In just over three weeks the first Venom book will be released! To say that I'm excited about the women of my fictional team hitting the ice would be an understatement. I am thrilled to be able to share these wonderful ladies with my readers. I hope that you enjoy each book. I know I ran a full range of emotions with Clean Sweep as I wrote it. Laughter and tears were my constant companions as Jane and Tore's book flowed onto the paper.
In this blog exclusive excerpt Coach Jane takes a ride over the river to check out her new team with Tore Ahlberg, her ex-husband. Make sure to add Clean Sweep to your Goodreads Want-To-Read shelf! I hope you enjoy the snippet.
Clean Sweep on Goodreads
Clean Sweep on Goodreads
A door attendant doffed his cap at us as we stepped out under the porte-cochѐre. Tore left me with the doorman, a jovial black man by the name of David Colby Jr., to fetch his car. When the silver Jeep Cherokee pulled up five minutes later, I jumped inside, wishing I had brought a thicker coat.
"Have a good day now, Jane," David said then closed my door soundly.
"He calls you Jane? After five minutes?" Tore asked his tone a wee bit possessive. I peeked through my lashes at the man as I buckled my seatbelt.
"I happen to be a people person, unlike you, who are happy to lounge in a corner sipping Aqua Velva, or whatever that stuff was you pulled out every Christmas."
"Akvavit." He gently corrected as he pulled out into morning traffic. "I could never keep up with your outgoing personality that much is true."
"No, you couldn`t." I turned my head to try to drink in the city that I would be calling home. It was all a big blur though. None of it sank in. My mind was spinning in reverse, taking me to a holiday season umpteen years in the past. One that involved Tore and I making love in front of a live fir covered with lights, bows, and little gingerbread men he and I had baked while we sipped akvavit from tulip-shaped glasses. When next I peeked at him, we were on I-95 headed for Trenton. He was intent on the road ahead of him, his shoulders tense, his jaw set, like a pilot trying to avoid a barrage of surface-to-air missiles. I felt a need to break the ice. But how?
"You don`t need to worry. I won't forget to stop to get you some new clothes. Those smell like wet dog."
Well there was a conversational opening if ever I heard one.
"Thanks." He threw me a fast look then returned to navigating the interstate. And there went that conversational opening. Shit balls. I cleared my throat. Let it never be said that a Bratkowski could not find something to converse about. "So you ever get remarried?"
Our eyes met over the console. The Jeep swerved a bit. Someone hit his or her horn. Tore turned his attention back to traffic.
"No. No, never."
"Once bitten, twice shy?" I asked with humor. The jest zoomed over his pale head.
"I thought about it once. She was a nice woman who dated me for over a year. Pretty and a decent cook. No zip though," he said with a toss of a shoulder into the air.
"What had no zip? Her food?" I asked, keenly interested to discuss the nice woman who had almost won over Tore.
"She had no zip. She was flat, lifeless…fireless."
"Oh." I looked straight ahead, suddenly acutely aware of myself, the slight stink of dog rising off me, and the slow creep of heat slithering up under the freckles on my cheeks. I chewed on my tongue, and several other things, until Tore took a right off I-95. We pulled into a chain store with lights just blinking to fluorescent life. I exited the Jeep like a thief. The store manager gave me a dour look as she unlocked the front doors. The entire five minutes it took me to pick out a skirt, blouse, and ugly old lady shoes, I thought about what Tore had said about the fireless nice woman. It took all the fortitude I possessed to walk across that empty parking lot after paying for my clothes. Bolstering my flagging courage, I yanked the door open. Tore was sipping on a hot beverage. One awaited me in the console. The interior of the Cherokee smelled like a Starbucks.
"Black, one heaping sugar." He nodded at my coffee. I tossed the bag into the back, closed the door, and then took a long sweet sip of starter fluid.
"Perfect." I sighed, my lashes fluttering with pleasure. He smiled. The dimple appeared. The coffee in my stomach gurgled. We found an exit then merged back into traffic. After emptying half my jumbo cup, I unsnapped my belt then climbed over the console into the back.
"What are you doing?" Tore asked over the pinging of the seatbelt alarm and the soft rock radio station.
"Getting changed," I said as I wiggled around. I glanced up to see his eyes in the rearview. "Pay attention to the road, Ahlberg."
"You're so prim of a sudden." He chuckled then looked from me to the cars in front of him. I kicked off my still damp sneakers, peeled off my shirt, then wriggled out of my jeans.
"God, who picked this shit out?" I muttered as I looked over the frumpy brown skirt and vivid yellow blouse. What the hell had I been thinking? I avoided yellow, red, and orange like the plague normally. See, this is what mooning over a man does for you. It makes you pick out gruesome clothes at a chain store. When I returned to the front, Tore gave me a fast once-over. Wisely, he clamped his mouth shut. "I know I look like something a cat regurgitated on the carpet. Thank you for not pointing it out."
"You're the prettiest cat puke I ever saw."
"You Swedes sure know how to sweet talk a lady." I smiled into my coffee. The rest of the trip to Jersey felt a trifle less constrictive. Maybe it was Seals & Croft playing on the radio. Or maybe it was the soft humming of the big man seated on my left? Hell, maybe it was the superlative coffee. It sure as hell wasn't this damned hideous blouse.