Release date: June 29, 2015
Lorelai Kelly was mere inches from her Olympic goal, but a broken ankle landing a triple axel in the spotlight forced her to delay the gold medal hunt another four years. Now she’s starring in the Sin City on Ice show to make ends meet and focused on a comeback that keeps eluding her grasp.
Dylan gained national attention in his early teens and went on to become the NHL’s youngest captain and leading scorer in his second season. He breathed new life into a sport that had been dying in the States, but it’s lonely at the top. Now the captain of the Vegas Sinners team is feeling the pressure and looking for something more.
America’s ice princess might be the only one who can help his current slump—and Dylan’s way of expressing thanks could undermine everything Lori has worked for. Can two people who spend their lives on the ice thaw just enough to let each other in?
by Katie Kenyhercz
Katie married the military man of her dreams, so home is wherever the Air Force sends them. She likes capable heroines who bring out the vulnerability in their tough guys.
An excerpt from Home Ice:
Thursday, September 24th
So many things were just as she remembered. The crisp, clean smell of fresh ice combined with the underlying scents of sweat socks and beer that never completely left the arena no matter how many times it was cleaned. Damn hockey. But even the stench couldn’t disturb the calm and quiet solitude of an empty rink. She could still lace up her skates with her eyes closed. Lorelai Kelly released a slow breath. Nothing had changed, but everything was different. And nobody could know.
She stood on numb legs, squared her shoulders, and kept her face blank. Val, her trainer, sat with his arms folded, high in the seats overlooking center ice. Music played over the loud speakers. It was rap with a gothic, almost monastic background. An edgy choice for someone the figure skating world regarded as an old maid. Twenty-four and ancient. Lori pushed back the tide of anxiety attached to that train of thought, willed her pulse to slow, and focused on the music. The words were indistinguishable, but the beat flowed through her veins. Audio adrenaline.
Stepping into the rink, she took comfort in the familiar glide and quiet scrape of her skates as she acclimated to the recently refreshed ice. The skin of her bare arms prickled in the cold air, and she clamped her teeth together to keep them from chattering. She pushed off and skated at a medium pace, doing figure eights around the hockey playoff circles. A harsh cough from the stands brought back her tension, and she switched directions, heading for the other end.
She moved easily, muscle memory taking over as she turned backward and crossed her left foot over her right, arms out for balance. She started with simple jumps, jumps she could execute perfectly in her sleep. The goal was to get her feet wet again and test-drive her triple axel—the jump she’d been known for. The one that had broken her ankle.
Trying to block out doubt, she cleared her head and wound up for a double axel. Her movement felt fluid and sure as she spun through the air, landing with only a slight wobble on her good ankle. Still, any wobble was enough to make her heart pound.
Sweat beaded at her temples, and warmth flooded her face, but she kept skating. No more coughing from Val, so he hadn’t noticed her hesitancy. She knew what he wanted, and she balled and flexed her hands trying to rein in her nerves. Around the rink she went, building speed and tension. Turning backward, she tried to ignore the whispering reservations. Don’t think. Just do.
Crossover, crossover, crossover, hop forward, dig in the toe pick. She took off with fierce speed, counting her rotations. As she came down, the fall flashed in her mind. Half a year and not a detail had faded. She hadn’t seen it coming. Everything felt right, just as she’d practiced. Then she landed on the wrong edge of her blade. The next thing she knew, she was biting back tears as trainers carried her off the ice.
She came back to the present half a second too late. Instead of even trying to land, she allowed her feet to slide out and spun on her hip. Her pulse slowed, but guilt and frustration made her flush. She got up and tried again. And again. And again. All with the same result. A frustrated sigh from the seats made her look up. Val just shook his head and left. Russian coaches were known for their excellence, not their patience. She gritted her teeth and tried again.