Looking for a thrilling, surprising summer read? Then we suggest you try Alessandra Torre‘s Moonshot! Known for her twisty plotlines (understatement), Torre’s latest is filled with baseball, HEA angst and … dead bodies. Intrigued, right? Check out this excerpt and then enter to win a signed copy below!
Our traveling secretary liked to put the team all together on one floor. And whenever possible, she put me in a room adjacent to Dad, a proximity that allowed him to sleep better at night. I didn’t used to have my own room, that change coming the summer I turned fourteen. I’d gotten my period for the first time, Dad suddenly got uncomfortable, and when we’d landed in Seattle, I’d unexpectedly had my own room key. That first night, I stayed up until four in the morning watching reality TV. The next night, two. Four years later, I was a boring old woman typically in bed by midnight.
Typically. But tonight I was squashed against my door, a book in hand, waiting for Chase to come home. We’d passed him in the hall earlier, Dad and I coming back from Moe’s, takeout containers in hand. Chase had stepped aside to let us pass, he and Dad exchanging a curt greeting. I’d looked away, but I’d noticed everything.
The smell of him. Different than before—cologne.
He’d been dressed up, a stiff button-down tucked into slacks.
His phone stuffed into one pocket as he’d moved past, toward the elevators.
He had been going to see the girl from the game—a possibility I’d stewed over since we’d left the field. It’d been an afternoon game, putting us out early—early enough to allow for a date, should one asshole of a player feel up to it.
Dad and I had eaten our dinner in his room, watching the Devil Rays play, little said until the fifth inning, when he’d turned his chair toward me.
“Stern ever hit on you?”
“What?” I coughed, his timing right during a sip of soda, the liquid confused when I jerked, catching in the wrong pipe. Dad just sat there as I struggled between life and death, my eyes watering by the time my esophagus figured out the issue.
“Has he?” He muted the TV, and it was suddenly a serious conversation, the telltale signs beginning to emerge. Awkward silences. A stare you couldn’t avoid. The chasing of a subject until it died a slow and painful death. The Sex Talk, executed one year earlier, had been just like this. I didn’t know who Dad thought I was going to have sex with, but he’d seen some TV special about teenage pregnancies and had stumbled through a forty-five-minute lecture about STDs and pregnancy and condoms. I’d interrupted him around the time he got to death via labor with a clear proclamation that I was a virgin and had no plans to change that so could he please, thank you very much, turn on ESPN.
“No, Dad. He hasn’t hit on me.” I managed the words, unsure if they were true. He had kissed me. But since then, he’d gotten that girl’s number. Was on a date with her right now.
“Anything I need to know?”
“About Chase Stern?” I shook my head. “He’s just another player.” A laughable statement. He would never be just another anything. It wasn’t in his DNA to be normal. He was a superstar, the best in a sea of greats, and that was what my soul struggled with the most. Because as much as he may be a slut or an ass, all it took was him swinging that bat against a fastball, or his impossible leap into the air after a line drive, and I was lost. Watching him play poured steroids into the bloodstream of my want. It wasn’t fair to give one man so much, to put him in pinstripes, and on the greatest stage on Earth, and then ask me not to notice.
“He’s a good looking guy,” Dad pointed out awkwardly. “He—”
I laughed, grabbing a pillow off his bed and throwing it at him, my accuracy deadly, his duck slow. “Stop, Dad. Just stop worrying. Please.”
He tossed the pillow aside. “Go out with Tobey. For me. Just a movie or ice cream, something to get the Grant family off my back.”
I wrinkled my nose. “I don’t know.”
He stood and held a hand out for my trash. “Go. I’m forcing the issue. He’s a nice guy. If you aren’t in love with him, that only puts my mind more at ease.”
I passed him my burrito wrapper, taking a final sip of soda before handing over the cup. “Fine,” I grumbled. “I’ll call him.”
“Be back by eleven,” he added, his interest in matchmaking apparently limited in scope.
“That won’t be a problem.” I glanced at my watch, the time just after seven, and headed back to my room with every intention to call Tobey.
Only I didn’t. I went back to my room, took a shower, and pulled on a jersey and some underwear. Redid my pedicure. Read an entire Cosmopolitan and was left with the mental task of committing ‘85 Ways to Make Him Moan!’ to memory. I stared at Tobey’s number. Went back and reread Chase’s texts. Went back to Tobey’s number. Decided I had no interest in being set up by my father. I’d been there, tried Tobey. If we were meant to be, I wouldn’t be trying to talk myself into calling him. So I hadn’t. I’d raided the minibar of snacks and grabbed my book.
And now I was here. Squashed against the door, pretending that it was the most comfortable place in the room to read. It was, really. I liked a cramped back and sore shoulder.
Just after nine, there was a sound, the elevator landing, and I dropped the paperback, shooting to my feet, my hands flat on the door, my eye glued to the peephole.
It was Chase, his hand at the back of his neck, rubbing the muscle there, his walk down the hall slow and—thank God—alone. I relaxed against the door, keeping my eye in place, treasuring the moment of uninterrupted voyeurism. He was just out of sight, his walk past my door slow, when he stopped. Backing up a step or two, he turned to me. I flinched, lifting my eye off the peephole, before I realized he couldn’t see me. He lifted a hand and rested it on the doorframe, his head hung, and there was a long moment of nothing. I didn’t breathe, didn’t move, just stood there and waited. What would I do if he knocked? What if Dad heard him knock? What if he pounded on the wood, and then Dad opened his door, and I opened mine and the three of us were standing there?
He lifted his head, and I got a full, front row view of beauty. Even in my warped peephole view, he was gorgeous. Heartbreakingly so. Terrifyingly so. I stared into his face and tried to figure out what he was thinking. Why he was standing there, and what his next move would be.
It turned out to be to his pocket, his hand reaching in and drawing out his phone. He turned away from my door and hunched over it, his fingers moving, and I jumped in surprise when my phone buzzed, loud on the desk. My eyes darted back to the view, Chase facing my door again, his head down, looking at his phone.
My steps were quick, my hands fast when I grabbed my cell, the text on my screen simple and demanding.
Open your door.
I didn’t try to think of a witty response; I didn’t fight with what to do. I went against all reason and reached down, twisting the knob and pulling open the door.
“Ty.” His eyes held mine.
“Yeah?” I didn’t move, didn’t breathe. Realized, watching the fingers of his hands curl around the edge of the doorframe, that he was mad. Shaking mad, his body tight, like it was being held back. Or maybe not mad. Maybe just upset. Or—
My hypotheses ended when he lunged forward, his hands rough in their grab of me, walking us backward, his foot kicking the door shut as soon as he was inside.
I didn’t fight it. I wrapped my arms around his neck and let his kiss crash into me.
Chase had tried. He’d tried and fought it as long as he could. Two nights without sleep would drive a man wild. Two days of watching every man on the team and trying to figure out which one had touched her. Two days stacked on two months of seeing her face, her smile, her body … and a man could only retain so much self-control. He’d tried to end it, sending her up into the stands, toward a strange girl. He’d wanted to test her reaction, to try and push some space between them. It had worked, on some weak scale, until he’d seen Tobey Grant.
The asshole had been downstairs. Drinking at the bar, two friends with him, idiots who cheered him on and laughed too loud. Given the hour, given the slur in Tobey’s speech … Chase had only wanted to warn Ty. Tell her about the drinking, maybe dissuade her from seeing him that night. But then she had opened the door, wearing what appeared to be nothing but a jersey. Hair down, cheeks flushed, she had smelled of soap and fucking innocence. She stood there in that doorway and studied him, and so help him God, he couldn’t stop.
He had stepped in, reaching for her, his touch too rough, his control shot, and had a moment of worry, hearing the slam of the door, feeling the tremor of her body—that he was forcing himself on her.
Then her arms had wrapped greedily around his neck, her mouth opening for his, her body soft against his … and it was official.
He was screwed.
This giveaway is open internationally! Wahoo! Enter to win one of three signed copies of Moonshot. You’ve got til Tuesday, July 5. Good luck!