Teaser for Behind the Catcher’s Mask #YA #romance #shortstory

Thanks to Nancee Cain for reading and reviewing Masquerade: Oddly Suited, a young adult anthology including my sports romance short story, Behind the Catcher’s Mask.

Fast-pitch softball is Andie Wilson’s life. She’s a fierce pitcher hoping to score a college scholarship, and she hates the annoying distraction of cocky baseball players crashing her high-school charity game. But she doesn’t anticipate the impact of one baseball player: Colt Turner. As Colt stares at her through his catcher’s mask, his steadfast gaze may be just what she needs to guide her through a crisis. And Colt may need Andie, too—to cope with the secret hiding behind his mask.



Nancee’s review reminds me that I want to share a teaser from my story with you. This scene takes place after the story, from Colt’s perspective.

Sharp air fills my lungs as I stride toward Andie’s front door. This early cold snap has blown in uninvited. Welcome to Ohio.
Andie skips out and closes the door behind her before I reach the porch. She turns her face up to mine, fresh and pink in the glow of the porch light. Her pastel-striped knit hat fans out her long, blond hair over the collar of her coat.
“You sure your parents are cool with you going to a senior party?” I ask.
She rolls her eyes. “Alex will be there, so he’ll protect me.”
Her older brother’s the starting quarterback for USC. “Your brother’s in town for Christmas?”
“Just for a couple of days, then he has to head back to L.A. before the bowl game.”
When she shivers, I reach for one of her mittens, tug her closer, and lean down to kiss that irresistibly soft and rosy cheek. “C’mon, let’s go.”
I hold the passenger door open for her, and she snuggles into the seat. “Oh, it’s so warm in here!”
I hustle to my side of the car, praying, Don’t break down again. I left the car running to help my chances. As I back out of her driveway, I boast, “Vlad’s got a good heater.”
Her eyebrows scrunch. “You named your car Vlad?”
I nod.
Her head tilts.“What kind of car is this?”
“Chevy Impala. A very old Impala,” I add.
After a few seconds, her giggles fill the car. “Vlad the Impala!” She snorts. “You’re a genius, Colt.”
My dad was the clever one who came up with the name, actually. My smile fades. This will be our first Christmas without him.
We arrive at my teammate’s house and climb out of Vlad.
Her mitten envelopes my glove. “Are you okay?”
I realize I haven’t spoken the entire car ride. “Great.”
The worried look in her hazel eyes remains, sparking a stab of guilt in my chest. My denial wouldn’t impress my sport psychologist.
“Just thinking about…my dad,” I admit.
She slows her stride. “Holidays must be tough.”
I cringe. After meeting her at a charity softball game in September, I’ve already cried once in front of her, on Thanksgiving. Not cool.
The kicky beat of a pop song draws my attention to the house, where my teammate stands in the now-open doorway. “Turner!” Nate hollers. “Get your ass in here.”
Nate is a senior, like me, and my favorite pitcher to catch. Check that—Andie’s my new favorite pitcher. I lead her into the house.
“Hey, Andie.” Nate snatches her hat off of her head as she crosses in front of him.
She spins around and yanks her hat back, right before elbowing him in the gut.
“Oof.” Nate doubles over, but his grin lets on that she went easy on him.
Andie tosses her coat and hat onto the growing pile on the floor. “Don’t get grabby,” she tells Nate as she shakes out her hair.
This. This is why I love being with an athlete. Andie’s low-maintenance vibe is a total turn-on. After my coat joins the outerwear mountain, I follow her into Nate’s house.
Nate also plays wide receiver, so there’s a mix of baseball and football players trash-talking their way through video games in the family room. Andie ignores their beers and heads toward the two-liters of soft drinks in the quieter kitchen. I’m scooping ice into two cups when I hear my name.
A blond guy close to my height sidles up to me. “Congrats on your full ride, Colt. You’re going to UF, right?”
I shake his hand. “Yep. Thanks, Alex.”
“Well, I guess I don’t have to introduce you guys.” Andie shrugs.
Her brother keeps looking at me as he tells her, “Pour me one too, Andie.”
Her eyes flare as she fakes a curtsy, but she does pour soda into the third cup of ice I’ve scooped.
“I hear you could go straight to the bigs, though,” Alex continues. “The Reds want you. What’s your deal?”
I take a sip of coke. “Florida’s a lot warmer than Cincinnati.”
“California’s warm, too,” Alex says. “But I’d give my left nut to be in the NFL.”
Andie glances at his crotch and smiles as she hands him his drink. “Not much of a sacrifice.”
Alex glares at her, then returns to lecturing me. “Don’t waste this opportunity, man. You could get injured in college ball, flush millions down the toilet.”
I swallow as he stares at me. I wish he’d shut up. “I want to play in college first.”
“But, why?” Alex shakes his head. “That’s stupid.”
Andie steps in front of me, wedging herself between us. “Back off, Alex.”
“Why?” He frowns at her. “I’m just trying to help him.”
She looks at me over her shoulder, blinking up at me. As she holds my gaze, I realize I’ve been holding my breath. I exhale and pull her back into me, feeling her warmth as my hand rests on her hip.
“Colt doesn’t need your help,” she tells Alex. “His dad left early for the NFL, and he always regretted not finishing college. He always wanted Colt to get a degree. So, Colt’s doing what’s right for him and his family.”
Alex lowers his drink as his face falls. He retreats back a step. “I heard what happened to your dad.”
hate reactions like these.
“I’m sorry, man.” Alex shakes his head. “I’m an ass.”
A football player calls for Alex to join them, and it’s like he can’t get away fast enough.
Andie turns around after he leaves. “Wow. I’ve never heard him admit he’s an ass before.”
“There’s a first time for everything, I guess.”
She grins at me as she cocks her head toward the family room. “Like the first time I whoop you in Fortnite?”


USE SOMEBODY by @BeckAndersonID #Romance #Excerpt


USE_SOMEBODY_EXCERPT.jpg
Excerpt
We stand in a ridiculous line (my opinion) to grab a coffee at the original Starbucks, and Macy pulls out her phone.
“Now we’ll take our coffees and go drink them somewhere cool.” She pulls me along back the way we came, hops on the Link again, headed back toward the hotel.
“Where is this cool place?” I fight the urge to take the reins. She’s lost. We’re headed nowhere.
“Just wait. It’s gonna be cool. I asked the concierge about it before you got up, too, so it’s not just me and Google that thinks so.”
We walk a short block in the opposite direction of the hotel, past the gleaming steel and glass public library, which Macy takes several pictures of as we walk.
We cross the street, and she walks up to the front doors of a grey stone modern office building.
“What?” I feel a little unsettled. I’m the one who does the surprising.
“Trust me.” She takes my hand and pulls me in through the revolving doors.
We get on the elevator, and she presses the button for the seventh floor.
“Okay.” I stand next to her, but I’m concentrating mostly on the way it feels to have her hand on mine. I think about her lips on mine, her hips against mine…
And then she coughs. It’s two, quick coughs, but there’s that rattle again.
And my mind’s back on the business of keeping her well, keeping her safe.
We get off the elevator. She looks like a kid with a great secret. “Just wait. This is so cool.”
“You haven’t been here, how do you know?”
“Don’t be a crank. Nobody likes the stick in the mud.”
“Fine.”
She pulls me through another set of chrome and glass doors.
And yeah, she’s right. It’s pretty cool.
So apparently Macy from Teton County, Idaho, has discovered the rooftop park hidden in the middle of downtown Seattle. And it’s gorgeous. She hands me my coffee and walks over to the railing. The sun is out, and the water and the waterfront is laid out in front of us.
“There’s the Space Needle! We’re going there later today. After dinner.”
I laugh. “Are you at least going to let me pick a spot for dinner?”
“Do you want to?” She doesn’t look like she wants me to.
“There’s a great place I know, and it’s a short walk from the hotel.”
“Fine.” She takes a sip from her coffee and looks out over the view.
I kiss her on the cheek again. “Don’t sulk.”
She turns and kisses me full-on, on the lips, for the briefest possible moment, before pulling away and facing out to the view again. “I’m not.” I taste mint and feel sparks down to the base of my spine.
Then she smiles the slyest, crookedest grin I’ve seen. I haven’t seen her smile like that.
And I grin back.


USE_SOMEBODY_COMING_SOON.jpg

Use Somebody is Beck Anderson’s
newest Hollywood standalone!


Releasing October 8th.  Now Available for Pre-order!


use somebody cover.jpg
Blurb
Jeremy King, Hollywood über-agent to the stars, knows that sharks gotta swim. He’s one of them, after all. He’s never met a deal he couldn’t strike or an argument he couldn’t win. LA is his kind of town—they both never stop moving.


So when his friend and client, movie star Andrew Pettigrew, invites him on a “man-cation” to the wilds of Idaho for a little fly-fishing, Jeremy’s not so sure. He might not have cell service. There’s no way there’ll be any supermodels to woo. And his idea of the great outdoors is a drive down the Pacific Coast Highway in his Tesla Model S—moose definitely do not factor into the picture.


Fitting then that because of a moose, he meets Macy Shea Summerlin, the best fly-fishing guide on the South Fork. Jeremy’s surprised and tantalized, but Macy isn’t having any of his alpha male posturing. She gives as good as she gets, and she knows how to throw a mean right hook.


As the two of them get tangled up in each other’s lives, both Jeremy and Macy must come to terms with winning and losing and letting love in. And Jeremy has to find the answer to his own question: Is he simply “using” Macy or could he really “use” someone like her? Find out in Use Somebody, book 3 of the Fix You series.


use somebody pic quote 2.jpg


About the Author:
square beck poc.jpg


Beck Anderson is a two-time Rita© finalist and author of four novels including the Fix You series and The Jeweler. She’s also a wife, a mom, an educator, and a walker of a small, bossy dog-slash-evil genius.


WHEN IT HOOKS YOU #Romance #NewRelease by @NickiElson3D

Welcome to #ComedyBookWeek, an annual, online celebration of humor in writing. I’m hosting Nicki Elson and her new release, WHEN IT HOOKS YOU. You can read my 5 star review here. Today Nicki’s sharing a humorous excerpt from the book.

NICKI: I have a lot of favorite funny moments in this story, but I selected this one to share today because it’s the one that cracked me up the most while I was writing—plus it comes with a bonus fun-fact about tigers.  Thanks for having me over, Jen!

JEN: This TOTALLY made me snicker. Plus, it was educational!

Excerpt from WHEN IT HOOKS YOU by Nicki Elson

The rain persisted, so they decided to stay at the museum for lunch, sitting at a table in the middle of the towering atrium that separated the historic part of the museum from the newer wing.

“This is more impressive when the sun is shining.” Lyssa frowned, her eyes raised toward the thousands of drops racing down the enormous glass wall.

“It’s still pretty cool,” Trish said. “A dreary day is sort of nice once in a while. Not every day can be sunny. Though I imagine that—” she tilted her head to indicate a spiky lime green spire; it was made entirely of glass and rose straight up from the floor near the window “—is amazing when the sun hits it.”

Lyssa sighed. “Yeah, it is. Guess this means you’ll have to come back soon so you can see it.”

“Definitely.” Trish smiled. “You know what that thing keeps making me think of?”

“What?”

“A tiger penis.”

Lyssa choked on her ice water and threw her hand to her mouth, her eyes going wide in shocked question.

“Sorry,” Trish said, not making any effort to sound the least bit remorseful. “Tigers have barbed penises. It helps them stay in while mating.”

Dabbing at her lips with her napkin, Lyssa asked, “Why do you know that?”

“After I started relating to the feline, I did a little Googling. Fascinating creature, the tiger.”

“I bring the girl to a museum, try to show her a little culture, and she turns a Chihuly into a giant phallus.”

“I’d say the artist did a fine job of that all by himself.”

Lyssa’s gaze scanned the length of the piece. “I suppose he did. Still, this could be a sign that it’s time for you to get yourself some.”

Trish laughed but declined to respond, instead giving her attention to the menu. Adam Helms was the first man to make her seriously consider losing her revirginity. If his kisses were any indication, a night of wrestling between the sheets with him could be the one way to top their perfect second date.


WHEN IT HOOKS YOU is available at Amazon.

Free to read in Kindle Unlimited

Learn more about Nicki’s books at nickielson.com


Excerpt from #College #Volleyball #Romance BLOCKED


Only one week till the release of BLOCKED on 10-21-14. We hope to have it up for pre-order soon.

Until then, here’s an excerpt from Dane’s point of view.

I was just about to slurp the leftover milk from my second bowl of cereal when Lucia entered the kitchen. With my bowl suspended in midair, I watched her stop in place once she saw me.
Shit. So much for avoiding her after my beer-goggle kiss a week ago. The girl confused the hell out of me. I’d hoped some time away from her would clarify things, but given the uptick of my heartbeat when she strolled in the room, that obviously hadn’t happened.
As I set my bowl back on the table, my eyes floated from her flushed face to the slogan on her hot-pink T-shirt:

I grinned. Thank God guys don’t have to wear Spandex. When she turned to leave, I caught a glimpse of the luscious curve of her bottom. And thank God girl players do.
“Wait, don’t go.” Why did I just say that?
She pivoted and nailed me with her suspicious gaze. “What?”
Feeling unnerved, I gestured toward the open box of cereal on the table. “Want some dinner? You don’t have to leave on my account.”
She stared at the cereal for a few moments. At first she seemed to give the box a longing look, like she’d discovered a deep cache of oil on a barren stretch of land. Then her eyes tightened into the same hostile look I’d seen so many times on her father. Despite this, I noticed dark hollows beneath her eyes and felt a smidgen of concern for her. That level of exhaustion typically didn’t occur until later in the season, when Holter’s constant demands would inevitably wear down the girl’s team.
“I’m not hungry,” she finally said.
“But you haven’t eaten anything.”
She glanced up from the box of cereal with wide eyes. “Yes, yes, I have.”
When she stepped away from me, I took my time getting to my feet in an effort to avoid scaring her away. “Then why’d you come to the kitchen?”
“I…” Her eyes darted around the modern appliances. She backed up until her butt brushed the counter, which one hand gripped with white knuckles. “I came to get a drink.”
Why did she look so tortured? “Oh.” I shrugged. “I’ll get it for you.”
“No—”
I made it to the fridge in two strides and opened the door. “What’d you want? We’ve got cranberry juice, orange juice, Coke…hey, there’s even some beer hidden back here — ”
“Water,” she said. I backed out of the shelf and straightened, wondering if I’d heard her correctly. “Just ice water.”
That’s kind of boring.” I crossed over to the cabinet and snatched a glass from the shelf, then returned to the refrigerator door to fill it with crushed ice and filtered water. “Here ya go.”
She hesitated as she studied the drink in my outstretched hand. “Relax. It’s not poisoned.” I grinned at her.
She grasped the glass. Her hand trembled as she took a sip. “Why are you being nice to me?”
Man, she had trust issues. All I did was get her a freaking glass of water! I performed a little bow and adopted an English accent. “The setter is here to serve the hitter, milady.”
Was that a hint of a smile? The subtle quirk of one corner of her mouth filled me with warmth, and I realized that was the first time I’d seen her even come close to a smile. Esa chica needed to learn how to chill if she wanted to last as a Highbanks varsity athlete. She set down her glass and seemed to take a deep breath.
“Have you always been a setter?”

Her question made me pause. Why does she want to know? “Yep.”
“Why?”

I need to be in charge. “I like being the leader of the team.”
“Kind of tall for a setter, aren’t you?”
Wow. Mute Girl actually engaged me in conversation? I watched her gaze linger at my feet and slowly sweep up my body. I stared right back at her, trying to figure out what she found so fascinating. When our eyes met, it took a second to register what was going on. Damn! She had just ogled me. Having her eyes roam over my body…I had to admit it felt pretty great. I winked at her, and a pretty, rose-colored blush crept up her neck a second before she looked away.
~*~
Don’t forget to enter the Goodreads giveaway HERE. You can also win muchos prizes at the Blocked Release party on Facebook 10-21-14 from 11:00-3:00 EST.

Blocked Excerpt #NA #Volleyball #Romance


Only two weeks till the release of Blocked on 10-21-14.


Here’s an excerpt from Chapter 3:

“Ladies!” Coach boomed as he stormed away from the men’s coach. “We’re taking over the gym. We’ve got priority here. Madison, get us started on warm-up.”

Maddie ran to the net, and when my teammates followed her, I jogged over too. I snuck a glance at Dane to find him positively murdering me with those eyes. Oops. He was mad at me again? How was it my fault our practice times got messed up?

A male voice boomed, “Hold it!” and I halted mid-step. I turned to see Dane point at the gym floor in front of me a second before he loped over, clutching his towel. Would he strangle me with it? My eyes darted to Allison at the sideline, but my Secret Service agent didn’t seem to be on alert. I braced myself as he neared, but my fear turned to surprise when he dropped to the floor and wiped it with his towel.

“Close your mouth, Ramirez,” he said as he popped back up and stood inches from me. How does he smell so yummy despite his soaked shirt? It was a manly scent, tinged with some sort of aftershave. “I sweat like a cow.” His angular body towered over me. Not a bovine in sight.

His eyebrows knitted together as I stared up at him. His eyes were so pretty, so deep. “I didn’t want you to fall and break your ankle,” he continued. “At least not because of me.” His insult barely registered over the blood rushing in my ears. When I continued to stand mute in his presence, his head tilted. “I know you can speak…” One corner of his mouth perked up. “You’re not going to call me bitch again, are you?”

When I finally wrestled my gaze from his face, I noticed everyone in the gym watching us. I tried to swallow, but my throat was dry.

Thanks, Dane,” Maddie said as she gestured for me to join the team for warm-ups. She turned around, jumped to block at one end of the net, shuffled over a few steps, and jumped again. She had an awesome vertical leap, and I watched Nina and the other teammates follow her lead.

I looked back at Dane. Say something, idiota. “I don’t know…do you deserve to be called bitch again?” I backpedaled toward the net so he wouldn’t get me in trouble with Coach this time.

“I deserve only kindness and affection.” He smirked.



Don’t forget to enter the Goodreads giveaway for two signed print copies of Blocked! See the right sidebar.

Excerpt #NA #Volleyball #Romance BLOCKED Releasing 10-21-14


Have you added Blocked to your Goodreads shelf yet? Enter a giveaway for a signed print copy. We’re less than one month away from the launch of the New Adult volleyball romance.

Here’s an excerpt from chapter 2, Dane’s perspective.

“Lucia!” Coach Holter barked.

Ignoring him, she took a step toward me. Her long braid whipped behind her shoulder. “I have my reasons for being here, and it’s not about the election.”

“What reasons?”

“C’mon,” said the agent with blond curly hair as she put her arm around Lucia’s shoulders. Her voice lowered. “Your coach is having a cow.”

“Oh, no.” Lucia closed her eyes, turned, and made a beeline for the classroom. At the door, Coach Holter grabbed her shoulder and jabbed his finger toward her chest. I couldn’t hear his words, but he was pissed. Lucia’s head lowered as she nodded, and I couldn’t take my eyes off her.

Her thick, black hair shone. She wore modest dresses on the campaign trail, but her volleyball practice uniform — a form-fitting gray T-shirt and black Spandex shorts — was far superior. The toned muscles of her arms and long-ass legs left no doubt she was a scholarship athlete. Whether or not she could really play — to earn that scholarship — was yet to be seen. She didn’t have much of a chest, but the luscious curve of her butt more than compensated. Talk about junk in the trunk. Damn. Why’d all of that have to belong to her?

Coach Holter’s lecture appeared to gain momentum and his voice rose loud enough for me to hear. “Do you think you deserve special treatment!?”

Lucia shook her head as she continued staring at her shoes. “Look at me when I talk to you!”

When her head snapped up, I could see tears in her eyes. As she stared wide-eyed at her coach, her clenched fists shook at her side. La chica looked on the verge of meltdown, and I didn’t envy her. I’d been on the receiving end of my club coach’s ass-chewing too many times to count. Thank God my college coach, Phil, was as chill as they came.

China’s stern face filled my line of vision. “Time to go, Mr. Monroe.” Her short brown hair, gelled into place, didn’t move an inch as she shook her head. “I know it must be a pleasure for you to watch Ms. Ramirez get reamed by her coach — ”

“Not really.” Sure, it was kind of fun to see Miss-Conservative- Know-it-All get her comeuppance, but I wasn’t made of stone.

“But if we don’t leave now, you’ll be late for practice.”

By the time I was able to step around China to check out the doorway again, Lucia and Holter had disappeared into the classroom.

“Fine. Let’s go.”

“This way.” Brad pointed to the opposite end of the hallway. “If ya want to avoid the media.”

Deleted Scene: On Best Behavior

Only four more days until release day of On Best Behavior! It’s exciting to finish my first series.

Earlier I posted the first part of a scene that we cut in the editing process. Here’s part two of Sophie and Grant in the church, planning their wedding:


“You know what I was thinking about during our little moment of silence?” Grant asked.

Sophie shook her head.

“Well, I imagined you in your wedding dress, at the end of the aisle.” He gestured toward the altar. “I’m standing right there waiting for you, fidgeting with the flower on my lapel, and when I see you, you look so stunning. Radiant and exquisite.”

She glanced at the entrance of the sanctuary and then back at him. “Mmm, I can see it too. You’re standing by Pastor Tom, looking so McSailoricious in a tux. I want to tear down the aisle, run into your arms.”

He continued the little fantasy. “You try to run, but…your father, he slows you down. He walks you to me—” he flinched as if watching a horror flick “—but then he won’t let you go. You tug on his arm, try to get away, but he’s got a vice grip on you, and he’s glaring at me—”

“Nooo!” she cried, playfully pushing against his chest. “You’re cursing us. That could really happen, you know.”

Grant clasped her wrists and leaned in. “I won’t let that happen, Bonnie, even if I have to wrestle you away from your father.”

“Good, don’t freak me out like that.”

He drew her hand up to his lips and planted a kiss on her knuckles.

Sophie gazed off in the distance, remembering what she’d read in one of her textbooks about the symbolism of the father giving the daughter away at a wedding. When the bride moved from her father to her husband, she transferred her allegiance from her family to her husband. In successful marriages, the wife had to put her husband first, ahead of her family, and the husband had to put the wife first too. If a conflict erupted between the spouse and the family, the spouse’s needs won in a healthy marriage.

When Sophie explained the symbolism to Grant, he said, “Interesting. I thought it was more like the father saying ‘Take her off my hands, please.’”

Her mouth popped open with umbrage.

He smiled. “Seriously, I do like that explanation from your psychology book.”

“Of course you do,” she replied with a grin, “’cause that means I’ll be yours.”

He leaned in, brushing his lips on her neck, sweeping soft kisses up her chin and jaw until his lips landed on hers. Their kiss was sweet and gentle, and she gazed into his glittering eyes.

“I’ll tell you a secret, Grant. We don’t need a wedding ceremony for me to transfer my allegiance—I already belong to you.”

“And I to you, Sophie.”

Enter to WIN a print copy of On Best Behavior (The Conduct Series #3) HERE.