Monday, February 22, 2021

Excerpt, Q&A, and Giveaway - - Hot on the Ice

I've been following Anna Sugden's career since meeting her online in 2007 and in person in 2009. It's always a pleasure to host her here at the blog, especially when it's in celebration of a brand new book (out today!), series, and hockey team. If Hot on the Ice is any indication, this series promises strong heroines, sexy heroes, heart-tugging romance, and plenty of action on - and off - the ice! Read more about Anna at her website and engage with her online on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Hot on the Ice
by Anna Sugden
Publisher: Entangled:Amara
Release Date: February 22, 2021

Lily Eddison is on the way to making it—her personalized, gourmet chocolates are in high demand. She has it all going on...until her landlord pulls the rug out from under her. Now she needs investors but the last person she expects or wants to save the day is the oh-so-hot, but arrogant, pro-hockey player Dante “Fireman” Taylor.

Hockey is Dante’s life and as the Docker’s star defensemen, he has no time for love. An opportunity to invest in Lily’s dream is just business, even though he can’t stop thinking about the gorgeous chocolatier. Despite his reluctance to be in a relationship, Dante and Lily move from partners to friends to lovers and he’s all in… Until an obsessive fan’s revenge tanks their romance and it’s dead on the ice.

Great hockey players know they have to take more shots on goal to score a hat trick and Dante gives it his all to prove to Lily that off the ice, she’s the only one for him.

Hot on the Ice

A smudge of pink frosting at the corner of Lily’s mouth drew Dante’s gaze.

He wanted to lick it off. As good as the cupcakes and cookies were, he doubted they’d beat the taste of Lily herself.

His mind created an image of a tasting session where the delicacy on offer was the woman beside him. Only, she was laid out on the marble worktop, as he nibbled his way down her body.

His jeans tightened uncomfortably, as he hardened. Definitely not the kind of thoughts to have when he was trying to take things slowly.

Dante forced himself to focus on the remaining samples. The sooner he got this done, the better—before he embarrassed himself. He picked a cookie, which was shaped and decorated like a bowl of strawberries, from the second tray.

Instead of eating it, he held it out for Lily.

For a moment, she didn’t move.

Her gaze lifted to his. Her eyes darkened.

The air grew charged.

His hand trembled, just a little, as she leaned forward.

Her lips parted and she took a bite from the cookie.

Then, she licked some crumbs from her lower lip. The tip of her tongue swept tauntingly close to that pink smudge.

Dante swallowed hard, before shoving the rest into his mouth. Through the chocolate-flavored shortbread, he swore he could taste Lily.

He gulped down some water.

Lily reached across and chose a pink, fondant-covered cake, iced with blossoms, which she held out for him.

“Be careful. This has a liquid center,” she warned huskily, as he took a bite.

Too late. Raspberry syrup spilled out, over his chin. He wiped it with his forefinger and was about to lick it clean, when he noticed Lily’s gaze fixed on his finger.

He extended his hand toward her. He expected her to refuse his invitation.

She didn’t.

Lily leaned down and sucked his finger into her mouth, laving off the sticky syrup with her tongue.

Dante took the rest of the cake and offered it to her. His gaze dropped to her parted lips as she bit into it.

Syrup spilled over her lips. He wiped her chin clean with the same finger.

He deliberately left the pink smudge. 


Q&A with Anna Sugden

Welcome, Anna! Congratulations on the release of Hot on the Ice

Thanks, PJ! I’m so excited to be back here. Can’t think of a better group to celebrate my new release with.

This book introduces a new hockey team to readers (doing a happy dance over here). What should they expect from the series, and from Dante and Lily’s story in particular?

Aww, thank you so much. In some ways, this is similar to my NJ Ice Cats, in that the team spirit and the relationship between the guys doesn’t change, nor does my writing of the hockey - which I hope takes readers right onto the ice! And, of course, what won’t change are the emotional, heartwarming stories featuring strong, independent heroines.

But it’s a new team with new personalities and new issues. With the Dockers, I’m hoping to delve into some of the problems facing professional athletes, both on and off the ice, and explore how this affects them both in their career and personally. So, for example, Dante has to deal with an obsessive fan. And how he deals with her impacts directly on his relationship with Lily, bringing up old wounds.

How many books are planned for this new series? 

I have at least 2 planned, with Noah and Jessie up next (fingers crossed) and at least 2 more after that. I’m also hoping to do at least  1 novella and some short stories, like I did with the Ice Cats.

Is Hot on the Ice a digital-only release or will it also be available in print? 

It’s digital first, with Print on Demand. If sales are good enough, then it could go into print too.

You had me drooling all over my Kindle with your descriptions of the dinner Dante cooks for Lily. Is that a dish you prepare yourself? If so, do you have a recipe you’d be willing to share with us?

Lebanese lamb mince curry is something I make and one of my husband’s favourite dishes 😊. It’s based on a recipe from the Australian Women’s Weekly Recipe Collection (which is a fabulous source of amazing dishes with easy-to-follow instructions that actually work). Unfortunately, my AWW books were damaged, so I no longer have them. But I’ve adapted what I remember and more than happy to share it (although I warn you, I’m not good at measures, so it is flavor to taste!).

Lebanese Lamb Mince Curry

1 lb. ground lamb

1 large onion, diced
6-8 mushrooms, diced
Vegetable stock (I use a cube, but liquid is fine)
Lamb stock cube (ditto)
Ground cumin
Ground coriander
Garam Marsala
1 can tomato puree (around 5 ozs)
Pine nuts
1.     Fry the onions and mushrooms until soft, then add the lamb mince and brown.
2.     Crumble in the 2 stock cubes. If you use liquid stock, add the spices in step 3 first.
3.     Add in 2 tbsp of ground cumin and of ground coriander and 1 tbsp of garam marsala.
4.     Add the can of tomato puree and 1 pint of water. If you use liquid stock, this can replace the water.
5.     Let cook for at least an hour to let the flavours develop. Taste for seasoning and spiciness. If necessary, add more cumin and coriander.
6.     About 10 mins before serving add a handful of pine nuts and stir in.
7.     Serve with basmati rice or tortillas/flat bread.

Also, having a Persian mother, who was an excellent cook, Persian rice or polow is my specialty. And the yoghurt and cucumber dish is also a real recipe, which I’ve also included.

Yoghurt and Cucumber dish
½ cup of diced cucumber
1 cup of plain yoghurt
1 tsp chopped, dried mint

Mix together the ingredients and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Both of those recipes look delicious. Thanks for sharing!

Lily is a chocolatier (I want to be her best friend). What chocolate treat do you turn to when you’re feeling the need to indulge?

I know it’s sacrilege to admit I’m more of a savoury girl (like Lily!) … I would indulge in a bowl of hot, buttered popcorn before chocolate. But if I feel the need for something sweet, you can’t beat a bar of Cadbury’s Dairy Milk (made in England, of course!)

I'm not ashamed to admit that I stock up on Cadbury's Dairy Milk every time I fly through Heathrow. It's been 15 months since my last flight and I'm feeling the Cadbury deprivation. 

What’s next? Will you have any more books releasing this year?  

I’m working on Noah and Jessie’s book, which I hope will also be picked up by Entangled and out either at the end of this year or beginning of next. There will also be at least 1 short story and hopefully the Dockers’ novella too. And I’m planning to rerelease at least 1 more of my Ice Cats series, if the rights are reverted.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed for all of those stories!

Let’s play a quick round of complete this sentence.

My goal for this year is… to get to the other side of this lockdown with my loved ones safe and healthy, so I can cuddle our gorgeous grandchildren, visit family and get back to travelling.

The television show I’m currently bingeing – or want to binge - is… a British crime drama called Bulletproof. Not sure how I missed this first time around, but it’s high energy, great fun, with fabulous writing and a big heart.

The book I’m most eager to read is… ack you expect me to pick just one?! Is it cheating to say the next book by one of my favourite authors? If I have to pick something completely different, I’m looking forward to Dangerous Women by Hope Adams, Sisters of the Resistance by Christine Wells and The Codebreakers by Alli Sinclair.

I'm so excited that Sisters of the Resistance is being published in the U.S. I have it on pre-order!

The first destination I want to visit post-pandemic is…Italy - we have a trip to Sicily planned this autumn, so fingers crossed. Next up after that is back to the other half of my heart - the US.

The real-life hockey player most likely to inspire my book hero is… also difficult to pick just one! There are so many who are inspiring. But, I can say that he would have to play/have played for my beloved New Jersey Devils 😊

Thanks for visiting with us today, Anna. Would you like to add anything else or ask the readers a question?

I mentioned that my mother was a fantastic cook - was your mother a good cook or not? What was her specialty dish?

Readers, if your mother didn't enjoy cooking but you do, feel free to share one of your specialty dishes (I'm always on the lookout for new recipes to make).

One randomly chosen reader who posts a comment before 11:00 PM (EST), February 23 will receive a signed book and bar of Cadbury chocolate from Anna (and, yes, I am jealous). 😉 

*Must be 18

*Open internationally



  1. It's very exciting to find out about a new series by Anna! We met in France a few years ago and Anna has been a good friend to les Romantiques.
    My mum is a good cook but I am a reluctant cook. I have improved during lockdown though, by force!
    Hugs to both of you xx

    1. How lovely to see you here, Bridget! I hope it won't be too long before we can make another trip to see the fab Les Romantiques. We really enjoyed our last visit.

      Lockdown has been tricky on so many fronts - figuring out what to make for dinner has been tough! Thank goodness for all the fab take-away places in Cambridge.



    2. My mom was a wonderful cook and like several moms growing up during the depression, my mom could make a fantastic meal from bare pantry items. Everything was special but she made outstanding individual turkey pot pies packed full of turkey, mixed veggies and gravy inside her homemade pie crust. I get hungry thinking about them. Since I learned from her, I'm a pretty good cook too. At least, I was when I was in my younger years when my kids were still home. I do still cook, but my meals are much simpler and faster these days.

    3. Hi Karen,

      Thanks for stopping by! How delicious - her turkey pot pie sounds fantastic! I'm envious.

  2. Story sounds great - what could be better, chocolate and sport themed book all in 1. My family are all good cooks, my mom could take whatever she had on hand and make a terrific meal. I enjoy cooking and baking as well.

    1. Hey Pat, thanks for joining the celebration today! My mum was very good at that too, particularly tossing stuff together for a delicious soup or stew.

  3. My one grandmother was a great cook. She came from Sicily so a lot of Italian cooking. Unfortunately, my mom was the one who cleaned all the time while my aunt was the good cook. I was never taught any of the dishes but I do enjoy it so have learned along the way. Thanks for a chance at reading your story - sounds good (along with the chocolate lol).

    1. Hey Catslady! Great to see you! Been a long time!

      Oh wow - LOVE Italian cooking. We're off to Sicily (fingers crossed) in Sept, so can't wait to experience all the dishes.

  4. My speciality is Beef Wellington. My Mom was a great cook.

    1. Hey Patty from one of my favourite places in the world!

      That's so impressive - I'm rubbish at anything that involves pastry. :( Apparently it's my warm hands.

  5. My speciality is Beef Wellington. My Mom was a great cook.

  6. Welcome back, Anna!

    My mom was a farm cook. Nothing fancy but plenty of delicious, hearty meals. One area where she excelled though was pie. She made the flakiest crust that I never have been able to duplicate and her Lemon Meringue Pie was the best I've ever tasted. No restaurant/bakery Lemon Meringue Pie I've had over the years has ever been able to top the ones she made.

    1. So glad to be here, PJ!

      Both my late MILs were awesome cooks - they'd say just that ... nothing fancy ... but always delicious. Yumm on the lemon meringue pie. My lovely husband makes the most awesome lemon curd and I'm always tempted to use it for lemon meringue pie. But, you know, rubbish at pastry :)

  7. My grandmother who lived with us was a wonderful cook and baker. She would make roast chicken, stews, blintzes and then the most delectable desserts, strudels and cakes. I have tried to emulate her beautiful meals. My salmon and roasted veggies with a marble cake is good.

  8. Hey Traveler! Great to see you!

    Oh, your grandmother sounds an amazing cook! Neither of my grandmothers could cook, so I've been determined to show our grandsons that I can. :)

  9. My mother made good homecooked meals, cooked with love and devotion. Nothing fancy but hamishe food.
    I enjoyed everything that she worked so hard on. Puddings were yummy, and the best ever challahs and mandelbrot.

    1. Hey Petite! Great to see you!

      The most important ingredient in all cooking is love, I think. How wonderful your mum ensured hers were full of it.

  10. Both grandmothers were great cooks. One of them made home made noodles and roast beef which was heavenly. The other made really great breakfasts, I know that sounds funny, but her breakfasts were always special. I lived with her for more than a year and every morning was lovely.

    My mother was a good cook. She made what was called boiled icing for was an event.

    I made a red sauce with meat and great spices including anise seed. Really great on pasta and in lasagna. But, now, just the dog and I, I seldom do that anymore.

    I hope everyone is well.

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Annette! How lovely to have grandmothers who were great cooks! And I'm all for a special breakfast ... for lunch and dinner too!

  11. We loved her spaghetti sauce. Once she tried to give us Ragu when it first came out. My oldest brother said what is this sh$t. He got smacked up side the head. She never made it again. I have taught my kids to make the sauce.

    1. Hi Pamela, great to see you. Ooh making a great spaghetti sauce is such an art.

  12. My Mom was a wonderful home cook (loved her pot roast!) also a very good baker. She did most meals without recipes. I do ok, but living alone I take a lot of short cuts. I do make Fiesta Chicken in my crockpot (leftovers freeze really well for future meals).

    1. Hi Di, lovely to see you! Can't beat a good pot roast! My mum never measured, except when baking. It was so hard to get her recipes because of that!

  13. Oh this book and series sounds like fun!
    My mom used to make us was always sloppy! we didn't care we loved it. Years later (like at least 10-15) Mom worked out that she wasn't meant to pre-boil the lasagne sheets ... hahahahah

    1. Hey Leigh-Ayn - thank you so much! LOL I had to lear that lesson too! Funny though, we always love the dishes that aren't perfect, but made with love.

  14. I am lucky that my mother and both grandmothers cooked a lot and I learned from all of them. I do wish I had been able to bake my paternal grandmother's sugar cookies with her. Not a single one of us has been able to replicate them even using the recipe she swore she used! Her 5 daughters & daughter's in-law, her 7 granddaughters, and at least 10 of her great granddaughters have tried and none of us have figured out what she did differently than the recipe.

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Glenda! Ooh the mystery of the sugar cookies. I suspect it what her love that made them taste to special and eating them with her smiling at you.

  15. This book and actually, the series, sounds like a lot of fun.
    I am a big chocolate fan and one of my specialties is for fudge-y brownies.

    1. Thanks so much, Alina! Oh I bet you're popular with family and friends!

  16. My mom is a good cook. Growing up she used a lot of vegetables since my dad always planted a big garden. Thanks for this chance!

    1. Hi Linda, great to see you! My lovely hubby has an allotment (vegetable patch) and we are blessed with amazing vegetables. How different they taste when you grow them yourself!

  17. Thank you PJ and all of you Dishy Dames for welcoming me back so warmly and making my launch day so much fun! <3

  18. My Mom is a great cook. I love her homemade manicotti and her Thanksgiving dinner.
    Karen T. (Natty's Mama)

  19. My mom was not a good cook. Fortunately my MIL was! She immigrated from Hungary. German descent. Lots of delicious food.

    Her cheese strudel melted in my mouth. My husband and I tried to duplicate but failed.
    She also taught me how to make yeast treats like cinnamon rolls and dinner rolls and apple cake.

    I like to make chicken pot pie with homemade crust and spinach/ broccoli pie.with phyllo dough.

    1. Hey Laurie, Great to see you! I can imagine your MILs cooking - they know how to make such delicious pastries and sweet treats!

      I do like a nice chicken pot pie!

  20. My mom was not fond of cooking and it was part of my father's promise to do the cooking that got her to agree to marriage. She did enjoy pottering in the kitchen but dad did the bulk of making meals. Your lamb mince curry and yogurt sauce looks great and I will have to give it a try. Am afraid that I don't have a signature dish of my own, but last year I found online, Thomas Keller's recipe for roast chicken and David Chang's for Bo Ssam (slow roasted pork shoulder). They are great and made it into my repertoire. Not only are they relatively easy and tasty but the leftovers do well for enchiladas, shredded meat placed in ramen/sliders/fried rice, chicken carcass used for broth, etc.

    1. Hi Lil, Thanks for stopping by! Good for your mum for sticking to her guns about cooking! My lovely hubby will be v envious of your pork shoulder dish - I can't eat it, so he has to have pork when we're out!