Greetings gals and guys!
Welcome to the book 10 BLITZ! Because I was able to read this book in the middle of reading book 9, I wasn’t able to introduce it before I finished it (I read it in two sittings 😉 ), I am going to include it along with my review AND an excerpt from the book!!!
Here we go!
Game of Love is set in the high-stakes world of professional tennis where fortune and fame can be decided by a single point. Gemma Lennon has spent nearly all of her 21 years focused on one thing: Winning a Grand Slam. After a disastrous and very public scandal and subsequent loss at the Australian Open, Gemma is now laser-focused on winning the French Open. Nothing and no one will derail her shot at winning – until a heated chance encounter with brilliant and sexy Andre Reyes threatens to throw her off her game.
Breaking her own rules, Gemma begins a whirlwind romance with Andre who shows her that love and a life off the court might be the real prize. With him, she learns to trust and love…at precisely the worst time in her career. The pressure from her home country, fans, and even the Prime Minister to be the first British woman to win in nearly four decades weighs heavily. As Wimbledon begins, fabricated and sensationalized news about them spreads, fueling the paparazzi, and hurting her performance. Now, she must reconsider everything, because in the high-stakes game of love, anyone can be the enemy within…even lovers and even friends.
In the Game of Love, winner takes all.
CHAPTER ONE (Excerpt)
“We are made strong by the difficulties we face, not by those we evade.”
Andre scanned the restaurant for the waitress. No luck. He could smell the coffee. Now he needed to taste it, to quench the headache that, like a burgeoning monster, continued to transform from a nuisance to a debilitating migraine.
The hostess escorted a tall man in Andre’s direction. He must have been near seven feet, long arms and even longer legs. The man’s leathery skin made it hard for Andre to guess his age. He walked with an off- center gate. An injury? Or because of the oversized bag he carried slung over his shoulder? The man was seated at a nearby table.
Stop staring. This habit would one day land him in trouble. Unfortunately, it was his nature to observe, study, and wonder. It was this curiosity about everything that had piqued the attention of his kindergarten teacher and had started a chain reaction of tests and evaluations, eventually tethering him to a career path before he’d even hit puberty.
He rubbed his temple. Where was that coffee?
Andre glanced up, hoping to find the waitress. Instead, he heard a woman shout across the restaurant, “Bedric, move the bag!”
The tall man perked up. Bedric, I assume, Andre thought. When Bedric glanced down, so did Andre. The oversized bag lay blocking the path between tables, and a waitress was heading their way fast, tray held high, obstructing her view.
Bedric reached for the bag, but before Andre could utter a sound, or even move, the waitress tripped, and the stainless carafes of coffee flew off the tray like stray bullets―nailing Andre dead-on.
One container exploded against his chest, the other slammed into his shoulder. A third skidded off the table then sloshed the piping hot contents onto his lap.
After the instantaneous paralysis, boiling pain howled along his skin. Andre leapt from his seat. He wanted to scream, curse, yank off the steaming suit. His heartbeat danced erratically while his jaw pulsed, and twitching neck muscles hardened to stone.
The next few moments were surreal, full of muffled screams…
―What happened? Is he okay?
… And apologies.
“I am so sorry, Monsieur.” He turned. The waitress. Tears clung to her lashes, her cheeks flushed. Worry darkened her eyes.
He blinked. “Not… your fault,” he managed.
“What have you done?” the maître d’ yelled. His puffy red cheeks bobbed as he marched toward them. Spittle gathered at the corners of his mouth. “Stupid girl, leave, now! Sortez d’ici!”
“It’s not her fault,” Andre said as he regained his breath. “She tripped―”
“Monsieur Reyes,” the man said, “this is unacceptable. This is an embarrassment―”
“Stop.” Andre took a deep breath and straightened, towering over the Frenchman by a good foot. “If you cause problems for her, I’ll cause problems for this hotel. It was not her fault. Do we understand each other?”
Andre’s gaze shifted slightly behind the maître d’. Next to Bedric, a tall, striking young woman stood motionless with her mouth agape. Was this the Voice who had yelled for Bedric earlier?
The maître d’s brows furrowed, then loosened. “I understand,” he said, then leaned in for privacy. “Doctor Reyes, the hotel medic will be sent to your room at once. And of course, we will take care of your suit. Please accept our sincerest apologies.”
Andre put out his hand. “Apology accepted.” The maître d’ shook it. An old-world contract.
Armenian by heritage, born in Iran, lived in Barcelona, and escaped New York until he found his home in Los Angeles, Ara’s first eleven years were both busy and confusing. The fruit salad of languages would slow down his genetically encoded need to tell stories. Until then, an alter ego would be required…
He received an engineering degree from California State University Northridge and earned his MBA from the University of Southern California. Today, he is a technology executive in the entertainment industry. True to the Hollywood life, Ara wrote for a children’s television pilot that could have made him rich (but didn’t) and nearly sold a video game to a major publisher (who closed shop days later).
But something was amiss until his wife read him the riot act. “Will you stop talking about wanting to be a writer and just do it?” So with her support (and mandate), and their two boys serving as his muse, he wrote stories.
Fascinated by the human species, Ara writes about choices, relationships, and second chances. Always a sucker for a hopeful ending, he writes contemporary romance stories. He is an alumnus of both the Santa Barbara Writers Conference and Southern California Writers’ Conference (where he also serves as a workshop leader). Ara is an active member of the Romance Writers of America and its Los Angeles chapter.
Ara is represented by Stacey Donaghy.