The wait is finally (almost) over! Back In The Game will be out on Monday!
The follow-up to Playing By The Rules, the free book I released in March, is finally finished and ready for you. I gotta tell you, I struggled with this story. I loved Becky, she’s sweet, she’s amazing, but she’s a single mom with a whole boat full of baggage.
How in the hell was I going to hook her up?
I knew all along I wanted her with Matt. (Spoiler alert – whoops!) What I wasn’t sure of was how they would actually get together and if they would work. But you know what…
They totally work!
Becky and Matt are perfect for each other in many ways, but I’ll let you read that for yourself.
Writing this book was hard on me. There were parts where I almost couldn’t finish it. I sat one day blinking away tears as I tried to get out the scene I was struggling with (not because I hated the scene but because it was so sad even I was crying). Becky was emotional and stubborn. She was broken and afraid of being hurt again. She was fragile and not sure if she was ready for anything.
And Matt was too.
As their story unfolded in front of me, I realized how much I loved these characters. Matt is strong and steady, closed off emotionally in some ways, but hopelessly attracted to Becky. Becky was broken but lonely and never thought she’d find love again.
It slapped them both in the face and scared the hell out of them.
You’ve already read the first chapter (in the back of Playing By The Rules or on the Back In The Game page) so I’ll tease you with another scene I had a lot of fun with. These two made the last month wonderful for me and I can’t wait for you to share their love!
“Hello, Matt,” Chloe said as she stepped in front of him.
He smiled at her, nodding to her then to Becky. “Ladies.”
“We just wanted to thank you for dinner. And say it wasn’t necessary.” Chloe was the only one talking, saying the words for both of them.
“It was completely necessary. I was a first class asshole and I’m sorry for that. I know buying your dinner doesn’t replace what I said, but I am sorry for hurting you.” Matt directed his eyes at Becky, making sure she knew he was sincere.
He saw her eyes dilate when they met his, and her pulse trembled at the side of her neck. If Matt didn’t know any better he would think she was turned on. It was a good thing he was smart enough to realize the woman was just afraid of him.
“I’m not going to hurt you again. I feel like a jerk for assuming something and making you feel badly because I can’t keep my nose out of your business. It won’t happen again.”
“Thank you, but it’s not necessary. It was a mistake.”
Matt wanted to reach out to Becky, take her hand or pull her into his arms. The desire to protect her overwhelmed him and shook him to his core. He wanted to keep her safe, to prevent anyone from ever hurting her again. But he knew the best way to do that was to keep his distance from her. He’d hurt her, and he wouldn’t do it again.
“It was a mistake, but it was mine, not yours.”
“Matt, let’s just forget about it. We can start over. I’m the single mom who is addicted to your pizza and you’re the guy who makes the best pizza in town.”
Matt couldn’t help but smile at her simple assessment of them, and her compliment. But hearing his name on her lips made him happier than it should have. What he wouldn’t give to hear her say it again, preferably when he kissed her, or as he entered her. The image of her lying under him, her blonde hair spread out over his dark grey pillow, her body open and waiting for him, got him hard in an instant. He wanted to throw her over his shoulder and drag her from the bar straight to his bed.
But he knew it would never happen.
Becky might be putting up with him and nice at the moment, but it was only because he was apologizing. She wasn’t really interested in him. Not now and not ever.
“Would you ladies care to join me?” Matt heard himself ask. He had no idea what made him say the words. Seeing Becky run out just days before had almost broke him, but hearing her tell him no would threaten his very existence.
“Thank you,” Becky said as she slid on the stool next to him. He noticed her friend smirk but she didn’t say a word to Becky.
“I think I’m going to head out. Thank you for dinner, Matt. Beck, I had fun today. I’ll talk to you tomorrow.”
“Oh, I’ll go with you,” Becky argued as she stood up. Matt’s heart sunk again, watching her ready to run from him.
“No, you stay here. I’m tired and I have an early client tomorrow. Caleb has the girls and he told you to enjoy your night. So enjoy it.”
The look Chloe gave Becky was one Matt couldn’t read but he was pretty sure she was trying to get her friend to give him a chance. Thankful that the feisty woman was on his side, he stood to kiss her cheek before she left. She smiled at him then gave him a look that he knew meant she would make him regret the day he was born if he hurt her friend.
Matt hoped his smile reassured Chloe that he would never do anything to hurt Becky. She finally broke their eye contact and hugged her friend then walked out the door.
Matt turned to Becky and noticed she was chewing on her lower lip. The pulse in her neck continued to skip but Matt knew she was nervous. “If you don’t want to be here, I won’t be offended if you leave. I know you don’t like me.”
Becky turned on him with a spark in her eye. She looked ready to fight and the nervousness was gone. “Trust me, I don’t do anything I don’t want to do. If you don’t want to share your evening with me, you shouldn’t have invited me to join you.”
Matt felt a grin tug at his lips. He liked the feisty side of her. She was a surprise, not the demure woman he’d thought she was. And it made him like her even more.
“Believe me, I’m thrilled you decided to join me. But you seem nervous to be here alone with me. I don’t want you to worry. I’m not going to hurt you.”
Becky evaluated him with narrowed eyes. Matt didn’t know if she was trying to judge if he was being honest or if she was pissed off. Either way after a moment her eyes softened and she said, “I know. So tell me something about yourself, Matt.”
His first thought was to tell her he was fascinated by her but he knew that would scare her. He asked, “What do you want to know?”
Becky tapped a finger against her lips and said, “Something embarrassing. Since you made me feel like shit, you have to tell me something that will embarrass you.”
Matt grinned at her. He liked her spunk. She wasn’t afraid to tell him how he made her feel and she wasn’t afraid to put him in his place. He liked that in a woman, even if it made him squirm.
Do you want to know Matt’s embarrassing story? Trust me, it’s a good one! Look for Back In The Game on Monday, June 2!