Thursday, 17 January 2019

Sins of the Fallen Cover ReVamp with Karina Espinosa.

Title: Sins of the Fallen
Author: Karina Espinosa
Genre: YA PNR
Cover Designer: Covers by Christian
Hosted by: Lady Amber’s PR

Blurb: When seventeen-year-old Maximillion Taylor and his best friend, Jones go to a house party, he doesn't expect to get kidnapped—much less by a succubus—and she's not the only one on the hunt. Thrown into a world of angels and demons, where nothing and no one is what they seem, Max ventures to find his true identity and learn to fight the demons who pursue him. When his origin is revealed, it's a race against the clock for a battle that will determine whether he can protect the ones he loves or succumb to his true nature. Through lies, betrayal, love and pain, Max must prepare to face the demons before it is too late…

Buy Link:
Sins of the Fallen: http://smarturl.it/8bzay3
 Karina Espinosa is the Urban Fantasy author of the Sins of the Fallen series and the Mackenzie Grey novels. Infatuated with travel, pop culture, and the need to write everything down, she spends much of her days in front of a computer working on her next book, shopping online, and listening to music. With nomadic tendencies, she is currently resting her head in South Florida until the itch to move strikes again. You can usually catch her on Facebook, Instagram and live-tweeting during episodes of Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, and Orphan Black. Follow her on social media!
 
Author Links:
Buy Link:
Sins of the Fallen: http://smarturl.it/8bzay3

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Wicked Origins Book Blitz with Paula Black

Title: Wicked Origins
Author: Paula Black
Genre: Reverse Harem Fantasy
Cover Designer: Logan Keys of Cover of Darkness
Publication Date: December 10th, 2018
Hosted by: Lady Amber’s PR
Blurb: I have no idea what’s happening to me.
When a tornado dropped my car in a land of short, wild people, I was shocked. With no way to get home, no idea where I was and no clue how to communicate with the muchkins, I was completely out of luck. Then I found out that my car had landed on someone and killed them. Supposedly she was the Wicked Witch of the East.
If that wasn’t bad enough, now her ruby slippers magically appear on my feet, and slowly, I’m becoming her.
Now I need to get to Emerald City and see the Wizard if I want to stop the transformation and return home. But the yellow brick road is no cake-walk, and I don’t know what I’ll find at the end of this journey. Luckily, I have three brothers I meet along the way to help me on my journey. Each of them is vying for my affection, as if it doesn’t matter that my skin is turning green.
Wicked Origins is a modern YA Reverse-Harem Fantasy Retelling of L. Frank Baum’s original Oz tales. 
  
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 Paula Black is a USA Today Bestselling Author who wears many hats - and none of them is a night cap. Running on tea, Kpop, and sheer adrenaline, she battles monsters and witches with little to no sleep. She is the sleepy panda who loves to cuddle with boys, dogs, cats, and other pets.
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There are days when I feel like the whole world is pressing down on me, keeping me pinned where I am. But right now, it’s a man’s weight that pins me to the bed of his pick-up truck while I search the night sky, looking for a way out of this emptiness in my chest. He’s kissing my neck, and his hands are inching up my waist, pulling my shirt up, exposing my hot skin to the cool night air. Finally, his thumbs play along the bottom edge of my bra and he hesitates, wondering if I’ll stop him. I consider it. I’m really not feeling anything for him. I’ve let him kiss me until my lips are sore and swollen. We’ve swapped saliva, and he’s trailed more of his own down my neck as his fingers explored my waist and lower back. It’s been a great escape. It’s made me feel something… but barely anything more than soreness and pressure and heat. At least his body is keeping me warm on this chilly night in April. And my mind wanders again.
“Will you go to prom with me?” Charlie lifts his brown eyes, and they meet mine in the pale light of the silvery moon.
I blink at him. I’d almost forgotten he was there. I’d hardly noticed that he’d stopped at my bra without me even telling him to. Slowly I push myself up to a sitting position and pull my shirt back down. I meet eyes with the boy I’ve been making out with for the past half-hour. He’d asked me out and I’d accepted, but when he said he’d wanted to go to a movie and get dinner, I suggested we come out to the cow fields and make out instead. Of course, he’d agreed. Boys always did. The cows have begun mooing in the distance. The wind picks up and brings with it the scent of the cattle from several hundred yards away. Unpleasant. But again. At least it gave me a feeling, even if it was a bit of revulsion.
I’d played this dangerous game of inviting dates to the cow pasture to make out four times and hadn’t been burned yet. I still managed to stop them from moving past second base. But this was the first time I’d come alone. Usually it was a double date or a group thing. At least Charlie was gentlemanly enough to stop himself. I blink at him. I should reward him for being gentlemanly. “Sure. We can do prom.”
A smile spreads across his lips, and he moves in for an awkward kiss. Our teeth clack together, and he stops, a blush filling his cheeks. I have geometry with Charlie. I don’t even think I know his last name. It’s my senior year, and I’d had yet to go to a homecoming or any dance for that matter. I guess I should at least try to go to the prom.
“Do you want to continue what we started?” Charlie asked, gesturing toward the blanket.
I frown. “It’s getting late. I really ought to head home.”
His brow scrunches. “It’s only nine-thirty.”
“I forgot I have homework. I need to read Beowulf.” I stand and dust off the back of my black, slim-fit jeans. The cows have drawn closer, and the smell becomes more pungent. And the starry sky darkens in the west where storm clouds gather.
He nods and gathers up the blanket he had spread out in the bed of the truck. His shoulders are drooping a bit, and I know I’ve disappointed him.
I grab hold of the side of the truck and leap over, sticking the landing on my feet after the vault, like I used to do in gymnastics as a child. That was back when my adoptive father abused me. Back when I hadn’t yet shut off my feelings toward men, school, even most of life in general. I step up to the passenger side door just as Charlie gets there and opens it for me. I lean in and kiss him on the cheek. His eyes light up in the glow from the interior of the car. At least I’m able to boost his spirits somehow. He deserves it. He’s super sweet

Tears of Glass Release Boost with Anna Bloom

Title: Tears of Glass
Author: Anna Bloom
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publication Date: January 3rd, 2019
Hosted by: Lady Amber’s PR
Blurb:
She had one rule: never sleep with someone twice.
Then Faith Hitchin met Elijah Fairclough and the baroness’ son with the heart of an artist scorched her rule out of existence.
Until he shattered her heart.
Burned and hurting Faith battles to regain control of the protective barriers she keeps around her heart. But when two souls meet with the passion and Fire of artist and muse, walking away may not be an option.
When Faith’s last rule smashes and takes them both down with it, there may be tears of glass neither of them can survive.
Buy Links:
Tears of Ink: https://amzn.to/2SN25jp
Tears of Glass: https://amzn.to/2RjHJAD
A book hoarder and coffee addict by heart Anna Bloom loves to write extraordinary stories about real love. Based south of London with her husband, three children and a dog with a beard, Anna likes to connect with readers, fan girl over her favourite authors and binge watch Supernatural while drinking lots of wine.
Author Links:
Buy Links:
Tears of Ink: https://amzn.to/2SN25jp
Tears of Glass: https://amzn.to/2RjHJAD
  

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Broken Glass Release Blitz with J.M. Sullivan

Title: Broken Glass
Author: J.M. Sullivan
Genre: A/ Dark Fantasy / Fairy Tale Retelling
Cover Designer: Westerfield Creative
Publication Date: January 15th, 2019
Publisher: Bleeding Ink Publishing
Hosted by: Lady Amber’s PR
Blurb: The scariest thing about Wanderland isn’t death--it’s the momerath.
And now Dinah is one of them.
***
Alice Carroll has spent the better part of her life avoiding Wanderland--and the momerath--at all costs. But now with her sister gone, Alice has only one place to go.
Back to Wanderland.
Armed with only her blade and a raging vendetta against the traitorous Red Queen, Alice storms the undead wasteland to find Dinah and atone for her mistakes. But with relentless momerath and a ruthless Queen encroaching, will Alice’s determination be enough? Or will she fall down a new rabbit hole searching for revenge?
Buy Link:
Broken Glass: https://amzn.to/2ROiI0t
Teacher by day, award-winning author by night, J.M. Sullivan is a fairy tale fanatic who loves taking classic stories and turning them on their head. When she’s not buried in her laptop, you can find her watching scary movies with her husband, playing with her kids, or lost inside a good book. Although known to dabble in adulting, J.M. is a big kid at heart who still believes in true love, magic, and most of all, the power of coffee. If you would like to connect with J.M., you can find her on social media at @jmsullivanbooks-- she’d love to hear from you.
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She killed another Joker today.
Excuse me.  I mean, ‘Guardsman.’
Ha.
That’s the real joke. The Red Queen cares about the Marked as much as a cat does a dirty litter box. She’ll use them if she must, but otherwise they’re disposable.
Except for me.
She watches me.
I don’t think she knows what to do with me. Not that I blame her. I don’t know what to do with myself. Sometimes I feel like everything is normal, and other times, well—then, at least, the voices tell me that everything is fine.
I don’t quite believe them.
It would be easier if the memories stopped. Of life before. It’s muddled, but there are fragments of purpose and joy, all tied to a quiet, blonde girl. She is strong, stronger than she knows—I know this because I know her better than myself.  And yet, I don’t remember her.
I am empty.
The memories are not mine—they belong to someone else. I am a traitor in this body, an unwelcome host. And yet, the longer I stay grey, the more this body calls to me. Like the other Marked.
We understand each other.
They tell me things. Secrets the Queen will never know. I can read them in their eyes. I can feel them in my bones. Words unspoken, but always heard. Whispers, desperate songs, pleading for salvation. And all the while, they watch me. Waiting. Haunted stares as she kills our brothers and sisters. Their pain is palpable, heavy in the air and on my shoulders while they call to me on an undiscovered frequency.
I hear them laughing.
I hear them crying.
I hear them . . .
I hear . . .
Them.

Monday, 14 January 2019

Crazy, Stupid, Lazy Cupid Cover Reveal with Andie M. Long.

Title: Crazy, Stupid, Lazy Cupid
Author: Andie M. Long
Genre: Paranormal romantic comedy
Cover Designer: Tammy Clarke at The Graphics Shed
Publication Date: February 14th, 2019
Blurb:
Cupid’s have targets other than hearts…
After cheating on her monthly figures, Samara finds herself sent back to Cupid training school by the big boss himself. If she’s to pass her probation, she’ll have to prove she is capable of creating genuine love matches.
But things don’t get off to a great start when she finds out that pets aren’t allowed in school. Difficult when your husband has been turned into a Whippet until you’ve proven yourself.
Someone should have known that the crazy, stupid, lazy, cupid would try to find a short cut. It’s a walk in the park to create new romances, and she can exercise Johnny at the same time.
But not everyone wants Samara to succeed. Someone is waiting to take the lead…
Buy Links:
  
Andie M. Long is author of the popular Supernatural Dating Agency series amongst many others.
She lives in Sheffield with her son and long-suffering partner.
When not being partner, mother, writer, or book editor, she can usually be found on Facebook or walking her whippet, Bella.
Author Links:
Andie’s Halo and Horns Reader Hangout: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1462270007406687/
Mailing List: (get a free ebook of DATING SUCKS on sign-up): http://www.subscribepage.com/f8v2u5
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Samara
“Okay so it’s time to introduce the person to your left. They should have told you enough about themselves right now.” Martine, the uber-happy, bouncy pony-tailed teacher instructed us.
I was not uber-happy, or bouncy. I was super pissed off.
“Samara, could you introduce the person to your left?”
Yeah, pick on me first why don’t you?
Sighing and blowing air above my top lip, I pointed to the woman next to me. “This is Janet.”
She shook her head. “No, no. Jeanette.”
I rolled my eyes. “This is Jeanette. She’s been sent back to Cupid classes because she did something dumb.” I didn’t know what it was but if she hadn’t she wouldn’t be here.
“Well, let’s not use the word ‘dumb’ shall we. Jeanette just-”
“Fucked up?” I stated trying to be helpful.
“Let’s move along. Max, could you please introduce Samara?”
Max beamed like the goody-goody twat he was. From now on I was calling him Vax, due to his sucking skills and being full of crap.
“Samara is here because she set up Taylor Swift with Tom Hiddleston and we all know what a car crash that turned out to be.” He elbowed me. “I knew that wasn’t real. Did you give him the t-shirt? It looked like it could fit you?”
Martine’s face clouded over. Yeah she wasn’t so happy now was she?
“Samara did not set up Tom and Taylor. That is an outright lie.”
I folded my arms over my chest. “Well someone must have done it. Seriously ruined Tom for a lot of women she did.”
Martine stomped out of the carefully constructed circle of chairs she’d made us put together and grabbed a thick file from her table. Then she stomped back in.
“Here we go. Samara Leighton. Reasons for being back at Cupid Inc. Training Headquarters.
Samara’s behaviour towards her local colleagues resulted in one colleague being ridiculed and having to seek counselling. I quote. ‘What kind of person draws attention to an unfortunate mishap of another? Samara is crazy’.”
“Crazy is not waxing your vagina and then sitting with your legs apart in a spa.” I informed everyone.
“Samara engineered a speed dating event prior to the opening of the dating agency in Withernsea and we believe saw a man she liked there herself. She then ‘accidentally’ turned up on his date. This man is now her husband. Now, fortunately the date she ruined wasn’t fated anyway, but what she did that day was stupid.”
“We’re madly in love. The best match ever.” I looked at the other faces sat around. “Well we were. Now my husband is in kennels. KENNELS. They turned him into a dog.”
Martine carried on. “Samara’s monthly inputted figures included those pairings from Withernsea Dating Agency, run by Shelley Landry, with no actual input from Samara at all.
“It says pairings for the month. It doesn’t specifically say my pairings. That’s on Cupid Inc. They should be more specific.” I complained.
“It’s lazy, Samara.”
“So I’m Samara. I’m crazy, stupid, and lazy. That’s how you need to announce me to all the others, Vax.”
“Max.”
“What-ev-er. My introduction is complete.”

Friday, 11 January 2019

The High Stakes Saga Cover Reveal with Casey L. Bond.

Title: High Stakes
Author: Casey L. Bond
Genre: YA PNR, Dystopian/SciFi
Editor: Stacy Sanford/ The Girl with the Red Pen
Cover Designer, Photog & Trailer Made By: Melissa Stevens/ The Illustrated Author Design Services
Model: Breanna Ellis
Publication Date: Feb. 1st, 2019 Hosted by: Lady Amber’s PR
Blurb: Her name is Eve, and she was aptly named. The first female accepted into the Asset program, she was the first to rise to the top. She would also be the first woman to travel back in time, assigned with one target in mind: Enoch – one of the first vampires to walk the earth. Her mission was simple: Land, shove her stake through Enoch’s black heart, run to safety, and jump off something really high so she could warp back home and carve out the life she’s always wanted.
The only problem was that time travel was more complicated than anyone realized. She was supposed to travel back seven days, but instead, landed in the middle of England in the year 1348, during the time of the Black Plague.
Enoch never kept his true nature a secret. As a wealthy landowner, he protected and provided for the people under his care, and in exchange, they were more than willing to provide the scant amounts of blood he needed to survive. When a strange young woman showed up at his gate in the midst of the plague and then fell ill, he nursed her back to health.
He’d never met anyone like Eve. She was intelligent and witty, and the most beautiful creature he’d ever laid eyes upon. And, he learned, the most dangerous.
 Award-winning author Casey L. Bond resides in Milton, West Virginia with her husband and their two beautiful daughters. When she’s not busy being a domestic goddess and chasing her baby girls, she loves to write young adult and new adult fiction.
You can find more information about Bond’s books via the following links: 

Thursday, 10 January 2019

Extra Innings Sales Blitz with Lynn Stevens

Title: Extra Innings
Author: Lynn Stevens
Genre: YA Sports Romance
Cover Designer: Najla Qamber Designs
Publisher: Siren Press
Publication Date: September 18th, 2018
Hosted by: Lady Amber’s PR
Blurb: Victoria Hudson is a seventeen-year-old with a passion for baseball. When her grandmother buys a new house in the city, Vic discovers a way to play the game for the first time since getting kicked out of little league. She just has to move in with her hippie grandmother and make sure her father, a U.S. Senator and prospective Presidential candidate, doesn’t find out what she’s up to over the summer break.
After proving her abilities on the field, she catches the attention of Daniel Cho, the team’s catcher. Everything seems to be falling apart, and yet falling into place. Vic settles into a life she’s always wanted, that of a normal teenage girl. But Victoria Hudson is anything but normal. Once the press learns that the potential First Daughter is crossing the gender line to play baseball, Vic is thrust back into the spotlight and making headlines. The life she tries so hard to get away from simply won’t leave her alone.
Buy Link: 

Lynn Stevens flunked out of college writing her first novel. Yes, she still has it and no, you can't read it. Surprisingly, she graduated with honors at her third school. A former farm girl turned city slicker turned suburbanite, Lynn lives in the Midwest where she drinks coffee and sips tea when she's out of coffee. She’s the author of Full Count and Game On..
Author Links:
Buy Link: 
Top of the 1st
Acid waved in my stomach, reaching for the peak of my throat.
Stop it. You can do this. Just go at it like you own the place. Stride up to the coach like Mom does when she’s on the donation hunt.
The fields sat at the southern end of Jackson Memorial Park: one for softball, one for baseball. I had parked on the baseball side by a beat-up orange truck. The boys were already there, tossing balls and joking loud enough that I heard them through the closed windows of my car. Thankfully, the softball field was empty. Taking a deep breath, I climbed out of the car, pulling my equipment from the backseat.
Maybe it was my BMW, or maybe it was me, but the only sound I heard as I stalked toward the field were birds chirping to one another. No doubt the guys recognized a girl when they saw one. Mother Nature blessed me a bit too much in the boob department for anybody to mistake me as a boy.
I strode onto the soft dirt of the field and straight toward the older man with the clipboard. Coach Bernie Strauss stared back at me. He was easily six-eight with tree trunk legs and arms that UFC fighters would die for. He looked more like a Marine Corps drill instructor than a summer league baseball coach. I totally wanted to test him by shouting “Semper Fi.”           
 I stopped in front of him, waiting for what I knew was coming.
“Softball practice ended about twenty minutes ago.” He sounded like he ate gravel for breakfast.
“I’m not here to play softball, Coach.” I straightened my back and channeled my mother’s unbending confidence. “I’m here to help you win the city championship this year.”
No one laughed like I expected. So I exhaled, relaxed. Big mistake.
“Get off my field. I ain’t got time for this,” he shouted loud enough that birds scattered from a nearby tree. Coach Strauss turned his back to me and continued to bark at the team. “If you don’t get back to practice, you’ll be running laps in three … two …” His slight Texan accent made the “you’s” sound like “ya’s”.
The boys started throwing and stretching again, but they didn’t stop watching us.
“Coach –” I began.
“I ain’t your coach.”
I lost my cool, just like my father. “This is bullcrap. Look at your registration sheet.” He didn’t, so I snatched the clipboard from him and pointed. “See the name Vic Hudson? Well, that’s me. I paid to play. And I fully intend to. It isn’t against the rules.”
Coach ripped the clipboard from my fingers and flipped to another page. I waited. He read. I tapped my foot. That’s not nearly as dramatic on a dirt infield. The boys stopped warming up again.
He looked me up and down. “Fine. I’ll give you a shot, Hudson. You suck and you’re gone.”
“I can deal with that.”
“Get out there.” He pointed at a tall, super skinny boy. “Delvin, warm her up.”
I tossed my bag into the dugout and jogged onto the field. It didn’t take me long to figure out why Coach Strauss told Delvin to warm up with me. He kicked his leg like a pitcher and tossed a pretty nasty fastball. If I had to guess, he could hit ninety from the mound on a good day. It would’ve been stupid if I said anything, even though every ball he threw at me stung my fingers like tiny pricks of a hundred safety pins. I didn’t even try to throw my hardest. I warmed up like it was any other day.
Then he began stepping back. One step here, then another.
Idiot.
I threw hard and high to make my point. Delvin had to reach to get it. He may throw harder, but I can throw farther.
“Alrigh’, get in here,” Coach yelled. He raised his eyes at Delvin, who shrugged. “I know most of you from last year. We only got two potential newbies. One’s a girl. Anyone got a problem with that?”
If they did, they sure as hell weren’t going to tell Coach Strauss.
“Good. I expect you to treat her like you’d treat anybody else.” He looked at me and softened his tone. “What position do you play, honey?”
“Third.” I glared at him. He smirked then turned back to the team. Before he could open his mouth, I said, “And I’m not your honey.”
His head snapped back like he’d taken a right hook to the cheek. “Excuse me?”
I pointed at Delvin. “Do you call him ‘honey’?”
Delvin’s cheeks glowed light pink with either rage or embarrassment. I didn’t know which and really didn’t care.
Coach didn’t answer me though. His chin grew beet red, which crept up his cheeks all the way to his pale yellow crew cut. Steam came out of every clogged pore on his face as he yelled, “Everybody at third. Jayden, get your ass to first.” He sneered at me and I expected to get kicked off the field. “We’re going to field some grounders and see who handles them best. I’ll hit you three then rotate. Hudson, ladies first.”
Crap. Me and my big mouth. He’s going to either hit me a line drive at a hundred miles an hour or make me go so far out of range that I make an ass of myself.
I jogged to third and dug my cleats into the stubborn dirt. The rest of the guys lined up along the fence, amused grins matching Strauss’s own jack-o-lantern expression. Coach tossed the ball into the air.
Crack.
I jumped spread eagle and dropped my glove between my legs, catching the line drive. I came down ready to throw to first, but Jayden wasn’t on the bag. He stood three steps off with his mouth open. Smiling, I rolled the ball back to home plate.
Coach didn’t give me time to get back into position when he hit a grounder to my left. In a game, the shortstop would’ve played it, but this was a different type of game. I dove and knocked it down. My throw to first was in the dirt, but I was on my butt when I whipped it across the infield. That shouldn’t be held against me. It was an almost impossible play.
The last ball went up the line. I hustled and would’ve had it clean until it hit the bag. It took a nasty bounce that was nearly out of reach. I jumped and brought it down barehanded, throwing to first off balance as I fell into foul territory.
I stood up without looking to see if Jayden caught it and walked to the fence to wait for my next turn. The guys gawked at me as I leaned against the fence, ignoring them. I’d made my point. I could field. My next time up, Coach hit some routine grounders.
After rotating through every infield position, it was time for batting practice.
 “You’re up,” Coach announced as he pointed his chunky finger my way. “Delvin, pitch to her.”
While Delvin threw some warm up tosses, I pulled my large batting gloves on, stretching them over my long fingers. The shin guard came loose as I walked to the plate, but I didn’t dare adjust it. Not yet anyway. I’m a switch hitter in softball but more natural from the right side. So that’s where I started when I stepped into the box. I wasn’t entirely certain I could hit a fastball from the left anyway.
Delvin dug at the rubber. I did the same at the plate. Kicked some rocks out from under my right foot. Buried my left foot in the front of the box. Right arm cocked at a ninety degree angle, my bat perched above my shoulder, I waited. A trickle of sweat ran down my cheek. This felt more like a playoff game than a practice.
My swing was graceful as I rocked the fastball over Jayden. He stretched, revealing his dark walnut skin. His long braids smacked his back as he dropped to the ground. Jayden could jump for a big guy.
“Nice,” Coach said.
The Asian boy behind the plate whistled low and said, “Sweet.”
Delvin tossed a few more pitches before Coach snapped at me to get to third. I didn’t hesitate, grabbing my glove and hustling onto the field.  
“Get in the dugout,” Coach commanded after everyone had hit.
I stood at the end of the bench, waiting for the axe to drop. I’d played well enough to warrant sticking around, but I was still lacking the mandatory testosterone. If Coach told me to go, I would. It was his team and I wasn’t about to make things worse by throwing an epic hissy.
“We got a tough schedule this year. Last year, the Rebels kicked our ass to take the district. Well, half those boys can’t play no more. Hell, we’re missing three of our own. It’s time we take our game to the next level. The Rebels need to rebuild more than we do. We can take ‘em. Now get outta here. I’ll see you tomorrow.” He glanced my way. “All of you.”
I grabbed my gear and practically bounced out of the dugout when Coach called me and Shane Anders back.
Shane was short, plump, and had a face pot-marked by zits and craters. Something told me that his dad made him play to get him out of the basement. Coach Strauss towered over him. Shane tremored a little.
“Alright. Vic, what’s your real name?”
“Vic.”
He sighed, sending a poof of peppermint my way that didn’t conceal his bad breath. It smelled like he didn’t bother to brush his teeth in the morning. Ever. “Don’t bullshit me, girl.”
“I’m not, Coach. Vic’s short for Victoria.”
He stared at me and shook his head. “Fine. Here’s the drill. We practice every day at the same time, at the same place until the first game. Ain’t hard to remember. No excuses for tardiness or missin’ a game. Miss a practice, you don’t play the next game. Bring your own equipment. Forget your glove or your cleats, you don’t play.
“Games start next week. Your jersey will be clean. If it ain’t, you ain’t playin’. We play on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays for six weeks. Team that wins their district plays in the city championship tourney. I don’t know nothin’ about either one of you, but there are a couple of boys here that could move on to college ball. Scouts look at summer programs, too, especially if they’re already interested in a player. Neither one of you is goin’ to play baseball at the next level. I just ask that you don’t screw it up for everyone else.
“Now get out of here. Today’s practice was a short one. Tomorrow’s not gonna be this easy.”
Shane took off in a hurry. It was obvious he was scared of Coach. We watched him run to a small pickup truck and scamper in.
“Can I ask you something, Vic?” Coach crossed his arms and glared at me.
“Yeah, sure.”
“Why’re you here?” He nodded toward the empty softball field. “You could be playin’ ball over there. Tell me the truth.”
I knew the question was coming, but I didn’t expect any sincerity behind it. “Softball isn’t baseball, Coach. It may seem similar, but it isn’t the same. I wanted to play ball one more time. That’s all.”
He nodded, then turned away from me and started gathering his bats.
“Am I really on the team?” I asked. I needed absolute confirmation.
“Yeah, got no choice.” He straightened up and smiled at me. “Looked at the regs. Doesn’t say this team is for boys sixteen to seventeen. Just says players. But you already knew that, didn’t you?”
I smiled. Of course I did. “See you tomorrow, Coach Strauss.”
He grunted and I took off to my car, trying not to skip like a ten-year-old.
I’m in. I’m going to play ball again.