It’s finally here! After a decade of writing, two years of querying and an intense five months of editing, promoting, and learning the ins and outs of self publishing, Benched is done and its here. It’s finally here and I don’t even know what to think! I’m excited for it to be out in the world and I also feel that anxiety that no one will like it or it won’t do nearly as well as I hope it will. But I keep reminding myself that I have done everything I can at this point to make it the best book, inside and out, and I’ve done everything I can to promote it – and will continue to do those things – and I can only hope for the best!
I’m looking forward to jumping into book two (whose title will be announced later today) and getting some reading done – its been so long!
But first, let’s celebrate, with a reminder of what Benched is about, where you can get and how to celebrate with me during my IG Live event later!
First Book in the Benched Trilogy
Baseball broke Evie Cordova’s heart.
Living in Santa Isabella, home of the five-time College World Series champs, The Quakes, Evie has grown up loving baseball. Her dad has been the head coach for as long as she can remember and her happiest memories were on the baseball diamond. But baseball broke her heart, in more ways than one, and she’ll do anything to avoid it.
Now Evie is in college and she can’t avoid baseball anymore. Working for her dad brings her face-to-face with Austin Young, the new shortstop who has transferred in from Texas. Austin throws her off her game with his dedication to baseball and his irresistible Southern charm. The chemistry between them is undeniable and Evie finds herself falling for the baseball player
But Evie has her own secrets that are holding her back and they just might cause baseball to break her heart all over again.
Where You Can Find Benched:
BookShop (Supports Indie Bookstores!)
SPECIAL EXCERPT From Chapter seven
“Your elbow is too low,” I blurt out, desperate to drown out that voice in my head. “I don’t know how you bat like that because it seriously can’t be comfortable. It looks weird and it completely hinders your swing.”
Austin’s eyebrows raise even higher, nearly disappearing under his messy hair. “What are you talking about?”
I open my mouth and shut it. His voice is still in the back of my head. This feels too familiar. I flush. This is déjà vu. I’ve been in this position, this exact same one, three years ago. “I’m just trying to help you,” I say, carefully. “You need to raise your elbow. I know that you had a shoulder injury when you were at Texas and I know that’s probably why you have a weird swing but you have to fix it or you’re never going to make contact with the ball.”
If I was expecting a response, any response at all, I was immediately proven wrong. He turns his back to me. The next rotation is about to start and the counter on the wall is going down in anticipation of the first pitch. Austin gets back into his stance, his elbow too low again and I want to groan. A rush of embarrassment runs through me. Of course, he didn’t listen to me. I watch as he goes through the rotation again, missing more of the pitches than hitting them. My arms are crossed tightly across my chest. He finishes out the last few pitches and this time, he looks as frustrated as I feel.
“What’s wrong?” he asks, coming out of the cage.
“You didn’t listen to me,” I say, shortly. I wanted to keep my patience and stay levelheaded, but my frustration was slowly eating at me. “I know I’m a girl and all that but I’m trying to help you, Austin. I know what I’m talking about. I have the experience with this. You didn’t listen to me. You just did the same thing you did before, and did it work? Of course, it didn’t.”
He looks taken aback and his mouth straightens into a very thin line. “If you were to help me, you wouldn’t be yelling at me like I’m a child, Evie. You think I like not getting any hits? You think I don’t know that I could be benched at any time, just like I was last night?”
“Well, then do it the way I told you to do it!” I snap.
Austin yanks the helmet off his head and holds it and the bat out to me.
“You do it,” he says, firmly. “You get in there, and hit the ball, then. If you’re so knowledgeable and experienced, you do it.” He drops them at my feet with a loud clang and I jump. I can feel the gazes of the other patrons looking in our direction and I resist the urge to stick my tongue out at them or tell them to just mind their own business.
I pick up the bat slowly, testing the weight of it in my hands as my fingers curl around the grip. All too familiar, but it felt like part of me. Just a mere extension of my arm. Jesse’s voice continues to haunt me as I pick up the helmet.
“Evie,” Jesse says, that stupid cocky smirk on his face. I hate that smirk but he’s beautiful, he’s here with me and it’s all I’ve ever really wanted. “I appreciate the help, baby, I do. But do you really think you know more about baseball than me?”
My face is bright red. “I just…I just wanted to help you. So, you can get better. I improved my average this last year and I just want to…” I trail off, uncertainty in my voice.
“Just leave baseball to the real baseball players, okay?” he says before turning away and heading back into the cage. I have nothing to say to him. How can he think I’m not real? He knows what I can do. He’s seen it. But I can’t think of anything to say.
My eyes water for a moment at the memory and I look away from Austin so he doesn’t see it. I hesitate to actually step into the cage. It’s been way too long since I’ve done this, and I don’t even know if I can do this anymore. I used to work so hard so it can’t just all be gone. I take a deep breath and stand up, picking up the discarded bat and helmet. I feed money into the machine and look over my shoulder at Austin. He looks like a child throwing a tantrum, slouched in the chair I’ve just vacated, looking grumpy.
I open the cage door and step through. God, it feels amazing to be back here. This small box feels like home. My body remembers what to do even if I don’t and I can try and deny it all I want, but it’s nearly undeniable. I like being here. I like holding the bat in my hands. I get myself into position, falling right into the familiar stance without even thinking about it. I don’t have to think about it. Even if I didn’t remember, didn’t want to remember, my body still remembers.
I’m frustrated and I know I need to calm down and focus if I want to hit anything that comes my way. I was never good at connecting with the ball when I was too emotional. I take another deep breath and let it out slow as the first pitch comes barreling my way.
The bat makes contact, sending the ball flying. If I were on the field, it would be a perfect base hit, provided that the shortstop wasn’t into diving catches or anything. Pitch after pitch came out of the machine and I made contact with every single one of them. Not every hit is beautiful but I’m hitting them. It feels good to be back in the cages. It feels natural. I hit one last pitch, sending it skittering across the ground. I relax my arms. They feel a little shaky and stiff. They haven’t been used for this kind of action in a long time and even though I know I’m probably going to be sore tomorrow, it feels exhilarating. It feels like the first time I ever held a baseball and the emotions I’m feeling right now scare me. I try to focus on the reason I’m here and look over at Austin.
There’s an indecipherable look on his face and I can’t tell what he’s thinking so I wait for him to say something. “You’re not left-handed,” he finally manages to say. “It’s completely different.”
My mouth drops open. Is he seriously kidding right now? I know I’ve just done infinitely better in this cage than he did and he’s complaining that I don’t bat left-handed like he does. Stupid left-handed…does he know not to anger a girl with a bat in her hand?
I don’t answer. Instead I feed more money into the machine, and I switch to the other side, looking more confident than I feel. If it’s been a long time since I batted normally, as a right-handed person, it’s been even longer than I’ve done it left-handed.
I don’t do as well as I did the first time around. Of course, I don’t. That would be a freakin’ miracle and I wasn’t very good at batting left-handed to begin with. I’m just naturally right-handed. But I do still bat well, much better than Austin during the two rotations he took in the cage and I feel an odd sense of satisfaction at that. I’m not a competitive person—not anymore, anyway—but his words make me feel a deep need to prove myself. I make contact with most of the balls, mostly because I’m pissed off and it’s fueling my swing. Each hit is packed with a punch. This feels too good.
I feel a sense of relief when the rotation ends, and I can take off the helmet and get out of this cage that suddenly feels so suffocating. I let myself out and immediately ran smack into Austin. He’s stood up and somehow managed to plant himself right in front of me.
“What are you…” I start to say, as the bat and helmet fall to the floor. He grabs my arm and pulls me up against him, his face just a breath away from mine. I remember the last time we were this close and a heat spreads through me. “What are you doing?” I ask, my voice shaky. My hands are gripping his arms tightly, mostly to keep myself from losing my balance and falling over. I’m trying to ignore how good this feels and how incredibly safe I feel with his arm wrapped tightly around my waist.
“What the hell was that?” he asks, under his breath. He’s staring at me like he’s never seen me before and it’s unnerving. I look over his shoulder and see that there’s quite a crowd around our spot. People know who he is, people know who I am, and we are attracting way too much attention for my liking. My temperature is rising and the warmth coming from him is not helping. We’re both sweaty and disgusting but I am so attracted to him like this that I lean closer, my fingers digging into the skin of his arms. His muscles flex under my grip as he holds me up. I hope he can’t feel my heart pounding because it’s going a thousand miles a minute right now.
Instagram Live Event Information!
I will be celebrating on my author Instagram tonight at 5 pm PST, with a special Instagram Live Event!
There will be a reading of the Prologue and Chapter One of Benched, doing some Q and A, doing a huge giveaway and revealing the title for Book 2. The giveaway is going to be SO great – it includes all the things from the special Benched box, including a signed copy of Benched, plus extra goodies! You’ll have to tune in to find out more!
Can’t wait to celebrate with you today!