The Ninja Blog

Elyse 'I heart dukes' Huntington turns puck bunny overnight

Elyse's new underpants.

Elyse's new underpants.

Something surprising happened to me over the Christmas holidays. And when I say surprising, I mean surprising in a good way.

I discovered sports romances.

I suppose technically speaking (and I like to be precise because I’m a lawyer and we heart precision) I did read a sports romance an eon ago. I was only reminded recently that my first ever sports romance was ‘It Had to be You’ by Susan Elizabeth Phillips. It was about a heroine who inherits a pro football team, when she knows nothing about football. She immediately clashes with the team trainer hero, whom she sees as nothing more than a jock. The hero, of course, thinks she is nothing but a bimbo, and from that premise, laughter, hilarity and angst ensues. That was a great book. Mental note: I should reread this.

Thinking back, I didn’t really get into the sports romance subgenre because I then embarked on my historical romance phase which lasted for many years, during which time the only contemporary romances I read were crime thrillers and later on, new adult romances featuring billionaires along the lines of Christian Grey (although I personally prefer Gideon Cross). Out-of-this-world sexiness. But let’s not get side-tracked.

So over Christmas, I unexpectedly had three days to myself. Three blissful days in which I went to bed super late, woke up super late, ate leftover Christmas ham and Heston Blumenthal’s hidden orange Christmas pudding. It was during this time that I first read ‘The Deal’ by Elle Kennedy. Smart, sweet and spunky heroine is asked by ice hockey player to tutor him. Yes! One-clicked. Love this trope.

I devoured 'The Deal' in less than four hours. It was great fun. One of my favourite lines in the book?

“You met Dean in the hall, and that’s Tucker,” Garrett adds, pointing to the auburn-haired guy on the couch, who--surprise, surprise--is as good-looking as the rest of them. I wonder if “sexy as fuck” is a requirement for living in this house.” 


I think I might have cheered, because obviously this was going to be a series. More sexy ice hockey players to read about! My new addiction to sports romance--although really, it’s more like ice hockey romances--was further cemented when I read ‘Him’ by Elle Kennedy and Sarina Bowen. 'Him' is a M/M best friends to lovers romance featuring not one but two hot ice hockey players. I was in heaven. It also turned out to be one of the best M/M new adult romances I have ever read.

I was on a roll. After 'Him', I read a couple of romances featuring American football to change things up just a little. These were ‘Sweet Home’ by Tillie Cole and ‘The Hookup’ by Kristen Callihan. Both were very good, too, but have a fair bit more heartache and angst than my ice hockey novels. Over January, I read the Ivy Years series by Sarina Bowen, which is based on college ice hockey but it is not ice hockey-centric. I really enjoyed this series, so much so that I’ve gone back and re-read three of the books in the series.

And, as a bonus, I’ve learnt about a new sport which I’m finding absolutely fascinating and super cool (no pun intended). Last week, I watched my first ever ice hockey training session of the CBR Brave, Canberra’s very own Australian Ice Hockey League team, and I will definitely be attending their opening game in April. If that’s not enough, I’m currently attempting my first ever new adult romance featuring an Asian-American ice hockey player!

I now know so many new words I never knew before; like checking and hat tricks and centres and defenseman and deke and blue line and face off. I love that being a writer – and reader – means you can learn about so many new things.

Huh. Maybe the heroine in my next book can be a thermonuclear physicist who plays ice hockey in her spare time. I’ll keep you posted.