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Friday, May 8, 2015

In the Zone Series by Kate Willoughby: Spotlight & Character Interview

On the Surface
(In the Zone #1)
Kate Willoughby

NHL player Tim Hollander lost his temper one time and threw a water bottle at an abusive fan. After "Bottlegate," he's traded to the San Diego Barracudas, where he'll need to keep the bad publicity to a minimum while proving he can still compete with the younger guys on the ice.

Erin Collier is a pediatric nurse who's never seen a hockey game, but gets in line for Tim's autograph at a PR event in hopes of impressing the doctor she has a crush on. When an obnoxious fan gets pushy toward Erin, Tim rushes to defend the pretty stranger, throwing a punch in the process.

Grateful for the rescue, Erin agrees to stand by Tim during the resulting press conference and host him at a hospital charity event. Their chemistry is palpable, and soon their lives are intertwined. But Erin doubts a hockey player is capable of anything resembling a real relationship. And if Tim can't get her to see beyond what's on the surface, they'll never last longer than a single season…

Across the Line
(In the Zone #2)
Kate Willoughby

Calder Griffin needs to get back in shape. Sidelined last season by a knee injury, he's determined to return to the San Diego Barracudas and play the best hockey of his career. This might even be the year he gets out of his talented older brother's shadow.

For months, Becca Chen has poured her energy into Cups, the restaurant she owns, desperate to prove to her parents that she can succeed in the career of her choice, not theirs. But after she spends a five-hour plane ride flirting with charming, magic-on-the-ice Calder, she tells herself she needs a fling.

Becca and Calder can't keep their hands off each other, but they know the relationship can't last. They live on opposite coasts, and they're both too devoted to their careers. All they have to do is prevent their feelings from crossing the line from lust to love…

Out of the Game
(In the Zone #3)
Kate Willoughby

Alex Sullivan may be the San Diego Barracudas' resid
ent playboy, but he hasn't been able to forget the woman who kissed him like her life depended on it ten months ago. When he sees her again at a teammate's wedding, he can't think of anything but spending more time with her. Preferably naked.
Claire Marzano lost years catering to an overbearing husband, and she's not going to answer to anyone ever again. A hot fling is just what she needs to get back in the game, and that's exactly what sexy Alex offers—one wild long weekend away, with no promises or obligations.
But that one weekend changes everything. Despite knowing full well Alex isn't the kind to ever commit, Claire is falling for him. And Alex secretly imagines a future with his strong, smart "accidental girlfriend." Until a surprise announcement and an on-ice accident threaten to derail everything…or cause Alex to finally ditch his old ways and become the man Claire needs him to be.

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Character Interview  

Please welcome Calder and Alex from Kate Willoughby's In the Zone Series to Diane’s Book Blog. 

Calder: Hi, I’m Calder Griffin. The guys call me Griff. I’m twenty-five years old. I play right wing for the San Diego Barracudas.

Alex: And I’m Alex Sullivan. I used to play left wing, but I’m older than this wet-behind-the-ears dickhead, so I retired. [Calder punches Alex in the arm and they both laugh.] Now I’m color analyst for the team, going on almost a year now.

What is in your refrigerator right now?

Alex: I have no idea. Food? Ask my wife. She does most of the cooking.

Calder: My wife too. Becca keeps the fridge full of food, but she’s a chef. She has her own restaurant called Cups in the Paseo Loco area of San Diego. You know it? Quirky little street with a bunch of art galleries, clothing and gift shops and hole-in-the-wall eateries. If you’re ever in the mood for a great lettuce cup or a bowl of soup, check it out. 888-ALL-CUPS.

Alex: Jeez, Griff. Way to be smooth. Why don’t you hand out a map and a menu while you’re at it?

Calder: Hey, I promised Becca. Anyway, the fridge at home always has a lot of vegetables and lean meats., for whatever new recipe she’s got in her head, or for meals for me. The freezer always has about three gallons of ice cream or gelato. That’s my weakness. I admit it.

What talent would you most like to have?

Calder: That’s a tough one, if only because I feel like I lucked out in the talent department. But what would be really great is the ability to heal real fast. That would really come in handy in my business. If I couldn’t get that, it’d be cool to be able to play the guitar like a boss.

What about you, Alex?

Alex: Okay, don’t laugh, but I think it would be fun to be able to talk to animals.

[Calder snorts.]

Alex: Are you saying it wouldn’t? Because, think about it. You could park your car and tell the birds not to shit on your window. Or walk your dog without a leash because you could just tell him which way you were going. And think about going to the zoo! Man, that’d be so great. My kid would love that. “The giraffe says he has a sore throat, honey.” She’d love that!

Calder: Ah, what if the birds ignore you? Just because they understand you doesn’t mean they’ll obey you. They could still shit all over your car.

Alex: That’s true. I didn’t think about that. I want to change mine then. I thought of something better anyway. Multiple orgasms. Like women can do. You know what I mean? The ability to come as many times as you wanted in a night. How awesome would that be?

Calder: Pretty damn awesome, actually.

What is your biggest fear?

[Neither man speaks for a moment. Calder glances at Alex, clearly uncertain, but Alex shrugs.]

Alex: Go ahead. It doesn’t matter.

Calder [sighing]: Well, in the back of my mind, I’m always afraid that my next game is my last game…that something will happen and I’ll have to retire. When you play your last game, you want to know it’s your last game, so you can savor everything.

Alex: Yeah.

What about you, Alex? Biggest fear.

Alex: You know what my biggest fear is? That I’m going to screw up my kid. Every day, I’m afraid I’m doing something wrong and I’m messing her up somehow. She’s so damn perfect. And when she looks at me with those big brown eyes, I just want to do anything I can to make her happy and make sure she never gets hurt.

Calder: What’s wrong with that? That sounds good to me.

Alex: Yeah, but Claire—that’s my wife—Claire says she’ll never learn anything if we shield her from everything. She’ll never learn how to pick herself back up. And I guess that sounds logical. But easier said than done. I’m a sucker for those big brown eyes. A sucker, I tell you.

Calder: Is that what I have to look forward to? Complete and utter helplessness?

Alex [laughing]: You bet your…wait a second. Are you saying…?

Calder: No. Not yet. But we’re thinking about trying soon. After the season’s over.

Last question, guys. What’s your most treasured possession?

Calder and Alex [simultaneously]: My wife. [They point at each other and laugh.]

Calder: Not that Becca’s a possession.

Alex: No! Not at all. Shit. Are they going to see this? We could get in big trouble. I just meant that I treasure her above everything else. Claire and Holly. They’re my world.

Calder: Same here.

Don’t worry, boys. Your secret’s safe with me.

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