Feed Your Readers: Three Female Athletes – Three Hot Happy Ever After Endings


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*One thing I need to decide for myself … am I playing to win, or playing for keeps? *

Angelica Bryant

Football is my passion. Right now, I have a chance to make my dream of being the best midfielder in the Women’s Aussie Rules competition a reality. And soon I’ll finish my studies and succeed in a role in sports management. For now, working in my dad’s bar pays the bills. Even if he used to be a world-famous soccer legend and can’t care less about Aussie Rules.
I won’t let anything get in my way. Not even the hot-as-hot one-night stand who, oh yes, just turned out to be Jaxon Flint, one of Australia’s most successful sports agents … and he’s offered me a job. We’ve agreed we have to forget about our attraction to both stay on the track we’ve laid out for ourselves. So why does the idea of being with Jaxon make me want to take the biggest risk of my life?

Jaxon Flint

I told her my name was Jack. She told me her name was Angel. But an angel she wasn’t when I took her home for the most amazing night of my life. I  picked her up in a sports bar … but I never expected her to turn out to be the rising star of the new Women’s Aussie Rules football competition. Or a natural at handling ego-fuelled sports superstars.  I knew Angie was someone I had to hire … and a star I would be lucky to represent. Those are both good reasons to stay away from her. And after the way I failed my sister, I know I should stay away from someone so driven to excel. So why can’t I get it out of my head that I want to be everything to my Angel?

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I’m following one of my dreams … but do I dare to follow my heart? 

Cress Kennedy

One thing everyone in Grong Grong knows about me: it’s always been my dream to play Aussie Rules Football. And now the Sydney Sirens are signing me for the new Women’s Aussie Rules competition. I’m headed to Sydney. To stay with my brother’s best friend. Quin. But here’s one thing no-one in Grong Grong knows about me: how much I want Quin to see me as a woman, and take him for myself…

Quin Fitzpatrick

I knew as soon as she got a chance to play in the Women’s Aussie Rules competition that Cress would be a star. I knew it made sense for her to come and stay with me, where I could protect her, show her the ropes—Watercress from Grong Grong, the little sister I never had. I never expected Cress—gorgeous, generous Cress—to shake me out of my rut. Now how am I ever going to go back to life without her around.

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Darcy

There’s nothing I wouldn’t do to play for the Brisbane Banshees in the new Women’s Aussie Rules league. I think I’ve proved that given that I’m willing to put up with the coach being my ex, Tony. He may have stomped over my heart, but I’ve moved on, and I’m focused on my team. I don’t need any men in my life—apart from Levi, of course, my roommate, and friend. And my saviour, now that I’ve corked my thigh in our first game, and need his sports massage skills to get me back on the field. What I feel when Levi touches me … is making things very complicated.

Levi

Darcy was always my best friend’s girl—Tony’s girl. Two years on and she still doesn’t know how I’ve felt all this time. There’s no way I’m leaving her in pain when I can fix her injury and get her back to playing the sport she loves. No matter how much touching her makes me want to make her mine at last. Finally, I’ve got a bit of hope—the last thing we need is Tony suddenly deciding he wants to take Darcy back after all…

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Fair Game (Women of W.A.R.) Exclusive Excerpt 3

Part I

Part II

Levi knew the second he flipped the paper over a few days later and found himself staring into the face of his one-time best friend that Darcy’s buzz was going to be no match for this crappy piece of news.Tony’s shit-eating grin leapt from the back page and Levi’s heart sank as the headline jumped out at him.

Tony Cameron scores coveted Banshee coaching position.

Well… fuck! Darcy…

Fuck.

There’d been the tiniest niggle at the back of Levi’s brain for days. The knowledge that Tony could be a possibility as coach. No matter how outside. That’s what he did after all—coach. But last Levi had heard he was somewhere in Indonesia setting up coaching clinics there.

A long way away from here.

But apparently he wasn’t that outside after all.

Damn it! He should have listened to that niggle. Yoga had taught him to listen to his body and he did that without hesitation, but he wasn’t as good at listening to his gut. Trusting his intuition.

If he had, he could have prepared Darcy for it a little. Put it out there, given her time to get used to it. Just in case.

Christ. Tony—the life and soul of any party, the one who people gravitated towards—was going to be back in their lives. After leaving it so spectacularly two years ago. Turning his back on Darcy and gutting her in the process.

Levi had heard her crying in her bedroom late at night for months after Tony had left. He’d tried to be there for her during that time, be a shoulder for her, but she’d been so devastated. And then she’d woken one day and announced herself over him. He hadn’t heard her cry again. And they hadn’t ever really talked about him since.

But would Tony’s reappearance bring all that grief back again and was she really over him? Or did she, deep down, still love him. As far as he knew, she hadn’t been seeing anyone. So had she really moved on?

Or did she still lie in bed at night and pine for Tony as Levi lay in his bed next door and burned for her?

He sunk to the couch, reading the article without really taking anything in. He knew Darcy didn’t see him as anything other than her ex-boyfriend’s ex-bestie. A roommate. She’d firmly friend-zoned him and that had been enough to begin with because she’d needed a good guy to lean on.

But every day that passed it was harder to pretend he didn’t have deeper feelings for Darcy. Feelings he’d not looked at too deeply for the five years his best friend had shared Darcy’s bed. Feelings that had grown in the last two while he’d waited for his moment.

Waited. Prevaricated. Lost his nerve.

Too afraid to jump in case he fucked it up altogether. Got it wrong. Misread the occasional flare of heat in her weird, green cat’s eyes. Caused her to flee. Because being her friend, being near, sharing her life, was pretty damn good.

It sure as shit was better than nothing at all.

Christ. He was pathetic. And now this. Tony fucking Cameron smiling at him from the back page.

Her words from a few days ago came back to him. The coach can have whatever the hell he wants. Yeah. That’s what Levi was worried about.

‘Anything good in there?’ Levi almost went into cardiac arrest at the unexpected intrusion. He glanced at her lounging in the archway that separated the kitchen/dining area from the lounge room. She was in her regulation work clothes—roomy high-vis long-sleeved shirt, baggy King Gee shorts that reached her knees, thick protectors pulled over her socks and dusty steel-capped boots, her hair haphazardly tucked up in her Gerry’s Market Garden cap.

It was possibly the most shapeless, asexual uniform he’d ever seen. She shouldn’t look hot.

But she did. Fucking hot.

Trumped only by how she looked at the end of the day, her face all red and sweaty, her boots caked in mud, dirt under her fingernails and her hair clinging limply to her neck, happy and smiling and relaxed after a day doing what she loved.

Christ. What was wrong with him? Had Tony’s imminent reappearance tripped some kind of Cro-Magnon switch in his head?

Levi didn’t know. All he knew was he wanted to yank that hat off her head and kiss her. So damn hard.

Her spoon scraped along the bottom of her usual bowl of rice bubbles loaded up with Milo—poor man’s Coco Pops—before shovelling a spoonful in her mouth, spilling milk down her chin and swiping at it with the back of her hand.

‘Jesus.’ He grabbed his chest. ‘Sneak up on a guy why don’t you?’

‘Yeah. You look like you’re heart-attack material.’

She pushed off the archway, totally unconcerned for his cardiac health. Plonking herself down on the couch beside him, her arm warm against his, her thigh brushing his, she glanced at the paper. Levi angled it out of her line of sight.

‘Hey.’ She frowned at him. ‘I’m trying to read that.’

‘They’ve announced the coach.’

She gasped and her eyes lit up like a Christmas tree. ‘Who is it?’ She shoved the bowl on the coffee table in front of them, a bit of milk slopping over the side as she made a grab for the paper.

He held it just out of reach, wishing he didn’t have to tell her. Wishing it wasn’t so. She made another grab for it and he held it above his head.

Levi Phillips.’ It was said with a half-amused, half-frustrated growl and did very bad things to the muscles in his belly. They stirred and tightened. So did his dick.

She stared at him and frowned. ‘What?’

‘It’s… Tony.’

She blinked. Then she gasped again. ‘What?

She reached for the newspaper and this time he ceded it to her with a quiet, ‘I’m sorry.’

But she wasn’t paying him any attention. She had eyes only for the black and white print, the grip on the paper tightening as she read it half out loud, half to herself. ‘Cameron was the second choice after Doug McDonald reportedly turned it down.’

Levi suppressed a snort. Tony wasn’t going to like that one little bit. He had a huge chip on his shoulder about always being the bridesmaid, his whole life marked by being second best. Not quite making it to an elite level in footy due to injury and lack of that special X factor.

The one you either had or you didn’t.

Darcy had it. And Tony had known it. Hell, he’d resented her for it. And had spent the better part of their five years together undermining her confidence, trying to convince her she wasn’t quite good enough either. She hadn’t been able to see it but Levi had watched Tony’s subtle erosion with gritted teeth. And then he’d dumped her, citing her lack of commitment to their relationship, that it had run its course and he needed space.

It had really rattled her cage.

All because his fragile little ego hadn’t been able to cope seeing someone he loved be more successful than himself. It had been pathetic. Question was… would Tony continue his mind games or had he grown the fuck up?

Darcy threw the paper on the table. ‘Well shit. That killed my buzz.’

‘Yeah.’ Levi nodded slowly. ‘Thought it might.’

‘Can you believe this?’ she demanded, half turning to face him, incredulity twisting her features.

Levi shook his head. He couldn’t believe it. His gut burned with disbelief. And concern about how this would play out. How Darcy would handle it.

She groaned and buried her face in her hands. ‘God… Why him?’

Levi didn’t say anything. It was obviously a rhetorical question. He just sat there for a while and let her mutter away to herself for a bit.

‘What are you going to do?’

She dragged her head out of her hands. ‘What can I do?’

‘Nothing.’ It was the stark, honest truth. Players didn’t get a say in their coaches. Not at Darcy’s level anyway. And she wouldn’t want to rock the boat, not if she didn’t want to end up with a diva reputation before the comp even got off the ground.

‘Exactly.’

She sounded depressingly resigned and Levi cursed Tony silently. ‘It’ll be okay,’ he assured. ‘It’s been two years. And you’re over him, right?’

‘Right.’

It was followed by a nod. But neither the nod, nor her voice, rang with conviction. So Levi did the only thing he could think of, slipped his arm around her shoulder and gave it a brief squeeze.

‘He’s a good coach.’ It killed Levi to admit it. He didn’t want to say anything good about the guy at all but it was the truth and Darcy obviously needed something right now. He gave her another squeeze. ‘Don’t let him ruin your buzz.’

Tony fucking Cameron had already done too much of that in Darcy’s life.

Darcy nodded again, turning her face to look at him. ‘You’re right.’ A wan smile touched her lips. ‘I’m not going to give him that kind of power.’

‘Good for you.’

She stood then, slipping out of his light hold, tossing the paper onto the coffee table. ‘It’s been two years. We can have a professional relationship.’

Levi wasn’t sure if she was trying to convince him or herself. He gripped his thighs hard to stop himself pulling her down again, slipping his arm around her again, trying to convince her with the solid assurance of his body that she could do this.

She was incredibly strong and determined. She could do anything. He nodded instead. ‘Absolutely.’

She shot him another wan smile. ‘Thanks.’

‘You’ll be fine,’ he assured.

‘I am fine.’ Then she calmly scooped up her bowl and disappeared into the kitchen. Levi winced as the bowl crashed into the sink.

Maybe not so fine after all…

 


32511 (2)How to mend a broken heart…

Darcy Clarke would do anything to play for the new Women’s Aussie Rules league, even put up with her ex, Tony, who just happens to be the coach of the Brisbane Banshees. Tony stomped out of their apartment – and all over heart – two years ago, but she’s moved on, and she deserves her jersey.

As his best friend’s girl, Darcy has always been out of Levi’s reach, even after Tony dropped her and moved out of the apartment they all shared. Now, two years on and still sharing the same apartment, she should be fair game. But Levi is no closer to getting Darcy to think of him as anything but a roommate and a friend.

But when Darcy injures herself in play, Levi’s qualifications as a sports massage therapist are put to good use. Suddenly, their relationship becomes very hands on, and Darcy sees a whole new side of her old friend. A pity he seems immune to her charms. When Tony makes it clear he wants back into her life, she has a decision to make: between the man she once loved and the man who never left her side.

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Fair Game (Women of W.A.R.): Exclusive Excerpt 2

You met Darcy and her man-bun-wearing, yoga-doing, biggest supporter Levi in Part I yesterday. Not enough?

Well, we can help with that.

‘Unhand me, DC, you’re making a spectacle of yourself.’

Darcy laughed at the gruff humour and unlocked her legs, sliding to her feet. He handed her the balloon and grabbed for her bag.

She took a step back. ‘I can take it.’

He didn’t answer, just reached for it and slid it off her shoulder, slinging it over his own with quiet efficiency as they turned towards the exit. ‘Are you sure you’re female, DC? Most chicks’ make-up bags are this size.’

Darcy laughed to cover the sudden deflating realisation that after seven years of platonic cohabitation, Levi had probably never seen her as a female.

As a woman.

It’s true she wasn’t much of a girly girl. She was a sporty girl who worked a manual job, preferred loose comfortable clothes to anything fashionable, and lived for her Aussie Rules. But bloody hell, she had two C cups that pretty much put her femininity right out there.

They’d been squashed against his chest a moment ago.

Annoyed at her train of thought and why it seemed to matter so much suddenly, Darcy gave herself a mental shake. Since when had she given any fucks about this crap? ‘Not only female but a goddamn Brisbane Banshee, so watch out, Levi.’

He laughed and high-fived her before stepping around a toddler who was drunkenly navigating the airport corridor. ‘What did your parents say?’

Darcy sighed as she also took evasive action to avoid the toddler. ‘They said they were proud but could the name be changed to something less ghoulish.’ Levi laughed. ‘I explained the team names weren’t up to me.’

‘They mean well.’

‘Yeah.’

‘They going to go to your debut game?’

She shook her head. ‘Dad’s got a convention in Cambridge in February and Mum’s going with him to catch up with family.’

He didn’t say anything for a moment, then slid his hand onto her shoulder and gave her a squeeze as they walked companionably side by side. ‘Sorry.’ His hand fell from her shoulder as quickly as it had appeared.

‘It’s fine.’

Darcy didn’t mind. Her parents were proud of her, in their own way. It wasn’t their fault she’d strayed from the plan. That growing boobs and thighs at the age of fifteen had stymied her mother’s Royal Ballet ambitions for Darcy. And taking up soccer and football had added insult to injury.

They were the arts and academia. Darcy was dirty hands and football on Sunday. The two were hard to reconcile.

‘Well, I’ll be there.’

‘I should bloody hope so.’ It wasn’t strange that Levi’s presence at the game meant more to her than her own parents being there. He’d been her number one cheerleader for years. He got it. ‘

All of Brisbane’s going to be there, DC, just you wait and see.’

Darcy smiled at him. She hoped so. She really did. Everyone had such high hopes for the women’s game taking off and being supported by the same fans who’d been watching the blokes do it for decades. There were detractors, of course. The people who said nobody wanted to see chicks playing football and why didn’t they just stick to netball?

But, overwhelmingly, reaction had been positive. It was a gamble for the powers that be—no one was disputing that—hopefully one that paid dividends.

They’d all know in four months…

‘So, how’re you going to celebrate? Going out with the girls?’

‘No. Tomorrow night. Big night in Melbourne last night with the team.’ All the Banshee draft picks had painted the town red and Darcy grinned, remembering again, and gave herself a mental pinch. She was part of a national women’s team!

‘Can’t party too hard.’ She patted her stomach. ‘Gotta keep match fit.’ Levi threw back his head and laughed. The man knew the type of crap she usually shovelled into her mouth on a regular basis.

A woman coming towards them glanced at Levi, totally checking him out as she passed by. And why not? He may be just a friend but Darcy was still a woman and the man was very easy on the eyes. He didn’t seem to notice her appraisal, though.

He never seemed to notice how women looked at him. And they looked at him. A lot.

Not that he ever seemed to partake. Darcy couldn’t be absolutely sure—they weren’t the kind of friends who talked about their sex lives—but she did live with him and if she was a betting woman, she’d say Levi had been as celibate as she had these past couple of years.

He’d dated, in the past—she’d met a few of his women at the breakfast table when Tony still lived with them. But she hadn’t seen him with anyone in a long time. Not at their place anyway.

Which was a crying shame. The man practiced yoga every morning and taught it three nights a week—for damn sure he’d have some mad, crazy skills between the sheets.

Tune in tomorrow for Part III!


32511 (2)How to mend a broken heart…

Darcy Clarke would do anything to play for the new Women’s Aussie Rules league, even put up with her ex, Tony, who just happens to be the coach of the Brisbane Banshees. Tony stomped out of their apartment – and all over heart – two years ago, but she’s moved on, and she deserves her jersey.

As his best friend’s girl, Darcy has always been out of Levi’s reach, even after Tony dropped her and moved out of the apartment they all shared. Now, two years on and still sharing the same apartment, she should be fair game. But Levi is no closer to getting Darcy to think of him as anything but a roommate and a friend.

But when Darcy injures herself in play, Levi’s qualifications as a sports massage therapist are put to good use. Suddenly, their relationship becomes very hands on, and Darcy sees a whole new side of her old friend. A pity he seems immune to her charms. When Tony makes it clear he wants back into her life, she has a decision to make: between the man she once loved and the man who never left her side.

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Fair Game (Women of W.A.R.): Exclusive Excerpt

Our third and final launch title in the new Women of WAR series, releasing 20 February (pre-order now!) is Fair Game from award-winning, best-selling author Amy Andrews. 

If you haven’t, check out the excerpts from Nicola Marsh and Catherine Evans!

Darcy Clarke hadn’t felt this freaking fantastic in a very long time. Maybe not in her whole twenty-seven years. Not after a block of lime Lindt chocolate (which never failed to zing her straight to her happy place). Not after three scoops of pineapple gelato (which totally should be mandatory treatment for depression).

Not even after sex.

Not that sex counted, considering she hadn’t had any since douchebag Tony had dumped her just over two years ago. She’d had orgasms, for sure. By herself. And she didn’t think self-love counted.

But that didn’t matter right now. Hell, she doubted it would ever matter again because footy was better than sex—why hadn’t she always known this?—and she’d done it. She’d actually done it! Her name had come up in the draft and she was going to be playing professional Aussie Rules football in the inaugural national women’s competition for the Brisbane Banshees.

And she felt amazing.

She deserved it, for sure. But when had that ever made a difference? She’d busted her gut for this for years, but even twelve months ago she’d have never thought it possible. A national women’s comp had been mooted for years, but as time progressed it had become more mythical than the bloody unicorn. But suddenly, the planets had aligned and the glass ceiling had been smashed and she was going to be right there in the thick of it!

Darcy allowed the chants of an invisible crowd to swell inside her head. Not that having a crowd chant your name was what it was all about but she ran with it for a moment or two, giddy on life, footy and everything. She grinned so hard, the man sitting in the seat next to her shifted sideways a little as the plane made a smooth touchdown.

But Darcy couldn’t help it. She couldn’t stop smiling. She knew she looked maniacal—the flight attendant had eyed her suspiciously and handed her a plastic knife to cut her roll rather than a metal one like she’d given the guy next door—but she didn’t care.

Nothing and nobody was going to kill this buzz.

The plane taxied and finally docked and as soon as the seatbelt light went out, Darcy was up, dragging her small overnight bag out from under the seat in front. She was too damn excited to sit and she couldn’t wait to see Levi.

Sure, he’d rung yesterday afternoon to congratulate her, but just anticipating his I-knew-you-could-do-this grin was adding to her giddiness. She’d lived with Levi Phillips for seven years now and, in a lot of respects, he probably knew her better than any of her girlfriends.

He certainly knew more than anyone how freaking hard she worked for that Banshee jersey and had never doubted she’d make it. Never. Considering there were numerous times she’d doubted it, that was saying something.

Still, she was surprised to actually find Levi waiting at the gate for her. They often made trips to the airport for the other one, but always stopping at the drop-off/pick-up zones out front. He’d never come into the terminal. But there he was, standing right at the back, head and shoulders above the waiting crowd of kids and lovers and parents, a huge grin on his face, a metallic helium balloon with Congratulations emblazoned on its hide in his hand.

He looked like a crazy person, standing there with that grin and the stupid balloon with a few days’ worth of scruff on his face, but her heart gave a funny little giddy-up seeing him here for her. Of course, that could have something to do with his faded old T-shirt stretched across his shoulders, barely long enough to meet the waistband of his standard loose trackpants, of which he had about a hundred thanks to his obsession with yoga.

The top half of his long, riotous, dirty-blond hair was pulled back into its regular man bun, leaving the rest to curl and twist around his neck and shoulders in its usual disorder. Even the sight of his big, bare, size fourteen feet, sticking out of his open-toed slides, did funny things to her equilibrium. The man looked like some kind of Zen lumberjack but what she liked most was that he didn’t care one fucking jot what he looked like.

The crowd parted, as if especially for them and, before she knew it, she was grinning at him and running towards him, launching herself at him, crawling up him like a koala up a gum tree and wrapping her legs around his waist to hug him tight.

He laughed as he caught her, his body easily absorbing the impact as his arm anchored around her back. ‘Whoa!’ The low timbre of his voice licked into her ear as deliciously as the swipe of a hot, wet tongue. ‘I knew you’d get picked.’

Darcy grinned even bigger, hugged him even harder. ‘Yeah, yeah.’ She squirmed at his unashamed bias, but her heart swelled big in her chest at the pride underpinning his statement.

She wasn’t sure how long they stood like that, with her glued to him like an oyster on a rock, people eyeing them curiously as they stepped around them. But it felt good to be in this moment—the high point of her life—with the guy who’d been there for her during all her low points.

It felt really freaking good.

Pre-Order now, and tune in tomorrow to find out what happens next!


32511 (2)How to mend a broken heart…

Darcy Clarke would do anything to play for the new Women’s Aussie Rules league, even put up with her ex, Tony, who just happens to be the coach of the Brisbane Banshees. Tony stomped out of their apartment – and all over heart – two years ago, but she’s moved on, and she deserves her jersey.

As his best friend’s girl, Darcy has always been out of Levi’s reach, even after Tony dropped her and moved out of the apartment they all shared. Now, two years on and still sharing the same apartment, she should be fair game. But Levi is no closer to getting Darcy to think of him as anything but a roommate and a friend.

But when Darcy injures herself in play, Levi’s qualifications as a sports massage therapist are put to good use. Suddenly, their relationship becomes very hands on, and Darcy sees a whole new side of her old friend. A pity he seems immune to her charms. When Tony makes it clear he wants back into her life, she has a decision to make: between the man she once loved and the man who never left her side.

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Women to Watch

The Women of W.A.R. series is set in a fictional universe, so our teams and characters – though they feel real – don’t really exist. But Women’s AFL is very much real, and the players and their teams on the field are playing their hearts out and inspiring girls and women all over the country.

So while we hope that you enjoy the stories of Angelica, Cress, and Darcy, we thought that we should also pay homage to those players who inspired them.

daisy pearce

Daisy Pearce

Already a stellar player in VFL Women’s league, Daisy set the AFLW league on fire in the inaugural season, winning the inaugural Melbourne best-and-fairest winner, the AFLW Player’s best captain award, AND captained the inaugural AFL Women’s All-Australian team.


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Moana Hope

Moana is born on Valentine’s Day (which as romance readers, you know we love), but more importantly, she is an incredible goal kicker: the first player to ever kick more than 100 goals in the VFL Women’s, and winner of her AFLW team’s inaugural leading goalkicker award.


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Kirby Bentley

Kirby won’t be playing in 2018 due to an injury, but she hasn’t let that slow her down: she has created the Kirby Bentley Cup to provide young indigenous girls aged between 13-17 the opportunity to put their footie skills on display. Also, just when she couldn’t get cooler, off field, Kirby works in mines as an explosives expert.


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Erin Phillips

Not content with dominating on the basketball court (where she’s an Olympic silver medalist and a player in the US WNBA), Erin also co-captained the Adelaide AFLW team and won the AFLW best and fairest medal and the AFLW Player’s Most Valuable Player award.


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Brianna Davey

Another over-achiever, Brianna played international soccer with the Matildas before becoming co-vice-captain of Carlton and being listed in the 2017 All-Australian team.


meg hutchins

Meg Hutchins

Meg not only plays for Collingwood, but she is involved in the management team as well, in her role as Women’s Football Operations Manager, where her experience benefits the Collingwood board.


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Ally Anderson

Part of the Brisbane Lions team that made it to the Grand Final, Ally is also a coach for the AFL KickStart program and mentors the Queensland under-15 women’s Indigenous side. She’s also training to be a paramedic, and has swapped her boots for a microphone, commenting on the NEAFL for NITV.

Incidentally, if you’re interested in Indigenous players in the AFL/AFLW, there is a great map here  with information about players and their identified language and cultural groups.


hannah mouncey

Hannah Mouncey

Hannah isn’t an AFLW player – yet – but we wanted to include her on our list as she fights to be the first transgender player in the AFLW. Hannah was excluded from the draft, due to concerns that her physical disparity would give her unfair advantage. Mouncey’s testosterone levels fall between those required by the International Olympic Committee, the same guidelines followed by the AFL.

There are so many other inspiring athletes, and you can check them out for yourself here http://www.afl.com.au/womens/player-profiles.

And, for a fictional account of the lives and loves of Women’s Aussie Rules players – on and off the field – remember to check out the Women of W.A.R. series. Pre-order now!

 

Women of WAR 1

All Women of W.A.R. titles are available for pre-order now!

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Anthem for the Fans

by Amy Andrews

There’s quite a famous song DownUnder about Australian Rules Football (AFL). It came out in 1979 and I think most Aussies of a certain age would know it. I was only 10 at the time and we didn’t even get AFL on the tele where we lived, but I know it because my Mum used to sing it around the house. It pretty much became an anthem for the sport. It’s called Up There Cazaly, inspired by Roy Cazaly who played Aussie Rules in the 1920’s.

Listening to this song again whilst writing the Women of W.A.R series, got me thinking about all the songs that have become anthems for football codes over the years.

As far as spine tingling awesomeness goes, nothing surpasses a rugby union crowd singing Swing Lo, Sweet Chariot in full voice.

And I was super, super impressed recently during the rugby league world cup to hear the Fijian players raise their voices in hymn! The Fijian hymn sung with such conviction and passion gave me goosebumps!

And then, somehow, this song from Ricky Martin came to represent soccer a few years back during the world cup in Rio. I’m not sure if Cup Of Life will be a stayer but I can’t hear it without instantly thinking of the sport!

Do you have any songs you’d like to suggest for my list?


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How to mend a broken heart…

Darcy Clarke would do anything to play for the new Women’s Aussie Rules league, even put up with her ex, Tony, who just happens to be the coach of the Brisbane Banshees. Tony stomped out of their apartment – and all over heart – two years ago, but she’s moved on, and she deserves her jersey.

As his best friend’s girl, Darcy has always been out of Levi’s reach, even after Tony dropped her and moved out of the apartment they all shared. Now, two years on and still sharing the same apartment, she should be fair game. But Levi is no closer to getting Darcy to think of him as anything but a roommate and a friend.

But when Darcy injures herself in play, Levi’s qualifications as a sports massage therapist are put to good use. Suddenly, their relationship becomes very hands on, and Darcy sees a whole new side of her old friend. A pity he seems immune to her charms. When Tony makes it clear he wants back into her life, she has a decision to make: between the man she once loved and the man who never left her side.

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All Women of W.A.R. titles are available for pre-order now!

iBooksBooktopiaNookKoboGoogleAmazon USAmazon UKAmazon AU

 

Breaking News: Announcing Women of W.A.R.

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Escape Publishing is pleased to announce three stand-alone titles in a fun, flirty, footy series featuring the strong athletic heroines of the Women of AFL.

Set in the fictional Women’s Aussie Rules (W.A.R.) League, Women of W.A.R. follows three female footy players as they break down barriers, learning to live and love in the big leagues.

All three books will be released simultaneously on 20/2/18, and are available for pre-order now.


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Are they playing to win…or playing for keeps?

Angelica Bryant has a dream. The only child of a soccer legend, she pays her bills by working at her father’s bar while pursuing her goals: a role in sports management and a place in the newly established Women’s Aussie Rules league. Football is her passion, and she won’t let anything get in her way: including an ill-advised one-night-stand with one of Australia’s most successful agents.

Jaxon Flint thrives on success. His workaholic lifestyle keeps his agency and the athletes he represents at the top of their game – and all of his emotions at bay. Until he meets Angie, W.A.R.’s newest star, who undermines his carefully laid plans and gets under his skin. Is he willing to relinquish his careful control both in and out of the bedroom?

When Angie and Jaxon end up working together, it’s game on!

iBooks, Booktopia, Kobo, Nook, Google, Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon AU

Get more information about this title on Nicola’s blog!


 

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Does she dare pursue all her dreams?

Everyone in Grong Grong knows Cress Kennedy’s childhood dream is to play Aussie

Rules Football, so when the Sydney Sirens sign her in the new Women’s Aussie Rules competition, she heads to the big city to pursue her dream. But no one in Grong Grong knows of Cress’s other dreams: the ones that revolve entirely around Quin Fitzpatrick.

Quin Fitzpatrick left Grong Grong as an eighteen-year-old to play Aussie Rules in Sydney, but after eight years the shine has gone from the lifestyle. When his best friend’s little sister follows in his country-to-city footsteps, he promises to look after her. She can stay with him and he’ll protect her as best he can. Besides, Watercress is the little sister he never had.

But Cress is all grown up now and playing Women’s Aussie Rules, and it’s about time that Quin sees her as a woman too…

iBooks, Booktopia, Kobo, Nook, Google, Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon AU

Get more information about this title on Cath’s blog!


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How to mend a broken heart…

Darcy Clarke would do anything to play for the new Women’s Aussie Rules league, even put up with her ex, Tony, who just happens to be the coach of the Brisbane Banshees. Tony stomped out of their apartment – and all over her heart – two years ago, but she’s moved on, and she deserves her jersey.

As his best friend’s girl, Darcy has always been out of Levi’s reach, even after Tony dropped her and moved out of the apartment they all shared. Now, two years on and still sharing the same apartment, she should be fair game. But Levi is no closer to getting Darcy to think of him as anything but a roommate and a friend.

But when Darcy injures herself in play, Levi’s qualifications as a sports massage therapist are put to good use. Suddenly, their relationship becomes very hands on, and Darcy sees a whole new side of her old friend. A pity he seems immune to her charms. When Tony makes it clear he wants back into her life, she has a decision to make: between the man she once loved and the man who never left her side.

iBooks, Booktopia, Nook, Kobo, Google, Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon AU

For more information on this title, check out Amy’s website!

 

Friday Five: Amy Andrews

646Author: Amy Andrews
First published with Escape: 2014
Favourite romance trope: Small town
Ideal hero (in three words): Funny. Handy. Laidback.
Ideal heroine (in three words): Spunky. Quirky. Mouthy.
Latest book: Limbo

What began your romance writing career? Why do you write romance?

The need to not get off my electric blanket in the midst of a freezing cold English winter… (sorry, not very romantic!) I write romance for the happy sigh and because it privileges women’s experiences and sexuality.

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What do you do when you’re stuck with a scene?

I plough through. Even if its shite – I can fix that in rewrites.

What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever had to research for a book?

I’ve recently Googled bonnet (hood) heights for pickup trucks to figure out the logistics of my hero going down on my heroine…..never did that in my old job!

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What would you say is your interesting writing quirk? Or any cute quirks in general?

I am boringly un-quirky. I save that for my characters!

Favourite book covers? What draws your eye to a romance cover?

I’m drawn to quirky or different covers. I really like the cartoony type covers (yes, I know, I’m the only one in the entire world….) because they can be really personalised/tailored to a book and are often quirky or different. Nothing quite like a hot man on romance cover or a really hot couple clearly into each other! And I really appreciate when the people on a cover actually fit the description of the characters in the book.


23731 (1)Six Feet Under meets Stephanie Plum in Amy Andrews’  fresh, funny, sexy urban-family noir about a country singer who almost made it, a private investigator who’s seen too much and a mother who will cross all barriers to save her child.

When ex hillbilly-punk rocker turned cadaver make-up artist Joy Valentine is visited by the ghost of a high-profile murder victim begging for Joy’s help to find her kidnapped baby girl, Joy knows from experience the cops are going to think she’s crazy.  So she takes it to the one guy she knows who won’t.

The last thing disgraced ex-cop turned private investigator Dash Dent expected is a woman from his past turning up to complicate his present with a nutty, woo-woo story. The problem is he knows Joy is telling the truth and he can’t ignore the compelling plight of baby Isabella whose disappearance six months prior transfixed the nation.

Discounted and discredited by the police, Dash and Joy work together to uncover the mystery and find Isabella, with a whacky supporting cast including Eve, a brothel madam; Stan, an excommunicated priest; Katie, Dash’s ten-year-old daughter; and two horny goldfish. It’s a race against time and against all odds – but the real battle for Dash and Joy might just be keeping their hands off each other.

 

Crossing Genres, Mashing Labels

Sitting down to write a book that mashes up genres isn’t something a career-minded author does lightly. Often these books are compulsions. I certainly ignored Joy and her story for two years because it was just too weird and beyond my scope of normal until I just had to write it. And it was a lot of fun – scary but liberating and I still love the world of that book so damn hard.

Unfortunately, a mash up book is often just as hard for publishers to grapple with even if they love it and the world you’ve created. Because how do you put a cover on a book that conveys romance, noir, comedy, urban family and a touch of paranormal?

How?

How do you cover Six Feet Under meets Stephanie Plum?

The answer was staring us in the face all the time. Embrace the quirk! The book is quirky as all giddy up – it has fornicating gold fish for crying out loud. And a brothel madam. And an ex-communicated priest! To name just a few of the eccentricities.

Embrace the quirk!

So, Limbo is getting a do-over and I cannot even begin to describe how in love with this cover I am. With Ralph there staring straight back at you, it screams quirky and I am utterly thrilled with it.

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For those who missed it the first time around, here are some reviews to entice you!

Roz from My Written Romance. Holy crap, that was so much fun to read. From the country-singing punk heroine and the ragged and rugged ex-cop hero, to horny goldfish, a brothel madam and an excommunicated priest, Limbo is everything I love about Amy Andrews, and like nothing I had expected.”

Marcia from Book Muster Down Under.  While Amy may feel she has gone out on a limb in breaking with her traditional romances and giving her readers something different to what they have come to expect from her by using elements she’s never attempted before (see an interview held with Amy at AusRom Today), after reading Limbo I can honestly say that, while she may feel that way, for me (a long time reader of romance and all its sub-genres), her combination of comedy, mystery, suspense and romance is an absolute winner and I’d go so far as to say that both Stephanie Plum and Erica Jewell may very well have a rival in their midst – believe me when I say you will not want to miss this!”

Carol from Reading, Writing and Riesling. In the words of the author this book is “urban-noir/paranormal-lite/mystery/romance mash up” and I would add PI in the mix, and a great mix it is too. This is a great contemporary feel good romp that had me smiling and laughing out loud. The characters are quirky, flawed and very very real.”

I hope you love the new cover as much as I do and you’ll be tempted to one-click and give my quirky little baby a chance. Two more books are planned in the series. Book 2 – Neither Here Nor There – should be out early next year

Buy links: Amazon AU, Amazon UK, Amazon US, Nook, Kobo, iBooks, Google, Booktopia

Feed Your Readers: Workplace Romance and Rural Suspense

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She might be the biggest star in Australia, but she never forgot the small town she came from, or the man she left behind…


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A collection of full-length novels about what happens after business hours…