Today we are celebrating the release of HARD FALL by Brenda Rothert and Kat Mizera! This is a contemporary, hockey romance title and the first book in the St. Louis Mavericks series.
The St. Louis Mavericks are having the best season in team history. On pace for a pro hockey record, the unexpected death of their captain and star player knocks them off course in ways they never expected.
My world was turned upside down the day Ben Whitmer died. Best friends since junior hockey, Ben was like a brother to me. My voice of reason and a grounding force on and off the ice. But as heartbroken as I am, I don’t have the luxury of grieving his loss.
Not only do I have to hold our team together, I was named guardian of the two young children Ben and his wife left behind. Well, not just me—me and his wife’s best friend, Hadley. We’ve been left with the impossible task of deciding which of us will raise the kids, but there’s no way I’m letting that uptight ball buster have them.
Lines are drawn, but they begin to blur as I find out there’s more to Hadley than I thought. A lot more.
I can’t take the place of my beautiful best friend in her children’s lives. But I love them so fiercely that I’ll do whatever it takes to raise them the way their parents wanted.
Wes Kirby is an obnoxious womanizer, and I won’t let him take Ben and Lauren’s children from me. Deciding to temporarily live together in our friends’ home, we attempt to provide the kids stability while we figure out which of us is better suited to raising them.
As we learn parenthood together, my enemy Wes slowly becomes something different. Something more. And I’m left wondering not only if I’m enough for the kids, but if Wes and I are enough to last.
Purchase HARD FALL now!
Some things are common sense. Making sure you hold on to a baby so he doesn’t roll off a bed, not arguing when a three-year-old wants to dip her hot dog in apple juice, and putting kids in car seats. That stuff, you can figure out no matter how inexperienced you are. On the other hand, no one warns you about projectile vomiting, how many wipes it actually takes to clean a baby’s ass after a shit explosion, or what temperature you use when defrosting breast milk.
I was now covered in puke, piss, and breast milk, Benny was naked, and Annalise didn’t seem impressed with my first solo effort at parenting.
“You’re stinky,” she told me, wrinkling her little nose.
“Well, me and the big guy are gonna get in the shower,” I told her, scooping Benny up.
“Can I come?”
I froze. Having her in the shower with me wouldn’t be appropriate, but I also realized I couldn’t leave her out here by herself either. She was generally well behaved, but still only three, so she needed supervision.
Well, so much for a shower.
Christ, I was fucking exhausted and today’s shit explosion had been epic. As an honorary family member, I’d changed Benny’s and Annalise’s diapers on occasion, but usually just pee, and certainly nothing of this magnitude. But this had been something else entirely. I’d made the mistake of opening the diaper while he was still shitting and then he pissed and—I was so not prepared for this.
“Uncle Wes, I’m hungry. Is it lunchtime yet?”
Today’s game day morning skate had been optional, so I’d stayed home with the kids hoping to nap when they did, but that hadn’t happened. It was almost one in the afternoon and I’d barely fed them breakfast, much less lunch, and I was starting to get overwhelmed. There was no way I’d be able to nap before I left for the game, either. I was just treading water.
There was a brisk knock on the door and someone called out to me.
“Wes?” I recognized Nash’s voice.
“In here!” I called back.
Thank fuck someone was here. Now Nash could keep an eye on Annalise while I showered with Benny.
“Hey.” I looked up gratefully.
“Uncle Nash!” Annalise gave him a bright smile just before her eyes rounded.
Coming up behind him was our team’s enforcer, a huge Swede named Lars Jansson. Six feet six inches, with long blond hair, he was a shy, quiet guy who tended to keep to himself off the ice. I didn’t think he’d ever been to any of the team’s family parties, and Annalise had probably never seen him in person before.
“It’s Thor,” she whispered, her eyes wide as saucers.
Lars stared right back. “My name is Lars,” he responded in his stiff, accented English. “What is your name?”
“I’m Annalise.” She walked over to him, stared up into his face, and then held out her arms, indicating she wanted him to pick her up.
There was a brief, awkward pause as Lars frowned and then turned to me questioningly. I had my arms full of baby poopsicle, so I glanced at Nash, who quickly scooped up Annalise. “Lars is one of the Mavericks’ D-men,” he told her. “He has a boo-boo on his arm, so he can’t pick you up. But now you can say hi face to face.”
Annalise frowned. “Does your boo-boo hurt?” she asked Lars.
“I do not have—” Lars began.
“A lot of experience with kids,” Nash finished for him, giving him a look. Lars looked confused for a minute but then nodded.
“Yes, this is true.” He turned back to Annalise. “I am happy to meet you.”
“Do you want to paint my nails? Uncle Wes said he doesn’t know how.”
“Er…” Lars hesitated, seemed to give it some thought, and then nodded. “Yes, I can do this.”
“Yay!” Annalise wiggled to get down and ran from the room.
“You guys are lifesavers!” I told them. “I’m going to get in the shower with Sir Shits-A-Lot while you’re here so you can watch Annalise. Okay?”
About the Authors
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.
USA Today bestselling and award-winning author Kat Mizera is a South Florida native. Born in Miami Beach with a healthy dose of wanderlust, she’s called Los Angeles, Long Island, upstate New York, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Atlanta home. She’s never been able to pick which locale is her favorite, but if pressed, she’d probably choose the west coast.
A typical PTA mom with a wonderful and supportive husband (Kevin) and two amazing boys (Nick and Max), Kat can usually be found scrapbooking or indulging in her second love (after writing) – traveling. Greece is one of her favorite places in the world. She loves that Athens is a big city with a small-town feel. The food, beaches and culture keep her going back as often as possible.
Kat’s been a working freelance writer for nearly 30 years. She sold her first article–a review of a rock concert–for $10 in 1985. Since then she’s been an entertainment journalist, waitress, bartender, legal assistant, food critic, magazine editor, substitute teacher, and sports writer. She also spent some time working at A & M Records in Los Angeles.
As you can guess from her Las Vegas Sidewinders series, Kat loves hockey and occasionally writes articles about her favorite team, the Florida Panthers. The rest of the time, she writes novels: sexy, romantic fiction that she hopes makes you as happy as it makes her. There’s something enticing about hockey players and romance…