1. Sports play such a significant role in each of your books. What is your favorite part of the sports romance genre?
I love sports heroes and how sexy they are. They’re so masculine and so competitive, driven to succeed and win. I like how they’re not afraid to get dirty and how they go all out for their dreams. In my books, I have heroes who love their dreams and cling to those dreams no matter what, doing whatever it takes to succeed. Sometimes, they forget there’s another world out there and they tend to take on the weight of the team on their own shoulders.
In The Game Changer, Dylan believes he is the one upon whom the whole team’s chances rest. Even though it’s a team sport, he puts a lot of pressure of himself to win, to succeed, to help his team mates. That devotion to his team mates and to the people around him, even while keeping himself separate can’t continue and he eventually learns that through the little rescue dog, through Savannah, and through his team mates.
2. In your story, Savannah is completely dedicated to her work with animals. Do you have a favorite pet or animal story that you’d like to share?
Sadie was such a character in this book that I had to struggle to not let her take over. She completely wanted to book to be about her and she kept upstaging the main characters. She was based a little after my own dog, Josie, whom I lost a year ago almost to the day of when The Game Changer comes out. Josie was my baby and so sweet, a cocker spaniel mix. She would get so frustrated when I’d be writing but she’d lay next to me with her head on my lap while I wrote until I was ready to play with her. She was perfectly happy to be with me.
Like Sadie, she chose me. She was one of nine puppies, the runt of the rescue litter. When I went to meet the litter, she was desperately trying to push her way through the puppies to me but her siblings kept pushing her back. Finally, I picked her up and she crawled up my shirt and snuggled into my neck like she was home. She picked me. I miss her to this day.
3. Did you have a “dream cast” in mind when writing about Savannah and Dylan?
Always. For Savannah, I pictured Cindy Crawford in the old Pepsi commercials, wearing that white t-shirt and jean shorts. For Dylan, he’s Steve Lund from the SYFY TV show Bitten.
4. In five words or less, tell us why readers will love the relationship between Savannah and Dylan.
I think people will love the story of Dylan and Savannah because of the theme of rescue. They both start because of a rescue dog, then slowly they rescue each other from their own cages – Dylan from his closed off life, trapped by his past and his own fears, and Savannah from her own fears of getting to close to anyone, even a dog, which is so ironic, given her career choice.
5. Can you share a deleted scene with us?
Here is one towards the end of the book. I hope it doesn’t spoil too much!
Despite Savannah’s pregame jitters, she handled the crowd and the ceremonies like a pro. No one noticed that she gripped Dylan’s hand a little tighter than necessary or that it was a little sweaty. Her voice was clear and strong as she thanked the crowd and the Knights for their very generous donation to their rescue and how they intended to use it. She even introduced some of her rescues up for adoption as they lined up and were paraded on the field, led by the players, then directed interested adopters to their website and upcoming adoption events if they were interested in any of the dogs. Most of the players got into the show, acting as if it were a dog show, playing it up to the crowd and everyone seemed to love it, especially the dogs. Maybe they had made a few love connections today. Judging by the way a few players were loving on the dogs, there might be a few Knights requesting applications before the day was over.
Savannah headed into the dugout, her face flushed and a broad smile on her face. She looked a little stunned and overwhelmed by everything, and relieved that it was over. Fosters were coming into the dugout to greet the players and retrieve their dogs to bring them into the stands for the game.
Dylan strapped on his catcher’s gear, Sadie leaning against him, getting in his way of his leg pads. Savannah slid onto the bench next to him, almost shaking in excitement. “Dylan, I don’t know how to thank you. I mean, all of this…”
He glanced up at her. “You did all the work. I just introduced you to Stacia.” He paused for a moment. “I’m proud of you. You were awesome out there. Handled it like a pro. I’ll bet you found some new homes and new donors.”
Her eyes were bright and dancing as she just about bounced on the bench, sitting on her hands in an effort to keep still. ‘I can’t believe how much was raised! We can easily renovate that building and get a good start on the rescue. It’s beyond anything I could have imagined. All thanks to you.”
His last leg pad was finally buckled and he straighted in his seat. He turned and pulled her to him, wrapped her in the big hug he wanted to do sooner but had to be ready to get on the field. “Congratulations. Sorry I couldn’t do this sooner. I have to get on the field.”
She froze in his arms, as if surprised he would publicly hug her or show any emotion then she twined her arms around his neck awkwardly thanks to the gear and hugged him back. “This is a little uncomfortable.”
He grinned against her neck. “Maybe we’ll try this again later.”
A couple of players whooped and Cody Patterson walked over. “Hey man, we have a game to win. Give up the lady for now. You have plenty of time for romance after we kick their asses.”
Dylan grimaced but Savannah let him go. “Go kick their asses, Dylan. Show them who’s top dog in Savannah.”
Cody laughed. “I knew I liked you! Let’s do this!”
With one final glance, Dylan headed on the field slowly thanks to his gear, Cody walking next to him, a team finally. Cody glanced over his shoulder at Savannah and nudged Dylan with his shoulder.
“Things going pretty good, huh? Nice job, man.”
Dylan narrowed his eyes. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
Cody held up his hands. “Nothing. Just saying, she’s a nice person and you’re not bad. Don’t fuck it up. Although you did a pretty cool thing here. She’ll be pretty damn grateful.”
“I didn’t do it for that. Her rescue could use the help.”
“I get it but it helps you with her too, right? Nice thinking.”
Dylan slapped his glove against Cody’s stomach. “Focus on the game and not on my girl.”
He slammed his mask on and squatted behind the plate, ignoring the laugh from Cody as he jogged to the mound. Stupid ass. As if he did all this to impress Savannah, to prove that he cared about her. No, he did this because her rescue needed it. And to show her that he could help her, if she would let him.
Ever since Megan Ryder discovered Jude Deveraux and Judith McNaught while sneaking around the “forbidden” romance section of the library one day after school, she has been voraciously devouring romance novels of all types. Now a romance author in her own right, Megan pens sexy contemporary novels all about family and hot lovin’ with the boy next door. She lives in Connecticut, spending her days as a technical writer and her spare time divided between her addiction to knitting and reading.