Hockey. Not everyone watches it. Not everyone likes it. But I think I can confidently say that most women find it pretty darn hot. I mean, who wouldn’t? Young, fit, men dashing around the ice, checking and elbowing each other into the boards with resounding crashes, hair-trigger tempers, fiery personalities, and did I mention it was hot?
I’ve watched hockey, mostly as a kid in my hometown. We had our very own team, the Hartford Whalers, and my dad purchased tickets to go at least once a week to watch the games. How, most of you won’t recognize the name as they left Harford in 1997 to become the Carolina Hurricanes. I can tell you it was a sad, sad day in Connecticut. We had no other professional sports teams and as the meat in the Boston-New York sandwich, pretty much relied on the larger cities for teams to root for. (Go Sox! Yay Patriots!)
When I moved to Atlanta in 2001, I inherited a new team to root for, but it wasn’t the same. Good thing, because the Atlanta Thrashers left the city in 2011. Am I some kind of hockey curse? So when I wanted to write a hockey story, I needed to know more about the players, behind the scenes, their lives, the locker room, how the media works, the whole shebang. Thankfully, when I reached out to head of media relations at the Atlanta Gladiators, a Boston Bruins minor league team, I was invited to stop by the arena for a tour.
It was awesome. She took me through the locker room(s), showed me where the players dressed before and after games—two different areas because one stored their suits and the other had their game equipment. I saw the showers (oh God, what I wouldn’t give to see that huge tiled room filled with super hot players), where skate and stick maintenance was done, how the players interacted with the media, and the coach’s office. To say I was fascinated is an understatement. I learned more in two hours than I could have in a week of Internet research.
For example, did you know that in every locker room, printed in the center of the carpet the team’s logo? For anyone to step on that logo is a BIG DEAL, as in bad luck. You absolutely do not step on the logo, else you are condemning the team to lose. The players are also required to wear suits to and from every single game, home and away, while traveling, and during all media interviews that don’t take place right off the ice.
Research is important to me, and visiting an actual team to see the inner workings was an eye-opening experience. I can only hope when I search for knowledge for future books, I can find someone as kind as the lovely woman who so graciously welcomed me into her workplace and took the time out of her busy day to answer the eight-million questions I flung at her rapid-fire. I even purchased tickets for my family and sat directly behind the penalty box, which I highly recommend. The feisty young men shout insults at each other over the Plexiglas divide while sitting out their punishment. It was highly entertaining.
Two-Man Advantage is the product of my time spent with the media relation’s specialist. Most of what I utilized came from her descriptions of after-game press conferences and how players were expected to act (which Viktor clearly ignored), and Bo’s role as a media specialist himself. I’m also writing a M/F hockey series utilizing a lot of what I learned that day.
I hope you enjoy Viktor and Bo as much as I enjoyed bringing them to life. This is actually my favorite book of the almost twenty I’ve written so far. Thanks for stopping by!
A hockey star skating on the edge of a catastrophe.
A PR specialist so adept, he’s called “the Fixer.”
Working together will be the biggest challenge of both their careers.
The LA Vikings hockey team is fed up the violent outbursts of its huge, intimidating enforcer, Viktor Novak. Hounded by a homophobic and domineering father, Viktor takes out his frustrations by spilling blood—on and off the ice. Now he has one last chance to clean up his image, or his career is over.
That’s where Bowen Miller comes in.
Bo has taken on the hardest cases and succeeded—by micromanaging every aspect of a client’s life—at the expense of his own happiness. But in the stubborn, hot mess that is Viktor, Bo might have met his match—both in and out of the bedroom. One man is out of control, and one controls everything. But when sex and attraction come into play, those roles are open to negotiation.
Bo purses his lips and swallows, drawing my eyes to his smooth, clean-shaven throat. What I wouldn’t give to know what that tan skin tastes like. To suck it into my mouth and bite down until he wears my mark for everyone to see.
“Well, why don’t I tell you what I see when I look at you?”
I tear my eyes away from his throat to look back up at his face. The man probably thinks I’m an empty-headed jock, a moron, a guy with a big old blank space between his ears. For some reason, that makes me angrier. For some inexplicable reason, I want Bowen Miller to like me, to think better of me than just dumb jock. My usual “don’t give a fuck” attitude has suddenly up and left me high and dry.
Shame floods my system, and the hot flush of embarrassment burning over my skin sends a fresh wave of anger pulsing through my bloodstream. I’m so pathetic. I can’t even control my own body or its flip-flopping reactions. I can’t control anything.
“Fine, I’ll play. What do you see?” I snap, digging my fingers into my thighs to keep from screaming in frustration.
“I see a very talented hockey player. From what I gather, you’re one of the leading scorers in the league. You were drafted at age twenty and have a very large contract with one of the best teams in the NHL. You’re handsome and could be a great asset to the team. I can picture you landing many lucrative sponsorships that would elevate your status to that of a modern Wayne Gretzky.”
Bo waits for me to acknowledge his praise, but that damn out-of-control, reckless feeling, combined with my unrequited attraction to the man, has me blowing him off to purposely act like a rampant asshole.
Bo exhales, and I don’t miss the fact that the muscles of his jaw are twitching under that smooth, olive-toned skin. I’m pissing him off. It seems he’s as stressed out as me right now, maybe more.
“You are also violent, hotheaded, unpredictable, foulmouthed, and have a reputation for being a complete bastard.”
Bo isn’t saying anything I haven’t heard before, but coming from him, it hurts more than it should. I drop my gaze to the table.
“I know that.”
“That’s the part I need to fix. It’s my job to make you likable. To make people forget all of the negative things about you and replace those images with what we want them to see.”
I flick my gaze back to Bo. “What do you want them to see?” I angle my body in his direction. For some reason Bo’s answer is important to me.
Bowen Miller drops his pen and leans toward me, getting uncomfortably close. I get a strong hit of his scent, masculine and addictive, underneath the four-hundred-dollar-a-bottle cologne.
My cock betrays me by lengthening in my jeans, straining to get free of the tight confines.
“I want women to love you, men to want to be you, and children to worship you.” Bo gives me a crooked grin and continues. “I want people chanting your name every time you step on the ice, hanging on your every word at press conferences.” He leans closer, and I can’t help it, my gaze finds those thick red lips, and I give myself a few seconds to wonder what they’d look like stretched around my cock, before flicking my eyes back to his.
… Find out what happens next on July 7th!
Leigh Carman was born and raised in New England with all of its fall foliage and winter snow. She escaped to the South, where she currently lives outside Atlanta, Georgia, with her husband, two kids, and French Bulldog, Shelby.
She loves the Red Sox, the Patriots, and anything chocolate (but not white chocolate—everyone knows it’s not real chocolate so it doesn’t count), and has left explicit instructions in her will to have her ashes snuck into Fenway Park and sprinkled all over while her family enjoys beer, hot dogs, and a wicked good time.
Leigh also writes M/F dark romance under the name Heather C. Leigh. She also loves exploring the underbelly of fame and the crushing weight of those under the microscope 24/7.