French Fries With A Side of Guys
Rebekah L. Purdy
Published by: Swoon Romance
Publication date: September 14th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Payton Carter is one of six kids (all of which are named after famous football players), not to mention the only girl in the Carter household. With this much testosterone and no mother, it’s no wonder she’s absolutely clueless when it comes to makeup, dances, and talking to guys she’s crushing on. And now she’s about ready to start her freshman year of high school, which is nerve wrenching enough, but when she ends up running into her crush, Chance Montgomery, at her dad’s sports restaurant, she finds out that the quarterback for their rival team is moving to Aller Falls. This is nothing short of fate.
Payton realizes she has to find a way to impress Chance and get him to ask her out or at least know she’s interested in him—preferably without dropping a plateful of fries on his head, like she did last time. After taking her two oldest brothers’ advice, she decides to go out for the freshman football team, figuring that between practices and games she and her crush will surely be able to talk. And maybe talking will lead to something more permanent or at least to a first kiss. Only this plan backfires in ways she never imagined, when she beats Chance Montgomery out of the starting quarterback position. Now not only does she make him the laughing stock of the team, but also has to figure out how to avoid the snotty cheerleaders, a traitor best friend, not to mention winning games for her team. Too bad this is just the beginning of her freshman year.
Excerpt 1:“Hey, would you mind taking that back table for me?” Marino gestured to two teenage guys in a booth.
“Uhh … sure.” She shrugged, grabbing a stack of menus and some clean silverware. But as she got closer, Payton nearly stopped in place, recognizing the familiar
faces of the star quarterbacks from Lawson High’s JV and freshman teams. Their rival school. Her breath caught in her throat. There, no more than five feet in front of her,
was Chance Montgomery. Her pulse pounded like horse hooves on cement. The Chance Montgomery—who’d filled every fantasy vision she’d ever had—was sitting in
her dad’s restaurant, looking gorgeous. He was the same age she was and had been in the newspaper a couple times as an upcoming star. In eighth grade he’d already had
the high school coaches scouting him, dreaming of the day he’d step up and lead their teams to victory.
Chance Montgomery was the only boy she’d ever considered as full-on dating material. Not that she thought for one second he’d go for her. But hey, a girl could dream. And
if you were gonna dream, you might as well go all out. Payton tried not to stare at his ivy-colored eyes, or the way his brown hair curled up at the nape of his neck.
She even attempted not to follow the line of his arm muscles to what looked like strong hands. Payton sucked in a deep breath. Okay. She could totally do this. Just smile.
Nervousness took over, and her legs felt as if they were locking. Her mouth suddenly seemed dry, like she had a wad of cotton balls stuffed in her cheeks.
“Hi, welcome to Carter’s Sports House—can I start you off with a drink?” she rattled off, barely remembering to smile, while her hands quaked with the simple effort of holding a pen. She was holding a pen, wasn’t she? She peered down to make sure.
“Lemonade,” Chance answered, giving her one of his winning, knock-’em-dead grins.
It was like a powerful punch to the gut, and she wanted to fall over from the impact.
Damn. Someone should put a warning label on this boy’s mouth. God. She
needed to quit staring at his lips. Which, from where she was standing, looked pretty kissable. Not that she had any experience in that area, but she sure wouldn’t mind
getting some if it involved him. After taking his brother’s drink order, too, she went off to fill them.
“Do you guys know who that is?” She glared at Bradshaw, trying to fathom how her brothers could possibly make her wait on them.
“Yep, the Montgomery brothers. Wonder if they’re trying to scout out the competition?” he teased. “Try and find out, would ya?”
Excerpt 2:Payton sat on the porch swing biting her nails until there was nothing left of them. She glared at the bleeding cuticle, like it was at fault for her butterflies and
nausea. She swung her legs back and forth, smacking her best friend Kelly’s in the process.
“Sorry.” Payton grimaced.
“Are you sure you’re up for this?” Kelly rubbed her shin. She gave her chin-length black hair a toss, peering at Payton with concern.
“Yeah, I only hope I can get Chance’s attention.” She traced the grain of wood in the swing. “And if I wasn’t nervous enough, now my brothers and dad want to watch
me try out.” She rolled her eyes, shifting her attention to the helmet by her side. Up until about five minutes ago, she’d managed to keep her worries in check. But the closer she got to tryout time, the more her palms sweated and her heart thudded out of control. If she wasn’t careful, she might just vomit.
“From what you’ve told me, I think he might already be into you, so why go to all this trouble? Besides, you’re supposed to want to date the football player, not be the
football player.” She bumped Payton’s shoulder with hers.
“I love football, and this is my one chance to show everyone I’ve got what it takes to make it, boys or no boys. I mean, you know how it is with me, Kel—I eat, sleep, and breathe football … ” Payton leaned over so Kelly could finish braiding her hair, while she was still trying to put the pads into her football pants.
“Have you told Jake you’re trying out yet?”
Jake. Payton’s other BFF. Who was still overseas, living it up, while they roasted their asses off here. “No. Not yet. I figure I’ll text him if I make the team.”
The sun was already beating down, and it was only supposed to get more humid as the day progressed. Not that it would really matter; she was already sweating like a hog.
“Hey, pumpkin,” her dad called out, hurrying across the field to talk to her. “You nervous yet?”
Nervous? That was an understatement. But she pasted a smile on her face. “A little, but I’m ready.” She cracked her knuckles then attempted to slow her breathing, which in no way did anything to calm her.
“Hey, what are you Carters doing here?” The coach jogged over. “I thought you didn’t have another one due to come up until next year?”
“Hi ya, Bill, actually my little girl is trying out.” Dad grinned from ear to ear, giving the Cheshire Cat a run for his money. “She’s tough as nails and has a pretty good arm on her.”
Coach Youngman’s face went slightly purple, as he seemed to choke on his words. “Mr. Carter, may I have a word?” His eyes were pretty close to bulging out of his head, and Payton watched her father’s smile fade as he followed after Coach Youngman.
Great. This definitely didn’t bode well for her. Already she saw some of the other guys watching the interaction. Payton couldn’t hear a word her dad and Coach Youngman were saying, but her father’s wild hand motions told her all she needed to know. She probably wasn’t welcomed on the team.
“Don’t worry. Dad will set him straight.” Marino nudged her arm as if sensing her distress. “Besides, you’re a Carter, he’d be insane to turn you away.”
She nodded but knew there were some battles her brothers and dad couldn’t fight for her. She’d have to show the coach how good she was on the field. Well, if she was given the chance.
After a few minutes, Coach Youngman came back over with her dad and gave Payton a forced smile. “We’ll be glad to have her. If she’s got the right moves, she’ll have a place on the team.”
It seemed to Payton that the word “if” was getting a bit more emphasis than the rest of the words in the sentence, and she suddenly wondered if she’d even make the cut.
Marino slapped her on the backside. “Don’t worry about anything. You’ll be great. You’ve got this.”
She watched as the rest of her brothers came in, all of them standing around waiting to see what she could do. It almost made her more nervous, because that meant a bigger audience if she screwed up.
“Just look to the sideline if you need us. We’ll give you some helpful gestures.” Rice held up his middle finger.
Payton socked him in the arm. “Sometimes you’re a douche bag, you know that?” Knowing she couldn’t prolong it any longer, she ran out onto the field.
Rebekah was born and raised in Michigan where she spent many late nights armed with a good book and a flashlight. She’s lived in Michigan most of her life other than the few years she spent in the U.S. Army. At which time she got a chance to experience Missouri, Kansas, South Carolina, and California. Rebekah has a business degree from University of Phoenix and currently works full time for the court system. In her free time she writes YA stories, anything from YA Fantasy to YA Contemporary Romance. Rebekah also has a big family (6 kids) she likes to consider her family as the modern day Brady Bunch complete with crazy road trips and game nights. When not hiding at her computer, Rebekah enjoys reading, singing, soccer, swimming, football, camping, playing video games, traveling, and hanging out with her family and gazillion pets.
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