Published by: Kingston Publishing Company
Publication date: June 30th 2020
Genres: Adult, Comedy, Romance
In life, as in gaming, there’s a way around every obstacle . . .
To pitch her new role-playing game at a European conference, developer Sierra Reid needs to overcome her terror of public speaking. What better practice than competing in a local bar’s diary slam, regaling an audience with old journal entries about her completely humiliating college crush on gorgeous Tristan Spencer?
Until the moderator says, “Next up, Tristan Spencer . . .”
Sierra is mortified, but Tristan is flattered. Caught up in memories of her decade-old obsession as they reconnect, Sierra tries to dismiss her growing qualms about him. But it’s not so easy to ignore her deepening friendship with Alfie, the cute, supportive bar owner. She and Alfie were college classmates too, and little by little, Sierra is starting to wonder if she’s been focusing her moves on the wrong target all along, misreading every player’s motivations.
Maybe the only winning strategy is to start playing by her heart . . .
“Relatable, funny, and charming, this gamingesque book delivers laughs and romance in a warm, satisfying bundle.”
–Elly Blake, New York Times bestselling author of Frostblood
“Sexy and delicious.”
–Kristin Wright, author of Lying Beneath the Oaks
“Hmm.” She tapped her finger on her lips. “Everyone’s had a crush on someone, right? It wouldn’t be the most embarrassing revelation in the world. Could you find something like that?”
I thought about it. I really did not want to stand up in front of total strangers—or worse, former classmates—and get laughed at, but Aida was right that an admission of a decade-old crush on a boy in a college class wasn’t the worst thing I might reveal. Besides, everyone had a crush on pretty boy Tristan back in the day. That might work well for this kind of contest.
“Would that be enough to win the prize?” And a guaranteed trip to Germany.
“Why don’t we forget about the prize, okay? I’m more interested in helping you work through your anxiety.”
Right. My forced therapy. “I just don’t see how muscling through one reading will achieve that.”
She bit her lip. “Okay, so here’s the deal. It’s not a one-night contest. It’s an elimination-style competition. Like American Idol.”
“Oh.” That changed things considerably. I just wanted the money, but I couldn’t imagine doing this week after week. Staying home and playing Undertale on the genocide route was sounding better and better.
Aida stood, one hand bracing her back. “Look. It’s right up the street. Let’s just go check it out.”
When she left, I skimmed the journal, hunting for something safe and boring. I didn’t believe reading something embarrassing was going to magically cure me. Nor was I going to win a weeks-long contest. But as Mr. Shepherd, my cross-country coach, used to say, “Running begins, not with the feet, but with the mind.” Maybe just preparing to do the contest, imagining myself succeeding, would be therapeutic on its own.
I took a deep breath and pretended I was actually going to go through with it.
Bouncing all over the north throughout her childhood, Lorelei Parker grew up believing she was a Yankee. However, raised by transplanted Alabamans, she was destined to eventually wind up in the south. After graduating from Auburn University, she disappointed her entire family by defecting to SEC rival University of Florida and eventually settled as far north as central Virginia for grad school in French literature. After a major career shift and a brief detour through New York City, she now works as a computer programmer in Charlottesville. In her free time, when she isn’t playing video games, she writes contemporary romantic comedy.
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