Ali Dean - book author
Ali is a USA Today Bestselling author of sports romance. She has always loved to read, especially when there's a happily ever after, but found that there weren't enough books out there featuring girl athletes. So, she decided to work on that. Like the heroines in her books, Ali is an athlete, with running and skiing her favorite sports these days. Ali hails from Vermont and now lives in her own happily-ever-after in Colorado with her husband, boy-girl twins, and golden retriever Pancake. When she's not pursuing an outdoor adventure, Ali's less healthy passions include ice cream, coffee, and beer.
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Ali Dean is the author of books: Pepped Up (Pepper Jones, #1), Black Diamond (Stark Springs Academy #1), All Pepped Up (Pepper Jones, #2), Double Black (Stark Springs Academy, #2), Pepped Up & Ready (Pepper Jones, #3), Pepped Up Forever (Pepper Jones, #5), Pep Talks (Pepper Jones, #4), Black Ice (Stark Springs Academy #3), Defiance Falls Revolution (Defiance Falls, #2), Pepped Up & Wilder (Pepper Jones, #6)
I’ve kept my feelings hidden from the boy next door all this time. My longtime friend, Jace Wilder doesn’t see me that way. He has the personal magnetism and good looks to hook just about any girl in town -- and he has. Our friendship stands apart from high school social circles, and I’m fine with that, or so I keep telling myself.
That is, until running star Ryan Harding moves to town and bridges the gap. Apparently, I’ve caught his eye and suddenly Jace starts seeing me in a different light. Everything changes, for all of us.
On the trails, my goals are clear. Train, run, breathe, run, win. But when it comes to Jace and Ryan, it’s nowhere near as simple. This battle can’t be won by crossing a finish line, this war is in my heart.
No one here tolerates wimps.
If you can’t handle it, leave.
When Roxie Slade snaps into a pair of skis, there’s no one on Sugarville Mountain in Vermont who can keep up with her. Not even the boys. Still, Roxie was shocked when she received a scholarship to Stark Springs Academy, a boarding school that churns out Olympians in each graduating class. Entering as a high school junior, Roxie can’t wait to learn from renowned coaches and train with the fastest ski racers from all over the globe. But, upon arrival, Roxie discovers that Stark Springs lives under its own set of rules, and it appears one boy plays dictator.
Ryker Black is not friendly and Roxie cannot fathom why everyone wants to be his friend. Sure, he’s gorgeous and rides a snowboard like it’s his fifth limb, but he’s cold, ruthless, and holds way too much power over the Stark Springs population. Roxie won’t put up with it. She’s here to train, and she doesn’t care about impressing anyone off the slopes. The only problem? Ryker Black doesn’t permit defiance. Not without consequences.
Drama at school? That’s a given. Jealous girls? That I expected. Family secrets? Not so much. At least I can always hit the trails to clear my head… or so I thought.
The high expectations from my winning cross country season still haunt me, and hold me hostage. I can’t seem to get psyched up for what comes next. My competitive spirit is fading and I’m lost without it. What will I do when my one constant is no longer my safe place? Life on and off the track is spiraling out of control, leaving me in its wake as I struggle to remember who I truly am.
If you want to the best, show no fear.
And if Ryker Black is your boyfriend, you better be ready to fight. On and off the slopes.
Overnight, Roxie Slade went from an outsider at Stark Springs Academy, to a ruler at the prestigious boarding school for elite winter athletes. But Roxie didn’t know if she wanted that power, and she definitely wasn’t sure about sharing it with Ryker Black, who came from a different world and lived by a different set of morals. Ryker may have decided to trust her, but could she trust him?
Roxie only cared about her rising position in the ski rankings, but now her status at Stark and within the winter sports community is skyrocketing, whether she asked for it or not. Can she handle both while attempting a real relationship with Ryker Black?
Roxie once believed that her sole purpose was proving herself on the slopes, but she’s done that once, and she’s far from satisfied. She has so much more to prove.
As Jace and I focus on our athletic ambitions, we discover that his social status has followed him to college, despite attempts to keep a low profile. With my boyfriend as the campus idol, I fear that I might just be a target to those who find Jace threatening.
Tests and trials lay before us, not just on the trails and field. Are we strong enough to withstand the pressures of everyone wanting something from us? It won’t be easy fighting for my title and my boyfriend, at the same time, but nothing easy is worth winning… or keeping.
I’ve made it this far and I’m not about to slow down now, in fact I’m ready to start breaking some records. With my junior year of college quickly approaching, I know it’s time to step it up a notch if I want to run professionally after I graduate. Hoping for a race day breakthrough, I wonder if it’s actually a mental barrier holding me back and if so, how am I supposed to confront what I can’t see? Letting my past be my guide, both on and off the trails, I listen to my heart and finally know what it takes to win it all… trust. In Jace and myself.
I want Pepper back. Anyway I can have her, however she will take me. I’m reluctant to bulldoze my way into her life, having already crushed her once (okay, probably a few more times than that) before, but I’ll do whatever it takes. I just need to remind her what we had- what we have, and what’s at stake, but first, I’ll have to get her to listen to me. What happens if I’m too late and she crosses the finish line without me?
College isn’t all fun and games, and it gets lonely at the top. Thankfully, I have Pepper. She is the last person I would ever dream of hurting, but when I realize she has the power break my heart, I do the only thing I know. I push her away like I did back in high school, back when I thought she was better off without me. One thing’s becoming clear, I’m not better off without her. I need her. What have I done?
I thought everything would fall into place when I started college, instead everything is falling apart. Uncertain of my coach’s expectations or my place amongst new cross country teammates, I’m struggling to redefine my running goals and prove myself. My steady relationship with Jace should be a source of comfort, but his unexplained behavior throws everything between us off track. Running may be the only way to help me get through it, but I’m not running away, not from this new team or from Jace. This freshman is headed for the finish line, and nothing is standing in my way.
When secrets of a past scandal are plopped into your lap? Solve a mystery.
And when you’re a member of the National ski team? Don’t get distracted.
Roxie’s senior year at Stark Springs Academy is not what she envisioned. She never intended to be privy to Stark’s biggest secrets, but she’s thrown right into the middle of it, whether she wants to carry that burden or not. As Ryker Black’s girlfriend, nothing is simple or straightforward. A ski racer first and foremost, Roxie can’t let the ghosts of Stark Springs Academy distract her from the race course. Will she be able to pull it off?
I don’t regret it, even though I should. I could never regret making Hazel mine again. She gave me something real to fight for.
It was too late for her to back out now. She was one of us again. And she was about to find out what that meant.
The best part of a happy ending... finding out it's actually just the beginning. Having someone promise to be by your side, to chase dreams with, whisper troubles to, it's more than I could have imagined.
But after three seasons of Jace playing pro ball in Ohio, three long seasons, with him on the road, and me training all over the world, I’m questioning if we can really have it all. Harsh criticism of our relationship is all too familiar and uncovers old wounds. I only ever wanted to run and to be with Jace, and finding the perfect balance proves to be my greatest trial yet.
We vowed not to let our love deter each other's athletic goals, but I miss him. I miss us.
The demands of our careers have us running in opposite directions, when we should be putting down roots, together. But escalating fame and an overbearing agent have me fumbling everything I hold dear, including Pepper.
After years of dedication and sacrifice, I'm finally in a position to trade to my hometown team. Moving back to Colorado could be the answer to all our problems, but just when I think we're finally on the right track, we're sacked with news that turns everything upside down. News that rattles me and sends Pepper into a tailspin. It's time for me to remind the girl that I fell in love with how to fight.
Until she's ready, I'll fight hard enough for the both of us. For better or for worse.