Posts tagged with: hockey

On the 9th Day of Christmas, my true love gave to me …

9 delicious hockey hunks!

I could just stop there, couldn’t I? 9 delicious hockey hunks … yum! We could all enjoy them. Who needs anything more?

See you all after Christmas 😉


Okay, as I’m getting dirty looks from Sven, who wants a proper Christmas post in the Lair, I suppose I’d better do this properly. Jeez – just because Zach and the other hockey hunks pilfered one or two (or several) of Sven’s stash of festive bubbly after their latest win …

It’s great to be released from my writing cave, so I can spend time with you all. Missed you! In honour of the occasion I thought I’d give you some festive cheer in the form of some hockey teams showing us how to celebrate Christmas, followed by a special Christmas Quick Five.

First up, the Belfast Giants and All I Want for Christmas is You …

Thanks, lads!

Next up, the Sheffield Steelers took a different approach to a favourite English Christmas tune, Merry Christmas, Everyone …

Moving over to the NHL, the defending Stanley Cup champs have released a holiday album you won’t want to miss!

Heading north of the border, we have the Ottawa Senators’ rendition of the 12 Days of Christmas …

Ottawa Senators 12 Days of Christmas

Unfortunately, the Calgary Flames didn’t fare so well …

Calgary Flames Ugly Christmas Sweaters

And finally, that Christmas classic, The Night Before Christmas, from the Dallas Stars …

Dallas Stars The Night Before Christmas

As you might imagine, not all goes smoothly filming these videos …

St Louis Blues Outtakes

(I’m sorry the last four were only available on the NHL console.)

Cover2a-APerfectStorm All of which goes to show that just because these guys are hot on ice, they can’t be good at everything! 😉


And now, over to you for a Festive Quick Five. In honour of the season, I’m giving away a New Jersey Ice Cats Christmas Ornament and a complete set of my limited edition, Ice Cats’ short stories to one lucky commenter. Don’t forget, you still have a few days to download A Perfect Storm, my FREE December Ice Cats’ short story, on my website in the For Readers section here.

  1.  Christmas sweaters – yes or no?
  2. Are you a fancy wrapper, with bows, ribbons and all the bells and whistles or a toss it in a gift-bagger?
  3. Worst Christmas present?
  4. Favourite Christmas ornament?
  5. What would you like Santa to bring you?


Oh, I nearly forgot … a Christmas cookie recipe. This is for Lizzie’s Sweet Treats Shortbread Cookies. Lizzie appears in the NJ Ice Cats short story, A Perfect Party (which is still available for download on my website, in the For Readers section here).

Ingredients: (approx 12 cookies)Cover-APerfectParty

150g self-raising flour
150g salted butter
50g golden caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence (optional)
Cadbury’s Chocolate Buttons or any chocolate pieces (optional)
Cling-film or plastic wrap.


Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F

  1. Add flour, sugar and butter (plus vanilla) to food processor or mixer and pulse until mixture is like wet sand.
  2. Lay out a large piece of cling-film on the counter and pour the mixture onto it.
  3. Using the cling-film to help keep the mixture together, press and roll, until you have a long, solid roll of dough, wrapped in plastic.
  4. Store in refrigerator for an hour.
  5. Slice dough into ¼” or ½” rounds and put onto a well-greased or sheet-lined baking tray.
  6. Cook for approx 15 mins. Note: timing depends on how thickly you cut the rounds.
  7. When cooked, use a spatula to slide onto a wire rack. Note: the cookies will be very soft when warm, so if they’re too fragile, it’s okay to let them cool on the tray for a few minutes to let them harden a little.
  8. (Optional) While cookies are cooling, add chocolate button to the centre of each cookie.

Note: If you don’t use metric measures, keep the flour, butter and sugar in the ratio of 3:3:1 (eg 6oz, 6oz, 2oz)

However you celebrate the festive season, I hope it is a happy, healthy and fun one for you and yours and that 2016 is a great year.

Anna Sugden is Bandita of the Month!

It looks like September will be another ‘Anna‘ month with Anna Campbell and I swapping places. Whereas in August, La Campbell was being interviewed and I provided an exclusive sneak peek of A Perfect Distraction, this month, you get an excerpt from Anna’s delightful A Rake’s Midnight Kiss and an interview with me!

So get a drink from the bar, pull up a hockey hunk … uh, a chair … well okay, you can have a hockey hunk too 😉 … and settle back for some Bandita chat!

Now, the last time I was in the interviewing hot seat, it was April 2012. You can read that interview here. Isn’t it funny that I talk about my favourite thing that I researched for Bad Boy, Good Man and that is the manuscript that became A Perfect Distraction. By the way, the links in that article are out of date, so if you want to read about that research and other fun stuff, check out the For Readers section of my spiffy new website.

A lot has happened since last April! As regular visitors to the Lair know, I sold my first book in December 2012. A Perfect Distraction is available this month from Harlequin Super Romance in the USA and Canada (plus from most Amazon outlets and the Book Depository, which has free shipping worldwide!). It is also available as an Essence Duo in Australia and as a Mills & Boon ebook in the UK. 

Then, in June 2013, I sold three more books in the New Jersey Ice Cats series! So readers can look forward to more hockey hunks 😉

9780373718740And now without further ado, here are the answers to some BB questions I’ve been asked.

Tell us a bit about The New Jersey Ice Cats. Are they based on a real team?

Despite being a huge New Jersey Devils fan, from my days living in New Jersey, and receiving help from the Devils’ organisation in researching A Perfect Distraction, the only connections between my fictional team and the real one are that they’re both based in New Jersey and they both play in red. Of course, I did tap into the experience of the Stanley Cup-winning season in 2003 to help the Ice Cats win! None of the Ice Cats’ players (nor their opponents) are based on real players either, although I’ve used certain character traits that I’ve observed in real players to help Jake and his team-mates come to life!

Jake ‘Bad Boy’ Badoletti is the hero of A Perfect Distraction. Which other players do you plan to write about?

Definitely the Jelinek brothers. Readers met Tru and Ike in A Perfect Distraction, but there are also two younger brothers called Kenny and Linc. I’m currently writing Tru’s book, which will be out next summer. In it, readers will find out what caused the friction between Tru and Jenny and see if the pair can overcome the problems of the past to rediscover love. After that, will be Ike’s book. He has to deal with an injury that is potentially career-ending, which forces him to think seriously about what his life post-hockey will be like. The fourth book hasn’t been decided yet, but as well as the younger brothers, there are other players who could get their own book eg cocky rookie JB Larocque.

Which cocktail do you ask the hockey hunks to bring you when you’re in your writing cave?

It used to be Mojitos, but since my trip to Antigua, I’ve become rather fond of Chocolate Monkeys, Banana Sip Sops and Reggae Tops!

Do you have a favourite snack to nibble on while you’re writing?

I try not to snack too much, especially as I’m sitting a lot when I have to get a book finished. But when I get the munchies, I tend to go for savoury, rather than sweet foods. Popcorn is a favourite, as is nacho cheese flavoured Doritos or cheese and onion crisps, both sour cream dip.


sakic (1)

Is your cave tidy, with a clear desk, or cluttered?

Definitely cluttered, though I like to think of it as organised chaos! I think I get my creative energy from having things I love around me.

Finally, if you could have dinner with any hockey player, who would it be?

I’ve been lucky enough to meet many of the Devils’ current and former players over the years. It’s hard to choose just one to have all to myself 😉 So, I’ve decided to pick a player from another team – former Colorado Avalanche great, Joe Sakic.


Members Only Peek at A Perfect Distraction!

Hi Bandita Buddies!

9780373718740Can you believe it’s only a month until A Perfect Distraction hits the shelves?! As a special treat for you, below is an exclusive sneak peek at the first book in my New Jersey Ice Cats series. In this bit, Maggie has just arrived at Jake ‘Bad Boy’ Badoletti’s rented, Manhattan apartment for a meeting with the infamous hockey star.

You can read another excerpt from my debut Harlequin Super Romance on my newly-redesigned website

A Perfect Distraction

A face-off — head vs. heart

For Jake Badoletti, this year is all about his career. He has a rare second chance to make the most of being a pro hockey player, so no parties, no scandals. Too bad he’s met a woman who could sideline those plans. Maggie Goodman is not his usual type—right down to being a single mom. Still, the sizzling connection with this gorgeous brunette can’t be ignored. 

With a little juggling and a lot of focus, Jake manages to have the game and Maggie. Then his performance on the ice suffers and a scandal erupts. Now he can’t afford the distraction of Maggie…even if she is perfect for him.

Excerpt from Chapter 1:

“Showtime.” Stiffening her spine, Maggie strode out of the lift.

Her steps faltered. Noise spilled out of the open apartment doors. Voices, laughter, underscored with a heavy bass beat. The air was thick with a mix of expensive perfume and potent aftershave.

Jake had arranged their meeting during a party? That didn’t reassure her about the kind of man he was.

Several enormous men headed past her toward the elevator. Built like tanks, with thick necks and tattoos, she guessed they were American footballers. A couple of tanned women wearing microminis, crop tops and skyscraper heels hung off each player’s arm.

Maggie couldn’t help a pang of envy when she saw one of the women wearing a sexy pair of Giuseppe Zanotti studded sandals. Her toes curled in her sling-backs. Even though they were Chanel—she hadn’t given up the designer shoes she loved—the sedate pair didn’t have the same feel as she knew those strappy stilettos would.

Once, she would have loved being at a party like this. She would have delighted in rubbing shoulders with those richer and more famous than she and Lee were, hoping some of their glitz would come her way. Back then, she would have found a way to be the center of attention.

“Get your butt over here, Cindy,” one of the men growled impatiently at a blonde tottering unsteadily behind the group.

Maggie’s stomach twisted, as darker memories filled her mind. She turned away, desperate to escape both her thoughts and the building as fast as possible. Before she could take a step, an inner voice reminded her that wasn’t an option.

She brushed her damp palms against her linen dress and forced the memories aside. Her heels clicked on the marble floor as she walked along the hallway.

Her sense of dread grew as she progressed through the apartment. Aside from the flamboyantly garish decor, this could have been the house she’d left behind in England. From the leather, steel and glass furniture to the top-of-the-range boys’ toys in every room, the place reeked of money and testosterone overload.

She’d expected to find Jake at the heart of the party, but he wasn’t among the crowd in the living room. There were some fit blokes, probably teammates, and a couple of actors she recognized from one of the New York cop dramas , as well as a bunch of fresh-faced clones in buttoned-down shirts and chinos who could be Wall Street whiz kids, lawyers or the wealthy of Upper Manhattan. The women were all tall, thin and tanned with long, shiny hair and the latest designer fashions.

Jake wasn’t among the thick-necks doing body-shots off a giggling redhead, sprawled across the long, shiny table in the dining room. Nor in the den, where another group of men sprawled on leather couches, alongside yet more tanned, scantily clad women, watching a baseball game on a giant plasma screen.

Where the heck was he? How could she make a good impression on him, when she couldn’t find him? Biting back a sigh, she headed in a different direction.

Near the master suite, she noticed a pair of handsome, well-built men coming toward her. Clearly brothers, they looked like athletes. Hockey players? Maybe they knew where Jake was hiding.

“Excuse me. Have you seen Jake Badoletti?”

“Honey, whatever you want from Jake, I can do better,” the taller man said, with a twinkle in his eye.

Though she normally ignored such blatant flirtation, the man’s grin was infectious. Maggie couldn’t help smiling back.

“Behave, Tru.” The stockier bloke frowned, then glanced through the open door behind them. “Jake’s kind of busy.”

Maggie’s smile faded. Great. Her client was holed up in his bedroom with a groupie. She was tempted to leave and make him reschedule, but didn’t want to get Tracy into trouble. “I’ll wait for him in the living room. Thank you.”

“Don’t rush off. Have a drink with us.” The friendlier brother stuck out his hand. “Tru Jelinek. I play with Jake on the Ice Cats. This is my brother, Ike.”

They seemed harmless enough, and it would be better than waiting alone. “Nice to meet you. Maggie Goodman.”

“You’re English?” Ike studied her carefully. “I didn’t think you Brits were hockey fans.”

“I’m not a fan. I’m with Making Your Move. I have an appointment with Jake.”

“Tracy’s company?”

“I’m her sister. I’m helping her out until she’s back on her feet.”

“We heard about her busted appendix.” He sounded concerned. “Is she doing okay?”

“Yes, thank you. She’s recovering nicely, but frustrated she’s not healing faster.”

“I bet,” he muttered.

“Do you know her well?” She was curious about his reaction.

“She helped me find my town house last summer.”

From his tone, there was more to that story than the single, bald sentence, but she didn’t have time to explore it, as Tru motioned her toward the open bedroom door.

“Since you’re here on business, you should go on in.”

When Maggie hesitated, he urged her on. “You’re not interrupting anything important. Besides, the sooner you’re done, the sooner you can join us for a drink.”

Swallowing her apprehension over what she’d see within, she gripped her briefcase tightly and stepped into the doorway.

In the large sitting area of the suite, by the floor-to-ceiling windows, a group of women fluttered around a tall, dark-haired man, like a flock of brightly colored, exotic birds. That must be Jake Badoletti.

Her mouth went dry.

None of the photos in Tracy’s file had done him justice. She’d known he was good-looking, but that didn’t begin to describe the man in person.

Heaven help her, he was gorgeous!

Square-jawed and rugged, with piercing, blue eyes and a crooked grin. He was clearly a warrior of the ice, but his broken nose and scars somehow added to his appeal and made him more intriguing. Unlike the hulking bodies of the thick-necks, Jake had the firm, solid lines of an athlete in peak condition. Lean, corded muscle shaped the snug-fitting black shirt and faded jeans. Exciting and enticing, he brimmed with charm and hints of danger.

No wonder he had that reputation—any woman would have a hard time resisting the pull of this particular bad boy. Once upon a time, she’d have been in that crowd, fighting for his attention. Not anymore. Never again.

Still, she couldn’t help feeling a little relieved that she probably wouldn’t see him again.

He’d be Tracy’s problem, assuming Maggie did what she had to in this meeting. Pushing aside a last-minute nervous quiver, she donned her polite, but reserved media smile and entered the lion’s den.


New August Exclusive Excerpt is from A Perfect Distraction!

Want an exclusive sneak peek at Anna Sugden’s debut book in her New Jersey Ice Cats series from Harlequin Super Romance?

Check out the Member’s Den and see this month’s exclusive excerpt from A Perfect Distraction.

If you’re not a member, what are you waiting for? Sign up today! It’s really easy. Bandita Buddies get access to exclusive content. Receive our monthly newsletter and be entered into the draw for unique, Members Only prizes.Tell us your birthday for a special greeting from the Banditas and the Lair hunks.

Quick Five – A Bit of Bear Fun!

bear and pen 2

Some of you may have seen on Facebook, that I recently received a lovely gift in the post from some of my dear writing pals.

It’s been a long-standing tradition among the gang at Writers at Play to celebrate a first sale with a bear and pen. The bear is dressed to represent a character from the book you sold and the pen, in your favourite colour, is engraved with the title of the book and the date you got the call.

Sultry Bear  her bookmarksBanditas Tawny and Beth both belong to the same group and have kindly agreed to let me show you pics of their celebratory bears. Tawny’s Sultry Bear celebrated her first sale to Blaze – Double Dare. Can you believe that this month’s release, A SEAL’s Surrender, is Tawny’s 18th Blaze?!

Beth's Jack

Beth’s Jack Bear was created to represent the hero of her first sale to SuperRomance, Jack from Not Without Her Family. Beth’s April release, Talk of the Town, will be her 11th SuperRomance!


bear 1My book, A Perfect Distraction, which will be out in September, features a hockey hunk hero – Jake ‘Bad Boy’ Badoletti – so my bear is dressed as a hockey hunk. Meet Jake ‘Bad Boy’ Bear! He’s got a fab New Jersey Devils jersey on (my favourite team) and even has skates, a helmet, a hockey stick and a puck! I hope he brings me the same success as Sultry and Jack brought Tawny and Beth.

As we speak, Bad Boy Bear is seated on my desk, overseeing my writing!

That got me thinking about bears and other childhood toys. Sadly, my lovely, little, childhood teddy bear got lost in our move home from New Jersey. I’m sure he’s in a box somewhere, but I can’t find him. :(. 

cuddlies 003But I do have some other special cuddlies:

– a cute little sheep who baas, from my dear friend Christyne Butler, to celebrate my first Golden Heart final (my book featured a difficult sheep called Heidi *g*). 

– a set of Moomins, which many of you know are my favourite characters from the children’s stories by Tove Jansson.

– a Mrs Tiggy-Winkle, my favourite Beatrix Potter character, from one of my lovely step-daughters

– a kookaburra from my trip to Australia – if you press his belly, he laughs!

– a whole colony of penguins (what is the collective noun for penguins?) given to me by various friends and family, including a precious Steiff penguin from a couple of former pupils.

So, here’s today’s Quick Five:

1. Did you have a teddy bear, or other cuddly toy, as a child?

2. Do you still have that bear/cuddly toy?

3. Did that bear/cuddly toy have a name?

4. Do you have any other special bears/cuddly toys – tell us about them?

5. If you were to get a special bear, dressed up to represent you or something special you’ve done, what would your bear be wearing?