The Winter Olympics are months away, but you can take a trip to the Olympics early with Cassandra Carr’s See the Light. In the story we meet Jason Monroe, a New Jersey Devils defensemen and part of Team USA, and Patrick Parker, a coach and advisor to the USA’s Olympic team.
From the opening page of the book, Jason and Patrick eye each other—a lot. Neither is out, at least not publically, neither thinks it’s safe. For Patrick, at age 37, he’s been retired from active play for years due to an injury and is now in the coaching role. Jason, 22, is an rising NHL player but has carried the secret that he’s gay for most of his playing career.
Carr expertly builds the sexual tension between these two. The two meet at the opening of hockey camp for the Olympic team. Jason initially has just a sexual attraction to Patrick. Although he figures nothing can happen there since he knows Patrick is straight. As Jason tries to go the safe route and keep Patrick from distracting him, Patrick gets more intrigued by the younger player while trying to find out what he’s done to make Jason be so unwaveringly professional.
Everything comes to the surface when they end up staying at the same hotel during camp and the two end up talking about their attraction until they get to the verge of ripping each other’s clothes off… before Patrick freaks out and bolts from the room. From there the two start the courting dance—going between trying to figure what their relationship is and having mind blowing sex as they push each other to explore what turns them on. The push and pull between these alpha males is exquisite. And, not only does Carr write great scenes for the men, she also writes their internal dialogue perfectly to give the reader the details on what their feeling and not saying.
See the Light is a page turner well before the finale because of how invested you get in the characters. It kicks into overdrive as Team USA arrives in Geneva for the Olympics. It’s here that decisions are made about Jason and Patrick’s future and what exactly they’ve built over the previous months. Significant twists and turns happen that I won’t spoil here… you’ll just have to pick it up and read for your self.
After the jump, I chat with Cassandra about the book and her love of hockey…
An Interview with Cassandra Carr:
Cassandra Carr is upfront in her bio that she’s a major hockey fan. Her father helped build that fandom. “We used to go to games together when I was living in Binghamton, New York, which is where I’m from,” Carr says. “They had different AHL teams through the years and we used to attend them when we could. He’s also the one I talk to the most about hockey. That isn’t to say my mom isn’t knowledgeable – she is, but my dad and I tend to gravitate toward hockey in everyday discussion.”
Coming from upstate New York, it’s not surprising that it’s the Sabres she roots for. “When I moved to Western New York in January 1994 I became a Sabres fan and remain a diehard one to this day. And, yes, it’s not easy or fun right now, but I believe in them.
As far as my favorite player, Sabres management broke my heart when they traded the captain, Jason Pominville, to the Wild. Pominville had been my favorite player since his very first call-up from Rochester [Pominville made his first Sabres appearance in 2003 and he was traded in April 2013]. I am now in the market for a new favorite Sabre, and at the moment Marcus Foligno’s ahead by a nose.”
While See the Light is Carr’s first gay romance featuring hockey players, she does have several other male/female hockey-themed books to her credit. Of note are her the three books in the Buffalo Intimidators series. One of the books in that series, Cold as Ice, won Best Book of 2012 in the Menage and More category of the Best Books of 2012 Awards from The Romance Reviews. So, as you can see, she is well versed in writing hockey romance.
For See the Light, Carr looked for a different spin on a May/December romance with the young player and the older advisor/coach. “I try to put a couple of obstacles in the path to any relationship, but there are so many things that have been done time and time again,” she says. “I hate to be predictable so I at least try to put a different spin on things. Not that May/December isn’t popular, but having them at different ends of a particular career made for unique plot points.”
She’s also passionate about the You Can Play project, which comes through loud and clear in the book. “They’re doing tremendous work. I think YCP (plus some other factors like athletes in other sports coming out) will mean we’ll have an out player in the NHL within a year. Or at least I hope so.
“The passive homophobia that still exists, not only in professional sports, but in life, has to end for gay men and women to feel comfortable enough to come out,” Carr continues. “I was interested when I saw a Tweet from Paul Bissonette of the Coyotes recently. Someone asked him what he was doing that night and threw either fag or homo in. Paul answered him, and then told him he was blocked for using that word. I really think if an NHL player came out it would be okay. After all, NHL players were the first ones to support the You Can Play project and it’s a little more near and dear to them because of Brian Burke’s involvement.”
There is a possible sequel to See the Light in the future. Carr says she’s done about 17,000 words on it so far. “I don’t want to say too much about the next book, but I think readers will be surprised by some things.” One way to help her finish the book, pick up a copy of See the Light and let her know you enjoyed it!
A Moment of Shameless Self Promotion…
Hat Trick, my debut young adult novel, publishes from Queerteen Press in September! It’s a hockey love story set in high school. Here’s the scoop on what it’s about:
“Simon Roberts’ plan for his senior year is simple — help his high school hockey team win the state championship and earn a college scholarship so he can get away from his dysfunctional family, especially his belligerent father and obnoxious older brother.
“When the Central High Falcons open their season with an away game, Simon is forced to deal with the problem he’s struggled with for months–his crush on teammate Alex Miller. After the game that night, Alex makes an unexpected announcement–he’s gay, and in love with Simon.
“Simon’s elated but scared to openly acknowledge that he’s gay, especially with so much at stake in their senior year. Now that they’re out to each other they have to decide what to do next. Should they date? Should they keep things between them secret? What about the team? Can Simon and Alex hide that they’re more than friends from the guys they spend so much time with?
“Then a simple kiss is witnessed and their secret is out. The team fractures, and Simon’s family explodes as news about the gay hockey players quickly spreads. The guys must figure out how to move forward with everyone watching. Being the center of attention was in no way part of Simon’s plan for the year.
“Can Simon juggle school, commitments to the team, his new relationship, and an unexpected tragedy all before the end of the hockey season?”
I hope you’ll pick up a copy when it comes out next month!