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About Winning StreakAs the new head of public relations for the Las Vegas Sinners hockey team, Saralynn Reese wants to leave behind the frivolity of her popular girl image. Unfortunately, her first big assignment is to clean up the media messes of the team’s assistant general manager, Madden Vaughn. He’s flirty, impulsive, and self-centered; he also happens to be drop-dead gorgeous. Could there be more to Madden under the Ralph Lauren surface?
Having struggled with a gambling addiction since his early twenties, Madden’s finally moved past it and into a secure, corporate job working for his sister, the one person who means the world to him. When rumors fly and the team and his family both doubt his word, an unlikely ally pulls him out of his funk with a manicured hand: Saralynn.He’s tired of chasing the same type of unattainable girl, and this up-and-coming publicity dynamo fits that mold perfectly. But she also challenges him and believes in him like no one else. Can they help each other keep their feet on solid ground…or will these twin hearts find themselves skating on thin ice?
Enjoy this deleted scene from Winning Streak
Saralynn had dinner at Madden’s house the night before, and they watched a movie in his theater room, which was nearly the size of a real theater. Barely able to keep her hands off Madden but still oddly determined to do just that and very confused, Saralynn seeks Allie’s help.
“So the movie was…”
“Bigger than life. That’s not the highlight of this story.” Saralynn lay sprawled on the couch in Allie’s basement office, staring at the ceiling.
“It’s one highlight. If I had a screen that big, the dance-offs would be epic. I could moonwalk with an MJ the size of the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.”
“It’s from Ghostbusters. I’m not that much older than you.”
“I’m just kidding. Grandma.”
Allie flipped her notepad closed and started to stand up, and Saralynn laughed.
“I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it. Please take pity and figure out my life for me.” She let the last part come out extra pathetic, and when Allie wavered, Saralynn threw in the pouty lower lip.
Her sister-in-law grumbled, sat back, and re-opened the notepad. “I can’t figure out your life. I don’t have that much time. At thirty, I am advancing in years after all. The best I can do is keep you from crashing and burning. And that’s a maybe.”
“Thank you, favorite sibling.”
“Uh huh. So you’ve been on, what, four or five dates, and the basic gist is it keeps getting harder not to tear his clothes off, and the only thing holding you back is that you like him too much?”
“That’s about it.”
“I don’t know what to do here. I can’t advise my new little sister to get it on without risking my own divorce. You’re an adult and can make your own choices. Theoretically. Your reoccurring presence in my office might suggest otherwise.”
Saralynn opened her mouth to object, but Allie held a hand up to subvert it.
“But I’m not one to withhold help, so let’s look at this closer. You’re attracted to Madden. More than any guy you can remember, not that remembering guys is your strong suit. Sorry. Withdrawn. The more you see him, the more you like him, which is new for you, right?”
“Yeah. Usually, the more time I spend with a guy, the more I can’t wait to get away from him. The sizzle dies off, and I’m already looking for the next one.”
“But not now.”
“No. Every date is like the first date. It’s like I learn him all over again or discover something new. And not just about him, but about myself, too.”
“Maybe you feel addicted to him because of the self revelation.”
“That’s only part of it. He … intrigues me. He doesn’t have himself figured out either, but he’s not as broken as he thinks he is.” Underneath Madden’s insecurities, he had a good heart and a growing willpower.
“Maybe you’re not either.”
Saralynn pursed her lips to the side. “Is that your professional opinion?”
“I think it takes a strong person to look at herself honestly and want to change for the better. A broken person couldn’t do that. You’re a young woman. Your mistakes might have injured some hearts, but you didn’t kill anyone. I think you can be a little hard on yourself.”
Was that true? Until recently, she’d been too easy on herself, not taking responsibility for the way she treated people. Maybe she’d swung too far the other way. “So you think I should sleep with him.”
“I did not say that. Let’s try again. You really like Madden and care for him so much you don’t want to complicate things and risk losing him. That is not a bad instinct. Once you get to the point where you’re sure how you feel, and he knows how he feels, and you’re committed to being together for the foreseeable future, it would make sense to see if you’re physically compatible. I’m telling you this doctor to patient. If you value my happiness, please do not tell your brother I encouraged you to have sex. Ever. As far as Shane is concerned, I’ve only ever told you to join a convent.”
“Don’t worry, Allie. I don’t see telling Reese anything about Madden. Maybe at the rehearsal dinner.”
“Personally, I think that’s a safe plan. But if you do get more serious with Madden, Shane will find out. And it should probably come from you to minimize collateral damage.”
Images of her brother’s head exploding like a cartoon played in her mind. “Uhhh yeah. Let’s book that for the twelfth of never.”
“How does Madden feel about keeping it a secret?”
“The … same.”
“You don’t sound sure.”
She was pretty sure. He’d seemed as against the idea as she was, at least in the beginning. He didn’t like keeping things from his sister, but did he really want to deal with Reese? “We’ll see how it goes. If he doesn’t bring it up, I won’t. The Sinners are going into the playoffs. Now is not the time to distract my brother. I think we can all agree on that.”
Allie pressed her lips together, clearly wanting to disagree but unable because she would know how important a goalie’s focus was more than anyone, having been one herself. “Officially, I’m saying being upfront with Shane is the best policy. Unofficially, you’re right. For now. But be thinking about how that’ll play out.”
Ugh. “All right. Allie? Do you think Madden’s good for me?” She was almost afraid of the answer. It was hard to be objective about your own life. She got points for realizing that and seeking outside council, right? Still, it was scary to think she might be wrong about the one guy who felt right. “Please tell me my internal compass is finally pointing north.”
Allie typically kept a straight face during their talks, but the corners of her mouth twitched in the hint of a smile. “Only you know if Madden’s good for you. He’s not putting you in physical danger, isolating you, or making you feel bad about yourself. Those are all good signs.”
If anything, Madden made her feel like maybe she wasn’t the hopeless wreck she’d thought she was. He didn’t just make her feel beautiful. Past boyfriends had no trouble with that. He made her feel like a better person. Looking at the evidence, it was clear. They were good for each other. Now if they could only figure out what to do with that.
♥B: Doesn’t that sound just yummy? That’s a scene that got cut – imagine how good the stuff that made it in was? And look at how cute the guy on the cover is? Swoon! Okay, so the Rafflecopter is below and I’m entering. I want the swag. Good luck! Keep reading for my review of WINNING STREAK
B: Katie gave me an advance copy of Winning Streak (squee!) in exchange for my honest opinion.
I love the Sinners series. What’s not to love? I enjoy romance books and I’m into sports. Philly-girl like me, I grew up with the legacy of the Broad Street Bullies and hockey romance isn’t something you see often. Katie does a great job of making these books fun, staying true to the sport, merging the behind the scenes, and keeping enough laughter and passion in the pages that you never forget it *is* a romance.
To date, Winning Streak is the shortest read (not counting the novella Vegas Vows – an excellent free download for members of Katie’s FB Fan Zone) but possibly the most emotionally compelling one. Madden Vaughn is one of the most real characters I’ve come across. He suffers with doubt, self-esteem and gambling addiction. He’s in recovery and working hard, daily, to be the best version of himself. Not just for his recovery, but for his sister and for the Sinners.
*His support system includes the ah-dorable Dylan Cole – hero in Katie’s next book!
Saralynn isn’t dealing with as many issues as Madden but as a young woman with a reputation for using people, breaking hearts indiscriminately and being utterly irresponsible, she’s also trying to be the best version of herself. When these two good-looking people with everything to lose come together, it’s amazing. And Katie does a fantastic job of navigating the difficulty of building a relationship that is healthy and not co-dependent while they’re both interested in keeping said relationship private. Until one of them isn’t, and then it gets hopelessly complicated. That complication is perfect romance book fiction. The resolution? Painful real life.
Winning Streak makes you work for the HEA as much as Madden & Saralynn do. It’s well worth it.