Code Of Conduct by Cheyenne Blue combines two of my favorite themes flawlessly: sports and workplace romance. Cheyenne Blue takes us into the world of professional tennis and shows us the passion and the conflict that can develop between the players and the officials.
Genevieve “Viva” Jones was a great tennis player in her prime. She even has a grand slam win to her name. Then an overzealous lineswoman, Gabriela Mendaro, takes away her opportunity to have back-to-back wins at the US Open. After that tournament, a persistent injury flares up, and Viva knows her time in tennis is coming to an end. But Viva doesn’t give up without a fight, and she chooses to leave the game on her terms, no one else’s. On her journey back to competition, Viva has a chance meeting with Gabriela on the side of the road. While Viva still harbors animosity against Gabriela for costing her the US Open, she has to admit there is a sexiness to Gabriela that she hadn’t seen before. As the two women spend more time together, a romance blossoms. There’s just one problem: players and officials are not allowed to date. Even though Viva is on the verge of retirement, Gabriela’s career as an official is just taking off, and any kind of fraternization between the two would be considered improper and could cost Gabriela all she has worked hard to achieve.
Tough choices and sacrifices will have to be made, but at what cost? Will Viva and Gabriela be able to have their romance and stay in the sport they love? Or will the Code Of Conduct scratch any possibilities the two women could have of being together?
Cheyenne Blue shows us that athletes are humans just like every other person, with families and support systems to push them towards their ultimate dreams.
Viva Jones is a female tennis player who is passionate about the game. However, we are privy more to who Viva is off the court. She is a daughter who has no qualms about visiting her parents in the small town of Waggs Pocket in the Australian bush and help serve pints to the locals. She is a sister that teases her brother, Jack, but loves him just as deeply as her family. And she is a dear friend to her doubles partner, Michi, and her coach, Deepak. There are all these layers that Blue is able to show us and get a real sense of who Viva is. Yes, she is a tennis player, and yes, she loves to play. But more than that, Viva is a compassionate, caring woman about the people in her life who have supported her on her dream to become the best tennis player in the world.
Gabriela, like Viva, is very passionate about her job as an official. On the court, she is all business. She’s focused and intense. She applies those same qualities to the things that are more personal and important to her, especially her valued friends. Blue does a great job of giving Gabriela enough attributes to compliment Viva, yet different enough to provide a dynamic that is so palpable and desirable to keep bringing them together when the world of tennis is against them.
The Writing Style
What I love about this story is that it’s not what I would consider a traditional sports romance. I consider this story a workplace romance set in a sporting environment. In any profession, there are a set of rules about fraternizing and dating within a company or organization. In sports, it’s no different. Blue educates us about the rules for players and officials in the sport of tennis, and it wasn’t surprising to learn that they are pretty strict. Having this story be a work romance first and a sports romance second allows us to become invested in Viva and Gabriela’s relationship and their struggles to maintain their composure and professionalism in front of the International Tennis Federation. In addition, it allows us to have just the right amount of description for Viva’s tennis matches to keep us riveted by the outcome yet not become lost in the details.
I loved how Blue didn’t give Viva a miraculous run in her last three tournaments. Having Viva compete and become hindered by her injury, yet push through it in a respectable and realistic way, made the story that much more enjoyable. In addition, it really illustrated just how intense Viva was as a player and rational about her prospects at this time in her career.
The way this story was structured, it makes total sense that Viva would be in a better position to make the necessary sacrifice to be with Gabriela. However, I would’ve liked to have seen Gabriela at least attempt to find a solution to be with Viva and advance her career. It would’ve solidified her feelings for Viva and shown that she was just as willing to make the effort as Viva was, thus putting them on equal footing in wanting their relationship to succeed and have a future.
Like Blue, I have a great love for tennis. Reading this story really puts into perspective what players and officials must endure to be involved in this beautiful game and the sacrifices they must make, especially the personal ones. If you’re not into sports romance, consider this as a workplace romance. All the elements are there, and Blue does a phenomenal job of giving us all we expect from both genres and more. I urge you to pick this up and see just how exciting and passionate the world of tennis can be.
Excerpt from Code Of Conduct by Cheyenne Blue
A shout of laughter drifted up from the bar, and outside a single car drove slowly along the road, but otherwise there was small-town quiet. Viva concentrated on her food. It was easier than thinking about the woman opposite her. For all that they mingled in small circles, Gabriela was right. Players and officials just didn’t mix. She hadn’t realized there was an actual ruling against it, though. But it made sense. Could you make a match call against a partner or a close friend, knowing it might cost them the match? Often not just a match, but prize money, even a tennis ranking. Would you hesitate to call a ball out in those circumstances?
Viva set her jaw and sliced a piece of her steak. Her US Open loss bubbled to the forefront of her mind once more. What if she and Gabriela had been friends when Gabriela made the foot-fault calls against her? Would it have affected their friendship? Viva sipped from her water glass. Maybe. Maybe not. She would second guess that one all night.
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Bits and Bobs
- ISBN number: 9783963420317
- Publisher: Ylva Publishing
Cheyenne Blue Online
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