Today we are celebrating the release of EASY by Brenda Rothert by participating in the blog tour. This is a contemporary romance, and it is the sixth, standalone title in the Chicago Blaze hockey romance series. Purchase your copy now and add it to your TBR Pile.
Nothing rattles me. Well…almost nothing. As the most even-tempered player on the Chicago Blaze, I take everything in stride – hockey, fame and life in general. No one knows that deep down, even I’ve got a trigger. She’s a tall brunette with a gorgeous smile and an iron will. The woman who crushed my heart long ago. I never plan to return to Emery, Wisconsin and lay eyes on Allie Douglas again – until suddenly, I’m left without a choice.
Somehow, I’m keeping it all together. Raising my nieces and nephew alone and working takes everything I’ve got and then some, but I get by. I don’t have time for love, and who needs a man, anyway? I gave up the love of my life a decade ago, and now he’s just a distant memory. Until one day, he comes back home. And once I see him, I’m not keeping it together anymore.
Not even close.
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There’s already a small crowd of players, parents and coaches gathered next to the stands. Cade passes papers around and starts talking about what we’ll be doing as parent volunteers.
I’ve got my head down, half-listening to Cade, and half-reading the scheduled fundraisers I’ll be coordinating.
Ugh, pizza sales. I always end up just buying all the damn things myself and we eat pizza for weeks.
“Hey, there he is,” Cade says. “Guys, we’re super lucky to have this guy helping coach our kids for the next month or so. Some of you already know him.”
There are lots of surprised, happy sounds over whoever Cade’s talking about. I look up to see who it is, and my stomach hits the floor. Erik is walking over to hand Cade a stack of papers. He smiles and starts shaking hands with the parents greeting him.
I want to run. Hide beneath the stands. If only I could become invisible.
But at the same time, I can’t stop looking at him. I can still see the boy I fell in love with, but he’s changed so much. His chest and shoulders are wider and his hair is a little longer. His face is more mature.
When I last saw him, even though he was nineteen, to me he was still a boy. But now, Erik is a man. A breathtakingly handsome one, too.
His eyes land on me and his smile fades. The hurt hasn’t faded; I can see it in his eyes.
“Oh, shit,” Cade says. “Guys, I didn’t…”
He looks back and forth between us with a deer in the headlights expression. I only spare him a glance before I look back at Erik. I just can’t stop staring at him, and his gaze seems frozen on me, too.
Whispers spread around the group of parents and players, anyone who doesn’t know about the history between Erik and me getting filled in on the spot.
“Hey,” Hazel says, oblivious to what’s going on as she approaches me.
“Hey.” I tear my eyes from Erik and force a casual smile.
My smile drops and my mouth gapes open when I see the purple goose egg on Hazel’s forehead.
“What happened?” I demand, alarmed.
“Just a cheap shot by a wuss is all,” she says, shrugging.
There’s muffled laughter from the parents. I’m not amused, though. I’ve taught Hazel better than to talk that way in front of other adults, especially when they include her coaches.
“Hazel,” I scold.
“He’s a wuss, Aunt Allie. That’s not even a swear word.”
“Sorry, Allie,” Cade says. “I would’ve called you but it happened at the tail end of practice. We got her an ice pack. Hazel, I know you haven’t iced it for twenty minutes yet.”
Silently, she pushes a bag of ice onto her forehead.
“I think I need to get her home,” I say, picking up her equipment bag and straining under its weight.
“You need help?” Forrest asks me.
“No, I’ve got it, thanks.”
“I’ll catch up with you later about volunteering,” Cade says.
I shoot him a dirty look and mutter, “Okay.”
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About the Author
Brenda Rothert is an Illinois native who was a print journalist for nine years. She made the jump from fact to fiction in 2013 and never looked back. From new adult to steamy contemporary romance, Brenda creates fresh characters in every story she tells. She’s a lover of Diet Coke, chocolate, lazy weekends and happily ever afters.