Football, hockey, and everything in between! Things are about to heat up on the ice and between the sheets. Each book is a fully fledged stand alone novel about forbidden love. What happens when you get your dream job and temptation is your ex-hockey star boss? Or when the league’s top wide receiver has his eyes on you and he’s supposed to be just a client? Perhaps you find yourself in enemy territory because the woman you love is your best friend’s sister?
Find out all the dirt in Block & Tackle!
Offsides by Elise Faber
Job title: Executive Assistant for CEO of Prestige Media Group
Job description: (1) Deal with a massive amount of emails. (2) Schedule conference calls and meetings with top athletes and other hugely important people. (3) Pick up dry cleaning and food, consult on tie selection, make dinner reservations, and book flights . . . basically act as a wife-on-steroids. (4) THE IMPORTANT ONE: Do not, under any circumstances, fall in love with Devon Scott—demanding boss, former NHL player, and all-around gorgeous specimen of the male persuasion.
Job performance: Failing. Absolutely failing at number four.
Off Guard by Stephanie Fournet
Life couldn’t be better for Charlie Woodruff.
After a year of holding out, she’s finally landed the job she’s always wanted in the city of her dreams. An apartment she can afford and new friends at work make the transition easy. When she meets a gorgeous stranger who makes her laugh and steals her breath, it seems like the icing on the cake…
Until Charlie discovers he’s a client.
Hutch Barlow — newly drafted wide receiver for the Oakland Raiders — looks like an avenging angel, hangs on her every word, and is completely off-limits. The trouble is he also refuses to take “no” for an answer.
And if she’s being honest, Charlie doesn’t want him to.
But seeing him means she could lose everything — including her heart.
Off Limits by Kristin Vayden
Everything about Ava screams off limits. To want her is to invite disaster. To pursue her is to risk my job. To kiss her might cost me my best friend. But all those risks seem small in light of the first problem. She hates me.
To her I’m a sell out, choosing to advance my career rather than protect my biggest client. Her brother. And my best friend. She hasn’t spoken to me in over a year, but that ends now. Because I’m done with holding back. To hell with the consequences. Wish me luck . . .
ever a time existed for a curse word, this was it.
was five minutes late. Five entire minutes late, and the little screen on the
printer was flashing at her with a paper jam.
Those files need to be on my desk now.”
Scott. CEO of Prestige Media Group and her boss. Her very demanding boss.
curse words. Particularly the four-letter one Becca saved for only very special
one that began with “f” and ended
with a perfectly timed and heartfelt “uck.”
The word pretty much summed up her day. No — her week. Heck, if she was already
cursing, it might as well sum up her month.
yanked the tray from the printer, cleared the jam, and shoved it back in. The
printer whirred to life, spitting out pages in a flurry.
she called before dropping her voice and muttering, “Hurry up. Hurry up.”
So help me—”
last page dropped into the tray. She snatched it up, fit it into the proper
place of the file, and all but sprinted through the doorway of her boss’s
printer—” she began.
eyes locked with hers, and Becca shivered. Not for the same reason that most
people did when they met Mr. Scott. Not because his cool, businesslike
expression was attributed to icicles or frozen seawater.
She shivered because
of chocolate ice cream.
eyes conjured thoughts of delicious, rich, melt-on-her-tongue sweetness that
made her insides go all squirmy.
along came that four-letter word again, blaring across her mind.
winged brow arched, dark brown and perfectly formed. It made a crease on
Devon’s forehead, a rainbow of little lines leading up, up, up almost to his
was the precise moment Becca realized she’d said that curse word aloud.
clamped a hand over her mouth, smacking herself in the face with the manila
cardstock in the process and dropping every single paper she’d so painstakingly
fought the printer over.
was not happening. Devon didn’t allow mistakes and… she sighed. She really
needed this job.
phone rang, and Becca lowered the folder, reaching out a hand to grab the
beat her to it, snatching the phone up and snapping a terse “Hello” into it.
But his eyes didn’t leave hers as the conversation went on. They sharpened,
holding her in place as effectively as handcuffs—
oh God. Now her cheeks were burning.
her mind to take her straight on a journey to FSOG.
bent, hurriedly collecting and ordering the papers before gingerly setting the
file on his desk and beginning to back from the room.
fingers on her wrist stopped her.
eyes flashed down, and she shivered again. Tanned skin against porcelain.
Thick, strong fingers dwarfing hers.
Scott was a former hockey player, and it was easy to see why. He was every inch
bit her lip and looked away.
need to go,” Devon said into the phone and hung up, hardly waiting a beat
before allowing the receiver to drop.
clattered and fell to the floor, but Becca barely noticed.
Devon was walking around the desk, his grip on her wrist tightening when she
tried to slip free.
wrong?” he asked, calloused fingertips running along the sensitive skin on the
inside of her wrist.
She tugged her arm, silently telling him to release her.
fact, he leaned closer, bringing his face near hers, trailing the scent of pine
and spice and man alongside.
said what’s wrong?”
question made every part of her body go all tingly. Head to toes — and in
between — each part heated and perked to attention.
parts told Becca to grab two fistfuls of Devon’s white button-down and rip. To
pop the row of buttons and bury her face in the broad expanse of his chest.
she had some pride. And a backbone,
for that matter.
she lifted her chin and said again, “Nothing.”
hand wove into her hair, scattering the messy ponytail she’d thrown her brown
locks into that morning as she’d run out the door behind schedule.
the coffee shop for Devon’s large latte — she couldn’t abide the stuff. Then
the bagel shop for his breakfast. Then
rushing across town to open the office by five-thirty.
life was about making his easier.
that was totally fine. She was the disposable half of their working
relationship. She knew the score.
strong arm snaked around her waist and tugged her flush to his chest. The chest
she’d admired for so long, the chest that made her want to lick… and squeeze…
didn’t have a chance.
mouth was firm and insistent, his tongue parting her lips to sneak inside,
teasing hers until she broke free of her shock and kissed him back.
hand slid lower and gripped her butt, pulling her somehow closer as he backed
her up against his desk and proceeded to kiss the smart right out of her.
on her blouse came unfastened, his belt unbuckled, her skirt hitched higher,
From Off Guard by Stephanie Fournet
She sounded much more composed than she felt. His
presence, his attention, his eyes, everything about him weakened her resolve,
and Charlie found herself wanting to reach for him.
That could not happen.
Hutch gently set her fork down on her abandoned plate and
then leaned into the back of her couch. He watched her for a long moment. So
long the silence grew awkward. The look in his eyes was completely unreadable.
“Are you wishing I hadn’t come?”
The question shocked the truth out of her. “No. Not at
His elegant brow rose just a fraction. “But you want me to
leave.” It wasn’t a question, but he sought her face for an answer, and, again,
Charlie felt compelled to speak the truth.
“I don’t want
you to leave. I need you to leave.”
Saying it aloud filled her with regret, so much so she nearly panicked. Please don’t leave, she wanted to tell
The light in his eyes changed. “You don’t want me to leave?” She watched him fight a smile. Seeing that
made her happy in a way she couldn’t explain. And at the same time, the
happiness stung in a way that almost made her eyes water.
She took a measured breath. “You heard me,” she said,
unwilling to give away anything else.
Hutch brought his elbow to the back of her couch and
leaned his head against his knuckles. He looked at her. No one in her whole
life had ever looked at her so openly.
“I don’t want to leave.” His voice was soft, deep, and it
penetrated her skin and buried itself deep into her bones. She felt like she’d
carry its resonance in her ribs and her sternum and her spine for the rest of
Charlie swallowed and leaned against the back of her
couch, matching his posture almost exactly. It was comfortable like this,
resting her head against her hand and staring at an impossibly beautiful man.
“What do you want?” she heard herself
“I want permission,” he whispered back.
Her breath tripped, stopped, and started again.
“Permission for what?”
“To kiss you.”
From Off Limits by Kristin Vayden
This would do nothing but boost
Bryce’s ability to market his brand. With any luck, he’d clench the Sprite deal
we’d been working on. It was all about name recognition, and tonight’s game had
given his a huge boost.
“I swear if you turn around, and I
see dollar signs where your eyes should be, I’m not going to be held
responsible for my actions.” Her tone was acidic, grating on my final nerve.
“That’s my brother. Don’t forget that.”
“What the hell is your problem?” I
turned, wishing I could take the words back as soon as they filled the room.
Because it wasn’t going to help anything — not her, not Bryce. Sure as hell not
“You!” She gave a sarcastic neck
twist, eyes blazing.
“Really? Because I’ve never had a
problem with you, Ava. Ever.”
Her gaze flickered to the ground then
back to me, just enough hesitation in her expression to tempt me to push my
luck. “And maybe… maybe if you’d stop focusing on your own assumptions, you
might see that I’m not your enemy. But I get it. It’s easier to be pissed at me
than Bryce. And I’m good with that. I’ll pretend with you because he did make the choice to play when you
asked him to quit. I’ll take the heat for that every damn day.” I started to
walk toward her, each step slow and measured as her caramel-colored eyes
studied me, but she didn’t back away.
“Just don’t delude yourself into
thinking that I have anything against you, Ava. I never have. Never will. So…
deal with it.” I shrugged, stopping just before her, yet close enough for her
floral perfume to assault me with lethal force.
“As if you see anything past his bank
account.” She gave a cold glare.
“You really have no clue, do you?” I
shook my head, intense frustration warring against the insane ideas that kept
popping into my mind. “Everything — everything
— that Bryce does is for you. And even if he didn’t take every step with
you in mind, I would.” The words were soft, but the heavy nature filled the
room, weighing it down. I was pushing my luck to the limit.
Ava tilted her chin lightly, her
expression shifting. The light from the kitchen illuminated her lips as her
pink tongue darted out to lick them. “What do you mean that you would?”
I shook my head, a slight smile
teasing my lips. “And you say that I’m
dense.” Without giving her a chance to respond, I gently nipped her lower lip,
breathing in her small gasp at the contact before meeting her lips once more
before pulling away. Part of me was tense, waiting for the slap that would
inevitably come, but rather than a hard smack, her hand reached up and cupped
my chin, pulling me in tighter. And my body reacted like a match to the flame.
What made you want to write this anthology?
Elise: Well, it’s selfish really! Stephanie and Kristin are fantastic writers and I wanted the opportunity to work with them! Also, I love sports but wanted to do something that was a bit different than my Gold Hockey books. We decided to focus on the management side, which has been a blast to write!
Stephanie: When Elise Faber approached me and Kristen Vayden about doing the collection, I was definitely nervous because I’d never written a sports romance, and I haven’t written anything shorter than a full length novel in a long time. But it was because I was nervous that I knew I had to do it. When you push yourself out of your comfort zone, all kinds of cool, magical things happen.
Kristin: I wish I could take credit for such a great idea, but I can’t! It was a concept developed by our publisher and spear headed by Elise Faber—sexy librarian extrodianare( and Bad ass Hockey player!)
What is this anthology about? Are the stories related/interconnected?
Elise: Hot alpha athletes, inter-office complications, forbidden love. We’ve got a taste of it all! The stories all take place within the largest athlete management firm in the states, Prestige Media Group.
Stephanie: The anthology is made up of three, sexy sports romances. Characters from each story work at Prestige Media Group, a west coast sports agency with offices in Seattle and San Francisco. In all three stories, love is off limits because of either professional boundaries or personal ties.
Kristin: Love! Wait, you meant more specific. Got it. It’s about guys who are on top of their game in life, and how love tackles them, and the women that dominate these alpha males by winning their hearts. All these guys work in the same agency or are with the same agency.
Did you guys write the stories independently? Or discuss them with each other?
Elise: We discussed theme and our story basics before writing, then off we went. I can say that I LOVED the way Kristin and Stephanie’s stories turned out! They’re awesome!
Stephanie: After we hashed out the particulars about Prestige, we each chose a basic plot premises for our stories, and we got to work. Early on, we shared our initial chapters to make sure we all felt like our stories would work together, and then we went from there.
Kristin: We correlated on specific themes, but each story is very original and different from the others. We all have different voices, and I think the great part about anthologies is that you can hear that difference in voice as you read.
How different was it for you to write a sports romance? What do you typically write?
Elise: I write hockey romance (Blocked and Backhand Gold Hockey #1 and #2, out and releasing 4/4/17, respectively) but those are more team based. It was fun to focus on the business side! And I’ve always wanted to write a hot boss-secretary romance (my story in this is Offsides). Kristin and Stephanie threw me a bone and let me explore that!
Stephanie: For me, writing a sports romance was completely new territory. All of my other novels are contemporary or new adult, standalone romances that are set in the Saint Streets, a quirky neighborhood in my hometown of Lafayette, Louisiana. My heroes run the gamut from angsty college professors (Fall Semester), to lovesick landscapers (Butterfly Ginger), to drop-dead gorgeous doctors (Leave a Mark). But just like Hutch, they are sweet to the core and will do anything to capture the hearts of the women they love. Writing a sports romance meant that I had to do some research about sports agencies, the football draft process, summer training camps, and the like, but I learned a lot and it was fun!
Kristin: It was a different genre for me, but not a stretch. I write both contemporary romance ( The ONE) and historical romance ( What the Duke Wants). Writing a sports anthology was fun, and I really enjoyed it! I plan on writing more in this genre later—right now I’m finishing up a story about a sexy cowboy. Life’s hard
What is your favorite sport/team? Did you ever play sports growing up? Do you play now?
Elise: HOCKEY! (sense the enthusiasm there?) San Jose Sharks! I played a ton of sports growing (soccer, basketball, volleyball, hockey) and I still play hockey. It’s a blast!
Stephanie: Personally, I’m not very sporty. My theory is that Super Bowl Sunday is a great day to go to the movies because nobody is there. If I had to pick a favorite sport, it would be running because I am a runner. I definitely tune in to the track and long distance events during the summer Olympics, so I guess I’d have to say my favorite team is Team USA.
Kristin: My favorite sport — Cheerleading and Yes. IT IS A SPORT! Team — Seahawks 12th MAN! Did I play — Yes! Though my hubby teases me about not being coordinated enough to play! While there is some truth to that—ok a lot of truth to that—I did play softball and I cheered both in high school and college. Love cheerleading!
What genre/trope can you currently not stay away from?
Elise: I’m devouring contemporary and historical romance! I love it so much!
Kristin: Right now I’m reading Cheater by Rachel Van Dyken. Dear Lord. Anything contemporary is my poison at the moment.
What is YOUR story about?
Elise: My story follows Becca and Devon. Becca is Devon’s executive assistant on a short-term contract while his normal assistant is on maternity leave. They’re both attracted to each other but can’t risk acting on anything, not when it breaks all the HR rules out there. Unfortunately, or really fortunately for them, the heart (and body) sometimes don’t listen to the best intentions of your brain!
Stephanie:Off Guard is about Charlie Woodruff, who has just landed the PR job of her dreams at Prestige Media Group in San Francisco. She’s found a decent apartment and made friends at work, so when she meets a gorgeous stranger who makes her laugh and steals her breath, it seems like icing on the cake — until Charlie discovers he’s a client. Hutch Barlow Hutch Barlow — newly drafted wide receiver for the Oakland Raiders — looks like an avenging angel, hangs on her every word, and is completely off-limits. The trouble is he also refuses to take “no” for an answer. And if she’s being honest, Charlie doesn’t want him to. But seeing him means she could lose everything — including her heart.
Kristin: Markus is fully aware that Ava is off limits. Not only is she his best friend, and biggest client’s twin sister. But she also hates him—ever since her brother, Bryce, chose to play football again after his injury. Ava blames Markus, going as far as calling him a sell out to all his colleagues. But that doesn’t stop him from kissing her, even when it might cost him his best friend. It doesn’t’ stop him from pursuing her, even when it might cost his career. And it certainly doesn’t stop him from stopping at nothing to win her over, because life’s all about risks, And she’s the biggest risk he’ll ever take.
Stephanie: While music features pretty heavily in most of my work, I write in silence because I’m easily distracted. My current WIP is about a rising rock star and super-shy bookworm, and I listen to songs that crop up in the novel in between writing scenes, like while I drive to work or cook dinner. That playlist is going to be a doozy!
Kristin: Both. I have little ones that tend to flit in and out of my work space needing juice, snacks, etc so I tend to have more than enough noise to keep me busy, but when I have a block that’s just my time to write, I like to have a spotify play list on, especially if its in a particularly emotional, or steamy part of the book.
Aside from writing romance, Elise’s passions are chocolate, Star Wars, and hockey (the order depending on the day and how well her team — the Sharks! — are playing). She and her husband also play as much hockey as they can squeeze into their schedules, so much so that their typical date night is spent on the ice. Elise is the mom to two exuberant boys and is thoroughly addicted to Dancing With the Stars. Connect with her on facebook (facebook.com/elisefaberauthor), twitter (@faberelise), instagram (@elisefaber) or http://www.elisefaber.com.
Stephanie Fournet, author of five novels including Leave a Mark and You First, lives in Lafayette, Louisiana — not far from the Saint Streets where her novels are set. She shares her home with her husband John and their needy dogs Gladys and Mabel, and sometimes their daughter Hannah even comes home from college to visit them. When she isn’t writing romance novels, Stephanie is usually helping students get into college or running. She loves hearing from fans, so look for her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads, and stephaniefournet.com.
Kristin’s inspiration for the romance she writes comes from her tall, dark and handsome husband with killer blue eyes. With five children to chase, she is never at a loss for someone to kiss, something to cook or some mess to clean but she loves every moment of it! Life is full — of blessings and adventure! Needless to say she’s a big fan of coffee and wine… and living in Washington she’s within walking distance of both! Follow her on Facebook (www.facebook.com/kristinvaydenauthor) And Instagram @kristinkatjoyce and Twitter @KristinVayden! You can also sign up for her newsletter at http://www.subscribepage.com/e8v9l4.