But come to think of it, you don't look like a groupie, you don't talk like one and you certainly don't kiss like one."

Julie's mouth dropped open at his provocative statement. "What do you mean, I don't kiss like a groupie?" She mentally kicked herself for asking such a leading question. What difference did it make what he thought of the way she kissed? "Forget I asked that."

He shrugged. "Fine. So, who are you and what do you want?"

She stared at him blankly, finally realizing that she was going to be given an opportunity to explain. She took a deep breath, taking a minute to regain her poise. "My name is Julie Michaels. I work for the California Children's Foundation. I came to see you, hoping I could persuade you to participate in our fundraiser next week. I know you're busy, but it's for a really good cause."

"They all are. I wish I could help you, but right now I need to concentrate one hundred percent on baseball. Another time, perhaps, but not now."

"It's only one night, a couple of hours. And it would mean so much." She hated herself for having to beg, but it was important that he realize what was at stake. "The kids, they—"

"I said no," he snapped. "There are a lot of charities who want my help. I can't participate in everything. I'm sorry." 

She shouldn't have been surprised at his attitude. Her father had never gone out of his way to help anyone. It was always about baseball; that was the only thing that mattered to him. And Matt Kingsley was just like her dad. 

"You're sorry?" She shook her head, the words pouring out of her before she could stop herself. "I don't think so. You're so caught up in your own star-studded world that you can't think about anybody beside yourself. You're worrying about hitting a ball over a fence, and we're trying to help children survive cancer and child abuse. God, I hate macho baseball players," she said passionately, her voice ringing through the parking lot.

Matt's jaw dropped in surprise. 

"Look, there he is," a young girl shouted from the distant crowd as their argument drew attention.

Julie whirled around as the crowd turned toward them, their adoring faces filled with excitement. Matt Kingsley was their hero, a man who rose above all others, but she couldn't see what they saw, or maybe she just didn't want to. 

As the girls ran toward them, she turned and walked away. Matt might have turned her down, but at least she'd put him in the middle of a pack of hungry teenage wolves. It wasn't much, but it was something. 

* * *

The drive from the baseball stadium in China Basin to the Foundation offices near Fisherman's Wharf gave Julie time to think, and her anger was slowly replaced by guilt and embarrassment. She had never spoken like that to anyone, especially a potential celebrity participant. But Matt Kingsley's curt refusal had opened up her old wounds. She banged the steering wheel in frustration. When was she going to be free of the anger and pain that came with memories of her father? 

It had been ten years since she had seen her dad and ten years since she had attended a baseball game, but the mere mention of the sport had sent her emotions spinning out of control. Within minutes of arriving at the stadium, she'd changed from a calm, poised businesswoman into a crazy person. 

Her guilt deepened as she walked into the office and saw Robert and Melanie working together in the conference room. The three of them were a team, and they had raised a lot of money for the children they served. She didn't want to let them down, but they were going to have to find someone else to star in the cook-off.

They looked up expectantly as she pushed open the door.

"I'm sorry," she said.

Melanie frowned. "You didn't see him?"

"Damn." Robert shook his head in frustration. "We need that man. We'll have to try something else. I found out last night that he goes to the Royal Athletic Club every morning between six and eight o'clock. That might be a good spot to get to him."

"I don't think so," Julie replied.

Robert looked at her in surprise. "You're not giving up, are you? This is too important to quit on, Julie."

"I did see Matt Kingsley." She took a deep breath. "I spoke to him. He said no, and then—then I insulted him." 

"You didn't," Melanie breathed.

"I'm afraid so."

"What exactly do you mean—you insulted him?" Robert asked.

"I asked him to participate in the fundraiser, and he said no. Then I got angry. He wouldn't even give me a chance to explain, to tell him what we're all about." 

Melanie looked at her in amazement. "What did you say? I don't know how you had the nerve to insult someone like that."

"He's just a man, and not a very nice one. I'm sorry that I let you guys down. But I honestly don't think there's anything I could have said that would have made him participate. His mind was made up before I ever opened my mouth. I didn't insult him until after he said no."

The receptionist buzzed the phone to tell Robert that one of the board members was on the phone. 

He sighed when he heard the name. "The last thing I want to do is tell Emily Davenport that we failed on getting Matt Kingsley. Her husband is a season ticket holder and one of their biggest fans."

"Maybe we can get some of the other Cougars," Melanie suggested.

"Matt Kingsley is the Cougars. The rest of the guys look like amateurs next to him." Robert got to his feet. "I'm not giving up on Kingsley yet. There must be a way to change his mind. Think about it."  

Julie nodded, even though she knew that she could think about it forever, and there was nothing she could do to change things. She sat down as Robert left the room. "I really blew this one, Mel. I should have handled his refusal better, tried to charm him into finding out more about us."

"Well, at least you actually spoke to him. That's better than Robert or I did. What did he look like, anyway? Was he as sexy and attractive as his posters?"

"He was," she admitted. "I just wish he had more compassion, more sensitivity to go with that face and body." Her voice hardened. "But the man has only one thing on his mind and that's baseball."

"Maybe that's why he's the best."

"I suppose. I'll call the Cougars again and see if any other players are available. But I think we need to come up with some other ideas." She made her way back to her office and dove into work. It focused her brain on what was important and kept the emotions at bay. 

She worked into the evening, barely noticing when Melanie stopped in to say goodbye. It was only when a knock came at her door that she realized the office had grown dark. She switched on her desk lamp, the light outlining a shadowy figure behind the glass panel. She was completely alone in the office. Her nerves tingled as the knock came again, and then the door slowly opened.

The Bachelors and Bridesmaids Series features seven female friends who met in college and made a vow to be in each others weddings no matter when they occurred. But along the way the women who start out as bridesmaids end up as brides!

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