Release date: October 19, 2015
Cleveland Clash center Jade Wren longs for something more than teaching elementary school and marrying a nice Korean guy. Maybe that’s why she suddenly kisses a sexy stranger at a bar. Except the guy turns out to be sports radio shock jock Rome Rizzelli, and as far as her team is concerned, he’s Public Enemy No. 1.
Rome isn’t the kind of guy to argue when a beautiful woman kisses him, but now his producer has invited Jade to talk about women’s pro football on his show. It’s a battle of the sexes—a battle he needs to win to save his job and continue to support his disabled mother and younger sister. But the sexy center is no pushover, and Rome can’t decide whether that’s a turn-on or a reason to fight even harder.
When the gloves—among other things—come off, can two strong personalities who have found security in keeping up appearances let down their guards long enough to fall in love?
by Elley Arden
Elley Arden is a born and bred Pennsylvanian who drinks wine like it’s water (a slight exaggeration), prefers a night at the ballpark to a night on the town, and believes almond English toffee is the key to happiness. Find Elley Arden at www.elleyarden.com, on Facebook, and on Twitter @elleywrites.
An excerpt from Keeping Score:
“Where the hell is Glenn?”
Rome Rizzelli stormed into the office of WKST’s new station owner and gave her his best Liam Neeson–style “Did you kidnap my daughter?” look.
“I fired him,” Amelia said, wearing that same smug look her old man had given Rome six months ago when he’d yanked Riled Up with Rome from drive time on Sports Radio 94.7 and moved it to the dead zone of midmorning.
“That’s what Glenn said.”
“Well, then, if Glenn already told you I fired him, why are you glowering in my office on a Saturday morning?”
“Because I want you to hire him back. He’s been my producer for ten years!”
“Ten years too long.” She crossed her arms and lifted her chin. “I’m older than you, Rome, remember? I’ve been in and out of this station for twenty years. I remember the day my father hired you straight out of OSU. O-H!” she said as a reminder they shared an alma mater, and then she sat there good and quiet until Rome gave in and added an unenthusiastic, “I-O.”
She smiled briefly. “The show is stale, Rome.”
“I disagree. It’s the time slot.”
“I don’t think so. Your numbers were down before you moved to ten.”
“I’m sure my numbers were better than that syndicated crap your father put in my place.”
She dismissed him with a shrug. “Only barely and your show costs more.”
He winced. Rome knew this business was all about ratings, but how could Glenn’s ten years of faithful service to this station be tossed aside so easily?
He shoved his hands into his longer-than-normal hair and tugged at the roots. “Glenn has a kid headed to college this fall. How the hell is he going to pay tuition without a job?”
“Not my problem.” Amelia tapped her fingers on a folder stuffed with paper. “This is my problem, pages and pages of numbers so bad I can’t fathom why my father didn’t sell this place before he died. The day Barry Vincent left to start his own station, the war was on. And we never really recovered financially. So, like it or not, I had to do what I had to do. And trust me; you wouldn’t have liked the alternative.”
The minute she’d mentioned Barry’s name, Rome’s nose wrinkled. He’d trusted that guy, like an older brother, to teach him the ropes, and the biggest lesson he’d ended up learning was you couldn’t trust anyone in radio—except Glenn. “What was the alternative to keeping Glenn?”
“Which still might happen, because I can’t justify paying you the top salary at this station when your show is four hours of mostly berating callers and taking the unpopular stance on everything.”
“I’m a shock jock, Amelia.” He threw up his hands. “That’s what I do.”