Monday, November 15, 2021


Welcome back to Notes From a Romantic’s Heart. Today it gives me great pleasure to welcome back for a second time this week, friend and fellow author, Lucinda Race. We’re about to get a sneak peek at her brand new release, Holly Berries & Hockey Pucks, part of Dickens Holiday Romance Series!

Hockey, holidays, and a slap shot to the heart

Jillian Morgan is a single mom and flower shop owner. She once had a promising career as a women’s hockey player. But life gave her a slap shot to the heart; she left the ice and now has a precocious six-year-old daughter who loves hockey as much as she did. Jillian’s focus is her daughter and the busy upcoming holiday season in the small town of Dickens. Then a newcomer stops in for flowers. He might be good-looking—no, great looking—but Jillian doesn’t need a complication of the male variety.

Brett Parsons hasn’t held a hockey stick in ten years, not since an injury ended his dreams of being an NHL star. He’s moved to Dickens to help his newly widowed mother. With a recently broken engagement, he doesn’t have any interest in dating. But he might make an exception for the pretty blue-eyed florist.

Brett’s delighted when he takes a job coaching the local youth hockey group and finds Jillian’s daughter on his team. Jillian’s not the average hockey mom, and Brett’s looking forward to discovering her secrets. Despite the attraction, Jillian’s wary. It’s easier to stay single than to have her heart broken again. But both of them know life rarely turns out as planned. In a town that cherishes Christmas, hockey pucks and holly berries might just lead to kisses under the mistletoe.

Get Holly Berry & Hockey Pucks at Your Favorite Retailer

The minute Brett scanned the room, his eyes found the beautiful florist. Standing next to her was a cute curly-headed girl. He wouldn’t have guessed he would have found her in a hockey rink. Maybe there wasn’t much else to do for the winter months, or maybe the little girl’s mom was a hockey fan. He gave her a smile, which she returned.

Coach Richards gave a welcoming speech and with a chuckle, said, “If anyone is looking for the basketball courts, they’re on the opposite side of the parking lot.”

A ripple of laughter slid from one side of the room to the other.

“We’re going to divide into several groups by age. Seven- and eight-year-olds, line up under the purple banner. Next group, ages nine through twelve, under the red banner, and anyone who is six and under, gather near the blue Mites banner. Coach Parsons will meet you there.”

Brett walked over to Jillian and the little girl.

“Hello. It’s nice to see you again.”

She placed her hands on her daughter’s shoulders. “This is my daughter, Melanie.”

He knelt down to look her in the eyes. “Nice to meet you. I’m Coach Parsons. Are you signing up to play?”

“Uh-huh. I got all my gear too.” She tipped her head. “Can girls play on your team?”

“Sure can.” He looked at Jillian, who smiled at him, and then back at Melanie. “Can you skate?”

“Yup. Momma says I’m like the wind.”

“That will help on the ice.” He had to chuckle to himself. Jillian was already looking to be a good hockey mom. She was prepared and warmly dressed for sitting on the sidelines.

Coach Richards stood in front of the group. “Hello, parents and players. I’d like to introduce Coach Parsons. He’s new in town, so be nice to him. I’m asking him to kick things off for us today.”

Brett addressed the group. “Hello, everyone. For those of you who’ve not been here before, always check the board when you come in to see which locker room you’re assigned to. Everyone needs to be in full gear, including mouth and neck guards, or I can’t let you on the ice. Today we’ll see how everyone skates, but we won’t be using our sticks. So get your gear on and I’ll see you on the ice.”

Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Melanie grab her bag strap and grin at her mom. He already was impressed with the girl; she was independent, but would that translate to a good team player long term? With a shriek of his whistle, the group moved to the door. Jillian held Melanie back to let some kids go ahead of her. Was she nervous to have her daughter on the ice?

They stopped near him and Brett said, “Are you ready to have some fun?”

She flashed him a grateful smile and tipped her head toward Melanie. “Someone’s a little nervous.”

“Understandable. I’m guessing this is your first year.”

Melanie shook her head. “No, I play with Momma at the pond.”

“Well, hopefully I can teach you something too.” H He directed them to the far side of the locker room, where he helped Melanie set her bag on the bench. He couldn’t help but notice Jillian glance at the ice as they walked to the locker room. Her face almost looked wistful. He took a quick look around and wondered where this bright-eyed little girl’s dad was sitting.

He noticed Melanie’s gear bag. It looked brand new, which Brett knew was an expensive outlay. If the rest of her equipment was new, he’d have to suggest to Jillian to network with other parents for used equipment. Kids grew so fast that it made sense to pass things along to the up-and-comers and next time, she wouldn’t have such a huge cash outlay.

A while later, he was surprised to see Melanie easily gliding over the ice and Jillian clapping her hands, encouraging her to turn and pick up speed. There was more to this hockey mom than he knew and he was going to enjoy discovering her secrets.

I’m a small-town girl who has always loved books, well I should say anything sandwiched between two covers. As a kid, I would read anything I could get my hands on, including my brothers Hardy Boys mystery books and my mother’s Good Housekeeping magazine.

My husband and I live in a small town in western Massachusetts with our two little fur babies, Jasper and Griffin. When I’m not working my day job I steal every free moment I can for writing romance. It smooths out the rough edges of the world when I can escape into my characters’ lives and write their happily ever after.

I've published 11, and counting, books with a strong focus on women's fiction and romance. But I’ve written non-fiction for a non-profit and corporate America. I can assure you, romance is so much more fun and rewarding!

I am excited for the next chapter with my writing. I hope you enjoy reading the novels as much as I enjoy writing them. If you become a fan, please consider following me on social media.

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Take my word for it, there's nothing better than spending two straight days with a good friend and talented writer. If you missed yesterday's post for Lucinda's new release, Vintage (part of her Crescent Lakes Winery Series), just scroll on down the page and take a peek.

See you soon! Hopefully.


  1. Another wonderful Christmas romance set in Dickens. YAY!

  2. this just sounds so wonderful! What a great addition to the Dickens books!

  3. Love these Dickens Christmas stories.

  4. I love both hockey and Christmas, so this is wooing me on several fronts! Thanks for sharing, Nancy! And best wishes for HOLLY BERRIES AND HOCKEY PUCKS, Lucinda!