It’s time for a character chat with the heroine from Pia Manning’s latest book. Let’s get started…
For the record, what’s your name?
Hello! I’m Piper Thomas. Thanks for having me today!
Sure thing! What do you look like?
I’ve curly, wavy auburn hair and green eyes. I’m about average height, and athletic – I played point guard for a Division 1 University.
Cool. What time period does your story take place?
It’s February 2023 in Pinecone Creek, Wisconsin.
What is your occupation? Are you any good at it? Do you like it?
I’m a (first year) middle school science teacher and girls’ basketball coach. I love it and can’t imagine a more fulfilling career. I’d like to think I’m a good teacher and coach! That said, I know every brand-new teacher has challenges. I can truly say that I’m learning as much from my students as I’m teaching them. Basketball has taught me a great deal: self-confidence, respectful assertiveness, and the value of teamwork. I hope to help develop those qualities in the kids I work with.
That’s great! What did you think the first time you saw Coop and Rick?
I was walking along Main St when I stopped in front of their martial arts center to watch a couple of kids spar. Rick dropped the window shade in my face. Lol. Cocky, arrogant, know-it-alls!
Haha. What was your dream growing up? Did you achieve that dream? If so, in what ways was it not what you expected? If you never achieved the dream, why not?
I could always be found shooting hoops at recess! In the classroom, science ruled. I knew from an early age that I wanted to play, teach and coach, so yes, I’ve achieved my dream! Playing ball meant dealing with a lot of outside distractions-sports interviews, microphones, social media-all not what I expected. Most athletes just wanna play the game!
Why do you think your author chose to write about you?
Pia writes about strong independent women who don’t shrink from challenges in everyday life that we all face. Teachers strive to help students every day. It’s what they do. Sports minded women have also had to struggle for acceptance, respect and equality in the past. Their stories deserve to be told.
I agree completely. What other character from your book do you think your author should write a book about? Care to tell us why?
Pia should tell Greg Larsen’s story – Greg’s a teacher and coach too. He’s lonely and hoping to find his forever woman too. Hey! Emily Slater is coming to Pinecone Creek-she’s a nurse practitioner who took over my apartment when I moved in with Coop and Rick. Maybe…I’ll have to talk to Pia…
Yes! Talk with Pia. Thank you so much for visiting today!
New junior high teacher and girls’ basketball coach, Piper Thomas, is brimming with enthusiasm and can’t wait for school to start. She wants to connect with her students and help them achieve their goals. One student, Maddie, struggles with her mother’s death and her father’s emotional collapse. Piper desperately wants to help Maddie. The last thing she needs is a romantic entanglement.
Pinecone Creek Deputy and dominant, Jaxon Cooper aches to find his forever woman-one that he and his best friend, dominant Deputy Rick Sanders, can share. The second he sees Piper, Coop’s heart knows she’s the woman for them. Rick isn’t so sure. Rick is all about control, and Piper is a free spirit who doesn’t need anyone’s rules – well, except when it comes to sex. Piper’s last relationship fizzled because she wanted to explore, and her traditional-minded lover couldn’t handle her needs. Can Rick and Coop give Piper what she craves?
Preorder link: https://www.bookstrand.com/book/advantage-home-team-mfm
By noon the sun had pushed through the clouds and golden sunbeams revealed a beautiful early summer day. Piper sat beside Sherry in the front seat of Chris’s pick-up. Little Jenna Rose gurgled and cooed in her car seat between dads Matt and Eric in the back. Puffy white clouds billowed in the sky while the raggedy gray ones scuttled out of their way.
The sweet breeze, washed by the rain, gently moved the tree branches newly clad in bright green leaves. Dairy cows dotted the fields that flew by.
The peaceful scene stood in contrast to Piper’s nerves as they neared the Callahan’s. She thought she’d meet people a few at a time, not the entire town at once. Granted, it was a small town. But still.
Callahan Dairy, spelled out in large gunmetal gray letters hung, suspended between two poles, over a long gravel driveway and marked the picnic’s entrance. Piper glimpsed a sprawling log-style ranch home with a red steel roof nestled under the crest of one a pine tree-studded hill. Several long low dairy barns and utility sheds flanked the place. Piper lost count of the cars that lined the long driveway around eighty-five or so. Chris finally found an empty spot out along the road and maneuvered his truck into it.
“Busy place.” Piper’s gaze roamed over the grounds while she smoothed her hands over her jeans and tugged at the green V-neck tee with ‘grace & grit’ silk-screened across the front. While not her newest or most expensive top, the soft shirt flattered her figure and matched her eyes. It had fast become her go-to whenever she needed an extra boost of confidence.
Music and smoke spilled from underneath a large oak tree where a cluster of people stood, plates in hand, waiting for their food. Others sat, ate, and talked, while couples and family groups wandered around. The shouts and noises from several games vied for attention and drew spectators.
“Yeah, the Callahans hold this picnic every summer. Sue Callahan never creates a guest list or sends out formal invitations. Sue decides on the date, businesses put flyers in their windows and small-town word of mouth does the rest. We all try to help by bringing a salad, or dessert.” Sherry situated their daughter in her front carry-all. “C’mon, I’ll introduce you to Sue.”
Piper walked alongside Sherry while the men, following behind them, waved and shouted greetings.
“Stop it!” Sherry hissed, looking over her shoulder. “Anyone within a hundred yards knows we’re here.”
“What?” Matt shrugged innocently.
“Oh shit,” Rick Sanders exclaimed. “I think that’s her.”
“Yeah, that’s the Carter crew, so that’s probably the woman they texted us about. You don’t like red hair?” Jaxon Cooper, ‘Coop’ to his friends, asked puzzled.
“No. I mean red hair’s great. But I think that’s the woman I closed the shade on yesterday. The one staring in the windows. The brat who stuck her tongue at me.”
Coop laughed. “Well, there’s a bright side. Or a bright red side. Think of all the fun spanking the brat out of her.”
“We’ll see,” grumbled Rick.
“Do you want to go over there, or not? There’ll be plenty of other guys who won’t complain about her tongue,” Coop joked. “At least not for the same reason you are.”
“So nice to meet you,” Sue Callahan greeted Piper. “What brings you to – “
“Oh look! Here comes Coop and Rick! Hey!” Eric waved his friends over. “Piper, this is Jaxon Cooper and Rick Sanders. They’re deputies and Rick owns – “
“The karate studio,” Piper finished for him.
“You’ve met?” Chris raised an eyebrow at Rick and Coop. “You didn’t say…” he trailed off and scuffed his toe in the grass.
“Chris Carter!” Sherry glared. “You did not!”
Sue snorted and shook her head. “Every year. Never fails.”
“How did you meet?” Matt interrupted in an attempt to rescue Chris.
Piper smiled sweetly and assumed her best Ms. Innocent face. “I stopped in front of their studio before I found the day care. I believe Deputy Rick pulled the blinds down. Right in my -”
“We don’t like people staring at the kids.” Rick made his explanation a statement. “It makes them nervous.”
“Well, then why hold their class on Main Street in front of floor-to-ceiling windows? Why, that’s an invitation to look.” Piper’s unblinking gaze focused on Rick’s face. “Isn’t it?” Stick up your ass much?
“Hey, let’s get something to eat.” Eric tugged on Sherry’s arm. “Come on honey, let me fix you a plate. I’ll hold Jenna while you eat.” Let the groveling begin.
“Great idea!” Matt moved toward the grills.
“Yeah, let’s do that!” Chris agreed, trying not to panic.
Coop groaned. Rick and Piper stood, staring at each other. And not in the, ‘he or she is so gorgeous I can’t take my eyes off,’ kind of way. No, to Coop they looked at each other like a cobra eyeballing a mongoose. All because of a stupid window blind. And Rick’s rudeness. And Piper’s tongue.
Coop had had enough. For the first time he, Jaxon Cooper, had gotten to the girl first. Neither Piper – the girl, nor Rick or the makers of window shades were going to ruin his chances. Not today.
“Rick, please bring our plates over when the burgers are ready. Piper and I will find a place to sit. We’ll save you a spot. C’mon baby, you can tell me about yourself and why you’re in Pinecone Creek while we eat. Then we’ll walk around and introduce you to folks.” Coop wrapped his arm around Piper’s shoulder, executed the perfect pivot, and searched for an empty picnic table in the shade.
Stunned, Rick watched his friend’s back as he walked away. What a time for Deputy Easy Going to step up. More importantly, how the hell did Coop think he could carry three full plates at once?
Biography and Social Media:
Pia Manning is the erotic romance author behind the new Caveman Creek series. She is married to a wonderful man. Ride herd on four cats and a big yellow dog, raises monarchs, and plays Clash of Clans. Not a morning person.
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