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Kate Willoughby | The Silly Side of Hockey

Across the Line
Kate Willoughby



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In the Zone #2

August 2014
On Sale: August 11, 2014
ISBN: 1426898843
EAN: 9781426898846
Kindle: B00KPJNKTE
Add to Wish List

Also by Kate Willoughby:
Under the Spotlight, December 2015
Across the Line, August 2014
On the Surface, April 2014
Fit to Be Tied, October 2010


When I began writing hockey romances, I discovered that NHL players love to play pranks on each other. For instance, here’s a video showing Patrick Sharp and Adam Burish ordering an unwanted breakfast for two of their fellow Blackhawks. Some might find these type of hijinks immature, but I find them amusingly endearing.

Like Sharp and Burish, my hockey players are intense competitors who train and play hard, but I like to balance that by showing their playful side, like in this scene from my book ACROSS THE LINE, book two from the In the Zone series. Calder Griffin has enlisted the help of his teammates to play a trick on one of the rookies…

“Okay, guys. Listen up,” Mac said, turning to face everyone like a flight attendant. “It’s time to give Fishy the tie.”

Calder and Mac hadn’t been able to give a heads-up to everyone about the prank, but the guys all knew Mac. When he said or did something crazy like this, he was up to something, and unless you wanted to be on the butt end of his next joke, you went along with it. Plus, it was always funnier to see the thing played out to its conclusion.

Rookie Ryan Fischer looked up. “Give me what tie?”

“This tie.” With a flick of the wrist, Mac unfurled the orange tie with the goalie masks all over it. Calder had roughed it up a little so it didn’t look brand new.

Fischer didn’t say anything. He didn’t reach for it either. Calder didn’t blame him. It looked like an accessory for a Halloween costume.

“This tie is no ordinary tie,” Mac said. “Do you know whose tie this is, kid? It’s the great Kurt Wolfheim’s tie.”

Hall of Famer Kurt Wolfheim was one of the original Barracudas from back in 1967 when the league expanded. He was the first Barracuda to score a fifty-goal season and his franchise record for consecutive games played still stood. Not only was his name on several NHL trophies, his jersey hung in the rafters of the Mesa Arena.

Mac went on, “And it’s a Barracuda tradition for a rookie to wear it for good luck.”

Fischer still hadn’t said anything and Calder imagined him mentally recoiling from the idea of appearing in public wearing that monstrosity.

“You’re bullsh*tting me,” Fischer finally said, with a respectable amount of confidence. Calder gave him credit for that.

Mac raised his eyebrows. “Are you calling me a liar, Fischer?”

Fischer cleared his throat. “No. I…I just think you’re mistaken.”

“You know what’s a mistake, kid?” Alex Sullivan yelled from the back of the plane. “Calling a d*ckhead up from the AHL who doesn’t show respect for one of the greatest hockey players that ever lived.”

Calder said loudly, “You got that right.”

“Come on, guys.” Fischer rose halfway out of his seat so he could look around the plane. “This is a joke, right?”

Sullivan spoke again. “No. This is not a joke. Pasta, you wore it last year, right? You and Whiner shared it. Forty-one games apiece.”

Last year’s rookies “Pasta” Primavera and “Whiner” Weinrich, both in on the joke, confirmed that. “If I had to wear it, he has to wear it,” Primavera said.

Fischer took the tie with obvious reservations. “I’m supposed to wear it all year?”

“All year,” Mac said, stony-faced. “Otherwise, you f*ck up the team mojo.”

Poor Fishy. I feel a little sorry for him, but on the other hand, when you get pranked, it’s a sign that your teammates have accepted you into the group, and in hockey, teamwork is paramount.

If you would like to win a copy of either of the In the Zone books—ON THE SURFACE or ACROSS THE LINE—please comment below. The winner of the contest will be contacted after August 31. Good luck!




77 comments posted.

Re: Kate Willoughby | The Silly Side of Hockey

Across the Line, please
(Deborah Close 12:10pm August 13, 2014)

Any of these books sound great!!!! I'd love to be surprised! Thanks!!!!
(Bonnie Capuano 9:21am August 13, 2014)

Cute scene, Kate! I can tell you totally enjoyed writing these books.
I love realistic guy-banter, and one of my favorite movies to show that (believe it or not) was Lone Survivor. Their horsing around helped me get through the otherwise incredibly intense movie.
(Lynne Marshall 10:56am August 13, 2014)

Congratulations on your new release! It sounds like a fun book. Thanks for sharing the great excerpt.
(Bonnie H 11:21am August 13, 2014)

Good luck, Deborah and Bonnie C.!

Thanks, Lynne! I'll have to check that movie out.

Bonnie H., it's a super-fun book, in my very subjective opinion. That's not even the end of the prank. The guys decide Fishy's not quite convinced, so they go a little bit farther. LOL
(Kate Willoughby 12:36pm August 13, 2014)

I do love these boys, but I feel terrible for Fischer. I hope he gets his revenge next season. (Or next book!) LOL. Congrats on the new release! Great read!
(Dee J Adams 1:08pm August 13, 2014)

Sizzling covers.....oh la la....
Congratulations on your release!
(Lisa Hutson 1:21pm August 13, 2014)

I have been reading more sports romances... liking the sound of yours... thanks for sharing!
(Colleen Conklin 1:28pm August 13, 2014)

Dee J., Fishy's so young and green. We'll see. LOL Revenge would be funny.

Lisa, thanks! I love my covers. Carina Press has great cover artists.

Colleen, I hope you'll give my books a try.
(Kate Willoughby 1:30pm August 13, 2014)

A bit of little boy in a hot man makes him that much hotter, right? Love your hockey romance and your love affair with hockey, Kate!
(Kady Winter 2:16pm August 13, 2014)

I sure think so, Kady! Thanks for stopping by!

L Lam, I hope you decide to try a hockey romance. Hockey is the best sport in the world, for so many reasons. I'd tell you all of them, but it would take too long!! LOL
(Kate Willoughby 4:05pm August 13, 2014)

Enjoyed reading the comments. love their names
(Joy Isley 5:07pm August 13, 2014)

Sounds like a fun book. Good luck!
(Susan Berger 5:10pm August 13, 2014)

Thanks, Joy and Susan!
(Kate Willoughby 5:12pm August 13, 2014)

So different,so involving are these books.New for reading. Hockey with Romance sounds captivating. Would love to win this and share.
(Rosemary MacPhaden 8:11pm August 13, 2014)

Great scene, Kate! I felt like I was in the locker room! Congratulations on Across the Line. :)
(Samanthe Tucker 9:20pm August 13, 2014)

Rosemary, good luck with the drawing!

Thanks, Samanthe! I LOVE the locker room scenes.
(Kate Willoughby 10:17pm August 13, 2014)

Would love to get either of these books. Thanks for having the drawing.
(Sharon Extine 3:22am August 14, 2014)

A book about Hockey? Romance? Hell to the yeah :)Either one and best of luck to all who enter
(Holly Loch 4:34am August 14, 2014)

love the cover, it's gorgeous and the book sounds wonderful. i
look forward to reading it.

tammy ramey
[email protected]
(Tammy Ramey 6:30am August 14, 2014)

Thanks - either book sounds good.
(Beth Elder 7:21am August 14, 2014)

Some more hockey books. I love it. Thanks
(Debra Guyette 7:26am August 14, 2014)

With hockey players, their pranks are a great way for them
to let off some steam, as well as do their initiations!!
That was a great excerpt, and I'm looking forward to reading
your books!! It sort of reminds me of the movie Slapstick -
revisited!! Congratulations on your book, and growing up
learning to love hockey through my Dad, I know I'll love
your books!!
(Peggy Roberson 8:50am August 14, 2014)

Ohh, sounds like a great book. Being a fan of the Ducks here in So. Cal.
I'm looking forward to reading it.
(Pat Freely 12:39pm August 14, 2014)

Sharon and Beth, good luck on the drawing! They're both stand-alone books. :)

Holly and Debra, good to meet more hockey fans!!!

Thanks, Tammy! I love the cover a lot. I love the Carina Press cover artists.

Aw, Peggy, you're so sweet. Have you seen the movie Goon? You MUST rent it.

Pat, thank you so much, but I have to tell you, I am a Kings fan. LOL I respect the
Ducks. LOVE Teemu and was so sad to see him retire.
(Kate Willoughby 5:41pm August 14, 2014)

Bottlegate? I love it.
I would love to read a story of the silly side of hockey. Have to look this one up!
(Lisa Hutson 12:56pm August 15, 2014)

Lisa, hockey is a very serious sport, but the guys sure know how to have fun. If
you don't win the giveaway, I hope you pick up a copy yourself. :)
(Kate Willoughby 1:23am August 15, 2014)

I really enjoy sports themed stories!
(Diane Sallans 9:33pm August 15, 2014)

Hi Kate! I watched a couple of the prank videos. LOL

I've already read both of your books and loved the tie prank on Fishy! Poor thing. :D
(Marcy Shuler 10:40pm August 15, 2014)

Oh, good, Diane! I got hooked on sports romance by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
books. And Rachel Gibson. Can't forget Rachel Gibson!
(Kate Willoughby 1:27am August 16, 2014)

Thanks, Marcy!! I'm so glad you liked the books. Poor Fishy indeed! I could just
picture the kid wincing every time he went to put it on. LOL
(Kate Willoughby 1:28am August 16, 2014)

Great excerpt Kate,
I LOVE a hero with a sense of humor!
Now I gotta get te book to see what happens with the "lucky" tie .
(Mina Gerhart 9:33am August 16, 2014)

i thought the excerpt was very good.
(Toni Whitmire 12:12pm August 16, 2014)

I would love to win!
(Karen Mikusak 4:41pm August 16, 2014)

Reminds me of the snappy dialogue in Draft Day. I like a good
sport or having a sporting chance at a book.
(Alyson Widen 4:51pm August 16, 2014)

bring on the goodies kate.
(Jeannie Murphy 5:48pm August 16, 2014)

Mina, oh, what I shared here is definitely not the end of the tie prank.

Thank you, Toni! I think/hope the rest of the book is pretty good too. ;)

Then good luck to you, Karen!

Alyson, you mean Draft Day the movie?

Jeannie, the goodies await! I hope you win the book so you can see for yourself!
(Kate Willoughby 7:39pm August 16, 2014)

Look forward to reading your new book.
(Sharon DiPrima 8:18pm August 16, 2014)

I really hope you like it, Sharon!
(Kate Willoughby 10:36pm August 16, 2014)

Love the pranks by teammates, look forward to reading this!
(Mary McCoy 5:22am August 17, 2014)

Yay, Mary! There are a lot more pranks where the tie prank came from!
(Kate Willoughby 12:03pm August 17, 2014)

Dear Kate, I did get Across the Line. Better to start at the beginning. :-)
(Lisa Hutson 2:50pm August 17, 2014)

I would love to win. Thanks for a chance.
(Linda Hall 11:49pm August 17, 2014)

Lisa, I tend to agree. I like starting at the beginning with series, but I HAVE
started in the middle before and not really suffered too much. Depends on the

Good luck, Linda!
(Kate Willoughby 1:47am August 18, 2014)

Only been to 2 hockey games in Providence, RI but I never would have
guessed they had a fun side. Both stories sound good.
(Zina Lynch 1:40pm August 18, 2014)

The hockey games themselves...intense, serious, sometimes funny. What I like to
show in my books is the behind the scenes stuff you don't see on TV or at the
arena. There are pranks and hockey fun to be had in both books. :)
(Kate Willoughby 7:05pm August 18, 2014)

love sports romance books
(Emily Stemp 7:19pm August 18, 2014)

I have not had the pleasure of reading your books, yet, but with the intro above, I will be making it a point to pick up a book and dive in!!
(Shirley Bennett 11:21am August 19, 2014)

Would like to be suprised
(Patricia Wagner 12:12pm August 20, 2014)

This latest book sounds good.
Marilyn Collins
(Marilyn Collins 5:11pm August 20, 2014)

is it one book with two stories or what? I'm confused.
(Angela Parrish 12:21pm August 21, 2014)

This book sounds like a great read.!
(Hillary Kaltenbach 10:36am August 22, 2014)

Emily, I do too! I'm reading Hockey is My Boyfriend right now and really enjoying

Shirley, I hope you enjoy it!

Good luck, Patricia, Marilyn and Hilary!

Angela, there are two separate books: On the Surface (Book 1) and Across the
line (Book 2.) :)
(Kate Willoughby 1:36am August 23, 2014)

Can't wait to read this new book.
(Mary Smith 4:56am August 24, 2014)

I thnk it is a great ideal two books,
(Ron Frampton 8:16am August 24, 2014)

These books look good! Would love to give them a try.
(Ashley Nelson 10:20am August 24, 2014)

Hmmm, hockey hero. Haven't tried that yet. Yours may be
(Rita Kelly 2:26pm August 24, 2014)

Are you a true sports fan and if so which one OR all of the above.
(Sandra Spilecki 2:27pm August 24, 2014)

Great sharing! Can't wait to read both books.
(Susan Scheelk 3:08pm August 24, 2014)

I love hockey(Red Wings) but I've never read a book about hockey. Would love to read one. Thanks for having the giveaway.
(Sharon Extine 5:25pm August 24, 2014)

I love, love hockey players. Thank you for this giveaway.
(Deborah Favorito 8:28pm August 24, 2014)

Thank you for the chance!!!
(Angie Turner 1:23am August 25, 2014)

Any of these. Thanks for the chance to win :)
(Leah Maciel 3:42pm August 25, 2014)

I love watching hockey in person, but not so much on the TV.
Not sure why. However, I did not know they like to play
pranks but I can certainly see why. I have read one of your
books and found it to be funny and very witty. I would not
mind having both but either one would be nice. I have not
read them yet. Thank you for the chance to win and keep
giving use those wonderful stories.
(Tina Ullrich 12:32pm August 26, 2014)

I love hockey and this sounds like a great series. Bring it on.
(Patti Paonessa 9:38am August 26, 2014)

Anything is great, thanks for the contest.
(Ann Bartok 1:21am August 29, 2014)

Any book is much appreciated!
(Cindy Rader 11:46am August 29, 2014)

me like to win
(Kent Cook 11:52am August 29, 2014)

I'd love to be introduced to your hockey series. I was exposed to hockey in college. I liked to go on Saturday nights to watch the University of Wisconsin Badgers play.

I'd love to read ON THE SURFACE!


johns lake at usa dot com
(Laurie Gommermann 4:29pm August 29, 2014)

I would love a chance read one of your books. Thank you so much for the chance to win. Good luck everyone.
(Renae Kelly 10:57pm August 29, 2014)

Being a sports orphan, I would go for either/any book.

Although I am wondering - Why no books about Roller Derby? It has a lot in common with hockey!


(Lynn Rettig 2:59pm August 30, 2014)

Love to win thanks
(Lilian Gamble 11:58pm August 30, 2014)

Great Covers...Either book sounds hot...Great summer reads
(Jayne Cameron 11:15am August 31, 2014)

Wow, I’ve been remiss! Look at all the unanswered comments!

Mary, Ron, Ashley, Susan, Angie, Leah, Patricia, Ann, Cindy, Kent, Kelly, Jayne if
you don’t end up winning, I hope you’ll try one of the books anyway. ☺

Rita, hockey heroes are the BEST. I love writing about the brotherhood of their
teams, their maleness, their old-fashioned values, their sexiness. The list goes on
and on. I especially enjoy writing what I like to call uncensored man banter—the
type of thing they say in the locker room to each other when we women aren’t

Sandra, I am a hockey FANATIC, but I’m monogamous. LOL

Sharon, you simply MUST try a hockey romance. Doesn’t have to be mine. I cut
my teeth on Rachel Gibson’s Chinook series. However, I have to say, I include
more actual hockey than a lot of hockey romances I’ve read.

Deborah, you and me both, sister. Have you ever seen that picture of Joffrey
Lupul in the ESPN Body Issue? To die for.

Tina, I’m so glad you enjoyed one of my books. I like watching hockey any which
way, but I still don’t know as much as I ought, so I like how on TV they educate
you a little with the replays—at least Jim Fox does for the Kings games.

Laurie, I watched a college game here in my area when the evil evil lockout was
going on a couple of years ago. It was fun!

Lynn, I know the name of a roller derby book. I’ll get back to you here with the

Elaine, the Zamboni is the name of the machine. Someday, I’d love to ride on it.
(Kate Willoughby 11:30am August 31, 2014)

I would love to read your books. They have everything you
need for a great read. Sports and men! Woohoo!
(Denise Austin 12:40pm August 31, 2014)

Sounds like a great read Would love to read it!
(Teresa Stebbins 5:59pm August 31, 2014)

I agree, Denise. I love me a good sports romance.

Good luck, Teresa!!!
(Kate Willoughby 6:07pm August 31, 2014)

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