I am thrilled to invite the beautiful Bianca Sommerland today! She's here to answer some of my wackiest questions, and to talk about her new novel in her exciting Dartmouth Cobras series...
--What's the first thing you think about when you wake up?
--Do you believe in karma?
--If you could time travel to any point in history, what would it be?When Cleopatra was alive. I'm fascinated by her!
--Who's your biggest celebrity crush?
--If we were to open your junk closet right now, what would we find?
--Aliens or zombies? Zombies!
--Broccoli or cauliflower?
Hmm. I like both, but probably cauliflower because I have broccoli all the time!
--Cake or pie?
Pie. Pumpkin pie with vanilla ice cream! Please!
--Missionary or doggie style?
Goodness!! On that note, how about a little bio before we get to your very yummy book excerpt?
Tell you about me? Hmm, well there's not much to say. I love hockey and cars and my kids…not in that order of course! Lol! When I'm not writing—which isn't often—I'm usually watching a game or a car show while working on promo. Going out with my kids is my only down time. I get to clear my head and forget everything.
As for when and why I first started writing, I guess I thought I'd get extra cookies if I was quiet for awhile—that's how young I was. I used to bring my grandmother barely legible pages filled with tales of evil unicorns. She told me then that I would be a famous author.
I hope one day to prove her right.
And now for an excerpt from you brand-new release, OFFSIDE!
"When it came time for presents, he took Becky aside, speaking quietly as he pulled an envelope out of the back pocket of his jeans. "I meant to ask you earlier—I figured I should before I give it to her. With how passionate she is about hockey, I thought she might like to join a minor novice team. I got a gift certificate to cover the equipment and paid the registration . . . it can all be refunded if you don’t like the idea, though, so don’t worry about—"
"Oh, Zach, it’s too much!" Becky took a deep breath, staring at the envelope as though he’d just signed over a million dollar check. She covered her mouth with a hand. "I know how expensive it is—I looked into it last year when she asked to join."
In other words, you shouldn’t have. Seriously. Idiot. He kept his smile in place.
"I can get her something—"
"I could strangle you and Scott. No, you don’t have to get her something else." Becky folded her arms over her breasts, giving him a stern look. "Yes, my pride is grumbling because I couldn’t afford to do this for her, but I won’t let it deny her the opportunity."
"All right." Zach frowned at the envelope. Would a six-year-old really understand a gift like this? Maybe he should have gotten some equipment to go along with the papers, but he’d thought she’d want to pick it out with her mother. He handed the envelope to Becky. "This doesn’t fit with everything else she’s gotten, so—"
"Oh yes, it does." Becky snickered as Casey unwrapped an Under Armour shirt and leggings. The little girl looked confused for a bit, but when Chicklet explained what it was for, she got excited and decided she needed to try it on right away. Becky stopped her daughter from stripping right there. "Poupée, not here. Unwrap the rest of your gifts, and then I’ll help you try them on upstairs."
"Sorry, Maman." Casey giggled, then tore into her next gift. Hockey books from Carter and Ramos. She gave Ramos pretty eyes, scooting up next to him on the sofa as she asked him to read Z is for Zamboni to her. At Becky’s shrug, Ramos cleared his throat, and the other children all sat on the floor around him.
with Silver tucked to his side, then exchanged a look with Becky as Richter shook his head and loosened his tie as though it was suddenly strangling him. The way Jami was staring at Ramos—Zach glanced over to where Richter stepped in with Silver tucked to his side, then exchanged a look with Becky as Richter shook his head and loosened his tie as though it was suddenly strangling him.
Scott sidled up to Zach’s other side, nudging him with an elbow. "I think boss man’s going to be a grandpa soon."
"I think you’re right," Becky said, jutting her chin toward Carter, who was standing at the other side of the room, cooing to Amia who he’d temporarily gotten Landon to hand over. "One way or another."
"You’re going to be the next Karen Koch. Yes, you are. You are." Carter didn’t seem to notice there was anyone else in the room. And only Vanek seemed likely to tease him about the baby talk.
Vanek’s lips barely parted when Chicklet leaned close to him, a smile on her lips, but her eyes hard enough to crack cement. A few quiet words from her and it didn’t look like Vanek would open his mouth again during the party.
When Ramos finished reading, Casey grabbed her next gift. New skates from Landon and Richter. Becky moved forward to stop her from stuffing her feet in them. Had her open the next few gifts, leaving Zach’s and the largest one for last.
"This is from Scott," Becky said as Casey knelt in front of the huge present.
Casey swallowed, opening the gift slowly, peeling off each piece of tape as though to prolong the reveal. The chatter around the room quieted as Casey let out a loud gasp. Her eyes were bright as she ran her hand over the wood. Stared at the unicorns on the top. Opened it and peered inside.
"Oh, Mr. Demyan! All my babies have a home now!" She jumped up and launched herself at Scott. "You are the bestest!"
Surprisingly, Scott didn’t look uncomfortable with Casey hugging him. He crouched down, hugged her back, and flicked one of her ribbon-tied pigtails.
"I’m glad you like it, pipsqueak. But it’s either Scott or just Demyan if you want to call me what all the other guys do."
"Demyan, then," Casey said after careful consideration. "That’s what I yell when you miss an easy shot."
The men and Chicklet burst out laughing. Becky let out a surprised "Casey!" in her mom voice. Scott snorted, then picked Casey up to sit on his shoulders. He grinned up at her. "I’ll keep that in mind next time I’m on the ice. I wouldn’t want you to be disappointed in me."
"Besides Uncle Landon, you’re the best player in the league." Casey giggled at the chorus of "Hey!" from the other men. "You’re all a close third."
"All right, last present. This is from Zach." Becky handed the envelope up to Casey. "Then we’ll have some party games."
Casey clutched the envelope, then glanced over at the small pile of equipment by the sofa. Her lips parted, but she quickly pressed them shut and went to work on opening the envelope. She blinked at the papers after pulling them out, sounding out the words slowly since she often had trouble reading out loud. "Minor no . . . vice. Hockey . . . hockey team?" She seemed confused at first. Then her mouth formed a wide O. "Really? Really, truly I can, Mommy?"
"Yes, Casey," Becky said, beaming up at Zach in a way that made him feel like the king of the freakin’ world. Like he’d just offered her daughter the moon and the stars. His chest swelled, and he laughed as Casey shook her head like she still couldn’t believe it.
"Arrête ton char, maman! Vraiment?"
Landon choked back a laugh from across the room. "Casey, that’s rude. Your mother wouldn’t bluff about something like this."
Wiggling until Scott put her down, Casey came over to Zach. She was much more hesitant with him than she’d been with Scott, but something about her tone squeezed his heart. "Thank you, Zach. I love all my presents, but . . . this is something I’ve wanted for so long."
"You’re very welcome, sweetie." Zach bent down as she held her arms open, biting his bottom lip as she looped her arms around his neck and gave him butterfly kisses.
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