Spotlight & Giveaway: Carina Press’s first Sports Week

Posted April 15th, 2014 by in Blog, Spotlight / 81 comments

Today it is my pleasure to spotlight six brand-new sports romances from Carina Press! 


This week is Carina Press’s first Sports Week, and they published six contemporary sports romances on Friday. Hockey, rugby, football, baseball, MMA, tennis—there’s something for everyone! The authors are here today sharing some of their favorite scenes and giving you a chance to win one of their books. Enjoy!

The Ace by Rhonda Shaw

ACEReal estate agent Karen Bentley has a not-so-secret crush on the Ace of the Detroit Rockets, Jerry Smutton, and is ecstatic when he asks for her help in finding a house. Both are attracted to each other, but both want a relationship like they want a hole in the head. Jerry is curious if Karen is game for some no-strings-attached fun and proposes a friends-with-benefits arrangement. Karen full-heartedly agrees and expects him to take advantage of those benefits immediately as she’s eager to get her crush naked and horizontal. Jerry, however, has different plans. I love this entire scene because it really illustrates Karen and Jerry as a fun couple with the easy, playful banter between them. It makes me chuckle every time I read it and I hope it makes you laugh too. Enjoy!


Fully expecting and hoping he was going to take advantage of their new agreement immediately, Karen was startled, and disappointed, when she saw they were not heading back to one of their places. “Where are we going?” she asked.

He nodded down the street where she could see the glow of lights surrounding a miniature golf course. “You game?”

It appeared he wasn’t kidding when he said he wanted to go to arcades with her. She smiled at him. “Not only am I game, but I’m going to kick your ass.”

Jerry grinned as he twined his fingers with hers—an action that, she noted with some unease, felt completely natural. “I’ll take you up on that challenge. But to make it interesting, I think we should wager something.”View Spoiler »

On the Surface by Kate Willoughby

OTSErin’s a nurse, so when hockey player Tim Hollander gets hit with a bad case of food poisoning, she accompanies him back to his hotel room to make sure he’ll be all right. He’s just been traded to San Diego and she worries that he may get dehydrated and, as a pro-athlete, try to tough it out. When this scene opens, both are on the bed, it’s the wee hours of the morning and the worst is over. I love this scene because hopefully the reader can see a connection being made between Tim and Erin. Tim’s sense of humor comes out and we get a glimpse of how boyishly charming he can be.


“Hi,” he whispered.

He smelled like soap and his hair was damp. He must have showered and she hadn’t even heard him.

“Hi,” she whispered back.

“I tried not to wake you up.”

While you were in the shower. Naked. Six feet plus of sculpted, wet muscle.

“How are you feeling?”

“Better.” He turned to face her. “But it was rough going there for a while.”View Spoiler »

Tap Out by Michele Mannon

TapNothing will get in the way of disgraced shock jock Sophie Morelle’s return to television, not the challenges of filming an MMA documentary, not underwear model turned welterweight, Caden Kelly, and especially not the impossible task of cozying up to the hottest ticket around, given Caden’s long-standing grudge against her. In this excerpt, Sophie is trying to catch up with the MMA fighters on tour, but her BMW is stuck in traffic. As bad luck would have it, she’s trapped right beneath Caden’s billboard. I loved writing the banter between two friends, and Sophie’s grit determination. Enjoy!


“I’ll interview the fighters at each stop, film some footage of a bunch of gung-ho guys preparing for Tetnus, and in a few days, we’ll have some fun in Vegas while they slug it out. We’ll be driving back to Pittsburgh in under a month.”

Sophie drummed her fingers on the soft leather doorframe, praying her words would ring true. “One shame-faced journalist, with one tiny camera, on a mission to interview a busload of bulked-up, testosterone laden fighters.”

“A bunny in a wolves’ den.”View Spoiler »

Imaginary Lines by Allison Parr

ILITamar grew up down the street from Abraham Krasner, but they haven’t seen each other in four years – not since he was drafted to go pro playing football for the New York Leopards. And not since Tamar embarrassingly admitted that she was in love with him. Now that they’re in the same city, they reconnect. Writing about these two former friends rediscovering each other was wonderful – especially when they were also discovering feelings that they didn’t believe existed. In this scene, Tamar and Abe are catching up at dinner after one of his games, and the conversation gets a little more personal than expected…


He grinned and sliced into his steak. “All right, so no Antonio. Best boyfriend?”

“Oh, are we talking about boys now?” I fluttered my lashes. “How exciting.”

“Or perhaps no one could live up to the man of your dreams?”

I gave him an arched look. “The tall, dark, brooding, and scruffy man, you mean?”

He shot me a look right back. “Please. You like the good-natured, all-American, sporty type.”View Spoiler »

Playing It Close by Kat Latham

PICMy hero, rugby team captain Liam Callaghan, and the woman who finally proves to be his perfect match, Tess Chambers, meet in Venezuela when they’re both trying to escape bad decisions they made. They meet when they’re trapped in a hotel elevator together, an experience that leaves them both longing for more time together—but perhaps in more romantic surroundings. So they hike through a Venezuelan cloud forest and discover a waterfall. This scene starts with Liam lying on a big, flat rock next to the natural pool while Tess sits next to him. I love it because no matter how many times I read it, I can still feel their unquenched desire for each other. Hope you enjoy it!


His free arm wrapped around her back, clasping her hip so he could drag her lower body to lie on top of his. He hugged her so close she rode every breath, every ripple that passed through him. His shivers of delight became hers. The sights and sounds of paradise disappeared until all that was left was him, hard and getting harder under her.

When she pulled back to catch her breath, he buried his face in her neck. His voice was low, gruff, as he said, “I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for a swim.”

“So soon after eating?” Nice one, nervous ninny.

He gave her an assessing look, then glanced at the pool. “I don’t think it’s that deep. But if you want, I’ll test it out and let you know.”View Spoiler »

Love in Straight Sets by Rebecca Crowley

LISTNotoriously mercurial tennis star Regan Hunter has finally met her match in her equally strong-willed coach, former pro Ben Percy. The more Regan rebels, the harder Ben works to dismantle her tightly held control until their professional tension becomes decidedly sexual. I love their stubborn banter in this scene, and the way Ben’s refusal to back down is already laced with burgeoning affection for this tough, complex woman.


Ben bit back a smile as Regan glowered at him from the net. She was a huge pain in his ass, but there was no denying she was cute when she was angry.

“You want me to do what?” she demanded.

“You heard me,” he replied calmly. “From now on I’m fining you for etiquette infractions. Your racket only went a few inches, so we’ll call that one a racket slam as opposed to a throw. That’s two laps and ten push-ups.”

Regan stared at him in furious silence, her shoulders tense and her eyes bright with anger.

He drew a circle in the air with his index finger. “Two laps, champ. Let’s go. I don’t have all day.”View Spoiler »

No Limits by Lori Foster

As a special treat to celebrate Sports Week, New York Times Bestselling Author Lori Foster is sharing an excerpt from her upcoming novel No Limits, featuring MMA fighter Cannon Colter. No Limits will be out on August 26. Enjoy!

Realizing that she’d been staring at him, Yvette tried to wiggle out of his arms.
Cannon didn’t let her.
“Settle down.” He drew her in closer, one hand between her shoulder blades. “We have a lot of ground to cover yet and to be honest, I prefer to settle it just like this.” He nuzzled against her temple, sending gooseflesh up and down her arms. “Okay?”
Without meaning to, she smoothed her hands over his chest. There were so many wonderful places to touch him, each more enticing than the other. “I need to know how we’re going to work this.”
“This, meaning us?”
“This, meaning both of us here in this house together.” She tipped her head to judge his reaction. “It’s true that I’m still a little jumpy over being here and I’d appreciate knowing when to expect you, or when…when I might be here alone. But I don’t want to step on your toes.”
“I don’t know what that means, honey.”
His use of endearments kept throwing her. “It means that you’re back in town and plenty of women want your attention. This is rightfully your home and it’s inevitable that you might want to bring home…company.” Just saying it made her stomach sick. “When you do, you should feel comfortable about it.”
His hands moved up to her face, holding her steady for his uncompromising stare. “Let’s get something clear. The only woman I’m interested in right now is you.”
That was so blatant, so bold, she fell back a step. Elation tried to burst free, but she stomped it into submission. “Since when?”
“The truth?” He leaned in close, nose to nose, aggressive and annoyed. “Since you walked out on me three years ago…”

GIVEAWAY: e-copy: The Ace by Rhonda Shaw, On the Surface by Kate Willoughby, Tap Out by Michele Mannon, Imaginary Lines by Allison Parr, Playing It Close by Kat Latham, Love in Straight Sets by Rebecca Crowley.

To enter Giveaway: Please complete the Rafflecopter form and Leave a comment for the authors about the sports romances featured here.

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81 Responses to “Spotlight & Giveaway: Carina Press’s first Sports Week”

  1. LJT

    I am looking forward to reading the books from these authors, whether I win the giveaway or not.

  2. Chanpreet

    I absolutely love sports romances. This is like a little slice of heaven with all the different sports and many of my favorite authors all in one place. It’s also havoc on my book spending budget. Lol.

  3. lisagk2014

    I love sports romance and I think On the Surface has to be a standout story. I love the cover and the snippet pulls me right into the scene. Thanks.

  4. orchid7

    I love sports romances because you just know that the hero is in great shape and there is something sexy about a professional sports player. I like seeing these big tough guys brought to their knees by a girl.

  5. Winnie Lim

    Love reading sports romances. The heroes are always so male and alpha and since they can have their pick of women, it takes a really special woman to bring them down to their knees and fall deep in love.

  6. Cari White

    I love sport romances! I’m a big sports fan. On the Surface has particularly caught my eye.

  7. ROBIN

    I’m a huge fan of sport romances! I have never seen one about Tennis before so that is extra cool.

  8. Cathy P

    I really enjoy sports romances, and all of these sound like must reads. I love a jock playboy who is challenged by his woman — especially if she is feisty.

  9. Moran

    I added On The Surface to my Kindle wish list a few days ago and I really hope I’ll be able to buy and read it soon.

  10. Gretchen

    All of these books sound really good and I loved reading all the excerpts! I can’t wait to read them.

  11. Lori Meehan

    I’m not a huge sports fan but I love romance so I look at it as it’s just there job. So to me there’s no difference from other romance books. Tap Out looks really good.

  12. Julie Duffy

    I’m not a sports fan but I enjoy romance’s that include sports and fictional sport’s hero’s. They are like a genre on their own and a lot of fun.

  13. Kate Sparks

    Have always enjoyed sports stories, while I’ll admit I’m not familiar with MMA; they all look like fun!

  14. Joanne

    Wow… I always ditch the CEO’s, rockers, and MC members for a sportsman! Can’t wait for these!

  15. Jami Birnbaum

    After working in the advertising/marketing dept of a major sports network for almost 10 years, I truly love sports romances. They all look so good…

  16. Meg Weglarz

    Thanks for highlighting these books, I do love sports romances and I wasn’t familiar with any of these except Lori Foster’s No Limits (can’t wait for that one!!)

  17. Barrie

    I love the intro to all new authors with great-sounding sports books! (Well, I know Lori Foster, but the rest were are all new).

  18. ndluebke

    These look great.On the surface, is just one example of some of the things these players face.

  19. Jennifer

    I’ve enjoyed every Lori Foster book and this one coming out in August appears to be just as enjoyable. On the Surface looks like one that I will definitely read as that is one of my favorite romance genres.

  20. Natalie

    I have to admit I’ve never read a sports romance, but these ones sound really good. I can’t wait to explore something new!

  21. Laurie G

    I like sports heroes and heroines. I haven’t read any books with fighters. You are featuring two. I’ve heard good things about Lori Foster’s books so I would want to read her and Ms Mannons.

    I follow football. So I think I would like Ms Parr’s second chance book.

    Tennis hero, yes! Rugby, yes. I’m interested. I don’t know rugby rules but I would love an introduction.

  22. Christine Kochanowski

    The Ace- Sounds fun and exciting

    On the Surface- I loved the scene with the whispering and the nurse taking care of him (doesn’t hurt that he’s hot), very sweet start

    Tap Out- I’m torn on this one I LOVE MMA, I HATE journalists of any type

    Imaginary Lines- Friends to Lovers is always great, Loved the witty banter

    Playing It Close- Rugby is a new one for me but I’m game

    Love in straight Sets- I might give this one a try but she sounds like a brat and I usually throw those books against the wall before I finish them.

    They all sound good 🙂

  23. flchen1

    These all sound terrific! Sports romances are another way of “armchair traveling” via books–I’m not much of an athlete, but reading about them is great fun! Looking forward to all of these–take me away, sports writers!

  24. Diana Huffer

    Football and baseball are my favorite sports and my favorite sports romances. However, after reading about these, I think I could develop a taste for other sports — like tennis… 😉

  25. Anne Rinaldi

    Love, love, love sporty romances, but I’ve never read one with rugby as the sport! I look forward to reading each of the books listed here.

  26. Kate I.

    I dig sports romances and ALL of these sound great. I’m most intrigued by the rugby title. How about more polo romances? Have you seen Nacho Figueras? HAWT.

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