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The Change Up by Evan Grace

Title: The Change Up
Author: Evan Grace
Genre: New Adult/Sports Romance
Release Date: August 25, 2022
Cover Design: MGbookcovers
Cover Model: Nathan Hainline





I’ve been in love with Sawyer Bennett since I was fourteen years old. Too bad I’ve always been in the friend-zone. Right before he leaves for spring training for the Chicago Hawks, I take a chance and make a move.

After the best night of my life, I sneak out in the night because I’m afraid I’ll be rejected. Things fall apart and then he leaves.
Fast forward two years later and a chance encounter brings us face to face again, but this time I have a secret, the kind that will change our lives forever.

MeMe Eklund has always been my biggest cheerleader, and the best friend I’ve ever had. That is until we cross that line and things fall apart.

Playing shortstop for the Chicago Hawks has been a dream come true. Between the game I love and the women, I try to get my mind off the one person who mattered most. Imagine my surprise walking out of physical therapy and finding my best friend with a baby in her arms, one that looks a lot like me.

As we navigate these new waters our feelings grow, but when someone tries to throw us a curveball are we strong enough to knock it out of the park or will we strike out.

This book was previously released in the Leave Me Breathless anthology, re-edited, and more goodness included.



Chapter One

Sawyer

 

My eyes stay locked on the flat screen and I still can’t believe that I’m on the news. In June, I got drafted to the Chicago Hawks, the MLB team I’ve wanted to play for ever since I picked up my first baseball when I was four.

“Sawyer, how do you feel about getting ready to leave for spring training? You still look shocked. It’s rare that someone gets drafted directly into the majors.” The reporter stands in front of me, the light from the camera blinding me.

It sounds like my heart is beating in my ears. “I-I am. I feel very lucky to be in the position I’m in and I hope to earn my place with the Hawks and prove they made the right decision.”  

They hand me the Hawks jersey the team sent me after I was drafted and I hold it up, posing for pictures. My mom comes walking up with my best friend, MeMe, who’s smiling widely standing by my mom’s side. I’m still posing for pictures and they stop on the edge of the crowd, both vibrating with excitement for me.

I start to laugh when MeMe crosses her eyes and rolls her tongue at me. The reporter glares at her and I don’t miss the way her cheeks turn pink and she mouths, “sorry” to me.

“Thanks for the interview, Sawyer, and good luck to you.” I shake his hand before he and the cameraman disappear into the crowd.

MeMe comes running to me, jumping into my arms and hugging me tightly. “I’m so freaking proud of you, but I’m going to miss you so much.” She kisses my cheek before dropping her feet  down to the ground and stepping back from me.

I take in her outfit and smile. She’s wearing her Chicago Hawks jersey that I bought her for her birthday three years ago. The red and blue jersey has her name on the back. MeMe calls it her lucky jersey because when she wears it, she swears good things happen, or so she says.

“Did you wear that for me?” I tuck a loose light caramel brown wavy lock of her hair behind her ear.

MeMe nods. “Of course and I still expect season tickets.”

I wrap my arm around her slim shoulders as Mom approaches with beers in her hands. She hands one to MeMe and one to me. “I’m so proud of you, honey.” I lean down, kissing her cheek. “Your dad would be so proud of you.”

My dad died five years ago—it had been a stroke and was sudden… shocking. He was my biggest cheerleader and coached me through middle school. “Thanks, Mom. I hope he is proud of me.”

Mom gives me a squeeze. “I’m going to head out and let you guys party without your mom getting in the way.” She hugs me tightly before letting me go and walking away. Mom reaches MeMe, who had walked across the bar, hugs her, and then disappears into the crowd.

She runs back to me, throwing her arms around me again. “My best friend is going to be the shortstop for the Chicago Hawks.” She lets go of me and does her Tina Belcher dance, basically she’s got her hands on her knees popping her butt out over and over.

I shake my head, laughing because I fucking love her so much. We met in seventh grade and we just clicked. We never dated, even though people always thought we had—we were always just friends. Through high school, every girl I dated hated my friendship with her, and I know the guys she dated hated me too. They were always jealous because MeMe and I spent so much time together.

She’s always been there for me—every home or away game she’s always been my biggest cheerleader. My dad died and she and her family were there for us, especially MeMe, and when her dad died our freshman year of college I held her up when she started to fall.

“Let’s do some shots,” I tell her.

MeMe throws her hands up in the air, makes the devil horns with her fingers and yells, “Shots!” I don’t miss the way the guys around us check her out and I can only shake my head. Of course what do I expect? She’s always been gorgeous, even when she was just a scrawny pre-teen.

She’s got to be at least five-eight and she’s got curves that could make a grown man cry. I’ve always loved her olive skin tone. Her almond-shaped eyes are a deep rich chocolate brown. MeMe’s mom is half white and half Korean. She gave MeMe her grandmother’s name, which is Mee-Yon. MeMe resembles her mom with her olive skin tone, brown eyes and brown locks. Her dad was a tall, blond, curly-haired, and blue-eyed, Swedish man, and he gave MeMe his height, wavy hair.

I lead her to the bar and we order some shots of Jager and toss them back. She orders us another round of beers along with two more shots. After we do our shots, we head over to some of our friends that just showed up to help me celebrate.

As the night progresses, things start to get a little fuzzy. The dance music is playing loudly and MeMe grabs me, dragging me out to the dance floor. I should politely decline, but I can’t seem to say no to her. She starts moving to the beat of the music and I wrap my arms around her.

We move together as the music pulsates through my body. My dick is half hard and I hope that she can’t feel it. A waitress stops next to us and has a tray of shots. I grab us each one and we clink them together before tossing them back.

After a couple more shots, we decide to head back to my place. We walk the two blocks to my apartment—we’re both nice and buzzed and the cold air leaves us in billowy puffs. When I see my place up ahead, I grab her hand in mine and we make a run for it.

MeMe’s laugh is like a balm to my soul. Once inside, I don’t let her go and lead her up the stairs to my place. I fish my keys out of my coat pocket and let us inside. It’s dark when we step into the living room, and I move to turn on the lamp, but MeMe stops me.

My blinds are open and the lamp from the parking lot illuminates the room enough that I can see her eyes on me. “Saw, I’m so proud of you.” MeMe lifts her hands and rests them on my chest. Can she feel my heart beating a hard rhythm against her fingertips?

I place my hands on top of hers—maybe it’s to pull hers off or to hold them there, at this point I’m not really sure what I want to do. “What are you doing, MeMe?” She’s never looked at me the way she is right now. Her eyes are soft and she keeps biting her lower lip.

“Are you going to forget all about me when you go?” Her voice is soft and there’s a hint of pain in it.

I shake my head. “How could I forget you—my biggest cheerleader, my best friend?”

A Midwesterner and a readaholic most of her life until one day an idea came into Evan’s head and a writing career was born. She’s a sucker for happily ever afters and loves creating fictional worlds that others can get lost in. She loves putting her characters through the ringer, but loves when they get to that satisfying, swoony ending.

When the voices in her head give it a rest, which isn’t often, she can always be found with her e-reader in her hand. Some of her favorites include, Aurora Rose Reynolds, (the queen) Kristen Ashley, Kaylee Ryan, Natasha Madison, and Harper Sloan. Evan finds a lot of her inspiration in music, movies, TV shows and life.

She’s a wife to Jim and a mom to Ethan and (the real) Evan, a weightlifter, a home healthcare scheduler, and a full-time author. How does she do it? She’ll never tell.



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