by Joanne Rock
I was really excited to see one of my Blazes that takes place in the world of hockey is part of a boxed set called Game On this month. The set is headlined by the awesome Jill Shalvis, and I get more great company from Elle Kennedy and Nancy Warren. Just to share some shelf time with those ladies would be fun enough. But I’m even happier to see sports romances get a little extra visibility because I really love athlete heroes.
I’ll admit, I’m biased. For the first ten years of our marriage, my husband worked in sports journalism and shared his love of sports with me. We went to professional, college and high school games where the level of competition may vary, but not the passion for the game. I really enjoyed seeing the single-minded pursuit of excellence that the best athletes develop. At their best, athletes embody the qualities that readers often look for in a romantic hero. They are focused, motivated and possess a will to win. They have the physical power and strength we sigh over.
Athletes are the modern equivalent of medieval warriors (which—if you peek at my backlist, you’ll realize I love!). While knights swung swords, modern athletes swing bats and hockey sticks. Both protected their home front (goalie!) and made great sacrifices to their sport/knighthood so that they would be in top condition to dominate the field when their battle came.
I guess I love athletes for keeping that mentality alive. While our soldiers are the more obvious modern warriors, I’d rather see my heroes battling it out on a gridiron or a hockey rink than in life and death combat. Sports are an outlet for male aggression in a forum we can safely enjoy while admiring flexing muscle and steely will.
If you haven’t tried a sports-themed romance, Rachel Gibson and Susan Elizabeth Phillips wrote some of my favorites. I’ve done a couple of baseball books—Double Play and Sliding Into Home. Or you can always give Game On a try… it’s a steal for four books!
What’s your game of choice? Croquet in the backyard? A day at the ballpark? Visit with me today on the boards and I’ll choose one random poster to win a gift pack of my upcoming releases including Promises Under the Peach Tree and Undercover Festivities, a 2-in-1 featuring books by Tawny Weber and me!