In Your Court
With a shot at happiness in sight, it’s no time to drop the ball.
A back condition ruined Ray’s basketball ambitions, but he wants one last opportunity to play before hanging up his sneakers. While volunteering as a coach at a special needs school in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam, he meets Singaporean Xin, who works matching wealthy corporations with compatible charities. Xin helps the American navigate the local customs in order to see the smile Xin fell for at first sight, but Ray makes sure no one sees how hard it is for him to keep upright, let alone keep enjoying Vietnam and playing the sport he loves.
When Ray’s back pain becomes too great to hide, Xin accommodates him in Ho Chi Minh and in Singapore—and in bed. Ray wants to imagine a future for them but fears he’s damaged goods, and Xin’s obligations in Asia aren’t easily forgotten. Ray won’t be another charity of Xin’s, especially when Xin also needs someone by his side. Their romance will be cut as short as Ray’s basketball dreams unless he can close the Pacific-sized distance between them.
World of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the globe.
Alpha Book Club Welcomes Author Reece Pine!
Hello, and thanks for letting me talk about my new release in Dreamspinner’s World of Love series, In Your Court, which sees Californian college grad Ray spend a week in Vietnam. Although he’s mainly there to coach a bit of basketball, where no one – especially himself – can remind him that’s a really bad idea because of his back condition, he falls in with (and falls for) businessman Xin, who’s also visiting Ho Chi Minh City.
Food gets mentioned a few times in the story, as Ray finds that meals which everyone gathers together to enjoy give him a great chance for a bit of bonding with Xin and everyone else he meets. Trying new food is definitely a highlight of traveling for me, so I’d like to list my Top Five Tastes of Vietnam that you can hopefully find wherever you are, and share with you how to make Vietnamese coffee to go with an excerpt of In Your Court
1. Rice flour “pizza”, Banh xeo. Made by frying a rice flour crepe, to which you add bean sprouts and whatever other topping you’d like while it’s cooking. It’s served in one piece, and you cut it yourself using scissors(!) before dipping it in peanut, chili, or shrimp sauce.
2. Egg baguette, Banh mi trung (“Bang me” to Ray) is a legacy of the country’s French colonial history. A small baguette, which is fluffier than French bread as it’s made with tapioca/cassava flour, is cut length-wise like a sub sandwich and filled with fried egg, coriander, and hot sauce. Perfect for breakfast.
3. Sugar cane juice, Nuoc mia. Large, raw sugar cane stalks are fed into a grinder, and juice squeezed from the pulp. Though it’s pure sugar, it’s really healthy and tastes quite light, not too sweet at all!
4. Green papaya salad. Now this one is sweet, and delicious for it. Shredded papaya, bean sprouts, mint, and meat are tossed together with a salty fish sauce. Best served with giant sesame rice crackers.
5. It seems blasphemous to leave out noodle soup, Pho, but I gotta mention fresh fruit as it’s such a boon to find exotic fruit, like, everywhere in Ho Chi Minh City. Spiky, candy pink dragon fruit is my firm fave, but I also love durian – which is so pungent when ripe that it’s banned from being brought into hotel rooms or carried on airplanes.
About the Author
Reece is a human pinball who’s moved around the world 20-odd times in the last 15 years. At the moment she’s in Australia, ignoring her handful of degrees in law, science and other subjects in order to make things up instead. She loves genre-jumping when writing and reading, and seeing diverse characters appear everywhere, as in real life. Although she’s a big fan of twists and drama, good representation of genders, sexualities, and disabilities remains as important to her as ensuring all of her stories end well, because we all deserve a happy ending.
Social media links:
Personal website: http://www.reecepine.com