I'm so excited to share Breakout with you. This book holds a special place in my heart for multiple reasons.
In late 2011, I convinced my husband to get married in Gretna Green, Scotland, home of the runaway weddings featured in the Regency romances I loved so much. I planned it perfectly. Ceremony in the original marriage room at the Blacksmith’s Shop, and a three-week honeymoon through Europe. Funny things happen when you think you’ve planned things perfectly…they’re never perfect.
In early May 2012, one week before we left to go overseas, my friends threw me a bachelorette party. You know those nights when you just want to drink your face off and dance like a crazy lady? Yep, that’s what I did. Until my knee gave out on the dance floor. I’d had the same injury in college, dancing the night away in a London club during my semester abroad, so I knew exactly what had happened. Unfortunately there was no hot guy to catch me this time, so I landed on my ass.
And the line that Penny said about taking three shots because she went to college…yep, I said it. Still not sure why, but it made sense at the time, well, as much sense as anything can make when you’re wearing a veil in a bar.
I did pick myself back up and hobble over to the bar, requesting another martini to numb the pain and a cup of ice to reduce the swelling. I tossed back that martini and urged my friends to keep dancing. Didn’t want to call it a night just yet. That was the booze talking. I should also mention that this was the first time that John's cousins and sisters had ever seen me drink...after almost 10 years together. Go big, or go home, right?!
A week later, after daily physical therapy sessions, the swelling had slightly reduced and I was down to just one crutch, so I pulled on my compression sock for the plane ride and John and I headed to Scotland. That perfectly planned wedding was still on, even if I’d end up hobbling down the aisle instead of walking gracefully.
I did leave that crutch in the honeymoon suite, for future injured brides. I like to pay it forward.
We survived the wedding and started our honeymoon, traveling through France and Italy, until an earthquake struck outside of Siena while we were on a train headed to Florence, and we ended up stuck on the tracks for a few hours, across from another American who was kayaking through Italy with friends.
Yes, you thought that was crazy, didn't you? Who would kayak through Italy? Well, it happens. You never know what you’re going to hear when you strike up a conversation with a stranger.
After we made it to Siena, we spent the rest of our honeymoon wine tasting and walking through museums slowly. At the time, I had not plans to turn my injury-filled adventures into a book. Had I know, I probably would have asked the kayaker more questions.
But a year later, on the anniversary of that ill-fated bachelorette party, I wrote a Facebook post:
A year ago today, I was getting ready for my bachelorette party. Little did I know that by the end of the night I would have a dislocated kneecap from too much dancing—and too many cocktails—and that I would end up having to take crutches with me on my honeymoon. I learned many valuable lessons that night: never wear a veil in a bar, never take three shots in a row just “because you went to college,” and if you do find yourself flying overseas, crutches gets you through border control super-fast! Ahh memories!
I altered that last lesson in the book, but it's just as accurate!
It was off the cuff. Just a funny post that I never expected would go anywhere, but my friend, Penny Watson, told me that this was the start of my contemporary romance. Pretty sure I told her to shut up because I wrote historicals. And how would I even turn this into a contemporary romance. I’d gotten married. No drama—aside from the knee.
But the next day, I sat down with a notepad, and jotted down a few ideas. This wasn't going to be a retelling of what actually happened on my honeymoon. Sorry kids, this isn't a tell-all! It's fiction, pure and simple. Now I had to figure out what happened with my heroine. Why would she still go to her bachelorette party if she was no longer getting married? And did I really want to leave the world of dukes and duchesses and ballroom dancing?
But I love Penny and Ethan, and the characters that have popped up along the way. And I no longer have to deal with those pesky chaperones that kill the mood.
And now I get to write about hot hockey players. Lumberjacks on skates. Seriously, if you haven’t looked up a few of these guys by now, what are you waiting for? I recommend Patrice Bergeron, Kris Letang, Tyler Seguin, and Jamie Benn to start. And join the Sin Bin Facebook group. The best place to satisfy your love for hockey and hockey romance.
I do hope you enjoy Penny and Ethan’s story. And the San Francisco Strikers that follow. Don't worry, a few Lanzi's might make an appearance in future books.
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