Hello everyone. Thanks to Lucy and Hearts on Fire for hosting us on the first day of the blog tour for The Hockey Player’s Heart, which is #50 in the Dreamspinner Press Dreamspun Desires line. It’s also a significant milestone for us because it’s the first time we’ve written together. While Jeff has been publishing for a few years and Will has been beta reading his work, it’s the first time we have collaborated on a story and we’re very excited to get into people’s hands this month.
In particular, we’re excited that our first collaboration is a Dreamspun Desires book. As readers, we were thrilled when Dreamspinner brought out the line in 2016. There were finally category romances (full of tropey goodness) available in the gay romance genre! We’ve been subscribers since the beginning.
We wanted to write in category romance because we love it! The Hockey Player’s Heart is the first of a series we call Hockey Hearts. This book is a second chance romance between pro hockey player Caleb Carter and grade school teacher Aaron Price. When these two were in high school, Aaron tutored Caleb to help him get through math. When they rediscovered each other back in their hometown in upstate New York, their secret crushes were rekindled.
This story was ideal as a category romance where you didn’t have too much angst while the characters find their way back to each other. Sure there are obstacles to overcome, but it’s nothing too heavy.
The low angst level is one of the things that we love so much about category. You’re able to kick back and read a story without having to take the characters to hell and back. There’s nothing wrong with that, we both read many books that do that. But there’s something about slipping into one of these stories and getting to know characters who get to that happy place without too much baggage.
We had a great time creating this romance. Jeff got to include the hockey angle, which he features in many of his stories. The second chance is one of our favorite tropes. Plus we got to mix in some cute kids and great supporting characters who will come back in future books.
You can check out a brief excerpt from The Hockey Player’s Heart below. Plus don’t miss out on the Rafflecopter. We’re giving away an e-book copy at each tour stop plus there’s a grand prize of an autographed paperback for a US winner or a $10 Amazon e-gift card for an international winner. Make sure to check out all the stops to maximize your chance to win.
We hope you enjoy The Hockey Player’s Heart and would love to hear what you think. If you read it, please consider leaving a review on your favorite site or dropping us a comment on one of our websites.
“So, what brought you back to Foster Grove? If you don’t mind me asking?”
After high school graduation, Aaron had felt the need to take a few risks and step outside the small-town box he’d always lived in. He’d packed his bags and headed to California. After getting his degree, he’d stayed, found a good teaching position, and was happy—for the most part. “LA kind of… well, it kind of went bust. Budget cuts slammed down hard and, luckily, Pam swooped in like my guardian angel and offered me the job here. How about you? What’s it like being back after so much time in New York?”
“I love my life, but sometimes you need to escape, know what I mean? I’m enjoying the quiet of being home,” Caleb said before leaning in to whisper conspiratorially, “and spending time with old friends. For it being so close, I don’t get back nearly enough.”
Aaron was struck silent. Caleb’s intense gaze left no doubt that he was the old friend that Caleb was most interested in spending time with.
“You want to go out sometime?” Caleb asked without breaking eye contact. “Grab dinner or something?”
Aaron deflected the offer because he didn’t know what else to do. “Wouldn’t you enjoy that more with you sister? Spending time with her, I mean? Give you guys time to catch up?”
“Pam and I talk all the time. I was thinking that you could show me some places that you enjoy or discovered since you’ve been back in town.”
Show him some places?
Aaron didn’t know what to say. Caleb’s simple invitation sent his brain into overdrive, his thoughts scattering in a thousand different directions. He swallowed, then opened his mouth to answer, but nothing came out. Despite the chill in the air, he felt heat rising in his cheeks and his pulse tick up a notch. Caleb apparently could force him to blush.
A date? With Caleb Carter? Wow.
Wait. Why did he think that? Caleb didn’t say date. There was no way Aaron could go on a date with him.
Hometown hero. Hockey superstar. Perfect boyfriend?
When hockey star Caleb Carter returns to his hometown to recover from an injury, the only thing he’s interested in is a little R & R. He never expects to run into his onetime crush at a grade school fund-raiser . Seeing Aaron Price hits him hard, like being checked into the boards. The attraction is still there, even after all these years, and Caleb decides to make a play for the schoolteacher. You miss 100 percent of the shots you never take, right?
Aaron has been burned by love before and can’t imagine what a celebrity like Caleb could possibly see in a guy like him. Their differences are just too great. But as Aaron spends more time with Caleb, he begins to wonder if he might have what it takes to win the hockey player’s heart.
Jeff Adams and Will Knauss are husbands, authors, and podcasters based in Northern California. They write gay romances, sometimes together and other times separately. Jeff also writes young adult LGBT fiction. Together they host Jeff & Will’s Big Gay Fiction Podcast, a weekly show devoted to gay romance literature and the pop culture they love.