Title: The Lucky Charm (Portland Series #1)
Author: Beth Bolden
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Publication Date: April 30, 2014
Event Organized By: Literati Author Services, Inc.
SynopsisIT ’S THE BOTTOM OF T HE NINTH . . . Izzy Dalton’s about to strike out. Her new job as the sideline reporter for the Portland Pioneers major league baseball team is problematic on several levels:
- Baseball is her least-favorite sport. Falling behind golf, tennis, and maybe even curling.
- What Izzy knows about baseball could fill about three minutes of airtime.
- Her last experience in front of a camera was in college. Six years ago.
- The Pioneers’ second baseman has a wicked sense of humor and even wickeder blue eyes.
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
About the AuthorBeth Bolden lives in Portland, Oregon with one cat and one fiance. She wholly believes in Keeping Portland Weird, but wishes she didn’t have to make the yearly pilgrimage up to Seattle to watch her Boston Red Sox play baseball. If only the Portland Pioneers weren’t only figments of her imagination. After graduating from university with a degree in English, Beth unsurprisingly had no idea what to do with her life, and spent the next few years working for a medical equipment supplier, a technology company, and an accounting firm. Now Beth runs her own business as a Girl Friday for small business owners, assisting them with administration, bookkeeping and their general sanity. Beth has been writing practically since she learned the alphabet. Unfortunately, her first foray into novel writing, titled Big Bear with Sparkly Earrings, wasn’t a bestseller, but hope springs eternal. Her first novel, The Lucky Charm, will be available in the beginning of 2014. In her nonexistent spare time, she enjoys preparing overambitious recipes, baking yummy treats, cuddling with the aforementioned cat and fiance, and of course, writing. She’s currently at work on the The Lucky Charm‘s sequel, featuring Noah Fox. She hopes he’s a lot easier to wrangle than Jack Bennett was.
Three Favorite Quotes from The Lucky Charm
It was so hard to pick only three; it was also so hard to pick quotes that didn’t give away any huge spoilers. So here are three that give a taste of the book, but don’t give too much away.
Jack Bennett and Noah Fox, players for the Portland Pioneers major league baseball team, have just landed at the airport in Sarasota, Florida for Spring Training.
“Hey. Check out that girl with Palmer. You think that’s the new reporter?”
Jack glanced over at Noah’s lazy gesture. He spotted Toby’s graying head right away, and the lanky brunette next to him.
“She’s definitely nothing like Tabitha,” Noah observed with a trace of disappointment. Jack, on the other hand, was immensely grateful that from a distance she wasn’t blonde or overly tanned. Both positive steps in the direction of her being nothing like Tabitha King. He was pretty damn sure that the team couldn’t survive another Hurricane Tabby.
“She’s pretty, though,” Jack admitted. And she was. Her skin was extraordinarily fair, even from this distance, and Jack was sure he could see a smattering of freckles on her nose. She brushed the mass of dark, straight hair over her shoulder impatiently, as if she just couldn’t be bothered.
Fox did a double take. “Seriously?”
“Well, yeah. I guess she is,” he said defensively. “She’s supposed to be, isn’t she?”
“I guess. I just can’t believe that you wouldn’t admit that the flight attendant was cute, and yet here you are, salivating over Toby’s new reporter.”
“I’m not salivating.” Jack tried for bored, and settled somewhere north of annoyed.
There’s so many reasons I love this exchange, but there’s one that trumps all the others: Jack is pretty much putty the moment he sees Izzy. He’s just gotten through worrying about another female reporter and the havoc she could wreak on the team, and yet he still can’t take his eyes from Izzy. And I like how he figures out how no-nonsense she is right away, but he likes her anyway.
Izzy and Jack have just tried having a friendly dinner in a strange city, but he gets recognized and she freaks out, worrying she’ll be outed in the press for dating a player.
“Listen, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to trivialize your feelings,” Jack said, turning toward her, a trite expression on his face. “I just like hanging out with you and I don’t want to lose that. Even if that means we eat in a tiny box of a hotel room and I have to eat what room service calls a steak.”
His blue eyes shone with sincerity and that alone should have sent her running away, but even Toby witnessing this entire forbidden conversation couldn’t have moved her an inch.
“You really mean that,” she said softly, gazing up at him. He wasn’t the tallest guy in the universe, but she wasn’t tall either, and if she tilted her head up just right, she could almost imagine how well they’d fit together. Only a few steps closer, and she’d be able to find out.
“I told you. You’ll get nothing but the truth from me,” he said in a low voice. She thought he might have taken a step closer, too, because suddenly he was practically on top of her and it was both the best thing in the world and the worst.
One of my early reviewers called Jack a “prince of a hero” and this early exchange between him and Izzy I feel perfectly illustrates all his “princely” qualities. He’s not a smooth charmer, but he’s always going to be honest with her and never give her a single reason to doubt his intentions or his feelings. And to me, that is the most attractive quality a man can have—true transparency.
Jack loved the way the world slowed when he entered the batter’s box.
He loved the dust settling on his tongue, the way his hitting gloves bit into his wrists, the weight of the wooden bat in his hands.
A lot of players let the pitcher set the tone of an at-bat, but Jack was somewhat fanatical about making sure that he and nobody else, was in charge when he stepped up to the plate. Sometimes that meant walking to the plate a fraction slower than good manners demanded. Sometimes that meant taking an extra moment to go through his mental and physical routine between swings. Sometimes that meant giving the pitcher one of his patented fuck-off glares.
Baseball is such an integral part of The Lucky Charm that it didn’t feel right to not include a quote from Jack’s head as he’s at the plate in a game. Before he meets Izzy, baseball is pretty much the sun, the stars and the moon for Jack. There’s a part of him that will always live and breathe the sport, even after he’s forced to retire. And I hoped to communicate some of that love through his thoughts.
“Izzy Dalton reporting from Sarasota Florida, at the Portland Pioneers Spring Training facility. I’m here with Noah Fox, starting center fielder for the Pioneers, and Jack Bennett, starting second baseman. Thanks for joining me today.”
Jack had to give Izzy credit for how bravely she faced the camera, especially since he’d discovered she’d never done much on-camera work. The first hundred or so times that he’d come face-to-face with a camera, he’d froze, which pretty much explained all those inane interviews that he’d given. When you had no idea what to say, sometimes the worst possible bullshit came out of your mouth.
“Welcome to the Pioneers, Izzy.” Noah smiled, ladling the charm on thick, and Jack resisted the urge to elbow him hard in the ribs.
Her first few questions were all to Noah—about his College World Series title, how he felt about the upcoming season. Izzy was pretty stiff, but Foxy seemed to settle her down after a few minutes.
He’d expected her to take her time with Noah. After all, he was a great interview; he acted like he actually wanted to be here. It wasn’t any big surprise that Toby would pick Foxy for Izzy to break her teeth on. Instead, she switched her attention to him after only three questions, her focus narrowing in on him until he felt like the entire world was going to see him perspiring—every glorious bead of sweat in high definition.
“Jack,” she said coolly, though by this point he’d figured the wintry act was all a big lie. She wasn’t cold; inside, she was a volcano, and because he was inevitably masochistic, he wanted all that icy self possession to melt away. “What’s your goal for this team?”
“Hell, we’d love to have made the playoffs last year, me more than anyone,” he admitted, and for the first time, he could think about the collapse last year without his vision going all red and blurry with rage, “but good things are worth the wait. This year, we’re not only going to make the playoffs, we’re going to the World Series.” He paused, and was so strangely, innately comfortable, he couldn’t help poking a bit of fun at her. It wasn’t mean, he told himself, just…playful. Never mind that he wanted to play with her. The intelligence and spirit in her eyes challenged and intrigued him so much that he couldn’t seem to help himself. “You know,” he said conspiratorially, “that’s the Super Bowl of baseball.”
She froze in place, her expression nearly panicked, and then he watched as she forced herself to relax, molecule by molecule. He wanted to make her melt, and unearth the woman beneath the stiff facade until he discovered her real smile. “And how important is making your World Series debut with the Pioneers? Wouldn’t it be easier, don’t you think, to play for a team that’s been there before?”
“The Pioneers were my first-choice team and it was a great day when they picked me in the draft. Going with this team to the World Series is the only thing I think about,” he said, as if he could feel any differently. “A World Series is a World Series, but the Pioneers are near and dear to my heart.”
Her expression was a mask. “Have you heard the rumors about Ismael Butler moving the team to Las Vegas?”
Jack could feel everything inside of him still and then speed up rapidly, his heart beating so fast he was sure she could see it through his thin T-shirt. This was why he hated interviews; there was always a question that managed to work him up. This time she’d unearthed the one question that not only made him see red, but freaked him the fuck out.
“That’s crap,” he managed to croak out. “The team isn’t going anywhere.”
“Maybe, maybe not,” she said and he wanted to hate that she was the lightest, most relaxed at the moment she’d made him the most uncomfortable. “But Mr. Butler was in Vegas last week.”
But even though he’d just met her, hate wasn’t anywhere in the equation.
“Mr. Butler has a lot of business in Vegas,” Jack shot back.
“I’m sure that’s true,” Noah added with a hopeful voice and Jack wanted to smack him for not sounding more confident, but he supposed the damage was already done.
Deep down, Jack suspected that point of no return had already come and gone long ago, maybe even the moment he’d opened the door to the media trailer to find Toby, and had discovered Izzy instead.