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Archive for March 11th, 2024

Krysten Lindsay Hager: Second Chance Sports Romance Playlist: Stars in the City (Free in Kindle Unlimited)
Monday, March 11th, 2024

When I was writing my drama-comedy second chance sports romance, Stars in the City, I was both caught between that longing of a soap actress named Valeria Joseph, who wanted her ex back, and the adorable swoony moments when they reconnected. So, I needed a playlist that took me into both mentalities and acted like a soundtrack to dreaming about getting back with the guy who you never got over, the swoony moments where you fall back in love, and everything else that goes on when you have a second chance with the guy you’ve never stopped loving.

I loved writing this sweet romance that reunites a young soap star dealing with her own insecurities who never got over her ex, Davis, who she runs into on the streets of New York City. She finds out he’s now playing basketball at a college in the city, and they start to fall back in love. However, Valeria’s celebrity life brings drama, and it doesn’t help when the gossip sites link her with other stars. Can these two get it together this time around?

First, here’s an excerpt from Stars in the City:

“Valeria, you don’t have to be that girl on the TV screen right now with me. I just want the girl from River Grove back,” Davis said.

Except I hadn’t been that girl since I started the show. I reached over and took another sip of water.

He leaned across the table and put his hand over mine. “I hope you didn’t think I was judging you. Your celebrity life is so foreign to me. That’s all. I just want you to know you don’t have to be on twenty-four seven. You can just be yourself because you’re amazing.”

I met his eyes, and he squeezed my hand.

“It’s not quite the same thing with me playing basketball, but I do know what it’s like to have huge expectations other people have put on you. Not to mention, the high and impossible expectations you put on yourself. You and I have always had that in common.” He winced.

“I guess it’s worse for you now playing at the college level, huh?”

He nodded.

I squeezed his hand back. “I hope I didn’t freak you out with the photo thing.”

“You’re in a whole new world. Not going to lie—I’m not crazy about how that’s impacting you, but I get it.”

“Yeah, but then I dropped a therapy session on you. Ugh. I am a lot.” I shut my eyes and sighed. He was probably eyeballing the exits as we spoke.

He was smiling when I opened my eyes. “I believe I’m the one who started that session. Actually, the fact we’ve always been able to be open and vulnerable with each another is one of the things I loved most about us. That’s why it hit like a truck when you suddenly wanted to split up. I understand it now. Sweetie, I’m just relieved we got it all out in the open.”

My shoulders dropped in relief as I exhaled. “Even though it was a messy therapy session?”

He laughed. “Those are the best conversations to clear the air. Do you know how rare it is to find someone you can do that with? I hope you don’t ever feel you have to hold back from me.”

The waitress came over with the bill. He reached into his pocket and handed her his credit card before I could get my purse open. She placed two to-go boxes on the table for us.

“Ready to go?” He helped me put my coat on, and we walked back to my place.

“I have exactly fourteen minutes until I need to get the bus,” he said as I unlocked the door.

I frowned. Saying goodbye was going to be so hard after we had finally cleared the air. He came in and put his hand over mine.

“Val, I don’t know how to say this, but this is the first time in months I’ve felt relaxed and happy. Like my entire nervous system just regulated itself.”

We both smiled. “Mine, too. I missed you.”

How many times did I think to myself that talking to him felt like sliding into a warm bath? No one could calm my mind down like he could.

“I’m still worried I dropped too much on you tonight.”

He chewed on the inside of his lip. “I’m glad you told me all of that. You have a tendency to hold back, and I know it wasn’t easy for you.” He brushed a strand of hair away from my face. “Not going to lie—I’ve been holding back with you, too. I was afraid of getting hurt again. But I think if we want to make a go of it then we’re going to have to be open about everything. After all, things could have been different if we had talked it all out last summer.”

He looked down at the floor, and I knew there was something he needed to get out. I touched his arm, and he met my eyes.

“After we broke up, I spent a lot of time going over stuff in my head, and I didn’t know if you were afraid to get too close to me because of what happened with your mom and dad or if you wanted someone more exciting.” He sighed. “I guess I always wondered if you loved me … anywhere as much as I loved you.”

My eyes widened as I realized how much my parents’ divorce had closed me off. I told myself I held back from my other ex, Lance, because he seemed like a player, but the truth was I had been doing it for a long time.

“Last year, the idea of losing what we had was terrifying because it was the first time I’d ever felt anything like that in my life. I was scared of getting my heart broken and losing the one person who meant the most to me in the whole world.” My stomach fluttered as I knew I had to expose my true feelings for him if he was going to trust me again. “I was so in love with you.”

He exhaled and put his hands on my waist. “So you left because you were afraid that I’d leave first?”

I nodded.

He brushed my cheek. “I wish you had told me even half of this.”

I swallowed hard. “But that’s a lot to put on a teenage boy. I didn’t want you to be overwhelmed. I was so in love with you, and I was scared I was going to overload you and you’d run.”

Davis sucked in his breath. “I can understand why you’d be afraid to even bring that up to me. But you should know that that was exactly how I felt about you. And it utterly destroyed me when you walked out on us.”

My eyes began to water.

“Hey, not trying to make you cry. I just want you to know how I felt about you.”

I didn’t trust myself to talk for fear a flood of emotions and tears would come out. He cupped my face.

“Is there any chance we could get back together and maybe I could call you my girlfriend again?”

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The One by Amy Swift: It has that late night reminiscing over lost love feeling. I can see Valeria listening to this late at night and thinking about Davis.

Nobody knows me like you do (Made For Me) by Muni Long: This one just fits Davis and Valeria’s relationship. Davis says no one has ever understood him so well and Valeria feels the same way. You see them as each other’s biggest supporter through the good and, more importantly, the bad times.

Back to December by Taylor Swift: The perfect song that embodies what it’s like to reminisce about a relationship you screwed up and want back. This feels like a song that Valeria would play on repeat about regrets with Davis.

Golden Hour by Kacey Musgraves: The calming, sweet song that would fit Valeria and Davis as she says talking to him is like sliding into a warm bath.

Maroon by Taylor Swift: This song is set in New York (like the book) and the song deals with a past relationship. It reminded me more of Valeria and her co-star (and ex) Lance.

Back to You by Selena Gomez: The kind of song you sing along to in the car about the ex you’re missing. I picture Valeria singing this with her friends Cecily and Paige.

What Hurts the Most by Rascal Flatts: I played this over and over because I was basically trying to hurt my own feelings to get the emotion right for Valeria’s voice in the story. Also Bless the Broken Road by Rascal Flatts: For the moment where you realize the past will make them appreciate each other more and it’ll be different this time. (I write happily ever afters, so you can relax! It’s a happy ending.)

Almost Over You by Sheena Easton (There’s also a version by Lila McCann I listened to as well): If you’ve ever been sad over your ex this is your national anthem. Note: playing this at 3 am is not in your best interest unless you like crying!

Can’t Let Go by Mariah Carey: If you follow my work then you already know this song is my go-to song to hurt my own feelings to get that heartbreak feeling just right in a story. I put it on repeat and it just brings those feelings to the surface.

You can find the playlist here if you want to listen to any of the songs yourself. Plus, I have the ambiance videos Valeria sends to Davis to calm his anxiety in the book. There’s a few more videos that inspired me on the playlist as well. Happy listening and reading!

About the Author

Krysten Lindsay Hager is a bestselling author of YA and contemporary romance. She writes romance because she loves bringing people swoony moments and hope-filled happily ever afters. She writes about falling in love, fame, fitting in, frenemies, first loves, and finding your way in the world. She loves reading, watching movies, and lipstick.