Title: Block & Tackle
Authors: Elise Faber, Stephanie Fournet & Kristin Vayden
Genre: Contemporary Romance/Sports Romance
Publisher: Blue Tulip Publishing
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
Executive Assistant for CEO of Prestige Media Group
(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.
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.
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 . . .
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.
Do you write in silence or to music?
- Elise: To music! My hockey playlist is http://spoti.fi/2mE6vv6
- 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.
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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.
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Title: Leave a Mark
Author: Stephanie Fournet
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Blue Tulip Publishing
She’s pierced, and dyed, and covered in tattoos—and she’s everything Dr. Lee Hawthorne wants.
Dyed, pierced, and covered in tattoos, Wren Blanchard is the exact opposite of everything Dr. Lee Hawthorne thought he wanted.
His residency is almost finished. With the perfect job, the beautiful house, and the polished girlfriend, he knows he should be happy, yet he isn’t.
But once Wren lands in his ER with her sharp tongue and artist’s soul, she leaves a mark on him that just won’t fade.
Wren knows the good doctor is way out of her league. To people like him, she’s a circus freak. Besides, she’s not the type to get hung up on guys, especially ones with midnight blue eyes—ones who know all about antiques, crack bad jokes, and love Joss Whedon.
No. She doesn’t need that.
After all, she has friends, a psychotic cat, and a promising career as one of the best tattoo artists in town. And it’s enough.
Really, it is.
Or it would be if Lee weren’t there every time she turned around.
One kiss seals their fate.
Their attraction is undeniable–but Wren’s past is full of ghosts. Is their bond strong enough for a solid future? Or will their new relationship crumble beneath the weight of all she carries?
She studied him for a moment. “Are you still in your residency?”
The question surprised him. “Yes. Is it that obvious?”
Her startled laughter was the only answer he needed. And Lee wanted to hear it again — even if she laughed at him.
“I mean, I’m licensed. It’s not like I just have my learner’s permit or anything.” It was a bad joke. An awful joke, but it worked because she kept laughing. Her laughter was a mix of high and low notes, like a handbell choir. And like music, he could feel it in his chest.
“That’s not what I meant,” she said, her smile untamed. “You just look really young, and I’ve heard that residents have — like — negative time.”
He gave her a helpless grin. “Negative time. That’s about right. Who told you that?”
Her smile demurred. “One of my clients.”
“One of your clients is a resident?” His curiosity pounced. Did he know someone who was secretly covered in Wren’s work?
She shook her head, but her smile never failed. “I don’t tat and tell. Tattooing is very personal. If someone wants you to see their work, you’ll see it. But I don’t talk about my clients.”
Even though he was the one asking, Lee liked that she wouldn’t answer. “You don’t talk about them at all?”
Wren raised and dropped her right shoulder in a half shrug, but she still smiled at him. “Well, I don’t identify them.” Her voice softened, but Lee thought he heard a touch of pride. “I’ll talk about the artwork, or I’ll retell a funny story someone told me while I worked on them, but I don’t go around talking about who was in my parlor.”
“That’s cool,” he managed, even though it was more than cool. After seeing her artwork on the walls of her apartment, he already respected her as a professional, but she clearly had integrity on top of talent. He wanted to know more, but more than anything, Lee wanted her to keep talking. “What kind of tats did you do today?”
Her smile grew, and again her cheeks colored. He found his eye drawn to the translucent skin below her cheekbones. Wren’s fair complexion was an alluring contrast to her black and blue hair, but when she blushed, Lee found it impossible to look away.
“Well, let’s see…” Her green eyes swiveled to the ceiling as she recounted. “I did a fleur-de-lis for this girl who turned eighteen today. I inked a Captain America shield on this guy’s bicep—”
Lee laughed, not so much about the tattoo choice, but at the look of amusement in her eyes.
“Yeah, he was definitely an Avengers fan… Um…” She paused to tally on her fingers. “…I touched up a Celtic knot for a lady, and I worked on a larger piece for one of my regulars.”
“What was it?” Lee asked, intrigued with the way her face softened when she thought about her work.
“Oh, it’s a dragon. Pretty big.” Wren drew a serpentine shape across her chest. “A piece like that needs to be worked on in stages, so we did some of the shading today.”
He had more questions. He could have stood there listening to her all night, but the rational part of his brain told him to give it a rest. They were in the middle of the grocery store. If he wanted to talk to her more, he should ask her out for coffee.
But you can’t ask her out. You’re seeing someone.
“You’re really talented. I’m sure you stay pretty busy. You seem…” He couldn’t find the words for what he wanted to say. He wanted to tell her that she seemed like the kind of person he could talk to — listen to — for hours. And that he would’ve liked the chance. That she was special, and he knew it. “…you seem perfect — I mean… you are unique.”
He didn’t question why she stared at him with unblinking eyes. What the hell had he just said? She was perfect? Who talked like that?
But in the seconds after he’d blurted out the words, he watched her eyes light with a smile — a surprised and genuine smile, and he realized he didn’t regret the words at all.
“Um… thank you?” What had been pink on her cheeks was now scarlet, and Lee thought he might have turned a little pink, too.
“I should let you get back to your shopping,” he said, clearing his throat. He didn’t want to walk away. Maybe if he just stood there, she’d leave first, and he’d be able to watch her go.
“Yeah…” She didn’t move.
Neither of them moved.
“…yeah, I should go.”
“It was great running into you,” he said in a rush. “I’m glad you are feeling better.”
“It was nice running into you, too, Dr.—”
“Lee,” he interjected.
She bit her lip and smiled. “Lee,” she said with a nod. “It was so nice, Lee.”
It was selfish. He’d made her say his name and, again, as he knew he would, he felt a stirring — like fingers running down his sternum. He’d never liked the sound of his name so much.
“Wren,” he said with a nod, liking the feel of her name on his tongue even more.
“Goodnight.” She turned and left him.
Okay, so this may be the most unusual playlist ever assembled. This is largely due to the fact that Dr. Lee Hawthorne has both a jukebox and a sense of humor, so why can’t we mix Simon and Garfunkel with a little Pitbull? The Wurlitzer, naturally, only holds 45s, so most of the songs that come up in the novel are much older than Lee and Wren, but I can see Wren punching “Under Pressure” and Lee following with the confidence of Sam and Dave and whimsy of The Police. Lee and Wren both love antiques, after all, so why wouldn’t they share a love of old music? And with as many self-doubts as Wren carries, who else but Hozier would she have on her playlist? The list ends with Diana Krall’s version of “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” for obvious reasons. (Make sure you read the Epilogue.)
Stephanie Fournet, author of Fall Semester, Legacy, Butterfly Ginger, and Leave a Mark, lives in Lafayette, Louisiana—not far from the Saint Streets where her novels are set. She shares her home with her husband John and her daughter Hannah, their needy dogs Gladys and Mabel, and an immortal blue finch named Baby Blue. When she isn’t writing romance novels, she 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.
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Title: Butterfly Ginger
Author: Stephanie Fournet
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Blue Tulip Publishing
The summer before freshman year, Nate Bradley and Blythe Barnes meet and fall hard. Blythe has the bluest eyes Nate’s ever seen; she smells like butterfly ginger blossoms, and she makes him feel at home in his own skin.
For Blythe, meeting Nate is like finding her best friend—one she wants to climb on top of and kiss forever. Even with plans to attend college in different cities, they’re convinced that nothing can tear them apart—until everything does.
Now, six years later, life in South Louisiana is giving them the chance to put the pieces back together.
Butterfly Ginger, Stephanie Fournet’s third novel, is a romance for anyone who believes that true love is made to last.
As they passed the stairs on the way to the kitchen, Blythe chewed her lip. When would they go up there? Would it happen right away? How much would it hurt?
“Where are your parents?” she asked, unable to stop the rush of fears that crowded into her head.
“In St. Francesville, visiting Nana Grace — Richland’s mother,” Nate said, taking down two glasses from the cabinet. “They’ll be back tonight.”
Tonight. By then, everything would be different. Would this change them? Her palms felt like dishrags, and she tried to dry them on her shorts.
“Blythe…?” Nate was staring at her. He stood at the open fridge door, and Blythe realized she had missed something.
“I asked if you wanted sweet or unsweet.” His voice was even, but as he studied her, the look of confident ease faded to one of concern.
“Oh… sweet, I guess… or unsweet,” she stammered. “It doesn’t matter.”
Nate shut the fridge door and crossed to her in two strides.
“Stop it,” he said, taking both her hands.
“Stop what?” she said, understanding him all too well but feeling damned ridiculous.
“Stop pretending that you’re okay when you’re not,” he said gently. He squeezed her hands and drew a long, slow breath as though he could breathe for her. “We don’t have to do this today, Blythe.”
“Yes, we do!”
The startled look he gave her must have matched her own.
Where did that come from?
“We do?” he asked, clearly teasing her. “I’m pretty sure it’s optional, Blythe, but if there’s some rule I don’t know about —”
Her index finger jabbed his ribs.
“Don’t joke,” she said, masking her embarrassment with irritation. It wasn’t his fault she was such a mess, but Blythe didn’t know what else to do. How could she screw this up any worse?
“Hey, hey,” Nate whispered, dropping his humor and pulling her against him. “I’m sorry. I just want you to relax. You look miserable, and that’s the last thing I want.”
His brown eyes, the color of warmth, searched hers, and Blythe finally remembered what it was like to be with him. She had thought and obsessed and stressed so much about what they would do, she had forgotten what it meant to be with Nate. Thinking had wound her tight with worry, but being with Nate always settled her like nothing else.
“I’m sorry,” she said, holding his gaze, circling her arms around him and squeezing back. “I’m too much in my head.”
“You seemed far away. I didn’t like it,” he told her. Nate swallowed and appeared to weigh his words. “I want you with me when you’re with me. There will be enough distance once school starts.”
It always came back to this. Time was running out for them. It was why she felt like they had to make the most of this one day alone.
“You’re right,” she conceded. “It doesn’t have to happen today, but, Nate, I want it to. When we go away to school, I don’t just want to be your girlfriend. I want to be your…”
Blythe lost her nerve. She couldn’t say the word out loud.
A wicked smile crept over Nate’s mouth.
“My pen pal?”
“Nate!” She giggled in spite of herself, and Nate trapped her arms with his so that she couldn’t swat him. His lips found her neck, and he teased her between kisses.
“My Facebook friend?” he breathed, making the hairs on the back of her neck stand up, even as she laughed and wanted to kick him all at once.
“Mmm… I love you,” Nate whispered, his breath tickling against her skin. “Would you be my lover?”
The word on his lips made her knees weak. How come he could say it and she couldn’t? And when he did, it sounded perfect. Not cheesy. Not strange. But intimate. A secret just for them.
“I love you,” she whispered back, drowning in his heat. She stretched up and pressed her lips to his neck, tasting a hint of salt and the crisp bite of grass. Even after a shower, Nate smelled like fresh air and green grass, as though he were made of it.
“Is that a yes?” he asked, smiling against her skin.
Stephanie Fournet, author of Fall Semester, Legacy, and Butterfly Ginger, lives in Lafayette, Louisiana—not far from the Saint Streets where her novels are set. She shares her home with her husband John and her daughter Hannah, their needy dogs Gladys and Mabel, and an immortal blue finch named Baby Blue. When she isn’t writing romance novels, she is usually helping students get into college or running. She loves hearing from fans, so look for her on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and stephaniefournet.com.