Gage Nelson doesn’t do one-night stands. In fact, he doesn’t date. He’s too focused on leading his team to the playoffs. Besides, he doesn’t need more women complicating his life—he’s got enough of that already.
But when a blue-eyed beauty bowls him over, he breaks his own rules and lets himself go with the flow for a night. A night he intends to be the first of many. When he wakes up, though, his dream girl’s gone, and he has no idea how to find her. He’s haunted by the woman he can’t get out of his mind.
Lily Everett is caught in a past she can’t let go. One night of steamy sex with a hot hockey hunk helps her forget—until she wakes up, and guilt grabs her by the throat and won’t let go. She runs and doesn’t look back. And that’s okay because hockey players are, well, players, right? Guys like him aren’t looking for long-term—and neither is she.
When a chance confrontation brings them back together, she realizes she’s not only misjudged Gage Nelson, but she’s misjudged her own heart’s yearnings. What began as a one-night stand threatens to undo her carefully laced-up world.
Once-stung, twice-shy, Gage is reluctant to get close. But it doesn’t take long before his hesitation is flattened like a player skating up ice with his head down. He sets out to win Lily the same way he wins at hockey: with patience and persistence. Until he’s thwarted by a rival he’s never met.
Can Gage convince Lily to give up the ghosts of her past and make room for him in her heart, or will she freeze him out forever?
Targeted Age Group:: Adult
Heat/Violence Level: Heat Level 4 – R Rated
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
Romance always inspires me! That being said, the story was brewing in my head for a number of years after watching the struggles of two women close to me. One was an older widow, and the other was a young widow with a small child when I first met her. Both women were very much in love with their husbands. My younger friend tried to find a new partner, but every time she got close, she'd pull away for one reason or another. As she grew older, her late husband became more "perfect" in her mind, making any other candidate pale by comparison. The other woman didn't even try and eventually died with a broken heart; all her late husband's clothes and possessions remained exactly where they were when he passed. Sad, yet thought-provoking. This story is a version of these women's experiences that gives the character a happily-ever-after.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
The main female character is based on the young woman I described above. Like my friend, Lily has a five-year-old daughter when we meet her. She nurtures an image of her late husband that's flawed. As her sister tells the lead male character, Gage, Lily's memory of her husband is so perfect that even HE couldn't live up to it if he were to come back. Gage's character is based on the men in my life: he’s protective, kind, strives to do "the right thing," and is totally flummoxed as to how to help her. I love both these characters and enjoyed getting to know them.
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