Cruising on Ice Palmer City Voltage Book 1
by Kerry Evelyn Genre: Sweet Friends-to-Lovers Hockey Romance
It’s true that hockey players break hearts.
Sometimes, it’s their own.
Taylor Ranford has three immediate goals: have a blast on her birthday cruise with her sister, help Team USA win the international cheerleading title, and earn enough money to put her through grad school. Not part of the plan: her sister getting sick and sending her best friend—and Taylor’s longtime crush—in her place. She can't face the only guy she’s ever had feelings for treating her like she's his little sister when she really wants so much more.
After a big blow to his career—and his ego—and with no immediate plans for the next season, Kingston Brewer jumps at the opportunity to go on a last-minute cruise with the bouncy-ponytailed cheerleading coach. Taylor had always been there when he needed her most, and he holds a soft spot for her in his heart. But after a few days on the ship, Kingston begins to see Taylor as more than just his best friend’s little sister.
Just when he thinks they can explore a future together, Kingston gets THE call from his agent. Now he has to make one of the most difficult choices in his personal and professional life. Will he give up the professional chance of a lifetime for a chance with the girl he’s fallen head-over-skates for?
Kingston grabbed my hand and spun us around so that he was skating backward. I reached for his other hand and grabbed it, spinning us again until he was pulling me at high speed. I squealed in delight as the people blurred in my peripheral.
He was grinning at me stupidly, and I’m sure I wore a similar expression. I couldn’t think of anything to say, so I just waggled my eyebrows at him. He spun us again and guided me into his arms, facing outward. His warm breath on my neck brought back the goosebumps and sent a shiver down my back. “I’ve got a birthday gift for you,” he whispered. “I was going to wait until dinner, but I don’t want to.” His hands dropped to my waist, and we glided to the gate. “Then I don’t want to wait.” I pressed my lips to his. We found a bench and changed back into our shoes. With a quick wave to the others, we left the recreation area and headed back to our room. “When did you have time to get me a gift?” I asked breathlessly as I tried to keep up with him. Where had he found this much energy after all the physical activity we’d exerted today? “I’m sneaky like that.” He flashed a grin and tugged me into the cabin, spinning me so that I was pressed against the door.
Kingston bent his head down, and I lifted to my toes to meet his lips. I closed my eyes, savoring every light, feathery brush of his kiss.
I looked past him and saw that the dresser was dotted in red rose petals. On a tray, a vase of red roses sat next to a champagne bottle chilled in an ice bin. A card leaned against the vase, and as I reached for it, Kingston scooped up the skinny, silver-wrapped rectangular box with a big red bow. “Happy birthday, Taylor.”
I took the box and sat on the bed, grinning stupidly. I was almost afraid to open it. I was sure it was jewelry, but I wasn’t sure what that meant. “Just open it. I hope you like it.”
I untied the bow and slid the satiny ribbon off the box. Carefully, I worked at the paper until it released from the box. I wasn’t normally a sentimental person, but a gut feeling told me I’d want to keep it as a memento. And the bow. And maybe a few dried roses, too.
I glanced up at him as I lifted the top of the box. He nodded, and I returned my attention to the gift. Inside, on a delicate chain, was a strip of silver tied into a bow. “Oh, wow. I love it. Thank you.”
He kissed me again and reached for the card. “I got this for you before we left. I should have gotten you another card.” “You’re the sweetest.” I opened the envelope. Inside was a year’s subscription for audiobooks. “This is perfect! Thank you!” Another kiss. I didn’t think I could ever get enough kisses from this guy.
He pulled away and looked at me seriously. “I don’t know how to do this, Taylor. I’ve never had a serious girlfriend. I . . . I want us to be serious. You want that, too, right?”
Kerry Evelyn is a native of the Massachusetts SouthCoast. She loves God, books of all kinds, traveling, taking selfies, sweet drinks, boy bands, and escaping into her imagination, where every child is happy and healthy, every house has a library, and her hubby wears coattails and a top hat 24/7.She is an instructor, mentor, and speaker, author of the Crane’s Cove series, small town romance set in Downeast Maine a Guest Author for the Cat's Paw Cove Romance world, and several short stories.
What are your favorite hockey teams?
My favorite teams are the Boston Bruins, Tampa Bay Lightning, and my hometown Orlando Solar Bears!
Do you have a favorite hockey player?
Don’t laugh, but my assistant asked that question recently, and I named off 15 players! Here they are, in ABC order by last name: Noel Acciari, Ray Bourque, Blake Coleman, Yanni Gourde, Wayne Gretzky, Spencer Knight, David Krejci, Nikita Kucherov, Pat Maroon, Cam Neely, Bobby Orr, David Pastrnak, Brayden Point, Luc Robitaille, and Tyler Seguin.
How did you choose your pen name?
My grandmother, Evelyn, was my best friend and greatest encourager. She died while I was writing my first book. Now our names are linked together on books, swag, social media; everywhere! I miss her so much.
Can you, for those who don't know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
I’ve been an avid reader since I borrowed Boy Crazy Stacy from my friend Kate in fourth grade! I’ve always been a writer; at three years old I wrote letters to my nana in heaven. By middle school, Zelda inspired me to draw my own fairyland maps and write stories about the characters who lived there. In high school, I wrote a children’s book and wrote for the school paper, and was co-editor for a year. I wrote feature articles for my college’s newspaper, and when I graduated, I wrote children’s stories for the kids in my elementary school classes. I was always the one to offer to write the newsletter in the groups I belonged to. But it wasn’t until 2015 I decided to give writing a novel a go. I always wanted to, but I lacked the skills and confidence to do it. When I was challenged to put on my big-girl pants and butt-kickin’ boots and do it already, I decided to take some classes and give it a try. Six years later, I’ve published eight novels and over a dozen short stories. I pinch myself daily.
What is something unique/quirky about you?
I put ketchup on my mac-n-cheese. I really love the tomatoey sweetness on melted cheddar. It’s not so weird, I think – lost of people put ketchup on cheeseburgers, haha!
Whatis your biggest pet peeve?
People who drive in the rain without their lights on. It’s the only way to see a white car in a snowstorm and a silver car in a steamy Florida summer deluge!
Where were you born/grew up at?
I grew up in Dartmouth, on the SouthCoast of Massachusetts. It’s a charming college town on Buzzards Bay, halfway between Providence Rhode Island Cape Cod. It’s got everything – farms, a state park, beautiful beaches, a mall, and Padanaram, a gorgeous historical village right on the water. Across the peninsula is Clark’s Cove and the city of New Bedford where I lived and taught elementary school for a couple years. The Covewalk, “floating” lighthouse, and coastal geography partially inspired my fictional town of Crane’s Cove.
If you knew you'd die tomorrow, how would you spend your last day?
If I was healthy, I’d take everyone I knew to Disney World and spend the day soaking in all the magic, until the last firework fizzled out. If I was bed-ridden, I’d want to be on a balcony overlooking the ocean, with my family and friends holding my hands and praying over me, and drift off to the peaceful sounds of the waves.
What kind of world ruler would you be?
I’m a Hufflepuff, so I’d need a second-in-command to keep me from ruling with my emotions, which would end in disaster.
hat do you do to unwind and relax?
I like to just sit. With a book, with a drink, with a person, with my laptop or notebook, etc. Just sit and enjoy the peace of being content.
How to find time to write as a parent?
Every year has been different! At first, I’d write while my kids were napping or after they went to bed. Then, while they were at school. Now I’m the study hall monitor at their school, and I get a lot of writing done while I’m watching the kids!
Describe yourself in 5 words or less!
Takes the road less traveled! I never do anything status quo. I felt Dumbledore’s words when he spoke about choosing what is right versus what is easy.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I’ve been writing my whole life. I had work published in high school publications and wrote for the school newspaper and became co-editor-in-chief my junior-senior year. I always thought I would go into journalism, but it was too heart-wrenching for me. I wrote feature articles for my college paper, and took a children’s writing course when I graduated. Teaching elementary school gave me a ton of opportunities to make up stories and curriculum, and for a while it was enough. In 2015, after being challenged at a conference, I decided to finally write that novel I’d always aspired to create.
Do you have a favorite movie?
Depends on the day! My top two are The Sound of Music and Gone with the Wind!
Which of your novels can you imagine made into a movie?
Oh, any of them! They’re all such feel-good stories. But I think Love on the Edge would do the best in the theaters. The added element of suspense combined with my characters’ emotional wounds and kickass determination to get the bag guy would translate awesomely to film!
What literary pilgrimages have you gone on?
Every place I travel to is a literary pilgrimage! If it’s not a place I’ve already written, I treat it as a future setting. I read all the things, visit all the things that interest me, and make note of everything I love about it for possible future reference.
As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
Definitely a swan! My grandmother, Evelyn loved swans. They’re beautiful, full of grace, and mate for life. Perfect for a romance novelist!
What inspired you to write this book?
I’ve always been a hockey fan. No Sweet 16 party for me – I dragged my friends to a hockey game! Several of the players were friends of mine, and I loved to watch them play. When I moved to Florida, I couldn’t find anyone to go to games with me. It was such a bummer! A couple years ago, I decided to write a short romance story, Love on the Ice, and during my research I discovered hockey romance was thing! I read a Kat Mizera book and was hooked! That story went on to become finalist in the Florida Writers Association’s Royal Palm Literary Awards and is my bestseller to date. It was time to make it into a series!
What can we expect from you in the future?
I read wide, and I write wide! This fall, look for How to Binge Write Your Novel from Writers’ Atelier Books and The Believer’s Journal for Everyday Faith from Orange Blossom Publishing. This holiday season I’ll release the next Palmer City Voltage Book, Christmas on Ice. A Voltage novella, Breaking the Ice, will be featured in the Late to Love, a Charity Anthology next February. All proceeds go to support my friend Teri, who helps run the Space Coast Book Lovers conference every summer, on her breast cancer journey. Twenty-five authors who know and love her are getting together for this one. You don’t want to miss it!
Do you have any “side stories” about the characters?
So many! My characters are constantly making appearances in others’ books!
Can you tell us a little bit about the characters inCruising on Ice?How did you come up with the concept and characters for the book?
My daughter has been asking me for years why I haven’t written a cheer story. We both love the sport, and Taylor has been in my head for a long time. As has Kingston—he was a side character in Love on the Ice, and I developed him completely when I wrote that story. I thought the two of them would be good together, as more than friends, and it was time to write their book. Since cheer comp season ends around the time of the hockey playoffs, I knew it would have to take place over the summer. The idea to put them on a cruise ship came to me when I was planning one of our family cruises. Their room has the layout our family had on the Disney Dream, and I pulled my favorite things from other ships, like the ice rink.
Where did you come up with the names in the story?
They just popped into my head! Poof! I rarely have trouble naming characters. They come to me with names and backstories all the time!
What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
Everything! It was so fun to bring these two characters to life on a cruise vacation! It made for some many romantic moments, and I also really love writing hockey scenes.
How did you come up with the title of your first novel?
It was originally On the Edge. My characters were dealing with PTSD and staying at resort called the Cliff Walk in Downeast, Maine. A main scene takes place near the edge of a cliff. I loved that “edge” represented many things in the story. However, that title didn’t hint at the genre. While at an industry conference in July 2017, I mentioned that to my favorite Regency author, Anabelle Bryant, and she suggested simply adding Love to the title. So, Love on the Edge it became!
Who designed your book covers?
Chris Kridler of SkyDiary Productions did my Palmer City Voltage covers. Aren’t they gorgeous?
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Nope! I love every word I wrote in Cruising on Ice! The freedom of publishing it myself come s with hiring an editing team that helps my vision come to life instead of trying to fit it to what’s trending in the market. Also, I love my ensemble cast! If I’d have pubbed it traditionally, I’m sure many of my side characters would have been cut.
Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
I learned how much I didn’t know about hockey! I had the sport down but the contracts and expansion draft minutia – yeeesh! Luckily, I have some superfan friends and dear friend in the Florida Panthers organization who helped me get it all right. My Panther guy was especially helpful with the epilogue scene logistics, and when I sent him the finished version, he loved it! it was an awesome moment for me
If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the leads?
Oh, gosh—great question! I’m not sure, but I’d definitely want actors who could skate and fly in cheer stunts!
Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Please leave a review! Reviews let authors know what you loved, what you didn’t, how to improve, if you identified with a character, and the impact it had on you. No need to summarize—we just want to know how it made you feel. The quantity of reviews helps us sell more books, and your words help us keep writing, even on the hardest days.
How did you come up with name of this book?
I wanted “ice” to be in the title to keep the branding consistent. The original title was Love Off the Ice to mirror the prequel Love on the Ice, but I changed it as I developed the series.
What is your favorite part of this book and why?
Oh gosh…so many favorite parts! The game show, where Kingston and Taylor feel that warm and fuzzy shift…their first kiss…the epilogue…yeah, definitely the epilogue!
If you could spend time with a character from your book whom would it be? And what would you do during that day?
I would love to have a VIP pass to the arena to watch Kingston play! I could sit with Taylor and the Wags (wives and girlfriends) and cheer my heart out!
Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?
Entirely from my own imagination! However, I did pull some traits and memories from hockey players and cheerleaders I’ve known over the years. I was a cheerleader in high school, and when our hockey team advanced to the state championship, we rode on the bus with them. I will never forget the stench riding home with that equipment! My daughter did all-star cheer for several years, and we spent a lot of time watching all the teams practice and perform. Two of her tumbling coaches were on the 2019 USA cheer team, and several cheered in college. They were amazing and inspirational. One of my friends makes cheer bows, and she was especially helpful with developing Taylor’s business.
Do your characters seem to hijack the story or do you feel like you have the reigns of the story?
Oh no—no matter how much I plot and plan, they do what they please, and I love being surprised!
Have you written any other books that are not published?
Just one! The first book I started back in 2015 was a World War 2 historical. I entered it into a contest and scored super high, but I got stuck on a few plot points that weren’t realistic. I do plan to go back to it someday, when the time is right.
If your book had a candle, what scent would it be?
Ocean Breeze! But I also have a very cool set of wax melts called Fresh Ice that smells like a rink!
What did you edit out of this book?
A lot of backstory and description! If you have any questions about anything, blame my editors for making me cut it! Haha, just kidding! Without them, the pacing of the book would have been much slower. I love how they guide me in the sculpting and polishing of my stories!
Is there a writer which brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
I would love to chat with Lucy Maud Montgomery, the author of Anne of Green Gables. She made a living as a writer a century ago, and wrote what she referred to as “bread and butter” stories to pay the bills. I can’t seem to find the discipline to write anything I’m not excited about, and would love to know how she did it, and did it so well.
How long have you been writing?
All my life! I started writing novels in October of 2015. I was challenged to write and finish a book. I didn’t finish that first one, but the second one, Love on the Edge published in December 2017, and I haven’t stopped since!
Do you read yourself and if so what is your favorite genre?
I do! I read pretty much everything except horror and erotica. I also write widely—my imagination is all over the place, and I keep the stories fresh and interesting by writing them differently. But almost all of my books connect to each other.
Advice you would give new authors?
Read dozens of books in the genre you want to write so you can get a feel for the structure and nuances. Readers have expectations, and if your romance doesn’t have a happily-every-after, or you kill off a pet or child, or you miss certain story beats, it’s going to feel off to the reader. We are wired for story, and the brain science of it is fascinating. I recommend Story Genius by Lisa Cron. She breaks it down and explains it. So fascinating!
Join a professional writer’s group. Plug into a writing community, preferably in your genre, and learn from people who are at the various stages you will be hitting on your way to your goals.
Take a LOT of writing classes. Books are great, but you need live instruction and critical feedback from people who know what they’re doing. Ask questions, be brave and share your work for feedback—you’ll learn a lot!
Attend reader and writer conferences. Meet people, network, and spend time with the authors who are where you want to be.
NEVER ask for free advice or to pick someone’s brain, UNLESS you have already established a friendship. Our time and hard-earned knowledge is valuable. We want to give back, but we’re selective because we repeat the same things over and over and only a fraction of prospective authors ever listen. Most authors charge consulting fees. Ask about that. I suggest reading one of the author’s books before starting a conversation, unless you want to hire the author, then just book and appointment.
Have thick skin. Don’t take criticism personally. We all start out as immature writes, and we get better with time.
Remember, not everyone is your audience. The trick is to find the right audience for your story. When you do, magic happens, and the love fest begins (from both sides)!
What are common traps for aspiring writers?
Reading too many how-to books. Every writer’s process is different. I suggest experimenting with processes that interest you on short stories. Then, when you find a groove, write a longer story. The short, if it relates to the novel, can be used as a reader magnet to build your newsletter list prior to your book’s publication. Then, you’ll have hundreds or thousands of potential buyers on release day!
What is your writing Kryptonite?
Big revisions! If I have to delete or move something I am attached to, I put if off as long as I can.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Start sooner and save EVERYTHING! Do not quit that writing class before the last assignment just because you’re moving out of state. Push though and FINISH. And don’t wait 13 years to get back to it!
What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from other genders?
Writing guys can be hard. I have to put myself in their heads – and that can be a scary place, haha!!
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
Depending on the length, 2-3 months for the first draft. Then 2-3 more months of critique partners, beta readers and editors before it’s ready to be published.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
Yes, and no. I do get stuck. The fix is knowing your characters. If you know what’s going to harm them or trip them up, send that thing their way. They’ll keep busy for awhile trying to work it out!
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Win a hockey-themed swag bundle with a $25 Amazon gift card!
$25 Amazon gift card, cheer bow, sea-themed journal, Sea World shell ornament, bottle of seashells, anchor-shaped soap, mermaid magnet, Seaworld playing cards, Dream Big ornament, Orlando Solar Bears towel, Happy Planner notebook, desk hockey game, Bolts trading card, Take a Shot! glass, Palmer City Voltage puck and magnet, NHL Fresh Ice wax melts, and an I Love Hockey sticker.