Pitching phenom Bruce “Jilly” Gillette has a hard time talking to women. His hulking presence of tattoos and muscles is what makes him an intimidating closer on the mound, yet off the field, he’s painfully shy, uncomfortable in his own skin. Desperate to revamp his loner image, the New York Kings hold a dream date contest, granting the lucky winner a night on the town with their surly reliever, doing whatever it takes to force Jilly out of his comfort zone. Hailey Halpert enters the contest on a whim, looking for answers as to why her high school relationship with Jilly hit the skids. Now she’s a popular romance author writing under a pen name, and her reappearance in Jilly’s life is no accident. It turns out that her novels are all about the sexy players on the Kings, and Jilly has no clue that he’s about to become her new leading man.
Publication Date: October 17, 2014
“Practice makes perfect. Isn’t that what all you athletes say?” She gives me a saucy wink, and I know then that everything’s going to be okay.
“Yeah, but I think I’m gonna need you to help me work on my stamina.” I give her what I hope is a sexy look.
She chuckles, blushing a little.
“I wanna learn every noise you make when I touch the places on your body that get you going. I wanna memorize the look I put on your face when you throw back your head, begging me with your last breath not to stop what I’m doing to you,” I reply, watching her face turn a highly arousing shade of pink.
She pouts, her lips full and plump. “Do you know that I spent three hours picking out my underwear for you?”
“Really?” I ask, laughing.
“Too much?” She crinkles her brow at me, and it’s so fuckin’ adorable.
“Hailey…I’m very appreciative.” I kiss the tip of her nose, getting her to smile back at me.
“I didn’t know if…” she trails off.
“You never have to do anything more for me.” I reach down and stroke her face.
“I just wanna measure up.” She holds on to my shoulders, resting her forehead against my chest.
“Hey…” I say gently, meeting her eyes as she gazes up at me. “I don’t want anyone…but you.”
She swallows hard, her smile returning to her face, as she grabs my bicep. I feel the heat of her gaze. Maybe I do want to see that naughty side of her after all.
What do you do when you are not writing?
I’m usually reading, walking my dog or catching up with what’s on my DVR. When the weather’s nice, I spend as much time as I can outdoors—hiking, kayaking, you name it.
Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
Growing up, I was deeply influenced by Laura Ingalls Wilder (LITTLE HOUSE) and L.M. Montgomery (ANNE OF GREEN GABLES). I also read a lot of the SWEET VALLEY TWINS series and THE SADDLE CLUB, eagerly awaiting whenever a new one would come out.
Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?
The biggest challenge was wondering if anyone would be interested in purchasing it.
If you could have any superpower what would you choose?
I would love to be anxiety-free.
What was your first job?
My first job was walking my next door neighbor’s dog after school.
Out of all of your characters, which is your favorite? Why?
This changes a lot for me, but right now I’d have to say Scott Harper because I can hear his voice so clearly in my head. He’s such a flirt.
What does your writing schedule look like?
I try to write Monday through Friday, usually in the afternoon/early evening hours between 3-7 p.m.
Do you use your OWN experiences?
I use my own feelings when it comes to placing characters in certain situations, but all of the experiences they encounter are fictional.
Was it easy to pick the title for your book?
I’m trying to keep the word GAME in all of my titles, and for GAME ON, I see it as Hailey issuing a challenge to Jilly when she reentered his life, sort of along the lines of, “Are we gonna do this or what? Are you gonna kiss me or not?”
What profession would you choose if you could not be an author? Why does it appeal to you?
I’d love to do something with animals. I tend to have an easy, relaxed vibe with them because they’re so open, and natural. They’re a lot easier to understand than people.
What are you currently working on?
I’m piecing together Scott’s story in my mind. I know who his love interest is going to be and what she’s all about. It’s going to be fun helping him navigate through the scandal of having a hacker leak his naked pics online.
Collette West grew up as somewhat of a jock-nerd hybrid. Entering the world three weeks premature, her dad nearly missed her birth because he had seats behind the dugout for a sold-out, highly-anticipated match-up between two of baseball’s biggest rivals. Not to be outdone, her book-loving mom taught her how to read by the time she was three. A love of the game coupled with an appreciation for the written word were instilled in Collette’s impressionable brain from a young age. No wonder her characters believe in the philosophy: sports + romance = a little slice of heaven.
Splitting her time between the Pocono Mountains and Manhattan, Collette indulges her inner fangirl by going to as many games as she can from hockey to baseball and downloading every sports romance novel in existence onto her iPad. When she’s not clicking away on her laptop, she enjoys walking her dog in Central Park, satisfying her caffeine craving at the Starbucks on Broadway and keeping an eye out for Mr. Right. But above all, she loves dishing with her readers. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
She is the author of NIGHT GAMES and GAME CHANGER.