Book Cover Reveal!

Hey, everybody! I hope you had a great weekend. Since my novel is in the process of being approved for pre-order, I am excited to finally reveal my book cover!

You can check out the (updated) first 3 chapters, here.

I created it myself, since as a new indie writer, I do not have the budget to pay for an original.

Give me a like if you think I made a good choice.

I’ll announce when the pre-order is up. In the meantime, Stopped Short: A Baseball Romance will be available November 1st on Amazon and iTunes 🤗

Stopped Short Ebook FINAL 2

 

WTF, Pandora?

Y’all. So, I’m off work on Sundays and Mondays.  I’m doing a writing weekend and I’ve already added about 15,000 words to my novel. Yay, me!

I usually play the Pandora station, Classical for Studying, through my Apple TV and surround sound while I write because it helps keep my head clear.

Anyway, I’m sitting here just chugging along and the music is going – and from the rear speaker behind me it sounds like someone whispers in my ear!

Y’all, I flipped. My dog is back there. Did he just learn how to talk?! Anyway, I looked up the song that was playing and it’s from a piano album named Whisperings. 

Classical music shouldn’t whisper at you!

So, this post was just to say that Pandora, David Nevue – you fucked up my mojo, yo.

Sloth-Meme-Whisper-22

Stopped Short – A Baseball Romance – Preface and Chapter 1

Stopped Short

By Kevin Ethan

PREFACE

Fuck, I’m hungover.

I walk into the coffee joint around the corner from my apartment and head for the counter.  Head down and sunglasses still on. I’m third in line. It gives me a chance to look around. Quickly. I’m already pushing it by waiting in line.  If this takes much longer there’s gonna be a fucking stampede.

Not that I mind.

I love the attention. But, in my head I’m still just a foul-mouthed kid that was lucky to stay out of juvie long enough to get seen by some scouts, play some triple a and then make it to the big leagues.

Looking around I see a couple of ladies are in the same state as me.  Hungover and definitely trying to recover.  Finally, I’m next in line.  At the next table over from the party girls is another girl.  No – a woman.  A hotwoman.

Don’t get me wrong – I live in Seattle and I’m more liberal than any guy you’ll meet. But, I’m a guy.  And those perfect tits were on display.  She was dressed for work like she would negotiate you out of house and home and then fuck you on the conference table.

Shit.  I’m dressed for the gym.  The last thing I need is my dick tenting my shorts all over Twitter. That’s when I finally raise my eyes to hers.  I see the look of concentration on her work.  Those green eyes.

What the hell is she doing here?

“Hi there! What can I get going for you?”

I was distracted by the barista and had to turn away.  I looked quickly towards her.  I was about to give my order when her face turned shocked.

Shit.

“Number 27?! Oh, my god it’s…”

CHAPTER ONE

Sophie

I need another coffee.

I’ve been sitting at this coffee shop next to the hotel I’m currently staying in.  Staying?  Right. I’m living there.  I movedto Seattle a few weeks ago and I’m still looking for a place to live.  I’m still looking for a job. I left everything in Chicago.

My job.

My home.

My heart.

Yea, right.  My broken fucking heart.  Who needs that?  Or the man and best friend that broke it.  At the time I was devastated.  I went to this dive bar where no one knew me.  I sat on that stool long enough that a fifty-something woman felt the need to pipe in.  Thank fuck she did.

“Alright – what the hell could possibly be wrong with a girl like you?”

A bitchy introduction, I thought, but I took the bait.  I did what any self-respecting, drunk, twenty-seven-year-old would do.  I told her everything.  Five minutes in she gave me my first pat on the back.  10 minutes in she bought me another shot.

She heard what I had to say. It took me a good half-hour before I finally remembered that I had manners.

“Sery.. uh, sorry.  Who are you?”

“I’m Vicky.  Everyone here calls me Banshee, though.”

“Banshee?”

She went on to tell me that “the bar I hadn’t stopped to look at before I planted my ass on that stool” was owned by one of Chicago’s motorcycle clubs.  Theclub she told me.  Her husband was the leader and she was his ol’ lady.  She said she’d kill for him and I believed her.  She also said they fought a lot and she had a good “screech” on her.  So, she’s known as Banshee.

We talked.  And talked.  Leather clad men and women came up to say hi and pay their respects to the woman.  They asked her about her son out West.  They asked if he was still playing ball.  She reminded me of the house mom we had in my sorority house at Duke.  She knew my name.  Each person that came up, though, left knowing me as Breaker.

When it was just the two of us, I finally had to ask, “Breaker?”

“Yea, girl. You’re a heartbreaker if there ever was one.”

“You mean heartbroken?”

“No, girl. You’re doing just fine. The way I see it – you just got lucky.”

I was indignant.  Was she listening at all?

“You’re lookin’ at all this the wrong way.  I’ll forgive you this time ‘cause you’re young.  But, hear me now.  That ball playing, pencil dick and your back-stabbing, slutty friend – I’d beat her ass for ya, by the way – saved you a world of hurt by being so dishonorable.”

I’d learned that honor was a huge deal among Chicago’s bikers.

“Stick your brain on this – what if this happened ten years from now?  Twenty? You’d be in so deep you’d have a hard time diggin’ out.  Right now, you’re a young, educated, hot little thing with the world in front of you. And nothing holding you back.”

“I am not hot.”

When I look in the mirror my mind always sees what’s wrong.  I’m too short.  My chin is too sharp.  I have too many curves.  My boobs are too big.  (Yea, I said it.  And the bras are really expensive.)

“Okay, maybe you’re not so smart.  The only reason one of these young bucks hasn’t bent you over that pool table over there is cause you’re sittin’ here with me,” she said, gesturing to the pool table in the corner.

I looked over and sure enough, a bunch of guys pretending to play pool quickly looked a lotmore interested in the floor.

Yes! Score 1 for the self-esteem!

“Now,” Banshee cleared her throat. “What’s the plan?  Not that I mind your business – you have a hell of a tab goin’…”

She actually smiled, and I realized that Banshee was one hot ol’ lady, too.

“…but, what happens next – when you walk out that door?”

And that was the question that led me here. To this table in Seattle.

I gave notice at my job. I stayed with a differentfriend for a couple of weeks.  I got my things from our apartment and sold all of it.  I kept enough clothes for a the time being and made sure to keep some nice stuff for interviews.

I am about to stand up to get my next cup. But, when I look there’s a group huddled around a guy at the counter. They have him cornered, really. Dejectedly, I resign myself to go without another cup of sweet, caffeinated nectar and start putting my resume and portfolio in my bag. I head for the door.

“Hey! Wait!” I hear from this deep voice with a bit of gravel.  It sounds familiar, but I don’t know anyone here, so I keep walking.

A block away a couple of young girls on winter break talk excitedly as they pass me, looking at their phones.

“You’re sure?!”

“Yea! It’s on his fan page. Arden Rothschildis at the coffee shop just up here!”

I forgot he plays for the Mariners now.

I guess I do know someone here.

 

Thank you for reading! If you enjoyed this and would like to read more – please leave a like or a comment to let me know!

Also, don’t forget to follow my blog for the next chapter!

– Kevin Ethan

Stopped Short – A Baseball Romance – Chapter 2

CHAPTER TWO

Arden

Damnit.  It was her. Sophie is here but I know that Garrett is still playing in Chicago.  I wonder what happened there.

I finally manage to get myself out of that damn coffee shop.  The group of people had grown larger than I was comfortable with.  I hopped into the first cab I could hail and just told him to get me the hell out of there.  We were headed in the wrong direction, but I didn’t care.

I thought back to the first time I saw Sophie.

♦ ♦ ♦

I was still playing for one of the Chicago Cubs’ B-teams in Iowa City.  They had flown me out to Chicago to prospect me.  I was too good for the minors and they knew it, too.  They might have called it a dinner, but we all knew what it was – a job interview.  My table of ten had a couple other prospects and some players.  One of them was Garrett Watkins.  He was drafted right out of college at Duke and put on the field as a pitcher the next season.

The guy had an arm.

The guy was a douche.

I know, I know.  I was supposed to be networking; kissing asses. They knew my stats.  What the hell else matters?

What I remember from that night, was her.  She just sat quietly, observed everything and everyone.  While she looked small and meek, I could tell she was anything but. And that dress she had on – fuck. She would get up from the table every once in a while.  I looked forward to those moments all night long.

She’d go to push her seat back, her hair would spill forward, and she’d give me a look down the top of her dress at those perfect tits.  Then she’d walk away and give me a view of that perfect ass.  That she wasn’t a bottle bleached, stick figure definitely got me going.

She had me hard and she hadn’t even said a word to me after sitting down. I couldn’t get up from the table all night.

And who didn’t look her way? Garrett.  What the hell was she doing with this guy? I was pissed forher.  I spent the whole night in a silent rage.  Snapping at everybody and every question.  I must’ve done one thing right, though because I left with a contract.

And blue balls.

♦ ♦ ♦

“Hey buddy, the meters already at 20 bucks.  You wanna tell me where we’re goin’?”

“Safeco. Players’ entrance.”

The driver gives me a dubious look.  Not a baseball fan, then.

As workplaces go – this place is a fucking dream.  Seattle is a great place to live and the team is great.  It’s the off-season so a lot of the guys are at their houses out of the city.  I only have my loft.  Alright, alright.  It’s a big loft.

We pull up outside the players’ entrance and the cabbie turns around.  “You’re on the team?”

“Yeah, last season was my first here. This year I’ll be starting shortstop.”

“No kidding! – I don’t keep up on baseball, but my kid does.” He pulls out a receipt book and a pen.  “You wouldn’t mind, would ya?”

I take the pad in hand sign my name and jersey number – #27. It’s the same as my age so it’s easy to remember.  I reach for my wallet but the cabbie waves me off.

“Thanks for the autograph – my kid is gonna go nuts.”

Standing outside the door is my best friend and teammate, Erik Watkins.  He started here a year before I did and he took me under his wing when I got here.

“You were supposed to be here an hour ago.  You know I gotta get home to Eva and the baby.”

This guy has it bad.

I thought he had it back when I got here and met his then fiancé, Eva. She’s awesome.  All fiery Latina and, “¡Será mejor que estés comiendo o tendré que empezar a enviarte comida!” And she did, some of the best food I’ve ever eaten.

Then came Ana.  She’s just a couple months old now and she has the best godfather anyone could hope for.

Me, I meant me.

But Erik.  He’s doing what I imagine any first-time dad would do – panicking if he’s away for more than five minutes.

We head through the door and walk towards the gym.  I’m young to be a starter on the team and I gotta keep up in the off-season or risk getting replaced come February.  We get to the weights and I pat Erik on his stomach, “ Getting that dad bod already?”

“Fuck off.  Let’s do this.”

We go hard.  An hour and a half later and he’s almost to the door as I’m stepping on the treadmill to finish off with some cardio.

“Hey, you ok?  You seem off.”

“Yea, man. I’m good. Just have some shit on my mind.”

“Alright.  Let me know if you need anything.  Don’t forgot you promised Eva you’d come for dinner this week.”

“Like I’d miss seeing Eva and my goddaughter,” I smirk.

He gives me a little wave and he’s out the door.  I put my earbuds in and step on to the moving treadmill.  My mind wanders to Sophia.  I know she heard me call for her. She paused without turning just before walking out of the coffee shop.

Did she not see me?  Did she not care?  I know she thought she loved Garrett.

Maybe I shouldn’t have said what I did before I left Chicago.

Maybe I should have stayed.

 

Thank you for reading! If you enjoyed this and would like to read more – please leave a like or a comment to let me know!

Also, don’t forget to follow my blog for updates!

This e-book will be released November 1, 2018 on Amazon and iTunes!

– Kevin Ethan

Stopped Short – A Baseball Romance – Chapter 3

CHAPTER THREE

Sofie

Hell yes! I got the job.

No more boutique advertising for me.  The work in Chicago was great, don’t get me wrong. It was small time, though.  I’m a girl with big ideas that deserve exposure.  This was the one I was pinning all my hopes on.

This morning I was an unemployed 26-year-old.  This afternoon I’m the Marketing Director for Dynamic Advertising.

I’ve got to remember to send a thank you note and flowers to my former boss.  They said the recommendation along with my portfolio were impressive.  Next step, an apartment.  Don’t get me wrong, I saved some money and the hotel I’m in is amazing – but it isn’t home.

Today, though?  Not a chance.

During the interview I was distracted.  I was sure the guy in HR was going to think I was a complete idiot.  I had to say, “I’m sorry?” about five times because Arden’s face kept popping up in my head.

I didn’t get a look at him earlier.  That annoyed me more than it should have.  When we met in Chicago he was just a prospect.  Garrett like to take me to these dinners to show me off.  Not so much me though.  My body.  The three thousand-dollar dress and (borrowed) diamonds he put on me.  I was a model for the luxury he wanted to portray.

Meanwhile, I would sit at the table.  He would be on my left and some player or another would be on my right.  The player on my right would be polite but pay attention to his date.  Garrett would pay attention to the other woman seated next to him.  I knew it was a bad situation. I knew his teammates disliked him.  But I was comfortable if sometimes lonely.

♦ ♦ ♦

The night of the prospect dinner we were seated last at our table. Everyone seemed to be having a good time.  Drinks were already on the table.  As we approached the table, Garrett dropped his arm and took his seat.  I thought “does this jerk not know how hard it is to move in these freaking dresses and heels?”

I stood for a second behind my chair.  I put my clutch down on the table and was about to pull my own seat out.  When I noticed that one of the guys at the table had stood as I waited.  He gave Garrett a look that could kill and turned his eyes to me.  They softened as he rounded the table.  His eyes on mine the whole way, he gestured towards my chair. He pushed the chair in for me as I took my seat.  His big hands still resting on the back as I looked up at him and whispered a grateful, “Thank you.”

He looked at me for a second.  Searching for something. He nodded and went back to his seat.

I just kept thinking it was like they said in that Christmas movie with Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz – it was a meet cute.  It was old-world hot in a world of social media.  That simple act felt intimate somehow.

All though the dinner he never spoke to anyone.  He alternated seething looks at Garrett and smoldering ones at me.  Feeling naughty, I made a point to lean a little further over than necessary when getting up from the table. Don’t judge me! I was bored. And horny.

In the end I realized I was playing my little game in my head. Alone. After dinner was done and business was completed.  The hot stranger got up and stormed off faster than should have been possible in Armani.

On the car ride home I felt foolish.  I re-committed myself to the relationship that I was in.  The one I had spent five years growing.  Attempting to grow, anyway.

♦ ♦ ♦

Finally making it back to the hotel on foot, I was beat.  Chicago didn’t have these many hills.  Thank goodness my new salary will cover a taxi budget because parking is parking is atrocious here.

Holly, the receptionist I’ve come to know well greeted me. “How did it go?!”

“I got the job!”

She fist bumped me as I made my way for the elevators.  I needed to sit down.  Immediately.

I sat my purse on the desk and made my way to the bed.  My computer lay open there with search engines for homes and I felt tired just looking at it.

Remembering that I live in a big city, I opened another search engine and found a service that will find an apartment for me.  I know – how bougie.  But, hey! I’m a product of my generation.

I put my requirements, budget, and contact information into the form and clicked send.  They advertise that they will have multiple options in my inbox within 24 hours.  We’ll see how good their advertising is.

I open another window and hesitate before typing in Arden Rothschild.