Today I am so pleased to welcome Jeff Adams & Will Knauss to Joyfully Jay. Jeff & Will have come to talk to us about their latest release, The Hockey Player’s Heart. They have also brought along an exclusive excerpt and a giveaway. Please join me in giving them a big welcome!
Hello everyone! Thanks to Jay for hosting us as part of our release day for The Hockey Player’s Heart. This is the first book that we’ve collaborated on as co-authors and were excited that it’s finally out. The Hockey Player’s Heart, which is #50 in the Dreamspinner Press Dreamspun Desires line, is the story of NHL superstar Caleb Carter, who returns to his small hometown in upstate New York and falls for grade school teacher Aaron Price.
There are several classic category romance tropes that we wove into the story. First and foremost, it’s a second chance romance. Back in high school, Aaron tutored Caleb in geometry. Neither of them was out of the closet at the time and while they harbored secret crushes on each other, they never acted on them. Years later when Caleb is back home recuperating from an injury, he discovers that Aaron has returned home and is teaching at the local elementary school. Second chance is one of our favorite tropes because it’s a lot of fun to bring people together who, for whatever reason, missed each other the first time around.
One of the other tropes in play is matching up a celebrity with an average Joe (well, Aaron in this case). Aaron is well aware of Caleb’s superstar status as the captain of the New York Rangers. Caleb has all the media attention that goes with being on a pro hockey player along with the travel schedule and other obligations. Aaron has to figure out how he fits into all of that and Caleb has to help him get there.
The small-town of our story plays into this as well. Caleb and Aaron grew up in a town that we’ve set just outside of Albany. It’s a suburb connected to a bigger city, but certainly nothing like what Caleb is used to with NYC. In our view, Foster Grove is very much a Stars Hollow (from Gilmore Girls) sort of vibe. Everybody knows everybody. Some people are very content staying for their entire lives. For Aaron, after spending years in Los Angeles, he’s happy to be back in the small town. But he does have choices to make, as Caleb comes back into his life.
And while not exactly a trope, this is also a sports romance. Caleb is injured for most of the book, we do get to see him at work on the ice as he helps coaching a local youth hockey team while he’s home. Toward the end of the book, he gets back into action with the Rangers. For those who like a little bit of hockey play in their book, you won’t be disappointed. It was one of the things we had to put into the book since Jeff nearly always has hockey featured in his stories.
Below you can check out a brief excerpt from The Hockey Player’s Heart. Plus we’ve got a Rafflecopter for you. We’re giving away an e-book copy at each tour stop plus there’s a grand prize of an autographed paperback for a US winner or a $10 Amazon e-gift card for an international winner. Make sure to check out all the stops to maximize your chance to win.
We hope you enjoy The Hockey Player’s Heart and would love to hear what you think. If you read it, please consider leaving a review on your favorite site or dropping us a comment on one of our websites.
Last night had been tremendous.
After dinner, Aaron and Caleb sat on the back deck, under the heaters, and talked about what their classmates from high school were up to. Now Caleb was getting ready to walk into Aaron’s classroom, and it felt like it was his first day of school. Caleb hadn’t expected to be so freaked out when he arrived at the elementary school just after one o’clock.
Through the small window in the door, he saw Aaron at the whiteboard, writing as he talked. He waited for Aaron to hit a stopping point before he knocked. When he finally announced his presence, Aaron continued to talk as he came toward the door, though Caleb couldn’t hear a word.
“Welcome,” Aaron said as he opened the door. “Class, say hello to our guest, Mr. Carter. He’ll be watching this afternoon.”
The class of twenty-two became fidgety and chatty, albeit quietly.
“And if you behave, he might answer some questions later and maybe even help us with the lesson.”
Aaron raised an eyebrow at Caleb. They’d talked last night about what the lesson would be. But Caleb suddenly felt underprepared and a little bit terrified. Before he left, Aaron had promised he wouldn’t embarrass him. Caleb believed that, but his jitters wouldn’t calm down.
“Hi, everyone.” Caleb raised his hand to wave. The class responded all at once with a cacophony of excited responses.
“We don’t really have a good desk for you, so I was thinking you could sit on the bookshelf in the back.” Aaron pointed to the low bookshelf under a bulletin board decorated for springtime with a theme of growth.
“Sounds good. Like Mr. Price said, pay attention and do what he says, and I’ll answer some questions later.”
Caleb went down one of the side aisles, and one of the boys put up a fist, which Caleb bumped as he walked by. The boy grinned, and Caleb winked at him. In the back of the room, he slipped off his jacket, laid it on the bookshelf, and took a seat.
Hometown hero. Hockey superstar. Perfect boyfriend?
When hockey star Caleb Carter returns to his hometown to recover from an injury, the only thing he’s interested in is a little R & R. He never expects to run into his onetime crush at a grade school fund-raiser . Seeing Aaron Price hits him hard, like being checked into the boards. The attraction is still there, even after all these years, and Caleb decides to make a play for the schoolteacher. You miss 100 percent of the shots you never take, right?
Aaron has been burned by love before and can’t imagine what a celebrity like Caleb could possibly see in a guy like him. Their differences are just too great. But as Aaron spends more time with Caleb, he begins to wonder if he might have what it takes to win the hockey player’s heart.
Jeff Adams and Will Knauss are husbands, authors, and podcasters based in Northern California. They write gay romances, sometimes together and other times separately. Jeff also writes young adult LGBT fiction. Together they host Jeff & Will’s Big Gay Fiction Podcast, a weekly show devoted to gay romance literature and the pop culture they love.
Jeff and Will brought an ebook copy of The Hockey Player’s Heart to give away to one lucky reader at Joyfully Jay, as well as a grand prize from full tour. Just follow the Rafflecopter below to enter both giveaways.
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