Christmas Curveball by Shari Mikels
When newly single Rachel Tanner finds out that pro pitcher Kevin Ganlin has come home to recover from an injury, her heart skips a beat. She’s loved him from afar since her preteen years, never bold enough to let him know.
Kevin is less than thrilled when Rachel shows up at his doorstep. She’s his best friend’s little sister and officially off-limits. Besides, he’s staring early retirement in the face, a one-man pity-party with no interest in anything more serious than quick flings on the road. Until an icy mishap lands Rachel cozied up on his sofa, irresistible in his practice sweats.
A little game of Truth or Truth reveals much more than Rachel had ever dared to hope and leads to a midnight make-out session that leaves them both panting. But can she trust that he’s truly changed his ways? This Christmas, Kevin will do whatever it takes to make Rachel understand she’s the only one for him.
He was trying to get rid of her, and not very subtly so.
“I need to visit the l—” She caught herself in time from saying little girls’ room. She didn’t need him thinking of her as Tim’s little sister, much less a little girl. They’d already fallen into too many old behavioral patterns, and she didn’t need to reinforce any more of them. “The ladies’ room.”
“Sorry. I only have men’s rooms in this house. You’ll have to find one along the way home.”
“Puh-lease. You’re telling me that none of your lady friends are allowed to use the bathroom here? How does that work with overnight slumber parties?” Why had she gone there? She didn’t want to know the details of his many…conquests. Although the thought helped keep her grounded in why he was off-limits to her. She didn’t want any more men like that.
He frowned and narrowed his eyes. “I haven’t brought anyone here. Ever.”
Oooo-kaaaay. Not sure what brought that defensiveness on. Baseball groupies weren’t exactly a secret.
“Back to the fact that I still need to use the restroom before you succeed in throwing me out. Where is it?”
“First door on the left on the other side of the great room.”
Hmm. No denial to the throwing her out accusation.
She walked slowly to the bathroom, admiring more of the decor on the way. Kevin looked fairly well moved in, and that gave her an idea for the next set of questions she could ask him.
When she returned, she saw him standing by one of his couches.
“How long have you been staying here, and why doesn’t anyone but my brother know?”
“I just got into town a few days ago. And I’m not ready for anyone to know I’m here.”
“But you’ve got plants outside, and you look pretty well settled with your furniture and stuff.”
“I hired people to take care of the outside as well as the inside as soon as I bought this place.”
He nodded and pushed himself away from the couch.
“How long are you planning on staying? I mean, do you have to continue with your physical therapy elsewhere? What are you supposed to do about spring training camp?”
He let out a deep, resigned sigh, turned away from her and stared out the windows. He was silent so long, she didn’t think he’d answer her.
With his back to her, he finally spoke. “I’ll be here from now on. There won’t be any spring training for me.”
What? She couldn’t have heard that correctly. “No spring training? Why?”
“Because the team let me go, that’s why. I’m through. I’m no longer a professional baseball player.”
The frustration behind his words made itself known in his white-knuckled, clenched fists. Baseball had been his dream his whole life. Being a pro was the ultimate, living out everything he wanted to do in life. If he was hiding out here, rather than facing his family, then that meant he didn’t want anyone’s pity.
At least that was her assumption. If she were in this position, she’d want sympathy and hugs and fussing over her. When Kevin was a teen, he’d shake off an injury and not want any attention drawn to it. Basically, he was in the same position now, so no coddling. She prayed her assumption was correct.
“Well, crap. That sucks.”
Q: Romance readers have a lot of choices these days. What makes Christmas Curveball stand out in the crowd?
A: I think the banter between Kevin and Rachel makes Christmas Curveball stand out.
Q: We like to include our favorite quote in our reviews of the books we read. What is your favorite quote from Christmas Curveball?
A: My favorite quote from Christmas Curveball is:
I have many favorite quotes, but this comes from the first chapter and sets up the banter and easy-going/push-pull relationship Rachel and Kevin have with each other.
Rachel to Kevin after he very rudely asks what she’s doing there at his house:
“Wow. I think I need to tell your mom she’s got her work cut out for her with your manners. You seem to have forgotten all of her lessons.”
About Shari Mikels
Shari Mikels grew up wanting to be an astronaut and went to school for aerospace engineering. That is, until she found out the realities of being an AE. She switched to computer science, much to her mom’s satisfaction. That job led to her next career—as a cosmetics direct sales beauty consultant and director. After the birth of her son, she was ready to be a stay-at-home mom, spending her time reading to him and teaching him to read.
A lifetime love of reading had been pushed to the background, until a writers’ strike in Hollywood had her picking up books to get her fix of happily-ever-afters and vampires. Her voracious appetite for books came back full force, and she found not just paranormals, but romantic suspenses and contemporaries. She began proofreading for some of her favorite authors when her brain wouldn’t let her skip over the typos. What they didn’t know was that they were teaching Shari how to write the stories that lived in her head. Her second submission became her first industry-published book.
Shari lives in NC with her husband and son. She spends her days homeschooling her son, dreaming up scenes for her works-in-progress, writing, revising, editing and proofreading.
The Author Wants To Know:
Name either one of your favorite holiday stories OR your favorite best friend’s little sister trope stories.
Shari would like to giveaway two copies of Christmas Curveball to two lucky Fiction Vixen readers. To enter, leave a comment answering Shari’s question above. Open to all, you have until December 6 to enter, winner announced soon after.
The giveaway is sponsored by Share Mikels.
No purchase necessary to win, void where prohibited. The number of eligible entries determines the odds of winning. FVBR is not being compensated for this giveaway. If the winner declines to accept or fails to claim their prize within 72 hours of the announcement, they forfeit their prize(s). Prize distribution is the sole responsibility of the giveaway sponsor. Fiction Vixen Book Reviews will not be held responsible for lost or misdirected prizes or for circumstances beyond our control. More information here.