Today I am so pleased to welcome Cait Nary to Joyfully Jay. Cait has come to talk to us about her latest release, Season’s Change. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!
Benji figured out his figure skates as the December night deepened around them, and it started to feel calming, gliding in unhurried ovals under the pools of light. Or as calming as it could be, when they were dodging people clinging to the boards and kids scooting behind triangles. It reminded him of being little, his mom skating backward to hold his hands while Christmas music piped through tinny speakers.
Olly flipped on his edges to skate backward himself, feeling the rumble of the uneven ice under his blades. It was nothing like the skating he did every other day of his life.
“You should show these assholes how to really skate,” Benji told him after a while. There were a few guys wobbling through fake jumps, trying to impress their girlfriends; one girlfriend who jumped like she knew what she was doing.
Olly shouldn’t; he really shouldn’t. The skates were terrible, the ice was worse. But he already knew he was going to do it. “I haven’t jumped in years.”
Since before his MCL surgery, actually. He used to like to show off whenever the figure skating coaches came in. He had real figure skates in the basement in Duluth, with all the boxes he hadn’t bothered to bring down. Olly had always enjoyed the precision of it. Not as much as the power and aggression of hockey; definitely not enough to put on tight pants and sequins and twizzle. But okay, in a universe without sequins, he could have been a figure skater.
“I’ll catch you if you fall.”
“I’m going to need you to lie to Coach O if I tear my MCL again.”
“Cross my heart, buddy.” He drew an X over his chest with one gloved finger, as Olly swung toward the center of the ice.
Olly let himself pick up some speed, more than they’d been getting as they meandered along. He visualized the sequence of movements in his head, putting them together like links on a chain.
One of the bad skaters wiped out. His girlfriend laughed, giving him a hand to his feet, and Olly was next.
He set himself up; then reached with his left toe pick, dug in, and lifted off. He wobbled like a fucker on the outside edge of his landing foot, and barely got the other foot up to knee-height. But he landed it, and earned himself a whoop from Benji and a smattering of applause.
“I got a whole inch off the ground,” he said, laughing it off as he skated back up to Benji.
“You should maybe stick to hockey.”
“You think?” Olly elbowed him.
Benji laughed, grabbing his elbow and towing him back out. “I dunno. You’d look pretty cute in one of those little outfits.”
Olly rolled his eyes. He couldn’t even take Benji seriously with that. “Sure, buddy.”
They kept skating, talking about nothing and laughing a lot. Benji convinced him to jump a few more times, and with each repetition it felt easier, his body lighter. The cold air was sharp on his cheeks, like it could start snowing, but the sky was clear and it didn’t snow here in December, anyway.
The ice was nearing empty by the time Benji asked him how to do some spins. It went about as well as he would have expected, Benji flailing his arms around like a five-year-old and unable to keep his feet even slightly close together. Plus, every time he completed one torturous rotation, they’d make eye contact, and crack up.
Olly called it when Benji almost clocked him with a stray arm, catching it in the air and giving it a yank.
“Quit it, I’m practicing!”
“You’re too bad at this to practice!”
“You’re the worst fucking skating coach I’ve ever had.” Benji jerked his arm back, and Olly skidded into the solid line of his body. They pushed at each other, still laughing, until Benji caught a toe pick and staggered. That set them off even worse, slipping and shoving at each other until Olly ended up wheezing into Benji’s coat. Benji had a fist around his collar, which he used to drag his face up: Olly was going to make another crack about his skating, but it died on his lips when their eyes caught.
Benji’s eyes were crinkled up at the corners, and he was looking down at Olly with an unguarded, open affection that made something turn over in his stomach.
And okay, yes, there were his lips, the same ripe-berry color as his new hat.
“This is hockey romance for hockey fans.” –Rachel Reid, author of the Game Changers series
A veteran hockey player and a rookie can’t get away from each other—or their own desires—in this sexy, heartfelt opposites-attract hockey romance.
Olly Järvinen has a long way to go. He’s got a fresh start playing for a new team, but getting his hockey career back on track is going to take more than a change of scenery. He’s got to shut his past out and focus. On the game, not on his rookie roommate and his annoyingly sunny disposition—and annoyingly distracting good looks.
All Benji Bryzinski ever wanted was to play in the big leagues, and he’s not going to waste one single second of his rookie season. Yoga, kale smoothies and guided meditation help keep his head in the game. But his roommate keeps knocking him off track. Maybe it’s just that Olly is a grumpy bastard. Or maybe it’s something else, something Benji doesn’t have a name for yet.
Olly and Benji spend all their time together—on the ice, in the locker room, in their apartment—and ignoring their unspoken feelings isn’t making them go away. Acting on attraction is one thing, but turning a season’s fling into forever would mean facing the past—and redefining the future.
Book 1: Season’s Change
Cait lives in Virginia with her husband and a very anxious German Shepherd. Neither of them give her too much grief when her writing alarm goes off at 5:30am. If Cait isn’t writing, trying a new muffin recipe, or running on a trail somewhere, she is probably shouting at the Philadelphia Flyers.
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