Their Happily Ever After is starting to turn into a Never Gonna Happen.
With newfound internet fame also came unwanted notoriety as Sydney Walker is discovering when news broke of her engagement to one of the world’s hottest athletes. Being stalked by paparazzi is a minor headache in comparison to launching her art career. But when a wealthy curator expresses more interest in her than her art, Sydney isn’t sure if she could draw her way out of that mess.
Everything is going wonderful for Dean Winchester – the Kings are number one in their division with talks of holding the best hockey record of all time, he’s about to get married to his dream girl, and he just signed a few lucrative endorsements to keep him afloat forever. But as Dean concentrates on his game, another player is threatening to swoop in and take the only thing that matters – his Sydney.
Ian Ferguson never takes no for an answer and that’s the way he likes it. As a wealthy English curator, he takes a special interest in Sydney’s artwork and her. When her fiancée spends more time on the road, it means Ian spends more time paying attention to Sydney. All he has to do is convince that a man playing with sticks is a kid’s game.
Can Sydney and Dean overcome yet another distraction? Or is Ian’s offense too much for Dean to handle?
Power Play is a standalone book in the Breakaway series. It is a New Adult romance that deals with trust, long distance relationships, and celibacy.
First Chapter (in FULL):
There was nothing like it – holding him one last time.
Standing in the middle of overcast Manhattan Beach, there was a biting crisp in the air from the recent El Nino storm. She wasn’t dressed appropriately at all – a pair of yoga pants and one of his white tank tops that revealed how cold she was under the threatening sky. The cold concrete fought against her bare feet.
He was dressed a bit warmer as he was about to board a plane – jeans, t-shirt, and hoodie with a pair of flip-flops. His headphones were in one hand and she could hear the faint sound of Outkast’s ATLiens playing.
In the background, she heard parents giving their children instruction before they pulled out. She could faintly hear the traffic starting to pile up for the morning rush hour. A few neighbors honked their horns and shouted out to the couple, saying Good Morning and wishing Dean luck.
Still, they held on, pressing against each other for comfort and warmth. She felt the soft strands of his beard tickle against her jawline and it made her smile. She had to. It was the only thing keeping the tears from falling.
It wouldn’t be the last time ever; just for a short while. As Sydney Walker stood in the middle of the driveway, holding onto her fiancée before he left for an extended road trip, she relished in his scent and touch. He smelled like earth, wood, and maybe a bit of the sweet pea fragrance she wore. He felt like a blazing fire under a cold sky and she felt her entire being heat up.
He was more than just her fiancée; he was her protector, lover, and shield from everything bad. When she’d doubts about herself, and her art, he encouraged her to not give up and try harder. He loved her silliness and tolerated her anger. He admired her passion and drive while tried to understand her undying love for those dime-a-dozen reality shows.
Simply put, he loved her. Everything about her.
Posted April 3, 2016
They conveniently ignored the car that came to pick up hockey superstar Dean Winchester. Even when the driver parked and came out to gather Dean’s belongings, he didn’t flinch. He didn’t even look at the driver or tell him on how to handle his bags. He slowly nodded to him, a silent instruction to do his job and leave him alone with his girl.
Sydney squeezed him a bit more as she quietly loved his silent power. He didn’t abuse his celebrity and sometimes, it honestly felt like he was rather annoyed by it. But he wielded his power carefully, like a heavy sword, and was determined the only battles he would fight were on ice and not anywhere else. His carefree outlook was infectious and in turn, made her freer to pursue her art.
She’d spent more time of her adult life chasing a dream, a relationship, and being complacent in a job she didn’t like nor did she want. Now the man holding her, her future husband, made every last one of her dreams turn into an almost Disney-like reality.
The relationship was a complete and total whirlwind. From the time they met, became engaged, and moved in, it was less than a few months. They both knew how fast things had moved but they were okay with it. They moved at their own pace and surprisingly, everyone encouraged them. She brought out the best in him as he did with her.
They were unstoppable.
Posted April 7, 2016
“I need to head for my plane, Syd,” Dean finally whispered to her. His long blond hair and light fuzzy beard shielded her from the elements as he pulled her closer to him. Truth was, he didn’t want to let her go but it was better if she released first. If she didn’t let go, he would be hesitant to leave and he was pretty sure the coach would take issue with his star athlete staying behind because he felt sappy.
Sydney let out a small sigh. She was used to his road schedule. Three games at home, followed by a sometimes 6-7 game stretch on the road. Rinse and repeat until a championship, followed by a brief summer vacation, then training camp starts. She’d appreciated her fiancée and his lifestyle gave her more room to breathe and be herself, even if it was at the sacrifice of hardly seeing him. “I know,” she whispered, “just a little bit longer, please?”
Dean took a whiff of her mango-scented hair. He wasn’t a fan of mangoes but he was suddenly in the mood for them. And her. Again.
They’d made love several times over the past few days, topping off with an extra bonus right after breakfast that morning. He could still hear the sighs and coos from her mouth ringing in his ear as he relentlessly drove into her with her nails dug into his back. It would have to tie them over until he came home in a week. He sighed as he tried in vain to control the sudden twitch he felt in his jeans. “Okay.”
The world moved at its rapid-fire pace while time seemingly slowed down around them. As she took a thick inhale of his scent and relaxed her body more, Sydney closed her eyes. Everything she’d ever wanted was coming true.
Posted April 14, 2016
“Okay, it’s bad enough you two kept me up all night and now I have to see this in person?”
Sydney slowly opened her eyes and smiled at her best friend. “I thought we were quiet?”
“You were,” Sarah Hutton nodded, “I was trying to listen.”
“You’re sick,” Sydney chuckled.
“And you’re going to make him late for his plane!” Sarah pointed at the very patient driver. “Dean, my man, good luck! Sydney, let’s go!”
Sydney slightly pulled back from her fiancée and kissed him one last time. Tingles crept along her spine as his lips devoured her again and again. “Good luck, champ!” She whispered.
Dean grabbed her again, sliding his hand down her rear before he planted a sensual kiss on her. “You’re all the luck I need,” he whispered. He reluctantly let go and headed to the awaiting car, waving to her one last time before he left.
Posted April 23, 2016
“I don’t get used to it,” Sydney stared at the empty space in front of her, “I know it’s only temporary but I never know if that’ll be the last time.”
“Well, geez, thank you for making me all depressed and shit,” Sarah sneered.
“Plane crashes with sports teams does happen, you know?” Sydney pointed out.
“And that is the last fucking time you’re going to watch We Are Marshall before Dean leaves for a road series!” Sarah shook her head as she went back inside the palatial estate, with Sydney hot on her heels. “I told you to watch something light-hearted and fun but you were insistent because you had a crush on Matthew McConaughey!”
“He’s hot!” Sydney defended.
“In any other movie except that one!” Sarah put a pod inside the Keruig machine and turned it on. “Now, what’s the game plan for today?”
“I have an appointment with Forever & More at three,” Sydney mentioned one of the primer L.A. bridal boutiques. “Then I have another one with Everlasting Love tomorrow.”
“What about the big name designers?” Sarah put creamer in her coffee. “Are you going to talk to any of them?”
“Not sure yet,” Sydney pondered. She was familiar with Carolina Herrera, Monique Lhuiller, Badgey Mischka, Vera Wang, and the elaborate and elegant wedding gowns they’d designed for celebrities and the wealthy. Sydney was also leaning towards having her own style, something that showcased her tattoos and her otherwise eclectic style. “I have a lot of ideas but I’m trying to see which ones make sense.”
“As long as you don’t have me looking like a bottle of Pepto Bismol, I say whatever you come up with will be absolutely fabulous.” Sarah took a sip. “Of course, we need to figure out what you’re going to wear on your honeymoon.”
“I’ll probably be naked most of the time,” she replied.
“I figured that but men want to take some things off. They like that teasing shit.” Sarah pondered ideas. “We’ll probably stop by Frederick’s of Hollywood and maybe one of the sex shops to see what they have to offer in the world of kink.”
“I think I know a little bit about kink,” Sydney referred to her former relationship where she happily played submissive to her Dom boyfriend.
“No, I meant some real kink.” Sarah raised an eyebrow. “I’m talking letting Dean use a toy on you. Do a sex tape. Do something hot.”
A slow smile formed on Sydney’s face. She knew Sarah wasn’t a prude but she didn’t realize how much of a secret freak her bestie was. “Why do I even listen to you?” Sydney chuckled. “You said it yourself you just go home and chill with a bottle of Jameson.”
Sarah tightened her lips into a thick smile. Oh, she does go home with a Jameson, all right, just not the liquor bottle. “I know thangs.”
“You know thangs?”
“I know thangs,” Sarah downed her coffee and glanced at her cell phone. “But let’s run. We have a lot to do and not much time to do it all in! I’ll fill you in on the sordid details of my sex life on the way.”
“Spare me, please.”
Posted May 1, 2016
It was tiring to keep up the façade of being interested.
It was something Ian Ferguson had mastered for years. If he stared straight ahead and not looked at anyone directly in their eyes, he could get away with it. Of course, his cover was occasionally blown when they would ask for his input and he would have to make up some generic statement as to why it was a good or bad idea.
He was bored out of his wits.
The oldest son of billionaire art collector and philanthropist, Anthony Ferguson, and heir to the Ferguson dynasty, Ian was used to feigning interest so his parents wouldn’t be embarrassed. Too many charitable functions on red carpets as he wined and dined with his father’s business partners and their wives who filled their bodies with the best silicone money could buy taught him how to keep his mouth shut.
It was tiring to constantly be on perfect behavior in front of the world. While most of social media had no idea who the family was, the society pages were full of dedications to them. Women wrote about the luxury gowns and expensive jewelry the matriarch, Lula Jean, had worn to many benefits. They spoke about the generous donations Anthony made to various organizations, including a very hefty donation to USC where the art division named a building after him.
Of course, it didn’t hurt the family one bit when Ian landed on the cover of People magazine as one of the country’s most eligible bachelors. With his piercing blue eyes, dark brown hair with matching light beard and goatee, and chiseled model features, it was no question Ian was the true star of the show. Soon, people were paying more attention to him – who was he with, what did he wore, and what were his hobbies.
The family’s anonymity quickly disappeared when offers of a reality show showcasing their lifestyle and parties were presented. The family turned down the offers but were glad their 15 minutes of fame garnered more interest into the family business – the world-famous Ferguson Gallery.
Ian let out a soft yawn as he sat in on the meeting between board members of the Ferguson Gallery. Since he was one of the members of the board, he had no choice but to be present. He just hoped his face didn’t reek of ‘Kill me now, please God.’
“Anything else?” Gerald, Ian’s younger brother asked around. He was just as good-looking as his brother but with brown eyes instead of blue. He was also married with children and took the family business seriously; something Ian clearly didn’t care too much about.
His eyes landed on his brother and Gerald bit back an eyeroll. Ian didn’t try to hide his boredom. Their father may have been oblivious but Gerald knew better. Ian would rather be frolicking with some woman who was fresh out of college with a Coppertone tan, peroxide-fried hair, and who didn’t talk very much. “Ian? You have anything to add?”
Ian examined his fingernails. He was in desperate need for a manicure. Maybe he could get one before the end of the day. “How much money did we lose last year?”
“What?” Gerald was taken by surprise.
“How much money did we lose last year?” Ian enunciated every word as his deep baritone voice demanded an answer.
“We didn’t lose any money, Ian.” Gerald hardened his eyes. “Anything else?”
“Did we break even? Or did we make a profit?” Ian played with a pen. “It seems like we barely made a profit.”
Gerald lightly sighed. He loved his brother to death but the older Ferguson knew how to work his good nerve without trying. “Where are you getting at, Ian?”
“This gallery is boring. We feature the same art by the same artists and wonder why people are going to other galleries instead of ours?”
“Our gallery is boring?” Anthony replied.
“It’s boring,” Ian stated to his father’s surprise, “you keep spending millions of dollars on art that no one but rich people care about. If you want to shock people, if you want to feel emotion, you need to think more modern.”
“And what do you suggest?” Gerald asked. “That we just take any graffiti artist off the street and showcase them? Get out of town!”
“You, shut up.” Anthony directed to Gerald before he turned his attention to his other son. “You, keep talking.”
“What I’m saying is if you want to elicit an emotional reaction and get more people through the doors and possibly purchase some pieces, you need to go against the grain.” Ian pleaded. “We used to be known for wild and eclectic styles; what happened with that? You used to hang out with Warhol in the 70’s, Basquiat and Haring in the 80’s, before you decided to go safe in the 90’s. Yeah, we had a lot more people with big pockets walk through those doors but your soul, dad? Your soul walked out of those same doors.”
“What are you suggesting, Ian?” Anthony concurred. “We can’t change our base just because it’s something new you want to exhibit.”
“No, something better!” Ian’s eyes lit up. “Let’s take a relatively unknown artist and showcase them for a short while. Everyone does art walks in almost every city; why shouldn’t we do one here in L.A.? We’ll showcase a different artist every month and make it a huge promotional item. People can pick and choose which artist they want to see. We’ll get more foot traffic, word of mouth spreads, and everyone is happy while the featured artist gets their work shown.”
“And the cost?” Anthony loved how passionate his son was but he also knew Ian’s big ideas had even bigger purses attached.
“Minimal at best.” Gerald balked and Ian’s eyes quickly shifted at his brother before refocusing on the task. “I’ll work that out.”
“I was about to suggest that,” Anthony smiled, “since this was your idea, this is your baby. I want you to take over. You will oversee everything from staffing, promotion, and featured artists. You will set a monthly budget dependent on the artist and not to exceed it by a dime. I’ll have our accountant, Carrie, work with you on any needs.”
It was a small but pivotal victory for the Ferguson family. Anthony could keep his cultural art following through the doors while Ian could bring in more eclectic art lovers in. It was a win-win for everyone. “Thank you, father. You won’t regret it.”
“Oh, I know I won’t because if this fails,” Anthony smiled again, “you’re cut off.”
Posted May 4, 2016
Power Play is available at the following links:
Wattpad (First 3 chapters): https://www.wattpad.com/myworks/70726939-power-play-breakaway-series-4
Barnes & Noble: