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Current Crush : Hot Ice Hockey Dudes

It would seem the Winter Olympics (or rather a few fabulous books!) have left a lasting impression on Heidi Rice, who talks to us about her current crush: Hot Ice Hockey Dudes.

So I will admit that even though I happily flirted with Susan Elizabeth Phillips Chicago Stars books back in the day, sports heroes are not my heroes of choice when it comes to romance… Why is that? Well probably because I read mostly US writers and I have absolutely no interest in US sports… It’s totally a cultural prejudice, but American football (aka padded rugby, because lets face it football is that game you play with your feet everywhere else in the world!!), Baseball, Basketball and Ice Hockey are all games I have never acquired an understanding of, let alone a shout-at-the-telly love of…

My game of choice is the Beautiful Game – and maybe a touch of Six Nations Rugby (because those boys are buff, let me tell you, and not hiding behind a load of padding!)… I was comfortable in my cultural prejudices, why would I want to read about heroes playing a sport I knew sod all about? Until one of my go-to authors threw me a curveball…

Or rather a curve puck.

I love Kate Meader’s writing – full of heat and smart wit and deep, deep conflicts with hotter than hot heroes and the heroines to match them, I’ve never not loved anything she’s written. She wrote chef heroes for her Hot in the Kitchen series and my mouth watered, she wrote fireman heroes in her Hot in Chicago series any my panties melted, but then I saw her next series of books was about an ice hockey team… And my first thought was WTF do I know about ice hockey? But then I thought, this is Kate Meader, she could write about tax collectors and I’d probably love it.

The first Chicago Rebels book – In Skates Trouble - blew all my prejudices away…. Introducing in its opening scene young pro-hockey stud Ford Callaghan who’s having a relaxed brew on his condo balcony when he overhears a group of women, and one woman in particular discussing the sad lack of men who know how to give decent head! The novella had me laughing out loud and fanning myself. And I very quickly learned that hockey heroes aren’t just hot they’re hot and buff and built and remarkably goal-orientated. When they fall in love, they fall hard, and fast, and – in this particular book – boy do they like to prove themselves, over and over again, to the woman of their dreams.

When Meader’s next Chicago Rebels book – Irresistible You – hit the digital shelves I was all over it. My prejudices against US sports heroes totally forgotten, ice hockey wise anyway. Enter Remy DuPre, sexy talking Cajun boy with mad skills in the bedroom, in the kitchen (comfort food anyone?) and on the rink. Harper Chase the new Chicago Rebels co-owner didn’t have a chance of keeping up her no-fraternising-with-the-ice-hockey-players rule, and neither did I. By Meader’s third Chicago Rebel book – So Over You – and my run-in with taciturn, tortured, tattooed Russian left winger Vadim Petrov I was TOTALLY HOOKED on ice hockey hero goodness…

But heck I had months to wait for the next Chicago Rebels book… And my ice hockey addiction needed feeding.

So I branched out…. And that’s how I discovered the motherlode of Ice Hockey Hero hotness with Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy’s series of books about the players in a Toronto team – the team name I can’t remember because at this point I totally was not paying attention to the ice hockey. At all… Not that I ever really had, but here’s the thing I discovered … A great author can make you forget about the stuff you don’t know and keep you focused on the characters and their story whatever the setting… Duh. So Sarina and Elle and that Toronto team who shall remained nameless?

The first two books - Him and Us - is a fabulous two-fer of hotness supplied by pro player Wes and Jamie, the guy he loves whose friendship he thinks he has totally screwed up after one summer ‘mistake’ at camp. The emotional intensity as Wes and Jamie get to a place where they can acknowledge their love for each other is a journey that totally needed two books – and broke my heart at times. The use of first person in these books is also divine – and guess what I am so not a fan of first person narrative. Yet another prejudice busted!

Next up we had Good Boy – which was super annoying secondary character from Us Blake Riley’s time at bat – or rather puck (see I was actually getting the hang of this hockey lark by osmosis at this point). Blake is loud, super loud and about as subtle as a hockey enforcer’s fists. This guy was hot yes, but I found him kind of irritating in the first two books…. Which I discovered was entirely deliberate on the authors’ part, because all the better to have me falling from a great height when I fell for him too. And who better to pair him with than a girl who has a lot to prove about not making stupid decisions and hooking up with a loud hockey player for an incendiary one night stand while her brother – the gorgeous Jamie from Him and Us – is seriously ill in the room next door.

Then we have Stay – and Matt Eriksson’s story. Matt is a divorced hockey dad whose little girls are his whole life until he gets jiggy with the woman who co-owns a client services company. Haley, the heroine, was delightful and as always the sex in this book was off-the-charts hot. I also adored the email banter between them as Matt gets cute while getting her to take his dog for walks (not that dog, get your mind out of the gutter!!). These two were just such lovely people, you so wanted them to make this work.

After that I had to branch out and am currently hovering up Sarina Bowen’s solo books featuring the Brooklyn Bruisers – and oh my, how do I love these guys too…

First there was Rookie Move, featuring Leo Trevi, the new Brooklyn Bruisers rookie, and his long-lost love for high-school girlfriend, Georgia Worthington now the PR manager whose father is the new coach – the coach who keeps punishing Leo for something he didn’t do! I just wanted to hug Leo! What a sweetheart. Georgia is a rape survivor and there is a moment towards the end of the book that had me literally tearing up when Leo has a panic attack because…. Ok, not going to spoil it, but read it, you will fall for Leo too. He’s sensitive and gorgeous and the kind of guy that every girl deserves for a first time – and a last time and all the inbetween times!

Next up was Patrick O’Doul in Hard Hitter, the team enforcer who gets it on with yoga instructor and team masseuse Ari. Patrick’s dark childhood means he can’t bare to be touched, so when he has to get therapy from Ari… FYI, there’s a scene on a massage table that had me dying. In a good way…

I’m currently hoovering up Pipe Dreams, the third book, featuring goalie Mike Beacon and team owner’s assistant LaurenMike and Lauren were once a thing, and they have just rediscovered their explosive sexual chemistry in a hotel hot tub…. But dark stuff is still on the horizon as they work out their devastating past and how to handle Mike’s teenage daughter’s animosity towards Lauren – seeing these cool jocks as dads, is also very hot. And I cannot wait to see how this works out…

And then I have team owner Nate Kattsenberger’s story, Brooklynaire, all lined up on my iPad….

So there you have it, my Hot Ice Hockey Dudes current crush, which is now like more of an obsession.

And I’ve still never watched an ice hockey game! But then I don’t have to, because I can get my hot ice hockey hero fix without ever having to understand what the heck the Play Offs are...

Heidi's latest release, The Virgin's Shock Baby, is out now. For more information about her and her writing, check out her website and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

Is your current book boyfriend a sportsman or a billionaire? A bad boy or the guy next door? Who is YOUR current crush? Tell us in the comments or join the discussion on Social Media.

#HeidiRice #SusanElizabethPhillips #AmericanFootball #SixNationsRugby #BeautifulGame #Baseball #Basketball #IceHockey #KateMeader #InSkatesTrouble #IrresistibleYou #SoOverYou #ChicagoRebels #ChicagoStars #Him #Us #GoodBoy #Stay #SarinaBowen #RookieMove #HardHitter #PipeCreams #Brooklynaire #TheVirginsShockBaby

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