Today I am so pleased to welcome Jeff Adams to Joyfully Jay. Jeff has come to talk to us about his latest release, Hat Trick 2: Playing the Rebound. Jeff is sharing an exclusive excerpt and has also brought along a copy of the book to give away. Please join me in giving him a big welcome!
Thanks, Jay, for having me on the blog today. I’m excited to talk about my new novel, Hat Trick 2: Playing the Rebound. The novel picks up about eighteen months after the events in the original Hat Trick. If any readers out there have any questions, please do leave them in the comments and I’ll stop back by to answer them. I’m also happy to offer up a free ebook of Hat Trick 2 to one lucky commenter that Jay will randomly pick.
One of the questions I want to tackle in Hat Trick 2 is the eternal one of “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
It’s the question everyone gets asked in elementary school, maybe even earlier, and it keeps coming, sometimes for your entire life. I turned forty-six earlier this year and there are times I still ask it of myself.
For Simon and Alex, the central characters in the Hat Trick series, they talked a little about future plans in the first book. But there was nothing too concrete. With the action in Hat Trick 2: Playing the Rebound jumping forward to their sophomore year of college, they’re actively considering what their future holds–personally and professionally.
Of all the threads in the book, this one was one of the most fun to write. It comes up a few times for the couple. Early on, Simon and Alex celebrate their two year anniversary and, of course, that’s the perfect time to talk about being together forever. Sure, young love often talks about “forever,” and it works for them.
Simon daydreams a little bit too, wondering if he and Alex would get married and even if they’d have kids. I admit that I’ve given some consideration to what Simon and Alex might be like in their thirties, with a kid or two. And while we don’t hear Alex’s take on kids in this book, it’s a safe bet he’s thinking about those possibilities too.
Towards the end of the book is one of my favorite scenes. It happens at the end of a long day for them both. They end up in a discussion about not just their upcoming winter break, but about the following summer. There are even hints about life beyond college. There’s no fear or hesitation as they talk, it’s just an honest discussion about what they both want, where the compromises might be and how it might turn out.
True signs these guys are growing up… and signs of the people they’re likely going to end up being.
Here’s a brief excerpt from Hat Trick 2 showing a glimpse of the guys hatching their plans. This is a small part of a bigger scene, but to see where it all ends up, you’ll have to pick up the book.
It was the end of a long day. I’d spent the evening chaperoning an early dance at the community center. It was a chance for the young people to bring friends from outside the group to socialize in a safe environment. It wasn’t that the dance was rowdy, but it was very energetic. I talked with a lot of people and even ended up dancing a little.
It was good to be home. It was only ten, but I was already wiped out. Our door was unlocked, as it usually was when only one of us was in the room. I walked in to find Alex lying on the bed, propped up against the wall reading one of his textbooks.
He wore Michigan sweats. His hair was damp, so he must’ve just got out of the shower. It was the perfect scene to come home to.
“Yay! You’re home,” he said, hopping off the bed and wrapping me in a hug.
“Hmmmm. Yes I am,” I said as I got my arms around him.
We stayed in the hug, standing still for a few moments. I didn’t want to let go, but I also wanted to get into something more comfortable.
“How was your day?” I asked. With us both inside, I locked the door. People tended to walk in sometimes without knocking, so when we were together we kept it locked so we wouldn’t be caught in bed or something. Just because we were an out couple didn’t mean we had to sacrifice our privacy.
“Good. Tests went well, I think. Some of the trig really hurt my brain. As I stared at the equations, I wondered why I’m majoring in something that has math like that.” I unloaded my backpack on the desk as he spoke, putting my books in their proper place and then plugging in my gadgets so they’d get juiced overnight. “There have to be easier things to do.”
“Easier, sure,” I said as I stripped out of my jeans and button down combo, “but you love a challenge and figuring out how things work. You’d be so bored if it was easier.”
He sighed and smiled. “You’re right. But, still, it’s daunting to have a full page of equations staring you in the face.”
He returned to the bed and watched me move around the room, tossing clothes in the hamper and getting sweats on. When I was done, we matched, both wearing blue pants and shirt with gold “Michigan” running down the leg and the hockey logo on the chest.
“I brought you some mac and cheese and shepherd’s pie from the cafeteria. They’re in the fridge,” said Alex, looking sexy on the bed. I wanted to join him, but I was hungry.
“You take such good care of me. I swear one day I’m going to be home in the evening so we can get dinner.”
“We just had dinner with Hillary and Mimi last night.”
I grabbed the Styrofoam containers from the fridge, transferred the food onto a paper plate and reheated it in the microwave.
“I mean just us. We’ve been on the go so much. Christmas break can’t get here soon enough.”
“Yeah. We should figure out what we’re going to do. We’ve got to be back here for the Invitational for a few days right after Christmas. And then we’re off again until after New Year’s. But there’s the couple weeks between end of classes and the Invitational to think about, too.”
I nodded as I opened the microwave and stirred the food.
“I’d like to stay that first weekend after finals so I can go to the youth group holiday party and then the Center’s main party after that. I’d love it if you attended that one with me. I don’t get to show you off there enough. What do you think?”
“I’ll definitely go to any Christmas party you want to take me to,” he said with a grin. “There’s an engineering department holiday mixer that happens before the semester ends and I’d love for you to come to that. Of course, there’s the team party that we can’t miss.”
“Right, right.” And just like that we had our holiday party schedule figured out.
The food was warm so I brought it over to the bed and sat on the edge next to Alex. He slipped his hand under my shirt and caressed my lower back.
“Do you think we can get away, just us, for a day or two?”
I considered it as I wolfed the food down. “That’d be great. Have anything in mind?”
“I don’t know. Nothing too elaborate. I really want to be lazy with you for a few days. Maybe a camping trip where we could just spend a day laying around and enjoying each other. I don’t know where to do that during the winter though.”
It sounded wonderful. The few times we’d gone camping had been great. We’d spend some days hiking or swimming, and others just laying around the campsite in the sun.
“You know, Leo and his family are going out to see Eric and Sean since their baby is too young to travel. That means their house’ll be empty. If we house sit, we’d be together, alone. It’s not camping, but we could see our families on Christmas day, and have the rest of the days to ourselves. We’d be back here for GLI before Leo gets back from California.”
“I like it. With our family, but on our own, too.”
“I’ll talk to Leo.”
He brought himself forward and kissed my cheek.
The events from two years ago are still fresh in Simon Robert’s mind as he and Alex Miller begin their sophomore year at the University of Michigan. Nightmares are a routine occurrence as Simon relives the crimes his father and brother committed. Now, with his father ill and asking to see him, Simon must decide if he should see the man who tried to send him away to be fixed. And then there’s Zach. Simon’s conflicted about making peace with his older brother who tormented him as they grew up and caused him to be outed to his parents, friends and teammates.
Alex wants Simon to find closure, but Alex is furious at the thought of forgiving Zack. With no clear direction, Simon finds guidance from an unexpected, but very welcome, source.
At the same time, the University’s student body is faced with an anti-gay attacker among them. When he witnesses an attack first hand, memories threaten to overwhelm Simon. At the same time, he’s also emboldened to take action, which might turn him into a target.
Despite the distractions, Simon works towards his future as he begins working with teens at the local LGBT community center. He has the opportunity to use his story as a teaching tool to help others come out. While he’s never enjoyed telling his story, he looks for the courage to speak his truth to an audience.
Luckily, not everything is chaos. Simon and Alex mark their anniversary in epic fashion, continue to play hockey and hang out with good friends. But with many demands on them, can Simon and Alex set up the rebound necessary to create the scoring opportunity for their future?
Jeff Adams caught the writing bug in middle school and finally became a novelist with the Hat Trick series. Jeff and his husband Will left the hustle and bustle of New York City to return to the more peaceful lifestyle of Humboldt County, California, during the summer of 2014, which should allow for more time to write. Extending his love of hockey beyond novels, Jeff covers the Detroit Red Wings, as well reviews LGBT books that feature hockey, for PuckBuddys.com.
To learn more about Jeff, visit him at these websites:
- Hat Trick 2: Playing the Rebound Buy Link: http://www.jms-books.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=29&products_id=1196
- Website: http://www.jeffadamswrites.com
- Hat Trick website: http://www.HatTrickNovel.com
- Hat Trick on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HatTrickNovel
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/hockeyguynyc
- Amazon: http://amazon.com/author/jeffadams
- Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/writerjeff
Jeff has brought a digital copy of Playing the Rebound to give away to one lucky reader. Just leave a comment at the end of the post to enter. The contest ends on Saturday, August 2nd at 11:59 pm EST.
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