Stephanie Jones and Jean Hovey write contemporary romantic comedy together as Alicia Hunter Pace for Crimson Romance. They are the authors of the USA Today bestselling series Love Gone South, as well as the Beauford Bend and Crossroads series, which take place in the endearingly quirky Southern (fictional) small towns of Merritt, Alabama, and Beauford Bend, Tennessee. Now, they’re moving over to Nashville with the brand-new Nashville Sound hockey romance series featuring four blade-bending heroes and the fascinating women who fall in love with them.
We did not start out as hockey fans.
We grew up in the Southeastern Conference, where it’s all college football, all the time. We learned our Alabama Crimson Tide fan pride at our mothers’ knees. Roll Tide, Bear Bryant, sixteen nationals championships, and God Bless Nick Saban. There are some pro teams, sure. Atlanta. New Orleans. Nashville, and the rest of it. But very few care—not in the world of Go Big Orange, Hotty Totty, How ‘Bout Them Dawgs, and (always, always) Roll, Tide, Roll.
Hockey? You need ice for that. We don’t have any ice.
So how did we get there? Oddly, it was football that brought us to hockey—the Iron Bowl, to be exact. Those who ought to know say that the Thanksgiving weekend game between the University of Alabama and Auburn University is the biggest rivalry in college football. These days, it’s played on Saturday most years, but the last time it was played on Friday the State of Alabama recorded the lowest Black Friday revenue in history.
In 2013, Alabama was predicted to win. Everyone who ought to know said so, but it was the Iron Bowl where anything can happen. And it did. A field goal was missed, we went into sure overtime, and all we had to do was kickoff and stop the receiver. But it went bad, so bad. It was the kick heard around the world. “Kick Six, Miracle on the Plains.”
Kick Six became the darling of the media. And they played it over and over and over — not just ESPN, but Good Morning America, The Today Show, and every sports game we tried to watch. Who knew the NBA even cared about college football?
Jean swore off ESPN and all sports. She couldn’t take it. Unlike Jean, Stephanie could not swear off sports and found a better way: she learned that the NHL cared not for Kick Six.
Though it was totally unexpected, Stephanie fell absolutely in love with ice hockey and convinced Jean to give it a look too. It didn’t take long for us to become dedicated fans, and Jean and her husband even became billet parents for junior hockey players from September through April each year.
This led to our first hockey story, Nickolai’s Noel, released in December 2014, and Nickolai’s team, The Nashville Sound, was born. And, of course, Nickolai had teammates—lonely, in need of love, teammates. How could we turn our backs on them, especially since things had worked out so well for Nickolai and Noel?
So we bring you The Nashville Sound Series. We can’t wait for you to meet Emile, Bryant, Jarrett, Thor, and the women who capture their hearts.
The boys of Soundtown play hard, but love harder, crushing their opponents in the rink, but getting completely blindsided by love off the ice.
Goalie Emile just wants to be professional organizer Amy’s white knight, but can he accept that she’s not looking for a man to save her? Defenseman Bryant has been pals with Emile’s little sister Gabrielle for half a decade, but will he risk breaking the bro code when he starts to see her in a new light? Arrogant golden boy Jarret is determined to project the perfect image, but when he falls for free-spirited past Merry who’s embroiled in scandal, will he lay it all on the line for love? Team veteran Thor is at risk of being traded, but he’s got a baby on the way and some surprising new feelings rekindling with his ex, who just so happens to be the owner’s daughter. Can he stand his ground long enough for love to take root?
All these questions and more will be answered in our series, starting with Face Off: Emile, available now. Look for Slap Shot: Bryant (October 2017), High Stick: Jarret (February 2018), and Body Check: Thor (July 2018) coming up next. We bet you’ll fall in love with the men of the Nashville Sound just like we did.