Game of Love is set in the high-stakes world of professional tennis where fortune and fame can be decided by a single point.
Gemma Lennon has spent nearly all of her 21 years focused on one thing: Winning a Grand Slam. After a disastrous and very public scandal and subsequent loss at the Australian Open, Gemma is now laser-focused on winning the French Open. Nothing and no one will derail her shot at winning - until a heated chance encounter with brilliant and sexy Andre Reyes threatens to throw her off her game.
Breaking her own rules, Gemma begins a whirlwind romance with Andre who shows her that love and a life off the court might be the real prize. With him, she learns to trust and love… at precisely the worst time in her career. The pressure from her home country, fans, and even the Prime Minister to be the first British woman to win in nearly four decades weighs heavily.
As Wimbledon begins, fabricated and sensationalized news about them spreads, fueling the paparazzi, and hurting her performance. Now, she must reconsider everything, because in the high-stakes game of love, anyone can be the enemy within… even lovers and even friends.
In the Game of Love, winner takes all.
CHAPTER THREE (Excerpt)
“Be the change you wish to see in the world.”
They stepped into Cinematique’s spacious, modern conference room. The swarming began, and attendees converged around Andre. Hands were thrust, names with impossible accents were thrown, and positions were declared in quick succession. A different scene than the reception he used to get as an eighteen-year-old consultant with M&T. He had been asked to work behind the scenes, never had a seat at the table, and when he spoke, the others stared at him like he was a sideshow freak. Now everyone wanted a piece of him because they knew who he was and what he could do. But could he gain their trust? He needed to show them he was here to help.
“Dr. Reyes,” Franck said once everyone sat, “we are ready when you are.”
“Thank you,” Andre said, standing and positioning himself behind his chair, looking out at his audience. He often thought of himself as a performer or a chess-master, all his actions calculated and deliberate. “Franck, I’m confused by the attendees. I had been specific. Only those who have an intrinsic understanding of the systems should be here. Instead, I also see executives.”
Badeaux, the Chief Operating Officer spoke up. “Because I want to understand why this team continues to struggle with streaming 3D content,” he said in a condescending drawl. “We are the largest broadcaster in Europe, yet our smaller competitors have solved their issues. They,” he pointed to the engineering team, “are still lost. You will help me understand what has gone wrong.”
“I’m here to solve the problem. Not talk about it. What led us here is of no concern to me. It’s irrelevant.”
“It is not irrelevant to me,” Badeaux said, his voice sharp. “I want answers.”
Roger shifted in his seat, ready to speak, but Andre stopped him. He would not let this corporate bully have his way. He peered in Badeaux’s eyes. “How’s this for an answer: twenty-seven questionable acquisitions in less than eighteen months. None integrated into the company, because of political decisions. Three-hundred-twenty-one technical experts laid off in that same period of time to justify the cost of acquisitions.”
Badeaux’s mouth had gone slack. The room was silent, but the technical team’s eyes were glowing in shock, in awe.
He had read all the press releases in advance―Badeaux’s ego plastered across all those acquisitions. As expected, now he was trying to find the scapegoat. “This company’s core is a mishmash of technologies―a perfect mess. If you’re still interested in solving the problem, instead of blaming people, I’d recommend you let me run this meeting my way.”
“But our interest is paramount,” Badeaux said, most of his bravado gone. “Our expectations must be addressed.”
“Agreed.” Andre held up a black marker. “Can you four articulate your expectations on the board behind me? We commit to address them. In your absence.”
Badeaux’s face went blank. After a nine-second stare down, the executive team rose, wrote nothing of significance on the board, then stormed out. Andre studied the team that remained. The dynamic in the room had shifted. They were all grinning and loose.
About Ara Grigorian
Armenian by heritage, born in Iran, lived in Barcelona, and escaped New York until he found his home in Los Angeles, Ara’s first eleven years were both busy and confusing. The fruit salad of languages would slow down his genetically encoded need to tell stories. Until then, an alter ego would be required…
He received an engineering degree from California State University Northridge and earned his MBA from the University of Southern California. Today, he is a technology executive in the entertainment industry. True to the Hollywood life, Ara wrote for a children’s television pilot that could have made him rich (but didn’t) and nearly sold a video game to a major publisher (who closed shop days later).
But something was amiss until his wife read him the riot act. “Will you stop talking about wanting to be a writer and just do it?” So with her support (and mandate), and their two boys serving as his muse, he wrote stories.
Fascinated by the human species, Ara writes about choices, relationships, and second chances. Always a sucker for a hopeful ending, he writes contemporary romance stories. He is an alumnus of both the Santa Barbara Writers Conference and Southern California Writers’ Conference (where he also serves as a workshop leader). Ara is an active member of the Romance Writers of America and its Los Angeles chapter.
Ara is represented by Stacey Donaghy.