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  • The Love Playbook #excerpt

    When Avery Stone learns her dad will be fired if his high school team doesn’t make the playoffs, she has to get her head out of her day planner and do something—anything—to help him win. Even if it means secretly coaching the team’s newest player, who seems to have more game than skill.

    Lucas Black just transferred to Hillside with a fake name and a big secret. The MVP of every team he’d played on since he was seven—not to mention the MVP of every post-game party—he can’t understand why since arriving at Hillside, he’s been unable to catch a single. Freaking. Ball.

    Until…Avery. Amazing, kind, generous, and crazy-freaking-hot Avery.

    As Lucas goes from zero back to hero and Avery struggles with just what Lucas means to her, she inadvertently sets them on a collision course with Lucas’s secret…a secret that could take down not only Lucas but her father too.


    Avery paced up and down in front of Lucas’s locker. She’d had to ask four people which one was his, so she was already anxious. The fact that she was looking for Lucas would be all around the school by lunch. She knew she was attracting stares, but that was nothing unusual. She’d been attracting stares since mom died. No words, just stares. She understood. People who’d had no experience of death wanted to look and see what it looked like on her face. And those same people had no idea what to say to her. She got that too. She still had no idea what kind of words would have made her feel better.
    Anyway, the bottom line was everyone was staring, and she didn’t know what to do with that. She definitely didn’t want anyone to think she was chasing him, or worse dating him. Especially her teachers, especially her father. After her mom died, they’d all put so much work into ensuring Avery’s future was a straight line from the hallway she was standing in to a Ph.D. in Medicine.
    Damn it, where was he? She could carve out twenty minutes in her planner, but she wasn’t going to turn up late for class for him.
    Not for him. For my dad.
    Her gaze was fixed on the huge double doors at the end of the hall when he sauntered in, eyes on the ground. He didn’t see the other girls looking at him as he walked by. Avery did.
    She also saw his muscles move under his jeans, and his thin T-shirt. There was ink under that T-shirt—at least it kind of looked like it when he moved. For a second all her rehearsed lines fled her brain. And then he looked up, and as his gaze met hers, her entire brain hiccupped.
    Damn Lexi for putting the thought that he was the hottest guy in school into her mind. Now that was all she could see. She rolled her eyes at herself. But her butterflies paid no mind to her eye-roll.
    And then she blinked hard. Lucas seemed to slow down, the football player moving in slo-mo down the hall. Her stomach tightened, and bells rang in her ears. Then he was right in front of her.
    “Good morning?” he asked, making a play to get past her to his locker.
    She looked around. Oh. She suddenly realized why everyone else had disappeared. The bell was echoing through the school.
    “Sorry about yesterday,” she said baldly. “I went home and shifted some things around, and I do have time to help you—if you still want me to.” She pulled the muffin she’d picked up for him from behind her back. “Sorry I blew you off.”
    He took it and turned it around so she could see the huge bite she’d taken out of it to calm her roiling stomach while she was waiting for him. He raised his eyebrows in question.
    “What? You were late,” she said as if that explained everything.
    He pressed his lips together, and she got the impression that he was trying not to laugh.
    He handed back the muffin, and with both hands free, he grabbed her shoulders.
    For a split second she panicked. Was he going to kiss her for real this time?  What would she do? Her heart beat kicked up…and then he merely shuffled her over so he could open his locker.
    Holy hell. Thank God she hadn’t closed her eyes and leaned in. Small mercies. Seriously, was she going to think he was going to kiss her every freaking time they were together? What was wrong with her?
    He grabbed his books so fast she couldn’t believe he’d even looked at them.
    “Cool. Thanks. Come to practice tonight, okay? We’ll talk after,” he said, tucking them under his arm.
    She nodded and he ran back down the hall, leaving her holding the muffin, all alone, and late for class.
    Then she realized that she hadn’t told him that she only had twenty minutes to give him. Shit. Now she’d have to go to practice and waste more of her time just to tell him she had no more time to give him.
    Her head started aching.

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