Calling the Shots

Two Minutes for Roughing!     (October 2010)

Bryan James knows everything about hockey. That’s a passion he and his daughter Allie share. What he doesn’t know is how to be a single father. And the way he’s scrambling to hold his thirteen-year-old’s world—and his—together kind of proves that.

So does the fact they’re in community mediation after Allie’s run-in with another player on her own team! There’s probably some valuable learning in this for Bryan, but he’s too distracted by the other player’s mom, Clare Sampson. She’s smart and beautiful...and outraged at what’s happened. Worse, she wants nothing to do with his beloved sport, his amazing daughter...or him! Luckily he’s been in this game long enough to know there’s always another play to get you what you want.

Excerpt: Calling the Shots

Bryan was beyond late. He’d missed Allie’s entire practice. He just hoped she was still at the rink. He’d texted her that he was going to be late, but she hadn’t replied.
Not good.
So not good. People weren’t almost an hour late to pick their thirteen-year-old kids up from hockey. At least not people who were good at being parents.

Click to read a longer excerpt.

Top Ten Six Facts

  1. Calling the Shots has a lot of hockey in it. The first hockey game I ever saw live was the Binghamton Dusters at the Broome County Arena. In Seattle, I went to see the Thunderbirds a few times. Then I moved to Ithaca, went to a Cornell hockey game, and I fell in love. College hockey is a great big ball of fun.

  2. This book is dedicated to my brother. The dedication mentions his first coaching experience as a stand-in for my sister's basketball team and the fact that he led them to their only "almost win" of the season. It does not mention the bench clearing brawl that took place during that game. You heard it here first.

  3. In the book, Tim wears a horrid smelling "body spray." The teenager who lives in my house owns such a spray. When I took him and his brother on a road trip, he put on six or seven gallons more than necessary and I had to complete the trip with all of the windows down. The only good thing about the experience was that I got a funny scene for my book.

  4. The powers that be originally wanted to title the book What the Children Know. (!!??!!) When I saw that, I had an immediate Children of the Corn association. My critique partner thought it sounded as if the kids were watching while the parents...you know. Thank all the stars looking over my fledgling career that we went back to the drawing board.

  5. Calling the Shots is not the first hockey book published by Harlequin. In 1951, Don MacMillan wrote Rink Rat. The heroine is named Claire. What a weird coincidence that we'd choose the same name.

  6. The back cover of Rink Rat reads, "Against the backdrop of the fastest game on earth is laid an ADULT story..." Those caps are printed right on the cover. I think it is 50s code for s-e-x.

Deleted Scene: Calling the Shots

The penalty box was cold and small and whoever put the metal bench in there had a sick sense of humor. That was her first impression, anyway. Bryan gave her a thumb’s up from the scorekeeper’s booth on the other side of the glass wall and she shook her head, scowling. How exactly had she let him talk her into doing this?

Click to read entire scene.

Photos and Inspiration

I grew up in a basketball town, but my new home is a 100% hockey town. Ithaca lives and breathes Cornell hockey and lots of little kids spend their winters playing the game. Switching allegiances from basketball to hockey wasn't hard once I figured out a few of the basic rules and got over worrying that my son would knock all his teeth out on the ice. Here are a few hockey photos to help you imagine what Clare sees when she sends her son to the rink.