~Book Blitz~ The Wager by Rene Folson


The Wager: A Game Changer Companion Novella (Playing Games Series)
by Rene Folsom

You’d think the masks would come off once the ball drops at the New Year’s masquerade but, tossing caution to the wind, Liam and Maci decide to have a bit of fun by continuing to keep their faces hidden from each other during a night full of games and passion.
Get to know these two game-playing lovers before they even know each other in The Wager, a prequel to the new novel in the Playing Games series, Game Changer.
Note: This contemporary romance novella is an optional read in the Playing Games series and contains adult situations meant for ages 18+.

Maci: Solidarity

The beeping of the microwave seemed loud as it echoed throughout my empty condo—steam from the TV dinner bellowing out when I opened the door. Careful not to burn myself, I dumped the contents onto a plate and grabbed a fork. I thought it was pretty classy of me to forego eating straight from the flimsy, plastic container. On a rather unclassy note, I’d already hammered down two Solo cups of wine and didn’t plan to stop there.
I didn’t even wait for it to cool as I plopped on the couch and started shoving the cardboard-like food in my mouth. My thumb began to cramp as I flipped through the channels, each station cheerfully broadcasting Christmas movies. I knew I’d reached an all-time level of pathetic when I yelled, “Just jump already!” to George Baily in It’s a Wonderful Life.
It’d been two weeks without my grams here… two weeks of pure, torturous hell. Even though caring for her was a twenty-four-seven obligation due to the fact she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s a few years back, it was one that I took on with pleasure. Having her here with me brightened even my darkest days.
But her son thought she belonged in a home instead of with me. Since I was only a grandchild by marriage, I had zero control over the outcome. It wasn’t like he even had to care for her, physically or financially. So, why he bothered to remove her from my home was beyond my comprehension.
I let the television drone on while I sat, fork in hand, staring at the chair she loved to sit in, the blanket she made still draped over the arm.
Too bad visiting hours were over, or I’d be with her right now, singing Christmas carols over and over again and laughing at all the silly movies on repeat. The fun would just have to wait until tomorrow, I guessed. She and I would have no problems bothering the rest of the residents with our shenanigans.
Just as I was thinking of all the ways I could seek revenge on her son, my phone buzzed in the pocket of my hoodie. The drive to ignore it was nearly overwhelming, but when I saw Sky’s smiling face on the screen, I knew I had to pick up if I didn’t want her pixie ass standing on my doorstep.
Feeling the wine start to take effect in my veins, willing the Solo cup to fill itself back up, I inhaled a deep breath and swiped my finger across the screen. “This better be good. I’m in the middle of a boss fight.”
“No you’re not. You’re probably sitting in front of the tube with wine and a frozen dinner,” she said, pinning me for the pathetic dud that I was.
“It’s what losers do on Christmas,” I joked. Only I knew how true it was.
“Fuck that. I know you’re sad over your grams not being there, but you know damn well she wouldn’t put up with this whiny shit. She’d probably clock you over the head for acting this way.”
I rolled my eyes. “Just because you’re right doesn’t mean it’ll change anything. Tonight just sucks, and I’m allowed to wallow in my own pity party over here.”
“I know. I’m letting it slide for now. But you’re mine for New Years,” she demanded.
“Nope. I think my ass will still be sitting on this couch on New Year’s Eve,” I informed her. The last thing I wanted to do was go out and make a fool of myself.
“Maci, I need you. An nZone executive is having a company masquerade, and all my coworkers are dumbasses. It’ll be more interesting if I had you on my arm.” She paused, probably waiting for me to answer. But my answer was no different than before, so I kept quiet. “C’mon. Please? I promise not to make you have a good time. You can drink, and I’ll even drive your drunk ass home.”
“Why would you even want me around if I’m such a Debbie downer?” I questioned, astonished my friend was able to peg me so well.
“Because, you’re hot. You’re bound to attract the attention of some of these geeks. Since I’m the only chick at work, I usually get the brunt of their sexist jokes. It’d be kinda nice to have your smart mouth around to put them in their place,” she said with a laugh. Her voice rang like a bell through the phone, and even had me smiling for a moment.
With a sigh, I contemplated what the harm would be in going. Other than being forced to be sociable, I couldn’t think of anything really bad about the idea. Giving gamer geeks some hell sounded like fun.
“Okay, fine. I’m in. But there better be some damn good liquor involved.” I was only half joking, and she knew it.
“Deal. Now, stop wallowing in despair and try to enjoy your day with your grams tomorrow,” she demanded. “You know fat ass won’t visit her. So, she’ll need you.”
“Yeah, I know. Thanks, Sky.”
“Anytime, Maci. Now, refill that Solo cup and go back to Miracle on 34th Street or whatever the hell you’re criticizing,” she chimed, hanging up before I could think of a smart-ass response.
I sighed as I tossed my phone down on the couch next to me, the heft of it bouncing on the soft cushion before falling into a crack.
Staring at the Christmas tree Grams helped me decorate right after Thanksgiving, I allowed the lights to blur together while I thought of what Sky had said. She was right. My grams would never put up with my sulking behavior, even in her not-so-lucid state. Yet, I had no clue what else to do with my time. Getting wasted and passing out seemed like the best way to go. And the fact I knew I wasn’t the only shmuck in the world feeling this way gave me no comfort at all.
The melancholy feeling that enveloped me brought back the memory of where I left off in my latest manuscript. My characters were kicking ass and taking names aboard their ship, but their love life was slipping through the cracks—kinda like my poor phone right about now.
Being a Sci-Fi author had its perks, but when my mood soured, it seemed to wreak havoc on my poor characters’ lives.
As I looked down into the near-empty Solo cup, my characters began to argue. I knew I had to get the scene down before all was lost. The empty cup gave me an idea.
Well, two ideas.
Number one, I would refill my damn cup, because obviously, it wasn’t spontaneously going to fill itself up.
Number two, I needed to write. The old saying was true—Write drunk, edit sober. Well, maybe true was a bit of an overstatement, but getting words down while drinking was still productive, even if there was a mess to clean up the next day. If anything, I could turn my mood around a bit if I allowed these characters full control of my brain for a few hours.
Seeing how it was only seven thirty at night, I still had plenty of time to kill and knew my characters would gladly eat up a few hours of my evening. It wasn’t long before I had a full Solo cup on my desk and the light of my laptop screen illuminating my face.