Home Ice

By: Catherine Gayle

For Heather, Kaelyn, Lexi, and Killian. And for Christi, Rory, Reagan, and Riley.

Thank you to my friend Christi Caldwell for pointing me in the right direction when it comes to all things related to raising a child with Down syndrome.

There’s only one person Portland Storm head coach Mattias Bergstrom allows to see his soft side: his sister, who was born with Down syndrome. She lives in Sweden, so he doesn’t worry he’ll accidentally reveal other than the hard-assed defenseman-turned-coach his players know. At least not until his sister’s doppelganger leaps for one of his young D-men before the team’s charity skills competition and melts Mattias’s frozen heart.

Paige Calhoun has her hands full with four exceedingly boy-crazy, hockey-loving daughters—three teens and a pre-teen with Down syndrome. Everyday life is a challenge. Taking all four girls to the StormSkillz event with no assistance? The magnitude of her task was daunting enough before her youngest spotted the hockey player of her dreams and barreled through the crowd to claim him.

The team’s sexy-as-sin coach intervenes, and Paige feels just as boy crazy as her daughters. Charmed by the youngest, he decides to give the girls a weekend they’ll never forget. It never crossed his mind that, in doing so, he might end up giving himself an unexpected happy ever after with Paige.

When it comes to hockey, Mattias has a Home Ice advantage. But when it comes to life? He likes the look of Paige’s arena.

HOME ICE is Book 7.5, a novella in the Portland Storm hockey romance series written by USA Today bestselling author Catherine Gayle. If you enjoy it, look for the other books in the series.












There are also currently two boxed sets of books within the series, if you would prefer to purchase them in that way.

PORTLAND STORM: THE FIRST PERIOD (Contains Breakaway, On the Fly, Taking a Shot, and Light the Lamp)

PORTLAND STORM: THE SECOND PERIOD (Contains Delay of Game, Double Major, In the Zone, Holiday Hat Trick, and Comeback)

LOSING AN EDGE will release on February 18, 2016. Also, join Catherine’s mailing list to receive ICE BREAKER, a Portland Storm short story prequel that you can’t get anywhere else.

Want to join in the Portland Storm discussion? Join the Facebook reader group.

If you enjoy this book and want to try more of the same, be sure to look for the spinoff series, the Tulsa Thunderbirds. Book 1, BURY THE HATCHET, is available now. Look for Book 2, SMOKE SIGNALS, on October 22, 2015, and Book 3, GHOST DANCE, on May 5, 2016. The T-Birds also have a reader group on Facebook.

“OH MY GOD.” My eldest daughter, Zoe, stopped dead in her tracks, her face completely pale as though she’d just seen a ghost.

Her sudden halt caused a pileup of my girls, all screeching to a standstill right beside her. The huge crowd surrounding us in the concourse at the Moda Center—all here for the Portland Storm’s StormSkillz Competition, the same as we were—nearly ran our little group over in their quest to get food and drinks and get to their seats for the day of family fun.

Clueless as to what led my girls to cause a traffic jam, I took a cursory look around, but all I could see was the ocean of purple and silver jerseys jockeying for position. Nothing stood out as being anything that should cause that kind of reaction in my sixteen-year-old daughter. “What?” I asked, since I didn’t have the first inkling what was going on.

Zoe looked like she might have stopped breathing.

Her younger sisters had figured it out, though. Evie, my fifteen-year-old, clutched her older sister’s hand and let out a squeal, her face turning twenty-seven shades of pink and red with excitement. “It’s Levi Babcock! Right there.”

Well, that explained it. My girls were seriously boy crazy—all four of them—and Levi Babcock was their obsession du jour. Zoe was even wearing a Storm jersey that had “Future Mrs.” as the name and 501 as the number. Apparently, everyone called him 501 because of his name and the jeans, or something like that. I had a hard time keeping up with all the preoccupations kids talked about these days. There was just too much on my plate.

I spun around, and that was when I found him—tall, broad, dark-haired, wearing a designer suit. A few other men in suits were around him, which made them stand out among the jersey-clad fans filling up the building. They were probably all players, or at least involved with the team in some way. Why else would they be in suits? My girls didn’t have eyes for any of them but Levi, though. In recent years, I had come to learn that female teens had a certain type of hormone that produced single-minded determination in a way that I didn’t quite recall experiencing. Surely I couldn’t have been too different from my girls, though. Maybe I’d just blocked it all from memory due to embarrassment.

The young Storm defenseman should probably run away, and fast, because I didn’t know if I would be able to control all four of my hormone-riddled daughters, and if they got their hands on him… I shook my head. I’d probably be doing good to keep any one of them in check, but all four? The end result could be disastrous for the young man.