Title: Game On
Author: Collette West
Publication: October 17th, 2014
Pitching phenom Bruce "Jilly" Gillette has a hard time talking to women. His hulking presence of tattoos and muscles is what makes him an intimidating closer on the mound, yet off the field, he's painfully shy, uncomfortable in his own skin.Desperate to revamp his loner image, the New York Kings hold a dream date contest, granting the lucky winner a night on the town with their surly reliever, doing whatever it takes to force Jilly out of his comfort zone.Hailey Halpert enters the contest on a whim, looking for answers as to why her high school relationship with Jilly hit the skids. Now she’s a popular romance author writing under a pen name, and her reappearance in Jilly's life is no accident. It turns out that her novels are all about the sexy players on the Kings, and Jilly has no clue that he's about to become her new leading man.
Ryan's portrayal of Opie Winston, the gentle giant astride a Harley, was hands down my biggest source of inspiration when it came to putting a name and a face to Jilly. I always found Ryan's understated performance of Opie to be absolutely mesmerizing. I think he's the type of man that a lot of women innately respond to. He's not the all-eyes-on-me alpha like Jax Teller on the show (or for that matter, Scott Harper or Chase Whitfield in GAME ON). He's more the calming beta presence. He's the loyal second-in-command, who demonstrates more of a quiet confidence than the showy, look-at-me variety. The only times he's unsure of himself is when it comes to women, and then his vulnerability usually bleeds through, making him that much more attractive (I think!) to the opposite sex. He's real because beneath that gruff demeanor, there's a guy unafraid to wear his heart on his sleeve.
Hayden Panettiere (NASHVILLE) - Hailey Halpert
Hailey's quiet on the outside, but quite vocal on the inside, and I think Hayden would capture that mix perfectly. She has the petite and tiny shape that Jilly just wants to protect with everything in him, and her eyes house that sparkle that let everyone know that she's a force to be reckoned with. She runs up against some powerful adversaries for writing her romance novels about Jilly's team, the New York Kings, but she doesn't back down, determined to hold her ground and use her writing talent to show Jilly just how much she loves him.
He's the "short of stature but big of heart" mechanic who just so happens to be Jilly's "brother from another mother," so to speak. The two grew up together and were practically inseparable after Jilly's mom passed away when he was five and his dad basically checked out on him. The Murphys took Jilly in, raising him as a second son, signing him up for T-ball and fostering his major league dream. The thing I love about Rick is that he's not about appearances. The sign above his garage is done in spray paint, but he's the real deal where it counts. He's the one who takes Jilly in when he has nowhere else to go, getting him out of bar fights and always having his back whenever the going gets tough.
Kurt is that cocky SOB who's always looking to start something with Jilly. All through high school they played on rival teams with major league scouts keeping a close eye on both of them. But Jilly made it to the big show, and Kurt didn't, and let's just say, he's a little bitter about it, ready to one-up Jilly at every opportunity, even when it comes to keeping him away from Hailey.
Collette West grew up as somewhat of a jock-nerd hybrid. Entering the world three weeks premature, her dad nearly missed her birth because he had seats behind the dugout for a sold-out, highly-anticipated match-up between two of baseball's biggest rivals. Not to be outdone, her book-loving mom taught her how to read by the time she was three. A love of the game coupled with an appreciation for the written word were instilled in Collette's impressionable brain from a young age. No wonder her characters believe in the philosophy: sports + romance = a little slice of heaven.
Splitting her time between the Pocono Mountains and Manhattan, Collette indulges her inner fangirl by going to as many games as she can from hockey to baseball and downloading every sports romance novel in existence onto her iPad. When she's not clicking away on her laptop, she enjoys walking her dog in Central Park, satisfying her caffeine craving at the Starbucks on Broadway and keeping an eye out for Mr. Right. But above all, she loves dishing with her readers. Email her at email@example.com.
She is the author of NIGHT GAMES, GAME CHANGER and GAME ON.
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