Authors: Jaime Maddox
Bouncing has always been a way of life for Alex Dalton. The former basketball star and new coach likes to keep life simple, bouncing from woman to woman, with no responsibilities and no complications. Then a summer fling opens her eyes to other possibilities, and now Alex wonders if a relationship might be what she really needs. There is an instant attraction to her new assistant coach, Britain Dodge, but for some reason, Brit wants nothing to do with Alex. Then a spontaneous kiss under the stars forces them to admit their feelings and work on their issues. Their love grows, but so do the outside pressures that influence them, and they have to decide if they should forfeit their love or play until the final buzzer.
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© 2015 By Jaime Maddox. All Rights Reserved.
ISBN 13: 978-1-62639-388-2
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Bold Strokes Books, Inc.
P.O. Box 249
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First Edition: May 2015
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
This book, or parts thereof, may not be reproduced in any form without permission.
Editor: Shelley Thrasher
Production Design: Stacia Seaman
Cover Design By Sheri ([email protected])
The Common Thread
The people at BSB do a wonderful job in creating their books, from helping with concepts to making sure my name is spelled correctly on the cover. Thanks to Rad, Sandy Lowe, Cindy Cresap, Stacia Seaman, Ruth Sternglantz, and everyone else who made this book possible. Thanks to Sheri and Rad for the cool cover. Shelley Thrasher, my editor, is always encouraging and wise and helpful, and if this book is any good, it’s because of her help.
I took some liberties with the Pennsylvania high school basketball calendar. They were necessary to help this story flow, and I ask forgiveness from the coaches, players, and purists who took note.
I’m a huge basketball fan, but not such a great player, and never a coach. I owe much gratitude to my friends and family who are players and coaches, for sharing their insight with me—Bob Bessoir, Billy Bessoir, J, Carolyn, and Jamison. Likewise, thanks to my teacher friends who helped me out, Elizabeth Abdalla, Maria Hubbler, and Karlee McConnell.
Thanks to my niece, Tiffany Maakestad, for sharing her adventures in Brazil with me, and to Billy B once again, this time for perfecting Anke’s accent.
The thing I liked most about writing this book was transporting myself to Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, my favorite place on earth. I’ve had great times there, thanks to so many great people who’ve shared my adventures—my former roommates, J, Wallstreet, and Chris; my landlords Sandy and Patty; my golfing buddies Lisa, Kimmer, Al, Nina, and Jag; and my dear friends, Clara, Kelly, Jan, and Sue.
My alpha readers Margaret and Nancy are wise and wonderful women and they helped with major issues in this book. As always, the lunch conversation was a hoot.
Finally, but most importantly, thank you to Carolyn, Jamison, and Max. There’s a line in this book somewhere that sums it all up: It doesn’t matter what we’re doing, if I’m with you, I’m happy.
To Yankee—my playmate in golf, and basketball, and life—thanks for letting me win sometimes
Cheaters Never Win
The sun was shining in her eyes and the wind blew through her hair as Alex Dalton pulled her Jeep into the parking lot of the golf course just north of Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. It was the Thursday before Memorial Day, a glorious, warm afternoon, and Alex hummed to the tune on the radio. She’d spent her morning at the beach, reading. She had nine holes of golf on the agenda for the afternoon and hundreds more in the coming months. She would enjoy cold beer afterward with a good friend. Life was easy and relaxing and fun, exactly how she wanted it, and for the seventh consecutive summer, that pleasure would be hers.
She’d begun coming to Rehoboth after her first year at the University of Delaware, when a friend had invited her. She’d been awed back then, and the magic hadn’t faded. The beaches were still pristine, the restaurants fabulous, and the bars hopping. Even better, it was the most gay-friendly beach within driving distance of her home in the Poconos. Same-sex couples walked hand in hand on the boardwalk beside vacationing families—some of them sporting two moms or dads. The majority of businesses flew rainbow flags beside their front doors.
She felt free here, like she did in the Jeep. She’d bought it at a military-surplus store and it was older than she was, bare bones with a quarter-million miles. The ride was awful on her back, but the complete freedom of driving without sides and a roof made it a good trade.
Alex pulled on her golf sandals and plucked her bag from the seat beside her, then headed toward the driving range. The cars in the lot were much different from hers—expensive, foreign, new. Alex didn’t care. She’d quit thinking about material possessions like houses and cars years ago. She focused on living, on the fun she could have each day and the joy she could take in coaching a basketball game or shooting a round of golf under par. Those were the things that mattered.
It was a short walk to the range, and one stall opened just as she approached. After stretching, she began to hit practice shots.
She’d grown up at the country club, playing golf as a child just as other kids rode bikes and played baseball. Her swing was textbook, her shots perfect. After a dozen balls landed close to the target flag, she switched clubs, with the same results. Near perfection. Finally, she picked up her driver and placed the ball on the tee. Her back swing was slow, the turn of her hips quick, and as she rotated her wrists her arms followed into a smooth finish. She made solid contact, and as she looked at the flag positioned farthest away from the tees, she saw her ball land near it, some 250 yards away. After a dozen more similar shots, she put her clubs back in the bag. No point wasting such beautiful shots on the range. She needed to save a few for her golf round.
A stop at the practice green was next, and Alex chipped and putted until she knew the speed of the green. Alex felt loose, and relaxed, and she had the feeling she was going to shoot a great round of golf.
Walking back toward the clubhouse, she searched for her playing partner.
“There you are!” Sally Conklin greeted her when Alex finally found her, hidden in a convoy of thirty golf carts.
Alex set down her bag and was quickly pulled into Sal’s arms for a ferocious, playful hug. At six feet tall, Alex didn’t look up to many women, but Sal was one of the few.
“It’s good to see you,” her mentor said, and Alex returned the sentiment.
Sal wasn’t just her mentor but her confidante as well, and one of the few people in the world she trusted. Sal was the only one except her parents who knew Alex’s secret.
“It’s great to see you, too. How are you?” After they caught up for a moment, Sal nodded to the clubs standing beside Alex. “Let’s get those loaded on my cart—we’ll be starting soon.”