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.
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.
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
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.
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