Worth the Trade
By Kristina Mathews
A ballplayer and a team owner would give anything for a championship—even their hearts…
After inheriting majority ownership of the San Francisco Goliaths baseball team, Hunter Collins wants to prove to herself—and the rest of the league—that she’s got what it takes to build a champion. Her first move is to trade for a hot left-fielder. He’s got it all, speed, power, and a desire to win. Not to mention undeniable charm.
Marco Santiago is tired of being the new player in town. After four teams in six years, he’s facing free agency at the end of the season. He wants nothing more than a long-term contract and a World Series win. Hitting on his new owner probably isn’t the best way to get it, but love may be the most powerful challenger either of them has ever faced…
Warning: Strong language, consummated love scenes, and some baseball clichés.
“Smart, fun, and sexy. A great romance read.” –New York Times Bestselling Author, Kat Martin
“I’m only interested in winning the division and making a strong run in the postseason.” She turned her head to look out the window as if to show she was unaffected by the chemistry between them.
“Aren’t you a rotten liar?” He chuckled softly. Oh yeah, he was definitely getting to her. “Don’t join in the poker game at the next owners’ retreat. You’ll be wiped out.”
She whipped her head around so fast the car shook. “I happen to be a very good poker player. I can hold my own against anyone. Anytime.”
Interesting. Her strong reaction told him two things. She was insecure about her place among her fellow owners. And yes, she was interested in him on more than a professional level.
“That explains your wardrobe.” He leaned back, not ready to leave her just yet. “You dress like you do to fit in with the old boys’ club. But you can’t hide the fact that you are all woman.”
“And you can’t hide the fact that you don’t want to be here.” She dared look him straight in the eye, but couldn’t hold his gaze.
“I’m starting to come around.” He gave her one last smile.
It is my pleasure to welcome Kristina Mathews, author of Worth the Trade, to Room With Books.
Please tell us about Worth the Trade and what inspired you to write it?
Worth The Trade is about a woman who inherits majority ownership of the San Francisco Goliaths baseball team. Her first act is to trade for a player who she believes will bring home the championship. What she doesn’t expect is that he will also win her heart.
The idea for the story came when the San Francisco Giants traded for Hunter Pence. He showed up at the ballpark in a limo straight from the airport. The baseball fan in me loves his enthusiasm and dedication. The writer in me started wondering what if…? What if a woman was in that limo with him? What if she was the owner of the team? What if they fell in love?
When you start writing a new novel, do you outline the story or do your characters dictate what will happen?
I tried outlining a story once. I never got past chapter three. I was the student who would write my papers at the last minute and type up the outline last. Sometimes I even wrote a fake “rough draft” on the bus on my way to school.
I usually start a book with a GMC- Goal, Motivation, Conflict. I think about what each character wants, why, and what is stopping them. I try to write a short synopsis to get me going, knowing it will change over the course of the book.
Do you ever have arguments with your characters and who usually wins?
My characters can be quite ornery. I’m having the most trouble with Bryce Baxter right now. He’s supposed to be a bad boy, but he’s being too nice. And Rachel Parker is too afraid of her feelings, so she’s not letting him in. They’ll figure it out eventually.
What is something about you your readers would be surprised to know?
I performed onstage with Andy Williams. I’m not a singer, other than in my car to embarrass my children. When I was a Junior in High School, a friend was part of the chorus for the Andy Williams Christmas show at Harrah’s. It ran several nights and there was one night that many of the regular chorus members couldn’t attend because they had a concert at the other high school in Tahoe. So a couple of us put on choir robes and stood in the back row just to have enough bodies. Most of the songs were familiar Christmas carols, so I did sing along.
If you could write with any other author who would it be any why?
This is a tough one. I don’t really know if I’d be able to co-write with someone else. Writing is a private thing for me, at least during the first draft. I have to get the whole thing finished before I let anyone in. Then I’m open for feedback, and of course, my editor is awesome at taking my books to the next level.
When you were little what did you dream of becoming when you grew up and why?
I have a school scrapbook from when I was a kid. It has pockets for report cards and such and a place for a picture, and then at the bottom there are these boxes you can check off what you want to be when you grow up. There are separate lists for boys and girls. When I was in second grade, I checked off baseball player from the boys’ list, but I circled the word “Girls” and drew and arrow to the job I wanted to have. As if I would forget I was a girl.
I also marked the boxes for teacher, mother, and astronaut. I’m pretty sure the astronaut was under the boys list also, but I’d established my gender already. I have been a teacher, a mother. I write about baseball players. Maybe one day I will write about an astronaut.
When did you decide to write and what prompted you to start?
I’ve always written since at least high school. I don’t think I would have survived the teen years if not for the volumes and volumes of blank books I wrote my thoughts, hopes, and bad poetry in. Please don’t let them be in a box in my mom’s storage unit somewhere.
I attempted my first romance novel in 1993, but it was a historical and I couldn’t justify spending so much time at the library doing research when I was finishing my teaching credential and then looking for a job. I’d jotted down story ideas over the years, but never really went anywhere with them.
When I was working full time I started a story about a woman who quits her job to become a stay-at-home mom with her two children. I didn’t finish the book, but for a few years I lived it. Around 2008, I wrote an inspirational, secret-baby, spy thriller told almost entirely in wine-induced flashbacks. The most important words I wrote were the last two, “The end.” I proved to myself that I could finish a book, and then I started the next one. And the next.
What music inspires your writing?
I don’t listen to music when I write unless my family is watching something really annoying, like Big Foot Hunters and I need to block out the noise. I can’t figure out how to update my iPod without it downloading the music my kids listen to, so I have a limited playlist. The Eagles, Tom Petty, Jimmy Buffett are my road trip music. Every vacation we’ve taken in the past 21+ years starts with Jimmy Buffett’s “Cheeseburger In Paradise.”
What is your favorite breakfast? Bacon, eggs, potatoes. I don’t eat that kind of breakfast unless I’m on vacation.
What is your favorite color? Red or pink.
What is your favorite movie? Field of Dreams
What is your dream car? I kind of miss my old Jeep. We got rid of it when we had a baby, we couldn’t fit the portacrib in the back. We went on a camping trip in Nevada and we had to borrow my mother-in-law’s minivan. I now drive a RAV-4, which is basically a station wagon that has all-wheel drive when I need it for occasional snow.
I would love to buy my husband a new truck, but I think it will be hard for him to part with his 2003 Toyota Tacoma, we’ve taken many, many great trips in that truck.
How can our readers find you?
Thank you, Kristina, for joining us for a quick chat and thank you for allowing Room With Books to be part of your tour!
Kristina Mathews doesn’t remember a time when she didn’t have a book in her hand. Or in her head. But it wasn’t until 2010 that she confessed the reason the laundry never made it out of the dryer was because she was busy writing romance novels.
While she resigned from teaching with the arrival of her second son, she’s remained an educator in some form. As a volunteer, Parent Club member or para educator, she finds the most satisfaction working with emergent and developing readers, helping foster confidence and a lifelong love of books.
Kristina lives in Northern California with her husband of twenty years, two sons and a black lab. A veteran road tripper, amateur renovator and sports fanatic. She hopes to one day travel all 3,073 miles of Highway 50 from Sacramento, CA to Ocean City, MD, replace her carpet with hardwood floors and serve as a “Ball Dudette” for the San Francisco Giants.
- $10 Amazon gift card
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