(Gaming The System #10)

Coming April 30, 2024

Read the complete Chapter 1 below!


In the game of life, Mia Drake has leveled up like a pro. Just out of medical school, she’s landed her dream job—a medical residency at a prestigious hospital. She has a beautiful home and an amazing husband. But there’s one more achievement she’s determined to unlock: becoming a mother.

In the business world, Adam Drake is a beast. He can face any threat. Conquer any boardroom. But when Mia issues the challenge to start a family, Adam will have to take up a sword to fight the ultimate boss—his own fear.

The path forward is clear, but are Adam and Mia truly ready to embark on this epic quest?

Pre-Order on all online stores






*please note the audio and translated versions will be available at a later date




I stood shoulder to shoulder with friends and colleagues, facing the brilliant light of a setting sun, staring toward my future as if it was a physical monolith situated on the horizon. Sure, we were all dressed like we’d just stepped off the set of a Harry Potter movie. All I needed was my maroon and gold Gryffindor scarf to complete the look. Our caps and gowns were black, decorated with the dark green stripes of the School of Medicine. From our caps dangled green tassels. Excitement crackled in the air around every one of us. Without a doubt, we had worked our asses—and possibly other body parts—off to be here.

Here I was, in line to mount the steps to the stage. Me, Emilia Kimberly Strong Drake, soon-to-be MD.

Hard to believe, and yet, here I was. After an arduous academic—and personal—journey, to get here.

Here I was, finally, facing my future.

“This is so surreal,” my friend Louisa said at my shoulder. “Can you even believe it?”

I quirked a smile at her. “My body feels like I’m eighty years old and I’ve been through the wringer. I can absolutely believe it. Because if this is just another one of those fake-out dreams I’ve been having, I’ll fall on the ground and throw a tantrum right now.”

She smiled wide, showing off her beautiful, even white teeth. Louisa had big, brown eyes, deep brown skin and shoulder-length, tightly curled dark hair. And she looked as exhaustedly relieved and content as I felt.

“We’re here, we’ve made it. I can pinch you if you want, but definitely don’t be throwing tantrums. Think about your family out there watching us. And I’m pretty sure I spotted your ridiculously sexy hubby.”

I laughed. I’d spotted him, too. He was in the center of one of the loudest cheering sections out there, led overly enthusiastically by my mother and assisted by Jenna, my hopefully-soon-to-be-someday stepsister-in-law.

“Have you found your husband in the crowd?” I asked her.

“Not yet. Midwesterners only get rowdy at football games. But I have a feeling that’s going to change this evening.”

“What’s this evening?”

“Well…I have a secret I haven’t told anyone yet.”

I frowned. “Do I get to know the secret?” I whispered loudly.

“I can’t tell you yet,” Louisa said.

I arched a brow. “Are you sure? Don’t tell me that you’re backing out of the St. Joseph’s residency, or I’ll never forgive you.”

“Oh no. No way. We’re going to be interns together, for sure. But after that…” She shrugged dramatically. “Who knows?”

I turned to her. “Lou, please tell me you aren’t ditching me. You and I are the only ones from UCI who matched with that program.”

“I’m not planning to ditch you. However…” She bit her lip, gave me an enigmatic smile, and shrugged dramatically. Then she very deliberately patted her belly.

I raised my brow at her. “Indigestion? All that questionable fast food we ate while studying for exams?”

She shook her head. “You can’t tell anyone. I haven’t even told Josh yet.”

“You’re pregnant?”

She grinned, eyes sparkling. “How’d you guess?”

“I have stunning and non-scientifically verifiable powers of extrasensory perception.”

She snickered.

“Or maybe it’s all that incredible glowing you’re doing,” I added.

She waved a hand in dismissal. “Please, I’m not in the glowing stage yet. I just found out, and you are the first human soul I’ve told. I peed on the stick this morning. The second line appeared right away.”

“We should get a blood draw and send it to the lab so you can verify.”

She smirked. “Already did that on the way here. Should have the results anytime now. I marked it stat—in red, and double-underlined. Those dudes at the lab are always blowing off the stat orders. I get tired of it.”

I laughed and turned my attention back to the stage for a moment, stepping forward before reaching out to grab her hand and squeeze it. “Congratulations, Lou. I’m so happy for you.”

And I was. She’d been trying for a while, though I’d sometimes wondered about her timing. Doing a medical residency, especially during intern year, while pregnant was no joke—or so I imagined. But this marked a victory of over a year’s struggle.

And so great was my joy for her that I only felt the tiniest pangs of self-pity. It happened sometimes. And it had been over a year since I’d opened the discussion with my own husband that I’d like for us to start trying again. So far, radio silence on his end.

I hadn’t pushed. As hard as our previous struggle had been, I wasn’t the only one affected by our loss. Nevertheless, I always swallowed a little lump when reminded about it, even on a day where I was finally achieving a lifelong dream.

I was now six people away from mounting that stage, receiving my degree and stole, shaking a few hands, and being declared a doctor.

So many years and so many experiences had led to this one point and time. I was grateful for them all—even the painful ones, because I’d learned so much from them.

“Are you okay?” Louisa asked, taking in my pensive features with a decided frown.

I immediately plastered a smile on my face to cover whatever resting-bitch-face had settled there. “I’m absolutely over the moon for you. And especially honored to be the first human being that you—didn’t—tell.” I punctuated that last with an exaggerated wink that made her burst out laughing. The guy in front of us, Del, turned and gave us both a stern look. But hey, who cared? He was going off to do a residency in New Jersey, then on to specialize in orthopedic surgery. I’d likely never see him again.

I squeezed Louisa’s hand, but we didn’t talk again as we were now very close to the stage. Butterflies stirred in my belly and, to be honest, something else did, too.

Longing. I could be happy when thinking about Louisa’s news while also realizing that we’d be medical residents together at the same hospital. I’d be watching with a front-row seat as her pregnancy progressed. There were other feelings, too—a little tinge of something deep in my heart. It wasn’t sadness but more a feeling of something missing. I was envious that Josh, her husband, had been all-in with this every step of the way. He’d be absolutely over the moon about it.

My partner? He was still in the “needed to be dragged kicking and screaming into it” phase. And given his near-legendary stubbornness, that wasn’t going to change anytime soon.

But even with that baggage, I wouldn’t trade him for anything.

It was my time to climb the steps to the stage as my name was announced. I felt no regrets or even the slightest sliver of sadness. Only gratitude for everything I currently had.

A little while later, as the ceremony was about to close, we were asked to stand, shoulder-to-shoulder, to recite the Hippocratic Oath.

I swear to fulfill, to the best of my ability and judgment, this covenant…I will respect the hard-won scientific gains of those physicians in whose steps I walk, and gladly share such knowledge as is mine with those who are to follow….I will remember that there is art to medicine as well as science…If it is given me to save a life, all thanks….May I always act so as to preserve the finest traditions of my calling and may I long experience the joy of healing those who seek my help.” And with one big collective sigh of relief and excitement, we all gave out three cheers instead of the traditional cap throwing. Apparently, newly minted medical doctors were too dignified for that.

Just a short while later, Adam found me in the crowd, my mom and Peter in tow, Jenna and William straggling behind and book-ended by my best-friend-forever, Heath. My mind-blowingly handsome husband drew admiring looks he didn’t notice as he waded through the crowd toward me, and my grin widened as he came closer. His smile lit up his face, dark eyes gleaming with pride. Our gazes met, and I felt as ooey-gooey inside as I did the first day I’d met him. My stomach did a little flip, and I moved toward him.

I sighed happily when he wrapped me in his arms tight, kissed my cheek and whispered his congratulations in my ear. “You did it. Now I can brag that I play ‘doctor’ with a real doc every night.”

I laughed. Yes indeed, that gratitude and joy in the moment were pushing out everything else, and those feelings of longing and envy were soon forgotten.

Available everywhere on April 30

[ALL Pre-Order Links]

More Adam & Mia coming soon!

Announcing an IMPORTANT DELIVERY! Adam & Mia are having a baby... TAKE ANY CHANCE (Gaming The System #10) Coming April 30, 2024 In the game of life, Mia Drake has leveled up like a pro. Just out of medical school, she’s landed her dream job—a medical residency at...

read more

A BRAND NEW All Billionaire box set FREE

Girl Meets Billionaire (A Billionaire Box Set of 8 Novels) is now live everywhere... for FREE ! ~ [Apple] [Amazon] [Kobo] [Nook] [GooglePlay] Brand New Box Set with 8 full length contemporary billionaire romance novels for FREE ! Girl Meets Billionaire ...and then...

read more

SURPRISE! New Brenna Aubrey book

NOW LIVE EVERYWHERE! It Was Always You Gaming The System 6.5 You'll love this book if you love... ✶ Friends-to-lovers romance ♥✶ Holiday gatherings of friends 🎅✶ A cozy cabin in the mountains 🗻✶ A longtime secret crush 💖✶ Snowball fights...

read more

On Writing and Depression

I’ve been wanting to do a blog post for a while, to reach out to readers and fill them in on what is going on with me. I’ve drafted it in my head a gazillion times, scrawled down bullet-pointed notes on scratch paper and even typed out a full post that I never showed...

read more

Happy 5th Anniversary, Adam & Mia !

HAPPY 5th Anniversary to Adam & Mia! In celebration of At Any Price being published 5 years ago, this week, I’ve commissioned a special anniversary hardcover edition of the novel featuring its original cover. You guys, it is SO SO PRETTY! For the month of...

read more

Follow Brenna



Books by Brenna Aubrey

High Risk Cover

High Reward cover

Girl Geek Neon Cover

At Any Price Neon Cover

At Any Turn Neon Cover

At Any Moment Neon Cover

For The Win Neon Cover

For The One Neon Cover

Worth Any Cost Neon Cover

It Was Always You Neon Cover

For The Taking Neon Cover

For The Holidays Neon Cover

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This