Spotlight & Giveaway: Collide by Bal Khabra

Posted May 10th, 2024 by in Blog, Spotlight / 18 comments

Today it is my pleasure to Welcome author Bal Khabra to HJ!

Hi Bal and welcome to HJ! We’re so excited to chat with you about your new release, Collide!

Happy to be here!

Please summarize the book for the readers here:

Summer Preston, an aspiring sport psychologist, is faced with an unexpected ultimatum from her professor, where she is catapulted into the world of college hockey. Here she must work closely with Aiden Crawford, the captain of the hockey team. Either she fulfills her dream of becoming a sport psychologist or stays far away from the god-awful sport. Aiden, on the other hand, is thrust into this research ordeal when a reckless mistake by his team jeopardizes their entire season. It’s the last thing he wants to do, especially since the girl leading the project looks like she would wield his skates as a weapon. Summer can’t stand his blasé approach to life, and Aiden doesn’t understand her uptight, scheduled one. They are off to a rocky start, and provoking each other is what they do best. What will happen when they finally collide?

Please share your favorite line(s) or quote from this book:

“A thorough and exhausting search later, I spot long hair and a pale pink sweater in the quiet study area. The sound of the chair being pulled out drags Summer’s attention to me. She assesses the rain sprinkled across the shoulders of my gray hoodie. She brings her attention back to her work.
“Don’t you have a game?” she finally asks.
The reminder of the loss feels less painful when I’m with her. “It was earlier. I came here to study.”
She nails me with a skeptical look. “You never study in the library.”
“Needed a change of scenery.” I shrug. But she’s right. I prefer the chaotic nature of the house. Libraries were too quiet for me.
“So you came to the farthest library on campus?” she presses.
“Took me three tries.”
“For what?”
“To find this one.”
“The others didn’t have what you were looking for?”
I smile. “Not even close.”


Please share a few Fun facts about this book…

  • The idea for Collide came to me when I was in my final semester of University. It helped that I was taking a sports psychology course at the time.
  • The addition of Summer’s ethnic background and her love for chai came from my own experiences. I loved adding a touch of culture.
  • I’m Canadian, and I’ve grown up playing hockey. It felt like a given to blend together a genre and a sport I love.


What first attracts your Hero to the Heroine and vice versa?

Summer’s witty comebacks and quick dismissal of Aiden intrigue him. As the captain of the hockey team, he hasn’t had to work for anyone’s attention, but he constantly finds himself vying for Summer’s. With Aiden, Summer feels safe. She doesn’t trust many people, but Aiden says exactly what he thinks and doesn’t play any games with her. I think that stability took her a while to embrace, but once she did, it was exactly what she needed.


Did any scene have you blushing, crying or laughing while writing it? And Why?

My favorite moment to write between the characters was definitely when Aiden comes to care for Summer in her dorm. She’s suffering from painful cramps, and Aiden simply is there for her. It felt like the perfect way to show their relationship growth and character arcs. So sweet, it still makes me swoon!

“Amara told me you weren’t feeling well, so I brought you something.” He leaves my room and comes back with a bed tray. There’s steam clouding out of my favorite mug, a box of chocolates, a warming pad, and best of all some extra-strength ibuprofen.
I sit up, allowing him to lay it over my lap. My eyes begin to sting. “When did you do this?”
“While you were screaming into your pillow.”
“I was not screaming. Just gently cursing Mother Nature.” I take the warming pad and place it over my stomach. I eye the mug with suspicion, bringing it to my lips. It’s perfect. Aiden even added ginger, and my heart burns a little, this time not from the overuse of cinnamon. “You’ve been practicing?”
“Dylan’s been teaching me. He used to make it for his mom.”
“Thank you.”
“Anything for you,” he says softly.


Readers should read this book….

Because it has all the banter, humor, and swoon you could ask for in a college hockey romance. There is the reverse grumpy x sunshine and found family trope— who doesn’t love those?


What are you currently working on? What other releases do you have in the works?

I’m working on the second book in the Off the Ice series. It follows Elias Westbrook and a struggling ballerina who captures his attention. They need each other’s help, but before they know it, they’re spiraling into an unknown mix of feelings.

Thanks for blogging at HJ!


Giveaway: One print copy of COLLIDE for a US only winner.


To enter Giveaway: Please complete the Rafflecopter form and Post a comment to this Q: What’s your favorite sports romance novel, and what do you love most about the genre?

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Excerpt from Collide:

COLLIDE by Bal Khabra
Berkley Trade Paperback | On sale May 14, 2024

She’s holding a gun to my head.

Well, figuratively at least.

The gun in question: hockey. The woman holding it: Dr. Laura Langston, Ph.D.

“Hockey?” I repeat. “You want me to do my grad school application on hockey?”

Langston has been my grad school advisor for the past year, but I’ve been working under her wing since I started at Dalton University.

She’s everything I want to be, and I’ve obsessed over every academic paper she’s written. She’s kind of my celebrity crush in the nerdiest way possible. With her Ph.D. in sports psychology, countless papers published, and experience with Olympians and athletes around the world, she’s inspirational.

Until you get to know her.

When they said Don’t meet your heroes, they were talking about Laura Langston. She’s the human equivalent of an angry swarm of wasps. There are plenty of professors who treat their students like total garbage and think their fancy piece of paper means they can be tyrants, but Langston is a different species. Her brilliance is undeniable, but she is patronizing, dismissive, and purposely difficult when she knows you need her help.

So, why the hell did I choose her as my advisor? Because her success rate in getting students into Dalton’s prestigious master’s program is too enticing to ignore. It’s the number one program in North America and students vetted by her are guaranteed acceptance. Not to mention she chooses who will be eligible for co-op-a competitive program that allows one student from our cohort to work with Team USA. It’s been my dream from the age of eight, so I’ll suffer through her monstrous dictatorship if it means I’ll soon have my own master’s degree in sports psychology.

“You need to start using your resources to your advantage, Summer.” She surveys me above the rims of her glasses. “I know you hate hockey, but this is your last chance to submit a solid application.”

The word hate slips past her lips as if my aversion to the sport is completely fabricated. Considering she’s one of the few people who know why I stay far away from the icy rink and the similarly icy men skating on it, I barely keep my composure. Sticking me right in the center of that blue circle with an empirical research study that determines the fate of my future is pure evil. An evil only Dr. Langston and her molten heart can manage.

“But why hockey? I’ll choose football. Basketball. Even curling. I don’t care.” Does Dalton even have a curling team?

“Exactly. You don’t care. I need you to do something you care about. Something you feel strongly about. Hence hockey.”

I hate that she’s right. Sweeping aside her overall ominous nature, she is a smart woman. I mean she didn’t get her Ph.D. for nothing, but being her student is a double-edged sword.


She lifts a hand. “I won’t approve anything else. Do this or lose your spot. The choice is yours.” It’s like the universe sent me my very own Fuck You in the form of my professor. Years of working my ass off in undergrad only to be told hockey is my saving grace. What a joke. Clenching my fists, I swallow the urge to scream. “That isn’t much of a choice, Dr. Langston.”

“If you can’t do this, then I overestimated your potential, Summer.” Her voice grows sharp. “I have four students who would kill to have your spot, but I took you under my wing. Don’t make me regret this.”

She didn’t exactly choose to take me under her wing. I had a 4.2 GPA and killer reference letters. Not to mention the extremely difficult advisor’s exam she implemented last year to pick out the best students. I got food poisoning from the campus cafeteria that week, but I still dragged myself to the exam. I beat every student, and I’ll be damned if they take my spot now.

“I understand what you’re saying, but as you know, I’m not very fond of hockey. For good reason, might I add, and I doubt my research will be an accurate representation, considering that.”

“Either you get over your apprehension or lose what you’ve worked for.”


Ignoring the pointed jab feels like trying to ignore a bullet lodged in my sternum. “There’s no reason why I can’t choose basketball. Coach Walker would happily let me collaborate with one of his players.”

“Coach Kilner has already agreed to allow one of my students to work with his players. Get me your completed proposal by the end of the week or forfeit your spot, Ms. Preston.” Her dismissal is clear when she twists away from me in her chair.

If I could commit one crime and get away with it, I have a feeling it would include Dr. Langston.

“Okay. Thank you,” I mutter. She’s typing aggressively on her computer, probably making another student’s life a living hell. I imagine she goes home and crosses off the names of students she has successfully tormented. My name and the doll she sticks pins into are at the top of that list today.

I’ve successfully avoided everything to do with hockey for the past three years, only for it to be my front and center for the next few months. I’m beyond screwed, and I have to suck up my distaste for the sport of my Canadian ancestors.

I use all my willpower to not slam her door on the way out.

Excerpted from Collide by Bal Khabra Copyright © 2024 by Bal Khabra. Excerpted by permission of Berkley. All rights reserved.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Book Info:

She’s an honors student with ambitious graduate school plans and he’s a jock with only hockey on his mind, but once their worlds collide, their connection is hot enough to melt an ice rink.

An ultimatum from Summer Preston’s thesis advisor thrusts her into an unexpected collision with the hockey team’s captain, Aiden Crawford. She’s caught between conflicting desires of fulfilling her lifelong dream of becoming a sport psychologist and staying as far away as possible from the god-awful sport. And once she meets Aiden—well, let’s just say he confirms all her worst assumptions about hockey players.

Being the captain of the college hockey team has its perks, except when a reckless mistake by Aiden’s team threatens to jeopardize their entire season. As punishment, Aiden’s coach nominates him as the subject of a student research project. Participating is the last thing he wants to do, especially since the girl leading the project looks like she could wield his skates as a weapon.

Summer can’t stand Aiden’s blasé approach to life, and Aiden doesn’t understand why she’s twenty years old with a twenty-five-year plan. But their bickering soon turns to bantering—and once they let their guards down, there’s nothing to check their feelings.
Book Links: Amazon |

Meet the Author:

Bal Khabra is a Canadian writer and book lover. Before she decided to jump into the romance pool, she spent her time gushing about books on social media. When inspiration strikes, she is found filling her Notes app with ideas for romance novels. She loves reading about love, watching movies about love, and now, writing about it herself. There really isn’t much else that gets her heart fluttering the way HEAs do. She fell in love with writing and hopes to continue living out her romance author dreams.
Website |

18 Responses to “Spotlight & Giveaway: Collide by Bal Khabra”

  1. erahime

    I don’t have a fave one as of right now, but what I do enjoy about reading them is how the sports play a role in the story and the romance in any form, adding an extra vibe to the story.

  2. psu1493

    I don’t have a favorite sport romance novel, but I do enjoy learning more about sports that I am not familiar with.

  3. Nicky Ortiz

    I love sport romances but hockey more because I also enjoy watching it.
    Thanks for the chance!

  4. Crystal

    I don’t have a favorite yet but then I ‘m somewhat new to sports romance but would sure love to try this book because it really makes me want to read it

  5. Texas Book Lover

    I love the entire Off Campus and spin off series by Elle Kennedy as well as Sarina Bowen Briar Hockey and spin off series.

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