Tuesday, July 1, 2014

[Blog Tour Spotlight]: "Payoff Pitch" Excerpt + Giveaway!


V.K. Sykes is really two people – Vanessa Kelly and Randy Sykes, a husband and wife team who write USA Today Bestselling contemporary romance and also romantic suspense. Randy excels at plot and characterization, but tends to fall down on the job when it comes to that pesky old thing called emotion. That’s where Vanessa steps in. She usually writes the sex scenes too, since Randy is a bit uncomfortable when it comes to that sort of stuff. Vanessa also writes award-winning Regency-set historical romance for Kensington Zebra under her own name.  V.K. also has a new contemporary romance series in the works called Seashell Bay, set on a pretty little island off the coast of Maine. Book one, Meet Me at the Beach, will be released by Grand Central Publishing in February, 2015. 

Where to Find V.K.:

Payoff Pitch by V.K. Sykes
Publisher: V.K. Sykes (July 1st, 2014)
Series: Philadelphia Patriots, 5
Genre: NA Contemporary -- Sports

He’s a billionaire ballplayer…

Noah Cade, pitcher for the Philadelphia Patriots, has big problems.  He’s recovering from a serious injury and he’s just been saddled with his sick aunt’s crazy dogs. Then there’s his dad, a wealthy oilman who wants Noah to retire from baseball and step into his shoes as CEO of the family corporation.  All Noah wants is to pitch again and help his team win the World Series, but his family keeps dragging him in the opposite direction.

She’s a small town girl…

Teddy Quinn moved to the city to start a dog walking business for rich people, hoping the income will pay for law school and help her fight the oil corporations drilling the county where she grew up.  When Noah Cade hires her as a full-time dog sitter for his high-energy pets, it seems like the answer to Teddy’s financial woes. But the boundaries get blurred when she starts falling for her boss, who uses all his formidable charm to lure her into his bed.
When Teddy discovers Noah’s father owns Baron Energy, she’s devastated.  How can she work for—or love—a man whose family stands for everything she hates? 

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Payoff Pitch by V.K. Sykes

Teddy picked up her pace as she veered to the far side of the road to face the traffic. She glanced left to right and back again, then stared down the street toward the park, hoping to get lucky and catch a glimpse of Buster. She called out his name a few times even though she didn’t expect him to hear her.
When she stopped shouting, she heard the purr of a well-tuned engine approaching slowly from behind.
“Hey, there, are you all right?” The hot neighbor’s deep, sexy voice slid over her like warm honey.
She glanced over at Mr. Gorgeous, frowning at her out the open window of his Beamer sedan. “I’m fine, thanks,” she said, breathing hard. She told herself that it was strictly from the run and her anxiety over Buster. Definitely not from him.
“Good. But I couldn’t help wondering, since you sure don’t look like you’re running just for exercise.”
How perceptive. Might the look of sheer panic on her face account for that?
She snuck another glance, noting that he’d matched the car’s speed to hers as they neared the entrance to the park.
“I’m chasing an escaped dog,” she said.
Teddy swore she heard a faint chuckle over the sound of her panting. “What was he in prison for?” he said.
“That’s really not very funny,” she snapped. “The poor dog could have been run over by now.”
He visibly winced. “Yeah, you’re right. Sorry. I’ve had to chase dogs more than once myself. Can I give you a hand?”
The tension in her chest eased a bit at the offer. The thought of Buster meeting a tragic end made her ill. And if she didn’t find him, his owner would have her hide. It didn’t matter that the dog’s escape wasn’t her fault—Bennett would blame her for not finding him. And though the lawyer was one of her more difficult clients, he was also a very well-paying one that Teddy didn’t want to lose.
She gave her unlikely helper a tentative smile. “Sure. That would be great. He likes to go to the park, but he might have headed farther down the road toward the tennis club, too. Could you check that out?” She veered a little toward him, enough to see the genuine concern in his magnetic dark gaze. “He’s a Siberian Husky, by the way. Black and white. And his name is Buster.”
“Sure, I know who Buster is. And I’m on it,” he said with no hesitation. “I’ll drive around the neighborhood and hook up with you later.” The BMW roared away before Teddy could thank him for his kindness.
Hook up with you later? Now that sounded interesting. Then again, he obviously didn’t mean hook up in the let’s grab a beer and see what happens sense.
Teddy couldn’t repress a mocking snort at the idea, even as she kept up her fast jog. Who was she kidding? If a hottie like that wasn’t married, he was probably dating a supermodel or somebody equally spectacular—certainly not a dog walker slash student like her.
“Buster! Here, Buster! I’ve got treats for you!” She yelled out a few more encouragements in her sappy doggy voice as she sprinted past the play structure and swing set. The park was deserted. No moms, no kids, and, most importantly, no Buster. It was wide open in this section, so if he was anywhere around she’d have already seen him.
Damn, damn, damn.
The park had been her best hope, but she hadn’t counted on there being nobody around to stop him or at least see where he was heading. Buster must have kept running west through the park, past the ball field and on into the stand of trees beyond the fence. Or else he could have stuck to the road and motored on down toward the tennis club and maybe even to the high school farther in the distance. Those were really the only big, open spaces she knew of in the immediate area. Other than that, it was just houses and yards, and Buster didn’t seem the type that would go running back toward something he probably associated with captivity. Every instinct told her that he wouldn’t go east, because he was so used to heading for the park on his walk.
Trying to keep her worry from escalating even more, Teddy crossed through the eastern end of the park. Then she circled the ball field and headed for the big stand of evergreens and sycamores on the west side. Once she’d penetrated the line of trees, the thick canopy of leaves and branches overhead blotted out most of the bright sun as she picked her way slowly through. Buster might have decided to check out these woods. On their daily walks, he would sometimes pull her in that direction and even whimper a little when she took him on a stroll around the perimeter, as if something interesting must surely be happening in there. Like maybe he could find a critter or two to chase.
But as she combed her way through, it became clear that Buster was no longer there, if he’d ever been. Since he could have escaped as much as three hours ago, right after Winston Bennett left for work, there was just no telling how far Buster might have run.
Tears started to prickle her eyes as hopelessness began nudging aside panic. What should she do now? Knock on neighbors’ doors? Get in her car and drive around looking for him? Whatever she decided, the first priority should be a call to Mr. or Mrs. Bennett. Maybe they would come home and help her search.
Then again, maybe not.
In any case, she would retrieve her cell phone from the car and call them as she drove around the area. With both her and Mr. Hot Neighbor on the lookout, they could cover a lot of ground and maybe get lucky.
Picking her way out of the trees, she took off at a fast jogging pace, heading directly across the baseball field to the park entrance, her eyes constantly scanning the distance for any glimpse of Buster.
Unfortunately, scanning for Buster meant she wasn’t focusing on what was in front of her, something she realized when her right foot landed awkwardly in a small depression in the infield dirt, making her ankle wobble and then give way. Pitching forward and to her right, she tried to tuck into a roll but didn’t quite manage it. Instead, she hit the ground hard, landing on her right elbow and shoulder.
Growing up on a dairy farm, Teddy had suffered her share of injuries—including a disfiguring one. She knew that the first order of business after a hard fall was getting up and assessing the damage, and that was what she did now, using her uninjured arm to push herself up onto her knees before rising to her feet.

What a freaking awful day this was turning out to be. 

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I love the cover! :) 

Have you read V.K. Sykes before? Or perhaps Vanessa Kelly when she writes historicals? Have you came across many couples writing romances, and if so do you have a favorite writing team?


Until Next Time,


  *TBQ's Book Palace is a member of both the Amazon and Barnes and Nobles affiliates program. By using the links provided to buy products from either website, I receive a very small percentage of the order. To read my full disclosure on the matter, please see this post!


Janie said...

Happy Release Day to Vanessa and Randy. I'm a fan of their sports romances.

Glenda said...

I love Vanessa's books but haven't yet read any of her and Randy's joint efforts.

Vanessa Kelly said...

Hope you'll give us a try, Glenda!