Welcome to Author Spotlights on Mondays! Just in time for summer, Linda Morris to tell us about her new baseball romance! Be sure to comment for a chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card!
Thanks for having me today, Mellanie! Today I'm spotlighting my brand-new sports romance on Berkley, High Heat. It's the first book in the Hard Hitters series.
The author of Melting the Millionaire’s Heart gives readers a front-row seat to her new Hard Hitters baseball series. First up at bat: a hotshot pitcher and a PR pro battle it out on and off the field…
Small-town Indiana tomboy Sarah Dudley grew up living and breathing baseball, since her father owned the minor league Plainview Thrashers. A talented player herself, she idolized her brother’s best friend: Tom Cord, a pitcher with a wicked fastball and an even more wicked reputation.
Now, Sarah is the Thrashers’ VP of public relations, and Tom—a star in the major leagues—has been assigned to the club while rehabbing from surgery. It’s Sarah’s job to keep the hard-throwing, hard-living star out of trouble. But when she gets a glimpse of the man behind the bad-boy image, they start to generate more heat than an inside fastball…
This is an excerpt from the very first meeting between the hero and heroine. She had a crush on him years ago when she was a kid, but this is the first time they've met as adults. She's the VP of the minor league baseball team he's playing for while he recovers from an injury he sustained pitching in the big leagues.
He stopped an arm’s length away, but she swore she could still feel the heat radiating from him. She wasn’t petite, but his height made her feel tiny. He’d gotten even taller since college. He must be six foot three at least.
“What’s up?” Cord braced his glove on his hip. The move pulled his jersey tight across his chest and Sarah chided herself for noticing it.
Don’t go mushy-headed over the players. Rule number one for a woman in baseball.
“That’s enough for now,” Reedy said. “I don’t want you going all out on your first day back.”
Cord pulled off his cap and wiped sweat from his brow, then replaced the hat. “It’s fine. I feel good. I always throw all out the afternoon before a start. It’s part of my routine.”
“Maybe so, but I think you’d better give it a rest. You haven’t put that arm through game conditions yet.”
Tom shook his head. “I don’t want to mess with my mojo. I have to be consistent. Hard throwing on the day of a start is routine for me. I always do it.”
“But you’re not always recovering from surgery, are you?” Sarah said.
That pulled his gaze to hers in a hurry. His hard stare went straight through her. “I’m recovered from surgery, not recovering. I’m completely back to normal.”
“Maybe so,” she said, although she had her doubts. No one would know if he had completely recovered until he’d pitched in real game conditions, which is what this foray into the minors was all about. No point in arguing that yet, though. “Throwing hard on the day of a start is risky for anyone, even someone who isn’t recovering—I mean recovered,” she said, correcting herself at his scowl, “from major surgery.”
“It’s normal for me.” He looked at her hard. “Who the hell are you, anyway?”
She extended her hand, ignoring the hollow feeling in her chest. Surprise, surprise. He didn’t remember her. “Sarah Dudley, VP of marketing and public relations.”
He shook her hand, his skin rough with calluses and blisters, trademarks of his profession. “Marketing? What the hell are you doing down here?” His face cleared. “Ah, Paul’s sister. That explains it.”
She raised a brow. “Excuse me?”
“Your dad owns the team. Your brother’s team president. No wonder you feel like you can come down here and tell me what do to.”
Reedy sucked in a breath.
“If I think I can tell you what to do, it’s because I can,” she said, keeping her voice level with effort. Never let them see they’ve gotten to you. Rule number two for a woman in baseball. “My department is going to spend money advertising your stint down here. I don’t want you blowing out the ligaments in your elbow again. As VP of public relations, that gives me a stake in whether you actually play while you’re in town.” She made herself look him right in the eye, ignoring the pounding of her heart. She wasn’t another batter he could stare down and fake out into a swing and a miss.
He laughed, blue eyes sparking against his tanned skin. His anger had blown away like clouds in front of a stiff breeze. “Lady, I have about a million reasons for not wanting to blow out my arm again, and your PR budget isn’t one of them. Why don’t you let me worry about my arm and you go worry about the bobbleheads you’re going to give out to the first five hundred fans tonight?”
Heat erupted in her cheeks. Oh, this guy thinks he is so big-time. Several players had found an excuse to wander within earshot. Don’t let the guys get away with disrespecting you. Rule number three for a woman in baseball.
“Look, you’ve spouted off and done what you pleased everywhere you’ve played. You may have some people so buffaloed that they’re afraid of you, but not me.”
“Last I heard, you weren’t part of the coaching staff. Why the hell should I listen to you, anyway?” He glared at her, his blue eyes turning sapphire.
“Not that you listen to them, either, from what I hear.”
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1Sdh7bM
Linda Morris is a writer of contemporary romance, including Melting the Millionaire’s Heart, The Mason Dixon Line, and Nice Work If You Can Get It. She writes stories with heart and heat, along with a joke or two thrown in. Her years of Cubs fandom prove she has a soft spot for a lost cause.
Thanks for sharing a preview of High Heat with us, Linda! Readers, remember to comment by Friday, June 26, for a chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card!
Romance...With A Kick!