by Ren Alexander
Publication date: August 14th 2018
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
The myth, the man, the legend.
Yeah. I’m none of that crap.
Okay. I’m a man. There’s that much.
Almost everyone calls me Rod, whether I like it or not. I’m the guy others look to for a laugh, a dirty joke, a distraction—the office clown. Even my best friend, Hadley, laughs.
It’s just that, I’m not always laughing. Not even on the inside. Nobody knows the real Greg or the agony I hide with humor. My recently dead sister had a clue, but she’s in no position to blab. I screwed up big time—then and now—but it’s all my undoing. Through everything, Hadley’s been my cure and my curse. And I fell in love with my married best friend. But she wasn’t always married, and I wasn’t always broken.
I had a millisecond of a chance, but I blew it, siding with morality. What guy does that? And sailing that sinking ship all the way down, I sacrificed my wants for her needs. Doing that, I fathered a kid with the office trouser troll. Stupid? Hell to the yes. Because now, regardless of the grand total, I want something I can’t have. Integrity and my sanity be damned.
But nobody, especially Hadley, can know the real Greg Rodwell, my tortured soul, my unashamed love, or my darkest truth, because it wouldn’t just blow her mind.
It would rock our damn world.
Ren Alexander was born in Wheeling, West Virginia. She graduated from West Liberty University, where she received a B.S. in criminal justice. Although interested in that field, her true passion was reading and writing. She currently lives in Detroit, Michigan with her husband, two daughters, and two cats.
Ren’s novel, “The Keys to Jericho,” was chosen as an “Official Selection” in the Romance category of Apple Literary’s 2017 Annual Book Awards.
HERE IS AN EXCERPT FROM THE BOOK:
The metallic ricochet of a bat hitting a ball fills the air as arms wrap around my torso, and a chin rests on my shoulder. A boldly sweet perfume tickles my nose, as does her hair. She whispers, “Ready to kick ass?”
Simone releases me but leans against the fence, squinting up at me from underneath her hat’s bill. Her snowy blonde hair is in two low pigtails, and her bright pink lips play up her blue eyes. When they blink back at me, I again focus on the field. “He has to let you play. There’ll be an uprising if he doesn’t.”I cock my head, regarding her again, not sure if she’s expecting me to guess or if she’s yanking my dick—she’s done it before. “By who?”
“Me.” She grins and then rolls her eyes. “We all know you’re good.”
“You’re such a liar.”
“Yeah?” I twist to face her and cross my arms. Her steady observation holds mine. That’s one thing about Simone I’ve come to realize since meeting her. She doesn’t cave, being surer of herself than anyone I know. “What about the shit you told Morgan on New Year’s Eve when she saw us together at the diner? You made her believe…” I stop because people are walking around us and sitting in the stands. I’m not sure how to word what I want to say without being overheard. I mean, as a father now, I should try to watch what I say around kids. I pivot some, moving closer to Simone and try again. “She thought we were…”
Simone grins with her hands on her hips while angling a blonde eyebrow that is slightly darker than her hair. I offhandedly wonder if all her drapes match the carpet. “Fucking?”
I laugh because she apparently found the balls I used to have. “Uh, yeah. That.”
She pokes my chest. “I saved your ass, boy! You still haven’t returned the favor.”
“What am I supposed to do? Bow down and kiss your ass?”
“You should be so honored.” She raises her chin to new heights in an attempt to appear pissed off.
I laugh, turning to the field. “Shit. You’re a handful, Garrison.”
Simone giggles and I meet her blue-eyed gaze only to roll my eyes. Two seconds later, the emperor and his entourage finally arrive, along with four people I’ve never seen before, carrying camera equipment. Wilder had told us a while ago he was bringing his news crew to shoot footage during the last game. Looking at the crowd, I now realize why it’s bigger than usual. Naturally, they’re here for Richmond’s most infamous sportscaster. His Friday sports show highlights the depth of his stupidity, which he calls dares. Daring him to coach our team underscores the magnitude of my own stupidity.
I say, “Looks like Mr. Showtime is here.”
“Yeah, sure.” Ignoring Wilder, Simone gawks at Ricky as he removes his Legal Eagles hat and combs his fingers through the black mop on his head. Chomping on his gum, he grins at Sylvie, who looks as if she’s about to spread her legs in worship of the bronzed god. I wouldn’t doubt she’s fucking him too. From what Hadley told me, Ricky has gone off the rails since his divorce and has reverted to his manwhore ways. Too bad he’s fugly.
I reach over and using my index finger, tip Simone’s chin back up. When she returns a questioning glance, I say, “You’re drooling.”
“What?” She jerks her chin away while subtly wiping it, which makes me laugh.
I nod toward the object of her distraction. “Tesco. You got the hots for him or something?”
Simone narrows her eyes and sets her jaw into a hard line, watching Sylvie fawning over him. “It seems everyone does.”
“I’m pretty sure I don’t.” When Simone sighs in frustration, I tease, “But I hear Wilder does. It’s a deep-throat kind of love.”
She laughs but then shakes her head, throwing on a quick, pink-lipped, glossy pout. “Stop making me laugh. I helped you with Morgan that day, but you don’t care. Dick move, Rodwell.”
I laugh because she’s off her fucking rocker. “And that’s exactly what you grabbed under the table!”
Simone throws out her hands, bouncing her pigtails. “It was for effect! I was acting!”
“You were jacking.” And if we weren’t in that situation and she wasn’t Wilder’s sister, it would’ve felt so good.
She rethinks her fierce expression as her lips twitch. So, I go for more. “And you liked it.”
Gripping my arm, she leans closer. “Oh, with the tent you pitched, I’d say you liked it.” I couldn’t even help it.
“I’d give your technique a 5.5.” Total lie.
Simone smacks my arm, not like how Hadley usually does. This stings. I half whine and half laugh. “What the fuck? That hurt!”
I smirk at her audacity. Simone is unlike Hadley in so many ways. “Okay. A 7.0 at best.”
“Suck my left tit.” She dramatically flips a pigtail, swishing it against my chest, leaving her scent in its wake. I like it.
I lean over and, on a whim, loudly pant against her neck. Damn. She smells good from this angle too. Like cinnamon. My breath blows over her skin, and I hear her breathing choke. I whisper, “Keep talking about pussy and tits, Garrison. You’re giving me a stiffy. Please. Just try to restrain yourself this time.”
She laughs, shoving me with strength I’m not used to, and I stumble back some, laughing with her. When I’m next to Simone again, she grins up at me and lowers her voice. “You wouldn’t know what to do with a real pussy, Greg Rodwell, contrary to your recent events with that skank.”
“You going to school me, then? I’ll be your star pupil.”
Simone doesn’t respond because she obviously doesn’t know how. Rookie.
Satisfied that I just owned her, I lean back against the fence, putting my elbows on it. Seconds later, Simone is suddenly in my face, surprising the fuck out of me. She trails her hot-pink fingernails down my chest, all the way to my belt buckle and coolly whispers, “I’d destroy you for any other woman. Total annihilation. I’m a thirst you can’t quench. My pussy would consume you like a violent inferno. I’d exhaust you, but you’d still beg for just one more fuck.” She hooks her finger into my belt buckle, tugging at it. Caught off guard, I nearly fall over. I know she’s joking. But goddamn. Why did that turn me on faster than a Clapper?
Leaving me speechless, Simone jumps away and erupts with a loud laugh, drawing attention from most of the team, including her brother and Ricky. Wilder sort of frowns at Simone while Ricky’s bushy eyebrow rises above his sunglasses. He then returns to flirting with Sylvie. Shasta now joins the orgy, frowning at me, but I couldn’t give a shit who she fucks. As long as it ain’t me.
After several deep breaths, I start to talk, but my voice still squeaks, so I clear my throat to rid my prepubescent memories of sounding like Betty Boop. “By the way, I wasn’t hard.” The hell I wasn’t. And Hadley had nothing to do with it that time.
“Your junk is always that firm?”
I smirk. “There you go again, lusting after my dick. Maybe you’re the one who’d need rehab.”
She glances down at my crotch and then with an odd smile, turns back to Ricky-watching. “You couldn’t handle me.”
“You know what? I don’t even doubt that shit.”
I hear a small laugh from her as I try to recover from just having escaped a Simone-induced tornado. I shake my head to clear it, but that’s zero help. With Simone eyeing Tesco, I ask, “Why don’t you ask him out?”
“Why not? You’re not exactly shy. Just do it. You know, since you’re so addictive,” I mock her, which only makes my throat and zipper constrict again.