If only life came with a script.

Anna Jeffries has spent the last thirty-two years blending in, content in her worn-out reading chair—her happy corner of the world—spinning romantic scenarios she’s certain reality can’t deliver. After three years of teaching Shakespeare at UC Berkeley, Anna is working toward full tenure. Her life in the classroom means everything and she can’t imagine wanting more… until she does.

Dane Sivac is in his second year as the wide receiver coach, and with new talent on the team this year, he’s beginning to think his future may hold a permanent position with Cal—as permanent as any coach can hope for. When his star receiver begins struggling on and off the field, the sports psychologist asks Dane for help. For Dane, emotions are best ignored, but his player’s seemingly uptight Shakespeare professor is driving Dane nuts… until she’s not.

Invested in the future of a student athlete they’ve both come to care about, Dane and Anna are forced to work together. The attraction is undeniable, but opposing teams rarely get along. Right as Dane makes the type of romantic gesture Anna has only known in fiction, her career is threatened and she is reminded, playbook or not, she was never good at games.


“You have a house?”

“I do. Is that surprising?”

She nodded.

“Why? Do you think I live at the gym? Maybe I camp outside and shower off with a garden hose like an animal?”

Anna was stuck for a minute as her mind entertained him and a garden hose with such clarity that she felt it all the way down her legs. His laugh thankfully broke her free.


“The narrative is fast-paced and accessible, with many deeply touching and unexpected scenes about loss and emotional health.”

“Another huge hit. Beautifully written.”

“If there was ever a sweeter couple than Dane and Anna, I have not come across them.”

“This was just such a great love story!! It felt old-fashioned in the very best way possible.”

“This book made me ugly cry in a good way.”
Buttons Mom 2003

Chapter One

Annabelle Jeffries was lost in thought. It was nothing new, except this time she almost bought a zebra head. In fact, if it hadn’t been for the little girl with the blue toenail polish in line at Cosmo’s Costumes, Anna definitely would have left with the wrong rubber mask. She was trying to memorize the names of her new students, using a word association trick her friend and professor-in-crime Cynda Bass had explained, when the little girl’s incessant whining to her frazzled mother about “needing boas for the birthday party or everything would be ruined,” Anna returned to reality. The snap back to real life was often jarring, but as she noticed the stripes rather than the donkey she ordered, Anna was grateful for it.

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What Readers are Saying…

  • "It’s light without being fluffy, the romance realistic, the friendships meaningful, and the characters easy to connect with. I always recommend Tracy Ewens’ novels, but this one might be my personal favorite."
    Carlene (Tap)
  • “Tracy Ewens writing proved to be what I crave from my romance books. Angst and conflict coupled with a character driven plot guided by charming, unassuming characters and terrific writing.”
    TeriLyn (Playbook)
  • “No characters have felt more real to me than these two. Sure there is the snappy dialog, wry and witty humor, but underneath it all is a love so deep and thorough that you can’t help but let your heart and emotions be touched in a way that lasts long after the story ends.”
    Becky (Exposure)
  • When it comes to the story itself, I loved the author’s voice. Her way with words, especially the inner dialogue of the characters, it was a really engrossing and comfortable read. It was funny, sad, happy and angsty at times but each character shined through as his/her own person and moved the story along as just the right pacing.
    Wishful Miss
    Wishful Miss (Brew)
  • "Another great and witty book from Tracy Ewens, this time focussing on Patrick McNaughton and the brewery’s wonder woman Aspen. Great connection between the characters and you really get drawn in to the story."
    Rachel (Smooth)