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You can reach me at KatieAshleyRomance at gmail dot com

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Atlanta, GA, United States
I am the New York Times, USA Today, and Amazon Best Selling author of The Proposition, Proposal, Music of the Heart, and Nets and Lies. I am represented by Jane Dystel of Dystel and Goderich for all books except for Proposition and Proposal.
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The Proposition

The Proposition



Saturday, February 2, 2013

Chapter One of Nets and Lies--My New Adult Book

So the story of my writing career doesn't begin in November with the release of The Proposition and the instant success and accolades. No, it's a much longer story--a long, difficult journey full of lots of downs and some ups, lol. There have been many books written over the years--two of them have come close with Big 6 publishers. 

The point of me saying this is while I am a fast writer, I'm not a machine, lol. Three years ago after a rape scandal broke out at the school where I was teaching, I was inspired to write Nets and Lies. 

Here's a blurb and cover of the book: 

Always awkward in her 5’10 frame, eighteen year old Melanie Reeves finds her saving grace through basketball. Not only is she the varsity team captain, she’s the pride of Coach Thompson, who holds the keys to a college scholarship. Melanie has also found 'courtly' love with Will, Coach T's handsome, ball-playing son. When Melanie is on the court, everything is perfect....until she is forced to face an opponent who doesn't play by the rules.

Jordan Solano's power lies in her beauty and sex appeal. Never afraid of breaking the rules, she engages in a scandalous flirtation with the school's married basketball coach. But the flirtation quickly turns into accusation, and Coach T's job and reputation are placed in jeopardy after Jordan charges him with rape. Jordan's own reputation has the school administration unwilling to believe her. That is, until she makes a startling claim - she's not the only victim.

Suddenly, all eyes are on Melanie, and it isn't for her amazing free-throws. A man's job, a girl's reputation, and her boyfriend's entire world now rest in Melanie's hands. She has to decide: keep her secrets and protect her future, or put an end to the lies...and lose everything.

In real life, the events of the book are very, very different. I still believe in the innocence of the coach accused. I had worked with him both through basketball cheerleading and through the after-school program, and I never saw anything to give me pause about his integrity with the girls he taught or coached. 

Today, I'll be posting Chapter One, which is from Melanie's perspective. Tomorrow, you will get Chapter Two from Jordan's. 

Chapter One: Melanie

            A crisp swoosh echoed over the gymnasium just as the final buzzer rang. The crowd erupted in a roar as they clamored to their feet. I barely had time to wipe the salty sting of sweat from my blue eyes before my teammates pounced on me in a dizzying flurry of back slapping and hugging. “Way to go, Mel!” they screamed. Their voices were almost engulfed by the cheering crowd.
            My face stretched into a wide grin as my mind and body got swept away by the wave of their excitement. A hand on my shoulder caused me to whirl around. It was Coach Thompson, or Coach T as we affectionately referred to him.
            “That’s my girl!” he cried, crushing me to him in an appreciative hug.
            I couldn’t fight the warmth spreading over my cheeks when his arms lingered on me, keeping me flush against his body. I never liked being the center of attention. I was the epitome of “There’s No I in Team”, so I didn’t like being singled out. “Thanks,” I finally mumbled.
            He winked at me and then turned to the others. “All right, let’s do our run through to the other team and then meet me back in the locker room!”
            We obediently lined up to high-five the losing team and mutter the obligatory “Good game” line. Many of them glared at me since my foul shots had sent us over the edge to win. As I jogged over to the locker room, my own personal cheering section, my parents and grandparents, swished blue and white pompoms and hollered my name. I grinned up at them and waved.
            The Varsity boys’ team lined up to take to the court. Before I could make it into the locker-room, my boyfriend, Will, swept me into a bear hug and then planted a lingering kiss on my lips. “Whoa, get a room, Thompson!” one of his teammates shouted while some others whistled.
            “Will,” I protested, as my hands pushed against his chest.
            I blushed. “I’m all sweaty and gross.”
            He grinned. “I like you all sweaty and gross. It’s sexy!”
            My heartbeat accelerated as I ducked my head. “Whatever.”
            “All right, all right, Will. Get your hands off my star and get your head on the game!” Coach T bellowed.
            Will’s hands jerked from my waist like he had been scalded by Coach T’s words. “Jeez, Dad, I was only congratulating her.”
            Cocking his head, Coach T eyed Will sternly. “Maybe if you had a bit more discipline, you’d bust your ass like Melanie.”
            My cheeks burned in embarrassment for Will. Coach T was always so hard on him—too hard for my liking. Will was a gifted athlete, but he would never be perfect enough in his father’s eyes. Then again, it always seemed like whenever I was around, Coach T reigned down even harder on Will.
            Will scowled as Coach T stalked by us and threw open his office door. I tentatively put my hand on Will’s shoulder. “Hey, good luck out there.” Then I leaned over and kissed him.
            When I pulled away, he smiled. “Thanks, beautiful,” he said, as he playfully tugged on my sweat-slickened ponytail. “Go get a shower and then come cheer me on.”
            I nodded and headed into the athletic offices. I’d just gotten through the door when I heard Coach T consoling Amanda Weathers. Backed up against the wall of his office with her head bowed, she was sobbing over the two shots she had missed. Coach T didn’t take mistakes lightly, even when we were victorious, but he always tried to comfort us when felt we had failed the team and ourselves.  
            Amanda raised her head long enough to shoot me an embarrassed look as I breezed past her. I hurried down the corridor to the locker-room. When I headed inside, I found it teeming with JV and Varsity players, emptying their lockers and getting changed.
After quickly shedding my sweat-soaked uniform, I stepped into the shower.  Steaming hot water scalded my body, causing me to moan in a mixture of pleasure and pain. Muscles constricted and screamed in agony at their overuse.  I guess you could say I was a firm believer in the “Play Hard or Go Home” mantra.
            As I lathered the long strands of my blonde hair, I heard laughter next to me. “Was that a moan for Mr. Hot Stuff?” my best friend, Lauren, asked.
            I rolled my eyes. “No, it wasn’t.”
            Lauren shot me a wicked look. “You’re wasting a prime opportunity there, Mel. He has to be one of the hottest guys in school, not to mention he’s actually decent and not a douchebag.”
            I smiled in agreement. Besides basketball, Will was one of the greatest things to ever happen to me. I’d barely even talked to a boy before him. Usually guys were intimidated by me towering over them or at how much basketball dominated my life.
But not Will.
            We’d been dating officially for nine months, but we’d spent at least a couple more months as friends, hanging out with our group of friends. He patiently took his time and got to know me. It wasn’t just about me being shy and inexperienced—it was more about the two of us fearing Coach T’s wrath.
            And when he finally found out, he was furious. It wasn’t just because it was his son I was dating. He didn’t like any of his girls in serious relationships. Our head should be on the game, not on our boyfriends. Plus, there was also the fear of losing a player to pregnancy as he had a couple of years back. But finally Coach T had gotten used to the idea that Will and I were a definite couple, and that no one, not even him, could come between us.
            Knowing that Will was expecting me to watch his game, I turned off the shower and then wrapped a towel around me. After blow drying my hair, I started combing through it in long strokes. “So what are you and JT doing after the game?”
            Lauren waggled her auburn eyebrows. “The lake.”
            I rolled my eyes. “Isn’t it a little cold for the lake?”
            “Oh, no, we keep each other hot.”
            “You’re terrible,” I replied, packing up my bag.
            “And you and Big Willy?” she asked as she brushed her strawberry blonde hair.  
            “Dinner and then maybe a movie back at my house.”
            Lauren fluttered her eyelashes. “Ah, so sweet. Do you think you’ll have a milkshake at the diner, or maybe hold hands over the popcorn?”
            I smacked her arm playfully. “Just because I’m having a G-rated evening compared to your R-rated one doesn’t mean it’s bad!”
            As I started out of the locker room, Lauren nudged me. Jordan Solano stood before us in a cleavage baring top and low rise jeans. Her glossy pink lips curled into a wide smile as she talked to Coach T. “Dude, could she be more obvious?” Lauren muttered.
            We started past them, and I met Coach T’s eye. Over the top of Jordan’s head, he winked at me. Once again, I couldn’t keep from blushing. Somewhere in the last few months between basketball and Will, Coach T had become a lot more attentive towards me—enough to cause some of the other girls to be jealous. It was more than mortifying to me, and even though I wanted to say something to him about how uncomfortable it made me, I couldn’t.
            Lauren pushed me forward and out of my thoughts. “Why the hell does she waste her time and energy flirting with him?” she asked as we waded through the crowd.
            “I don’t know. I mean, Coach T isn’t bad looking.”
            Lauren snorted. “Bad looking? Jeez, Melanie, the man could've been Brad Pitt back in his day. You think Will got his looks just from his mom?”
            I shook my head.
            “Plus, it doesn’t hurt that he’s still relatively young…he can’t be forty,” Lauren said.
            “Thirty-eight. He was still playing college ball when Will was born,” I answered.
            “So if he’s young and good-looking, what’s your point?”  I asked.
            Lauren scrunched her face up. “It’s just he’s a ball-busting asshole most of the time. And that’s to us. He has no tolerance for prima donnas like Jordan.”
            “Yeah, but that’s just on the court and in practice. He’s different in the classroom. I mean, Coach T is everybody’s favorite teacher.”
            “True. But dude, who wants to crush and flirt with a teacher? Ew.”
            I bobbed my head enthusiastically in agreement. Loaded down with our athletic bags, Lauren and I made our way up into the bleachers. We climbed into the packed student section a little into the first quarter.
            The guys’ game was tight. Will took his dad’s comments to heart because he played harder than I’d seen him in a long time. Several times during the game, I’d glance over at Coach T and his wife who were sitting a couple of rows up from us.  By his beaming look of pride, I could tell Coach T was enjoying Will’s performance as well.
            The buzzer rang, signaling the end to another Newton High victory. Will received the same treatment by his teammates as I had. He grinned at me and pumped his fist as they swept him off the court in a wave of excitement.
            We stood around talking to a few people before Lauren’s boyfriend, JT, motioned to her from down on the court. 
            She grinned. “Guess I’m being summoned by Mr. ‘Why should I take a shower when I’m just gonna get all sweaty again in a few minutes?’”
            I laughed. “Whatever. I’ll talk to you tomorrow then.”
            “Mkay!” she called over her shoulder. She hustled down the steps to jump into JT’s arms. He smacked her on the butt before they headed to the door.  I eased back down on the bleacher and started sorting through my texts.
            It wasn’t long before someone tapped me on the shoulder, and I whirled around.
            It was Will.
            “Hey beautiful,” he said, with a grin.
            “You’re not showering?” I asked.
            “Nope, I just wanna be with you.”
            “Okay,” I replied as I began to gather up my athletic bag and purse.
            “Do you mind me all stinky and sweaty?”
            I grinned. “Of course not.”
            Will grabbed my bag and threw it over his other shoulder. “Um, that’s awfully chivalrous of you, but I think I can manage,” I mused.
            “Whatever, whatever.”
            As we headed out into the parking lot, I turned to Will. “So where are we going to eat?”
            “Anywhere you want to.” Then with a sheepish grin, he said, “Uh, well, anywhere that’s cheap.  I haven’t been getting in any work hours with practice and all.”
            “McDonalds sound good?”
            After we pulled into the McDonalds down the road from the school, Will asked, “Are you sure you don’t mind eating here?”
            “Of course I don’t. Maybe you could think about letting me pay every once in awhile?”
            He shook his head. “Oh no, I don’t think so. It’s one thing to let you carry your own bags, but pay for dinner? Nope, not happening.”
            “Okay, suit yourself.”
            “That’s probably the only thing my dad ever lectured me on that I actually agreed with.”
            I laughed. “Words of wisdom by Coach T?”
            Will snorted. “Unfortunately yes.”
            He held the door open for me, and then we got in line. After we’d ordered dinner for a little over ten dollars, we headed to a table.
            I’d barely opened my nuggets by the time Will had scarfed down his quarter pounder. “Um, hungry much?”
            “I’m always starved after a game,” he mumbled through a mouthful of fries.
            “Want some of my nuggets?”
            “If you’re sure you don’t want them...”
            I slid the container over to him. “I just wish I could eat like you and never gain weight.”
            “Aw, baby, you always look good to me,” he drawled.
            “Yeah, yeah. My only saving grace is your dad runs my ass off at practice.”
            “Seriously, sometimes I don’t know how you guys stand playing for him.” Will shuddered dramatically. “What an egomaniac!”
            I twirled the straw in my chocolate milkshake. I was used to these comments from Will about Coach T. As an only child, Will was supposed to have the best grades, the best after-school activities, and be an all-star athlete.
            “He’s really not that bad,” I protested.
            Will smiled. “You’re just saying that because you’re his little star!”
            “I am not.”
            “Oh yes, you are. ‘Melanie has the best hook shot’, and ‘Melanie plays defense like there’s no tomorrow’,” he said, mimicking Coach T.
            “Whatever,” I said, shaking my head.
            “You’re his shining star, babe, whether or not you like to admit it.” Will waggled his eyebrows. “Sometimes I think he’s got a serious jonsing for you.”
            “Ew!” I cried, throwing my wadded up napkin at him. “That’s not funny.”
            Will winked at me. “What you don’t think he’s crushing on you?”
            A chill went over me, and I shivered. “No, I don’t. He doesn’t think of me that way at all! I’m his team captain. And most importantly, I’m his son’s girlfriend.” 
            “Yeah, well, you’re the one getting on the praise while I have to hear what a worthless tool I am half of the time,” he grumbled.
            I reached over and took his hand in mine. “I’m sorry.”
            His hardened face quickly turned into a smile. “Hey, don’t be sorry.”
            “Okay,” I said, with a yawn.
            Will raised his eyebrows. “Man, am I that boring?”
            I ducked my head. “No, I’m just tired, that’s all.”
            He squeezed my hand. “I was just teasing you, Mel.” When I glanced up, I met his amused gaze. “Come on, let’s go.”
            “But I’m not ready to go home.”
            “Oh really?”
            “No, I wanna stay with you.”
            His eyes crinkled with pleasure at my response. “I guess we could go back to your house and watch some movies.”
            “Something romantic?” I asked, giving him my best pleading look.
            Will sighed and then raised his gaze to the ceiling. “Lord, please deliver me from the sappiness I’m about to see.”
            I smacked his arm playfully. “You know you secretly like them.”
            He snorted as he started gathering up our trash. “I swear, watching them has turned me into a total pansy.”
            “Oh, please, you’re anything but a pansy,” I said, as I reached over and planted a kiss on his lips.
            “Hmm, and you certainly don’t make me feel like a pansy!”
            “Whatever,” I replied with a smile.
            We breezed in the back door of my house to find my parents sitting at the kitchen table. A rainbow- colored array of papers and forms were scattered around them. “Oh jeez, looks like someone’s getting an early jump on tax time,” Will said.
            “Every year, Dad swears they’re going to do their own taxes, and then every year Mom just takes everything to the accountant,” I said under my breath.
            Will suppressed a laugh by coughing into his hand.
            “Hey guys,” I called.
            Dad took off his glasses. “Hey there. Boy, were those some nail biters tonight,” he commented.
            “Want something to drink?” I asked Will.
            “Sure. Got any popcorn?”
            I laughed. “Let me fix us some.”
            “I’ll get it,” Mom offered, heading into the pantry. I grabbed a few sodas out of the refrigerator while she put the popcorn in. As I watched the bag rise and expand in the microwave, Will and my dad ran through the games like ESPN announcers.
            The moment the microwave dinged, I cleared my throat. “Okay, okay, enough with the play by play. Will and I are going to watch a movie.”
            My dad chuckled. “Oh dear, poor Will. The glory of victory…and the agony of defeat!”
            Will snorted. “You got that right, Mr. Reeves.”        
            “Hey, whose side are you on?” I asked.
            Dad smiled. “I just know you and your sweet, sappy romance movies…you’re too much like your mother.”
            “Yeah, yeah,” I mumbled, but I smiled in spite of myself. Will and I took the drinks and popcorn in the living room and then settled in on the couch. “And what are we watching?” Will asked, after swigging down half of his coke.
            “Sense and Sensibility.”
            As I flicked on the TV, he forced a smile. “Peachy.”
            I leaned over and brought my lips to his. By the time the credits finished rolling, our tongues were waging war against each other. Will’s hand had just begun roaming over my body when I suddenly pulled away. “Movie is on,” I panted.
            He groaned. “Are you serious?”
            I jerked my head to the kitchen. “Besides, Mom and Dad are in the next room.”
            Holding my breath, I waited for his response. Any other guy would have sulked or demanded we go somewhere to finish what we started. Any other guy would have dumped me months ago because I hadn’t gone all the way with him.  
            But not Will.
            The mention of my parents was the douse of cold water he needed. He straightened up and then downed the rest of his coke. He grabbed the popcorn off the table and pulled me to him. I rested my head against his chest. “This is my favorite position,” I murmured.
            “Yeah, I could talk to you about positions,” he retorted through a mouthful of popcorn.
            I elbowed him. “Watch it.”
            He grinned. “Okay, okay, why is it your favorite position?”
            I stared up at him and smiled. “Because if I lean my ear in, I can hear your heart beating.”
            The muscles in his jaw tensed. “Melanie…”
            I rolled my eyes. “I know. Stop being such a sentimental sap.”
            He shook his head. “No, that’s not it.”
            “Then what is it?”
            “I’ve been thinking about next year.”
            I frowned. “Will, please. I don’t want to talk about that—”
            “Would you let me finish?”
            “I’ve decided not to go to Duke.”
            I popped out of my seat like a jack-in-the-box. “What do you mean? It’s always been yours and your dad’s dream to go there.”
            Shrugging, Will replied, “Well, things change. Dreams change….people change.”
            “But I don’t understand.”
            Will broke a piece of popcorn apart between his fingers. “It’s just I like what you and I have. I like it so much that I don’t want to jeopardize it by going far away from you.”
            My heart fluttered in my chest. “Are you serious?”
            He nodded. “Yeah, I am.”
            Slowly, a smile crept on my face. “You’re really going to stay closer to home because of me?”
            I threw my arms around him and kissed him. “That’s wonderful, Will.”
            “I thought you’d like it.”
            I shook my head. “But I can’t let you do that.”
            “Why not?”
            “For starters, what about your scholarship?”
            “It just so happens that I got an offer from Georgia Tech with the same deal.”
            I squealed. “I can’t believe it! When were you planning on telling me?”
            “I just decided this afternoon.”
            Happiness bubbled over in me. I didn’t think; I just acted by reaching over, throwing my arms around his neck, and kissing him. 
            “Hey, you better watch it,” he murmured, against my lips.
            I pulled away to stare into his eyes. “Oh, I’m sorry. It’s just…You don’t know what this means to me—us not having to be separated.” I bit my lip before saying, “I love you so much.”
            “I love you, too.” Cocking an eyebrow, a wicked grin slunk across Will’s face. “You know, you could walk me out to the car and show me a little bit how much you love me.”
            I laughed. “Do you ever stop being a horndog?”
            I sighed. “All right, I’ll give you a little victory gift before you leave.” His grin widened at the prospect of some third base action, but I shook my head. “First, you gotta watch the movie.”
            He growled against my neck. “Why do I gotta pay to play?”
            My hand slid down his chest to rest at the waist of his pants. “Because those are the rules of my game.”
            “It’s time we rewrote the rules,” he said.
             “Maybe it is,” I said, tentatively. 
            Will’s head jerked away from my collarbone, and he stared into my eyes. “Whoa, whoa. Really?”
            “Yeah,” I murmured. I felt the intensity of his stare on me, and I realized I needed to give him an answer. “I know you’ve been so patient with me, Will. I’ve always wanted to wait not only until I was in love with someone and they loved me back, but until I knew I had a future with them.” I didn’t tell Will that witnessing the mistakes that my older sister, Natalie, had gotten into by sleeping around made me especially cautious. I stared into Will’s eyes and smiled. “I think I’m ready now.”
            He exhaled noisily. “Wow, that’s an interesting turn of events!”
            I gave him a shy smile. “February break is coming up in a few weeks. We could go somewhere—somewhere nice.”
            He didn’t say anything for a minute. My heart seemed to slow to a crawl waiting his response. Then he grinned.
            And I knew things couldn’t get much better.