Please help me welcome Jen Doyle to the blog today! This is her first visit and I’m excited to have her here. She’s talking sports and romance and sharing her release CALLING IT. I think the cover is adorable…what about you?
Afterward, please enter her giveaway!
Take it away Jen …
Why do sports and romance go so well together? Let’s just get the obvious out of the way first. I mean, men (and women) at their physical prime, wearing those uniforms that demonstrate that fact so perfectly well? Yep. That’s definitely reason number one.
And there’s the drama, of course. When you’re in the last twenty seconds of the fourth quarter, for example. Or the bottom of the ninth inning, one run down and only one out left. The adrenaline that courses through your body as you watch Gronk* reach out for that nearly impossible catch or as David Ortiz* hits that game-winning home run…
(*Insert your favorite non-Boston related player here. Unless you live in the Boston area, of course.)
But there’s more to it. As I was writing CALLING IT, for example, the idea of an athlete who has excelled at pretty much everything he’s done for his entire life—who’s been revered for most of his career but is suddenly not due to circumstances completely out of his hands—was something I wanted to explore.
A perennial all-star catcher, Nate Hawkins is used to being in control. He’s disciplined in his work, has enough talent and has earned enough respect that a new expansion team is being built around him, and has a personal life that fits his career goals just fine. He’s not one of those billionaires by any means, but given his ranking as one of baseball’s best—and all the perks that go along with it—money is no object and he’s used to getting what he wants. He’s the ultimate Alpha Male. (Well, not counting all those Navy SEALS and special forces guys out there, but that’s another story entirely. Literally.)
Where does romance fit in? Nowhere, according to him. He’s been recently burned as far as relationships go, and very publicly so. What kind of woman could possibly bring him to his knees? (Also literally, which is not another story, incidentally, but for the details you’ll need to read the book. 🙂 )
That’s where Dorie Donelli comes in. The youngest of seven, the six older of whom are quite overprotective brothers, thank you very much, Dorie is not one to be bowled over by fame, even when the object of her sixteen-year crush appears in her kitchen. She’s not bowled over by much, in fact, something that Nate finds very appealing. What he also finds very appealing is her competitive streak, even as it makes itself known at the worst possible time.
Sports is all about the rush of the game—and that’s exactly what a good romance should be.
to get away from Chicago. After a near career-ending car accident and with
paparazzi surrounding his penthouse, Nate can only think of one place to go:
home. But when he finds his old apartment occupied by a half-naked woman
wielding a baseball bat, he’s not sure what to think…except that maybe his
luck has finally changed for the better.
thought she’d get to meet her fantasy man in person—much less while she’s
wearing her bathrobe. To her surprise, her nearly naked run-in with Nate leads
to more unclothed encounters. But Dorie is sure their fling is only temporary.
As long as she remembers he’ll be gone once his life gets back on track, she
won’t get hurt. In the meantime, she throws herself into enjoying their three
weeks together before he has to report for spring training and go back to his
only time in months that he finds himself smiling. Laughing. And he
has no intention of letting that go. He might even be falling in love…if only
Dorie will let him say the words. What they have isn’t just a dream, but the
start of a dream come true.
It wasn’t until Nate looked down to turn off the phone that he remembered where he was—that the woman who lived here was down the hall. Hell, she’d probably barricaded herself in the bathroom in order to keep a locked door between her and the stranger who’d barged in on her in the middle of the night.
And ate her dinner, he thought with a quiet laugh.
He’d give her back her phone and let her know he was leaving. Nowhere to stay, but he had a very expensive tiny car he could sleep in.
He found her in the bedroom, changing the sheets, which he would have told her she didn’t have to do if his heart hadn’t just lodged itself directly into his throat, cutting off any possibility of speech. Her pajama pants and T-shirt weren’t nearly as revealing as the robe had been, but her bending over the bed and straightening out the corner stirred up something deep inside of him. And now the only thing running through his mind was how soft her hair would be when he wrapped it around his hand; how warm and wet she’d be when he buried himself inside her.
“Christ, woman,” he groaned. He grabbed the doorjamb above his head and he clutched it so hard he practically splintered the wood.
She gasped as she straightened up and spun around, her hand flying to her chest. “I was… I was just…”
She bit her lip and sank down until she was sitting on the edge of the bed. Her eyes met his, and he had to tell himself he couldn’t take her right here. He needed to focus on climbing out of this hole—he didn’t have the time to fall further in, no matter how enjoyable that might be.
But he couldn’t look away.
Her eyes were a deep dark brown, the same color as the hair piled on top of her head. He wanted to trace the golden skin along her collarbone to the hollow of her throat, wanted his tongue on every part of her. And the glasses she now wore almost undid him.
If she’d been wearing those with the robe? When she’d hiked that bat up over her shoulder?
Holy. Shit. Turned out he liked a woman who would take him on without even blinking an eye. Who knew?
He especially liked it when her interested gaze traveled down his chest, past his waist… He liked it too much, actually. Only the quickly summoned thought of David Ortiz slamming into him at home plate stopped him from embarrassing himself in a way he hadn’t since he was practically a kid.
Even that almost wasn’t enough when she said, “I, um, changed the sheets. So you can take the bed.”
All control vanished as the words just came pouring out of his mouth. “The only way I take the bed is if I take you in it with me.”
His heart nearly raced its way out of his chest in the seconds before she replied, “I bet you say that to all the girls.” Laughter danced in her eyes and a wicked grin came over her face when her eyes again dropped to his cock and then quickly came back up. She bit her bottom lip before whispering, “Hungry?”
Miguel Cabrera. Adrian Beltre. Derek fucking Jeter.
He gripped the doorjamb tighter.
“I could eat,” he answered as evenly as he could manage.
For a moment they just stayed where they were, staring.
When she stood and walked toward him, he almost blinked. This was a dream. It had to be. Or some elaborate setup that Pete had come up with in order to get Nate’s mind off everything else. Put this fantasy of a woman in front of him—feisty and looking so innocent and cute while she offered up anything he wanted to take—until he was so goddamn spent he could finally get over himself and start living his life again.
Except then she brushed past him as she walked out of the room, pausing only to whisper into his ear, “I think you need another minute.”
Doyle decided it was high time she started creating some. Jen is a
member of the Romance Writers of America, as well as a member of the New
England, New Jersey Romance Writers and Music City Romance Writer chapters of
RWA. She is represented by Sarah E. Younger of the Nancy Yost Literary Agency.
She has an M.S. in Library and Information Science and, in addition to her work
as a librarian, has worked as a conference and events planner as well as a
Communications and Enrollment administrator in both preschool and higher
education environments (although some might say that there is very little
difference between the two; Jen has no comment regarding whether she is one of
will be published by Carina Press in 2016. It was the winner of The
Beacon, the Finish the Damn Book, and the Melody of Love 2014
contests in the Contemporary Romance category, and was also the Contemporary
Romance winner as well as the Grand Prize Winner of the 2014 Gateway to
the Best contest.