So I had an idea that I wanted to do something here on the blog that would keep readers occupied in these trying times. I have this third book in the Courtside Romance Series, Playing with Trouble, about half done…so I thought what if I start sharing chapters regularly – like a serial? I know other authors have done this on their websites or in their newsletters so I thought – why not?
The book is not edited (so don’t be surprised if you find the odd error hear and there) and as I haven’t finished it yet it’s possible (no it’s highly likely) that this version will differ somewhat from what gets published later in the year.
Playing with Trouble -Monique McDonell
Ch 1: Andrew
Andrew kicked off his shoes and sat on the sofa in his opulent suite, taking in the view of the Vegas strip. He loved Vegas. For some reason it was one of the few places he felt relaxed. When he thought about that he knew it was crazy, Vegas was not known for it’s mellow but somehow amidst all the chaos he felt at peace.
Every year for the past eight he came back to play this same charity tournament to raise funds or teens with cancer. It helped put his own difficulties into perspective yet again. The past twelve months had not been easy. He’s missed several months nursing an injury and then just when he was back on the doubles circuit winning again with his best mate Benjamin Golden, his buddy, had fallen in love and taken a hiatus to get things right with his girl Abby.
Ben was currently building a tennis training academy in small town America and Andrew was here alone.
It was okay though because looking out at the madness of the strip he didn’t feel alone and maybe if he was lucky he wouldn’t be alone tonight.
He never had any trouble finding women but that wasn’t really his style, no matter what the tabloids said. Sure he hooked ups but he tended to have two or three women he reconnected with on tour and here in Vegas it was Tiffany.
Tiffany was the PR Manager for the tournament and somehow for the last three years they’d ended up spending the week together. There were no promises and they didn’t keep in touch in between but he liked her and if he was honest he even missed her. There’d been times this year he’d thought of hopping a plane to Vegas just to see her but that wasn’t their thing, and he was not a relationship guy.
He’d been hurt too much in the past to make the mistake of letting someone close agai,n but Tiffany was the only woman he’d ever considered it with. Naturally he’d resisted the urge.
Still, he hoped that he’ see her out at the pre-tournament mixer tonight. He knew shed be there but maybe she’d moved on. She could be in a relationship or just not interested, he had no idea.
His phone rang and it was his trainer, Nate. Normally when he played on the ATP, Nate was with him but not for these charity events. It was part of the appeal, not that he’d tell the coach that. Nate was not good for his mellow. Nate usually called to bust his chops, that was the man’s idea of a motivational speech. He hit the speaker button and leaned forward his elbows on his knees, mimicking his coaches famous pose.
“You made it to Vegas?”
“Of course. I do know how to get on and off a plane buddy.”
“It’s nice that you care. You’re like my work mom.”
“Better than being your work wife. Okay ,so I know this is for charity and all that but this is a good chance for you to shine. You can win this thing.”
“Not everything is about winning Nate.”
“When you’re on the court it is.” Nate corrected him. “It would be good for you to have a win, set you up for the next solo gig if you insist you don’t want me to find you a temporary doubles partner while Golden Boy is out of the picture.”
“I play doubles as The Benji’s or not at all. I’ll just play singles and I’ll play mixed doubles with Savannah.”
Nate groaned at the woman’s name. There was a story there but neither he or Savannah were telling so Andrew didn’t ask.
“If you say so. Well, all the more reason to nail your singles game.”
“Nate, I’ll do my best but this tournament is about more than tennis.”
“Yeah well just because you’re in Vegas doesn’t mean it should be all about chasing tail and drinking like a lunatic.”
“Chasing tail? Nate who even says that?” He heard Nate growl down the phone. “Message received mommy, I’ll be a good boy. Having said that I need to shower and get to the event mixer and get my photo taken with the fans. So we’ll talk later.”
“Excellent.” And the phone went silent.
The lights were coming on down on the strip. Time to get moving and if he was lucky go and find Tiffany.
An hour later he took his walk along the celebrity red carpet outside the club. He smiled for the cameras, as requested. The tournament had a celebrity stream as well as the traditional tennis players and for doubles he would be teamed up with one of the celebrities. It was supposed to be random but he had a feeling it was less random than most people thought, because he’d been teamed the last couple of years with people who could actually play. That made it a much better experience. Ahead of him in the carpet was Kevin Blanchard an 80’s sitcom star he’d played with two years ago and with whom he’d won. The man was perpetually tanned and seemingly ageless.
Kevin pulled him in for a back-slapping man-hug and they posed for the camera.
“I hope we’re together again buddy.” He said.
“Last year that Russian player was no fun at all. I want to win but I also want to smile.”
“I hear you.” The cameras clicked as they struck a pose. “How about we go find ourselves some drinks and get started with the feel good vibe?.”
Walking in he thought he spotted Tiffany talking to the Russian in question but it could have been someone else. He hoped so, Alexi was a hideous flirt and even though he had n say in the matter he didn’t want the man any where near Tiffany.