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Oct 06

Keeping Score by Alyssa Kale Release Blitz with Excerpt

KEEPING SCORE, a baseball-themed sports romance and the debut novel from Alyssa Kale, is available now!

 

The hero was absolutely swoon-worthy. I couldn’t stop reading! Alyssa effortlessly weaves emotion, heat and romance on every page!” – USA Today Bestselling Author Layla Hagen

 

One more careless mistake and I could lose the career I’ve worked my entire life for—I could lose everything. My last year has been wrapped in one scandal after another, and I am done.

Done with the jersey chasers.

And done with women… for the time being.

Or so I thought.

Sophie Thomas, a local magazine photographer, is my undoing. She’s bright, she’s funny, and her very being just draws me in. I know I need to stay away, but there’s something about her—a sadness almost—that keeps pulling me back to her.

Maybe I’m not quite as done with everything as I once believed.

 

 

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“…a whole lot of humor, heart and heat…on the pages of Keeping Score…”  ~Danielle, Red Cheeks Reads

 

Check out Danielle’s 4.5 SMOOCHES review!

 

EXCERPT:

CHAPTER ONE

Sophie

Shit, shit, shit.

I’m running so late.

Beyond late.

I should have known something like this would happen today. The one morning my boyfriend, Jared, didn’t wake before sunrise to work out is the same day I failed to set an alarm the night before. He always rises early and makes enough noise to wake the dead, so the alarm is just a precaution. Rushing frazzled out of our condo and out of sorts also means I forgot my 85-mm lens.

The single most important piece of equipment I need for today’s photo shoot.

Shit, shit, shit.

Deep breaths.

The light changes, and I try to remember where I left the lens last night as I head back to home to grab it. I was cleaning out my bag to make sure everything was set for today and… the counter. Dang. I left it sitting on the microfiber cloth on the counter. Which I would have seen had I woken up early enough to brew a cup of coffee.

I hate that this snafu will cause me to be late. I love my job as the in-house photographer for Clarence Monthly and take pride in my professionalism. We’re an up and coming regional magazine that focuses on lifestyle pieces and the happenings around the Clarence area. When I stop at another red light, the clock on my dash says it’s nine fifteen. I’m supposed to be at the baseball stadium in forty-five minutes.

This morning, I’m shooting the new first baseman of the Clarence Aces, and I can only hope his bad-boy reputation also means he will be running late. Maybe my intern will be able to keep him busy and distracted so he doesn’t realize how tardy I really am… if she’s there.

I activate the hands-free feature in my car, and when it dings, I say, “Call Maddie.”

Maddie isn’t exactly going to follow in my footsteps as a lifestyle photographer, but she can talk more than anyone I know. If she’s on site, there is no doubt in my mind she’ll be able to distract a brooding athlete long enough for me to get to the stadium.

Of course she’s not answering. She’s probably running late herself. I don’t think Maddie has been on time to a shoot the entire time she’s been working with me. I really should talk to my boss about reassigning her to someone else within the magazine. She’d be better suited as an assistant to one of the stylists or even Cora herself.

I stay mindful of the speed limit as I disconnect the call instead of leaving a voicemail. As I approach our building, I turn into the underground parking garage and pull into my assigned parking space. Grabbing my phone, I type out a quick text to Maddie to stall and I’ll be there as soon as possible.

One of the perks of my job is dressing comfortably. I need to be able to move freely during the shoots, and now, as I hurry from my car to the elevator bay, I’ve never been more grateful for a pair of flats. Pushing the Up button five times as if it’ll call the elevator faster, I tap my foot and check my phone for any response from my intern. The doors finally open, and I rush in, pressing the button for the fifteenth floor.

This building is far more luxurious than I could ever afford on my own, but my boyfriend of two years, Jared, has done very well as a local realtor, and while I live here, it’s his condo. If I’d had a say, we would be in a quaint little house with a backyard and a porch swing. Not Jared. No, he’s more of a high rise and wine cellar kind of guy. Which is strange, since he doesn’t drink wine. I have to hand it to Jared; the view is spectacular and almost makes up for me not being able to wiggle my toes in the grass.

By the time I make it through our door, my heart is racing and my stress level is at an all-time high. Hurrying to the kitchen, I grab the lens from the counter and spin on my heel, not even pausing to take a breath. Then I hear it.

“Ahhh. Baby. Yeah. Don’t stop.”

Wait. Is that porn?

“Oooh, Jared, right there.”

Unless Jared is watching porn with a guy who shares his name, that is a woman calling my boyfriend’s name. Frozen in place, I say a little prayer I misheard.

“I love when you touch me like that.”

No way. No freaking way. I know that voice.

I take a step toward the hall, but the weight of the lens in my hand stops me. Gently, I set the expensive item and my keys on the counter. The stress I was feeling minutes ago has multiplied, and with each step, dread of what I’m about to see hovers above me like a dark cloud. The door is only partially closed when I reach it, and I quietly push it open.

The sight before me is more than I expected. Jared’s bare ass and back are all I see as he thrusts into the woman on the bed. Our bed. Sounds of skin smacking skin and her moans fill the room. I may be sick. This cannot be happening to me. Yet, I know it is. Mostly because the homewrecker keeps saying his name over and over, leaving no doubt who is having sex with her.

I watch as she slowly turns her head to look up at Jared. Instead, she catches me standing in the doorway. “Ahhh!” she screeches, eyes wide.

No wonder she didn’t answer her phone. Maddie is on all fours as the man who I have spent the last five years of my life with continues to thrust and grunt. Jared doesn’t even notice the woman he’s fucking has stopped declaring his awesomeness and is now staring in my direction.

“Oh my gosh, Sophie. I thought you were supposed to be at the baseball stadium.” Those big blue eyes of hers aren’t full of shame or regret. Instead, she looks proud of herself.

“Ummm… oh. You’re not supposed to be….” Jared stammers as he finally realizes what’s going on and unmounts her. He covers himself like he’s suddenly shy and none of us have seen the tiny prick sticking out from his body.

Maddie turns to face me, slowly lifting the sheet to cover her body. The smirk on her face is like salt on an open wound. My eyes dart from her to Jared, who has moved from the bed and is standing between Maddie and me.

Unable to continue looking at him, I glance around the room. I spot a champagne glass on the nightstand. My nightstand. Right next to my e-reader and water glass from last night. The water Jared brought me after we had sex. In our bed.

Maddie’s dress is puddled on the floor next to where I stand, her panties and bra scattered across the room. A feeling I’m unfamiliar with slowly builds inside me. Not hurt or sadness. This is full-on rage.

“What is this?” My heart thumps in my chest, blood rushing through my veins, making me slightly dizzy. “You know what—I don’t care. Fuck both of you.”

“Sophie,” Jared says, taking a step forward, his hand still covering his junk. “I was going to tell you. I swear.”

“Exactly what were you going to tell me, Jared?” I ask.

“I—ummm,” Jared stammers.

“Come on now, you can do better than that. Cheating, Jared. You are cheating on me. With… with… with my intern.

“Sophie,” Maddie calls out to me in a ridiculously stupid singsong voice, “Jared and I have—”

Jared cuts her off, “Mad, not now.”

“How long, Jared?” I ask.

“Two months,” Maddie spits out before Jared can stop her.

Two months!” I roar. Two months? What in the hell? My eyes lock on Jared as he fumbles around the room. A wave of nausea skims through my body. He’s been cheating on me for two months. No wonder he was never in a hurry to get to the office in the mornings and my intern could never make it to ours on time. Fuck it. As the cheater slips on a pair of basketball shorts, I flick my eyes to Maddie. “You’re fired.” While my boss, Cora, is the only one who can fire the interns, it still feels good to say, nevertheless.

She smiles sinisterly. “You can’t fire me. Only Cora can do that.”

I glare at her then turn and make my way back toward the kitchen where I left my things. Seething, I try to regulate my breathing and get my head on straight as I exit the condo. Distance. I need distance from these two. Otherwise, I’m liable to do something I’ll regret—or might land me in jail.

“Sophie, wait!” Jared shouts from behind me. The sound of his voice stings, and tears prick at my eyes. I need out of here.

He continues to call after me, but I don’t respond. I walk quickly down the hall, ignoring the man who I thought I’d spend my life with. His words mean nothing.

Thankfully, the elevator opens with my first stab at the button. I step inside just as I hear Jared’s voice again, but this time it’s cut off by the door closing. I hold back the tears threatening to fall the entire way back to the garage.

I will the elevator to go faster, but again, luck is not on my side. Today is the worst day ever. Keeping my head down to avoid making eye contact with the other passengers, I widen my eyes in an effort to keep the tears from falling. I need to get to my car.

Finally, the elevator signals our arrival in the garage. The others exit like they don’t need to rush to their vehicle and avoid losing their shit in front of strangers. Why is everyone so slow? As calm as possible, I skirt around the slowpokes and rush to my car. Just as I hit the Unlock button on the key fob, I hear Jared’s voice. Glancing over my shoulder, I see him running out of the stairwell door and in my direction. I fling the driver side door open and move to slip into the seat before he reaches me, but I’m unsuccessful. I don’t want to talk to him. I can’t talk to him. My mind is spinning. I haven’t even reconciled what I witnessed upstairs, let alone what I’ll say to him.

He slams his hand on the door of my car, pushing it forward just enough that it prevents me from getting inside. “Sophie, please, just listen,” he begs.

Smack!

The pain that radiates through my hand is worth it. The stunned expression on his face makes me wish I could do it again. So I do. I slap him again. The sound ricochets off the cement walls. I still don’t speak. If I do, he’ll hear the vulnerability in my voice. The way he has broken a piece of me.

No. I need him to only see my anger. The all-encompassing anger.

“Fuck you, you bitch!” he shouts.

“No, Jared. Fuck you,” I grit out as I push him out of the way before flinging the door open and slipping into my seat.

Before I shut the car door, I look him in the eye, and say, “Oh, by the way, Jared, we’re done.”

He slams his fist on the top of my car hard enough I wouldn’t be surprised if it left a dent. Pushing the button to start my car, I pop it into reverse, look quickly over my shoulder, and pull out of the space. Jared jumps out of the way before I get the chance to run over his feet. Not that I’d want that, but it if it happened on accident, I wouldn’t be too sad. As I drive toward the exit, I look into my rearview mirror and see him standing there in the middle of the garage.

Turning out of the parking garage, I have no control over the stream of tears falling. Anger, frustration, and humiliation consume me as I drive in the direction of the stadium. Barely able to see through the tears, I signal and slowly pull into a nearby parking lot to gather my wits. Using a napkin from my glove box, I take a few cleansing breaths and pat dry my face.

I don’t need to open the visor mirror to know I look awful. Puffy eyes and blotchy red skin are a given when I cry like this. It’s been years, but I remember the look. It’s less than stellar.

This isn’t the time to lose my shit. I have a job to do, and obviously Maddie isn’t at the stadium making excuses for my tardiness. Taking two more cleansing breaths, I wipe my cheeks one last time and reverse my car in the direction of my next assignment.

 

Do you like a playlist with your story? Check out Alyssa’s Keeping Score Playlist on Spotify!

 

 

 


About Alyssa Kale:

Alyssa Kale, better known as Alyssa Garcia, is a debut author that really got her start in the industry as a book blogger, then a cover designer, then she got into the busy world of PR and marketing. It was only a matter of time before she actually sat down and wrote a book considering how intertwined her life is with the industry.

 

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