Several weeks ago, M.J. Kane was sweet enough to let Yasmine Phillips of Jaded babysit my blog for a day. Yasmine was polite enough to answer a few questions during her visit, so when M.J. invited me here I thought I’d bring someone with me to do the same.
There are a quite few characters in my book, but I immediately thought of Carlos Ortiz (even though he tends to be a man of few words). Here’s a brief interview I did with him and a scene where you can learn more about Carlos since he tends to open up around Paige… and thanks again M.J. Kane and all of her readers for taking time to get to know some of the characters from Playing for Love.
Have a safe week!
***Tia is giving a way an eBook copy of Playing with Love to one lucky visitor! Meet Carlos, enjoy the blurb, and comment and leave your email to win! *** (Winner will be notified 11/29/13)
Please introduce yourself.
I’m Carlos Ortiz.
What is your role in Playing for Love?
I’m just me. I don’t know what you mean by this question. If you’re asking if I am a hero or bad guy, that would also depend on who you ask as well.
What can you tell us about Playing for Love?
It’s a book. *shrug*
You’re not a fan of revealing much, are you?
Again, that all depends on who you talk to.
Did you ever think you would end up in a novel?
*shrug* Anything is possible as a ball player these days. I’ve been approached for reality shows, posing without clothes on, and even running for office once… so a novel is par for the course. I just never expected it to reveal what it did. A lot of this book shares secrets that weren’t meant to be uncovered.
What do people usually think of you when they first meet you?
They probably see me as dark and mysterious, possibly even intimidating. It’s easier to let them think what they want than prove otherwise. But around my family I’m just Los or Papi (he reveals with a hint of a smile) and those are the only people whose impression of me matters.
What was your life like growing up?
*shrugs* It was just life, y’know.
Before your story began, what were your hopes for the future?
I’d rather not say.
You really don’t like to reveal much.
I have my moments.
So… perhaps talking about something neutral will help. What is your typical day like?
Year round I get up at five for my workout. The type of workout depends on the day and if it’s the offseason or not. I handle any business I need to take care of and then head to the ballpark. Nothing special.
What’s your greatest accomplishment?
Winning the World Series two years ago. It took a lot for Philadelphia to accept me on the team. The fans finally did that season and we all came together as a team, thanks to Ken Wilkerson bringing us together, and we won. We brought Philly the championship it deserved.
Name three items that you carry at all times and why.
An extra hair band, my cell phone and a picture of my girl.
Tell us about your relationship with me. How was it to work with me on this novel?
You were cool, Tia, but you also loved to get on my nerves. I’ve had a million reporters ask me questions, but none did it like you. Then I got to know you and it was a lot easier to talk to you and share what I usually keep hidden. Not many people know what I told you and if you ever write another book with me in it, none of it better pop up in it either.
Did I portray you accurately?
*shrug* It is what it is.
Was there a scene I cut, but you wish I left it in? Why?
*wink* No comment.
Read more in this excerpt from Playing for Love
Paige leaned forward placing her hand on Carlos’s forearm, but then quickly pulled away. She knew how to manipulate body language to play on a man’s senses, but that was not what Paige had intended to do and she didn’t want to give him the wrong idea.
Carlos stole her from the crowded club below and had taken her to the rooftop deck upstairs. The area was deserted, as no one ventured there this late in the season. The weak minded preferred to only be seen upstairs on the cushioned chaises and lounging behind ivory curtained cabanas while wearing summer whites when sultry, humid nights called for it. Carlos was not follower.
He just preferred being alone.
Quite a bit of time had passed since they ventured up for privacy. Any other man hoping to get her alone would have had to work harder. Carlos was different. He had her open in ways that scared and intrigued her so she followed, trusting without knowing what was ahead. Now they talked about things she would never expect to discuss on a Saturday night at one in the morning. Topics reserved for people that wanted to know each other, discussions that categorized adversaries and friends.
After plugging in one of the steel palm trees hovering nearby that was really a heat lamp in disguise, he pulled off his jacket and wrapped it around her shoulders. Then their conversation resumed.
Paige had laughed and Carlos smiled. And Paige loved his smile, now realizing why he hid it from the field. Emotions made a person predictable.
She didn’t follow baseball, but Paige watched it enough to know who the players were. Her friends teased her, complaining that watching a game was the equivalent of bad sex with a little penis hardened by Viagra. Paige would just smirk at their complaints and preference for Sex in the City marathons.
Paige learned three things by watching the game.
The competition was slim if one wanted to catch the eye of a baseball player. Females were too caught up in being the next Shaunie O’neal project to even notice the regular Joes of sports.
Baseball players had some of the best bodies in pro sports. Basketball players were sometimes too tall and lanky, and didn’t always carry the equipment that matched their endorsed sneaker size – a stupid assumption on the part of most women.
Football players were sometimes just too big and bulky. Paige didn’t find straddling a refrigerator thrilling. She also avoided them because concussion prone occupations scared her.
Soccer players wanted to bend it like Beckham in the bedroom. Tennis, golf and ski pros had egos that stretched longer than their stamina. Paige was just not into bedroom therapy.
But ball players were perfect in many ways. Broad shoulders, ripped abs, firm thighs and a tight ass made for sliding into home had a way of making up for other imperfections. Her friends had no clue.
Paige let her eyes roam the length of the man beside her and smiled. Yeah, Carlos definitely fit the criteria as he filled out washed jeans, a black tailored sport shirt, Italian loafers and that dark, sexy glint in his eye. Paige clinched her thighs together hoping it was not obvious that he was turning her body on just like he was working her mind.
Above all else, in the criteria her friends lived for, baseball’s money was longer. Her girls were missing out, downstairs perusing what equated the clearance racks at Target when in front of her was Saks.
Instead, the circle she kicked it with these days had been partying it up and wasting their time on has been Rockets and Texans that didn’t even have a mass market jersey for sale. Meanwhile, the Astros franchise player snuck her up to the rooftop to talk and they probably didn’t even notice.
And if she wanted to be that girl Carlos Ortiz lost his head and wallet over, she could be her, but that’s not what kept her leaning in and listening to his every word. Carlos was friend material and she didn’t have a lot of them, at least not genuine ones. Paige wanted to bask in it, savoring the moment, making it last as long as their forever would allow.
“Why Houston?” he asked.
She smiled. “I could ask you the same thing.”
Carlos shrugged. He leaned back against a pillow and crossed his legs at the ankles. “I play ball here, so I go where my contract sends me. You on the other hand don’t need an agreement to live here and something tells me Houston is small potatoes for a girl like you.”
It was, which is why she liked it. “Not everyone wants to be a little fish in a big pond.”
“So you’re in Houston to be the big one swimming through the bayou?”
She smiled with him. “I don’t want to be anyone’s anything. I just want to be me. Houston has just enough, but not too much to feel competitive y’know.”
He nodded. “Like in L.A.”
“Plastic people and empty souls.”
“New Yorkers work too hard to prove they don’t need you. Counterproductive if you ask me and the rent is too high.”
“Oh hell no.”
“What’s wrong with Atlanta?” he asked. She saw the hint of a grin, the one she noticed he only showed when he out slicked his opponent after stealing a base.
“Nothing wrong with it, just not my thing.”
Paige sighed and tucked her legs beneath her. Her shoes were somewhere on the area rug beneath them. This man let her be casual and free. She liked that.
“Dallas is old money. Boston is their money. Philly is trying to remember where they parked their neo soul. Chi-town was cute for Love Jones, but way too cold for my taste. Miami is,” she paused to shrug. “Miami. Shall I go on? Because for every city you mention, you will not find one that matches where you think I belong.”
“And where do you belong Paige?”
This was where Paige did not expect to go and felt pissed she absently invited him to visit a place she kept off limits.
“What about you, Carlos? Where would you rather be if you had the choice?”
“I only go where I choose to be.”
And that’s when she knew they were kindred.
Kenneth Wilkerson, baseball’s MVP of breaking hearts isn’t in Craymont looking for complications. With an injury that has him sidelined from the game he loves, and the latest scandal in his wake involving a woman who is very much engaged to someone else, the last thing he needs is to get mixed up with Paige Scott.
Paige Scott, a former party-girl, has a very murky past and even murkier relationship with Kenneth’s best friend Carlos Ortiz. Paige knows Carlos watched her go from it girl to broken and when she finally healed, he made it clear to her that he would not step aside to let another man in just to do it again.
But Kenneth lets nothing stand between him and what he loves.
Love for the game… his family… and her.
PLAYING FOR LOVE is the first novel from the Wilkersons in Love series. Tia Kelly invites you to come meet the Wilkersons and get ready to fall in love.
To find Tia Kelly online:
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