Posted by Nancy Northcott Feb 4 2016, 12:34 am in A Perfect Bouquet, A Perfect Catch, A Perfect Compromise, A Perfect Disguise, A Perfect Distraction, A Perfect Lucky Charm, A Perfect Party, A Perfect Reunion, A Perfect Selection, A Perfect Storm, A Perfect Trade, Anna Sugden, hockey romance, NJ Ice Cats, Stanley Cup
Today 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?
This 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.
The 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.
Would 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.
Taylor 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.
Ah. 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?
I’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.
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!
You can find more information about Anna and her books on her website. You can also connect with her on social media this way: Facebook, Twitter, 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?
Posted by Anna Sugden Feb 25 2015, 11:45 pm in A Perfect Catch, A Perfect Party, A Perfect Trade, Anna Sugden, NJ Ice Cats
Thank you to everyone who stopped by and took part in the fun – you all really are the best! And remember you can keep in touch via my website, my newsletter, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and the Romance Bandits RSS Feed.
As it was such a special occasion, I’ve decided to raid the give-away cupboard! So the following people have won their choice of A Perfect Trade or A Perfect Catch:
The following have won an exclusive New Jersey Ice Cats notebook:
Don’t forget that if you’d like a signed copy of my limited edition short story, A Perfect Party, email me via the website or anna at annasugden dot com.
Posted by Anna Sugden Feb 22 2015, 2:41 am in A Perfect Catch, A Perfect Trade, Anna Sugden, Fill in the blank, NJ Ice Cats, quick five
It’s been a bittersweet month, here in the Lair, as many of us post the last of our regular blogs. On the one hand, it’s great that we’ll be busy writing more books, but on the other hand it will be sad not to pop in here and chat with you all. Today is my turn. Most of you are already friends or followers of my pages on FB and Twitter (thank you!). For those who aren’t, the details are below. You can find me there, as well as via the Romance Bandits FB page, on Pinterest and on my website. I’ll still be doing my regular features on Facebook too – Two Nations Divided, Fun Penguin Fact, Sunday Afternoon Film Recommendation and more. On special occasions, I will be back here to announce news and new launches.
Thank you all for the friendship and support you’ve shown me over the years, especially during the long years where I battled to get published. I couldn’t have made it through without you all, Banditas and BBs. I hope you’ll stay in touch!
I thought it would be fitting – and fun – to have a final Quick Five post today, as I know many of you enjoy reading them and taking part. For double the fun, it’s a fill in the blank too! And for the cherry on top, I will offer one lucky commenter their choice of a signed copy of either A Perfect Trade or A Perfect Catch. I may also give away a spot prize or two!
So, here we go:
At the latest of the Lair’s famous parties, [insert your name] really set the place alight, when she wafted in on a cloud of [Question 1a], wearing her slinky [Question 1b] dress, with the low neckline and the big split up the thigh, decorated with lots of sequinned [Question 1c] and her amazing 4 inch heels by famous designer [Question 2] . Of course, it didn’t hurt that she had [Question 3] in his finest [Question 4] on her arm. Unfortunately, the pesky rooster turned up in costume, dressed as a [Question 5] and scared everyone half to death, until the hockey hunks [describe the punishment for the bird!].
1. a. Your favourite perfume; b. Colour of the top you’re wearing; c. Favourite animal
2. Names of three of your pets.
3. Your hunky escort?
4. How is he dressed? Suit, cowboy gear, sheikh’s outfit, historical costume, sports uniform, military uniform etc.
5. Animal you’re most afraid of.
Posted by Anna Sugden Feb 11 2015, 11:50 pm in A Perfect Catch, Anna Sugden
This month’s Exclusive Excerpt is a small snippet from A Perfect Catch. I’ve chosen the lead up to Ike and Tracy’s first kiss. To read the actual kiss, you’ll need to buy the book 🙂
Check out my Exclusive Excerpt in the Members’ Den.
Posted by Anna Sugden Feb 11 2015, 11:50 pm in A Perfect Catch, Anna Sugden, Exclusive excerpt
It’s always hard to choose a small snippet of your book, but I figure you can’t go wrong with a kiss. So here, just for you BBs, is the lead up to Ike and Tracy’s first kiss.
As Tracy puttered about the kitchen, Ike watched carefully for any sign that she was even slightly affected by his presence. Nada. He couldn’t have imagined it—the heat, the invitation. It hadn’t been wishful thinking.
Yet she was behaving like nothing had happened… Almost happened.
By the time she served up dinner, Ike was frustrated and antsy. He wanted to prove she wasn’t immune to him.
“This should hit the spot.” Tracy leaned past him to put his plate on the table.
Her arm brushed his shoulder, sending a zing through his body. Her hair brushed against his cheek, amplifying that zing and directing it straight to his groin. Above the rich aroma of the steaming cottage pie, her light scent teased his nose.
His stomach rumbled again, but it wasn’t the food that he was really hungry for.
“Ah, the hell with it,” he muttered, before reaching up to cradle her neck and gently pull her mouth toward his.
Posted by Anna Sugden Feb 5 2015, 11:48 pm in A Perfect Catch, Anna Sugden, Bandita Booty
Thank you to everyone who stopped by the launch party for A Perfect Catch and joined in the fun! I think the pesky bird was well and truly scared into behaving – though I won’t mention the golden feathers I found in the Cadbury’s chocolate cupboard in my writing cave!
Jersey Girl and CC have done their duty as prize selectors (using the patented Kate Walker method of cat treats on slips of paper!) and chosen:
Laurie G and Shannon!
Congratulations! Please send me your snail mail addresses to anna at annasugden.com and I’ll get your prizes out to you!
Posted by Anna Sugden Feb 3 2015, 1:54 am in A Perfect Catch, A Perfect Distraction, A Perfect Trade, Anna Sugden, La Proposition Ideale, Launch Party, New Jersey Ice Cats
Yes, it’s party time in the Lair! Today we celebrate the launch of the third book in my New Jersey Ice Cats series – A Perfect Catch! So grab a delicious snack, a hot/cold/alcoholic drink and a hot hockey hunk and let’s have some fun.
For those of you who have been following the series – a huge thank you to you all – this is Ike and Tracy’s story. Eisenhower ‘Ike’ Jelinek is the Ice Cats goaltender and older brother to Tru Jelinek (A Perfect Trade). Tracy Hayden runs her own business providing services to people who are relocating and is Maggie’s younger sister (A Perfect Distraction). As you’ll have seen from the previous books, these two stubborn people have a shared past, which didn’t end well. Now, the time has come to see if there is a chance for them to have a shared future.
Here is the blurb:
He’s the perfect catch…for now!
When it comes to romance, Tracy Hayden is not looking for a rematch. She’s had epic passion—and problems!—with professional hockey player Ike Jelinek. Brilliant on skates and magic in bed, his too-traditional-for-her views were like a bucket of ice water on their affair.
Then an injury takes Ike out of the game, and everything changes. Suddenly he needs her services-providing business—even though he once claimed it was their biggest problem. Tracy’s determined to be professional, despite the sizzling attraction between them that won’t go away. Maybe they need a second fling to fix that!
I’m thrilled that RT Book Reviews gave A Perfect Catch 4 stars! They say: Sugden’s novel is fun, in spite of Ike sustaining an injury. The quirky, fun hockey players add lots of color to the story and the chemistry between Ike and Tracy is seriously hot.
And here’s a sneak peek:
Tracy had just reached Ike’s room when she heard him roar.
“I don’t need a freaking straw in my drink and I don’t want you to cut up my food.”
A young blonde volunteer in a striped uniform rushed past Tracy, her face flushed. “Perhaps you’ll have better luck with him.”
Tracy smiled sympathetically, then strode into the room. “Someone’s in a foul mood.”
“You’d be miserable, too, if you weren’t even allowed to use a freaking knife and fork,” he growled, crossing his arms awkwardly over his broad chest. The bandages that covered his arm from fingers to shoulder hampered his movement.
The flowery pastel-blue gown should have looked silly on such an obviously masculine body. Instead, it emphasized his honed chest and arms, making him look more manly, rather than less. But Ike didn’t need to know that.
Nor that he’d made her pulse skip. “Good job I’m here to give the staff a break from your charming personality.”
He narrowed his gaze. “Do not push me.”
“Seriously?” Tracy rolled her eyes. “That might work on a sweet young thing like that candy striper, but I’m immune.”
Ike’s green eyes turned fiery, challenging her to take him on.
She tamped down her body’s instant heated response. Besides, she shouldn’t tease a wounded man. Especially one whose pride probably hurt as much as his arm.
Even better, today is actually a double celebration! It’s also the day that the French version of A Perfect Trade – La Proposition Idéale – is released! I do love those French covers (and no, I don’t have his email address either!)
So, as it’s time to party, we’re going to open up the ballroom, stoke the logs in the huge fireplaces and turn on the champagne and chocolate fountains! Sven has laid on an incredible buffet of finger food with something to tempt every tastebud. Lars has got his brother, Nils, to play DJ, so we’ll be all set for great music. Paolo has sent the pesky bird off on his travels with dire threats if he returns befor emidnight. The Romans are organising the party games and Zach and the hockey hunks have promised to look after your every party need.
Over to you. As it’s a double celebration, I’m giving away two prizes. One each to two lucky commenters – an exclusive New Jersey Ice Cats notebook.
1. What are you wearing?
2. Which song would you like Nils to play for you?
3. What’s your favourite party game?
4. What drink and snack would you like brought to you?
5. What dire threat do you suggest for the pesky bird?
Posted by Donna MacMeans Feb 1 2015, 12:30 am in A Perfect Catch, Anna Sugden, Demon Lore, Karily Bentley, Marisa Dillon, Robin Giana, The Lady of the Garter
And what better place to find love than with the Romance Bandits. February is shaping up to be an exciting month. Here’s what’s coming your way!
Brit Bandita, Anna Sugden, and the hockey hunks host one of the Lair’s famous launch parties on Feb 3rd to celebrate the release of the third book in her New Jersey Ice Cats series, A Perfect Catch.
On February 5th, debut historical author Ruth Kaufman chats about her two version romance, At His Command, with Nancy.
So we’ve covered contemporary, historical…how about some paranormal? On Feb 6th, Karilyn Bentley returns to the Lair to talk with Suz about Demon Lore the first book in her new Urban Fantasy series: Demon Huntress. Thrust into a power-play between good and evil, the world’s newest demon-slayer must choose a side before she becomes the next victim in the ongoing battle.
On February 9th we’ll talk medievals with debut author Marisa Dillon. The Lady of the Garter is about a spunky heroine who masquerades as a boy so as to be a squire to the hero.
She’s back! Lair favorite, Robin Giana, is back on February 17th to tell us about her latest medical romance set in Paris (Can you see the Eiffel Tower?) and valentine’s day traditions from around the world. It Happened in Paris… What a perfect setting for a romantic February novel.
In her posts this month, Cassondra will talk about how we reinvent ourselves–and how she’s done that in her writing when she gives the Bandits and Buddies the first public peek at the cover for her first book–and new series. Come join the party on the 20th for the big cover reveal!
On February 24th, Morgan Malone will join us with a dark love novel. As her cover says, there’s nothing grey about this one.
Watch tomorrow for a major annoucement about Romance Bandits.
Posted by Anna Sugden Jan 25 2015, 11:44 pm in A Perfect Catch, Anna Sugden, Bandita Booty
Thank you to everyone who stopped by and joined in the fun talking about new experiences in 2015.
The winner of a signed copy of A Perfect Catch is JCP! Congratulations!
Please send your snail mail details to me via my website (anna at annasugden dot com) or the contact form here.
Posted by Anna Sugden Jan 22 2015, 1:32 am in A Perfect Catch, Anna Sugden, cookery, La Proposition Ideale, new experiences, New Jersey Ice Cats, new skills, New Year, New Years Resolutions, travel
A belated Happy New Year to you all. I hope 2015 is treating you well and that you have lots of wonderful things to look forward to this year.
I’m not one for New Year’s Resolutions. With the benefit of my advancing years, I’ve learned that I rarely keep them — for a variety of reasons, not just laziness — and they become something to beat myself up about around September. Not very healthy! What I’ve learned to do instead is to take some time to think about what I want to do that’s new over the coming twelve months.
Some years, the focus is on travel and visiting new places. One of the benefits of being a romance author is that I can go to the national conference and either visit somewhere new or use it as a stepping stone to somewhere new. We also have family and friends scattered in different places, which gives plenty of opportunity for visiting and exploring. Last year, for example, the new places we visited were Kelowna in BC, Seattle, Edisto Island in SC and Columbia in SC.
Even when we return to a place we’ve visited previously, we always try to see something new. Again, last year, we returned to San Antonio and Amsterdam. The Riverwalk had changed enormously since our last visit to San Antonio, so that was fun to explore. Amsterdam is a great walking city, so you can potter away for days and see new areas. But the new experience for us was going to the recently refurbished – and spectacular — Rijk’s Museum.
This year will get off to a great start when Doc Cambridge and I head to Paris for the day, to a book signing. Although I visited Paris many years ago, it was only on an in-and-out business trip and it wasn’t the best experience. This time will be very different, I’m sure. For a start, we’re going to travel on the Eurostar – the train that goes under the Channel – a new experience! Then, we’ll be meeting some of my French readers for a fun day to celebrate the launch of La Proposition Idéale — book 2 in my New Jersey Ice Cats series (ie A Perfect Trade).
Some years, the focus is on learning a new skill or advancing an existing skill. Over the last couple of years I’ve learned how to knit in the round, crochet and make jewellery. Earlier this month, I went to a session at my local WI (Women’s Institute) and learned the art of straw plaiting. While I wasn’t very good at it and probably won’t do it again, it was fun to learn all about an important trade from this area.
Another area where I like to have new experiences is cooking. I keep meaning to make a new recipe from each of the recipe books in my collection, but I get so busy I stick to the old favourites. However, again, in previous years I’ve been on courses to learn the art of Indian cookery and how to make sushi! (I was much better at sushi than straw plaiting!)
Over to you – do you like to have new experiences in a new year? Have you planned any for 2015 – travel to new places, courses for new skills or cookery? One commenter will get to have a new experience as they will win a copy of my new book, the third in my New Jersey Ice Cats series – A Perfect Catch – which will be out in a couple of weeks.