HUG IT OUT!
By Shae Connor
One of the Atlanta Braves’ newer stars is first baseman Freddie Freeman, a tall, red-haired, corn-fed boy from central California. All of 23 years old, Freddie’s nonetheless become a clubhouse leader and a fan favorite, not just for his stellar play on the field but also for one big reason: Freddie LOVES to give hugs.
In particular, Freddie loves to hug his BFF, Dan Uggla.
Freddie and Dan hug so often, and so well, that it’s become an advertising gimmick (link: http://wapc.mlb.com/atl/play/?content_id=27085283&c_id=atl), a meme (link: http://freddiefreemanhuggingpeople.tumblr.com/), and even a fandom, complete with their own portmanteau: Fruggla.
Their bromance gets even cuter when you realize that Freddie is 6 inches taller, and Dan is 10 years older. Seriously, how many gay romance stories have you read with setups like that?
It’s close friendships between teammates like these that lend themselves to fiction, and baseball is full of them. No, the characters in Home Field Advantage aren’t based on Freeman and Uggla (though Caleb does have some similarities to Freddie), but that doesn’t mean they won’t end up in the pages in some form somewhere. If not mine, then someone else’s.
I’d love to hear from other fans about your favorite pro sports friendships. Not just in baseball, either! A friend of mine is a big fan of two hockey players who are BFFs. What sports friendships do you follow, and what makes them so great?
While you’re thinking that over, take a minute to enter our giveaway! We’re offering two prizes. The grand prize is a print copy of Playing Ball signed by all four authors, a unisex BBQ apron featuring hot athletes from Originals by Lauren (https://www.etsy.com/shop/OriginalsbyLauren), and swag from all four authors. The runner-up will get an ebook copy of Playing Ball and swag from all four authors.
The giveaway will run from 12 AM Central on September 21, 2013, to 12 AM Central on October 11, 2013. To give an opportunity for the authors to get together to sign the book and gather swag, the winners will be picked and the prizes shipped after the end of GayRomLit 2013.
Rules: You must be a resident of Earth, 18 years or older, who lives in a place where the viewing of adult material is legal. By entering the giveaway, you are indicating your agreement to the rules. Winners must provide a physical mailing address to receive their prizes. If a winner does not respond to the prize notification within 48 hours, the prize will be re-awarded.
Shae Connor, Kate McMurray, Kerry Freeman, and Marguerite Labbe
Cover by Aaron Anderson
Published by Dreamspinner Press
Baseball—America’s favorite pastime—provides a field wide open for romance. A Home Field Advantage may not help when Toby must choose between the team he’s loved all his life and the man he could love for the rest of it. In 1927, Skip hides his sexuality to protect his career until he meets One Man to Remember. Ruben and Alan fell victim to a Wild Pitch, leaving them struggling with heartache and guilt, and now they’ve met again. And on One Last Road Trip, Jake retires and leaves baseball behind, hoping to reconnect with Mikko and get a second chance at love.
The anthology contains the following novellas:
Home Field Advantage by Shae Connor
Toby MacMillan, grandson of Atlanta Braves owner Ray MacMillan, lives for baseball and loves his team. When he meets new team member Caleb Browning, an innocent welcome-to-the-big-leagues dinner leads to a not-so-innocent night together. Toby quickly calls things off, afraid of the ramifications of their tryst, but the two men develop a friendship that soon becomes more. After Caleb takes a fastball to the head, their budding romance hits the news—and Toby’s grandfather hits the roof. When Ray MacMillan demands Toby deny the relationship, Toby must choose between the team he’s loved all his life and the man he could love for the rest of it.
One Man to Remember by Kate McMurray
It’s 1927, and in New York City, Babe Ruth and the Yankees’ unstoppable batting lineup, Murderers’ Row, is all anyone can talk about. Across town, the Giants’ rookie infielder Skip Littlefield racks up hits, creating a streak to rival the Babe’s. Worried his secrets could get out, he avoids the spotlight, but he catches the attention of lauded sports reporter Walter Selby, a notorious dandy whose sexuality is an open secret. Skip reluctantly agrees to an interview, and mutual attraction is sparked. Skip can only hope the more charismatic stars will draw attention away from his romance with Walt. Otherwise, his career and everything he loves is at stake.
Wild Pitch by Marguerite Labbe
Ruben Martell fell in love with Alan Hartner during their years playing baseball. They stepped over the foul line once, but the encounter left them struggling with heartache and guilt, turning away from each other to focus on their families. Now retired from the majors, they run a batting cage together and coach rival Little League teams as they juggle fatherhood and being single again. Though Ruben has never given up hope that Alan might look at him as more than a friend, Alan seems determined to keep things the way they’ve always been. But long-buried feelings and desires have a way of resurfacing, and Ruben can’t wait forever.
One Last Road Trip by Kerry Freeman
With the last game of his Major League Baseball career behind him, Jake Wilson hits the road. Years have passed, but he never got over the romance he shared with Mikko Niemi back in college. Finally, he’s ready to do something about it. He starts with some crucial visits to his ex-wife in New Mexico, his son in Oklahoma, and his daughter in Tennessee. But his true destination is Mikko’s home in Georgia, where he’s hoping to get a second chance at love.
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