Alex Washoe has a new LGBTQ sports romance out (trams ftm, mtf): Diamond Heat. And there’s a giveaway!
(Scroll all the way down for an exclusive excerpt)
Daisy Flowers is a one-time college pitching phenom whose career was sidelined by misogyny and transphobia. For over a decade she’s toiled away in the minor leagues, doing any job she can to stay in the game she loves. But her heart has grown bitter, and every fastball she throws is fueled by rage. When the Majors finally give her the call, she has only one dream left: to take on the entire baseball world and leave it scorched and ruined in her wake.
Jonas Sutton, in his third season in the Majors, is a talented player who has never quite lived up to his potential. Struggling to break through, but thwarted by the secret he can never reveal.
Daisy’s arrival, in the midst of a pennant race, with everything on the line and the bright glare of the spotlight burning all the time, ignites tempers and passion. She’s prepared to fight every inch of the way for the glory she deserves, and Jonas desperately wants to stand by her side.
But no matter how powerfully he’s attracted, Jonas knows Daisy is the fuse on the explosion that could blow his world apart.
Warning: Contains interactions with transphobic characters (mild) and memories of childhood struggles
About the Series: The thrill of high-level professional sports and the magic of LGBTQ+ romance collide — with sparks and heat aplenty.
Alex is giving away an Amazon gift card with this tour:
Now pitching for the Seattle Navigators … Daisy Flowers!
The crowd exploded. People were yelling. Most of the Chicago players came out of the dugout to watch her take the mound. Daisy sprinted across the field. Heff met her at the mound, and they hugged.
I felt a twist of jealousy — I should’ve been the one to greet her out there. I wanted to be beside her at this moment. And at the same time the idea of all the eyes now focused on her made me want to dig a hole in the field and crawl into it.
When Heff was back behind the mound, she started to throw her warmup pitches, but stopped when the crowd didn’t settle down. She took a deep breath, turned all the way around, surveying the stadium. Like she had the other day, she took off her hat and held it up, with the Pride pen showing.
Daisy. Daisy. Daisy.
She turned back toward home plate. I couldn’t see her face, but her shoulders squared up. She tucked her ponytail back under the cap and began to work.
I’d seen her pitch before, of course. As a teenager, then on TV, and in dozens of magazine photos. As she faced the first Chicago batter, she went into her elaborate wind up. Starting with her hands behind her back, then lifting them over her head, the ball completely hidden in her mitt. Her left leg drew up, until the foot was even with her knee. That’s the picture I had of her on my wall in high school. Those long, powerful legs in tight fitting baseball pants. Poised there, for a long half-second, serene and frozen like a crane, she was still breathtaking. I felt like my chest was cracking open.
Then she exploded outward, her hand shooting toward home. It would be almost impossible to pick up that release. I’ve been thrown at by some of the best pitchers in the game, and I could imagine how that looked to the batter. Like the ball suddenly appeared with a crack halfway there. The fastball seemed to leave shockwaves in the air. It punctured the center of the zone and all the batter could do was step back.
The force of her pitch spun her around on the mound, and she followed through, ending with her back to the plate. She stood like that for half a second, as if nothing else mattered, as if the catcher and the batter and her teammates didn’t exist.
I thought of two things.
My Grandpa loved to watch old jazz films. His favorite was Miles Davis, who would come out on stage and turn his back to the audience when he played.
“People got pissed,” Grandpa said. “They thought Miles was disrespecting them. Or it was some kind of political statement. But it wasn’t that at all. He just didn’t care about performing, or what they thought. All he cared about was the music.”
Daisy turned back toward the plate. Her eyes brushed across me. She lowered her head just enough to acknowledge me. But that was all I got.
Heff signaled for a change-up outside. She nodded, her hands slipping behind her back again.
The second thought? I had a lit professor in college who loved Emily Dickinson. There was this thing he quoted almost every class. “If I feel physically as if the top of my head has been taken off, I know that is poetry.”
I know a little bit about jazz. Nothing about poetry. But like I said I have been thrown at by some of the best.
I didn’t understand any of that until now.
Alex Washoe is a nonbinary writer and game designer living in Seattle, Washington. In previous incarnations, they have been a bookseller, an amateur stand-up comedian, a public speaker, a dog walker at a companion animal shelter, a wildlife rehab care assistant, and many other less interesting things.
Alex lives with their best friend and one (and a half) cats. They enjoy reading and writing romance, cozy mysteries, westerns and speculative fiction, all with an LGBTQ+ twist.
Author Website: https://www.alexwashoe.com
Author Facebook (Author Page): https://www.facebook.com/Alex-Washoe-Author-Page-351907692814938
Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Alex-Washoe/e/B06XC351MC/
We both finished every bite of our cones and licked the melting ice cream off our fingers. Daisy had stuffed some napkins in her back pocket. We needed them.
“I believe this happened when I went with my parents too,” I said.
“My dad used to take us out for ice cream after little league,” Daisy said. “When he was well enough to. And by well, I mean sober. By the time I was a tween, that was about the only time we could interact. I guess when I was wearing a uniform instead of, you know, a dress, it was easier for him to forget.”
“Thanks for the ice cream,” I said.
We started walking back toward the hotel. “Tell me one thing,” Daisy said.
“Why do I make you so uncomfortable?”
There it was again, the opportunity. The seventeen-year-old me, sitting in my bedroom, looking at the picture on the wall, ached to just say it. Just tell her.
“I’ve always had a problem with personal space,” I said. “It’s hard for me to share it.” Because sharing personal space means someone is too close.
She stopped and stepped in front of me.
“That’s BS. Want to know what I think?”
I didn’t, but I just waited.
“Sometimes a man finds me … a woman like me … attractive, but he can’t deal with that, because what does it say about him, if he’s attracted to someone like me? So, he gets mad …”
“I’m not mad at you. Well, not at this particular moment.”
“But you’re … squirmy.”
“That’s better than angry?”
“Not squirmy in a creepy sort of way, more like a protecting-an-open-wound sort of way.”
“I guess you would know something about open wounds?”
She pursed her lips. “We are not talking about me, stop fouling off the pitch.”
“I don’t have any problem with who you are,” I said. “I’ve never … I mean you’ve always been …” No that was not the way to say it. “I know how attractive you are.”
Weak, man. Really weak.
“You know, there’s a certain element around that’s pretty sure you’re gay. You never date, you’re all persnickety and stuff.”
“What element? You mean Grog?”
“I’m not gay.” Should’ve let it go at that. “Persnickety?”
She stepped a little closer. I felt her fingers brush along my forearm, raising all the hair like a lightning storm.
“Persnickety means …”
“I know what it means.”
“And I know you’re not gay.”
Her breath was warmer than the steamy Florida air. Her lips …
“This is a really, really bad idea.”
But the pull seemed too much, as if we’d already crossed the line and now there was no way to tear the colliding planets apart. My mind was scrambling for footing like a puppy on a freshly waxed kitchen floor.
Then suddenly, Daisy chuckled and stepped back.
The sudden snapping of tension almost toppled me.
“Relax,” she said. “It wasn’t an offer, Bookworm. It was just a demonstration.”
“You’re calling me Bookworm now?”
“You prefer Grandma?”
Daisy turned away and started walking down the street. The sway of her hips was probably not more exaggerated than usual, but I felt flayed and raw to every sensation. It took forever for me to will my feet to move.
“Let’s talk about your batting stance,” she said, over her shoulder. “What can we do to get you to relax and open up?”
Okay, now I was mad.