Behind the Book: 12 Steps to Mr. Right by Cindi Madsen


I love romantic comedies with that chicklit feel, and so I was brainstorming ideas. I thought about a dating coach who had all these rules, and even did workshops where she’d take her students out places so they could get hands-on experience at dating and figuring out how to sort the Mr. Rights from the Mr. Wrongs.

After that, I thought now who would be the right guy for her? Of course he’d be the type who’d make her break her rules. So who better than the guy who led her to make all of her steps in the first place? The guy who’d messed with her head enough that she decided to make a career out of helping women sort the players from the guys who wanted a commitment.

Of course, hopefully all of us are different people than we were in college, and we don’t always know the other side of the story.

So here’s the scene that pretty much catapults Savannah into breaking more and more rules every time she’s around Lincoln Wells.


Gripping the rubber handle of the metal bat, I scooted forward to the batter’s spot—whatever it was called—and blinked, afraid to fully close or open my eyes. I’d thought Linc would tease me, or… Or I don’t know what, but I certainly didn’t expect to be standing in a batting cage.A loud pop sounded, and then the ball flew at me. I swung too early and missed, the plastic helmet wobbling on my head, which made me worry it’d fall off. Protecting my brain was nice and all, but I was thinking the situation called for full body armor.

I swung too late on the next one.

“Your form’s actually not too bad,” Linc ever so helpfully commented.

“They’re coming so—” I swung as another came at me and I actually caught part of it, hitting it into the left side of the fence.

“That was a bit too late.” The screech of metal against metal accompanied the rattling of the chain-link fence. Then Linc was inside, even though there was a sign at the entrance that screamed only one person at a time in large, red font.

“Is this where you demand I admit defeat?” I jumped back as another ball whizzed by.

“This is where I help.”

“Ah, the classic smooth guy move.” It won’t work on me, buddy. I’ve got my screen up.

“In your case, it’s more of a necessity.”

I expected another ball, but it didn’t come. Guess I used up my last few pitches talking instead of hitting.

“Okay, stand how you were,” Linc said.

I lifted the bat and moved into position as instructed.

“Lift up your arm, elbow high.” He tapped my right elbow up so that it was squared. “Watch the ball.” He turned my chin toward the pitching machine. “And when you swing, put your hips into it.” He gripped my hips and swiveled me using his strong hands, and a traitorous dart of heat shot through my core.

My screen wasn’t nearly as effective when his hands were on me, so I should avoid that in the future, but for now…Well, how could I learn if I didn’t have some hands-on instruction, right?

He had me do a few more practice swings and then fed another token into the machine. I thought he’d leave me to swing alone, but he wrapped himself around me, his hands right below mine, his squared arm propping up mine, and his firm chest pressed tight to my back. “Just before it gets here…”

The loud pop of the pitching machine sounded. Trying to keep everything he’d told me in mind, I swung with him, hip swivel and all. The ball hit the end of the bat with a metallic crack and soared to the far end of the cage, smacking the center before rolling down.

“Okay, that was pretty awesome, and I’ll admit, hitting the ball is harder than it looks. But I still don’t see how this proves silky pantaloons aren’t like baseball uniforms,” I said, and he shook his head, his warm exhale of breath skating across my cheek.

We hit the next pitch together, and then he let go of the bat and stepped back. I focused on the ball and mimicked the way he’d swung with me. While the crack wasn’t as loud, the ball hit fairly center, and it was surprisingly satisfying.

I dropped the bat and jumped around, being obnoxiously showy—if it were a game, I’d be called for unsportsmanlike conduct for sure.

Linc lunged at me. At first I thought he was going to tackle me, and my brain couldn’t quite compute why he’d do that, but instead he grabbed my arm and yanked me to him.

Right as a ball whizzed past, so close it stirred my hair.

My heart pounded, getting the idea way too late that I’d nearly been knocked out by a speeding baseball. “Guess that’s why you don’t dance around home plate.”

“It is frowned upon,” Linc said with a smile. “At least until after you’ve made a homerun. To be fair, though, the pitcher doesn’t usually keep on throwing.”

The heat coming from his body seeped into me, and my heart switched its pace, quickening for a different reason. I released the iron grip I had on Linc’s arms and stepped away, making sure to go to the corner away from the batting square. “I think I’ve done enough damage. Time for you to show me how it’s done.”



About the book:


12 steps to finding Mr. Right, composed by dating coach extraordinaire Savannah Gamble

1: Admit to being powerless over your attraction to the wrong type of guy. (Like Lincoln Wells, who broke your heart after an unforgettable one-night stand.)

2: Believe Mr. Right is out there.

3: Take inventory of past mistakes. (See step #1.)

4: Make a list of qualities you want in a man. (Avoid charming baseball players/reason you made these rules in the first place)

5: Take charge of your own life.

6: Learn to love yourself.

7: Sort the hookup guys from the relationship guys. (Avoid a painful brushoff after an amazing night together.)

8: Never, ever settle. (Even if the chemistry is off-the-charts.)

9: Don’t believe you can change a guy. (Once a commitment-phobe, always a commitment-phobe)

10: Communicate your needs.

11: Open your heart & love fully. (Still working on this one…)

12: Don’t ever, ever stray from the steps.


Find it online:

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About the author:



cindi_madsenCindi Madsen is a USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romance and young adult novels. She sits at her computer every chance she gets, plotting, revising, and falling in love with her characters. Sometimes it makes her a crazy person. Without it, she’d be even crazier. She has way too many shoes, but can always find a reason to buy a pretty new pair, especially if they’re sparkly, colorful, or super tall. She loves music and dancing and wishes summer lasted all year long. She lives in Colorado (where summer is most definitely NOT all year long) with her husband and three children.

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