Spending the night in jail isn’t exactly how I planned to spend Christmas, but I’ve had worse holidays…
Now that I’m out, it’s time to accept my real punishment. Coaching ten-year-old terrors on the ice, in my non-existent free time. My Coach thinks it’d be good for me. Remind me where I came from. He should know I’ve tried every day of my life for the last ten years to forget.
The youth hockey league is a hell I didn’t plan on and the worst penalty possible…
Until the day a sweet, single mom cracks a joke about her kid, and then all bets are off.
I’m the best defenseman in professional hockey, but I didn’t see her coming… now what in the hell do I do? I’m not equipped for a relationship. I’m definitely not ready to have a kid depending on me, but I can’t deny she makes me feel things— want things I never imagined I could have.
I should save us both the trouble and stay far away from her. But rules were made to be broken, and I was never good at following them anyway.
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Stacey Lynn likes her coffee with a dash of sugar, her heroes with a side of bossy, and her wine a deep shade of red.
The author of over thirty romance novels, many of which have been best-selling titles on Amazon, AppleBooks, and Barnes & Noble, she loves being able to turn her vivid imagination into a career that brings entertainment and joy to her readers. Focused on sports romance and emotional, small-town romance, she also loves stretching herself in different genres.
Born in Texas and raised in the Midwest, she now makes her home in North Carolina and loves all things Southern. Together with her ultimate tall, dark, and handsome hero, she has four children. Her life is a chaotic mess that fights with her Type-A, list-making, neurotically organized preferences and she wouldn’t have it any other way.
How can Blake and Sako get past mutual contempt and old wounds to find their perfect happy ending?
When winger Blake Conti signs with the national champion Bethesda Barracudas, he isn’t looking to get involved with anyone. Still bruised from an old relationship, his focus is on playing hockey. But when one of his new teammates turns out to be the hottest man he’s ever met, Blake wonders if he should reconsider his aversion to romance.
Mark Sakamoto—Sako—one of the Barracudas’ rising young stars, is immediately smitten with Blake. Deeply closeted because he fears revealing his sexuality to his family, Sako resists his attraction by using scorn and insults to push Blake away. Hurt by Sako’s behavior, Blake reacts in kind, and the two men are soon at war.
Just as their fighting threatens to disrupt the team, the unexpected happens, and Sako and Blake bond over a silly prank. Their newfound camaraderie soon develops into a relationship, and the men become inseparable. With “ice in public, heat in private” as their motto, they keep things secret, but as they fall for each other, Sako knows he has to tell his family the truth. He dreads their reaction, but it’s the only way he and Blake can live happily ever after.
Ice Devils is an enemies-to-lovers romance featuring scorching athletes, light-hearted comedy, riveting hockey, sweet-steamy romance, and a beautiful HEA.
Excerpt from Ice Devils
By Ryan Taylor & Joshua Harwood
The locker room was empty when I got back there, and I dressed quickly. I was standing in front of my stall, buttoning my shirt, when someone called my name. Looking around, I was surprised to see Sako standing in the doorway. His hair was a mess, his face was sweaty, and his eyes were wide. The tank top he had on was soaked, and the way it stuck to his torso emphasized the hard muscle underneath.
I looked away, determined not to stare. “I didn’t know you were still here. Been in the gym?” I slipped on my loafers.
“Yeah.” His voice was low and husky. “I needed to ride the bike and clear my head.”
“Did it work?” Unable to resist, I turned my gaze back on him.
“No.” His hands were at his sides, and he opened and closed them repeatedly while his eyes darted around the room. “Anybody else still here?”
“No. You all right, Mark?”
Instead of answering, he rushed toward me and grabbed my hand. “Come here.”
He tugged, but I stayed put. “What?”
“Come with me.” He tugged harder, almost pulling me off my feet. I was too shocked to say anything as he dragged me into a small room used to store spare equipment and closed the door. Meager light filtered in through ventilation panels, and after he turned to face me, I looked into dangerous dark eyes while his thick musk filled the air.
He licked his lips and smiled. “I’m glad you’re still here.”
“Yes.” He leaned forward and brushed his lips against mine before backing his head away to look at me again.
I was too shocked to move. “Mark?”
“I’m really glad you’re still here.” He caressed my cheek and smiled again.
“What’s going on?” I whispered.
He wrapped his arms around me, and my legs turned to jelly. “What the hell are you doing? This isn’t—”
He shut me up by pressing his mouth against mine. I wanted to tear away, to yell at him to go to hell, but I wrapped my arms around him and kissed him back instead. I didn’t understand what the fuck I was doing. Sako and I weren’t even friends. In fact, we were probably enemies. We certainly weren’t the kind of people who kissed each other.
Pulling away from my lips, he licked the corners of my mouth. Even as my brain cried foul, I hugged him tighter, not wanting the moment to end. He kissed me again, but when his tongue probed against my lips, I pressed them together. I didn’t want Sako’s tongue in my mouth. But if that was true, why did I relax enough for him to sneak inside? I may have hated the bastard, but the thrill of him possessing me that way shook my world.
I deepened the kiss, and my tongue dueled his until I found my way inside. His smell, sweaty and sharp with need, ignited an explosion of desire, and I shoved him into a wall of boxes stacked against the storage lockers. Trapping his hands, I probed every corner of his mouth while he moaned. Time stood still until he grunted and jerked his hands free. He swiveled me around like a rag doll until I was the one pinned against the boxes with my hands clamped under his. Fire shot through me when he moved his hips against mine and our cocks ground together.
“Stop!” I yelled. “I hate you!” Just as quickly, I called out again, “Don’t stop! Please!” He didn’t react at all, and I realized the voice had been in my head. We were locked in a kiss that had my mind doing somersaults, and I wondered if we’d keep playing bump-and-grind until we both came in our pants.
Ryan Taylor and Joshua Harwood met in law school and were married in 2017. They live in a suburb of Washington, DC, and share their home with a big, cuddly German shepherd. Ryan and Josh love to travel, and hockey is practically a religion in their house. Ryan also enjoys swimming, and Josh likes to putter in the garden whenever he can. They began writing to celebrate the romance they were so lucky to find with each other, and the sharing soon developed into a passion for telling stories about love between out and proud men. Ryan and Josh love to hear from readers anytime.
How much are you willing to give up for the man you love?
Best friends Nick Johnson and Tyler Jensen seem to have the world by the tail. The eighteen-year-old stars of their school’s hockey team are looking forward to playing in college and hoping for careers with the pros.
Nick and Tyler know a lot about each other, but there are a few important details they haven’t discussed. To start with, neither man knows the other is gay. Making things interesting, Nick has a massive crush on Tyler, something he’s kept to himself for a long time. And although he’s never said a word about it, Tyler has wanted to date Nick since they met.
On a cold Minnesota night after a big win, Tyler finds the courage to confess his feelings to Nick. When Nick admits his attraction to Tyler, their relationship turns on a dime. As they fall in love, they skate around the challenges of a secret romance in an all-male boarding school, but what will happen when the stakes rise dramatically in a sport not known for being gay-friendly? Will Nick and Tyler make the easy choice or the hard one?
The New Next One is a 20,000-word, new adult, friends-to-lovers romance featuring young athletes, plenty of steam, and a lot of emotion. The events of this book precede those told in the authors’ book Nice Catching You.
The two of us bundled up and walked south along the lakeshore. We talked about different things—school, what was going on in the NHL, and the big celebration of our championship that would happen the next week when everyone was back on campus. Ty reached for my hand after we passed the cabin. Even with both of us wearing mittens, it felt incredibly good to be out walking on a beautiful day, openly showing affection with my boyfriend. By the time you’re eighteen, holding hands with somebody you’re dating probably doesn’t seem exciting to most people; for me, it was huge, and I wanted to shout out loud. Instead, I pulled us to a stop and kissed him.
Afterward, he tweaked my nose. “I know everybody we play against thinks you’re a real bastard, but you’re actually a sweetheart.”
I gave it right back to him. “They all think you’re a bastard too. Haven’t decided where I stand on that.”
“What do you mean?” He turned his head to the side, looking very cute with tufts of hair sticking out from under his Penguins beanie. “I’ve always been nice to you.”
“I guess so.” I gave him another peck. “Why’d you make me wait all these years?”
I made you wait? Hell, I’m the one who finally worked up enough courage to do something about it.”
Turning him loose, I backhanded his arm and made a silly face. “I guess I’m glad about that.”
His jaw fell into an open-mouthed smile, and he shook his head. “Every man for himself, Johnson!”
He took off running, and I laughed hard as he bent over to pick up a fistful of snow. Quickly shaping it into a ball, he threw it at me and missed by a mile.
“You throw like a girl, Jensie!” I followed that up with a snowball of my own, hitting him in the middle of the chest.
“That’s it, you’re really gonna get it now!”
An epic snowball fight followed as we whooped and hollered, tossing chirps back and forth almost as fast as we volleyed snowballs. We worked our way into the woods as we ran. Ty was a good shot, and we played like little boys on recess after a hard morning at school. When we were both covered with snow and out of breath, Tyler stared at me until my heart raced with anticipation. Finally, he broke into a run. His hug was bone-crushing, and the hungry kisses were messy and delicious. The moment was all fire and promise, and I couldn’t wait to get back to the dorm. He pulled away from my mouth and mumbled, “You’re the most beautiful thing I ever saw, Nick.”
I huffed in cold air while my heart tried to hammer through my ribcage. “Not as beautiful as you.” I pulled him closer for a slow, deep kiss, and when that finally broke, he got a naughty gleam in his eye.
“We’re already covered with snow, so—” He pushed hard, and I tumbled backward into a snowbank. He jumped on top of me, and we wrestled around, making out while we laughed and played. My scarf slipped out of place, and Ty kissed my throat over and over, making me as hard as one of the trees surrounding us. After more rolling around, I was on top, and we lay humping in the snow. We had on heavy parkas, and it was too cold to take off any clothes, so our game was destined to end in frustration. All the better for a mind-blowing first time later that night.
We’d long since removed our mittens, and when we stilled, I wiped some snow off his cheek. “I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I’ve never felt this way before.”
“Nothing’s wrong, Nick. Everything’s right for once. We’ve got each other.”
Ryan Taylor and Joshua Harwood met in law school and were married in 2017. They live in a suburb of Washington, DC, and share their home with a big, cuddly German shepherd. Ryan and Josh enjoy travel, friends, and advocating for causes dear to their hearts. Ryan also loves to swim, and Josh likes to putter in the garden whenever he can. The romance they were so lucky to find with each other inspires their stories about love between out and proud men.
Foreplayer Kate Meader
(Rookie Rebels #4)
Publication date: December 29th 2020
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
The next Rookie Rebels novel
Featuring Mia Wallace, Vadim Petrov’s sister!
She’s all grown up and ready to play . . .
She’s got game everywhere but the bedroom. Enter the player who knows exactly how to grade her curves . . .
After a very public breakup and a viral post that declares him the villain, power forward Cal Foreman is taking a timeout from women and relationships to focus on hockey. When Chicago Rebels captain and old friend, Vadim Petrov, “volunteers” him to help train Vadim’s sister Mia, Cal figures he can do a favor for a pal and get ready for the season with his new team. But the imperious Russian would slice a skate blade through Cal’s internal organs if he knew what lessons Mia really wants.
Yeah, not that kind of stickhandling.
Hockey phenom and Olympics hopeful Mia Wallace needs help seducing the man of her dreams. That man is most definitely not Cal Foreman: notorious playboy, thorn in her side, and her brother’s bestie. But surely a guy with his reputed skill set has a few tips on how she can nail her target—which makes him the perfect foreplayer.
Cal knows Mia sees him as merely the warm-up act in her grand plan to win another man, but as they spend more time together, he wonders if that’s enough.
If they could be more.
And if he could convince her he’s worthy of the starting line-up . . . in her heart?
With a stony glare, he headed to the kitchen and removed a bottle of water from the fridge. “I don’t drink the devil’s bubbles.”
The devil’s bubbles. Cute. “You should use a water filter instead of these one-shot deals,” she said. “It’s terrible for the environment.” She unscrewed the cap because she was a hypocrite and her throat was bone dry.
He took the water from her after she’d downed a quarter of it and put it to his lips.
She watched, mesmerized. Her lips had been there, right there, and he was … treating her like one of the guys. This boded well for their upcoming buddy chat.
“I need advice.”
He passed the bottle back to her and headed out to the living room. “Okay. Come sit.” He patted the seat beside him. She could sit where his hand had touched and it would be like her … no. What was wrong with her?
Surely she wasn’t attracted to Cal Foreman. While she could see the appeal—the man had a rough and ready sexual charisma and Tara had talked him up in the sex department—he was not her type at all. Not that she had a recognizable type but she knew it wasn’t this.
She took a seat one cushion over and placed the bottle on a Quebec Royals coaster on the coffee table.
“Is this about your tryout?” he asked.
“Why would it be about Vadim?”
He squinted at her, obviously annoyed she was skirting the main event. “I assume he’s being his usual big dick brotherly self, so you’re here to learn how to handle him. Or vent about him.”
“No. I mean, yes, he’s being his usual big dick brotherly self but that’s not why I’m here.” Ah hell, here goes. “I like someone, and I need advice about it.”
He inhaled a deep, give-me-strength breath. “Mia, I’m flattered but—”
“For the love of Gretzky, not you, Foreman.”
His brow darkened. “Is it someone on the Rebels roster? Because Vadim won’t like that.”
“God, no. Hockey players, ugh!”
“Present company excepted.”
She shook her head vehemently. “Present company most definitely not excepted. You and your ilk are so not what I’m interested in.”
He grinned and leaned back as if … oh, God … he was presenting all the action below the waist area. He actually liked her diss of his species. Probably saw it as a challenge.
“What’s so funny?”
“I love how you act like being with a jock is so beneath you. You’re a jock, Mia. You’re one of us.” He waved casually between them.
“Okay, but that’s only because I like sports and I’m excellent at my chosen one. However, I don’t have that jock brain cell that you all share and pass like a puck to each other on the ice.”
“I suspect I’m not smart enough to completely understand that, but did you just call me dumb?”
“If the skate fits.”
That made him laugh. It was a nice, warm, wrap-her-up-in-a-sweater laugh and she almost felt bad for calling him stupid because he wasn’t stupid. Not at all. Apparently he read books as big as toasters. But like his hockey brethren, he did have a one-track mind which is what she needed to groove into right this minute.
“So, how can I and the jock brain cell I’m currently renting from the cell pool be of service, Mia?”
“I like someone.”
His brow furrowed again. “Right, you said, but not a player. Because players, dummies, yes?”
She rolled her eyes. “Yes. This guy is kind of, uh, sophisticated, I suppose. And experienced. More experienced than me. I want to know what guys like.”
At which point dumber than a box of pucks Cal Foreman burst out laughing.
Originally from Ireland, USA Today bestselling author Kate Meader cut her romance reader teeth on Maeve Binchy and Jilly Cooper novels, with some Harlequins thrown in for variety. Give her tales about brooding mill owners, oversexed equestrians, and men who can rock an apron, a fire hose, or a hockey stick, and she’s there. Now based in Chicago, she writes sexy contemporary romance with alpha heroes and strong heroines who can match their men quip for quip.
Entering her third season, Sophie Fournier has almost everything she wants. She’s the captain of the Concord Condors, she’s roommates and linemates with Elsa Nyberg, the elite Swedish winger she’s wanted to play alongside since the Zurich U-Tourney.
There are two major things she’s missing, though. She doesn’t have her next contract lined up, and she still hasn’t won the Maple Cup, hockey’s most coveted prize. If she wins the Cup, she’ll have leverage going into her contract negotiations. And, in case she needed more motivation, this is Benoit Delacroix’s final season as a Concord Condor, and she’s determined he won’t retire without lifting the Cup.
The 2013 draft in Orlando, Florida marks the third one Sophie’s attended. She made history in 2011 when she was the first woman drafted into the North American Hockey League. Last year, she was given the honor of selecting Elsa Nyberg for her team, the Concord Condors.
This year, Sophie’s responsibilities are fewer, but she’s still here representing the League. Unlike other players, who watch the draft from their couches or receive alerts while on the beach or touring wine country, Sophie is here in a crisp black pantsuit, a red pocket square her only flash of color.
She’s here so the Commissioner can lay a heavy hand on her shoulder and lean in for pictures to prove how progressive his league is, as if one woman among hundreds of men is progress. Well, it is progress, but it isn’t nearly enough.
There will be more women drafted today and tomorrow, and Sophie’s confident at least one of them will play against her this season. She refuses to hope Elsa will keep her promise and make the jump from the Swedish Hockey League to the NAHL this year, but she has high expectations for Alexis Engelking.
The American is slated to be drafted high. Lenny Dernier, infamous for his rants on The National Sports Network, is already wringing his hands over her upcoming inclusion among hockey’s best. Once, forgetting she was mic’d up, Engelking dropped an f-bomb on live television. Dernier accused her of being “a terrible role model for our Canadian children” as if every Canadian who has played the game is an angel.
Indianapolis files on stage to make the first selection of the draft, a long procession of middle to upper-aged white men in suits. The TVs behind the stage show Engelking sit up straighter in her seat as if she’s anticipating her name being called. Her hair is chopped short, jagged angles as sharp as her cheekbones.
A different camera shows Chad Kensington, another American, slumped in his seat. His blond hair is parted to the side and slicked to stay there. His mother elbows him, and he makes a half-hearted attempt to sit up straight.
“Thank you, Orlando, for hosting us today,” Indy’s owner says. The crowd, predictably, cheers. When he thanks the Commissioner, the crowd boos, also predictable. Sophie doesn’t remember the Commissioner facing constant heckling when she was younger, but he’d made himself no friends when the League ground to halt during the 2010-2011 season.
Indy’s owner steps aside so his grandson, a cute kid with chubby cheeks and a Renegades ball cap on his head, can step up to the mic. They have to lower it for him, and the boy checks the cards in his hands before he looks over his shoulder. His grandfather smiles encouragingly. “Um, first overall, the Indianapolis Renegades select Chad Kensington.”
Kensington stands up and shoots the nearest camera a pair of finger guns. His smile is as greasy as his hair. Sophie’s seen enough tape to know he’s talented, but he struts up to the stage as if he thinks the League should be grateful to have him. His suit is too big in the shoulders and too long in the leg as if he expects to grow into it. He’s dwarfed by the men on stage; the only ones he’s taller than are the owner’s two grandkids. He taps the brim of the grandson’s hat. The owner’s granddaughter hides behind the man who Sophie assumes is her father.
Sophie discreetly checks her phone as she waits for all the hoopla to finish. Being at the draft always brings back memories of her own. She wasn’t sure she’d be invited until a few months before and, even once she was there, it wasn’t a guarantee a team would select her. In case being the first woman to try to play in the NAHL wasn’t enough of a barrier, the Commissioner required teams to apply to be co-ed.
The Concord Condors were the only team able to draft her, and she sat in the stands as they made selection after selection, never calling her name. It took two hundred and twenty-four names until hers was called. Instead of being drafted first, or even first round, she was dead last.
She shakes the memory aside as Seattle comes on stage. Sophie quits feeling sorry for herself. Barrett Corderman is the one who deserves her pity as Seattle drafts him. She’s making a name for herself in Concord, pulling her franchise from the depths of the League and turning them into a real contender. Seattle, on the other hand, is where players have their love of hockey sucked out of them.
Indianapolis makes another appearance for the fourth pick, gained in a trade last season. This time, the owner ushers his granddaughter on stage, and Sophie has a good idea of where this is headed. When the girl calls out Alexis Engelking’s name, Sophie allows herself a smile. Engelking marks the fourth woman drafted into the League, and the highest selected of them all. There’s a tightness around Engelking’s eyes as she accepts her jersey as if she felt she deserved to go higher.
Welcome to the club.
Concord drafts a defenseman with the first of their first-round picks. With their second, they select Tanner Bechtol. He’s small like Kensington, and his hair falls into his eyes, only for him to shake it back out of his face. He looks overwhelmed by everyone on the stage, and it takes two tries for him to pull his jersey over his head.
It isn’t exactly a promising start, and she expects a lot out of him. This is one of the picks which came from trading their captain, Matty, at the deadline last year. Bechtol stumbles off the stage. He would’ve tripped and face-planted in front of the cameras if Mr. Wilcox didn’t steady him. Sophie keeps her expression tranquil in case anyone is watching her, but inside, she scowls. This is who they gave Matty up for?
K.R. Collins went to college in Pennsylvania where she learned to write and fell in love with hockey. When she isn’t working or writing, she watches hockey games and claims it’s for research. You can find K.R. on Twitter.
I’m hockey royalty. The Baldwin name has gotten me far in the NHL.
But after I get suspended for a fight gone wrong, my general manager gives me two options— go to anger management or find a new team.
I don’t believe in therapy. But four months of sitting across from the sexiest doctor I’ve ever met has a strange effect on me.
Lila gets me to talk about the past I keep buried.
She makes me feel things I’ve locked away for a reason.
I don’t keep women around long.
But once our sessions are over, I can’t let her go…
Not when she’s the cure for thawing the ice around my heart.
“One date,” I say against her lips. “Duke, I don’t know…” I take her hand and hold it over my heart. “Can you feel that?” Lila bobs her head, and I continue, “I’ve never felt like this about another woman.” She shakes her head. “This is crazy.” “And I’m crazy about you.”