Title: A Kings’ Christmas
Author: Jean C. Joachim
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Stress over making the playoffs at holiday time can’t compete with the tensions in the homes of the star players on the Connecticut Kings. From Trunk Mahoney’s shattered dream of a Currier & Ives Christmas to the secret Lauren is keeping from Griff, surprises abound in this last tale of the team.
As the men and their women celebrate the holidays, bad news seems to rival good as accidents, breakups, and unexpected reunions strain love to the breaking point. Who will get their Christmas wish and who will not? If you’ve loved the men of the First & Ten series, then you won’t want to miss this nail-biter, the final chapter that will have you in tears and laughing with the wonderful men of the Connecticut Kings.
Locker room, Kings’ Stadium, 1 p.m.
Tuffer Demson fingered the diamond ring in his pocket. His nerves were on edge. The Connecticut Kings were playing the Columbus Bobcats today. They had to win. Every game counted double now that the playoffs were around the corner. Or at least that’s the way he felt. The pressure was excruciating.
The young defenseman planned to propose to his live-in girlfriend, Alexia Sebastian, that night, after the big meal. Lexie was his coach’s daughter. Pete Sebastian, the coach, had taken a dim view of her dating Tuffer, and an even more negative eye to her living with her boyfriend. Ever since she’d moved in with him, Coach Bass had kept an eye on him, pushing him to work harder and do more.
He had bounced back and forth between his belief that the coach would be relieved to have Lexie become an “honest” woman versus shacking up, and the nagging suspicion that coach would rather have her marry Attila the Hun than Tuffer Demson. He made good money and was crazy about Lexie. Why shouldn’t they get married?
Never a player on the dating field, Tuffer had hoped to find the right one and make her his. He longed to have a marriage like his parents’—warm, close, and caring. They were best friends. Lexie was the sweetest girl he’d ever met, and she treated him with respect. Besides, she was smokin’, and their love life ignited his fire every time.
“Got your head in the game, Demson? We need to win,” Coach said, scowling.
“Yes, sir. I do, Coach. I do.” But it was a lie. Tuffer worried that Lexie might turn him down. Sure, he made good money, but for how long? He saved every penny he could for the day when football turned its back on him. He knew he wasn’t the brightest bulb. He’d never been a star at school, stealing a spot at a lesser college using his football talents. He’d never have a better chance than on the field to make a pile of money, that was obvious.
After his career was over, he had no idea what he’d do to earn a living. The time to snag a great wife was now. He figured he’d better get a commitment from Lexie while he was in his prime, before she realized she could do a whole lot better than him.
“What are you standing around for, Demson? Put on your uniform and get out there.” Coach’s brow furrowed. Tuffer figured the older man must be nervous about beating the Columbus team, The Bobcats, had been giving them trouble this season, as usual.
He removed his hand from his pocket and opened his locker. Time to get his head in the game before Coach Bass chewed it off.
“You look like you’re gonna hurl,” Trunk Mahoney, the most seasoned defenseman, said.
Tuffer yanked on his jersey. “Feel like it too.”
“What the hell?” Trunk straightened his shoulder pads and faced his teammate.
Trunk grabbed the younger man’s arm. “It’s not nothing.”
“I’m proposing tonight. To Lexie.”
“No, to Minnie Mouse. Of course, to Lexie. That’s great, kid!” Trunk grinned and slapped him on the shoulder.
“I don’t know. She might say ‘no’.”
“Aw, come on. Never. She’s livin’ with you, right? You’re makin’ it happen for her, right?”
“Trunk. That’s private.”
“Nothing’s private in here, buddy. What more could she want?”
“Someone with a better brain?”
“Bullshit. She’s lucky to get you. Come on. We’ve got a game to win.”
The coach interrupted their conversation. “Guys! Listen up! Get your butts out on the field! Let’s wipe out the Bobcats, so we can go home and eat! Cream ’em. No overtime! It’s Thanksgiving!”
The men cheered and followed Coach Bass. Trunk walked with Tuffer.
“They’ve got a new wide receiver. Some tool named Thompson. Number twenty-five, I think. Grind the fucker into the ground,” Trunk said.
“Got it. Twenty-Five.”
A cold wind whipped down the field, icing Tuffer’s face, but not his body. Lexie had picked up heavy-duty, thermal long johns for him. He had ’em on. Another reason to marry the girl—she put his welfare first and took good care of him. Maybe not quite as good as his mom did, but then, no one can do it better than a guy’s mother.
As he stood for the national anthem, his mind wandered. He wondered what she’d be doing now. He figured she’d be watching the game on television from the warm, spacious kitchen at Coach’s house, while she helped prepare the big meal.
He glanced up at the stands. His mother waved. She and his father had a blanket under their butts and one over their legs. His mom had insisted they both wear down parkas. He hoped they’d be comfortable. He’d been too embarrassed to ask if they had on long underwear.
Trunk nudged him. “Come on. Get your head in the game.”
“Sorry.” He loped along behind Mahoney to set for the kick-off. Griff Montgomery, the quarterback, had lost the toss, and so they were receiving. Due to injuries to some of the receiving team regulars, Tuffer and Trunk had been recruited by Coach Bass to be on the special team for the kick-off. The whistle blew, and he focused on the ball and protecting his teammates.
Christmas in July Fete Sackful of Giveaways:
Grand Prize: $75 USD Amazon Gift Card
An e-copy of Griff Montgomery, Quarterback (First & Ten series, Book 1)
An e-copy of Buddy Carruthers, Wide Receiver (First & Ten series, Book 2)
(plus more prizes…)
Starts July 1, 2017 12:01 am EST and ends August 1, 2017 12:00 am EST
Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N1JOBLO
iTunes/Apple Books – https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1179569255
Author’s Favorite Holiday Food/Tradition:
Baking Christmas cookies with my 25-year-old son. My favorites are molasses cookies, his are chocolate pixies.
Jean Joachim is an award-winning, international best-selling romance author, with books hitting the Amazon Top 100 list in the U.S. and abroad since 2012. She writes mostly contemporary romance, which includes sports romance and romantic suspense.
Dangerous Love Lost & Found won 1st place in the suspense category in the 2015 Oklahoma Romance Writers of America International Digital Awards contest. The Renovated Heart won Best Novel of the Year from Love Romances Café. Lovers & Liars was a RomCon finalist in 2013. And The Marriage List tied for third place as Best Contemporary Romance from the Gulf Coast RWA. To Love or Not to Love tied for second place in the 2014 New England Chapter of Romance Writers of America Reader’s Choice contest. She was chosen Author of the Year in 2012 by the New York City chapter of RWA.
Married and the mother of two sons, Jean lives in New York City. Early in the morning, you’ll find her at her computer, writing, with a cup of tea, her rescued pug, Homer, by her side and a secret stash of black licorice.
Jean has 35 books, novellas and short stories published. Find them here: http://www.jeanjoachimbooks.com. Sign up for her newsletter, on her website, or using the link below, and be eligible for her private paperback sales. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jean-JoachimAuthor/221092234568929?sk=app_100265896690345
Social Media Links:
Twitter – @jeanjoachim
Amazon Author Page – http://www.amazon.com/Jean-C.-Joachim/e/B001ITRQKY/
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