In the new Play-by-Play novel by the New York Times bestselling author of The Final Score, opposites attract when a figure skater and hockey player lace up their skates–and go for the gold…
Will “Mad Dog” Madigan is making his second trip to the Winter Games, and he couldn’t be happier. Hockey is his life and playing for the U.S. team is a privilege. Then he meets U.S. figure skater Amber Sloane. She’s beautiful, ambitious and driven–everything Will desires in a woman. He would love to show Amber how hot life off the ice can be.
Amber has skated her entire life, sacrificing everything in the hopes of one day winning gold. Now she’s competing for the third and final time. She intends to win, and nothing’s going to get in her way–until she meets Will. He’s an irresistible charmer, and before long Amber is wondering if this sexy hockey player is the perfect guy to show her some moves outside the rink.
But after all the medals have been awarded, Will and Amber will have to decide if what they have together is just a fling or a real shot at true love.
The fact that the Winter Olympics are happening right now makes Jaci Burton’s latest story in her Play-by-Play series, Shot on Gold, that much more poignant and relatable, and because I’m a huge fan of sports romances as well as Burton’s series, I couldn’t wait to dive into all that is Will “Mad Dog” Madigan and Amber Sloane’s story, and once again, Burton did a great job of interweaving that action of the characters’ professions with the steamy and sweet encounters that they experience once their day of competing is over.
Both Will and Amber are no strangers to the Winter Olympics. They’ve already participated in at least one each, but that doesn’t mean that still don’t have something to prove when it comes to competing in USA hockey and figure skating respectively.
Jaci Burton provides readers with a front row seat to the competition on the ice as well as what heats up between Will and Amber when they have the time to get to know one another and build a connection that just might feel like winning gold.
At face value, Mr. Extrovert and Ms. Introvert don’t seem like a good match, but Will is the perfect person to teach Amber just how fun it can be to let herself go and not worry about her schedule, her training, or her loner lifestyle, which is exactly what she needs to remind herself that there is life after the Olympics and it’s up to her to decide what kind of life she wants to lead after the closing ceremonies are over and she heads back to a reality that doesn’t have Will in it.
Jaci Burton delivers a gold medal story in Shot on Gold; it has the perfect mix of sports’ insights weaved with the Winter Olympics’ atmosphere and the steps Will takes to show Amber how to let loose and still focus on her goals, making her feel more alive and freer than she’s ever felt, and while there’s a bit of logistics they need to work through once they leave Vancouver, it’s beyond clear that these two having something worth fighting for regardless of the distance between them and how their lives have been led up to this point.
Even 14 books in, Jaci Burton still creates sports romance stories that are fresh and relatable, and I can’t wait to see what sports’ studs she’ll match up next.
4.5 Poison Apples
“Yeah? What are your cravings?”
“Hmm, let’s see. Thick crust pizza with sausage and extra cheese. Lasagna. Chocolate chip cookies. Brownies. Oh, and cheeseburgers. I really love cheeseburgers. With onion rings.”
He laughed. “That’s a damn fine menu, Amber. Surely you can have some of those things at least once a week, right?”
“I get healthy proteins, like lean chicken and fish. Only when I finish a competition am I allowed to indulge.”
“Allowed? Come on, honey, you’re a grown-ass woman. You can make your own decisions.”
She looked down at her ice cream, suddenly losing her appetite for its creamy sinfulness. She pushed it aside. “I do make my own decisions. Like now. I’m full.”
Will looked over at her cup. “You barely ate two bites.”
“It doesn’t take much to fill me up.” Which was her mother’s mantra.
Eat half of what’s on your plate, Amber. You’re thin anyway, so you don’t need a lot of food.
Except she was always hungry, and drinking more water never filled her up.
“Yeah? Well I’m eating this entire cone and two scoops, which I know I’ll burn up on the ice. You should do the same.”
Will didn’t understand how hard it was for her to maintain the balance between strength and figure. But she did. She’d worked so hard, and nothing was going to derail her.
Not even the tempting chocolate raspberry ice cream that sat in front of her.
This had been a mistake. She should have never come here with Will. But since she had, she’d politely wait until he finished his ice cream and then she’d make her way back to her apartment.
“Would you like to taste mine?” he asked.
She shook her head. “No, I’m good.”
“So’s this mint chocolate chip. And I promise I don’t have germs.”
Oh, she’d love to put her mouth where he’d had his mouth. That wasn’t the issue at all. Just the thought of swirling her tongue where his tongue had been caused flames to lick along her nerve endings, making her wish they were outside where it was cooler.
“Do you like mint, Amber?” he asked.
He leaned forward, offering the cone. “Take a lick.”
She was going to self-combust if he kept talking to her that way.
“Okay.” She started to take the cone from him, but instead he wrapped his hand around hers and held the cone steady. She leaned forward and flicked her tongue over the top of the cone, watching the way his gaze was glued to her mouth, which only made her previous heated state grow more incendiary.
She sat back and pulled her hand from his. “It’s really good.”
“Yeah, it is really good,” he said, and Amber was certain he hadn’t been talking about the ice cream.
She’d been hit on by a lot of guys over the years, mainly at skating competitions, and especially at the international games. She’d ignored them all to focus only on her goal of winning. Never before had she been affected by flirting or guys coming on to her. She knew she’d be nothing more than a one-night stand, and she wasn’t much interested in being some guy’s forgettable bang.
But there was something about Will Madigan that intrigued her. He was hot, and had a magnificent body. She liked that they were compatible from a skating point of view, but she’d had attractive male figure skaters hit on her before and they had certainly been more compatible than Will, so what was the deal with this guy? Why him, other than she’d madly crushed on him four years ago when he’d never once even looked in her direction.
That was probably it. He’d noticed her tonight, and she felt vindicated. Plus, she was determined to live it up these games.
Though she was going to do it on her terms. She was going to be the one doing the choosing, and it was going to be on her timeline. When she was ready.
She wasn’t going to jump in the sack with the first guy on the first night.
Even if said guy was hot and sexy and had eyes that made her melt.
About the Author
Jaci Burton is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling, award-winning author of over 60 books. She lives in Oklahoma and when she isn’t on deadline, she can usually be found trying to convince her husband to remodel some room or another in their house (she blames HGTV for this). She loves gardening, sports, casinos and getting lost in a great book. She’s a total romantic and longs for the happily ever after in every story, which you’ll find in all her books.