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Sports Fiction
Date Published: March 1, 2018
Publisher: Lulu Publishing
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In this novel, DeShawn Biggs is as formidable as his name suggests. At 6-feet-5-inches and 300 pounds, DeShawn seems headed for the NFL. Indeed, a football career is regarded as an inevitability for the young man in his native Albany. While most NFL–bound seniors head off to play college ball after they leave high school, DeShawn’s abysmal math grades—and the fact that his parents can literally no longer afford to feed him—result in the giant lineman attending an elite Connecticut prep school for “grade thirteen.” After an emotional farewell to his parents, who are purposefully removing themselves from his life for good—“You’ve got to use your God-given talents to make a life for yourself,” says his father, “and you cannot do that with your mother and me in the way of that life”—DeShawn is left alone among the white, wealthy student body. Sticking out like a large sore thumb, DeShawn attempts to walk the fine line between what is expected of him and what will not be tolerated. A cheating scandal gets him expelled but not before he secures a place at Montgomery Southern A&M, a football power that will set him up to advance to the NFL. DeShawn eventually gets his shot at the big leagues, but his trusting nature and penchant for making bad decisions dog him throughout his career. Each time, the stakes get higher. DeShawn has always been a pawn in a game controlled by other people, but how much of his own integrity can he compromise in order to get ahead?


About the Author

Harvey Havel is a short-story writer and novelist. His first novel, Noble McCloud, A Novel, was published in November of 1999. His second novel, The Imam, A Novel, was published in 2000.

In 2006, Havel published his third novel, Freedom of Association.  He has published his eighth novel, Charlie Zero’s Last-Ditch Attempt, and his ninth, The Orphan of Mecca, Book One, which was released last year.  His new novel, The Thruway Killers is his latest work.
The Orphan of Mecca, Books Two and Three, has just been released next year as well as a book, An Adjunct Down, which he just completed.  His work in progress is called Mister Big, about a Black American football player.
He is formerly a writing instructor at Bergen Community College in Paramus, New Jersey.  He also taught writing and literature at the College of St. Rose in Albany as well as SUNY Albany.
Copies of his books and short stories, both new and used, may be purchased at www.barnesandnoble.com, www.amazon.com, and by special order at other fine bookstores.
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#BookTour…Right Text Wrong Number…#BookBoost #YA #Sports #ContemporaryRomance @SDSXXTours @AuthorNatDecker

Right Text, Wrong Number
Offsides Book 1
by Natalie Decker
Genre: YA Sports Contemporary Romance
306 pages

Cheerleader Layla and football player Tyler are complete opposites. She thinks he’s the biggest jerk in school and he thinks she’s too high on her horse to even be worth a second glance. When the two of them are near one another, sparks fly in all the wrong directions. They can hardly endure speaking, let alone dating.

But when Layla unknowingly sends Tyler a smack-down text meant for the girl sending naked photos to her then-boyfriend, Adam, Tyler has no idea it’s Layla and decides to play along. After all, Tyler cannot resist messing with the pissed off girl firing off texts about junk pictures, cheating, and girl code.

As the fallout from Adam’s scandalous texts plays out in front of the entire school, Tyler and Layla secretly continue to text each other using fake names. But as days and weeks pass, things take a turn for the serious between them, and suddenly, their texts mean more. Maybe it’s time to come clean about who they are and risk taking the relationship from texts to dates, then kissing, and maybe more.

They say there’s a thin line between love and hate. Can reality live up to the fantasy, or will Layla and Tyler be forever offsides?

Right Kiss, Wrong Guy
Offsides Book 2
313 pages

You’d think a girl with the most romantic name in the world would have her pick of boyfriends. 

But Valentine’s Day sucks when you’re single. Just ask Juliet Valentine,  whose last name happens to also be the name of the most dreaded made-up holiday ever.

A romantic at heart, this year is especially hard on Juliet. Her sister, Layla, is in a new relationship, her mom’s match-making business is doing great, and her school’s new fundraiser is “Love-Grams.”

Juliet’s miserable, a little jealous, and lonely.

Quarterback Jared Black is the most popular guy in school. A star athlete, Jared tops the most-eligible bachelor list year after year. But to Juliet Valentine, he’s all but invisible. She isn’t impressed.

Jared’s never had to work hard to get the attention of a girl before. Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, and he’s determined to ask Juliet out. After all, if Tyler can win over Layla, Jared ought to have a shot with Layla’s sister.

Unlike Tyler and Layla, charm, flattery and good looks won’t work on Juliet. So with the V-Day dance coming up, Jared uses the school’s Love-Grams to let Juliet know how he feels. Should be simple enough, right?

Wrong. Each attempt ends up either in the trash or thrown in someone’s face. Juliet won’t play his game.

Now, without a date to the dance Jared realizes it’s going to take a Hail Mary to win the girl of his dreams.

Natalie Decker is the author of the bestselling YA series Rival Love, YA series Offsides, and NA series Scandalous Boys. She loves her family, her awesome dog, friends, carefree days, football, fuzzy blankets, traveling, reading, cooking, writing, and is a huge Denver Broncos fan. Her imagination is always going, which some find odd. But she believes in seeing the world in a different light at all times. An avid reader of everything. If she’s not at a Target or Starbucks because those are her favs, she might be typing away on her laptop, reading a book, hanging out with her amazing family, or she’s off having an adventure. Because Natalie believes in a saying: Your life is your own journey, so make it amazing!

She loves interacting with fans. Feel free to follow her on any of her social media accounts.

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Sara Butler Zalesky
Publication date: July 4, 2016
Genres: Adult, Romance, Sports, Suspense

Fate whispers to the warrior, ‘You cannot withstand the storm.’ The warrior whispers back, ‘I am the storm.’

Loren Mackenzie has overcome many obstacles in her life to be an elite professional cyclist in the Women’s World Tour in Europe. Known as the Ice Queen of the peloton, Loren rarely shows emotion in the heat of competition; she inspires her team with quiet strength and determination. But her cool confidence masks a dark past filled with horrors.

A change in management of Loren’s cycling team brings her face to face with a life she thought she left behind, adding to the pressures of competition. When a chance meeting with an A-list celebrity quickly develops into a whirlwind romance, the cameras of the tabloid-media focus on Loren, revealing the cracks in her facade. The love affair also exposes a menacing rival, threatening not only her chances in the World Championship but her life.

When love and obsession collide, Loren stands in the center of a storm. Can she find the courage to fight her inner demons, or will her fear and shame consume her?

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Coming soon – book 2: In Darkness, There Is Still Light

Chapter 1:

Atherton Leaves Her! Has the Actor’s Whirlwind Romance with the Pro Cyclist run its Course?

“Yes, Charlotte, he left me. In the airport, to fly back to California.”

Loren Mackenzie knew the headline in The Sun was an exaggeration, but the World Champion time trialist still felt the sting. As her pro cycling season draws to a close, Loren looks forward to taking a break from training and a reuniting with her boyfriend, Graham Atherton. When rumors and innuendo begin to swirl around them, secrets they have kept from each other shake their relationship to its foundation.

Echoes from the past ripple into the present, giving Loren a bittersweet reunion with a love she thought was lost. But, reliving the fractured memories of her childhood has left her afraid to dig deeper; lest the monsters that dwell in the dark corners of her mind drag her down again.

Meanwhile, obsession and greed churn into a storm on the horizon, threatening Loren and those closest to her. When the tempest hits and the dust finally settles, what is uncovered tilts the axis of her world.

Loren must find the strength to believe that even in darkness, there is still light. There is still hope. There is still love.

The following is the first chapter of In Darkness, There is Light.

3 October, New York

It’s not over. It’s not.

Loren Mackenzie let out a sigh, her eyes following the blinking lights of a jetliner as it disappeared into the distance over Kennedy International Airport. He’s just going back to work in California and I’m going home, to England. She let out an even longer sigh. Just two more races and I get to take a real break. How perfect would it be to just go lie on a beach somewhere with him.

Her gaze refocused on the reflection of a man approaching her in the window; his long, confident stride and athletic form quickened her pulse. She turned to face him, but her smile dissolved into a hard frown when he was stopped by a group of fawning teenagers, begging for autographs and selfies with him.

Yep, I had to fall in love with an A-list actor. As Graham Atherton separated himself from the group to continue toward her, Loren forced a smile, but it didn’t stick as he stopped again to become engrossed in his mobile. He looked up from the screen to continue on his way.

“Sorry about that, love,” he said to her. “Just a text from Ron. He said he’ll ring you when he gets into London to discuss setting up a meeting. Is that alright with you?”

She squinted an eye. “So I have people now?”

“I do come as somewhat of a package deal. All that, you know.” He thumbed at the disbursing crowd behind him. “And Ron’s a bit more than just my agent,” he said. “He’s my best mate and I trust him.”

“That’s nice of him to offer.” She turned back to the window as Graham came up behind and wrapped his arms around her.

“Talk to me, love.”

“It’s just, this is the longest we’ve been physically together, and I don’t want it to end.” Her shoulders drooped. “I’m sorry I’m whining. I’m just tired.”

“No, darling, you’re not just tired,” he murmured. “You’ve been completely shat on.” He kissed her neck then tightened his arms around her. “You won the time trial Championship in Richmond, but you had to put up with all the nonsense from the press. And then losing the road race, which even that BBC reporter, Theo Arnold agrees was not your fault.” Graham came around to face her with pinched brows.

“But if that weren’t enough, you had to deal with me throwing your past in your face.” He cupped her cheek. “I still feel awful for that, and I want to help you, but I have no idea how.” Loren kissed him, then put her arms around his waist and held him close.

“I just want this, and more of it when I see you again.” He gave her a squeeze then drew away to glance around them. “Graham?”

“Grab your bag and come with me.” He bent to pick up their carry-ons, then led her to a private seating area, far away from prying ears and eyes. He took a seat on the small sofa across from her and held her hand with both of his.

“Darling, I know how hard it was for you and your aunt to talk about what happened to your mother and sister, and I’m awfully proud of you for doing that,” Graham said and glanced down at their clasped hands. “I also know Maggie gave you all of the photos and documents she found in the attic, and you have the file my father’s man put together.” He grimaced. “I want to ask that you don’t look through all that again by yourself.”

“Is that all?” she chuckled softly. “Here I thought you wanted to have a quickie or something.” His stare was somewhere between being shocked and wanting to laugh; his laugh won.

“I love you.” But his mirth it died out as his bright blue eyes studied her. “I have a present for you, and I wanted to save this for your birthday, but it’s burning a hole in my pocket.” He removed a small red velvet box from his jacket and her jaw dropped.

“What are you doing?” she whispered.

He leaned in closer, smirking. “I’m not asking; I’m giving. That’s all.” Her hands shook as she took the box and opened it. Nestled inside was a platinum ring of two clasped hands holding a red stone shaped like a heart, capped with a crown.

“It’s a Claddagh. I’ve always wanted one,” she said, smiling at him. “What’s the stone?”

“It’s a garnet,” he replied. Taking it out of the box, he slipped it on her left ring finger, the hands facing outward. Graham held her gaze as tightly as her hand. “With this crown, I pledge to you my loyalty. With these hands, I offer you my service, and with this heart, I give you mine.”

Loren couldn’t speak as her brain reset. “I don’t know what to say.”

“You don’t have to say anything, love. The stunned look on your face says it all,” he chuckled, but her eyes welled up.

“I didn’t want to cry in public, dammit,” she hiccupped, covering her mouth. He pulled her to sit on his lap, brushing her tears from her cheeks, but Loren frowned at him. “You had this with you the whole time we were together, and you’re just giving it to me now?”

“Well, yes and no,” he countered. “It belonged to my great-grandmother, so I’ve had it for a while, but it needed to be resized. It’s a complicated process, you know.” She kissed him then moved off his lap to the sofa but kept her legs draped over one of his.

“It’s beautiful. Thank you.” She settled her head on his shoulder, breathing in his scent and grazing her lips against the scruff on his jaw. “I don’t want you to go,” she whispered.

“I don’t want to either, but we both have jobs to do.” Graham held her tighter. “I’ll be home before you can miss me.”

She squeezed her eyes closed to hold back the tears. I miss you already.

He cleared his throat. “Loren, about the file﹘.”

“Who am I going to talk to, other than you or Maggie?”

“You can’t talk to Cece about it?”

She shook her head. “How can I talk to her about something I’ve never told her?”

“Perhaps you should.”

Loren sighed. “I need to talk about all of this with my brother, my real brother,” she replied. “I need to find him.” Graham moved back to see her, his mouth curled down.

“I know I have no right to ask this of you, but will you wait until I come home to do that?”

“Yah, I can wait. Hell, I don’t even know where to start looking,” she grumbled, and he kissed her forehead.

“I do love nothing in the world so well as you,” he murmured.

“Je connais,” Loren whispered, sliding her arms around his neck and kissed him.

Author Bio:

Sara was born in the wee hours of a November night in New York City. When her family moved to a small borough in northwestern New Jersey, she had little choice but to move as well. Self-sufficiency is a tough thing for a toddler.

The dichotomy of being the middle child of three, but the only girl, was difficult, as typically no one really pays attention to a middle child. Mostly, Sara spent her time creating fanciful stories in her head when she should have been focused on other things, an issue that continues to this day.

Most of these stories have never been shared, let alone completed. This all changed in the spring of 2015, when Sara was encouraged by a friend to expand upon a short story she had accidentally emailed to him. The result is ‘Wheeler’, a romantic, women’s fiction/sport novel, which combines the author’s romantic inclinations and her passion for cycling.

Sara currently resides in the suburbs of Philadelphia, PA, with her loving husband and their son. She is a paralegal for a boutique law firm in Chester County, Pa, an avid road cyclist and indoor cycling instructor at a national chain.

Follow the author’s blog at sarabutlerzalesky.wordpress.com or on Twitter @sarazalesky. She does a little dance every time someone ‘follows’ her on Twitter. Really.

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Sports Fiction
Date Published: March 1, 2018
Publisher: Lulu Publishing
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In this novel, DeShawn Biggs is as formidable as his name suggests. At 6-feet-5-inches and 300 pounds, DeShawn seems headed for the NFL. Indeed, a football career is regarded as an inevitability for the young man in his native Albany. While most NFL–bound seniors head off to play college ball after they leave high school, DeShawn’s abysmal math grades—and the fact that his parents can literally no longer afford to feed him—result in the giant lineman attending an elite Connecticut prep school for “grade thirteen.” After an emotional farewell to his parents, who are purposefully removing themselves from his life for good—“You’ve got to use your God-given talents to make a life for yourself,” says his father, “and you cannot do that with your mother and me in the way of that life”—DeShawn is left alone among the white, wealthy student body. Sticking out like a large sore thumb, DeShawn attempts to walk the fine line between what is expected of him and what will not be tolerated. A cheating scandal gets him expelled but not before he secures a place at Montgomery Southern A&M, a football power that will set him up to advance to the NFL. DeShawn eventually gets his shot at the big leagues, but his trusting nature and penchant for making bad decisions dog him throughout his career. Each time, the stakes get higher. DeShawn has always been a pawn in a game controlled by other people, but how much of his own integrity can he compromise in order to get ahead?


It’s physical despair, and if you want to try it, be prepared to bang other people up as well as yourself.  No worries, though, because this stuff is legal.  Maybe they change the rules every now and then.  Maybe people hit too hard and send someone away in a stretcher.  Perhaps you go for it all, a carpe diem kind of thing, a Hail Mary kind of thing, and the tragedy of sickness or injury emerges like a mad, socially mobile demon penetrating the acre you’re playing on. 

Again, all of it is legit.  In fact, people support you, because you are the star and the legend on the field, but no one ever really talks about physical despair while you lift the weights, run the suicide sprints, take laps every few minutes so the coaches can decide what to do until the end of practice.  Maybe you make a sack from behind the line of scrimmage.  Maybe you protect your quarterback who finds his receivers in the dangerous territories of zone coverage.  The receiver then heads into daylight and catches a precisely thrown ball.  Maybe you win.

As a lineman you are getting bigger, leaner, meaner, and yet you get no credit whatsoever.  The only time the TV shows aim their cameras in your direction is when you are castigated by unruly fans who see the flying yellow flag pulled from the waist of an old referee, pointing at you for holding, roughing the passer, off-sides, mistaking the play for a pass instead of a run, or missing a critical block.  You dream the opposite of these things, because you want to be one of these elites.  You will be the one who actually does some of the work on the team.  You’re willing to work on a muddy field that has seen its share of torrential downpours and winter ice storms.  And yet, there is no credit.  Just a paycheck, more gym time, more time with the trainer, more time with the dummy sleds…

Yes, you should have been the one they clapped for, the one getting the media’s attention, the guy who gets the prom queen before the handsome quarterback.  Even a drone with laser sighting can’t throw the ball that well.  The ball falls into the receiver’s belly like a newborn pot-bellied pig.  Their hides will go towards making more footballs for the other professional games. 

If your team wins that week, you go with them to the bars and drink with your fellow players.  No matter how late or how drunk you are, your significant other allows you to sleep with your mistress who magically stands naked in front of you.  If you lose the game, you return to a gaggle of disappointed housewives who tell you to work harder on the field or else she’ll leave you for the better player she’s sleeping with now.  We’re talking reality television that nets them even more money for very little reason.  The housewives of the NFL.  But you are too blind to see these things, especially when the season is on the cusp of a new beginning.  You have the ability to arrive at game day after a string of practice sessions, so that you can continue being the gladiator in a country that resembles the strength, the excesses, and the eventual implosion of Rome. 

Yes, these are the contemporary gladiators on the playing field.  All we need are chariots, hungry tigers, and a young Ben Hur.  This is God’s game, a gift to mankind with a few knowing female reporters on the field and even in the locker rooms.  It’s all available, anything you want, just to keep you playing, just to avoid the physical despair from ruining your entire career.  Yes, the game of football is that physical. 

Even suiting up for a game is physical – miles of nylon athletic tape – the type that begs its players to have well-shaven ankles and legs.  Padding on the thighs and the knees, shoulder pads made of hardened plastic, the all-seeing-always-talking helmet with a remote link for the coach to talk to his quarterback while on the field, the cleats that can’t stick properly to artificial turf, and the new mouth-guard that the trainer boiled and fit into your teeth a couple of nights ago –  you have been waiting and wanting this.

But the gladiator wasn’t home for dinner.  The two parents ate in silence.  They ate whatever leftovers their son didn’t eat.  They had pork chops with apple sauce, boiled red-skin potatoes, and buttered string beans.  The father looked at his wife across the table, and with his smile and eyes staring straight into hers, he didn’t have to say thank you for the wonderful dinner.  He simply had to look at her in this special way – the vibes of thanks passing between their eye contact.  The mother, however, didn’t smile with him.  While it was his favorite dinner, she still could not talk to him as they did when their son was there. 

They didn’t discuss their plans when their son ate with them.  Instead, they made small talk and told him nothing.  On a night like tonight, their son, DeShawn Biggs, was out with his school friends.  He was old enough to be graduating from high school, but where he would end up, only his parents knew, and they wouldn’t tell their son anything yet.  They would wait until they were both comfortable with the idea first.  They would then break the news to him upon his return.  They believed he was headed to the mall with his friends after football practice.  DeShawn loved his friends, or at least this was what his parents surmised.  DeShawn and his friends vowed that they would never lose touch no matter where they went after graduation. 

DeShawn headed to college, but his Math grades needed immediate help if he were to be accepted at one of the Southern universities that would position him well enough to join the NFL after a couple of years of eligibility.  Already, his mother, especially, hated the NFL and all that it stood for.  Nothing was ever good enough for her DeShawn, and even though his father steered his son’s future like a captain guiding a ship, he too realized that his son’s gifts in size and athletic ability were also a curse and not just a blessing to get all excited about.  He didn’t want to lose him either, and he reminded his wife of this every night before they went to bed. 

But somehow, he was the bad guy in all of this.  He was the one who supported having their talented son leave the family.  He reasoned that they could no longer afford him.  They couldn’t even feed him properly.  Just like children who had to be abandoned by their parents to ensure better lives for them, such was DeShawn’s situation.  Only his mother was reluctant, as his father already made up his mind that his son would leave and never contact them again while heading to the next level of his professional career.  They had to sacrifice their son in order to ensure a better life for him rather than the one they had in the ghettos of Albany, New York.

He put down his fork after polishing off the string beans and said, “okay, Didi, what’s wrong?”

“Why should I even have to say it?  It’s not like you don’t know.”

“I know.”

He brought his fork and knife together and pushed it to the rim of the plate.  One of the reasons why Didi loved him so much was because of his manners.  Her husband’s mother had been very strict with him on dinner etiquette when a child.

“Do we have to go over this again?” asked the father, Crosby Biggs his name.

“Every night,” she said, “because what we’re doing is something that’s going to affect him and us.”

Didi took her dissatisfaction with the plan into the kitchen.  She returned with a warm apple pie and vanilla ice cream.

“It’s a better life for him, Didi.  You know that.”

“I’m not letting my boy stay with anyone else.  I don’t care if he makes it to the NFL or not, but we can’t just drop him off at college and leave him there.  It’s wrong, and he’s my baby, and no one will take that away from me.”

Crosby Biggs cut a large slice of apple pie and scooped up a spoonful of ice cream and plopped it on top.

“There must be another way,” she said.

“Like what?” said Crosby, sectioning off the large piece of pie with his fork.

“You’ll find one.”


“Yes, you.  This is your idea, isn’t it?”

“It must be done.  We can’t afford to feed him anymore.  I make about forty grand a year at the agency, and our big and tall son commands at least half of it with his eating.  The two of us can hardly live here, Didi.  You have to consider that.  I can hardly feed the both of us.  And the college recruiters said that this type of thing has been done many times before.”

“So we’re leaving DeShawn on the footsteps of a football college?  No one does that, Crosby.”

“Honey, it’s done all the time.  We can’t just keep him here.  We both don’t make enough.”

“I’ll get a second job.”

“Doing what?  Cleaning another welfare motel?  We can’t live like that anymore.  And you have to get it out of your head that you’ll work until age eighty.  You don’t need to do that.  I’m sure you can do that, but you don’t need to do that.  We don’t have any money as it is.  We can’t afford his clothing either.  Luckily the recruiters are stepping up to the plate. 

“Don’t ruin his chance to shine, Didi.  We’ll always regret it if we keep him with us.  He’s not made for these streets like we once were.  And that’s exactly where he’d be headed – right to the streets with all of them crack-heads and heroin addicts who graduate from that so-called high school of his.”

“We also went there, y’know,” she said.

“And where did it get us?  I’m cleaning toilets, and you’re cleaning out motel rooms full of used condoms, crack pipes, and beer bottles.  That’s where this neighborhood has gotten us.  It’s terrible, Didi.  I’d rather see DeShawn on television with a lot of money to his name, sacking quarterbacks and all, than having him spend one more year in this place.  Think about it.”

“Oh, I’ve thought about it,” she said, clearing the dishes and silverware away from the table.

“There’s no other alternative.”

“There must be.  How am I supposed to live without my son?  Tell me that, Crosby?”

“We both have to live without him.  And it’s not like I want my son to go away either.  I hope you don’t think that.”

When she returned from the kitchen, she hovered above the table in thought.  She finally said, “of course not, Crosby.  I know you’ll miss him just as much as I’ll miss him.”

“But it’s for the best,” he said.  “It’s the best for our son.  I mean, we’ll then move into a smaller place.  We won’t need to be renting such a big house anymore.  A one bedroom apartment will do.  We can also get out of this crime-infested neighborhood.  You’d like that, wouldn’t you?  And at the same time, we’ll see that our son is well-taken care of.”

“Are you sure about this?  You’re boss says we’re headed in the right direction?”

“Our son will be a college graduate one day.  And he’ll be in the pros with his new degree.  What can be better than that?”

After dinner, Crosby Biggs waited up for DeShawn.  Didi adjourned upstairs for some much needed sleep.  She had to work the next morning.  Crosby also had to work, but he was on the night shift for the coming weekend.  Both parents had one day off a week.  They worked hard, but at the same time, they both didn’t want to end up regretting their decision.

Crosby fell asleep on the living room couch waiting for his son to return.  Crosby awoke with a start in the early hours of the morning and made sure that DeShawn had arrived safe and sound.  His boy slumbered on his king-sized bed in a room filled with trophies, pictures, and posters of famous NFL stars. 

When Crosby went to work the next day, he approached the head of his janitorial company before he set about cleaning the next office building further uptown.  He sat in front of him at his big desk.  The head of the company and Crosby always got along.  The company head was a big supporter of the high school team.  A booster, he liked to call himself.  Crosby, in his uniform with the company’s name embroidered on his chest, sat there as the company head took a phone call.  Once his boss hung up, Crosby was free and clear to speak his mind on the issue.  Even though it was his boss, he didn’t mind expressing how he truly felt in front of him.

“Didi hates the idea,” said Crosby, “but she also knows that it’s the best for him.”

The head of his company twirled a cigar in his hand and lit it up after cutting off the back tip.  The smoke was rich, thick, and sweet-smelling.

“You’re son is gifted,” he said.  “With a gift like his to play ball, you and Didi should both know that we’re doing the right thing.  Of course, I want him to play for Rutgers, but I would say let the South East Conference have him.  Down there, they don’t care about anything but football.  They’ll ram him into shape, much like the Army.”

“Didi’s worried.”

“She’s the son’s mother, Crosby.  Of course she’s worried.”

“What was that alternative we were talking about?”

“Maybe you can have him be a post-graduate for a year at an elite school before he heads south.”

“What’s a post-graduate?”

“Basically, your son gets an athletic scholarship for one year at one of these elite boarding schools.  They keep him for an extra year past high school.  They make sure his grades are good so that he can get into the college of his choice.  I mean, Crosby, his grades are not great, right?  He still failing Math?”

Crosby hated to admit it, but there was something about his boss’ pressed suit and silk tie that made the man superior to him and hinted at an income way beyond the paychecks he had been receiving from his entire life cleaning offices.  Crosby relied on his advice, ever since his boss spotted DeShawn for a Division One school.  Rutgers, though, was out of the question.  The South would have him learn and compete like nothing both parents had seen before.  Crosby almost loved the man for his help.  He loved all white people.  They were always so eager to help even though their bank accounts loomed miles above his.  It wasn’t that Crosby envied whites.  He just always listened to their advice, as though wealth and success were a part of their genetic makeup.

“He’s failing Math, alright,” said Crosby dourly.

“Maybe a ‘grade thirteen’ at a boarding school is the answer.  It would surely help Didi get used to the fact that her son has moved on.  In case she gets too sad about it, you guys could always take him back.”

“But that’s the whole point.  If DeShawn were to come home after the boarding school, it would be a huge emotional setback for him.  We’d have to be out of the picture totally.  We’d have to move on so that he couldn’t find us if he ever wants to know where we went.  We’re putting him totally on his own.  He’ll grow up and become a self-reliant man.”

“You’re a brave man, Crosby.  Letting your son succeed like that.  Let me put you in touch with my prep school in Connecticut.  Maybe I could arrange a post-graduate year for him?  What do you think about that?”

“If you say so.”

“You can trust me, Crosby.  An amazing life for your son awaits.  He’ll learn from the best, and after his football career is over, he’ll be ready for the working world with any job he damn-well wants.  I know you want that for him, especially considering your present circumstances.  Your son will command triple that amount at any entry-level position they throw him.  Imagine that?  And this after playing for the NFL?”

“If you could make that happen,” said Crosby, “I’d forever be in debt to you.”

“Actually, I’d be in debt to you too.  If he goes to my Alma Mater, I’ll definitely be in debt to you.  You’re son is headed for the NFL for Chrissakes.  Whatever he does, he’s definitely headed there.  All he has to do is pass Math.  He’s amazing on the football field.  His attitude is so good that he’s the coach’s favorite player, and that asshole is tough to please.”

“I’d be grateful, sir.  A grade thirteen would help us a great deal.”

“I’ll work on it.  Give me a week, and we’ll arrange it.  Now get back to work!”

“Yessir,” said Crosby.

The head of the company smiled graciously as he fielded another phone call.  Crosby left his office ready for work.  They would do it all for DeShawn.  Crosby was well-certain of their decision as never before.  His son at the elite school would make contacts – a group of better, wealthy, white friends.  His son would eat better than ever before.  DeShawn loved his mother’s cooking, but an elite school like the one the head of the company described that morning would double his amount of quality food, so that his son could go to bed every night well-rested and ready for practice the next day.  Crosby felt that DeShawn was always starving for more food for his large body.  What a relief an elite school would be in this regard.  Didi would like it much better as well, because if they ever regretted the decision, they could always have him back.

Crosby had to clean an office floor at an uptown location.  He took his 1988 Cadillac Coup Deville to work that afternoon.  He had huge respect for the Cadillac brand.  He kept his car vacuumed, fresh-smelling, and always in tip-top shape.  Granted that it was a very old model, but he kept it running as new with frequent trips to his brother-in-law’s garage in Arbor Hill.  And then he thought that maybe he’d leave his prized automobile for DeShawn.  It would be a token for him to remember his father by. 

He suddenly choked up a bit.  The Cadillac was the only prized possession he had.  The car meant so much that it was the only item of real value that he could give to his son.  Other than his prized car, Crosby had nothing else to give.  With this realization, a few tears leaked from his eyes.  He would have given his son the world if it were at his disposal.  Instead he drove in the old-school luxury of his Cadillac – leather seats, automatic lights, power windows, power steering, climate control, and a bus for a body – as he drove up from the downtown state government work zone, passed the bipolar points of the wealthy Pine Hills neighborhood and a crumbling Arbor Hill, the social segregation so apparent that it called out for some kind of protest against the government, and into the parking lot of a faceless corporate complex across from a crowdless shopping mall whose stores were going out of business. 

He had already been used to driving a luxury car while wearing his janitor’s uniform.  He used to think it an embarrassment, especially when other drivers peered in, curious to know how a janitor could afford such a car, despite how old it was.

He returned home after ten hours of waxing, polishing, vacuuming, and mopping.  He was dead tired.  Luckily, Didi had stayed awake to make him another dinner, but this time it wasn’t as special.  Meatloaf, crinkle-cut French fries, and salted peas.  He always admired her cooking, though.  And as far as Didi was concerned, she knew that if you took care of a man’s stomach and his dick, a man would never leave her.  After so many years of being a wife to an exhausted janitor, she was still right on point.  And once again, DeShawn had a team meeting that night, so he was out with his friends late all over again. 

He was never home.  Always football and his friends, and rarely did he do any homework.  His primary subject was football.  Math was a priority, but a close second.  The subject became a stubborn problem that his coaches wanted to quell.  But it was useless.  Crosby Biggs would send him to grade thirteen, and when he mentioned it to Didi, who by this time had been riding the peaks and valleys of her own maternal emotions, she liked the idea better than sending her son to a Southern football factory right after graduation.  They also realized that DeShawn would never pass Math otherwise.  And what if he did pass Math at an elite prep school?  The college and university football establishment would fall begging at his feet.  He was that good on the gridiron and that poor with his Math skills.  As far as his other courses were concerned, both faculty and staff exempted him from further responsibility.

“I like the idea,” said Didi.  “At least if something happens to him, he’ll be much closer to us.”

“What might happen?” asked Crosby.

“He could get sick.  He could get injured – ”

“Why do I think you’d like it that way,” he asked with a smirk.

“Y’know, Crosby, I wouldn’t mind it at all.  Let’s say to hell with it and keep him here.”

“Why don’t you go turn on some music.”

“It’s late.  Won’t we disturb the neighbors?”

“Nah.  Turn it on.”

Didi went to their obsolete stereo system and had it drop an old forty-five onto its turntable.  She played Same Cooke and turned the volume up slightly.  Crosby abandoned the dinner she made and joined her in the living room.  Together they embraced in a slow dance.  Didi hung onto his collar and wept.  There was no mistake that they were both getting older and more fragile. 

The stereo struck a groove of their favorite song in high school, and together they clung to each other, still having doubts about letting their son go.  Crosby was determined to see it happen.  He wanted to see him on television on Super Bowl Sunday one day.  Didi, however, still felt vacant, as though her womb had never held such a talented young boy.  That’s what it must have felt like for a mother to give up her baby – an intense emptiness that sucked the life out of them both, even though Crosby kept a stiff upper lip about it.  He held his wife in the glow of the stereo.  The track had finished, and for a few minutes more he held her close as she wept into his collar.  They made love that night as best they could.

In the morning, Didi made a stack of warm, fluffy pancakes along with five eggs, ten strips of bacon, and a half-pound of hashbrowns.  The two men in her life, both Crosby and DeShawn, barreled down the stairs at roughly the same time.  Most of the food went to DeShawn.  His large frame and size had him eating plates of food that Didi kept cooking for him.  Crosby ate very little, and Didi had a cup of coffee, as she had eaten earlier that morning.  They waited for DeShawn to finish his gigantic meal before they talked to him seriously about his future.

“When’d you get home last night?” asked Crosby.

“Late, Dad,” said DeShawn.  “We saw a late movie.”

“You haven’t been hanging around those losers, have you?”

“What losers?”

“Those crack addicts, those pot smokers, that Malt liquor crowd?”

“No, Dad.  I went out with Marshall and a couple of girls from the High School.”

“You wear a condom?”


“Hush, now, Crosby,” said Didi, stirring her cup of coffee.

“Just checking,” said Crosby.  “Because those guys are going nowhere.  They’ve been raised by the streets, and we don’t want anything to do with them.  Isn’t that right, DeShawn?”

“Yes, sir.  I don’t smoke no crack, and I don’t drink no liquor.”

“And why is that so important?”

“Because I don’t want to wreck my future.”

“That’s what I like to hear, son.  You keep that attitude around here, and you’ll finally get out and live a great life.  You understand?”

“Yes, sir.”


“DeShawn,” said his mother, “we have some things we want to go over with you, now that the school is almost over.  Now I know you’ve been having a good time with your school friends, and I know you want to go to college right away, and become your full potential and all, but son, there have been a few things we want to talk to you about.”

“What did I do now?”

“Nothing, son,” said Crosby.  “You’re doing just fine.”

“That’s a relief,” said DeShawn.  “I know I’ve been coming home late and all, but me and Marshall, we want to make sure we’re tight even after college.”

“He’s off to Morehouse, right?”

“And Johnny off’s to Fisk.”

“Well, that’s a relief,” said Crosby.  “At least they’re not in jail.”

“Crosby, please?”

“Sorry, hon.”

“DeShawn,” began Didi, “we’ve heard that your recruiter is coming today from the college.  You need to improve your Math scores much more than where they are now.”

“I’m trying, Mom.  I’m even being tutored in it.”

“Who’s tutoring you?  Hopefully it’s not that Melissa?”

“Yeah.  She’s really good at Math.”

“Don’t forget that condom, son.”

“Crosby!  Not at the table.”

“Sorry, hon.  Please go on.”

“Well, DeShawn, They want you to do what is called a ‘post-graduate’ year of schooling.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?  I’m all set to go for football practice this summer.”

“Basically, son,” said Crosby, “they want you to go through another year of high school, so that you can pass Math an get recruited by even better college programs.”

“Who me?  Another year of high school?  But, Dad, I – ”

“Now just hold on, son.  Not here at our school.  Let your Mom explain.”

“We want you to go to a Connecticut boarding school, so that you can pass Math.  You’re options will be many more, and you’ll have a stronger hand to bargain with to get into Montgomery Southern as a student.”

“But, Mom, I don’t need another year.  I asked Coach, and he said that I can go straight to many colleges if I want.”

“We want you to do another year.  The school we want you to go to is in Connecticut.”


“You’re going,” said Crosby, “and that’s their final decision, both theirs and ours.  This is the last group of decisions we’re ever gonna make for you.” 

“That’s a relief.”

“The recruiter from Montgomery-Southern A&M is coming tomorrow.  She intends to announce their decision that you must go to a post-graduate school.  Your Math has to improve, and I’m thinking that the recruiter will agree that a post-graduate year is necessary at this time.  An educated man is a good man, DeShawn.  Most of the time in life, you’ll live with a degree and not a football in your hand.  Get my meaning?”

“But, son, my baby, there’s another decision we’re making that you should be aware of.”

“Son,” said Crosby, “you need to be on your own from now on.  We are no longer going to interfere with your life from here on in.  That’s the way it has to be.”

“That’s a step in the right direction?” said DeShawn.

“I don’t think you know what we mean,” said Crosby.

“In other words, son,” said Didi, almost in tears, “we can’t afford to take care of you anymore.  Once we take you to Connecticut, you are on your own.  You will not see us again.”

DeShawn looked up from his lap, as he had been in deep thought listening to what his parents said.  And after a brief silence where words could no longer be expressed due to the difficult decision they made, Deshawn said, “what do you mean by that?”

“I think you know,” said Didi.  “You’re also a smart kid, if you study more.”

“Son, we have to leave you off into the hands of those who can give you a better future.”

“So what are you trying to say?” asked DeShawn.

“We can’t afford to be a part of your life anymore,” said Didi, her eyes moist. “Once you go to the Connecticut school, we are not going to contact you anymore.  And I’m so very sorry, my baby boy.  So sorry that we cannot take care of you anymore, but those who will soon guide you into the NFL will do all of your care-taking from now on.  We’ll be out of the picture.”

“You guys make it sound like I’ll never see you again.”

The table fell silent, and Didi wiped away her tears with a napkin.

“Son,” said Crosby.  “This is your life.  It is not ours.  It is all about you from here on in.”

“But don’t you love me?  I’m your only son.  Are you mad at me?  Did I do something wrong?”

At this point Didi began to sob at the table.  She ran upstairs in tears, leaving both Crosby and DeShawn at their seats.

“Mom, I’m sorry!  For whatever I’ve done, I’m sorry!”

Crosby put his hand upon his, and said, “stop right there, son.  You have done nothing wrong, and we love you more than life itself, but you have to listen to us.  You’ve got to be a man out there.  You’ve got to use your God-given talents to make a life for yourself, and you cannot do that with your mother and me in the way of that life.  This is going to be your life, and it will be your career, and it will be your money at the end of the day.  Your mother and I have already decided on this.  Once you go on to that nice prep school, you are on your own.  We will be totally out of the picture.”

“I don’t get it.”

“You don’t get it yet, my son.  Not yet.  But once you are in the pros, you will understand that decision we’ve made, because we love you, my son.  And you don’t have to apologize for anything.  This is a tough world, and you will have stand like a man through it.  You’ll have to feel the joys and pains of it just like most folk have to.  But from now on, you’ll be doing that without us.”

They sat in silence for some time.  Didi didn’t return to the table that morning.  Both father and son sat together for a little while longer, until the father adjourned upstairs to check on his wife.  DeShawn, shocked by their decision, went out with his friend Marshall to the shopping mall along a busy Western Avenue.  They bought a few tee-shirts and even a New York Giants sports jersey.  And yet, through it all, DeShawn could not hide his tears for very long.  He too wept on Marshall’s shoulder by the time they left the mall and waited patiently for their bus. 

Losing his friends was one thing, but he never before thought that he’d lose his family over talents such as his.  In a way, he regretted being a football player for the first time.  A talent so grand held no other option than to travel up to the New England prep school and at the same time, abandon the failed family that he loved so fully.  Yes, he regretted it, but he figured that his father and mother would never guide him wrongly.  And while they said that they loved him more than life itself, rarely do parents ever hear their own children whispering to themselves, ‘Mom and Dad, you’re wrong.  It is I who love you more than life itself.  It is I who love you more than life itself…’

The college recruiter soon knocked on their door.  She was a woman of refined tastes, high fashion, and perfect style.  She was also shrewd and yet tried to be honest with the Biggs family at the same time.  She reeked of success at an early age, but this never defined her as incompetent.  On the other hand, she may have been too competent to be corrupted by old ideas of what college recruitment was once like.  She sold the school to the Biggs family in a professional fashion, and she sold it well, not by surrendering to the desires of young recruits, but by giving them a picture of the life on campus for a Montgomery-Southern A&M college student.  Yes, college had beautiful girls, but this female was everything about being a woman and not a girl.  Maybe she had grown up too quickly?  Probably not.  Her young age concealed an experienced mind and a wizened intellect.  Her defenses were even stronger.

They all sat at the Biggs’ kitchen table, and Didi gave her some apple pie.  She figured DeShawn’s stomach was her stomach as well.  Of course, DeShawn already committed to Montgomery-Southern, but this recruiter made sure that DeShawn headed in the right direction and not just to another southern football program.

“We want him to go post-graduate,” said the recruiter,  “That’s what my boss at work says too.  Do you think it’s that necessary?  He doesn’t have to be a perfect student.  We already know his Math scores and as well as his test scores are low, but do you think another year in school is a good idea?”

“We want an education for your son as well,” said the recruiter, “and we need that for him.  Academics is very important at our school.  It has to be important for DeShawn too.  We have a strong Math department.  We can have tutors in place to boost his Math scores, and while it’s true that most students need a very strong background in Math to enter the college, DeShawn is in different boat.  He is a very talented young man, and all colleges and universities would love to have him, but we need better Math scores for him to be accepted into the university.  How high, though, is a matter of interpretation.  Also, we have very strong connections to the NFL, probably the strongest connections out of any other college or university.  We train our football players to succeed.  There is nothing more important to us.”

“I see,” said Crosby.  “And also maybe it’d be better to have him close by for one year, just in case his Math doesn’t work out, and if our separation from him doesn’t work out.”

“Yes.  But we need to de-commit here as well.  What if he goes on the post-graduate school and still doesn’t do well in Math.  What then?”

“Then we take him back.”

“Okay, then.  If that’s what’s best for him, it’s best for us too.”

Didi poured them both some more coffee.

“We still need to de-commit, though, Crosby,” said the recruiter.  “You have seen what we have to offer, and we can’t continue to delay his entry into college sports or the NFL.  We want a letter of intent, even though he’s moving on to a private school for post-grad.  As long as you agree that he can do a post-graduate year, then of course, we’ll have DeShawn playing for the NFL in no time.  If not, we can’t take him.  His scores have to improve.  Those are the requirements.  He has to be accepted first.”

“Okay,” said Crosby.  “I guess that’s it.  Let’s put it together.  A post-graduate year it is, but you will carry him next.  Do we have an understanding?”

“Yes,” said the recruiter.  “Consider it done.”

“Okay.  Where are the papers?”

About the Author

Harvey Havel is a short-story writer and novelist. His first novel, Noble McCloud, A Novel, was published in November of 1999. His second novel, The Imam, A Novel, was published in 2000.

In 2006, Havel published his third novel, Freedom of Association.  He has published his eighth novel, Charlie Zero’s Last-Ditch Attempt, and his ninth, The Orphan of Mecca, Book One, which was released last year.  His new novel, The Thruway Killers is his latest work.
The Orphan of Mecca, Books Two and Three, has just been released next year as well as a book, An Adjunct Down, which he just completed.  His work in progress is called Mister Big, about a Black American football player.
He is formerly a writing instructor at Bergen Community College in Paramus, New Jersey.  He also taught writing and literature at the College of St. Rose in Albany as well as SUNY Albany.
Copies of his books and short stories, both new and used, may be purchased at www.barnesandnoble.com, www.amazon.com, and by special order at other fine bookstores.
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For as long as he can remember, Nate’s dreamed of being an MMA fighter. Nothing is going to stand in his way and no one is going to distract him. Everything is going according to plan when Natalie comes along. Even though he wasn’t looking for love, Nate can’t help falling fast and hard. Smart, sweet and supportive, she seems too good to be true, but it’s actually the other way around. Nate isn’t good enough for her, and he’s keeping a secret that will change everything between them. One day, she’ll see the truth inside of him. Until then, Nate’s determined to keep Natalie in his life for as long as he can.

“You really think I’ll win?”

Natalie gave him an incredulous look. “You know I do.”

“I’m asking your opinion as a serious sports analyst and not my girlfriend.”

“Oh, well, if you’re asking me to be a serious sports analyst, then no, you have absolutely no chance,” Natalie joked. “You do know why Davis is called ‘The Machine’, don’t you?”

Nate pretended to look thoughtful. “Um, because he’s in good shape?”

“I’m afraid not, sweetie.” Natalie shook her head as she gave him a pitying look. “It’s because when he goes on the offensive, he unleashes one punch after the other until he takes his opponent out. Punches in bunches.”

Nate laughed. “Punches in bunches, is that the Dr. Seuss school of commentary?”

“Yes, it is. I actually took a class on it last semester.”

“I’m guessing you passed.”

“I got an A without even trying and I’m not lying. I’m good at school. I think it’s cool. No matter the class, I always pass.”

Nate was laughing so hard, he couldn’t catch his breath while Natalie sat across from him wearing a smug grin. Damn, this girl was perfect.

About the Author:

Trish Edmisten is the author of several novels, including Extraordinary Will, a Reader Views Literary Award Winner. Her work has appeared in Writer’s Journal, Creative With Words and A Long Story Short. Besides being an author, she holds a degree in criminology. Trish lives in Fresno, California with her husband and their teenage daughter.


Website: http://www.trishedmisten.com
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Blog: http://trishthewriter.blogspot.com
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She hates fighting. He lives for it. Layla’s vicious past drove her away from her hometown. She couldn’t live with all the reminders surrounding her, so she ran.
Cruz Felix found a new home. A place where he could get his head on straight, train, and fight match after match toward the end goal: the championship in Las Vegas. It’s the one thing in his life he wants more than anything, and it’s all in the name of his deceased father.
Until Layla returns home. Her dad owns the gym; he’s the sole reason Cruz is fighting again. The attraction is immediate, even though both of them are drowning in their own misery and secrets.
The thing about secrets are they always find a way out the darkness and have the power to destroy. Will their connection be worth fighting for?
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HJ Bellus is a small town girl who loves the art of storytelling. When not making readers laugh or cry, she’s a part-time livestock wrangler that can be found in the middle of Idaho, shotgunning a beer while listening to some Miranda Lambert on her Beats and rocking out in her boots.



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FULL CONTACT by HJ Bellus & Kathy Coopmans
Sports Romance

A mafia princess. The nation’s favorite football player. Can they make it work?

An unlikely matching of the stars.

The opposites had it all for one year.

Justice Bexley, the daughter of Cain and Calla leaders of The Diamond Syndicate, sacrificed true love to protect Liam. Her selfish action destroyed them both.

Liam Blake moved on with his prestigious career. However, his outlook on life was never the same. If his parents could fight for true love with a Pinky Promise he can keep moving forward. At least he tried convincing himself of that.

Some say true love has a way of finding its way back. Justice and Liam know better to believe. That’s up until the day they find themselves in a heated meeting.

She owns a new football team.

He’s coming back from an injury and thirsty to prove the nation wrong.

Years of pent-up anger and hatred may fuel an epic second chance love story or ruin both of them for good.

 Find out in FULL CONTACT by HJ Bellus & Kathy Coopmans.




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FULL CONTACT is a standalone, crossover novel between Pinky Promise by HJ Bellus and The Wrath of Cain by Kathy Coopmans.


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FULL CONTACT by HJ Bellus & Kathy Coopmans
Sports Romance

A mafia princess. The nation’s favorite football player. Can they make it work?

An unlikely matching of the stars.

The opposites had it all for one year.

Justice Bexley, the daughter of Cain and Calla leaders of The Diamond Syndicate, sacrificed true love to protect Liam. Her selfish action destroyed them both.

Liam Blake moved on with his prestigious career. However, his outlook on life was never the same. If his parents could fight for true love with a Pinky Promise he can keep moving forward. At least he tried convincing himself of that.

Some say true love has a way of finding its way back. Justice and Liam know better to believe. That’s up until the day they find themselves in a heated meeting.

She owns a new football team.

He’s coming back from an injury and thirsty to prove the nation wrong.

Years of pent-up anger and hatred may fuel an epic second chance love story or ruin both of them for good.

Find out in FULL CONTACT by HJ Bellus & Kathy Coopmans.
Pre-Order your copy: iTUNES | NOOK | KOBO
Full Contact Teaser 4.jpg


I’ve canceled my date for the evening. Natasha something or other. Hated to do it to her after meeting her at the gym and promising her she could show me around town.

I don’t need her or anyone else showing me around. Well, maybe one person, but I can’t seem to pull my head out of my ass to try and apologize to her. I’m afraid I’ll say something I’ll regret again, and in my position regret needs to stay as far away from me as I’ve been of Justice.

I step into the crowded bar called Whiskey Jacks. The few locals I’ve talked to say it’s the happening joint in downtown Boise, even on weekdays. The scene is not my usual. Especially at the moment, since half of the people in here have stopped talking, mouths dropping to the floor when I walk by.

My mood is shit, so I nod and smile. Shake a few guys’ hands and keep moving.

I came here to play football and seek revenge. It seems revenge has a funny and twisted way of blowing back on me. I’m experiencing it firsthand with every glimpse of the only woman I’ve ever loved. She’s everywhere.

Thoughts and dreams on the field. Hell, she’s even in my bed at night when I have my hand wrapped around my dick.

Seeing her is gutting me. It draws back so much pent-up frustration that there are days when I wished I hadn’t let my injury get as far as it did. If it didn’t, I might not be here right now, might not have admitted that my feelings for her are still alive and burning inside of me.

I knew my shoulder was causing me issues before it gave out on me. Little did I know that a flare-up of bone spurs caught in between my muscles would trigger my shoulder to freeze.

It happened so fast when I threw the ball down the field that I had no time to react before I was slammed into from both sides, heard it crunch with the impact from the ground. It shattered and ripped all the way up my neck. It fucked me all up.

Enough to where I had two surgeries within three months, multiple therapy sessions, and a backup quarterback who finished out the season and took our team to the playoffs. The guy respectively ended up taking over my position.

I was let go during negotiations. I knew I would eventually heal, but there was no way in hell I was sitting on the sidelines watching someone else do my job. It’s not in my DNA. Football is the one true love that’s never let me down. I get a natural high every single time I step on the football field. My mom always reminds me how I carried around footballs since I was one.

“Shit,” I grumble to myself, shaking my thoughts free. Justice Bexley has poisoned everything in my life. Now even thoughts of football take me right to her.

I suppose they should, being that she’s technically my boss and the sight of her gets my dick hard and raises my blood pressure to the roof the few times I’ve caught her watching us practice. She’s going to be involved in my life more than she was when we were dating.

The thought of her owning me in a way has me wanting to prove to her more than to myself that I’m ready to help this team, her family, and the fans bring us to the top.

“What can I get you, number eleven?” The busty redhead leans over the bar more than necessary, giving me quite the cleavage show.

I bite down on the inside of my cheek to bait the nasty words I want to spew back at her. Ever since the first press conference announcing my arrival, shit like this happens everywhere I go. After Justice left me, I loved it; hell, I welcomed it. Now, it’s old and quite pathetic.

Even the way some of the female reporters act drives me nuts. I’ve rolled my eyes more than I’ve answered their questions.

“Shit,” I mutter. My mind taking me to the press conference coming up. If I thought the first meeting was hell, then this one with her will be hell on damn steroids. Playing nice with the camera all the while sitting next to Justice. Her scent making me drunk and hard as fucking stone. Yeah, not a good sign for the press. No doubt in my mind they won’t feel and see the tension. Wouldn’t surprise me one bit if they aren’t circling around us like sharks just waiting to ask about our past either.

That ought to be a goddamn stampede gone wild.

“Crown and coke. Double.” I turn on the barstool pretending to study the crowd, hoping the woman behind the bar remembers she’s here to do a job and not pick me up. This will be my last drink for a long time. Hell, shouldn’t even be having it in the first place, but I’m only human, after all.

“Here you go, handsome.” She slides the clear tumbler full of dark amber liquid my way.

I pull out a twenty and slide it across the bar before going to another barstool in the corner. I take one pull of the drink feeling the whiskey burn all the way down. In an odd way, the fiery liquid calms my already hyped-up, fueled nerves.

That is until I see a flash of blonde hair shaking her sweet ass on the dance floor. My spine stiffens along with something else when my eyes stay glued to her backside. Fucking hell.

Once I focus in on the vision, I swear out loud to everyone and no one at all. “Son of a bitch.”

Those damn leather shorts are tight as hell, and those legs of hers that go on for days have always been my greatest weakness. Back then, she knew it and would expose them all the time. Justice is fit athletically. That sweet body of hers is combined with curves that were created to drive men wild. I stare at her long, exposed legs rocking with the song. “Hey, Blake.”

I hear a distant voice but ignore it, choosing to watch Justice dance with another woman. The friend’s face is familiar. I know I should be able to place it, but I can’t focus on a damn thing except for that tight little ass.

Fingernails run along my shoulder, forcing me to look away from the dance floor. A petite little brunette this time. A damn gorgeous one at that. Voluptuous body and a face to match, but she does nothing to my rock-hard dick desperately trying to punch a hole through my zipper.

I’m so damn distracted I offer up a weak smile and glance back to the dance floor to see a man walk up behind Justice and grab her from behind. His hands are touching my favorite thing I’ve ever held in my hands. Her.

I see every single shade of red. It’s one thing to have to be around the woman, but it’s something totally different when another man is involved. Justice spins around, and the soon-to-be dead man wastes no time putting his mouth on hers.

Hell to the motherfucking no.

It’s the final straw that snaps me in half. A broken man seeing white-hot flashes scatter all around and not thinking rationally isn’t a good combination, but it’s a force so torrid I lose all sense of control.

I stand up, my angered body gently shoving the brunette next to me away. For one tiny second, I contemplate on guzzling my drink down. “Fuck it.” There isn’t enough alcohol to numb me right now.

In six long, powerful strides I’m on the dance floor next to them, and when the pencil dick asshole slides his hand down to her ass, I lose all sense of reasoning. I am pissed.

“Justice,” I growl and watch the man turn five shades of white from either whatever she said to him or from seeing me with my fists ready to knock him the fuck out.

Cascades of blonde locks tumble over her shoulder as she whips her head in my direction. She was in the middle of ripping the man a new asshole, I’m sure of it. She halted once she heard her name.

She lifts a perfectly sculpted brow, her anger directed toward me. Yeah, this feisty little princess and me need to have words.

I don’t say another word before grabbing her upper arm and leading her out of Whiskey Jacks. I don’t give two shits she may have left her purse behind either. I don’t stop until we are out on the sidewalk. The chaotic storm inside of me that just hit an all-time high doesn’t give a shit about anything right now except telling her off.

“What in the fuck?” I growl, nearing my face to hers.


“Goddamn right, it’s Liam. Quite the little stunt out there on the dance floor.” I dig my fingers into her hips as I tug her to me.

FULL CONTACT is a standalone, crossover novel between Pinky Promise by HJ Bellus and The Wrath of Cain by Kathy Coopmans.

#BookRelease #Promo…Finding Hope…#BookBoost #SportsRomance @HEAPRMore

FINDING HOPE by Emilia Finn is LIVE!


Rolling On Series #6 | Sports Romance

finding hope reveal

Professional fighter and undisputed champion, twenty-five-year-old Jack Reilly is back for the final installment of the Rollin On series.

Dealing with more grief than any teenager should have to by his young age, Jack’s life finally started to make sense when he stepped into the Rollin On gym. He found a whole new world and a family he never in his wildest dreams expected to love him back.

A new focus. A new goal. Jack was dubbed to be a champion long before he ever stepped into the octagon.

With his sweet girlfriend Stephanie by his side, Jack’s world was picture perfect. But then grief and chaos strikes again, tearing him down and thrusting him into a pit of despair he couldn’t possibly hope to escape. There’s only so much pain a man can take in one lifetime.

Will this be the year Jack finally breaks?

Long awaited and eagerly anticipated, the boy we met five books ago is finally a man.

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Meet Emilia Finn:

Emilia is Australian and lives on the East Coast with her husband and children.  She’s a real life martial arts enthusiast, has competed in many full contact tournaments over the years and has a big display shelf full of pretty trophies to show for it.  Emilia’s a mum to two littles who still keep her up at night, and she married her real life fighter as well.  Between changing diapers and cooking food her kids refuse to touch, she writes her books, submerging herself in the world of Kincaid and the UFC. It’s a wonderful place to be. She hopes to see you there. x

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#Bookblitz…In for the Win…#BookBoost #Adult #Romance #Sports #Suspence #MustRead @XpressoTours @MelyndaPrice1

In for the Win
Melynda Price
(Against the Cage #5)
Publication date: November 7, 2017
Genres: Adult, Romance, Sports, Suspense

To win his heart, she’ll have to give him the one thing that could drive him away—the truth…

Kyle Scott’s talent for fighting paved the way for a career he never wanted, but needed to survive. Five years later, he doesn’t recognize the man he’s become. All his focus and energy has been poured into raising his little sister, leaving no time or interest for anything beyond a casual hook-up—until he meets a woman who sends his life spiraling out of control.

Penelope Cantrel isn’t looking for love, but she’s always ready for a good time. If she keeps everyone at a distance, they can’t discover how broken she is, or the secrets she’s running from. When she crosses paths with the sexy MMA fighter, Kyle’s reputation as a cage-banging manwhore doesn’t concern her. She isn’t interested in a commitment. But after their white-hot attraction leads to a night of mind-blowing sex, neither of them will ever be the same again.

When Pen starts receiving threatening messages, her deepest fears are realized as she becomes the obsession of a man who will kill to possess her. Concerned for her safety, Kyle offers to pose as her boyfriend to deter her unwanted admirer, but his heated touches and those not-so-innocent kisses don’t feel like he’s acting. Could the infamous playboy be falling for her?

As the threat against Pen escalates, her stalker is closer than they thought. Kyle is the only thing standing between her and a madman, but she fears trusting him with her secrets could be a fatal mistake.

Goodreads / Amazon

Tonight, when Pen had crawled into his bed, Kyle foolishly hoped she was feeling it too. But as hot as the sex had been, something was still missing. An emotional connection? He didn’t really know, because he’d never felt or wanted one before. But he’d sensed she was holding a part of herself back.

Their disconnect hadn’t been physical. Fuck, he’d never felt so much pleasure—ungloved and coming inside her. The sensation, the intensity…there were no words. Even now he was growing hard just from the memory. No, that definitely had not been their problem. The issue, he feared, was emotional. And the struggle to synch Pen’s body with her mind was going to be a challenge. Question was, could he do it? Because he was starting to wonder if his efforts wouldn’t be fought at every turn.

Something in her past had broken her. He didn’t know what, how, or by whom, but her reaction to him earlier left little doubt in his mind. And even the possibility that she’d been abused—physical?—sexually?—filled him with such protective rage, a part of him almost feared discovering the truth. But how could he be the glue to help mend her broken pieces if he couldn’t figure out how they fit back together? She was a puzzle, a complex enigma he wanted to solve because deep down he knew the prize would be her heart.

Pen shook her head, looking utterly and completely lost. “I don’t know, Kyle. This isn’t supposed to be real. And it scares me that you’re changing the rules.”

“And you didn’t change the rules when you climbed into my bed? What the fuck was that about, then? You think because you made them, you can break them without consequence? Or is it because I fuck around that you think you get a pass—that this means nothing to me.”

As each word flew out of his mouth, he could see it ratcheting her fear. And yet he couldn’t seem to shut the fuck up. Her defenses were high and there was no getting past those walls, but he kept battering them with his verbal ground and pound assault. He wasn’t leaving this room until one of them tapped. Unfortunately, he was starting to get concerned that someone was going to be him.

She shook her head in denial, stepping back. And because he was a fighter, he advanced—countering her move for move until her retreat was halted by the bed.

“It was a mistake… This was a mistake…”

“Oh, now it’s a mistake? Because I’m not interested in being your boy-toy? Because you’re scared I might actually want something from you, like, oh…an ounce a trust?—a glimmer of emotion? Something to tell me that I might mean something more to you than a cock to get off on!”

Her eyes narrowed, little hands tightening into fists, and he knew he’d pushed her too far.

“What the fuck, Kyle? I thought I was the one with the vagina! Just because we fucked that doesn’t give you a one-way pass into my life. You don’t have any more right to my secrets than I do yours. You don’t see me trying to pry into your private life, do you? We’re friends—with benefits—and if you want us to stay that way then respect my goddamn boundaries.”

“With benefits? Thanks anyway, I think I’ll pass. I can fuck anytime I want, I don’t need you for that.” He turned to storm out, but her parting words won that round and had him tapping out.

“I was talking about the friends part…”


Author Bio:

Melynda Price is a bestselling and award-winning author of contemporary romance. Her Against the Cage series has finaled in many awards such as the RONE, USA Today BBA, Golden Quill, National Readers’ Choice, and New England Readers’ Choice.

What Price enjoys most about writing is the chance to make her readers fall in love, over and over again. She cites the greatest challenge of writing is making the unbelievable believable, while taking her characters to the limit with stories full of passion and unique twists and turns. Salting stories with undertones of history whenever possible, Price adds immeasurable depth to her well-crafted books. She currently lives in Northern Minnesota with her husband and two children where she has plenty of snow-filled days to curl up in front of the fireplace with her Chihuahua and a hot cup of coffee to write.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Amazon / Instagram / Bookbub


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#Bookblitz…This Piece of Our Being…#BookBoost #NA #Romance #Sports #Giveaway @XpressoTours @RobynMRyan

This Piece of Our Being
Robyn M. Ryan
(Clearing the Ice, #3)
Publication date: December 5, 2017
Genres: New Adult, Romance, Sports

She no longer believes that love conquers all.

He questions his convictions.

Alone, each faces an uncertain future.

Fate has other ideas.

Just as Fate placed their lives on a collision course five years ago, Andrew and Caryn Chadwick’s paths cross once again in Toronto after a four-month separation. Despite Andrew’s assurances that he wants to repair their marriage, Caryn is wary, not certain she can trust him, and struggles with doubts and questions about his relationship with a member of his Rehab Team. Wracked with guilt, Andrew questions his determination to return to the Tampa Suns hockey team, and he seeks to convince Caryn their marriage will survive.

Fate intervenes with a gift at the worst possible moment.

Caryn can hide this secret for only a short time, but is Andrew capable of pushing his needs aside when he discovers the truth? Can she risk her heart and soul once again? This Piece of Our Being follows Andrew’s and Caryn’s journeys through a fragile reconciliation. Both vow to place honesty at the center of their future. But, will the secrets revealed heal their marriage or drive them further apart?

The conclusion to the Clearing the Ice trilogy, This Piece of Our Being delivers Andrew and Caryn’s Happily Ever After, but the path to reconciliation is rocky and missteps prove costly.

**Please note: For your best enjoyment please be sure to read THIS OF MY HEART and THIS PIECE OF MY SOUL before this book. Check your favorite ebook site for special offers on the first two books in the series during THIS PIECE OF OUR BEING’s preorder period.**

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PRE-ORDER SPECIAL—Just .99 through December 5 release
SPECIAL—Buy the first book in the series, This Piece of My Heart, for just .99 (Save $2.00)


On her last day in Toronto, Caryn wandered around the university campus. She had always loved summer on campus and happy memories crowded her mind. She stopped for a strawberry cream frappuccino at the coffee shop where her study group had met two-to-three evenings a week every school year. She smiled as she looked at “their table” where some summer students sat, textbooks open, chatting and taking notes on their devices. The tradition continues.

Caryn walked to the large grassy area, her favorite section of the campus. The sun felt delicious on her face, and she looked for a spot to sit. She leaned her head back and allowed a smile to spread across her face. I’m having a baby! Just for this moment, this very second, I’m happy. No worries about the future. No what-ifs. No second-guessing. I’m having a baby, and I am ecstatic!

She pulled her knees to her chest and rested her chin on top. In that moment, she could imagine celebrating the moment with Drew. She closed her eyes and imagined him laughing as he lifted her off her feet and swung her around in a circle, his blue eyes never leaving hers. A special romantic dinner poolside, stars shining above the lanai. Holding hands as they ate, planning the future, picking the bedroom they’d convert into the nursery, speculating whether the crib would hold their son or daughter. And choosing names! So many to consider. So many dreams. If only…

Caryn brushed both hands across her face when she felt the tears. Of course, that’s not my reality. Not now. And maybe never. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath. You’re strong. No matter what happens, everything will work out. This beautiful child will know love from both parents…even if we live separately.

She sensed a presence beside her and began to scoot to her feet to stand and walk away, but then she suddenly knew. “Why are you here? How did you know?”
Drew’s voice was soft. “I didn’t. I just flew up with Tom. Dan told me to take some time to recharge. Spend some time with my parents. Tom dropped me at the townhouse just now. When I walked inside, I realized you were here.” She felt him drop to the grass beside her. “I had a hunch I might find you somewhere on campus.”

From the corner of her eye, she could tell he was about to reach for her hand.

“Don’t,” she begged softly. “Please.”

“Can we talk?”

“I can’t look at you right now.”
He was silent for a moment. “Okay, how about this.” He shifted until they were back-to-back. “Better?”

Caryn nodded without speaking and pulled her knees back up against her chest. She waited for Andrew to speak and heard him sigh.

“Are you going to Tampa when you leave here?” His voice was soft.


“Do you think we could sit down and talk?”

“You mean, like last time?” Caryn’s temper flared. “I’m not doing that again, Andrew.”

“I don’t want that either.” Andrew was quiet for a long moment. “I’m hoping we can work things out. I understand if you don’t want to see or talk with me right now. But, can we figure this—us—out sometime when we’re in the same city?”

“Do you believe I had nothing to do with my father calling you?” Caryn challenged.

“None of that matters, Caryn. Whether or not I ever play hockey again—it means nothing if there’s no us. It’s taken me too long to figure that out. I want to ask—make that beg—for the chance to talk with you. I’ve called Lauren, spoken with Kelly and Terri. No one could—or would—tell me where you were.”

“Only Lauren knows.”

“I get that I’m not her favorite person at the moment.”

Caryn bit back a short laugh. “You didn’t answer my question, Andrew. Do you believe I told you the truth about my father? Or am I still guilty by default?”

“Could I answer that face-to-face? I want to look you in the eyes.” He paused a moment. “Is that possible?”

Caryn sighed as she relaxed a bit, leaning back against him. “I can’t do this here. Not in this place, this spot.”

“Then, could you come with me to the townhouse? We can talk there. Please, Cary?”

Caryn leaned her head back, resting it against his neck. She felt that if she looked at him, she’d break, shatter into a million pieces. And if that happened, she wasn’t sure she could put herself back together. “Andrew, do you honestly want to work things out?” Her voice was a hoarse whisper. “Is it even possible?”

“Cary, we can find a way to work things out. Trust me.”

She shut her eyes against the hot tears that threatened and then pressed her face against her hands. “Somehow ‘trust me’ is not especially reassuring, Drew.”

“Walk with me? Just to the townhouse?”

Caryn nodded, but still did not look at him. Andrew held out his hand as he stood, and after a beat, Caryn stretched her hand toward his. He gently pulled her to her feet and then grasped her hand securely when she started to pull away. Caryn took a deep breath as she walked beside him, looking straight ahead as they navigated the campus.

Caryn concentrated on slow, steady, deep breaths, calming her nerves, trying to process Andrew’s sudden appearance after so many weeks. In Toronto, of all places, her refuge. She could not think beyond the next step, the next moment.

They entered the townhouse silently, and Caryn’s gaze immediately focused on Andrew’s luggage just inside the doorway.

“I’ll take that over to my parents,” Andrew said. “Like I said, I didn’t know you were here until I walked in.”

“Don’t worry about it. I have a flight this evening.” Caryn headed for the stairs. “I’ll be back in a few minutes.” As she passed the night table in the loft bedroom, she grabbed a bottle of water and her saltines before stepping into the bathroom. After she shut the door, she nibbled on a cracker and took a drink of water, then looked at herself in the mirror. Besides the reddened eyes that were slightly swollen, she appeared normal. Caryn splashed cold water on her face and took a deep breath.

She dropped the pack of saltines into her carry-on and zipped it shut. Everything was packed and ready to go. She’d planned to strip the bed, but decided to leave it alone. She took a moment to straighten the sheets and tuck the comforter under the pillows. Drew can change it if he decides to stay. If not, I’ll be back soon. She looked around a final time, then after taking a deep breath, picked up her carry-on and walked reluctantly down the stairs.


Andrew waited in the kitchen, staring out the window at the courtyard. Any other year, we’d be here right now, home for the summer. Wonder if that’s why Caryn’s here? Am I running her off by showing up today? Something else I fucked up? He heard her footsteps on the stairs and returned to the living room in time to see her set her carry-on bag near the door.

“You’re not leaving because of me, Cary?”

She shook her head. “I made the reservations last week. I completed my meetings and I’m good to go.” She turned to face him then, and Andrew saw the wariness in her amber eyes. Those eyes that enchanted him with their sparkle now looked dull. Depression? Exhaustion? A breath caught in his chest when he realized her eyes held no hope.

Caryn walked to the side chair and sat down, and Andrew perched on the edge of the sofa closest to her. He reached for her hand, his eyes asking permission, and Caryn nodded. He closed his hand around hers, his thumb gently tracing circles on the back of her hand. She met his gaze expectantly.

“I love you, Cary. My feelings have never changed.”

“Why say that now? Suddenly, you believe I did not ask anyone to call my father?” Her eyes pierced his, not blinking.

He leaned toward her. “I think I’ve always known…deep inside…that you’d never make that call. I was too self-absorbed to admit it.”

Caryn waved her free hand between them. “So all this, between us, was…?”

“Entirely my fault—as Tom not so subtly pointed out to me.”

“What did Tom say?”

“‘Fool,’ ‘jerk,’ and ‘stupid’ were among the operative words. Plus ‘selfish,’ ‘inconsiderate,’ and ‘idiot.’ That’s about the gist of it, minus the rather blunt adjectives he used with each of those words.”

Caryn tried to suppress a giggle. “Wish I could have heard it.”

“I’m sure he’ll be glad to give you an instant replay.” Andrew smiled when he saw a hint of sparkle return to her eyes. “All that aside, I was wrong in more ways that I can count. I know I don’t deserve it, but I’m asking for the chance to make things right between us.”

Caryn’s eyes filled with sudden tears, and she pulled back as he reached to touch her cheek. She shook her head again when he started to speak and impatiently brushed aside the tears that had escaped. “Andrew, how do we…?”

He answered before she could finish the question. “Cary, all I know right now is that I love you and I want to be with you. If you’ll give me the chance, we will work everything out.”


Caryn shut her eyes for a long moment, taking a deep breath to calm her emotions, determined not to think beyond the present moment as her brain struggled to process Andrew’s words. I want to believe that things can be different this time, that what he says is possible. But what if…What if we can’t work things out?

He didn’t believe her last April, and his betrayal, his lack of trust, still stung. Her stomach contracted suddenly and the nausea rose in her throat. She stood abruptly, shaking her head at the question on his lips.

She barely made it to the bathroom, the nausea getting the best of her as it had so often over the weeks. She leaned weakly against the door as she stood, closing her eyes until the dizziness passed. She splashed more cold water on her face and filled a cup with water to rinse her mouth. She opened the door, Andrew nearby, concern evident on his face.

“You all right?”

Caryn nodded, but didn’t speak as he led her to the kitchen table. Andrew pulled a chair back for her to sit, then opened the refrigerator and grabbed the Coke he hoped to find. He pulled a chair facing hers, opened the bottle, and handed it to her.

“Thank you,” she whispered before she took a sip. When she looked at him, the apprehension was obvious in his eyes.

“Have you been sick?”

“No, I’m just overwhelmed. About everything.” She set the bottle on the table, taking another deep breath. “There’s so much we need to discuss.”

“Stay for a few days longer, Caryn. I’ll stay at my parents…we’ll have time to be alone and talk, right here in Toronto—our true home. What better place to begin to work things out?”


Andrew waited for Caryn to respond. When she finally met his eyes, he read the longing, the confusion, the anxiety, and the indecision in the eyes he knew so well. The last thing he wanted to do was to add to the obvious stress she was feeling. He tentatively reached out to brush his fingers against her forehead. “Do you have to get back to Tampa?” He gave her an out.

“I’ve put so much work off on Lauren.” Caryn’s voice was hesitant.

“I can fly back to Tampa with you.”

She shook her head. “No, you can’t.” Her voice was firm. “You need to spend time with your parents…” Her voice trailed off and she looked away. “I really do have work I need to complete for new clients.”

“Could you possibly handle the work from here?” Andrew was careful not to push.

Caryn looked at her hands. “I need time to process this. I wasn’t expecting to see you, hear you say you believe me.”

“I sense a ‘but’ coming.”

“Drew, I believed in us. I never dreamed you’d give up on our love so easily. I trusted you.” She blinked back the hot tears that threatened. “I convinced myself that happiness is overrated.” She met his gaze evenly.

Andrew closed his eyes briefly as he shook his head. When he spoke, his voice was raw with emotion. “I have no right to ask you to trust me. I realize that.” He gently brushed aside the single tear that escaped her eyes.

“You said you needed to concentrate everything on your recovery. What changed?”

“I’ve realized it doesn’t have to be a choice between one or the other. There’s room for both. I needed to get my priorities straight.”

“I pray every day that you will recover one hundred percent. I want you back on the ice, playing with the Suns, just as strong as you were before.”

“Maybe that doesn’t matter so much anymore.”

Caryn held up her hand. “Don’t! Do not say that. Do not tell me it doesn’t matter, that it’s been for nothing.” Her voice shook with anger. “If you don’t keep working for your recovery…” She shook her head. “That would be the worst thing of all.” She pushed back her chair to stand, but Andrew stood and grasped her arms before she could walk away.

“What do you want me to do?”

“Play hockey again.”

“I’ll do everything I can to make that happen, Caryn. There’s no guarantee.”

“I want what we had before you were hurt.” She reached to touch his lips to silence his protest. “I want us to be us again. And that includes your playing hockey, hopefully a long time with the Suns.”

“There’s no guarantee I’ll ever play again.” She met his eyes and he continued quietly. “I still don’t pass that ImPACT baseline.” He shrugged. “I could think I’m ready to play, but if I don’t pass that test…”

“You will. Don’t start doubting yourself now.”

Andrew’s smile was wry. “Now you sound like my brother.” He gently brushed the hair away from her forehead. “So, in the meantime…where do we go from here? What do you want me to do? What do you want to do?” Caryn hesitated, and he continued, “Look, I know I’ve got a lot of work to do before I can expect you to trust me. And I know I don’t deserve to ask…”

She silenced him by putting her hand against his cheek. “Andrew, I can’t do this again if things don’t work out.”

“What could stop us from working through this?”

“I might not be able to watch you play,” Caryn said quietly. “I still get flashbacks of that night. I don’t know if I’ll ever be ready to watch you play again.”

“Cary, that will never be a problem,” he said. He didn’t remember much from the accident that almost killed him, but she’d watched it all: his helmet flying off, the puck striking his head at full force, him lying motionless on the ice, the hours waiting to see if he’d survive surgery, the days spent wondering if he’d ever wake up. “I promise I will understand.”

Caryn was silent for several minutes, then reached for her Coke and took another sip. “I’ve never doubted you’ll play hockey again.”

Andrew laughed without humor. “I can’t count the number of times I’ve asked myself what I would do if I couldn’t play hockey again. I know I was wrong to push you aside.”

“Why didn’t you call me or tell me?” Caryn’s eyes held his steadily. “I believed what you’d said—that our marriage couldn’t continue until you totally recovered.”

“I convinced myself I didn’t want to risk hurting you any more than I had.” Andrew’s eyes left hers for a moment as he searched for the right words. “I knew I was wrong when I asked you to stay away…and then, I just watched you walk away.” Andrew shook his head. “I hope someday you can forgive me.”

“I already have.” Caryn reached to place her palm against his cheek. “There are a lot of things we need to talk about, but not today. You need to spend time with your parents. I need to get back to Tampa and take care of my clients. Think. Process everything you’ve said today.”

“I’ll be back in Tampa next week. Do you think we can start then?”

Andrew’s hand covered hers as she looked at him, searching his face. She saw the pain of regret mixed with a cautious optimism. She prayed she’d find the answer she sought in the intensity of his blue eyes—the same eyes that had captured her heart and had promised her a piece of his soul. A sensation rippled through her chest…a flutter of hope? Am I willing to open my heart? Risk believing in our future again? She smiled softly as she slipped her hand behind his neck and urged his lips towards her. In the kiss, tender at first and then quickly deepening, she found the answers.

There’s truly only one response, one leap of faith to chance. She pulled back and met his gaze before she stepped into the welcoming arms that closed securely around her. She nodded against his chest, her voice barely a whisper. “Yes, I’d like that, Drew…more than anything.”

Author Bio:

By the time she was an eight-year-old tomboy growing up in the suburbs of Chicago, Robyn M. Ryan definitely knew what she wanted to do when she grew up—play major league baseball or write. She wrote throughout elementary and high school, first composing novels featuring favorite TV and music personalities, and then venturing into sports writing.

Attending UGA’s journalism school launched her career in public relations, which included an internship with the Atlanta Flames NHL hockey team. This Piece of My Heart, a hockey romance, and the first book in Robyn’s hockey trilogy Clearing the Ice was published May 2016. The second book in the series, This Piece of My Soul, was published January, 2017, and the final book, This Piece of Our Soul concludes the trilogy with a December, 2017 release.

Besides writing, Robyn’s passions include following the New York Rangers, NASCAR, and the Atlanta Braves; splitting time between homes in Atlanta and Palm Coast, and visiting Paris as often as possible. Two brilliant Westies rule both homes.

As do many writers, Robyn chooses to write using a pseudonym—hers is a combination of her sons’ names, a contribution from her youngest nephew.

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#Bookblitz…Talk to Me…#BookBoost #NA #Romance #Sports #Giveaway #OnTour @ClareJamesBooks @XpressoTours

Talk to Me
Clare James
(Impossible Love, #4)
Publication date: June 7, 2014
Genres: New Adult, Romance, Sports

A damaged hockey player. A smart-mouthed TV reporter. Put them together, and it’s more than a conflict of interest…

Finn Daley took the world by storm two years ago when he was drafted by the NHL. The young, handsome, high-scoring player quickly became a fan favorite. He had everything going for him: fame, fortune, a promising career, and his pick of women. But when he made an abrupt exit from the NHL, everything changed and he’s been in hiding ever since. Casey Scott plans to find out why.

After interning all summer at the top television station in the Twin Cities, Casey lands an on-air gig. Trouble is, the new role is Sports Girl—which means reporting from local bars and tailgating parties to create excitement for the hometown heroes. All while wearing tiny team jerseys that are so tight they leave little to the imagination.

But she has a plan. Uncover the biggest sports mystery of the decade, and she’ll be on her way. Question is, how far will she go to get the story?

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FREE for a limited time only!

Talk to Me is a standalone hockey romance and part of Clare James’ Impossible Love world.
This free sale kicks off the 2017/2018 NHL opener and launches Clare’s new spin-off Hockey Series with several books releasing over the hockey season.

I am ashamed to say the bouncing worked. I got the job.

And though Jonathan wanted to go out and celebrate, I wasn’t sure this news warranted such extremes. The steady paycheck, however, gave me all the feels.

My first week on the job was a blur of hair and make-up appointments; jersey fittings; tours of all the pro and college stadiums in the Twin Cities; meetings with the other girls and crew; and study sessions about the Wild lineup. I was selected as the new ambassador of hockey.

“Pass me that chicken cutlet,” Mackenzie said, looking at me through the mirror as she fussed with her cleavage.

I was getting ready to do my promo spots for the season and Mack was about to head out for her Monday Night Football cut-in. While I was new to hockey, Mackenzie had covered Vikings football for the past two years.

“The what?” I asked, confused as to why she wanted to eat a piece of chicken when she was almost ready to go on air.

“That fake boob over there.” She nodded to the table behind me. “The piece of silicone that looks like a chicken cutlet with a nipple on it?”

“Oh.” I slapped a hand to my forehead. “Of course, the chicken cutlet.”

Mackenzie sighed, clearly annoyed with my sarcasm.

Yes, she might have looked like a bimbo, but she wasn’t stupid.

“Don’t judge,” she said. “I’m trying to up my ratings and not all of us are blessed with a spectacular rack like you, K.C.”

She paused between each letter, over annunciating my on-air name. All the Sports Girls went by their first name only. Some real; some fake. I had the feeling Mackenzie was really born a Jill or Jane. She loved to go for the more elaborate (shall we say, enhanced) version of herself. Her name also allowed for some fun banter with her viewers — mainly a bunch of horny college boys and middle-aged men who were fond of saying they were having a Mack Attack.

Our sports producer, Phil, loved her. She brought in the best ratings and her public appearances were standing room only. She made him look good, and that’s really all he cared about. Phil was a bit older than I, maybe late twenties, and on the fast track. The guy lived at the station and ate fast food round the clock. He had a paunchy belly and skin so pale it looked like he hadn’t seen daylight in years. The crew called him The Mole. And though his appearance was unpleasant at best, his personality was even worse.

When I told him I didn’t want to use a stage name, that I’d rather use my given name of Casey Scott so that I could put my stand-ups on my reel when I applied for actual reporting jobs, he dismissed me with a pat on the head. I shit you not.

“Well, for one,” he began, taking great pleasure in schooling me, “you’re not allowed to use your last name. There are creepers out there and we don’t need anyone stalking you. And two, we need something a little more memorable. Let’s at least spice up your first name. Use the initials K.C. instead of the spelled-out version. It’s more fun that way. And shit knows, we need all the fun we can get with you.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” I asked.

“Look,” he said, putting a hand on my shoulder.

I shook it off and took a step back.

He groaned. “See, this is what I’m talking about. Jonathan recommended you and I respect him. You had a great audition and your looks obviously fit the bill. You’re a hot girl. It’s just that you’re too serious. Our viewers like easy, breezy. This isn’t CNN for fuck’s sake. Can you just take it down a notch?”

I hated that little mole right from the start.

“Sure,” I said, all sweet. “I get it now. You want me to go out there, introduce the players and games, give a slice of life as a fan, shake my tits, and pretend I don’t have a brain in my head? Is that the gist?”

“Now you got it.” He laughed. “Work on your reel on your own time. And if you bring me a good story, I might even air it.”

He was such a dick, but he was right.

That’s exactly what I had to do — spend every spare second working on my reel. I’d come up with something so good, Phil wouldn’t be able to resist. The only issue was that he usually worked on longer pieces for the sweeps ratings periods (just four times a year in November, February, May, and July). With only a few weeks left in the month, I wouldn’t have time to get something in for November sweeps, but I could make the next period in February. Still, I’d have to work fast to come up with something that would get his rocks off.

In the meantime, I would have to stay on his good side.

Author Bio:

Clare James is the best-selling author of contemporary romance and new adult novels with spunky heroines and sexier-than- sin heroes. Her Entangled Brazen debut, CAUGHT, was a #1 Best-Selling Romance Series, and the touching family drama, Two-Hour Truce, also hit #1 as a category bestseller. And Clare’s Impossible Love Series has more than 500,000 downloads to date and counting!

A fan of smart, funny, and steamy romance, Clare spends most of her time lost in books. When she’s not reading, you can find her locked away writing. Clare is also a former dancer and still loves to get her groove on – mostly to work off her beloved cupcakes and red wine. She lives in Minneapolis with her two leading men – her husband and young son – and is always on social media chatting with readers.

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#Bookblitz…Breakaway…#BookBoost #NA #Romance #Sports @SophiaHenry313 @XpressoTours

Sophia Henry
Published by: Random House: Flirt
Publication date: September 5, 2017
Genres: New Adult, Romance, Sports

In a standalone hockey romance that tugs at readers’ heartstrings, a broken ex-pro learns to live and love again—all thanks to the complicated, wonderful nurse who gives him a second chance.

Brianna Collins needs to break away from her overbearing family. Her parents expect her to “fix” her brother after a series of concussions derailed his hockey career. Unfortunately, no doctor will give him clearance to play, and she’s finished with being the person they rely on to perform a miracle that will never happen. For Bree, a six-month nursing assignment at a hospital in Charlotte, North Carolina, is the perfect escape.

Luke Daniels, former forward for the NHL’s Charlotte Aviators, has spent close to a year rehabbing a career-threatening injury—and distracting himself however he can. Worlds collide when Luke realizes that the girl from his latest one-night-stand happens to be the new nurse at the hospital where he volunteers in the pediatric unit. What’s more, Bree’s the only person who makes him excited about life again.

Despite her initial reservations, Luke can’t help pursuing sweet, beautiful Bree. Then he realizes it was her brother whose career he ended with an accidental hit, and he falls back on the thing that’s always helped suppress his demons: alcohol. But if Luke doesn’t kick his old habits, he just may lose the one thing he loves more than hockey.

Don’t miss any of Sophia Henry’s exhilarating Pilots Hockey novels:

Praise for Sophia Henry
“Sophia Henry’s hockey novels are fun and flirty, warm and sweet, with relatable heroines and swoon-worthy hockey heroes. They’ll bring a smile to your face and warmth to your heart.”USA Today bestselling author Kelly Jamieson

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“What are we toasting?” I ask Luke as we inch closer to our friends.

“It’s not an occasion. The Russians toast to everything. Gribsy brushed his teeth this morning! Hey!” Luke lifts an invisible glass. “Varenkov blinked. Hey!”

I giggle. “Life is meant to be celebrated.”

“She’s exactly right,” Aleksandr says, handing me a shot of clear liquid, which I assume, without trying to sound stereotypical, is vodka, given the present company. “But the toast is always the same. “Za zdaróvye! Which means—”

“To your health,” I finish.

Luke flinches at my words as if they’re offensive, but Aleksandr’s eyes widen and his lips pull into a smile.

“You speak Russian?” Aleksandr asks, in English, thankfully.

“No, but one of my father’s best friends is Russian, so I’ve heard the toast before.”

No reason to mention that I had broken up with Arkady Stepurin, the son of dad’s aforementioned best friend, a few weeks before making the decision to become a traveling nurse and get the hell out of California. It’s much simpler to reference dad’s connection instead.

Despite coming up through the USA hockey system, and playing in the NCAA after that, Dad has friends in every league and every country. He and former Anaheim defenseman (now assistant coach) Igor Stepurin became close quickly. Igor played with the Ducks his entire career and Dad knew guys on the team. Those connections, along with their mutual interests in outdoor activities like hiking and water sports, created a friendship that’s still going strong.

As their bromance blossomed, Mom and Anna, Igor’s wife, were thrown together whether they liked it or not. But Mom is an opportunist—in the best way possible—and she roped Anna into being the “face” of multiple Healthy Girl advertising campaigns. That business relationship helped seal their friendship. When we moved to our current house, Igor and Anna bought the place next door the day it went on the market. The Stepurin family and ours are intertwined in so many ways.

Which made leaving town an absolute necessity after finding out Arkady had cheated on me when he traveled to play at away games. It’s not like I was head over heels in love—or all that surprised—but no girl ever likes to be used, and having been together two years, ours had been my longest relationship. Betrayal is going to hurt no matter what, but—to add another layer to the almost incestuous relationship—Arkady is also my brother Mason’s best friend.

In hindsight, I never should’ve gotten involved with someone who was so tied to our family. But how could I not? Falling for the literal boy next door is straight out of a romance novel. Though I’ve used the last few years to focus on my career, I’ll be the first to admit I want the love story someday.

But not with a hockey player. I’d sworn them off after Arkady.

Dad and Mason gave me an insider’s eye into the mindset and priorities of a professional athlete. His career—and quest for being the best—comes before everything else. And if a woman wants to be with him, she has to want to be there for the ride. She has to understand that he will be gone most of the time. He will have complete focus on the game, a borderline cockiness, and the selfishness—maybe even loneliness—that comes with that profession.

That’s not the life I want. I want someone who can have a career, but always put our relationship first. A job should be the means to have the kind of life you want, not what you put ahead of everything and everyone. It may be my own selfishness shining through. I have dreams and I don’t want to sacrifice those for someone else. In my ideal relationship, we should be able to grow and pursue our life goals together.

I totally understand why mom didn’t want to be a hockey wife.


Author Bio:

Award-Winning Author, Sophia Henry, is a proud Detroit native who fell in love with reading, writing and hockey all before she became a teenager. She did not, however, fall in love with snow. So after graduating with an English degree from Central Michigan University, she moved to the warmth of North Carolina for the remainder of her winters.

She spends her days writing books featuring hot, hockey-playing heroes. When she’s not writing, she’s chasing her two high-energy sons, watching her beloved Detroit Red Wings, and rocking out at concerts.

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#Book #Blitz…Wheeler… #BookBoost #Adult #Romance #Sports #Suspense @sarazalesky @XpressoTours

Sara Butler Zalesky
Publication date: July 4th 2016
Genres: Adult, Romance, Sports, Suspense

Fate whispers to the warrior, ‘You cannot withstand the storm.’
The warrior whispers back, ‘I am the storm.’

Loren Mackenzie has spent much of her life honing her body to meet the physical challenges of being a professional cyclist in the women’s European peloton. She has also refined the control of her mind, using the power of her emotions in competition to become one of the elite cyclists in the world. After an accident at the Philadelphia International Cycling Classic, Loren must rise to the challenge of leading her team as the Women’s World Tour races across Europe, culminating with the opportunity to compete at the World Championships in Richmond, Virgina.

When a chance meeting develops into a whirlwind romance, what appears to be the perfect relationship threatens to unravel Loren’s tightly wound life. The microscope of tabloid media attention dredges up fears that her past will be unearthed; tragic secrets she has kept buried, even from those closest to her.

Can Loren face the trauma of her past and vanquish the demons within, or will betrayal and obsession ultimately defeat her?

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Loren rose from her chair and began to gather up the cups and plates they had used as Graham watched her through half-closed eyes. She leaned into the table with a grin.

“Are ya gettin’ sleepy?”

He put his hands on her hips to pull her close. “No, are you?”

She licked her lips. “I have to admit, I was enjoying what we were doing before we were interrupted.” Loren raised a brow at him. Graham’s mouth twitched, and he took out his mobile to shuffle through his music. As the first notes of the song began, he stood and extended his hand to her.

“Dance with me?” He drew Loren to him, his eyes never leaving hers as they moved in rhythm with the music. “Hereafter, in a better world than this,” he murmured, “I shall desire more love and knowledge of you.”

Their breath mixed as his lips hovered over hers. He kissed her gently at first, then with increased fervor as his hands glided over the curves of her body. Her positive response urged him into further exploration. It was several minutes before he realized he had laid her back on the table with one of her legs curled over his hip. Graham reluctantly ended their kiss.

“I’m sorry. I-I got a little carried away there,” he said, his breathing unsteady.

Loren kissed him. “We both got a little carried away.”

He helped her return to her feet but couldn’t bring himself to let go. He brushed the back of his fingers against her cheek and kissed her again. Her touch, her smell, the way she felt in his arms; he’d never been so completely at ease with anyone. He pressed his forehead lightly into hers.

“Who are you?”

She backed out of his embrace and offered him her hand. “Loren Mackenzie, pro cyclist. Nice to meet you.”

Graham laughed and shook her hand. “I am so glad I turned around!”

Her chuckle dissolved as she tucked her lower lip in her teeth. “I’d better get you back to your car before we do something we might regret.”

He took a deep breath and licked his lips. “You’re right.” He squinted at her. “How would you, you said you don’t have a car?”

“I have a motorcycle.”

“Oh, I don’t think so, darling.” He released her from his arms.

“Come on.” Loren motioned for him to follow and headed to a shed hidden behind the willow tree. When she opened the doors, the glossy black BMW F800R sport bike glowed in the overhead florescent light.

He scoffed as he placed his hand on the headlamp. “The two of us won’t fit on that.”

“Not that one. This one.” She took the canvas off the matte black Harley-Davidson Night Rod motorcycle. “Anthony’s Harley is bigger than mine.”

Graham’s mouth dropped open. “Wow. That’s…that’s a Harley?” He frowned. “But still…”

She tossed a helmet at him. “Come on. Help me get it out of the stand.” She grabbed the handlebars, and they both gave the bike a push to roll it out of the shed and Loren set the kickstand. “Anthony keeps it in good shape, but it still needs to be ridden every so often,” she said, putting on her helmet. “He converted his garage into a gym, that’s why it’s here.”

“Ah,” he said, holding open the larger gate next to the shed for her as she pushed the Harley down the gravel path to the street. Graham followed her only to stop short at the sight of her on the machine.

“Come on. I’m a professional,” she chuckled and patted the seat behind her. He was grumbling as he donned the helmet, then mounted the seat behind her. His knees were under her arms with his feet on the pegs, and she giggled as she leaned back against him like an easy chair.

“Yes, yes, it’s hilarious,” he muttered, making her laugh harder.

Loren pushed the ignition and the engine rumbled to life beneath them. After knocking the stand with her heel, she eased out the clutch while rolling the throttle to move off down the street. Graham had been holding her waist loosely at first, but as the Harley took off, the burst of speed had him tighten his arms. He could feel her laughing in his embrace.

Loren came to a brief stop at London Road then took a left turn to rumble down the street. Another left turn and they were soon at the car park where she came to a stop next to his car and set the stand again. She was grinning as she took off her helmet as Graham awkwardly dismounted.

“Fun, huh?”

“I reckon I would have preferred to walk,” he complained as he handed her the helmet where she hooked it to the buckle behind her then swung her leg over the bike. She was smiling as she approached.

“Oh, that’s a pity,” she said, sliding her hands around his waist. “I rather liked having your arms around me.”

“You have but to ask, my Lady.” He gathered her in his arms to nuzzle her neck. “I must admit, I would have been quite put out if I had to wait another week to see you.”

“Me, too.”

“Good night, good night. Parting is such sweet sorrow, that I shall say good night ‘til it be morrow.” His voice was a low rumble as he leaned in to kiss her, but stopped. “Well, not actually tomorrow, as you’ll be off to Colchester.”

“Oh, do shut up and kiss me,” Loren laughed.

“Gladly,” Graham murmured and staked his claim to her lips.

Author Bio:

Sara was born in the wee hours of a November night in New York City. When her family moved to a small borough in northwestern New Jersey, she had little choice but to move as well. Self-sufficiency is a tough thing for a toddler.

The dichotomy of being the middle child of three, but the only girl, was difficult, as typically no one really pays attention to a middle child. Mostly, Sara spent her time creating fanciful stories in her head when she should have been focused on other things, an issue that continues to this day.

Most of these stories have never been shared, let alone completed. This all changed in the spring of 2015, when Sara was encouraged by a friend to expand upon a short story she had accidentally emailed to him. The result is ‘Wheeler’, a romantic, women’s fiction/sport novel, which combines the author’s romantic inclinations and her passion for cycling.

Sara currently resides in the suburbs of Philadelphia, PA, with her loving husband and their son. She is a paralegal for a boutique law firm in Chester County, Pa, an avid road cyclist and indoor cycling instructor at a national chain.

Follow the author’s blog at sarabutlerzalesky.wordpress.com or on Twitter @sarazalesky. She does a little dance every time someone ‘follows’ her on Twitter. Really.

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#Book #Blitz…Come Undone…#BookBoost #BookBuzz #Adult #Romance #Sports #Giveaway

Come Undone
Penny Dee
Publication date: February 18th 2017
Genres: Adult, Romance, Sports

“You want to know why I train? It’s because it’s the only time I’m not thinking about Tyler and the fact that I killed him.”

Jake Pennington is a hockey super star. Hot. Rich. Gorgeous. And super talented. But when a series of personal tragedies rock his world, Jake’s life is ripped apart and he is brought to his knees. Broken and completely devastated, he retreats to his family cabin in Canada desperate to forget the world and something he once knew as happiness.

“My therapist would say it was me trying to reclaim my life back. To recapture the girl I had once been—frightened of nothing and living life on a whim.”

Mackenzie Eden is battling her own demons. Following a horrific incident in college, Mackenzie throws herself into her job as a means to outrun her pain and her litany of phobias. When her path crosses with Jake Pennington she sees a way to bring them both out of the darkness and back into the light.

Only, Jake’s not buying it. He doesn’t want a sports agent and he doesn’t want a hockey career. Not that Mackenzie is willing to listen. She has a point to prove, not to mention, a bet to win.

Come Undone is a story of two people finding each other in the darkness. A sports romance, it will make you laugh, cry and fall head over heels in love.

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When I came out of the bathroom, Jake had changed into a clean pair of sweats that hung low on his slim hips. He was shirtless and when he turned around, his spectacular torso came into view. I stopped in my tracks. Holy hell!

He grinned when he saw me in his flannel shirt.

I shifted self-consciously from one foot to the other. “I guess I was thinking it would be something a little more . . . hockeyish.” I said, holding down the short hem.

He rolled his eyes. “Because that’s what we hockey players do—save our hockey jerseys for sleepovers.”

I exhaled deeply, wondering about the sleeping arrangements. There was only one bed.

As if he could read my mind, Jake said, “Relax, Z. I’ll take the couch.”

It was a good, decent offer in theory. But in practice, it was a frustrating fail. Jake was way too big for the squeaky two-seater sofa, and every time he tried to get comfortable the springs moaned and groaned beneath his weight.

Lying rigid in his comfortable bed, I finally had enough and sat up. “Oh, for Christ’s sake, you can hop into bed with me.”

But Jake decided to play the martyr. “I’m fine. I will fall asleep soon.”

“When? Dawn?” I sighed. “Will you please just come and share this bed with me, Jake?”

The two-seater sofa wheezed as he sat up. “Fine. But just so you know, I’m not having sex with you.”

I watched him cross the room. “You’re hysterical.”

“I mean it. I’m not that type of guy,” he said, standing next to the bed in all his six-pack glory.

“Trust me, I’m not that type of girl.” I sank back into the pillow. “You’re completely safe with me.”

The mattress sank beside me as Jake climbed in and moved about until he was comfortable.

Awkwardness hung between us as we both lay there and stared up at the ceiling.

“Want to cuddle?” Jake finally asked, totally breaking the awkwardness between us.

I broke into laughter but threw a spare pillow at him as a warning. “Stay on your side. I warn you, I bite.”

He shoved the pillow I’d thrown at him behind his head. “Now you’re just coming on to me.”

I chuckled. “Pervert.”

He looked over and grinned, and goddamn if I didn’t want to kiss him.

I quickly turned away to study the ceiling.

Yep. I was in trouble.


Author Bio:

I have always written stories for as long as I can remember. I wrote my first book when I was five years old. It was called ‘The Goodies’ and it was a short story about driving to the shops to get some milk. Needless to say, it was a very short book and hardly the page turner. It was also illustrated in orange felt tip pen because it was the only felt tip pen left in the pencil case that wasn’t dried up and useless.

My first attempt at writing romance was in high school when my athletic ambitions were replaced with Sunday sessions in my bestfriends bedroom, smoking cigarettes and writing smut about the hot guy at school. They were dreadfully crude stories. Lots of awkward fumblings in the dark or a series of awful first kisses. They were also very straight forward. Very straight to the point. Because I didn’t have a clue about what I was talking about. And I used terrible words such as “shaft”, “her moist warmth” and “velvet cavern”…yeah, they were awesome!

In following years I wisely gave up the cigarettes, became Mum to the “best kid in the world” and married a vastly understanding and supportive soul who tolerated the complete absence of my inner domestic goddess. Through a lot of trial and error, I think I may have started to write stories other people would want to read … without an orange felt tip pen in sight…

Oh … and you can find me in Australia.

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#Book #Blitz…Gage, The Player…#BookBoost #NA #Romance #Sports

Nana Malone
(The Player, #6)
Publication date: May 16, 2017
Genres: New Adult, Romance, Sports

Money, power, prestige…Legacy. Gage Coulter is —The Player.

His whole life, all, basketball player, Gage Coulter, has heard is how he was meant to play basketball. Meant to be on the court. Meant to be elite. So what happens if he can’t even play on the damn team? With his father in and out of the hospital and more practice time than he’s used to, he’s struggling to hold up the ship and his grades are showing it. With his starting position in jeopardy, he needs help from the one girl on campus who can’t stand him. Too bad, she’s also the one girl he can’t get out of his head.

Becker Johnson has a plan for her life. And it doesn’t include doing some jock’s homework so he can toss a ball in the net or whatever. She’s getting the Collins Scholarship and moving to New York. See, all planned out. Until her adviser drops a bombshell. While her grades are excellent, she’ll need some work experience to be eligible for the scholarship. And lucky Becker, he’s got just the right student for her.

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“Now comes the part of the night where I warn you I’m going to touch you.”

She swallowed hard. “Uh, okay. Just where are you going to touch me?”

He leaned close and whispered. “This is the part where you’ll just have to trust me.”

She couldn’t help but hold her breath. “You’re telling me you know how to dance?” she inquired.

“Well…my mother was a dancer before she married my father,” he told her. “All of us at least have a sense of rhythm. It can come in handy where coordination and learning intricate plays is concerned.”

He was right about having a sense of rhythm. Considering his height, he moved well to the music. He might not have had very fancy moves, but he was able to sway and keep time well for someone with such a tall frame. She might have expected him to look like some sort of disjointed marionette, but he was smooth as he pulled her in against his chest, curling around her so that his head hovered above hers and she could feel his warm breath near her ear.

She was hyperaware of his hands, his breath, his scent. She wanted him to touch her. Wanted his hands on her. Because you are a glutton for punishment. She turned in his arms, her ass gently brushing his thighs, his arm reaching around her and pressing her backwards so his chest would brush against her back, his arm inadvertently rubbing against her breasts.

The music switched from quick, pounding beats to something a little slower, but still so deep that it throbbed in her blood as she swayed and reached up behind her to get a hold of Gage, her hand sliding along his shoulder until she found his neck, gently tugging him to her.

He trailed his fingers up her side until he reached her elbow, then he curled his hand so his palm skimmed the flesh of her arms, leaving goose bumps behind.

Gage leaned down. “Becks?”


“I think we have an audience. Daniel’s got his eyes trained on you like a hawk right now. And we probably need to establish that we’re for sure a thing.”

Oh boy, he was talking about the kiss. Not the teasing ones he’d been giving her all night, the ones they’d been putting on for show. But the big one. “Uh, okay.”

Gage took her hand and led her through the crowd to the quieter hallway near the bathroom. At the end of the hallway, there was an alcove with a huge bay window that looked over the canyons of the backyard. It was the perfect spot. Just enough traffic so that everyone would report that they’d been all over each other, and private enough that it wasn’t just an outright show.

Gage studied her, paying close attention to her lips. “Hey, Becks,”

“Yeah?” she whispered.

“I’m going to kiss you now.”

Becker acted before her brain could think her out of doing the one thing she’d been dying to do. Tipping her head up, ever so slightly.

His chest rumbled with a low growl. For a second, he held her tighter, bringing her closer against his lean, hard frame.

A shiver stole up her back. “Uh, maybe we could go slow. I don’t think—”

“We’ll go as slow as you like.”

He was going to kiss her. Even as she braced herself, Becker knew she was in trouble. She’d been able to keep him at arm’s length for so long.

He dipped his head, and his lips hovered over hers for a moment. “Relax, this is supposed to be fun.” The first brush of his lips over hers was soft.

As soon as Becker relaxed into him, he wrapped his hand around her in an embrace so tight it could keep the world at bay. He shifted the angle of his head and deepened the kiss. She couldn’t help but respond to his insistent tongue as it probed and slid over hers. Teasing, tasting, testing to see if he could intensify the heat. The moment his hands went to her hips and pulled them against his, Becker was lost.

The heat that pooled in the center of her chest spread throughout her body, scorching the fine hairs on her skin from the inside out. His hands stayed at her waist, but his thumbs drew slow circles on her hip bones that promised hotter things to come.

For once, Becker didn’t overthink. For once, she didn’t overanalyze. For once, she didn’t let fear rule and she just felt. Hot. Tight. Itchy. Gage was her balm. She needed more. She wanted more. Becker moaned, and the sound bounced off the walls.

Gage kissed like an expert, demanding that she respond to him. This guy could give kissing lessons. And she’d be the first one in line. Every. Single. Time. Her nipples hardened to points with every movement of his chest against hers. He backed her against the wall of the deserted hallway and pressed his body into hers.

The cautious part of her brain tried to send up a flare. Tried to send out a warning. Tried to send out fear signals, but every instinct told her to feel, to enjoy, that she had nothing to fear here. All she had to do was feel.


Author Bio:

USA Today Best Seller, Nana Malone’s love of all things romance and adventure started with a tattered romantic suspense she “borrowed” from her cousin.

It was a sultry summer afternoon in Ghana, and Nana was a precocious thirteen. She’s been in love with kick butt heroines ever since. With her overactive imagination, and channeling her inner Buffy, it was only a matter a time before she started creating her own characters.

While she waits for her chance at a job as a ninja assassin, in the meantime Nana works out her drama, passion and sass with fictional characters every bit as sassy and kick butt as she thinks she is.

Want to know when the next book is coming? Hit up her Newsletter here. You’ll only get updated when there is a new release or a special promotion for her Sexy, Sassy Readers. http://eepurl.com/2PeXb

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#Book #Blitz…#Ransom the Player…#BookBoost #NA #Romance #Sports

Nana Malone
(The Player, #5)
Publication date: May 2, 2017
Genres: New Adult, Romance, Sports

Money, power, prestige…reject. Ransom Cox is —The Player.

His whole life, hockey player, Ransom Cox, has watched the people he loves the most reject and leave him. He’s learned it’s better to be on his own. After the scandal of his wife walking out on him right before the championships, citing his bedroom “over” prowess as the reason, he can’t seem to escape the spotlight. The last thing he wants is to be stranded in a cabin with the one girl he’s always wanted. The one girl who could destroy him.

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Lexa coughed on the sip of water she’d taken. “Let’s get one thing clear. Ransom Cox has never noticed me. I lack the requisite equipment for him to pay appropriate attention. I’m not blonde. My rack isn’t overly endowed. Oh, and all he ever saw in high school was hockey. I was nerdy, and paid zero attention to anything other than great stories.”

“I have it on good authority that you paid attention to more than just your great stories and books. I know for a fact that you used to practice kissing on your hand and pretend it was Ransom.”

Lexa flushed. “Oh, my God. If you ever tell another living soul that, I will kill you. Kill you, dead. Forever.”

Her sister snorted and laughed even as she scooted out of the way of Lexa’s swats. “Think of your great story. I’m telling you. The man, the myth—”
Ella’s voice dropped away, and Lexa looked up, wondering what happened to her sister.

Oh, God. She gulped in a breath. The man, the myth, the penis legend. The hockey God. All six feet, five inches of ripped muscle, the movie-star face, and badass attitude. Standing in the doorway.

Lexa jumped up out of her seat. Too bad her foot was corded around her bag that she’d tucked under the desk, and she couldn’t get proper placement. And so down she went.

Ella ran in behind Ransom. “Oh, my God, Lex.”

Faceplant in front of the guy you always had a crush on, check. Total lack of career direction, check. Yes, her humiliation was complete. Next to her, Ransom’s deep baritone rumbled. “Are you okay?”

Lexa pushed herself to a sitting position. “Yeah, the only thing hurt is my pride, and my forehead. Pretty sure I scraped my hand, too.”

Behind Ransom, Ella’s jaw hung open. She held her arms about a foot apart, as if to indicate a certain…measurement, then cleared her throat as he picked up her wrist and examined it.

“I’m okay.”

Ransom studied her hand. “Are you sure? There’s no pain when I move it?”

Behind him, Ella grinned widely, a mischievous gleam in her eye.

Lexa wanted to die. Matter of fact, if the ground could just open up and swallow her now, that would be awesome. Come on ground. Any moment now. Nothing? Okay, then. “No. It doesn’t hurt.”

“Are you sure about that?” His voice was husky. Low. She’d seen him interviewed enough times in recent years to know that that was just his voice. He didn’t usually say much. But when he did, he always sounded like that. Like he’d just woken up from a long night of sex. Which was the last thing she needed to think about when dealing with Ransom.

Her sister, traitor that she was, called out. “Well, if you’re okay, I’m going to head back to the café. I’m sure the two of you have lots to catch up on. Lex, I’ll send someone over with a sandwich. And that recipe. Though, you might not want to use it for a while. All that garlic. Good to see you, Ransom.”

Lexa groaned. With one faceplant, she’d earned enough humiliation points with her sister for her to hand over that garlic aïoli recipe. Awesome.


Author Bio:

USA Today Best Seller, Nana Malone’s love of all things romance and adventure started with a tattered romantic suspense she “borrowed” from her cousin.

It was a sultry summer afternoon in Ghana, and Nana was a precocious thirteen. She’s been in love with kick butt heroines ever since. With her overactive imagination, and channeling her inner Buffy, it was only a matter a time before she started creating her own characters.

While she waits for her chance at a job as a ninja assassin, in the meantime Nana works out her drama, passion and sass with fictional characters every bit as sassy and kick butt as she thinks she is.

Want to know when the next book is coming? Hit up her Newsletter here. You’ll only get updated when there is a new release or a special promotion for her Sexy, Sassy Readers. http://eepurl.com/2PeXb

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Brought to You By:


#Book #Promo…BackHand…#BookBoost #Sports #Romance

Sports Romance
Date Published: April 2017
 photo add-to-goodreads-button_zpsc7b3c634.png

Mike Stewart is a bad boy.

Sleeping around. Boozing. Fighting with teammates.

Name a bad behavior and he’s done it—done it so well, in fact, that he almost tanked his career as a starting defensemen for the NHL’s San Francisco Gold.

But Mike is done with all that. He’s starting with a fresh foot forward and putting his past behind him.

That is, until his past quite literally reappears before his eyes.

Sara Jetty is just as beautiful as she was a decade before, but Mike hasn’t seen her since she left for her first Olympics and scored a gold medal in women’s figure skating. Now something has put shadows in her eyes, a familiar type of hurt he is all too well versed in.

This Sara wants nothing to do with him. Their easy friendship is gone and in its place is a hardened woman who’s nothing like the girl from his past.

Still, Mike hasn’t become a top defensemen in the NHL by being afraid of hard work, and he isn’t about to let Sara push him away. Come hell or high water, he’s going to crack her tough outer shell and find the sweet, innocent woman he’s lusted after and loved, in equal measure, for more than ten years.


About the Author

Aside from writing romance, Elise’s passions are chocolate, Star Wars, and hockey (the order depending on the day and how well her team — the Sharks! — are playing). She and her husband also play as much hockey as they can squeeze into their schedules, so much so that their typical date night is spent on the ice. Elise is the mom to two exuberant boys and is thoroughly addicted to Dancing With the Stars. Connect with her on facebook (facebook.com/elisefaberauthor), twitter (@faberelise), instagram (@elisefaber) or www.elisefaber.com.

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