Hit Hard: Book Blitz
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Hit Hard: Book Blitz

I put all my strength into my next forehand. The ball torpedoed over the net, not even bothering to bounce within the court. Nope, that sucker was headed for the fences. If this was baseball, it’d be time to break out the peanuts and Cracker Jack.

Too bad this wasn’t baseball.

“Ahh!”

A figure in the distance went down, knees to the court. A crowd of students suddenly appeared, gasping and rushing over.

“You hit him!” someone shrieked.

My breath lodged in my throat. I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry! I jogged over, terrified to breathe until I knew my accidental victim was okay.

Caleb directed a dirty scowl at me. “You really are the worst, Maxwell.”

I angled to see the fallen student. “I’m so sorry!”

“Oh, Maisie.” Nia mumbled, now beside me.

“I’m okay,” the guy on the ground said, attempting to stand despite the crowd. His head emerged, sun-bleached brown hair unkempt and curling over a tanned forehead. That perfectly shaggy hair some guys could get away with. He wasn’t a returning student. The face turning toward me could easily belong on a clothing website, the kind with ninety-dollar T-shirts with holes in them for a distressed look. Basically, he was very attractive.

A swath of blood streaked across that very attractive face.

That part was definitely my fault.

Sorry floated across my tongue, but my lips couldn’t form the word under the pressure of so many glaring classmates. Any hope of being an admired senior this year shriveled and burned like a tissue set aflame.

He accepted a clean towel and pressed it to his nose. “I expected I might not be welcome here, but your forehand really confirmed it.”

“Way to go, Maxwell,” Caleb said with a sneer. “You just nailed Shane Wagner in the face.”

Oh. Wait, what? “You’re … you’re—”

“Shane Wagner,” the bloody-faced model boy said through the towel.

Shane Wagner. The Shane Wagner. I just nailed the face of the number one-seeded player in junior boys’ tennis.

Burlesque Please: Book Blitz
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Burlesque Please: Book Blitz

tat-tat.
“Who in hell …?” Ginger got up and opened the door.
Annie Fannie stood there in all her hoity-toity glory.
Ginger glared up at the tall, svelte woman, her shock evident. “What the fuck are you doing here?”
Dressed in a designer outfit that no doubt cost more than Ginger’s entire wardrobe, hell, probably her entire apartment, the uninvited guest pressed the back of her hand to Ginger’s shoulder to nudge her aside. “Let me in. The heat out here is insufferable.” She came to an abrupt halt just inside the door, leaving Ginger stuck in the open threshold to deal with the heat. “Well, well, well. Look … at … this,” Annie snarled as she sauntered into the room and stood like a queen looking down her nose at her peons. “The whole gang is here. Hello, girls. It’s been a long time.”
Dolly huffed. “Not long enough.”
“Aren’t you going to invite me to sit down?”
“No, Annie, we’re not,” Ginger stated flatly.
“I haven’t gone by Annie since I quit performing. It’s Anastasia now.” She patted her dyed blond hair, making certain they noticed she had a chichi coif.
“I’m guessing you’ve never quit performing, one way or another.” Dolly stood up to face the interloper mano a mano.
Merry hopped up to join the line of defense.
“My, my. What hostility. What did I ever do to make you all so rudely hostile toward me?”
“Gee, Annie, I’m surprised you ask, because we know you don’t give a rat’s ass what we think.” Dolly balled up her fists and ground them into her hips, at the ready.
“As for the hostility,” Ginger seethed, thirty years of hot anger boiling up unexpectedly, “how about the fact that you lied to my boyfriend about me and stole him away? Huh? How about that?”
“Pfft. Please. He wasn’t worth having. I only dated him a few times. You could have had him back. Oh wait. I remember now. He went on to Pussy Willow after me. I guess he liked her … willow.” She smirked, amused at her supposed wit.
“You treated us like shit,” Dolly growled. “You insulted our costumes and our acts and even our bodies. Like you thought you were so much better than us.”
“Well …” Annie made the mistake of throwing her arms out wide and looking around the room. “I’ve certainly never lived in a hovel like this.”
That did it. Ginger flung herself at their tormenter, clawing at the viper’s haute couture dress and tearing it down to her waist.
“You little bitch!” Annie Fannie, once the most elegant of exotic dancers, turned out to be a formidable foe. She grabbed a handful of Ginger’s hair and with that they hit the floor, rolling around and throwing punches as best they could. Arms and legs flailed about at random, like a game of Whack-a-mole gone bad.
Dolly and Merry jumped into action, each snatching a brawler and yanking her away. Everybody got roughed up in the process. The Women’s Wrestling Association had nothing on them.
“Girls! Girls!” Dolly hollered. “This isn’t going to change anything.”
“Stop! Stop!” Merry yelled at the same time. “You’re both acting like Neanderthals.”
Once separated and on opposite sides of the room, the brutal enemies tried to kill each other with laser stares.
“Look at what you did to my dress. It’s ruined.” Annie slung the comment across the room. Her pink, embroidered, lacy, padded, underwire bra poked out at them.
“Yeah. Well, that’s nothing compared to what you did to my life. I loved Harold!” Ginger’s lower lip quivered as she shook a quaking finger at her nemesis.
Annie frowned, paused, then said, “His name was Howard.”
“No, it wasn’t! He was my Harold.”
“Ah, Ginger, honey.” Dolly’s gentle tone caused Ginger to look at her friend. “I remember him.”
They watched as awareness clicked in on Ginger’s face.
“As much as I hate to admit that Annie is right, his name was Howard,” Dolly reminded her.
Ginger looked to Merry for support, but all Merry could offer was a helpless shrug.
“Oh. Oh. Well. Yeah, sure. Now I remember.” Ginger straightened herself, patted her mussed up hair, casually sat down at the table, and calmly clasped her hands. “I knew that.”
“Now that we’ve done a brawling bump and grind down memory lane,” Annie chided, stuffing the torn edge of her dress up into her bra straps, “I’d like to get to the reason for my visit and then get out of this dump as quickly as possible.”
“Do tell,” Dolly said. “Why in hell are you here?”

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