The Final Quarter by Anne Lange (A Guest Post and Promo)

It Was a Snap! Not. (The Final Quarter)

So the opposite of the easiest scene to write is, obviously, the hardest scene to write. Does that mean

the words didn’t flow like a waterfall? Does it mean I have absolutely no clue about the action or conflict

I want to introduce, or which plot twist I could add? Does it mean I’ve hit my brick wall of nothingness?

Sometimes, probably most often that’s exactly what it means for me.  It means I don’t have a freakin’

clue what comes next. I really don’t. Not one word. Not one idea. Hopefully, I at least have some

scattered thoughts, but nothing cohesive enough to put to paper (or screen).

But actually, in The Final Quarter the hardest scene to write was probably technically the easiest scene

to write, for me, in this very particular case.

The scene is closer to the end. It’s a scene where the hero, Mitch, confesses to his wife Serena, that

when he was a senior in high school he’d gotten his girlfriend pregnant. But she ended up losing the

baby and he blamed his action, or inaction, as a result, which only added to his feelings of not being

good enough, an underlying feeling of inadequacy his father had instilled in him from when he was a

young boy.

No, I didn’t get pregnant in high school. But I have experienced a miscarriage at over four months into

one of my pregnancies. At one appointment, we heard the heartbeat. At the next, we didn’t.

So although writing the scene came easy—the words flowed and I knew exactly how it would

look—emotionally, it was disaster. I had a good idea how that girl felt.  But putting that down on paper

wasn’t so easy. The battle, really, was deciding how much of myself to pour into that scene, and where

to pull back.

I felt her pain both physically and emotionally. I felt his guilt and sense of inadequacy. This happened to

me many years ago, but each time I think about it, it’s like it was yesterday. And I find when I draw from

that particular experience it’s somewhat therapeutic. But, as Mitch learns, things happen for a reason.

Today, I have a beautiful daughter that otherwise wouldn’t be here had things played out differently.

And frankly, I can’t imagine my life without her.

Title: The Final Quarter
Series Title: A New League, Book 2
Author: Anne Lange
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Heat Level:  Burning – Sexy, creative and hot, almost anything goes – not for shy readers
Length: 40,635

Click on the cover for Amazon US

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Blurb
A quarterback facing the end of his career must come to peace with his past, and accept his present, before he can move on with his future.
Mitch Ryland accomplished what his father said he never would—he made something of himself.
When his wife suggests she’d like to start a family, Mitch is thrown for a loop. He’s never told her about his life before he ended up with his foster parents or his plans never to become a father. So when he’s taken out of the game, his failings from the past come back to haunt him, and Mitch blames his injury on his loss of focus. He’s unprepared for his career as a professional quarterback to be over. Nor is he ready to tell his wife about why football is so important to him. He’d rather put emotional and physical distance between them and focus on getting back in the game.
Serena Ryland has dreamed of becoming a mother. But when she mentions the idea to her husband, he freezes her out and she has no idea why. She’s worried that if they don’t start talking soon, she’ll lose him forever. When he refuses to come home to mend from an injury, she takes matters into her own hands, determined to spend more time with him, hoping to reignite the romance in their relationship. But she’s unprepared for the things she learns on this trip. Her husband has been carrying a few secrets that just might change the outlook of their future.
Reader Advisory: This book contains oral sex in a public environment and light bondage.
Publisher’s note: This book is part of a series but can be read as a standalone title.

Short Excerpt
Mitch sighed and shifted in his chair. The knee he could handle. Bruised and sore, he’d limp for a few days, but it was his shoulder he worried about most. This was the third time he’d dislocated it. The first official time the team doctor knew about. His fingers itched to massage the joint, but he didn’t dare. No way in hell would he show any sign of weakness. The one thing his father and grandfather had drilled into him from a young age. A lesson he’d learned well.
“It’s more than just a simple sprain or a bad bruise, Mitch, and you know it. This is potentially career ending, especially if you don’t do as I’ve instructed. You need to rest it. Whatever you’ve been doing to keep this from us isn’t helping. Today’s proof of that. And it’s not going to get better until you do something about it. And you can’t do something about it until you’re not on the field every day.”
Noah took a deep breath, his expression full of compassion. “Apply ice to reduce the swelling three times a day for fifteen to twenty minutes. That shoulder needs to be kept stable. We need the swelling to go down so we can take a good look at it. I want you to wear an arm sling for the next three weeks.
“I’ve scheduled an appointment for you three days from now then we’ll have a better idea what we’re dealing with. You’ll probably need to go through some therapy regardless of whether you end up heading down the surgery path or not. With some rest, maybe some therapy, and a light training regiment, we’ll see if there’s been any change.”
Panic swept through Mitch. He clenched his hands into fists on his thighs. “And if it doesn’t get better?”
“We’ll discuss that when the time comes.”
Mitch, well aware of the consequences, filled in the blanks. Surgery. Rehab. Months off the field. If he ended this season on the injury reserve list for next season, he’d miss training camp and wouldn’t be allowed to practice or play until the doctor cleared him. And if he did practice and aggravated the injury, or possibly made it worse, he’d be out for the rest of that season. Or longer.
On top of that, he’d have to deal with his standings. Out of play meant his rating would be affected and his stats would tank—and not only his. The team would take a hit as well. He’d disappoint the fans. He’d disappoint his friends and family.
He might never be the same afterward.
He’d end up a nobody. Just like he’d been told.
His football career may already be at the top of the spiral, just waiting for that push to send him off the edge and into the vortex. He’d always compared his life to a house of cards. Painstaking to build, easy to destroy. The king sits perched at the top, but then one slip, one tiny tug or poke on one of those cards and the whole thing would come tumbling down.
A tremor now rocked the house beneath his feet.
Longer Excerpt
A shiver of anticipation vibrated through her. I can do this.
Rising once more, she picked up her drink and held the glass out to him. “Can you hold this for a moment, please?”
“Sure.” His deep rumble set her on fire. That was his sex voice. Each time she heard it, awareness skittered along her nerve endings. Her senses sharpened. And it had been a while since he’d used it, so the fact that he did now thrilled her and urged her on.
Serena placed the papers on her chair, then turned and dipped back into her briefcase. A low growl came from behind her this time. With an added wiggle, she retrieved a linen tablecloth from her bag and twirled around. His gaze shifted to her hands. “I don’t want to get the papers wet,” she explained. “Excuse me, please.”
She nudged his arms out of the way, careful not to jostle him too much so he wouldn’t spill their drinks, while she draped the white tablecloth over the round table. It puddled on the floor. “Perfect.” She flashed him another smile, set her papers atop the table again, and reached for her water, though she set it down without taking a drink. Her stomach was a pile of nerves.
“All set to get down to business.”
“And are you going to tell me what the business is?”
Her husband clearly remained leery. She couldn’t fault him for that. This was so out of character for her. He was typically the aggressor in their relationship. She’d always preferred to let others take the lead, even as a child. Maybe because her mother simply rolled right over everyone in her way, a trait of her legal position. Serena had simply found it easier to stay out of her path.
But whatever was going on with her husband was affecting their marriage, and that she wouldn’t stand by and watch while it withered away. She loved him too much to let him go that easily.
Which meant she needed to step up her game if her husband wasn’t prepared to. But maybe it was more than that. Maybe this was about her suggestion a few weeks ago. Didn’t he want a family? She needed to convince him she loved him more than anything, perhaps even more than fulfilling one of her own dreams.
“It’s like I said, Mr. Ryland, we need to discuss a few things.”
“What’s with this Mr. Ryland shit? What game are you playing, Serena?”
“I know you’ve always enjoyed game nights,” she said instead.
He shifted in his seat and looked down at his drink. His clenched the glass in his hand.
“The rush of the game, the physical and mental challenge, the excitement of a win. The devastation of a loss.” She felt bad that they’d lost tonight and almost regretted her words. “I bet the endorphins are flying through your system, even right now.” She cocked her head. “Is it like sex?”
He coughed, very nearly spitting out the mouthful of tea he’d just taken. “Excuse me?”
She put on what she hoped to be an innocent face and mentally prepared herself to forge forward. “Well, I think the high of the game must be like foreplay, then the party afterwards, like an orgasm. So game nights are like having sex.” At least she hoped, because she needed all the help should could get tonight. And she felt utterly foolish saying this crap. But how else was she supposed to lead up to her plan for the evening?
“Ah…”
Serena almost let loose with another giggle, watching Mitch trying to figure out where the hell she was going with this ridiculous conversation “You know,” she purred, “I’m well aware that you couldn’t actually play tonight.” She toyed with the papers. Spun her glass around a little.
“No.”
And her poor baby was pissed and hurting about that. Well, he needed to learn that she had his back. That when shit like this happened, he needed to talk to her. Knowing her husband, he was probably worrying himself sick that he was letting his coach down, his team down, the fans down. And he probably thought he was letting her down too.
The fact that he wouldn’t meet her gaze confirmed it. So she’d just have to help him forget for a while and remember the benefits that went with having somebody who cared for him. Somebody who loved him and was willing to fly across multiple states, plan some pretty special and erotic nights for him to take his mind off his troubles. If he wasn’t going to come home to her, then she would damn well to come to him.
“I have a something that might take your mind off your current situation.” Serena pulled her gaze from the man across from her and scanned the bar. Nobody paid them a bit of attention. She slipped off the stool, dropped to her knees and scurried under the table, letting the cloth provide the cover she needed.
“Serena.” Mitch’s harsh whisper reached her ears, but she chose to ignore him, instead she tucked her hands beneath his pants and ran her hands up his legs.
He jumped. “What the fuck?”

Author Bio
Shoes are her addiction, but books are her passion.  Anne Lange grew up with a love for reading. If you take a close look, she’s got either a book, her Kindle or her Kobo nearby at all times. You know, just in case there’s time to sneak in a chapter or ten.  Anne reads many genres of romance, but prefers to write sexy stories, often with a dash of humor, and usually with a side of those sinful pleasures your mom never told you about.  And always with a happily ever after.

While embarking on this wild journey of becoming a romance author, Anne juggles a full time job and a family. Though not always successfully. Who needs a clean house every day?  And what’s wrong with cereal for dinner? She lives in Ontario, Canada with her wonderfully supportive husband, three awesome kids who are growing up way too fast, and the family pets, Rocky the bearded dragon and Lily the chocolate lab.
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