A freak accident during the Stanley Cup Playoffs put an end to Max Ashford’s hockey career. Despite everything, Max gets back into the game he loves—only this time, behind the bench as an assistant coach of the Spartanburg Spitfires, the worst team in the entire league. But nothing prepares him for the shock when he learns the new head coach is Misha Samarin, the man who caused Max’s accident.
After spending guilt-ridden years for his part in Max’s accident, Russian native Misha Samarin has no idea what to do when he’s confronted with Max’s presence. Max’s optimism plays havoc with Misha’s equilibrium—as does the fierce attraction that springs up between them.
Not only must they navigate Misha’s remorse and a past he’s spent a lifetime to forget, but also a sleazy GM determined to use their history as a marketing hook. But when an unwelcome visitor targets the team, Misha revisits his darkest days, which might cost him and Max the beginning they’ve worked so hard to build.
~ Pride Promotions
“The YouTube video?” Misha had seen that too. It was filed with angry commenters yelling that he should be deported back to Russia.
Misha blinked. “You’ve seen the commercial, though. Yes?”
“Yeah, I wish I could say I haven’t seen that. But I meant, I didn’t watch this until a few months ago. They played that game on the NHL channel, so I watched it.”
It never occurred to Misha that Max wouldn’t have seen it, but then he remembered that Max was the hero, not the villain of the story. Misha watched the hit play out on the screen. What must that feel like, to watch the moment it all ended? When Max hit the ice, did he know that game was his last? Did Misha know it was his? How had he felt? He couldn’t remember.
The scene switched to the replay. Misha watched dispassionately, retreated into the blinding pain of his migraine, and told himself that it was all right to suffer, that he should, that he deserved it.
Max paused the video. “Look. See what I have there?”
Misha blinked. He had not expected questions. “I—what?”
“The puck, Misha. The puck. Your hit wasn’t late.”
Oh. “Yes. I know.”
Max stared at him. On the television screen, their younger selves were suspended at the moment everything changed.
1. If you were to describe your e-book/book in only one word, what would it be?
2. What would you say inspired you to write it? ?
This is the third book in the series, and for this one, I wanted to focus on a team that wasn’t that great and had a lot of problems to overcome. It’s the same for the two coaches who have a history together, and the theme is putting the past behind you and moving forward.
3. Have you ever been hit by the infamous “writer’s block”? What did you do to escape it? ?
Generally I go and read something, usually a re-read of a story I love. Reading other people’s words helps me get my own going again! And sometimes I just sit down and make myself write a few hundred words, or do an outline. My writer’s block always hits in the middle of projects so I pick one, read through it and work out what’s got it stalled and try and outline. That usually fixes the problem.
4. Your all time favorite book? ?
The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
5. What made you pick that one above all others? ?
I love gothic horror and to me, there is no better example. I also love the psychological angle, the intricate relationships crafted between the characters and the rich, evocative writing style. It’s a wonderful book!
6. What does your day-to-day life consist of? What else do you do, aside writing? ?
Monday through Friday, I treat like full-time work days. I do try and go running in the morning because it gets my brain working, and then I’ll work until around 1 or 2, have lunch, and usually finish up around 6. During that time, I’m either writing, doing promo stuff or ignoring everything and constantly chatting on Twitter.
7. How do you deal with bad reviews or acid criticism? What would you advise other authors to that effect? ?
I read my reviews because I’m way too curious not to. And receiving bad reviews is just part of being a writer. I say that, and yet I still remember reading my first negative one and how it felt, but I also remember feeling like I was part of the tribe because all writers get them. I’d advise anyone who is feeling down about a bad review to go and look at the negative reviews for their favorite book — then you see that no, it isn’t just you or your book that gets them!
8. Is this title part of a series? Without giving us spoilers, of course, what can we expect from the next e-books/books in the series? ?
It is indeed, though the books can be read as standalones for the most part. There are two books per team, and there should be a total of six (four of which are completed) books in all. The next book in the series, Empty Net, will be out in the fall and focuses on Isaac Drake, who you’ll meet in Power Play. The last two books will shift teams to the Asheville Ravens, who are introduced in Power Play and who no one will like 😀
9. What do you have stored for us in the future? What are you working on/planning on next, aside this title/series? ?
I’ve recently finished a novella for a charity anthology to benefit the You Can Play Project, which promotes LGBT inclusivity in sports. The anthology is called “Changing on the Fly” and will be out in October, with six stories from six different authors. I’m very excited about that one, as all the proceeds will benefit the YCPP!
I’m also working on a novella about a small Kentucky town and a family bourbon distillery, and am plotting a series about a ballet company. Then I have the fifth Scoring Chances book, a romantic suspense book that is done but in need of serious edits, and about sixty-thousand WIPs to get back to!
Fun facts: :
1. If you were stranded on an isolated island, what’s the one book you’d absolutely wish to have with you? ?
The Administration Series by Manna Francis. I need the whole thing, though. It’s very long and intricate and involved, and I love it!
2. Name your favorite fruit. ?
3. Coffee or tea? ?
4. Favorite season? ?
5. Favorite food for breakfast? ?
Coke Zero, haha! Sometimes cheese toast or an avocado, and sometimes I really only have a Coke Zero and don’t eat until lunch.
6. Favorite color, you know you want to tell us! ?
7. Have a fav quote or personal motto? ?
Quite a few, and I have a lot of them as tattoos! “Not forever, just for now”, “Let it Ride, Let it Roll, Let it Go” are two, and I have the Greek for “Know Thyself” written on my left wrist.
8. Cats or dogs? ?
Cats, although I also am partial to bunnies ☺
9. What song have you listened to most recently? ?
I Shot an Arrow, Murder by Death
1. Your top secret, uber guilty pleasure is… ?
I totally don’t believe in guilty pleasures, but I like eating candy, watching bad reality home improvement shows, and playing Rock Band when I’m home by myself.
2. The one thing you’d do anything to avoid/get out of is… ?
Mowing the lawn. I’ve managed it for the entirety of my 38 years so far!
3. You were/are a hardcore fan of… ?
HOCKEY! Go Bruins!
4. The one thing that always brightens your day is… ?
People (I’m an extrovert, what)
5. The awesomest thing in your life is… ?
The stories that pop up in my head – I don’t know how people endure waiting in line, being caught in traffic, or falling asleep if they don’t have a story to tell themselves!
About the Author & Links:
Avon Gale was once the mayor on Foursquare of Jazzercise and Lollicup, which should tell you all you need to know about her as a person. She likes road trips, rock concerts, drinking Kentucky bourbon and yelling at hockey. She’s a displaced southerner living in a liberal midwestern college town, and when she’s not writing you can find her at the salon, making her clients look and feel fabulous. She never gets tired of people and their stories — either real or the ones she makes up in her head.