Wednesday, April 25, 2012

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.”
“Why?”
“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.


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