Posts tagged hockey

Last week I stumbled across a reader review for my upcoming book Major Misconduct that really made me cringe. I know I shouldn’t be reading reviews and I know I shouldn’t respond to them, but after giving it some thought, I decided I would post this.

The reader was disappointed in Major Misconduct because the publisher has tagged it “perfect for readers of Sawyer Bennett and Toni Aleo” and she didn’t agree. Obviously she’s a big fan of those authors, but what made me cringe was when she implied that I’d read Toni’s and Sawyer’s (and Jaci Burton’s) books and tried to copy them.

I found that very offensive, but I’m going to choose to believe this reader thought that was a way of describing the book and didn’t intend to be insulting.

I’ve never read Toni or Sawyer or Jaci’s hockey books (I have read other Jaci Burton books). I’ve read pieces of Toni's and Sawyer’s books, and they do seem quite different from mine.This reader may also not have been aware that Major Misconduct is not the first hockey romance I've written - it's my sixth -- and that my first hockey romance was published in March 2011, which was before those other authors’ hockey romances were published.

Just wanted to clear that up.

Q & A
 I've had so many awesome emails and messages from readers this week about Sweet Obsession! Yay! Also some questions. (Oh, and yet another email asking for more Heller brothers hockey books!) 

So in case others have the same questions I thought I'd post here too...

Book 2 in the Windy City Kink series will be out October 7 - All Messed up. We will meet up again with Jack and Sasha briefly...and Kevin.

Lots of you want to know about Kevin! Well, some may be disappointed to know he doesn't get his own book. I wasn't sure if the romance world was ready for Kevin! But we do meet up with him again more in All Messed Up and definitely in Book 3.

As for the Heller Brothers - I'll never say never...but I do have another hockey series in the works, book one is finished and books two and three are stay tuned!

Introducing...Hockey Romance

Hey everyone! I have some great news to share with you about a fantastic new group I'm part of.

If the Winter Olympics have you all a flutter and daydreaming about seriously sexy athletes then wow, have we got a treat for you! Yes, come on over and check out our amazing new website showcasing the best the romance world has to offer in hockey fiction, HockeyRomance.

Hockey Romance focuses on hot hockey players in the world of fiction, following their bad boy antics both on and off the ice. Ranging from sweetly romantic to down-and-dirty kinky, the Hockey Romance website caters to every need and taste. Read about the women who tame these testosterone-overdosed guys, find out if the players are as skillful in the bedroom as they are on the rink, and what really happens in the locker room!

All heat levels and pairings are represented, so no matter if you like M/F, M/M, kinky, sweet – one of our authors will have you covered!

Oh, yes, it’s hot in here!

And with a host of talented authors to keep stoking the fire with new romantic and sexy stories, love and lust is only a click away. Between us we have an impressive library of tempting and titillating books to warm even the coldest nights. So while you’re watching the sure-to-be-awesome hockey tournament in Sochi and shouting for your team, feel free to wonder just what’s below those layers of padding, and then pick up a novel from a Hockey Romance author and get up close and personal with a sexy player of your own.

Hockey Romance Authors

Cassandra Carr is a multi-award winning romance writer. When not writing she enjoys watching hockey and hanging out online. Cassandra's books have won numerous "Best Book Of" awards and her novella Unexpected Top was nominated in the E-book Erotic Romance category of RT's Reviewers' Choice Awards.

She thinks the best part of being a writer is how she writes about love and sex while most others struggle with daily commutes, micro-managing bosses and cranky co-workers. Her inspiration comes from everywhere, but she'd particularly like to thank the Buffalo Sabres, the hockey team near and dear to her heart.

An advocate of happy endings, Jami writes sexy romantic comedy, sports hero
romances, and equestrian fiction. Jami lives on a small farm near Puget
Sound with her Green Beret-turned-plumber husband, a Newfoundland cross with a tennis ball fetish, a prince disguised as an orange tabby cat, and an
opinionated Hanoverian mare.

Jami works in IT for her day job and is a former high school business
teacher and dressage rider. In her spare time, she maintains her small farm
and socializes whenever the opportunity presents itself. An avid boater,
Jami has spent countless hours in the San Juan Islands, a common setting in
her books. In her opinion, it is the most beautiful place on earth.

Catherine Gayle is a bestselling author of Regency-set historical romance and contemporary hockey romance with a New Adult feel. She’s a transplanted Texan living in North Carolina with two extremely spoiled felines. In her spare time, she watches way too much hockey and reality TV, plans fun things to do for the Nephew Monster’s next visit, and performs experiments in the kitchen which are rarely toxic.

Lily Harlem is an award-winning author of contemporary erotic romance. She lives with her husband in the UK and since leaving a career in nursing writes full time. She is published by houses on both sides of the Atlantic including Ellora’s Cave and HarperCollins and also self-publishes her work.

Her Hot Ice series regularly receives high praise and industry nominations and she’s never happier than when she’s dreaming up the next story for her bad-boy heroes of fictional hockey team the Vipers. Usually when writing she’s accompanied by a cat on her lap and a dog at her feet, both rescued from the shelter and constant companions.

Kelly Jamieson

Kelly Jamieson lives in Winnipeg, Canada and is the bestselling author of over thirty romance novels and novellas. Her writing has been described as “emotionally complex”, “sweet and satisfying” and “blisteringly sexy”. If she can stop herself from reading or writing, she loves to cook. She has shelves of cookbooks that she reads at length. She also enjoys gardening in the summer, and in the winter she likes to read gardening magazines and seed catalogues (there might be a theme here...) She also loves shopping, especially for clothes and shoe, and of cours, watching  hockey games.

Vicki loves worn jeans, belly laughs, anything romantic, Greek mythology, New York Rangers hockey, comic books and coffee. (Not necessarily in that order.) She shares her life with her husband, her daughter, one dog, two cats, a steer named Mooka, and a flock of assorted domestic fowl. She is a proud Torquere Press and Secret Cravings Publishing author. When not writing romantica tales, she can be found enjoying her day with her menagerie in the rolling hills of Pennsylvania with a cup of fresh java in hand.

Toni Aleo is the author of the Nasvhille Assassins series.

When not rooting for her beloved Nashville Predators, she’s probably going to her husband’s and son’s hockey games and her daughter’s dance competitions, taking pictures, scrapbooking, or reading the latest romance novel. She lives in the Nashville area with her husband, two children, and a bulldog.

Suzan Butler

Suzan Butler is a romantic fiction author with a penchant for Dr. Pepper, ice hockey, and world domination.

She lives in Texas under a not-so-secret identity with two monsters, writing books and planning the next step in her evil plans into the twilight hours of the night because that’s when it’s quiet in the house.

Bianca Sommerland

Bianca Sommerland was born and raised in Montreal, Quebec. When not reading neurotically or writing as though the fate of the world rests on her keyboard, she is either watching hockey or teaching her daughters the beauty of a classic, steel pony while reminiscing about her days in Auto Body Mechanics.

Her time is balanced with utmost care between normal family life, and the internal paranormal realm where her characters reside. For the most part, she succeeds.

Hot Jocks in July Blog Hop
Photobucket Welcome to the Hot Jocks Blog Tour! I'm giving away winner's choice of one of my "hockey books" - Breakaway, Faceoff, and One Man Advantage.

These books feature hot hockey player heroes - the Heller brothers, Jason, Tag, and Logan. They're connected stories that do stand alone, but if you haven't read them you might want to read them in order. You can find blurbs and excerpts and reviews of these books at my website.

I grew up watching hockey with my mom and my grandma (her mom) on television every Saturday night – Hockey Night in Canada. Strangely my dad wasn’t all that interested in hockey and used to nap on the couch during games. As a teenager, my first boyfriend played hockey and I used to go watch some of his games. He also liked to go to live games, and our local team was the Brandon Wheat Kings (yes, we lived on the prairies J). I remember sitting in the Keystone Centre watching the Wheat Kings while my boyfriend patiently explained what icing was, why they just gave a penalty and what made a play offside. I think I tried to be interested mostly because I wanted him to like me, but it somehow turned into a real love of the game!

When I started writing romance, I wanted to write a story with a hockey player hero, but hesitated because I kept hearing you shouldn’t write about heroes who are professional athletes. Athletes are big and muscular and strong. When they’re successful they’re confident, wealthy and famous. Are these heroic qualities?

Well, big muscles and a sexy smile are important for a romance hero, but qualities of determination, passion, loyalty, dedication, sacrifice and courage are important for heroes too. And don’t professional athletes have all those? 

What athlete romance heroes have you fallen in love with?

Mother's Day and Hockey
My mom loved figured skating and when she was still alive, I used to take her to see Stars on Ice every year as her mother's day present. The year after she passed away, my daughter surprised me with tickets for Stars on Ice (yes, I cried) and every year since then she has taken me as my mother's day present. This year, my daughter is living on the other side of the world (France) so she wasn't here to take me (although she did the sweetest things for mother's day - she sent me a card, and in it she told me to go look in her room on the left side of her desk in the lid of a small ceramic box, where I would find money she left there before she went away, and told me to buy myself something with it *sniff*) but I still got to go to Stars on Ice, I made my husband take me last week. Yay!

My favourites - Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir

There I discovered the joy of the Shazam app - my husband had it on  his iPhone and when we wanted to know what the song was a particular skater was skating to, it told us!! I immediately had to download that app on my BlackBerry - I love it!

As for hockey, I haven't been much into the playoffs this year. First, my Jets didn't make the playoffs, and then every other team I might have cheered for was eliminated. Not as much fun.

And speaking of hockey, you should check out the review One Man Advantage got at Amazon - go click "Like" on this, not just because it's my book, but because this reviewer is hilarious and totally deserves it! Or leave a comment.
Release day: One Man Advantage

Today my book One Man Advantage is out!

One Man Advantage is my third book to feature a hockey player hero. Lest you think that hockey players are big and ugly and have no teeth, behold a few of the Winnipeg Jets:

Blake Wheeler

Zach Bogosian

Andrew Ladd

Evander Kane

These days the younger players mostly have their own teeth because they have to wear mouth guards. But some of them clearly don’t like it, as you often see them with the mouth guard hanging out of their mouths as soon as the whistle goes.

Andrew Ladd

But of course, it’s not looks that make a hero, although big muscles and a sexy smile do help! Qualities of determination, passion, loyalty, dedication, sacrifice and courage are important for heroes too.

Even a professional athlete can have insecurities. In One Man Advantage, Logan Heller grew up in a family with four boys, all who play hockey. Oldest brother Tag (Faceoff) was drafted by the NHL while in college and left college early for his pro career. He’s captain of his team, a natural leader. Next oldest brother Jason (Breakaway) played major junior hockey and also was a top draft pick. They’re both considered top players in the league. Younger siblings often struggle with living up to the accomplishments of their older siblings, but it might be especially hard to follow those kinds of achievements.

When Logan meets Nicole, he discovers they have a lot in common. Both their families are considered “hockey royalty”, Logan’s because of the three brothers playing in the NHL, Nicole’s because her father is Jacques Lambert, a hockey legend and now owner of an NHL team. They both love hockey. Nicole played too. And they both grew up feeling that they might not live up to their family’s expectations of them. (They also have some things in common they like in the *ahem* bedroom.)

But a hero is brave enough to face his insecurities and flaws and steps up when life is difficult. In One Man Advantage, Logan gets traded to a new team and even though he knows it’s part of the business and not personal, it still feels like a punch in the gut. He’s faced with starting over, with a new team, in a new city. He feels bitter and resentful and some guys might let that affect their performance. 

Here's an excerpt from One Man Advantage:

He took off his jacket and laid it on the floor. He looked at her as he sat on the floor, leaning against the wall opposite the windows. “Take off your jacket.”
“Because I said so.”
She snorted. “Hah.” But pleasure expanded inside him as she unwound her scarf from around her neck and removed her jacket, laying it on top of his on the floor. Beneath she wore a pair of low-rise jeans that hugged her hips and legs all the way down to the beige Ugg boots. On top, a black long-sleeved T-shirt clung to her full breasts.
“Come here,” he said.
She walked over and slid down the wall until she was sitting on the floor beside him.
“It’s a nice view,” he said.
“Yes.” She stretched her long, jeans-clad legs out in front of her and crossed her booted ankles.
Logan had always thought Ugg boot were the Uggliest thing ever invented for women to wear on their feet. Give him a pair of pointy toed stiletto boots any day. But he found himself unaccountably charmed by her chunky fleece-lined boots.
He turned his head to look at her, and she too rolled her head against the wall. Their eyes met.
Lust slammed into him like a body check.
They looked at each other. Moments accumulated. Heat built.
He dropped his gaze to her mouth, so lush and soft looking. His gaze dropped lower still and observed her breasts rising and falling with her quick, shallow breaths. She was affected by him too. There was something there.
He would never move in on another dude’s girl, but she’d only dated the guy once and he’d eat a hockey puck if he was wrong about her being as attracted to him as he was to her. He leaned in closer, slowly. Her eyelids dropped, her lips parted and then he closed his own eyes as he brushed his lips over hers. Once. Twice. And then he opened his mouth on hers and kissed her deeper.
He lifted a hand and dragged his fingertips over the soft skin of her jaw, then cupped her face and held it while they kissed. And yeah, hell yeah, she kissed him back, opening for him, and when he slid his tongue into her sweet mouth, she made a soft little sound in her throat that encouraged him. Her tongue moved against his and his brain shorted out, heat sizzling over every nerve ending in his body.
“Don’t do this,” she murmured, shifting her mouth away from his. He kissed her cheek instead.
“Say it like you mean it,” he murmured back. She groaned and triumph flared inside him. With his thumb on her chin, he tilted her head back toward him and kissed her again, longer, deeper.
“I can’t do this,” she whispered. “I can’t.”
“Why, sweetheart? It feels like you want it as much as I do.” He nuzzled her hair, her ear, breathed in her scent, something fresh and clean, green and citrusy. Heat pounded through his body with every beat of his heart, building in his balls.
“I... câlisse.”
“Hmm, what?” He opened his mouth on the side of her neck and sucked, so gently.
“I don’t want to want you!” she cried, but her hands grabbed his arms and her fingers dug into his sweater, holding on to him, not pushing him away.
“Why?” he asked again. “What’s wrong with it? Christ, Nicole, there’ve been sparks flying ever since we met.”
She moaned.
“Right?” He was pushing, because if she really wanted him to stop, he had to stop. He wanted to be sure of what was going on.
“Right.” The word sounded dragged out of her. He smiled and moved in for another kiss, another hot, mind-scrambling, sense-robbing kiss.

One Man Advantage out Wednesday! Here's a sneak peek and some info about purchasing One Man Advantage. 

So many readers have emailed me asking if there was going to be another hockey story to follow Breakaway and Faceoff. The answer was yes! And now it’s finally here! I’d always intended there to be at least three books and it looks like now I have to write four,  because I have one more brother to find a happy ever after for, and, you’ll see when you read One Man Advantage, I also have one big, dangling loose end to tie up… 
I had inquiries from a couple of readers who buy from Amazon, because One Man Advantage isn’t available there for pre-order. Unfortunately this particular publisher doesn’t upload books to Amazon until after release day and it takes a while for Amazon to get them on their website.

However, if you want to buy One Man Advantage on release day, or soon after, you can buy it directly from the publisher’s website. . They do have all formats but if you have problems or questions, they also have a good help page

He has a one man advantage – he knows what she really wants…

After her ex trashes her reputation in front of the media and it quickly goes viral, Nicole vows she’ll never get involved with another hockey player. Too bad her job with the Minneapolis Caribou puts her in contact with sexy hockey players on a daily basis, including the newly traded center, Logan Heller. Logan’s pretty sure Nicole is the perfect woman for him and he’s determined to have her—in and out of bed. Nicole is equally determined to never date another hockey player. But Logan has a one man advantage...he knows what she really wants. 

Here's a sneak peek - Nicole is taking Logan around to look at condos for him to move into:

“Are you sure you don’t want to look at more? It’s a big decision. You might want to check out other neighborhoods...”
“I’m hardly ever home,” he said. “We’re on the road a lot. In the summer I go home. It doesn’t really matter where I live.”
“As long as the ceiling will support a swing.”
A surprised laugh popped out of him. His dancing eyes met hers. “Noooo,” he said. “Don’t be silly.”
She lifted one eyebrow.
“I’m not really into swings. But I do need a hook for suspension bondage.”
Her pussy immediately gave a warm squeeze. She kept her smile in place and her tone light. “Oh stop. You’re getting me all hot and bothered.”
His eyes widened. “Really?”
“No.” She rolled her eyes. “I’m joking. As were you.”
But some kind of intuition told her he wasn’t joking. And as their eyes once again met and held, her intuition told her that he knew she knew that.
“Damn,” he murmured.
Heat swept over her body, a tiny ache developing low down inside her. She gazed at him in the late afternoon dusk as they stood on the sidewalk outside the last building they’d looked at and licked her lips. “Okay! Well, enough kidding around. That makes my job easier, if you’re going to decide that fast. I’ll leave it up to you to contact the agent and get things started.”
“Thanks for finding these. They were all great.”
“It’s my job,” she said dryly. “Other duties as assigned.”
        “Okay. Would it be other duties as assigned to have dinner with me tonight?”
         Her hand paused on the door handle as she went to open the door of the SUV. “What? Again? You’re asking me out again?” Tabarnac? Not again! She closed her eyes briefly. Why was he doing this to her! She could let her imagination run wild and picture them having a romantic dinner somewhere, eating by candlelight, talking (about hockey) and laughing and then maybe going back to her place, and her belly did a little flip of lust at the thought of hot, athletic sex with him...oh holy Virgin Mary.
“No!” he said. “I’m not. Definitely not. This would totally be a business dinner.”
She snorted. “Bullshit.”
She caught his eye, the amusement glinting there, the tug of the corners of his lips, and she went all melty inside. But at least this time she had a built-in, ready-to-use excuse, an impermeable defense strategy against his charm. Thank god. She really couldn’t go out with him that night. “I’m sorry,” she said. “I can’t. I have a date tonight.”
His eyes shadowed. “Oh. I’m sorry. I didn’t realize you were seeing someone. I...” He shook his head. “Never mind. Okay. I’ll drive you back to the arena.”
They’d left her car there earlier.
The easiness that had developed between them throughout the day had disappeared, replaced with a stiff awkwardness. Nicole clasped her hands on her purse on her lap as they drove. She’d accepted that date with Paul, who she’d met on the plane, because it was time for her to move on, to date someone outside the hockey world. Nobody was ever going to insult her again because of dating a hockey player. She was sticking to her resolution on this, no matter how tempting the big, charming man beside her was. But damn, it was hard! Especially since he seemed to like her too. It was enough to make her melt like a skating rink in the spring.

Release Date!!
Seems like I just announced this contract and already I have a release date! One Man Advantage will be out April 25! Yay!

Here's the blurb:

After her ex trashes her reputation in front of the media and it quickly goes viral, Nicole vows she’ll never get involved with another hockey player. Too bad her job with the Minneapolis Caribou puts her in contact with sexy hockey players on a daily basis, including the newly traded center, Logan Heller. Logan’s pretty sure Nicole is the perfect woman for him and he’s determined to have her—in and out of bed. Nicole is equally determined to never date another hockey player. But Logan has a one man advantage...he knows what she really wants.

Sadly I don't have a cover yet! But I'll  put it up here as soon as I do.

I do have a cover! Here it is!

I'm so excited about this book coming out because I've had SO many emails from readers wanting to know when the next "hockey story" will be out. Here it is!  As you can see from the blurb, this is Logan Heller's story. He's just as big and strong and sexy as his older brothers Tag (Faceoff) and Jase (Breakaway) but it's not easy being the little brother of two such successful pro athletes. And I found a great girl for him - Nicole is also strong and sexy and I think she's the perfect match for him.

New contract!
The first book - Jason's story
I don't have the contract actually back yet but I think it's safe to announce this new sale to Ellora's Cave, since we're already done the edits! Just waiting for a cover and release date, which I'll share here as soon as I know!

One Man Advantage is my third "hockey" book, and features the third Heller brother, Logan. I think I found a great woman for him! (You'd think I'm a matchmaker not a writer, LOL!)

The second book - Tag's story

Here's the unofficial blurb for One Man Advantage:

After her ex trashes her reputation in front of the media and it quickly goes viral, Nicole Lambert vows she'll never get involved with another hockey player. Too bad her job with the Minneapolis Caribou puts her in contact with sexy hockey players on a daily basis, including with newly traded center, Logan Heller. Logan's pretty sure Nicole is the perfect woman for him and he’s determined to have her. Nicole is equally determined to never date another hockey player. But Logan has a one man advantage...he knows what she really wants.
Yesterday I went to my first NHL game since the Jets returned to Winnipeg. I've been eagerly watching every game on television but I finally go to experience the excitement of a live game. And I had fantastic seats, in Row 2 close to the blue line. Wow. Apparently our fans are becoming known through the league as noisy and crazy. We went fifteen years without an NHL team after the Jets left. It took 20 minutes for season tickets to sell out for the next three years. Just getting a single ticket for a game is almost impossible. So yeah...the fans are crazy in love with our new team. The atmosphere in the building has been described as electric.

There were hard hits on the boards only a few feet away from us, hits that made me cringe. At that level, you can really see how fast those players move. Again, wow! They go full out, and in  confined space like that, you can see how injuries happen so easily. I loved being able to see the players' faces. Defending the net, I saw the intensity on Mark Stuart's face again and again as he stared down his opponent, trying to anticipate his moves and keep himself between the puck and the net.

It was also cool to see the faceoffs from that angle, how focused everyone is as they wait for the puck to drop, and as soon as it does, how they move so fast, everyone knowing exactly where they're going. I saw the same pattern repeated several times, so these are obviously things they plan and work on.

The game started off a little slow, with not many shots for either team and I think that quieted the crowd a little. But it ended with huge excitement. Down 3-2, the Jets pulled their goalie for the extra man and banged away at the puck in front of the New Jersey net, seeming so close to getting it a number of times. The crowd was going crazy, trying to get the team going, but they just couldn't get that tying goal and ended up with a loss.

I wish my first live game had been a win, and I sure hope the Jets start winning again soon. I saw some ugly Tweets on Twitter from disappointed and disillusioned fans. Come on people! Your team can't win every game. Also, we wanted an NHL team. Nobody promised us Stanley Cup Champions. This team is still growing and we still get to experience NHL hockey in our city. It's great to be passionate about the team, but lets support them even through their losses.
Release day for Faceoff and a giveaway!

Faceoff is a novella featuring Tag  Heller. You may recognize the name from my book Breakaway. Tag is the oldest of the four hockey-playing Heller brother. When I wrote Breakaway I intended all the brothers to have their own stories and when my publisher Ellora’s Cave put out a call for submissions for an “Oh Canada!” theme, I thought, what is more Canadian than hockey? So I wrote Tag’s story.

Although this book is short, it’s special to me for a couple of reasons. One is that I get to use my own city as a setting. You all may have noticed that most of my books are set in California, in either a fictional or real city. This seems to me a much more exotic and romantic location than my own city, but California is also special to me. My husband went to school there and we love to go back often to visit. But writing a book set in my own home is pretty cool! Even though I still had to spell words “funny” (favor instead of favour, canceled instead of cancelled!!) I got to talk about degrees Celsius and kilometres per hour! Also my city is pretty cool – yes we have problems with poverty and violence and crumbling infrastructure, like many cities, but we have a vibrant arts culture with a lot of theatre, concerts, the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, etc. We also love sports here – our Canadian Football League team the Winnipeg Blue Bombers has a long and proud football history, and our baseball team the Winnipeg Goldeyes are having a great season. But what are we missing...? A National Hockey League team!

We used to have an NHL team but in 1996 the owners were forced to sell the Winnipeg Jets and they moved to Phoenix to become the Coyotes. At the time, the Canadian dollar was weak and it was expensive to pay those players’ huge salaries in American dollars, plus travel to the US cost more. Also, the arena they played in was old and didn’t have luxury boxes or concession stands to generate a lot of revenue. The city was devastated to lose our team and like most, ‘Peggers, I always kept hope that some day the Jets would come back.

Which is the other reason this story is special! It is a Canadian fantasy come true—a hockey fantasy. It’s been no secret for years that two businessmen wanted to purchase an NHL team and bring it back to Winnipeg. I so much admire how they went about it, very low key. They built a new NHL quality arena, purchased a farm team and ran it like an NHL team, found financing that was solid and made it known to the NHL that they were interested in purchasing a team. There were years of rumors, disappointments and false reports of done deals, but hockey fans in Winnipeg continued to fantasize about the NHL returning.

As I worked on edits to Breakaway, it seemed these Winnipeg businessmen were very close to purchasing the Phoenix Coyotes (which were the Winnipeg Jets). Thinking ahead, I changed the team Tag Heller played for to a (fictional!) team in Phoenix (called the Stars, not the Coyotes) and when I started writing Faceoff, Tag’s story, I wrote the fantasy—the NHL had returned to Winnipeg!

I had not yet submitted Faceoff to my editor when the real life story changed—it was no longer the Phoenix Coyotes being purchased, it was the Atlanta Thrashers. I couldn’t change my story to match reality because I’d already planted the seed in Breakaway that Tag Heller played for Phoenix. Oh well. I named the new Winnipeg team the Jets in my book, even though every other hockey team I mention in Breakaway and Faceoff are fictional NHL teams—at that point we didn’t know for sure the deal would even happen and if it did, whether a new Winnipeg team would be called the Jets or something entirely different.

The day after I submitted this manuscript to my editor, the story did come true—the NHL was returning to Winnipeg! The true story didn’t play out exactly as it does in Faceoff (which is fiction), but the basis of the story is accurate and the hockey fantasy is the backdrop for the romance fantasy between Tag and Kyla. (And they did name the new team the Jets!)

Of course you’d think a Canadian-set book would take place in the winter, right? But I wanted to show that we also have awesome hot summers here (we sure did this year!) and the local culture of summer weekends at the lake cottage. We are fortunate to live near a lot of wonderful lake country. So Faceoff takes place in the hockey off season, just after the deal has been made public that the team is coming back to Winnipeg. In real life, there is no Winnipeg born and raised player on the new team, but I liked that idea of a “home town hockey hero” returning to his roots – which has its complications for Tag!

Here's an excerpt from Faceoff:

They were alone on the beach. Around the rocky point that separated the public beach from the cottages, the public beach was probably filling up with people, beach blankets and umbrellas, but here nobody else was out yet.

“You coming skiing later?” He rubbed the towel slowly over his chest.


“Mom’s planning a game night tonight at our place. You’re all invited.”

Kyla nodded. “Cool. Just like old times.”


She studied him, his tanned skin gleaming in the bright sun, remembering the game nights of the past, how competitive he and his brothers were. And how competitive she was and how they’d had cut-throat games of Monopoly and Rummikub and Trivial Pursuit. She watched a drop of water slide down the side of his neck, then lower, slowly trickling down his chest. She wanted to go up on her tiptoes and lick that drop of water.

Heat suffused her body, and not from the noon sun overhead. Flashes of her dreams returned, hot glimpses of Tag naked, underneath her, on top of her. She swallowed. She lifted her gaze to his face and the heat in his eyes had her breath stalling. Tension arced between them as they stood there eyeing each other. When he looked at her mouth, her eyes went heavy-lidded and her heart began to thud.

“Oh man,” he said. He swiped the towel across his forehead, breaking the eye contact. She blinked. “Kyla.”


“Don’t look at me like that.”

“ what?” As if she needed to ask. She wanted to eat him up. But did it show that much?

He looked her in the eye again. “Your brothers would kill me.”

Her breath came in choppy little pants. Her insides went hot and liquid. “What am I supposed to say to that?” she said, her voice breathy. “We’re not teenagers any more.”

“No. We’re not.” They were both remembering the last time this had happened. A long time ago. Heat built hotter between them.

She was used to going after what she wanted. She had a plan for her career and she worked to make things happen. If she wanted Tag, why couldn’t she have him?

Last time he’d tried to make a joke of it. As if he didn’t want her. This time, older, wiser, more experienced, she could tell he did. Was he really going to let their families stand in the way of what they both wanted?

“My brothers have no say in who I...” She stopped. They’d been tiptoeing around it and when it came to saying it outright, she found she couldn’t.

He smiled, that sexy lift of his wide mouth that melted her. She couldn’t breathe. Her body thrummed with sexual tension. “Think about it, Mac,” he said, his voice low and raspy. “We may not be teenagers but we’re here with our families. Every bed in both our cottages is occupied. You’re sharing a room with a three year old. I’m sharing a room with Matt.”

She couldn’t get air into her lungs and her heart thudded wildly against her ribs. She opened her mouth to tell him that she was very good at solving problems when she heard a little voice calling, “Auntie Kywa!”

She turned to see Emily appear on the path through the poplar trees edging the beach. “Shit,” she muttered under her breath, but she plastered on a smile and reached for her niece as she hurtled toward her .

If you'd like to win a download of Faceoff, leave a comment here! I will draw a winner Saturday afternoon.
I have a release date!
Faceoff will be out September 9!

Faceoff is a spin-off story from Breakaway. As you may know, the hero in Breakaway, Jason Heller, has three brothers. This is oldest brother Tag Heller's story. It's set in the off season, so there isn't a lot of hockey in it, but it's still about a hot hockey player during a hot summer week at the cottage.

I wrote this novella for the "Oh Canada" theme series at Ellora's Cave and it is a true Canadian fantasy - not just the sexy fantasy but the HOCKEY fantasy! The story features the long-awaited return of an NHL team to a city that was devastated to lose their team years ago. Yes, it's based in reality, and as I was writing the "fantasy" the story actually came true! Okay, not exactly as it is in my book, but the book is fiction after all.

Here's a tiny sneak peek at Faceoff - here are Tag and Kyla at the beach after he's just rubbed sunscreen onto her in a super sexy massage:

He went to his knees beside her, scooped his arms beneath her and lifted her. “Tag! Put me down!”

“Want to get dropped into the water or want to walk?”

“I’ll walk!”

He lowered her until her feet touched the soft warm sand. “Okay.”

She followed them into the water, wading through it up to her knees, the shallow water pleasantly cool on her heated skin. She kept walking, the water climbing higher and higher, and when it touched her stomach, she tightened her belly muscles and went on her toes. Tag turned to look at her, the water still at his thighs because of his height. He grinned. “Coming, Mac?”

She gave him a look, up through her eyelashes, as if to say, I just did, remember? His eyes darkened and her heart fluttered. Was she really going to go to his tent tonight?

“It’s cold,” she said.

“Yeah, and I need that,” he muttered. And he strode further out, then jumped to do a shallow, perfect dive. She sighed once more at the male perfection of his body, his athletic grace. And taking a deep breath, she too dove under. Cool water closed over her head, shocking her body, stealing her breath, and she emerged with a gasp. But it didn’t take long to get used to the water and she rolled to her back and floated, staring up at the blue sky and the clouds gathering right along the horizon.

“There you go,” he said. “Swimming’s good exercise.”

She kicked her feet and splashed him a little. “Why are you trying to get me to exercise?”

“It’s good for you. It’s good for your body and your mind. And your soul. Actually the best exercise for all that is sex.”

She almost sucked in a mouthful of lake water. “Okay then!” She rolled and dove beneath the surface again, kicking hard. When she came up for air, she heard him laughing. She couldn’t resist turning to look at him, at the water glistening in his hair, his eyes gleaming, his wide mouth parted in a sexy smile that tugged a curl of heat inside her.

Oh god. What was he trying to do to her? He’d practically seduced her there on the beach, touching her like that, so intimately, and her pussy clenched at the memory. Now he was flirting with her.

Maybe he was right. Maybe some hot sex in a tent was just what she needed.

WIPs and Chains
Since I don't have much to talk about in terms of a WIP (I spent the last week polishing some finished mansucripts and doing research for an idea I have) let's talk about hockey. Or rather, hockey players!

I've been watching the Vancouver-Nashville series and the Vancouver player who's really been playing well is Ryan Kesler. So let's have a look at Ryan Kesler.

Alas, Ryan is not a Canadian hockey player, which the majority of NHL player are. He was born August 31, 1984, in Livonia, Michigan. He began his first professional season here in my home city Winnipeg with the Manitoba Moose, the Canuck's AHL farm team, but not for long, as he was recalled by the Canucks in November and made his NHL debut on November 24, 2003.
Holding his!

In this series against Nashville, two goals on Saturday, and five goals and four assists in the last four games have people talking Conn Symthe trophy.

WIPs and Chains
Last week I blogged about returning to work on my chef story and I'm happy to report that it is FINISHED!!! Wrapped it up Saturday night, bang on 80,000 words. It still needs quite a bit of work, there are a few things I'm not entirely happy with yet, but I had to put it aside for now as I got the first round of edits for my next Ellora's Cave release, Breakaway.

Did I announce that here? I can't remember!  Just got the signed contract back last week, so probably not! This is the story you may have read about here I referred to as my "hockey story". It's about a sexy pro hockey player. I love hockey and always wanted to write a book about a hockey player and I did and now I finally get to share it!  Here's the unofficial blurb:

Schoolteacher Remi just saw the last of the younger siblings she raised leave the nest and she’s not handling it very well. Pro hockey player Jason just broke up with his girlfriend because she got too serious. Jason isn’t ready for responsibility. Remi’s had enough responsibility. They’re both ready for one hot night of fun.

When Jason finds out Remi’s a school teacher, he wants nothing more to do with her. Remi thinks he’s kind of acting like a jerk who never called her after their one hot night together. He’s rich, famous and plays a game for a living. But as they spend more time together, their feelings for each other change and Jason manages to convince Remi they can still have fun together. And they do. Despite paparazzi and “puck bunnies” asking him to autograph their breasts, and despite disagreements over Remi protecting her siblings too much and bailing them out every time they need something, Jason and Remi continue to see each other—but it’s just for fun.

But somehow fun and games grow into love. Remi has always wanted a family of her own and she’s finally found the man she can have that with. This time Jason isn’t afraid of commitment, not when it’s with Remi. But their happiness is threatened when they both have to get serious, take responsibilty and make some sacrifices.

Stay tuned for new about a release date!
Girls love hockey

Last night the finals of the Stanley Cup playoffs started. My beloved Chicago Blackhawks weren’t in it. Sigh. I was cheering for them all the way through. Everyone said it would be Detroit and Pittsburgh, but I was hoping…

Why was I cheering for Chicago? I have “girl reasons”
1. There are a couple of players from Winnipeg on the team.
2. Winnipeg is known as the Chicago of the north.
3. Nikolai Khabibulin (He used to play for the Winnipeg Jets)
4. I just wrote a book about a hockey player who plays for a fictional Chicago team J

So now I’m cheering for Pittsburgh. My “girl reasons”:
1. Sidney Crosby
2. Sidney Crosby
3. Sidney Crosby

Okay I’m old enough to be his mother, but the kid is cute. Although that whole playoff thing of not shaving doesn’t work for him. And he’s mega talented.

Too bad they lost. But it was a great game, lots of action. The way Detroit used the boards and bounced the puck off them to score two goals from behind Marc-Andre Fleury was annoying but kinda cool. And the opening, with the giant octopus - gotta hand it to Detroit, they've taken that whole octupos thing which I never really got and made it their own!

And, on hockey playoff overload, the Manitoba Moose for the first time ever made it into the Calder Cup playoffs and their first game against the Hershey Bears (okay who picked that name?) was also last night. I wasn’t at the game, although a record setting crowd was. Unfortunately the Moose lost in what had to a be a white-knuckle heart-breaker - 5-4 in overtime. Aaaah!

Game 2 of the Stanley Cup final is tonight (unusual, they usually have a day between) and I’ll be watching!