Today I am so pleased to welcome Kelly Farmer to Joyfully Jay. Kelly has come to talk to us about her latest release, Unexpected Goals. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!
Here’s a little something from Unexpected Goals, Book 2 in the Out on the Ice Series. It’s an enemies-to-friends-to-lovers Sapphic romance featuring Canadian goalie Maisy Goode and American forward Jen Donato. International competition has created a bitter rivalry between them. Now teammates in the women’s pro league, they have to learn how to play nice in order to win. What they didn’t expect was falling for one another.
Maisy tossed the puck to a nearby ref and took two strides out of the net. Jen headed toward the faceoff circle. “Hey,” Maisy barked at her. “Watch Watts. She keeps getting a clear shot.”
“Thanks, but I know how to play hockey,” Jen yapped back.
Maisy gripped her stick and circled back to the crease. Darn it. Being angry and anxious was not helping. Prep for the next shot.
Jen won the faceoff, but their team didn’t clear the zone. New York’s defenders passed the puck back and forth, then skimmed it to the left wing. Jen slid between the player and Watts but was too far up ice. The puck shot to Watts and then whooshed under Maisy’s armpit before she saw it coming.
She swiped the puck out of the net as the crowd roared. Grabbed her water bottle and took a swig. Shake it off.
Damn it, Jen was out of position. She could’ve stopped the pass if she’d been where she was supposed to be. Where Maisy had told her to be.
The crowd chanted, “Goode is bad! Goode is bad!” Like they were the first set of fans who’d ever thought of that one.
Maisy cleared the ice shavings from around the net. She shook her facemask to get it back in place. Her temples pounded in anger. How maddening that Jen was wielding this grudge at the expense of the team.
She risked a quick glance at the bench. Jen sat staring straight ahead, gripping the shaft of her stick with both hands. She knew what she’d done.
Normally, Maisy would never resent a teammate for making a mistake. Not this time. Not when it could’ve easily been prevented. Jen Donato was a rotten, rotten teammate.
The seconds ticked by, mostly with play in the New York zone. Maisy banged her stick blade on the ice to muster up energy for her team, for herself. Anger held her mouth shut. This was not her game. Not her style. She tried to shake it off again, physically and mentally.
I know how to play hockey.
Apparently, Donato didn’t play it as well as she thought.
She glanced at the clock. Thirty seconds to go. Twenty. Ten. The second the horn sounded, she headed for the exit. Couldn’t get off the ice fast enough.
The crowd cheered. The Lady Libertys gathered around their winning netminder. Their victory song began to play: Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York.”
Laurel tapped her shoulder in the tunnel. “You had a good game.”
No, it had been terrible. She’d been thrown off. The one thing she didn’t want to happen with Jen Donato being here.
They entered the visitor’s locker room in silence. A particularly bitter loss when they’d wanted to settle the score from last season. “That was a good effort this afternoon,” Laurel said, trying to sound upbeat. “Close game. Could have gone either way.”
Jen tossed her gloves on the shelf in her stall. Being assigned next to her even on the road was a cruel joke. They shrugged out of jerseys and pads in a tight silence. It was awful to want to blame one person for a loss. Not so much when it was this person.
Maisy jammed her ball cap over her heavy, sweat-soaked hair. She’d work it out on the bus ride home. Put her headphones on and watch the replay to prep for tomorrow’s home game, also against New York. Do what she always did. Learn from today’s mistakes to come back stronger.
Only today’s biggest mistake-maker was pulling her buzzing phone from her stall. Jen checked the screen, eyebrows drawing together. “Shit,” she murmured.
Really? Her priority in this moment was her phone? “Did your plans get canceled for tonight?” Maisy said with just the right amount of snark.
Jen’s eyes lasered into her. “What?”
“Nothing.” Maisy went back to unstrapping her leg pads.
“Worry about your own problems, Goode.” Jen focused on her phone. Well, if that didn’t have one heck of a double meaning: Mind your own business on and off the ice.
More to herself, Maisy drawled, “Maybe if someone was more focused on their game than their phone, they’d—”
Jen swooped down and hissed in her ear, “Quit blaming everyone else for your shortcomings, m’kay?”
She grabbed her sandals and stormed out of the room. A few teammates watched her curiously. Maisy kept her attention on her leg pads. Her pulse zipped through her body, so hard her hands quivered a little. Why was this one person among the hundreds she’d played with so irritating? It wasn’t even something she could talk about with Laurel, or Amy or Gina. Team morale meant too much.
It was a test. A good reminder to stay sharp and focused in all facets of her game. Complacency would do her no favors. She’d lost focus today, and it had cost them the game. Yes, Jen hadn’t listened to her, but at the end of the day, goals were scored on her. Wins and losses were counted by who was in net at the end.
Resolve welled up in her chest, shoving the other emotions out of the way. Focus on your game. Ignore the distractions.
Jen wanted her to stay away? No problem whatsoever.
On-ice rivals find some surprising heat under all their hostility in this enemies-to-lovers hockey romance
If you can’t play nice, play hockey
Canadian goalie Maisy Goode is wary of American Jen Donato and her dirty playing. She’s been on the receiving end of Jen’s aggressive style and doesn’t like it one bit. Now that they’re on the same women’s pro team, keeping her eyes off Jen is a struggle.
Jen signed up to win it all with the Boston Ice. Her very public clashes with their hot goalie aren’t going to derail her championship plans. Jen’s a professional. But there’s just something about Maisy that gets under her skin.
The media loves the tension, but the more time Maisy and Jen are forced to spend together, the more they discover what’s between them isn’t entirely hostile.
Banter turns into flirting, and flirting turns into more. The closer they get to the playoffs, the more pressure weighs on the team—and the couple. Maisy needs Jen’s support. Jen needs to know Maisy’s all in. And it all needs to get sorted out before the season—and their relationship—closes out.
Out on the Ice
Book 1: Out on the Ice
Book 2: Unexpected Goals
Kelly Farmer (she/her) has been writing romance novels since junior high. In those days, they featured high school quarterbacks named Brad who drove Corvettes and gals with names like Desireé because her own name was rather plain. Her stories since then have ranged from historical and contemporary male/female romances to light women’s fiction to LGBTQ+ romance. One theme remains the same: everyone deserves to have a happy ending.
When not writing, she enjoys being outside in nature, quoting from Eighties movies, listening to all kinds of music, and petting every dog she comes in contact with. All of these show up in her books. She also watches a lot of documentaries to satisfy her hunger for random bits of trivia. Kelly lives in the Chicago area, where she swears every winter is her last one there.
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