Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Touchback by Dawna Raver


Title: Touchback
Series: A Scott Family Novel
Author: Dawna Raver
Genre: Quarterback, Secret Affair Romance
Release Date: March 1, 2021
Cover Design: Dawna Raver

Football was his first love, but she’ll be his last.

Jett Taylor ruled the college gridiron for four years, winning the Best in College football trophy. Two years later, after one drunken mistake, he’s banished to the bench of the worst team in the American Football Alliance.

When Jett is presented with the opportunity to back up Thatcher Scott, the Tennessee Warriors’ future hall of fame, veteran QB, he leaves Cleveland without looking back. This time he won’t f**k up.

Johannah Thorne Scott worships her dad, and she’s committed to making sure he ends his football career on top. But life hasn’t always been kind to Johannah. Her ex blackmailed her with a sex tape, and now the hidden illness that killed her mother has come for her too.

When Johannah meets Jett, sparks fly. They try to stay faithful to promises made, but their attraction takes over and they start a secret affair. As Johannah's illness begins to overwhelm her, she clings to her goals, jeopardizing everything, including her life.

But sometimes, goals seem closer than they are. And sometimes, you fumble before you ever get close.

Touchback, a quarterback secret romance, is a STANDALONE novel complete with an HEA.

Chapter 1 


February Before Preseason 

“It’s right here.” Dr. Lee Havers pointed to  the specific spot on my MRI. 

I squinted and tilted my head to the side,  trying to spot the anomaly, and saw nothing but  my brain. 

“The aneurysm is growing, Johannah, and is  now considered giant, doubling the chance of  rupture. Ignoring it is playing with fire, and I’m  positive this is very similar to the same beast that  killed your mother.” The urgency in his tone and  the throwing of my mother into the mix told me Havers was observing a danger I refused to accept.  The aneurysm was on the verge of delivering a  knockout punch. 

Suddenly, my skin felt foreign and not my  own. Beads of perspiration slid down my sides, 

and I dug my nails into my thighs to alleviate the  stress. My gaze shifted to a magazine sitting on the  good doctor’s desk, and I longed to fan myself  with it, but I didn’t. I sat there and donned a  nonchalant attitude, but my body knew the truth. It  continually warned me of headaches, vision issues,  and nausea. Ignoring the symptoms set me on a  perilous path familiar to my family. This same  monster took my beautiful mama and now it  wanted to take me, too. 

Hannah Thorne Scott died suddenly when  her aneurysm ruptured, her demise written by the  fates and delivered without mercy. Mama didn’t  have a clue what lurked in her brain—but I knew  what lurked in mine.  

And because this aneurysm was the biggest  dick I knew, I decided going forward to call it  Richard. 

I get that it may seem odd to name  

something living in your brain that had the power  to kill you, but hey, a little levity went a long way. 

Sure, any sane person with my family  

history would check into the hospital and have  Richard excised from their head, but I chose to  ignore the stats on subarachnoid hemorrhages. The  averages changed with things like multiple  aneurysms and family histories, and I understood  that patients with isolated aneurysms were more  likely to have them rupture. 

None of this was news to me, and still, I  held firm to my plan. 

I let out a long breath and quit digging my  nails into my thigh, the pain quickly dissipating. “Johannah?” Dr. Havers calling my name  snapped my attention back to the good doctor. Havers was average in height, looks, and  stature. His dark brown hair and horn-rimmed  glasses reminded me of an older Harry Potter at  the end of the movies. Only his navy scrubs and  white lab coat dissuaded me from fantasizing  about him whipping out a wand and fixing my  brain.

Dr. Havers had his own kind of magic,  ranking at the top of his field worldwide. His walls  were decorated with degrees and articles praising  his pioneering techniques; his credentials were  beyond impressive. 

Unfortunately, my life wasn’t that 

straightforward. It was complicated by a goal that  didn’t belong to me, but one I’d chosen to claim as  my own anyway. 

“I want … I mean, I have to. That is…” A  hard swallow followed my rambling words. My  vision blurred with incoming, angry tears. 

Anger at my inability to get my thoughts  out. 

Anger at having to deal with Richard. 

And anger that I couldn’t confide in my  touchstone and protector. 

“I’ll wait. Let’s wait.” Speaking my decision  aloud dissolved my anger and let my fear move in.  I pinched my bottom lip with my thumb and index 

finger as my anxiety and anger battled for control  within me. 

“Are you sure? Maybe you should discuss  this with your father—” 

“No. Daddy doesn’t need to know about  this. He has enough on his plate. I’ll tell him after  the season is over. We’ll do the procedure in  February,” I said forcefully, my mind made up. 

Dr. Havers sat back in his chair and studied  me for a minute before clasping his hands in front  of him. “I see.” 

“You see what?” The anger returned, fueled  by the all-knowing look in his hazel eyes. This  man knew my family history because he’d been  my mama’s doctor as well. At that time, he’d been  a younger physician just making his name in  neurology. 

Times were different now. Mama’s situation  was not my situation. I didn’t want Havers, or  anyone, second-guessing me or thinking they  understood my motives.

“I see a young woman who is putting her  father’s football career before her own health. I  also see your mother every time I look at you. And…” 

He paused, and I saw regret flood him; his  shoulders slumped forward on a long sigh. “And you couldn’t save my mother, so  you’re going to save me? I’m your do-over? I may  look like my mother, but we are very different  people.” 

“Johannah, Thatcher’s neck injury was  substantial, and odds are slim he’ll be able to come  back and be one-hundred percent. Even if he  avoids injury, by the end of the season, chances are  great his physicality will be diminished. The one  thing I do know for sure is that he wouldn’t like  this. I can’t imagine Thornie or Caroline would be  happy about this either. I’m guessing you haven’t  told your family, have you? You’re going through  this without your father, uncle, or aunt knowing,  right?”

I stood up quickly and grabbed my handbag  from the chair next to me. My plan to beat a hasty  retreat ended when the world began to spin. I  stumbled backward, and Dr. Havers rushed to my  side. 

With his hand on my arm, he steadied me.  “Johannah, please.” 

“I’m fine,” I snarled as I turned to face him.  At least the spinning had stopped, but now my  stomach twisted and turned, threatening to release my breakfast. 

“You can deny all you want, but your body  is sending you a message. If you refuse to listen to  me, at least listen to it. If we do it now, we can  probably do a coiling instead of the more invasive  clipping.” Havers’ gaze searched my own for  something; acquiescence, I supposed. 

The American Football Alliance was in our  blood. It meant everything to our family, and this  season might be Daddy’s last chance for a ring. I  planned to do everything in my power to help him 

get it. If I told him the truth, Daddy would worry  about me instead of worrying about ending his  career with the Alliance’s biggest honor. 

I refused to be the reason he lost that chance. For a long minute, Dr. Havers and I engaged  in a silent standoff. He sighed when he realized my  stubbornness would win out. 

“Remember the drill. Monthly scans and  continue with the meds. No smoking. Watch your  alcohol intake, get plenty of rest, and manage your  stress. If the headaches intensify, or if you start  having double vision—” 

“Or seizures, drooping eye, loss of  

consciousness, nausea, weakness, stiff neck, yada,  yada, yada. I know the symptoms.” 

Even as I recited them, my hand went to my  neck and squeezed. The stiffness was there, but  weekly massages helped. 

“Just…” Dr. Havers paused and closed his  eyes for a long moment. He opened them and said,  “The location of the aneurysm concerns me. 

Patients presenting with your symptoms have  experienced hallucinations. Typically, this is an  indication of a more serious outcome. If you start  experiencing them, let me know immediately.” 

Hallucinations? Like butterflies and puppy  dogs, or devils and axe murderers? The first I  could handle, but the second would push me over  the edge. Just thinking about it made my fingers  stretch and spread, contracting the muscles in my  hand. I wondered if Mama had seen things that  didn’t exist. 


“What? Right. Yes. Hallucinations bad. Got  it.” 

“Please take time to really think about this. I  know it’s a lot, but you mean everything to  Thatcher. If anything happened to you…” 

“It’s going to be fine, I’m sure of it. Dr.  Havers, please remember doctor-patient 

confidentiality. Not a word to Daddy or anyone  else in my family.” 

“Not a word.” Though he promised to keep  my secret, a part of me wondered if I could trust  him. 

But for now, I had to. Finding another  

doctor meant expanding the number of people who  knew, and I might as well install a flashing light  above my broken head. 

“Thank you, Dr. Havers.” As I left his  

office, I thought I heard him say, “Stubborn as her  father, and Thatch will kill me.” 

True enough. If Daddy found out that Dr.  Havers was keeping this from him, he’d be  snapping-turtle mad. As I sat in my car, staring  into the distance, I had to wonder if Havers had the  same ability to see into the future much the way  Daddy read the defense each time he stepped up to  the line of scrimmage.

Thatcher Scott could see a defensive blitz  coming a mile away and would adjust accordingly.  He’d call an audible that would change the play on  the fly and keep the defense guessing. 

Was the blitz coming my way? Was I about  to get pummeled into the ground by the entire  defensive line without getting a chance to call an  audible? 

A large knot of dread formed in the pit of  my stomach, suggesting this gamble might be my  last. But I was all-in, the bet made. All I had to do  was survive the season, and hopefully, Daddy  would end his career with a Championship. Then,  I’d have the procedure, and life would move  forward as usual. 

Deep inside, I recognized I’d hurt myself  today, but the only question was how bad?

Smar​t​ass by nature, writer by accident.

Dawna Raver didn't always want to be a writer, but now the voices in her head won't shut the f**k up and the stories keep coming.
The Indulging Series was her first new adult romance series, ​​but​ she has a new football romance story, Touchback​ is now out on Amazon.
When she's not spending time in her fantasy world, Dawna loves NFL football, reading all kinds of romance stories, and pretending she's a top chef in the kitchen---even though experiments often lead to ordering out.
Oh, and fawning over her dogs and husband, sometimes in that orde​r.​


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