Anna Sugden Launches A Perfect Compromise

Anna SugdenToday is a big day in the Lair, Anna Sugden’s launch party for the next NJ Ice Cats romance, A Perfect Compromise!  I’m delighted to help her kick it off.  So grab some canapés from the table, give Sven your drink order, and get comfy while we chat about the Ice Cats and their newest couple.

Thanks, Nancy! Sven – mine’s an apple mojito. I can’t believe book 4 is already here. It’s seems like yesterday when we partied to celebrate the launch of the first Ice Cats book – A Perfect Distraction – and now here we are celebrating A Perfect Compromise.

How does A Perfect Compromise fit into the New Jersey Ice Cats series?

A Perfect Compromise CoverThis is Jean Baptiste ‘JB’ Larocque’s book. He first appeared in A Perfect Distraction and his antics caused Jake a bit of trouble. As part of the deal for rescuing JB, Jake took the rookie under his wing. So JB is kind of like another brother in the Badoletti-Jelinek clan.

JB is the character that readers – and my editor – kept asking about. Of course, he had to do some growing up first, before he was allowed to get his happy ever after. And, the right woman had to come along. I always kind of knew the kind of heroine who would be perfect for JB, but it wasn’t until I finished Ike and Tracy’s book – A Perfect Catch – that Issy appeared in my head.

Please tell us a bit more about JB and Issy.

A Perfect DistractionThe thing with JB is that he’s like all young hotshot sports stars. He takes hockey seriously, but nothing else. In JB’s case, coming from a farming family where he had to be responsible from an early age, being talented at hockey gave him a chance to escape and be free. So, he doesn’t want commitment or responsibility. He wants to enjoy life and have fun, not be tied down.

Issy also had a tough childhood and grew up with a lot of responsibility on her shoulders. Unlike JB, her parents didn’t work hard and didn’t worry about paying the bills or putting food on the table for their kids. All they cared about was partying. So she was the sensible one. The one who carried the family’s burdens. Once she left home, she was determined that she would never be in that kind of insecure situation again. So she’s got a solid life plan, a good job, her own home and eventually she’ll find a nice, solid, dependable guy to settle down with and have a family.

Uh oh. That doesn’t sound like JB and Issy are a match made in heaven.

They’re not, for sure. The problem is that when they meet, in a Caribbean resort, they fancy the hell out of each other. And they kind of like each other. They recognise that hey don’t have a future, but decide to have a holiday fling. Which would have been okay, except for an unfortunate bout of food poisoning. Issy finds herself pregnant and that’s where the troubles really start.

A Perfect Trade finalWould you like to share an excerpt?

Sure. This is just before JB and Issy meet. Prior to this, they’ve only seen each other on the beach.

“You owe me, man, and I’m collecting.”
J.B. responded by clapping Taylor on the shoulder as they walked toward the flaming torches stuck in the sand. “Want tips on how to chat up that hot blonde you were drooling over earlier?”
“Funny.” Mad Dog punched him in the arm. “Good thing you make your living handling a puck, not doing stand-up.”
J.B.’s grin faded. “Yeah, well my puck skills aren’t so hot, either. We wouldn’t be here now if they were. We’d be riding around town in an open-topped, double-decker bus, showing off Stanley.”
“We agreed you wouldn’t beat yourself up over that while we’re on vacation.”
“Sure.” Plenty of time for reflection and self-recrimination once he was alone. He owed Mad Dog, and repayment meant ensuring his friend had a great trip. Especially given Taylor was just as cut up about the loss, even if he tried not to show it.
He cracked his knuckles. “What do you need from the master?”
“Use your charm on the hot blonde’s mousy friend. Keep her occupied so she won’t mind when her roommate disappears with me.”
Ordinarily, J.B. wouldn’t have minded the request. Women were the perfect antitdote to a life filled with way too much testosterone. And the brunette in the red bikini wasn’t exactly mousy, though her dark hair had been scraped back into a severe braid. She was pretty in a girl-next-door way and her curves were definitely in all the right places.
What had given him pause was the stiff way she’d held herself, her full lips pinched, while supposedly relaxing. “She seemed a little uptight.”
He’d learned the hard way to steer clear of uptight women. They were impossible to please. They took things way too seriously and saw hidden meanings in innocent words or actions, which led to unfortunate misunderstandings. Like the woman in the Atlanta nightclub who’d nearly derailed his NHL career. Frustrated he wouldn’t take advantage of her blatant offers—J.B. didn’t mess with married women—she’d turned the tables and accused him of coming on to her. It was only thanks to Taylor, Jake and his other teammates that J.B. had come through the crazy situation relatively unscathed.
Still he’d chalked that up to experience. It had taken a female stalker, then a woman who’d lied about him fathering her child, for J.B. to decide uptight women were trouble.
A Perfect Catch CoverTaylor winced, understanding in his gray eyes. “Maybe she was jealous that I waved at her friend. Women fight over me all the time.”
J.B. snorted with laughter. “In your dreams, bro.”
“Who got the highest bid in the Ice Cats’ charity bachelor auction?”
“Yeah, yeah. Shame the winning bidder was your mother’s age.”
“Gilda was a sexy, mature lady with a great body, a lot of experience and an insatiable appetite.”
“Glad to hear she got her money’s worth.”
Mad Dog swore. “Will you help me out or not? We’re only here for a few days and you’ll never see her again.”
J.B. hesitated as they reached the torches. The women were standing by one of the tables closest to the shoreline. Taylor’s blonde looked stunning in an ice-blue sheath that dipped low and clung to her body before ending mid-thigh. But it was her friend that fired J.B.’s blood. She wore a strappy knee-length red dress. Her dark hair was loose, the slight curl at the ends dancing over her bare shoulders as she laughed.
“She’s not looking mousy or uptight now,” Mad Dog said. “Pay your dues, man.”
J.B.’s reluctance vanished. He strode forward. “You got it.”

What inspired you to write this particular book?

Aside from having a rather large soft spot for JB (but don’t tell him!), I wanted to write a story which showed that love requires work and compromise. JB was the perfect character to be at the centre of that story because hockey came very easily to him and failure is tough to swallow.

I also wanted to show another kind of strong woman who is a survivor. That seems to be my theme for heroines. Issy has already faced many challenges in her life. Just when she thinks she’s got everything organised the way she wants it, fate throws a spanner (or wrench) in the works. So she has to be strong once again and make some difficult decisions.

IMG_3700Ah. Spanner/wrench. One of your Two Nations Divided! How did you come up with the idea for that feature on your Facebook page and website?

Although I’m English and now live back here, I’ve spent a major chunk of my life in the US. Whichever side of the Atlantic I’m on, I tend to make mistakes and use the wrong word! So, when I was looking for a fun feature for my website and FB page, that came naturally. I’m always surprised by how many people follow Two Nations Divided – it’s associated with me almost as much as shoes, penguins and black cats! Oh and hockey *g*

How did you become interested in hockey?

anna and stanley 2I’ve always been a sports fan. I used to watch football (soccer) and other sports with my Dad and have always dated men who are into sports. Funnily enough, when we lived in DC, although I skated, I didn’t follow hockey. My first experience of hockey was years ago, when there was an exhibition game over in England, sponsored by Molson, where the Blackhawks played the Canadiens. I was able to go and watch and loved it. Fast forward to when we moved to New Jersey, back in late 2002, and Doc Cambridge asked if I’d like to go to a hockey game. We went to see the New Jersey Devils for the first time and were hooked. We got season tickets straight away. That was the season the Devils won the Stanley Cup and we were there! (that’s me with my boy, Stanley!) I’ve been a tad obsessed ever since.

Just how big a hockey fanatic are you?

Huge. As Cassondra and Donna will tell you, I get the scores sent to my phone! I read hockey news before I read other news. And I watch whenever I can (although the time difference is a killer). Not just my Devils either – I’ll watch whoever is playing and will watch European and English Leagues too. I might have a teensy obsession with hockey memorabilia too. You’ve seen my office, so you know I have the odd item on the walls!

The only think I don’t do anymore is read hockey romances. I stopped as soon as I sold because I didn’t want to ever be accused of plagiarising. So I have a stack waiting for me, when I finish writing the Ice Cats! In the meantime, I read other sports romances, though.

A Perfect Bouquet (front)What’s next for you and the Ice Cats?

I am currently working on book 5 – tentatively titled, A Perfect Plan. It features recently retired Ice Cats captain, Scot ‘Scotty’ Matthews and Issy’s best friend Sapphie, from A Perfect Compromise.

I’m also finishing up a Valentine’s short story to give away on my website, called A Perfect Bouquet. This one features back-up goaltender Chaz ‘Monty’ Montgomery and a florist called Kayla, who doesn’t find red roses romantic. I hope to have an anthology of all the Ice Cats short stories available for sale in March, so keep your eye out for A Perfect Selection!

A Perfect Compromise CoverYou can find more information about Anna and her books on her website.  You can also connect with her on social media this way: FacebookTwitter, Pinterest

For a chance to win a signed copy of A Perfect Compromise, please comment below and tell us: Is there a sport you enjoy?  If not, what do you like to do instead?

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Comments

46 Comments

  • flchen1 says:

    I’ve never considered myself particularly athletic; we didn’t do a lot of sports when we were kids, and because I was forced to do sports later in PE, it was always kind of stressful and I associate a lot of them with feeling incompetent 😉 I don’t mind watching some sports–DH watches football and basketball, and amusingly, DS2 has turned out to be a bit of a soccer player 🙂 Recently I’ve been discovering other hockey romances (yours were among the first, Anna), and have been enjoying those! Can’t wait to read JB and Issy’s story!!! Write on, Anna!!

    • Anna Sugden says:

      Hey Fedora! I know how you feel. I was never particularly good at sports and being forced to play ones you disliked in wet, grey, cold weather was even worse!

      Glad I’ve got you into hockey romances 🙂

      • flchen1 says:

        Oh, Anna–wet, cold, grey weather in which to flail at sports?! Ugh!! I’m so sorry! But hockey romances? Preferably with a mug of steaming hot something delicious? That’s a win 😀 Thanks for writing them!!

        • Anna Sugden says:

          Oh yes! I first got into romances when I was at school – I went to boarding school – and that was my escape from the wild, wet and windy coastal cliffs of southern England!

    • Fedora, congrats on snagging the GR!

      PE was my nightmare in school. I wasn’t athletic, and
      I have no foot speed. My dad taught me to hit a ball, field, and throw, and he put up a goal in our backyard, enabling me to develop a decent outside jump shot. So I was better at those things though still a slow runner. Outside of the pressure of PE with boys, I learned to enjoy tennis, though not being fast limited me there.

      In college I took archery and loved it. No running! *g*

      • flchen1 says:

        Ooh, archery! DS1 took a class, and enjoyed it. He’s mostly a runner now; will have to ask him if he wants to try his hand at archery again 😀 Glad your dad at least taught you the basics! I STILL remember the horrible class in ninth grade when the PE teacher decided we all needed to take turns at bat, and we couldn’t sit down until we hit something. I recall that stretch of time feeling like an eternity… 😉 (I still can’t hit worth beans 😉 )

  • Jane says:

    Congrats on the new release, Anna! Besides hockey I’m a huge baseball fan, too. Love the Yankees, but it’s weird to watch them play without Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera. I’m a fairly new footie fan and have chosen Man U as my team.

    • Anna Sugden says:

      Hey Jane! Thanks for joining in the fun! I’m glad that we support the same fabulous baseball and footie teams 🙂 Maybe one day we’ll get to watch them together.

    • Hi, Jane–

      We used to watch the Atlanta Braves regularly, back when Ted Turner owned TBS and the team and all their games were broadcast. Now we have to deal with blackouts on other stations.

      We’ll be watching the Super Bowl and rooting for Carolina.

  • Franca Poli says:

    Anna congratulations on your new book, the beautiful cover.
    I’m not very athletic and sports, but a sport that I like is the game of Polo. I have read several books about the sport.
    Other sport I like is swimming.

  • Mary Preston says:

    I do love a launch party. Congratulations.

    I’m not sports inclined. Although I do get excited about the Olympics, summer and winter. I tend to watch all kinds of things I normally wouldn’t.

    • Anna Sugden says:

      Hey Mary! Thanks for joining in the fun today! The Olympics seem to capture so many people’s imagination. As you might imagine, I love the winter games!

    • Hi, Mary–

      I enjoy the Olympics, too. Thanks to BBCAmerica, I was able to see equestrian events. I don’t understand the scoring, but I like to watch the horses and riders.

  • Minna says:

    I walk, swim and at summer I ride by bicycle.

  • Sandyg265 says:

    I don’t know if it’s a sport but I like to walk. I also like to watch football.

    • Sandy, who’s your pick in the Super Bowl?

      • Anna Sugden says:

        I’m torn. I don’t really have a horse in the race, but I’d love Peyton to win one more time before he retires (to tie his horrid brother). On the other hand, I have a soft spot for the Panthers as my BFF used to follow them when she lived in Charlotte.

    • Anna Sugden says:

      Hi Sandy! Walking is a sport, if it’s done at a good pace. 🙂 We like to watch football too. We love going to the games that are held in the UK every year. This year, my Redskins are coming to town!

  • Kate Sparks says:

    My husband played football in high school and ended up coaching it for 20 years at the high school level.. Then I worked for about 10 years for a college football team… So I do like football and understand more than the average fan.

  • Colleen C. says:

    I enjoy watching NASCAR… enjoy playing volleyball…

    • Colleen, who’s your favorite NASCAR driver?

      • Colleen C. says:

        I am a Hendricks team fan… always cheered for Jeff Gordon, but he retired last year… have to see how well Chase Elliot does this year in his car.

    • Anna Sugden says:

      Hi Colleen! Great to see you here!

      We don’t get much NASCAR over here, but one of the sports channels has recently started to carry it. Of course, I know a tiny bit about it from my days in the US. Formula 1 is the big thing over here.

  • Anna, mega-congrats on your newest book! I already have my copy and am looking forward to reading it.

    I love that photo of you with the Stanley Cup!

    • Anna Sugden says:

      Thanks, Nancy and thank you so much for making today so much fun!

      It’s one of my fave pics too 🙂 I have a pic somewhere of me with the team behind me on the ice doing the classic pose with the Cup. I’ll have to dig it out.

  • Cathy Phillips says:

    Congratulations on your new release, Anna!

    I enjoy walking and doing water exercises. I love to watch the KU Jayhawks, KC Royals, and KC Chiefs play, as well as watching the Olympics or ice skating. I enjoy reading about hockey, but have never watched a game yet.

    • Anna Sugden says:

      Hi Cathy! Thanks for stopping by! You’re a loyal sports fan for sure! I’ve had a soft spot for the Chiefs because I always thought Andy Reid was a great coach – as long as he wasn’t coaching against my Skins. 🙂 There has been talk of a KC hockey team for years. Hope you get one!

  • Helen says:

    Woohoo Anna huge congrats on the release I am reading this one now and loving it I was up late last night and I can’t wait to pick it back up today YAY.

    You know I love rugby league and cricket and that is probably the only things I watch on the TV these days LOL there have been a couple of big ice hockey games over from American teams but alas I didn’t get a chance to go maybe one day

    Have Fun
    Helen

    • Anna Sugden says:

      Hi Helen! Aww you’re such a sweetheart! So glad you’re enjoying the book – that makes me very happy. And mightily relieved!

      There is a big hockey following in Oz – I know there is even a Hockey Night in Sydney where fans get together to watch American hockey!

  • Jenny says:

    Really proud of you 🙂

    • Anna Sugden says:

      Hi Jenny! Big hug! So lovely of you to stop by! Hey ladies, Jenny and I are school buddies. She was always brilliant at sport. I never came close – except at swimming 🙂

  • catslady says:

    I enjoy watching most sports – I have a husband that loves them all so I don’t have much choice lol. Football is probably my first choice. As for myself, I bowl, play bocci and darts – nothing too strenuous lol. Congrats on your newest!!

    • Anna Sugden says:

      Hey catslady! Thanks for stopping by today! Yes, I have a husband who loves sport. I bet he’d watch competitive tiddlywinks if it was on!

      You may not go for the strenuous sports, but you do go for the skill ones!

  • Caren Crane says:

    Anna, congrats on the release! Nancy, kudos on a terrific interview, too. I LOVE the Ice Cats series and have enjoyed each of the stories. All the boys (and girls) just get better and better each time they pop up!

    As for sports, you guys know I am not really into it…except when I am. When I was in Chicago visiting friends and the Cubs were in playoffs for the World Series, you bet I was a Cubs fan! And if I’m at a sports bar and football is on, I love to watch the Greenbay Packers! Of course, now that the Carolina Panthers are playing in the Super Bowl, I must root for them (though I adore Payton Manning!). So, I suppose I am a fair weather fan. But I do enjoy it when exposed to it, just don’t seek it out. Usually.

    (I have also been caught up in March Madness more than once…)

    • Anna Sugden says:

      Hi Caren! Thanks for peeking out of your cave and saying hi! I’m so glad you’ve enjoyed my Ice Cats series – it warms my heart to know that!

      LOL on being a fair weather fan. I think that’s more common than not especially in the States. Apparently we Brits, when we are into sports, are far more tribal and rabid! 🙂 But then with so much else available to us via all the various media, who has time to do everything that interests us?

  • Teresa Hughes says:

    I’m a huge fan of this series!!! Anna you rock!!!!

    I am a college basketball fan. I watch games every chance I can.

    Thanks for a chance to win!

    • Anna Sugden says:

      Hey Teresa! Thanks so much for stopping by and a huge hug for telling me you love the Ice Cats! You rock!!

      It’s funny, of all the sports, we’ve never got into basketball at any level. When we lived in NJ our Nets were doing really well, but we never went to see them. One day we should make the effort to go to a game. Yay that you’re a loyal fan of college basketball!! We have friends who are huge Gators fans.

  • Amy Conley says:

    Hello, Anna and just so you know, I loved the short stories/books you sent at Christmas, thank you. You sound like my Mother in a way. She was never into any sports until she started playing volleyball after we moved to In. She’d just given birth to my baby brother and our school had an adult rec night. She played her first game of volleyball and didn’t stop for about 35 years! Anyway, when we moved to Erie, Pa somebody suggested a hockey game to her and she went and loved it. I was shocked, I figured it would be to bloody for her, but it wasn’t. I think it and real Buffalo wings are the 2 things she missed when she moved to Florida.

    • Anna Sugden says:

      Hey Amy! Great to see you! I’m so glad you enjoyed the shorts and books! Thank you for letting me know. 🙂

      Yay for your mum – she sounds like a cool lady. I think anyone who likes fast pace and action (the fights and blood are so rare these days) will enjoy hockey. especially if they go to a live game. It’s so much easier to follow and be drawn in. Even at the lower levels. We had fun at a Kelowna Rockets game last year.

  • Laurie G says:

    I personally love to swim. I watch both college football and professional football. I do watch an occasional hockey game. Baseball is too slow for me. I’d rather participate than watch.