Title: THE HARPER EFFECT
Author: Taryn Bashford
Pub. Date: May 15, 2018
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
Sixteen-year-old Harper was once a rising star on the tennis court–until her coach dropped her for being “mentally weak.” Without tennis, who is she? Her confidence at an all-time low, she secretly turns to her childhood friend, next-door neighbor Jacob–who also happens to be her sister’s very recent ex-boyfriend. If her sister finds out, it will mean a family war.
But when Harper is taken on by a new coach who wants her to train with Colt, a cold, defensive, brooding young tennis phenom, she hits the court all the harder, if only to prove Colt wrong. But as the two learn to become a team, Harper gets glimpses of the vulnerable boy beneath the surface, the boy who was deeply scarred by his family’s dark and scandalous past. The boy she could easily find herself falling for.
As she walks a fine line between Colt’s secrets, her forbidden love, and a game that demands nothing but the best, Harper must decide between her past and her future and between two boys who send her head spinning. Is the cost of winning the game worth losing everything?
A sizzling tennis romance perfect for the summer months, The Harper Effect, will be a grand slam for fans of Kasie West, Miranda Kinneally and Simone Ekeles.
Hi and thanks for having me I’ve chosen this extract because it’s a piece of the tennis games Harper is challenged by and is a snapshot of what goes on inside a player’s mind when competing at a top level tournament.
Having won the toss I prepare myself opposite Kim. Her sluggishness gone, she glares into me from across the court, bouncing on her toes. My stomach ripples with nerves. I look beyond her game face. She pees too. I’ve never wanted a win this badly – not because it’s the final of Eastbourne, but because I want to grind her into the ground after what she did to Colt. I take the first set 6–4, but she’s not letting me win the next set without a battle – and neither is her dad. At the end of a changeover break, his words boom onto the court: ‘Take her out, Kim.’ Kim sneers as we pass each other. I gauge her bloodshot eyes and she reacts to the personal space invasion by knocking into me. ‘Everyone wants you to win, Kim.’ I don’t take the bait, but it’s Kim’s dad, for sure. I grit my teeth. I can do this. She’s gone. I’m not losing today…
‘Your serve is da bomb, Kim.’ Mr Wright again, careful not to say anything that could get him thrown out, but enough to rile me if I let him. I don’t. During the final set Kim’s an advancing one-woman army. When I force her to run for dropshots she sends in the speediest warrior. I get her running from side to side, but she finds reinforcements and there are five of her on court. After I pull some power shots, she uncovers more power in her own arsenal. I pound her backhand, she attacks my backhand. Yet despite her defence, I’m the one calling the shots. She’s reacting to me. I’m in charge. That knowledge sends a surge of energy and determination into every muscle. The next time we change over Kim calls for a bathroom break. She stumbles over her feet as she walks away. Step it up. She’s tired. I’ve done that. I’ve tired out Superwoman.
Taryn lives the typical writer’s life alongside supportive husband, teen children, and characters from her latest book insisting they help make dinner. This can be disconcerting as Jacob is always sticking his fingers in the cheese sauce and Harper can’t cook.
Taryn’s been an English Literature Honours student, an advertising sales rep and a CEO of an internet company, but writing is her first love. The Harper Effect is her debut novel.
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