The Coach's Baby is a story about a star athlete, African American tennis player Luna Forrester, and her attractive, playboy coach Ronan McIverson. As Luna approaches the biggest tournament of her career, she starts to develop confusing feelings for the man who's stood by her side platonically for five years.
Of course, things aren't always that easy which you'll find out in the romance novel excerpts attached below…
Ronan is far from the perfect guy and Luna's personal life is a mess. She's married to the game of tennis and for a man to keep her around, he'll have to be willing to not be a priority in her life.
Can Luna learn to balance her career and a boyfriend? Or will she have to ruin one in order to keep the other…
Keep reading below to get a taste of the prologue and first chapter!
Romance Novel Excerpts: The Coach's Baby
“I don’t want to go to practice today!” Rosita screamed down the hall.
“Rosita! Sh! Daddy will kill you if he hears you saying that.”
“Well maybe he should kill me. Makayla and Lakeisha are going to the mall today and I have to play stupid tennis.”
Luna rolled her eyes. Corralling her twin sister into practice these days was getting harder and harder. Their sixteenth birthday and a defining tennis championship were on the horizon but Luna still couldn’t get her sister to take things seriously.
It was funny… Luna had always been the weaker sister on the court but as she became older, it was clear that she might soon have the capabilities to surpass her sister’s skills.
Luna laced up her old tennis shoes and grabbed her old racquet. Her father had promised if she won this tournament she’d be able to get a new one. Still, Luna felt embarrassed to practice with the ratty old thing, even if it was all she could afford.
As Luna got dressed, Rosita stalled in the bathroom. She looked in the mirror at her dark brown skin and her long, waist length braids with white beads fastened to the bottom. At least she’d convinced mama and papa to let her wear something fashionable while she played.
Rosita wondered why her sister didn’t understand. She was losing her interest in tennis fast while Luna seemed to be more invested than ever.
She couldn't figure out why Luna was so ignorant to what was happening. They were fulfilling their father’s dream while forgoing normal lives. Maybe Luna didn't get it because she didn't have a boyfriend yet. Rosita had been dating the charming, varsity Basketball player Matt until her father found out.
That was the end of her relationship and more importantly, the end of her prom plans. Rosita knew their father loved tennis far more than he loved them. That was the only explanation that she could come up with…
Rosita started to cry when she thought about her recent breakup. Luna could never understand what it felt like. She was lucky at least. She didn't have to know the pain of heartbreak so young.
Rosita’s musings were disrupted by her twin sister pounding on the bathroom door.
“Come on Rosita! We need to get to the court now or Kevin’s gonna tell Papa we’re slacking. Don't you remember we have a match Saturday?”
Rosita rolled her eyes and opened the door.
“I'm sick of this.”
“Stop being whiny! Keep your PMS off the court. You know this is nothing more than an off day.”
Rosita sighed. Her sister was right; this had to be just an off day. What kind of weirdo played tennis over twenty hours a week if they didn't love it. Just the suggestion started to feel ridiculous. Rosita followed Luna as they walked to practice. Their matching outfits and hairstyles highlighted their similarities.
At practice, their coach was waiting impatiently. Luna hoped he wouldn't tell their papa about them being late to practice.
By the time practice was over, Rosita and her sister were both ready to faint. Even after gulping back a few liters of water, they were parched. After practice, they took the safe route home. Their father would be waiting for them with news from their coach. They would talk strategy, do homework and stretch. Rosita and Luna had strict nutrition and an even stricter sleeping schedule.
Their father had promised them a career in tennis and he was hellbent on making that dream a reality.
Rosita held Luna’s hand as they continued the route towards their house. They'd already made a lot of money from tennis and Rosita wondered when they'd finally move out of their old house into a new one. Papa had promised a move when the twins turned eighteen but Rosita hardly believed him.
He's probably spent up all the money so we will have to slave over the tennis courts forever. She thought bitterly to herself.
“What are you thinking of?” Luna asked her sister.
“I'm wondering if things will ever get better. Papa says he thinks we can be famous if we keep winning,” Rosita said.
“We’re already kind of famous,” Luna offered.
“Yeah,” Rosita agreed, “But that's just in the tennis world. What if we went to the Olympics. Or won fifteen grand slams…”
“I already plan to do all of that…”
Rosita scoffed, “Oh shut up, really?”
“Why would I be lying?”
“No reason. I guess sometimes I lose sight of whether we’re doing this for ourselves or for papa.”
Luna hugged her sister. She knew that Rosita’s frustrations weren't unique to her. Luna had secretly thought about the same thing. She had questioned her motives and analyzed whether her time playing tennis had been well spent.
“It's for us. It has to be for us. And you'll see. When we’re famous, every black chick in America’s going to want to be us.”
Rosita chuckled, “Geez Luna. You are so corny.”
“Whatever…” Luna muttered back.
Sitting with Earl meant forgoing relaxation. Since Luna could remember, her father had always required proper etiquette, full engagement and appropriate dress whenever he requested a meeting with one of his daughters. Luna still felt a slight twinge of terror when she was meeting with her father, even if he had mellowed out over the years and she was certainly far stronger than him when it came to physical strength.
Luna waited in the sitting room for her father to come out with “drinks” for the two of them. She wore a deep oxblood dress that highlighted the gorgeous undertones of her dark, mahogany toned skin. Luna’s hair coiled densely on top her head held together in a bun by a strained band. Her dress hit just below her knees and on her feet she wore a pair of two inch heels. Anything higher and not only would she tower over her father Earl, but he would be sure to give her a lecture about the impact of high heels on the balls of her feet. She wouldn’t want it to affect her game now, would she?
Luna could hear the blender stirring up a raucous from the other room. Of course when Earl said “drinks” he meant a protein shake for Luna and whiskey on the rocks for himself. Luna would have rolled her eyes if it wasn’t so entirely predictable of him. Luna crossed her legs at the ankles and waited, silently glancing at her phone to see if her sister had called. There was nothing from her twin sister, Rosita. Of course not. She knew better than to try to stick her head in on days when Luna and Earl met up to talk tennis.
Earl finally entered with a frothy white protein shake for his daughter and a glass of whiskey for himself. He grunted as he squished into his chair, the impact of sitting down almost seemed to knock the wind out of him. Luna noticed how much he’d slowed down over the past ten years. He’d aged faster since his wife had fallen sick…
“Here you go doll,” Earl said, gesturing to the tray on the center table. Luna grabbed the drink and clamped her lips down around the straw, leaving the light imprint of dark, plum lipstick.
“So… How are you doing papa,” Luna asked.
Earl smiled, “I’m good doll but you know we ain’t here to discuss how I’m doing.”
Luna nodded and sighed, “I know. It’s about tennis.”
“Recently, I’ve been watching your tapes and I just think something’s off Luna. Now… The tournament is soon and I just think you should talk to Ronan and come up with something new. I’m paying him all this damned money for what?”
Luna sighed. Having her father as her manager was both a blessing and a curse.
Luna answered, “I’m fine dad. You don’t have to worry, Ronan’s doing a good job.”
Her coach Ronan had been with her for the past five years and Luna wasn’t interested in finding a new one. Especially not so close to a tournament.
“Well I don’t know if we should trust him…”
Luna replied, “Well you say that about everyone and so far Ronan has helped me win. A lot. You’re too suspicious.”
“I know, I know… Well I don’t know what to tell you dad. Ronan looked at the tapes and he thinks I’m just tired. I need more rest.”
Earl scoffed, “More rest?! You think you win so many matches because you spend valuable training time resting?”
Luna knew there was absolutely no getting through to her father. She sipped on the remaining drops of her smoothie and sat quietly, waiting for him to continue speaking.
“Listen child. I know you think I’m being a hard ass for nothing but winning is how we keep your image good. Winning is how we get deals with Adidas or with Gatorade. You know they aren’t exactly racing to you the way they are with Jenny.”
Luna cringed. Jennifer Winslow was her main tennis rival but she hadn’t managed to beat Luna once in the past eight years, even if she’d come close a couple of times and given Luna a run for her money. Despite her serious losing streak, Jenny had managed to sign deals with LuLuLemon, Powerade, Nike and more. Both Luna and her father knew the reason for that was the fact that Luna was a black woman. She just wasn’t as “marketable” as the thin, pretty Jenny Winslow.
“I’m going to win. I need to win papa,” Luna said, reassuring her father that she was just as committed to the game as he was.
“I know you do child. I’m just worried. I want you to be the best…”
“Where’s that sister of yours?” Earl asked.
Luna smiled. Rosita might have been right to stay away.
“I think she’s out of town today,” Luna said before trailing off.
Earl huffed and then twirled his mustache.
“She never comes to see me you know,” He said.
Luna knew that “never” was an exaggeration but she let Earl have his moment. Ever since his daughters had hit their thirties and spent weeks at a time away from him, he’d taken up exaggerating his loneliness to encourage them to visit more. Luna was sure he’d made the same desperate plea to her twin sister Rosita the last time she had visited.
Luna’s mood shifted as she thought about Rosita and then her mother…
“No talking about mama I guess?”
Earl shook his head, “You ain’t s’posed to worry about her ‘til you’re done that tournament.”
“Y’all are too stubborn,” Luna muttered.
Earl smiled, “Damn right we are. Now don’t you have practice?”
Luna rolled her eyes, “I think I can keep my schedule in mind on my own papa…”
“Well why’s your ass still sitting here? You need to be committed to winning Luna. If I don’t see some changes I’ll get rid of that Ronan fella…”
“Don’t chastise me girl. Get down to practice so you can play better,” He said gruffly.
Luna brought her empty glass into the kitchen and then kissed her father good-bye. Sometimes his criticisms could be too harsh. He’d been managing his daughter since her tennis career began and sometimes the line between manager, coach and father blurred too much. When Earl finally retired from coaching Luna directly, his grasp on her life had eased up a bit. But these days, Earl was finding creative ways to get an “in” to micromanage Luna’s tennis career.
She drove back home at the tennis court entrance of her house where Ronan would be waiting. He was consistently ten minutes early and always carried on with Luna about her chronic “lateness” which really meant being right on time. As expected, Ronan’s Audi was already parked there. Years of high level coaching meant Ronan could afford more than a couple sports cars with six figure price tags. Luna wasn’t impressed by it at all. She always thought guys who drove flashy cars tried way too hard.
“Luna… You’re late,” Ronan said as Luna walked into her training room adjacent to the courts.
She ignored his comment and locked the door behind her. Luna looked in the mirror at her shapely muscles and curves. After tennis practice, she’d need to hit the squat bar badly. Luna knew that for most women, her strength would be a dream come true. But the truth was, having a body that looked nearly perfect meant hours and hours of training and sculpting. Sometimes the upkeep could get exhausting. One of the few things keeping Luna going was the thought that she would be retiring soon. There was no way she would turn forty and still be playing this game…
Luna changed into her tight white Nike skort that hugged the curves of her thighs and the shape of her thick ass. On her upper body, she squeezed her breasts into a custom made sports bra. Luna slipped into her tennis shoes and added a white headband to the entire outfit. She removed her piercings, makeup and jewelry and then shoved them all into her gym bag. Now it would be time to face Ronan’s “wrath” at her lateness and hit as hard as she could. She needed to prove her father wrong. At the very least, that might earn her a real weekend off with no training for the first time in years…
She walked outside onto the court with her recently re strung tennis racquet. Ronan was excellent at keeping her equipment in perfect working order.
“Ready to hit?”
Luna nodded. When Ronan started a workout nicely, she knew that she was in for trouble down the road. She took a deep breath and started their usual warm up. Today, Luna’s breath felt thick in her lungs. She knew that things had barely started but her mind was somewhere else, slowing her down. Keep this up any longer and she’d be forced to admit that her father was right about her training.
By the time Luna was done with her workout, she was dripping with sweat. Her outfit still looked pristine and white as she walked to her cooler for a drink of water. Ronan followed her with his hands on his hips.
“Luna… That was awful,” He said.
Luna glared at him as she wiped the sweat off her brow.
Luna nodded, “Earl thinks so too. He took the time out of his day this morning to tell me he thinks I’ve been playing like garbage.”
Ronan grinned, “He doesn’t mince words does he?”
Luna shook her head and took a big drink of ice cold water.
“No. He doesn’t.”
“Well take an extra five minutes. I think we should talk about this.”
“I don’t need to talk, I need to play,” Luna said.
She had that fiery look in her eye that Ronan loved. No matter how much Luna might deny it, tennis was her life. She cared every bit about winning as her father did. This wasn’t a life that he’d forced on her, even if she thought so during her times of weakness. Ronan stood across from Luna with his arms folded, waiting for her to adjust to the idea of actually talking through their strategy together. A part of what made Ronan a good coach was his strategy.
Luna sat down on the bench and glared at the tennis court before her.
“Earl thinks we need to change things. He thinks I need to train harder. Or do something different.”
“Aren’t you supposed to be my coach. Not my papa’s pawn?” Luna asked.
Ronan was used to her harsh tone, so he ignored it and continued, “Yes, I am your coach. And I think that Mr. Forrester is right.”
Luna glared at him again.
“Listen Luna, you’re training hard but there has to be something wrong.”
“Don’t you think I know that?” Luna snapped.
“Well if you know so much, why don’t you fix it?” Ronan hit back.
Luna didn’t respond and took another swig of water. Right now, all she wanted to do was take out her anger at her father and Ronan about this. She’d been practicing her ass off but match after match, she could feel that things weren’t getting better.
“Maybe I’ve hit my peak… Maybe I’m just getting old,” Luna mumbled.
“Old? You’re thirty-four Luna. I’m the old one around here.”
“Listen… Why don’t we compromise. We switch up your training but I’ll let you have more input. Earl should be happy and you can build in some more time for rest and recovery.”
“You really think he’ll let that slide?”
“I’ll talk to him, tell him it’s what’s best.”
Luna grumbled, “Good. And stop riding my ass so hard.”
“That’s what you pay me for sweetheart.”
Luna winced at his use of the word “sweetheart”. She’d begged Ronan to stop calling her these silly diminutive names around a thousand times and she was sick of it. Every once in awhile he let one slip and Luna would try not to blow a fuse. She’d been treated like she was less than men her entire life, even if she could squat more than they could or deadlift more… or tear them apart on the tennis court.
But today Luna was tired. All she wanted was to end practice and go visit Rosita. She picked herself up off the bench, feeling that itch to get her heart racing and looked Ronan square in the face before saying, “Let’s get started. I’ll show you just how much improvement I need.”
“That’s my girl,” Ronan answered, standing back and watching her walk onto the court fiercely.
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Try reading another romance novel excerpt like this one. Check out The Engineer's Baby, a story about a married interracial couple trying to work out the kinks in their marriage. Click here to read free excerpt.