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The Challenger by Rowan Rossler - Book Tour + Giveaway

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I am thrilled to be hosting a spot on the THE CHALLENGER by Rowan Rossler Blog Tour hosted by Rockstar Book Tours. Check out my post and make sure to enter the giveaway!

About the Book:

Title: THE CHALLENGER (The Hustlers Trilogy #2)

Author: Rowan Rossler

Pub. Date: March 7, 2023

Publisher: Free Form Productions Inc.

Formats: Paperback, eBook

Pages: 282

Find it: Goodreadshttps://mybook.to/TheChallenger

Chavez Delgado should come with a warning label: Caution explosive material. A volatile tennis prodigy once tipped to win majors, this wildly unpredictable fan favorite never quite lived up to all the hype. So when he leaves the tennis tour without explanation during the best year of his career, no one expects him to grind out a comeback on the second-tier Challenger circuit eight months later.

I’ve met my share of hot messes. Call it collateral damage of being Flynn Dryden—motivational guru to struggling millennials. But I have never met anyone like Chavez. Young and yummy with complications written all over him, he pushes all my right buttons. But when he asks me to join him on tour as his mental fitness coach, I say yes for all the wrong reasons. 

As it turns out, we both have unresolved issues.

And playing a game called love puts us both in danger of getting burned.


Grab book 1, THE CRUISER now!


Book Trailer:


Series Trailer:


EXCERPT

Chapter One 

FLYNN

Every woman tells lies in Los Angeles. Being slippery with the truth is part career strategy and part necessary coping mechanism. The pressure to be beautiful and successful is relentless in the City of Angels, and though my fans consider me both, they don't know the real me. I've been lying for years. Some days I’m better at it than others, and today is a definite other. My anxiety has shot up like mercury in July and I’m fresh out of magic pills, about to lose it on the world's most annoying gatekeeper.

“Can you check again?” I ask Madison, another blonde actress wannabe slumming it as a Beverly Hills receptionist. “I made an appointment a month ago before I went out of town.”

She snaps her gum and scrolls through the calendar on her computer monitor, making a big production of it. “I don't see your name anywhere. And Dr. Bradford is booked solid for the next two weeks. You'll have to reschedule."

“Is there any chance he can write me a new prescription without an appointment?”

I dig deep for my most sincere Flynn Dryden smile—the one my fans pay a hundred dollars a pop to see in person—and fight the urge to yell, Don’t you know who I am! I am America's favorite motivational guru. My entire career is helping people. After playing nice for the last thirty days and smiling through the lovers, haters, and hecklers on my book tour, right now, I just need someone to help me.

Madison’s baby blues show the first sign of crumbling when the clinic door beeps open behind me. She straightens in the chair, unconsciously primping her hair. I glance over my shoulder expecting to see a famous producer or agent, not some young guy helping himself to water at the cooler. Only a rearview because he’s facing away from us, but damn. He’s fit as fuck with skin the same color as the almond butter I smeared on my toast this morning. I can only assume he’s a delivery guy. Who else waltzes into a psychiatry office for a drink wearing only a tank top and shorts?

Anyway.

I turn back to Madison and go for the beg as a last resort. “Can you swing me ten pills for now? A courtesy top off. It’s an emergency.”

“You know we can’t do that. Not for Zoloft,” she says, loud enough that anyone in the LA Basin can hear. “And according to this,” she peers at that godforsaken calendar again, “you’re back sooner than you should be.”

With an unsteady breath, I ball both fists to avoid throttling her. Judgment on top of it all.

“She doesn’t care. Get used to it. No one in the system cares.”

I whip around, ready to lay into this guy who's mistaken my business for his. But words dissolve like dust on my tongue.

For the love of god.

He's now lounging on the lobby couch with one arm draped along the top and his sneakers crossed on the coffee table like he owns the place. His mouth curls into a rebellious smirk that says, I dare you to challenge me, and I plan to, right after I scoop my jaw up off the floor. It’s kind of pathetic to stare so openly, but if there were a Mr. USA beauty competition, this smoldering Latino honey would bring the judges to their knees.

“Cat got your tongue?” he asks.

I clear my throat and wish I’d put some thought into my appearance before rushing down here. Some blush to brighten my pale skin or something more inspired than my curls pulled into a simple, messy bun. At least I’m in heels and a dress and not a hoodie.

“I was going to say—”

“That I’m right?”

His eyes bore into mine. Were they angry or just unhappy? Either way, I sense trouble and not the good kind. Why else would he be here?

“No. You’re wrong. People do care.” People other than Madison, I almost add.

He studies me, gauging my sincerity. “An eternal optimist. How encouraging, señorita.”

He rolls the R in señorita and I feel it. Feel his tongue making a single letter an illicit event. I feel it in places where I probably shouldn’t. While that sensation buzzes through me, he pushes off the couch and swaggers over, a hip-swaying advertisement for testosterone and virility. I’m 5'10'' without heels, the neighborhood giraffe, but I can tell he’s grooving on the power of being taller, staring down at me with peepers a shade of turquoise so unreal they might as well have a Crayola label slapped on them.

“Chavez,” he says. “Since we’re swapping names.”

“I didn’t know we were.”

He fingers a curl that’s gone AWOL from my bun with a slow smile. “C’mon, beautiful lady. What’s your name?”

“My name is Flynn,” I say, swatting his hand away. “And ask before you touch me, please.”

His eyes drift over me without landing on any one place, but they still manage to get their point across. “You always wear dresses that short?”

“You’re one to talk, Sporty Spice,” I flip back. “Not leaving much to the imagination, are you?”

He shoots me a saucy wink. “I got you imagining. That’s the first step.”

Jesus. How is it even possible to have a mouth made for sin on such a baby face? My mind races back and forth because he looks so familiar. And his name rings a bell. Something about him in general rings all my bells. Curiosity gets the better of me.

“What’s step two?” I ask.

The office phone jingles to life, and Chavez steers us away from Madison’s chatter to corner me by the fish tank. He raises one arm, boxing me in further by laying his palm against the wall beside my head. Heat radiates off him like a five-alarm fire.

“You tell me,” he says, his breath sweet and dangerously close to mingling with mine.

A flush creeps onto my cheeks. He is young and yummy and flaunting way too much skin for eleven in the morning. And if it’s possible to smell like male dominance, well, he’s got that covered too. Sweet fuckery, where was he last night? My dating app run and gun with Dwayne from Denver imploded into the usual disaster. Nothing sexier than a guy lapping my lady business like a panicky toddler with a melting ice cream cone while I count spiderwebs on his ceiling. I had to fake an orgasm to end that misery, and he passed out believing it was all due to his Herculean efforts.

“Ms. Dryden.” Madison’s voice jolts us out of our intimate cocoon. Chavez cuts her an irritated look over his shoulder and steps back, taking his body heat with him. “You’re in luck,” she says. “I just had a cancellation for tomorrow at four.”

“Oh, uhm … sure,” I reply. “Tomorrow works.”

“Flynn Dryden.” Chavez says my name as if he’s testing out a new language. “My last name also starts with D. If we got married, you’d still be Flynn D. How do you feel about that?”

In my attempt to suppress a laugh, I end up spraying it instead. “How often does that line work for you?”

“You’d be surprised.”

“Well, I’m sorry to be the one to crush your odds.”

My pushback only seems to amuse him. “Muy tierna y fogosa,” he says, working the Spanish accent with a smile. “I like.”

Whatever is going on here, I like it too. It’s a good feeling, this rarity of being admired by a younger man not clutching one of my books. Our little flirtathon is the first bit of fun I’ve had in a long while. But like everything good in my life, it’s cut short. One of the office doors in the hallway opens and a weeping, expensively tended woman clutching a hairless dog shuffles out.

“Excuse me,” she sniffs, sliding past us to make a dramatic exit in her sequined tracksuit.

Following in her footsteps is a burly man of the Scottish Highlands variety, with horn-rimmed glasses and a braided beard held together with a festive red hair tie. He looks surprised to see us.

“Hey, Smythe.” Chavez greets the man with a two-fingered salute off his forehead.

Smythe glances at his watch. “You’re early.”

“If you’re late, that’s not showing respect.”

Funny that I’ve been coming here for a year and have never set eyes on the Ethan Smythe of Bradford and Smythe Psychiatry until now. Compared to the dashing and impeccably dressed Dr. Bradford, Ethan and his flannel shirt looks better suited to carve statues with a chainsaw than probe my mind.

“Your punctuality is appreciated,” Ethan says. “I need to use the little boy’s room. Make yourself comfortable in my office.” He turns to me with an apologetic smile. “I’m sorry, but no girlfriends allowed.”

I arch a brow. As if I don’t have anything better to do with my time than hold my boyfriend’s hand during his therapy session.

“I’m not his girlfriend,” I point out.

Chavez glances over and disarms me with another wink. “Not yet.”

Ethan’s head is on a swivel, unsure what to make of us. “I’ll be back in five. I hope that’s enough time to sort yourselves out.”

After he leaves, Chavez takes a step closer, erasing the distance between us. My body hums with a strange energy.

“Looks like our time is up, Miss Flynn. I left my phone in the car but how about I do my thing and you leave your number with her?”

He tilts his head at Madison who, to give credit where credit is due, can certainly act like she’s busy. Chavez must think this is a slam dunk, judging from his confident smile.

Not so fast.

“How old are you?” I ask.

“Old enough to know what I’m doing.”

“And you’re assuming I’m single?”

“Fortune favors the bold, right? I’m all about taking my chances.”

He curls his fists to reveal the words FEAR and LESS inked across his right and left knuckles. Hand tattoos are not on the top-five list of what I’m looking for in a man, but gah, his mouth. It brings to mind dirty kisses in the rain that go on forever. With lots of tongue.

Perhaps I search his dreamy face too long for his liking.

Maybe he has no clue I’m processing multiple layers of rationalization.

Or maybe it’s a game for him after all.

“But hey,” he says, dropping his hands as if I’ve personally rejected them, “if you’re one of those chicks who likes to play hard to get, I’m out. I don’t have time to chase women. Leaving it up to you.”

No time to chase but lots of time to put on one hell of a show with his insouciant strut down the hall. Molded onto a butt built for serious thrusting, his canary-yellow shorts are the equivalent of an amber traffic light.

Slow down and proceed with caution.

Madison watches him go with a snorting laugh. “Unbelievable, huh? Some guys think they’re God’s gift to women. He probably figured since you’re old he could—”

“Old?” I interrupt.

“What I meant is, he’s only twenty-five.”

“How do you know?”

“He’s plastered all over the internet,” she says, emphasizing internet in the event I need a refresher on this marvelous invention. “Supposedly he got kicked off the tour for anger management issues.”

Madison is now zero for two in keeping client information confidential, although the bubble of familiarity I feel with Chavez now makes sense.

“What’s his band called?” I ask.

“Not that kind of tour. The tennis tour. He’s a tennis player. Chavez Delgado.” She shrugs. “I guess he’s a big deal. Or he was.”

Hearing his name and tennis sends a spasm through my right elbow. A ghostly reminder that at one point in my life, I knew who all the top tennis players were. I don’t track the detailed comings and goings of the sport anymore, but you have to be living under a rock not to have heard of Chavez. I couldn’t make the connection because the context was out of place. Who expects an infamous tennis star to slum it in a shrink’s office with Enya warbling over the speakers?

“Just so you know,” Madison adds, “he asked for my number last week, but I didn’t give it to him. It’s your call if you want to leave yours.”

I’m more than a little interested to see where a future conversation with Chavez might lead, but there is no way I’m picking up Madison’s sloppy seconds. Plus, I’ve made a vow never to date tennis players. It’s too personal—a reminder of the scars, inside and out. And I’ve got enough on my plate. Like the reason I came here in the first place, unshowered, without makeup, in a dress crumpled from lying on the floor overnight.

All that and Chavez still called me beautiful.

A dark feathering sensation begins to choke my throat. I shut my eyes and tell myself, Breathe, Flynn. Don’t forget to breathe.

“You okay?” Madison asks, genuinely concerned.

No, I’m not, although I should be. I sell books by the truckload and host events streamed live into ten different countries. I am my own freaking industry. But like I said, every woman tells lies in Los Angeles. So I tell Madison I’m fine, and no, I won’t be leaving my number because I’m already seeing someone. And I get the hell out of there before another lie leaves my lips.


 

About Rowan Rossler:

Hello Romance Lovers!

I am an award-winning storyteller whipping up contemporary romance tales. My goal is to make the world a better place one love story at a time!

The Cruiser is book one in The Hustlers Trilogy, a jet-set romance series where three BFF’s navigate dreams, desires, and all the beautiful complications of falling in love. Loosely interconnected, each book reads as a standalone. My signature combination of heat and heart make these mid-steam romps the perfect sizzling beach read.

If you like glamorous destinations, brilliant, sexy minds, and juicy plots with just the right amount of spice stirred in to kick things up a notch, it might be love at first bite!

Rowan Rossler Romance
Where heat meet heart

Sign up for Rowan’s mailing list!

 


Giveaway Details:

1 winner will a $10 Amazon GC courtesy of Rockstar Book Tours, International.

Tour Schedule:

Week One:

3/6/2023

#BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog

Excerpt/IG Post

3/6/2023

NeverKnotReading

IG Spotlight

3/7/2023

Mythical Books

Excerpt/IG Post

3/7/2023

A Dream Within A Dream

Excerpt

3/8/2023

onemused

IG Spotlight

3/8/2023

Read Dog Reviews

IG Spotlight

3/9/2023

The Momma Spot

Excerpt

3/9/2023

Books and Kats

Excerpt

3/10/2023

Jazzy Book Reviews

Excerpt/IG Post

3/10/2023

Two Chicks on Books

Excerpt/IG Post

Week Two:

3/13/2023

A Dream Within A Dream

Excerpt

3/13/2023

Dreaminginpages

IG Review

3/14/2023

A Blue Box Full of Books

IG Review

3/14/2023

Country Mamas With Kids

Review/IG Post

3/15/2023

@enjoyingbooksagain

IG Review

3/15/2023

Emily Ashlyn

IG Review/FB Post

3/16/2023

Brandi Danielle Davis

IG Review

3/16/2023

Review Thick And Thin

Review/IG Post

3/17/2023

Vamplit

IG Review

3/17/2023

Cara North

Review/IG Post


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