Sunday Snippet: The Winning Season by Alison Packard

I love sports heroes, but my all time favorite sports heroes are baseball players. I grew up playing the sport, and never missed a World Series. To me guys like Joe DiMaggio, Roger Maris, Mickey Mantle, Hank Aaron were the best of sports heroes. So when I knew Alison’s next book was going to be about a baseball player I knew I was going to love it. And love it I did. There is so much to Matt, and when you find out why he went off the rails, well it will break your heart. That being said I’m excited to share a snippet from this awesome book with you. 

There was one thing about San Francisco Matt didn’t think he’d ever get used to—the weather. He remembered some old quote about the coldest winter someone ever spent was a summer in San Francisco. Whoever said it wasn’t joking.

“Matt, it was a pleasure.” Matt withdrew his hand from the warmth of his jacket pocket to shake John Maxwell’s outstretched hand. “Maybe we can do this again.”

“I’d like that.” He glanced at Kelly. She was wearing a Blaze sweatshirt and had her arms wrapped around her midriff as if hugging it to her body would somehow warm her. Her cheeks were tinged with pink from the chilly night air, and wisps of her hair had escaped from her ponytail and lifted in the light breeze that had drifted in from the bay. She didn’t seem quite as intense as she did when she was pestering him about interviews. In the presence of her father, she was softer, more approachable.

“Maybe you can come by the house during your next home stand and check out the Chevelle,” John suggested as he zipped his black Blaze sweatshirt all the way to his chin. “Pleasanton isn’t that far from the city.”

Kelly’s brow furrowed. “Dad, I’m sure Matt isn’t interested in seeing your car.”

“Not true. I’d love to see it,” he said quickly. And not just to rile Kelly. The Chevelle was a classic. He’d been dying to see it ever since John had told him about it. Next to baseball, surfing and women, cars were his favorite subject. “We have a ten-day home stand in early August. I’ll get your number from Kelly and give you a call.”

“Sounds like a plan.” John put his arm around his daughter and hugged her. “How about I walk you home before I catch the light rail to the BART station?”

“I live up the block, remember?” she said with a smile. Her affection for her father was obvious. “And it’s getting late. You have to work tomorrow.”

“I’ll see she gets home, John,” Matt said, ignoring Kelly’s frown. “I live nearby.”

Hello. I’m an adult.” She looked from him to her father. “I can get home by myself.”

John put his hands on her shoulders. “Humor me. Okay, Peanut?”

Matt bit back a laugh as Kelly rolled her eyes. “Dad.”

“Sorry.” John grinned. “Just let Matt walk you to your building. It’ll make your old man happy.”

“You’re not old.” Kelly leaned forward to kiss his cheek. “I love you, Dad,” she said softly. “Give Mom a hug for me and tell her I’ll see her soon.”

“Will do.” John turned to him. “I know you’ve still got Dodger blue flowing in those veins of yours, but the Blaze will grow on you.” He winked. “If you give us a chance.”

“I’ll do my best.”

John gave him a nod of approval. “That’s all anyone can ask.” He glanced behind him. “There’s the train. I’d better go.”

“Bye, Dad,” Kelly called after him as he stepped off the curb and crossed King Street. After John disappeared from sight, she turned back to him. The soft expression was gone but at least she wasn’t looking at him like she wanted to knock his block off—like she usually did. “You don’t have to walk me home.”

“Yes. I do. I promised your dad.”

“He won’t know.”

“I will.”

She studied him thoughtfully for a few seconds. Under the streetlights, her whiskey eyes appeared darker. Almost as dark as his own. “Okay, then. Let’s go.”

Side by side, they walked past Kamu’s entrance and up 2nd Street not talking. “You must like living so close to work,” he said, finally breaking the silence.

“I do.” She reached up to brush an errant lock of hair behind her ear. “I walk just about everywhere.”

“Do you even own a car?”

“Yes.”

“I like your dad.”

“He likes you too,” she said grudgingly.

“That bugs you, doesn’t it?” Matt glimpsed a lone jogger heading their way and moved closer to Kelly to let the guy pass. His shoulder brushed hers; she shifted to her right to break the contact. The move reminded him of the night they’d met. Her body language that night made it clear she didn’t care for him. Obviously, that hadn’t changed. It bothered him but he wasn’t sure why. It wasn’t like he cared what Kelly thought about him. What anyone thought about him hadn’t mattered in a very long time.

“He doesn’t know how you talked to me in L.A.” They stopped in front of her brick building. “If he did, he wouldn’t have been so friendly.”

“You gave as good as you got,” he reminded her. “I have a feeling your father wouldn’t have been surprised by your language that night.”

Her eyes narrowed. “You started it.”

“That’s debatable.”

“I think I’ll go inside before I say something I’ll regret.” She reached into her purse and pulled out her keys. “Thank you for walking me home.”

“You’re welcome.”

She turned toward the glass double door entrance, but then halted to look back at him. “About that interview with Trevor Jackson—”

“It’s not happening,” he cut her off more brusquely than he’d intended. “I have nothing to say to anyone right now. Why can’t you get that through that thick head of yours?”

Her jaw tightened as her eyes flashed with fire. “You know, for a minute there, I thought I might have been wrong about you. But I wasn’t. You are an ass.” She spun around and jerked open the door.

He watched her stalk through the lobby and punch the call button for the elevator. She didn’t look at him and several seconds later stepped into the elevator.

Running a hand through his hair, he turned and headed toward King Street. He tried to ignore the little voice inside of him telling him he was the ass she claimed him to be but he couldn’t drown it out. He’d been acting like a prick ever since he’d met Kelly Maxwell. Wait, that wasn’t quite true. His behavior had been reprehensible for almost a year—it just took that night in L.A. for him to realize it. 

Fit muscular man exercising with dumbbellKelly Maxwell has finally landed her dream job as publicist for the San Francisco Blaze. But the team’s newest member, handsome bad boy catcher Matt Scanlon, is refusing every interview. She’s got to get him to open up before the season ends, or she may not be back next year. And after everything she overcame to achieve her dream, Kelly’s not about to let that happen.

Matt Scanlon just wants to be left alone to rebuild his life and his career. After a year of masking the pain of a recent loss with hard partying and fast women, he finally hit rock bottom and was traded to a team he’s loathed his entire life—a team with little to no chance at the post-season.

Butting heads is getting Kelly and Matt nowhere but annoyed, and with the team’s schedule on the road, they can’t avoid close quarters—or their surprising attraction to one another. As the season winds down, Matt finds his growing feelings for Kelly have brought his numbed emotions back to life. But when betrayal shatters their fragile trust, winning it all seems more impossible than ever.

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3 Comments

  1. Sharlene Wegner

    Thanks for the review & excerpt. Sounds like a good book!

    Reply
  2. Cathy P

    Thanks for the excerpt and review. They make me want to read the book.

    Reply
  3. SnarkyMom

    I need to look this book up now! I’ve been on a sports romance “kick” — if you really like baseball ones, check out the series that Roz Lee has written (warning – they are “romantica”)!

    Reply

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