❖ BOUND (Fire on Ice, #1)
College senior Kate Camden has learned to adapt – to her last year of school, to the promise of motherhood, to the fact that she’s doing it all alone. But just when she’s learned to adjust, heartache threatens to break her apart.
Pro hockey player Jason “Ryke” Ryker has it all: adoring fans, a promising career, and a beautiful wife. But when his seemingly perfect life is shaken by tragedy, he’s left questioning whether having it all is ever more than an illusion.
When circumstance brings Kate and Ryke together, they discover they don’t have to hurt alone. Bound by a grief that haunts them both, they must rely on one another to survive heartbreak. But that grief is more powerful than they realize, and the tie that binds them together may ultimately tear them apart.
Dec. 2012 —Kate
Sex When You’re Expecting: Is it Safe?
I rolled my eyes and sighed at the headline in the waiting room’s Modern Pregnancy magazine.
Hmm. One less thing to worry about. When the guy you’ve been dating for a couple weeks knocks you up, then freaks out and disappears when you tell him, abstinence becomes an easy choice.
“Did you take your vitamin?” My mom Lynn looked over, her forehead crinkled.
“Took it this morning, like always,” I said, my voice tinged with annoyance. “I’m 22, and I’m going to have a kid of my own in … 22 weeks and five days.”
Mom smiled and reached for my hand. “I hope they get a clear view on the sono today. I can’t stand not knowing if I’m having a granddaughter or a grandson.”
“I think I changed my mind on that,” I said. “It might be more fun to not find out.”
Mom’s mouth fell open and her eyes bulged. “Really?”
“No, I’m kidding. Of course we’re finding out!”
A middle-aged couple sat across from us in the waiting room chairs. The man rubbed his palm in rhythmic circles over the Buddha belly of the woman while she smiled happily. His silver Rolex glistened as he bent closer to say something to the gestating baby.
My bump was much smaller, and I pressed my own palm to it protectively.
Sorry, kid. No doting father for you, I’m afraid.
Quinn Barlow had seemed like a good guy. Back in August, he let me buy the last used copy of a Sociology book in the college bookstore right out of his hand. Sure, I’d flirted for it. I needed it; new textbooks cost a mint. Besides, he was totally flirtworthy — tall and lean, with dark blond curls and sexy reading glasses. When I thanked him for letting me have the book, he asked me out for coffee.
Wham-Bam. One thing led to another – more than once – and though I’d been on the pill since high school, here I was in an OB’s office, waiting for my 18-week sonogram.
A tall, round Christmas tree in the corner of the doctor’s waiting room was adorned with rattles and ribbon-trimmed baby photos secured by large diaper pins. I smiled just thinking that next Christmas, my baby’s face might be on this tree.
I hadn’t planned on being a single mom at age 22, but over the past three months I’d gotten over my initial flat-out panic. I’d be graduating right after the baby was born, and I’d have to make it work.
The shrill wail of a baby caught my attention. “Shh,” the mom cooed, rocking her bundled infant from side to side. There was no way I’d be able to do that. I’d just have a kid who cried constantly, unless Mom knew how to do that rocking stuff. Shit, that lady looked exhausted. Hopefully I’d get through finals before this baby came.
❖ CAPTIVE (Fire on Ice, #2)
Two years ago, Jason and Kate Ryker were brought together by grief and bound to one another by love. Now married, they’re confronting their fears together.
But heartbreak finds them again, and the ties that bind Kate and Ryke are tested as she struggles against fear and sadness. As a grief counselor, Kate understands all too well the pain of her clients. And while her husband’s career as an NHL forward is at an all-time high, he’s coping with the frustration of feeling powerless as his wife’s hopes slip away.
Kate’s unexpected journey sheds light on the fear that imprisons her, and reveals that she is the only one who can set herself free.
❖ EDGE (Fire on Ice, #3)
One bad hit has left the career of young NHL Center Luke Hudson in question. When he arrives for rehab with a minor league team, his injury has robbed him of the edge that made him great.
Team trainer Adella Price’s job is to help Luke get back in peak condition. But their one on one sessions shake her resolve to remain unattached. Dell is hands-off to all hockey players, even one as charming and successful as Luke.
As Luke starts to get ahold of his game again, he loses his grip on his heart. Helping Luke get his edge back brings to light what Dell is missing from her life. But those who want them apart are relentless, and with their careers on the line, Luke and Dell must decide if their love is worth risking it all.
❖ DRIVE (Fire on Ice, #4)
Years of training are about to pay off for hockey player Nikola Vereshkova. A call to play in the big league means he can finally come through for those who need him. His relocation to Chicago comes with built-in friends – and one gorgeous enemy who was less than impressed with him after their first encounter.
Sadie Alexander knows all about the drastic measures men will take just to get laid. She’s not only experienced it first-hand, but lived to tell about it in her online column, Sadie Says. And even though she’s a die-hard independent woman on the outside, the recent marriage of her best friend has her secretly feeling more alone than ever.
Getting close to a foul-mouthed Russian hockey heartthrob was the last thing Sadie expected. And the timing couldn’t be worse since she’s sworn off of men for a writing assignment. The line between love and hate is eroding, and Niko and Sadie find themselves in deeper than they ever expected. Could something that started out wrong end up being just right?
❖ RELEASE (Fire on Ice, #5)
NHL player Orion Caldwell protects his own. He’s an enforcer to his core, but he was the one left defenseless when his longtime girlfriend broke his heart. Now he’s all about his game, but spending the offseason in his hometown forces him to confront painful issues –both old and new.
Samara Cross just wants to be invisible. After living a nightmare, she came back to her hometown seeking solace. But her quiet new life is upturned by the hot, charismatic hockey player who’s taken a sudden interest in her.
Orion and Samara find something unexpected in each other, but when the hockey offseason ends, so does their time together. They struggle with their separation, confronted by ghosts of the past and an uncertain future, discovering that sometimes the only way to hold on to something precious is to let go.
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.