Greetings readers. Here is my first SIP! Woot! Riding the Curve is now available on Amazon for $0.99!
Blurb: As a reporter at WSEN, Sasha Preston has worked hard to fulfill her dream to become the top sportscaster. However, despite her knowledge of sports and beauty, she often finds herself getting the odd jobs, leading to nowhere. Finally, her boss gives her a break that could lead to something bigger and Sasha takes it without batting an eyelash.
Tatum Phelps dream to be a big league pitcher ended with a devastating knee injury years ago. Now, with his younger brother’s coaxing, he’s decided to give it another shot.
When the two meet at a local bar, sparks fly immediately and neither of them know their paths are to collide at a later date. More importantly, both Sasha and Tatum don’t realize fate has a funny way of bringing two hardworking people together.
Excerpt Chapter One
“Sasha? Hey, hon−,”
Sasha grimaced at the sound of her co-worker’s voice. She shifted in her chair to look at Bryce Danley wearing an apologetic look on his face. Hadn’t he learned not to call her that here? Sasha was no one’s honey. She’d made that clear to Bryce in the beginning.
Yes, dating where you worked was a big mistake, but what could she say? The well had been dry for who knows how long and Sasha needed a release.
Besides that, Bryce was handsome. He had a gorgeous smile and pearly white teeth. Unlike the young hottie in IT who slunk up to Sasha the week prior, he didn’t make her feel as if she’d robbed the cradle.
The total downer was finding out Bryce’s big feet didn’t translate to a larger bulge in his pants. Not that Sasha was a size queen, but she did care if the man could please her more than her battery-operated boyfriend could. Once she figured it wasn’t worth the risk, Sasha pulled out. Who needed a guy if they couldn’t measure up… literally?
Then, fear for her career. Most times workplace romances came with an expiration date. And since Sasha wished to be promoted, she figured she’d cut her losses before the emotions reared their ugly head.
Hard enough she was one of the few females at the all sports network, WSEN, World Sports Entertainment Network. Harder, she was a black female who’d more than paid her dues, taking whatever assignment available just to get face time.
Sasha didn’t want to leave, WSEN. Still, if a better opportunity came along, she’d take it in a heartbeat.
“Sorry, um, the boss wants to see you. He called my desk.” Bryce said, shoulder hunching as he turned away from her.
“Thanks.” Sasha got up from her chair and grabbed her notebook from her drawer. She wondered what the assignment would it be this time.
An interview with yet another WNBA player?
Not that the WNBA was awful. She loved that a women’s only league existed. If only she could get into that as much as men’s basketball, it would be great.
Then, there was the assignment interviewing an English soccer player. He was cute, nice, but Sasha had to admit, soccer did nothing for her.
The last one was better. An interview with a golf legend who kept complimenting her curves. Once they were done, he had the nerve to ask if she dated old white men. She laughed it off and high tailed it out of there. Even though Sasha was down with the swirl, she didn’t want men older than her bra size.
At age thirty-seven, Sasha Preston was picky. Though her biological clock was ticking away fast, Sasha was in no rush. She loved her freedom to date who she wanted and when. Although she loved kids, children weren’t on her radar. Besides, her sister Sanaah had plenty. Sanaah had only been married six years and birthed two kids with another coming. Sasha joked with Sanaah about rivaling the lady who had seventeen children. Sanaah cracked up laughing, saying her Latin lover said five was the limit, and she had no issue giving them to him. When Sasha heard that, she resolved she wouldn’t have to have any children because her momma had enough.
So Sasha was in no hurry to find Mr. Right. It had turned into Mr. Right Now, to keep the hardware below from rusting. After all, her career as a sportscaster was foremost in her life. When her dad was on his deathbed, she promised him she’d be the first female on the all sports network to have a slot in the main chair or her own show. With such small assignments that pledge appeared to be farther away than first thought.
Heading to the boss’s office, Sasha passed the regular newscaster cubicles, wishing one of them were hers. As she turned to the right, Sasha had to pass Lorna James’ desk, who remained her nemesis. She grabbed the best assignments with top stars because of the obvious: blonde, blue eyed, and skinny.
“Sasha, oh Sasha?” Lorna singsonged her name in the fakest manner possible.
“Yes, Lorna?” Sasha spun on her heel and placed one hand on her right hip.
“I’m thinking the boss has a great assignment for you. The women’s basketball league’s all-star game is coming soon. I’d say you’d be a shoe in since you’ve had experience in that area.” Lorna smirked.
Sasha returned the snide grin. “That’s great. I’m looking forward to it.” She had no smart comeback for now. After all, the boss called her in, and she needed to get there before she got yelled at for stalling.
Instead of clapping back, she moved on, making another left before she arrived at Mellby’s office. Sasha tugged on her jacket and took a deep breath. She said a small prayer she wouldn’t lose her cool if Lorna were right. She’d have to be more grateful for getting anything because many had dreamed about being where she was. Then again, Sasha always desired more.
“Mr. Mellby, I’m here.” Sasha knocked and raised her voice a tad so he could hear her.
“Yes, Sasha, come in.”
Once she heard that, Sasha ambled inside the office and closed the door. She eyed the clutter in his office, doing a mental headshake at the amount of filth. Obviously, Mellby was a hoarder. If she had the time or patience to help him clean, she would’ve.
“Sasha. I’ve got a great assignment for you. I think you’ll love it. Please have a seat.” Mellby nodded at her and stretched his hand toward the chair in front of his desk.
“Thanks.” Sasha sighed, waiting for Mellby to give her the details about the Women’s All-Star Game, or the next poker tournament that needed covering. Once men’s basketball finished, the network would need to fill an empty slot on Saturday night with something.
Sasha crossed her legs, attempting to keep her shoulders up and appear confident. Giving off the wrong body language wouldn’t work in her favor.
“The Rebels are playing the Panthers next weekend. They’ve signed a guy named Tatum Phelps who has found the fountain of youth. He’ll be pitching out of the bullpen most likely next Saturday. I’d like you to interview him Tuesday and get the scoop on why he tried out after all these years. What he did to come back after elbow surgery? How about it?”
Sasha blinked once, then again, processing what she’d just heard. Mellby wanted her to cover a story for the local baseball team? Albeit the minor league, but a step in the right direction. Still, it was one of the four major sports; one that paid men to hit and throw a damn baseball.
“Sasha?” Mellby asked confused.
“Yes, Sir?” Sasha inhaled deeply, then released. Perhaps her luck was finally changing for the better.
“I’m sorry, Mellby. I’d love to.” Sasha smiled and put pen to paper to make notes.
“Good. I thought so. One thing I enjoy about your work is how you pull the personal stories out of these athletes. A lot of them love what you do, especially the golfer you interviewed last month. Umm, what was his name?” Mellby snapped his fingers.
“Durray. Malcolm Durray.” Sasha said with a hint of distaste in her voice.
AKA, Mr. Wrinkled Prune. Old enough to be her grandfather, talking about her dangerous curves.
“Right. He wants another one, by the way, but I told him I’d send Lorna instead. You might be busy this weekend preparing for Tatum Phelps.”
Sasha wanted to laugh at Lorna’s misfortune of interviewing Mr. Durray. Perhaps he’d be more interested in her because unlike Sasha, Lorna cared little about who she dated. Like last year when she paraded around the office with a new engagement ring from a hockey coach who asked her to marry him on a whim. Lorna knew nothing about the manager’s current wife, or about his connections with suppliers of human growth hormones.
As Mellby continued to talk, Sasha thought about her current assignment. If everything went well, this could be the big break that led to the opportunity she’d promised herself and her father.
After six years at WSEN, the time had come for a changing of the guard for topline reporting. Sasha knew she more than fit the bill.
Instead of sticking around to rub her new, shiny assignment in Lorna’s face, Sasha left work, ready to celebrate. Besides, it was Friday night. Time to let her hair down, enjoy the weekend, and what little was left of her check. Rent was due today, so she wouldn’t be able to get crazy. Still, she had enough money to enjoy a couple of drinks and appetizers at the local watering hole.
After a shower and change of clothes, Sasha drove to her friend, Daniela Price’s home. Daniela was another thirty something, man and kid free. So they had that and many other things in common. Daniela and Sasha attended college together at Northern State, worked their internship at the same company, and visited the same hairdresser. Though Daniela didn’t follow Sasha into the sports field, they spent an enormous amount of time together.
When she drove up, Sasha pushed the button on her steering wheel. “Dial Dani.”
“Dialing.” The car’s female voice spoke back to Sasha, and she leaned back in the seat to wait.
“Hey, girl. I’m on my way out.”
“All right. C’mon out here because there’s a tall strawberry margarita waiting there with my name on it.”
Daniela chuckled. “I’ll be right there.”
The sound of Daniela hanging up boomed through the speaker and Sasha pressed another button to turn her radio on. When one of the latest top forty hits played, she pressed the tuner to get the local sports station. She figured to get a little insight on Mr. Phelps before she dove into his backstory in the morning.
“And what about that guy, Phelps, huh? He was a top 100 prospect coming out of Georgia before he tore ligaments in his elbow and had season-ending Tommy John surgery. Then, he lost his mother and father in a car crash, vowing he’d never play again. But, the guy says he’s raring to try because he’s got a little gas left in the tank. The Rebels, knowing they needed help with pitching gave this guy a second chance.”
Sasha continued to listen to the sportscaster talk about Tatum Phelps as if he were the second coming. She’d already done a few peripheral searches on U of G’s former baseball star, but nothing from the last five years came up. Sasha would need to dig deeper to find out about Tatum and what made him tick. Because as Mellby said, he counted on her to bring out the human side of these athletes who were treated like gods on earth.