Well, I finished the first draft of "Fresh Ice" last weekend, and now the real work begins. Now that the basic structure of the book is done, I fill out that framework with what will ultimately be the final product.
So today, I thought I'd give you all a small peak at what I've been working on for the past several months. And, since right now I find my hero ever so much more interesting than my heroine (and what female reader doesn't?) I'm giving you Quinn Murray's first chapter from "Fresh Ice."
Please enjoy...oh, and feel free to leave comments, compliments, whatever.
(Don't forget, I still have two other lovely books out there, so you CLICK HERE to purchase those in digital or book form.)
Fresh Ice: Chapter Two
Quinn Murray looked around the studio and sighed. Normally, he didn’t mind the tiny radio studio. He guest hosted the morning sports talk radio show just often enough to get free tickets to every sporting event in Nashville, which, in turn, kept his name in the forefront of Nashville’s sports scene. But after a long March weekend in Milwaukee, where he watched more AHL hockey than he had when he played for the Milwaukee Admirals, Quinn wasn’t ready for four hours of morning sports radio antics. What he wanted was a vodka tonic and a long nap. He wasn’t allowed to have either. Serena, he knew, would see to that.
“Hey there Quinn. Geez, you look like hell. I thought vacation was supposed to rest you.”
Quinn nodded to his broadcast producer, Benny Jensen, as the rotund man squeezed into the studio and sat down. “It wasn’t a vacation, Benny. It was a long working weekend. I went up with some of the brass over at the Predators to look at the Admirals.”
“Any good prospects?”
Quinn shook his head. “Let’s save that conversation for the callers. The NHL playoffs are just around the corner, I’m sure there will be plenty of questions about our AHL affiliate to the north.”
“At least tell me you go to some good clubs.”
“Benny, it was a working weekend. All hockey, all the time…”
“Guy, you can’t do that to me. You are Quinn freakin’ Murray. You are a legend!”
“Really? You wanna check my stats again, there Ben?”
Benny chuckled, setting his levels of pudginess into motion. “Okay, maybe not ON the ice. But dude, off the ice, you are a ROCK STAR.”
Which is exactly what got me into the situation I’m in now. Quinn nodded. A tiny voice in the back of his mind begged him to tell Benny the real reason he looked so terrible. I could trust Benny.
Not with this. Not with a sick, twisted mess like this.
“Well, you look like death. Tell me you’ve at least got a massive hangover, because that’s how you look. You look like you drank all the beer there was.”
“It’s Milwaukee. That would have been a tall order…even for me.” Quinn thumbed through a stack of fan emails Benny had printed out for him. “But I was the human hockey puck at an Admirals game.”
“Oh see, now that’s not all work all the time. Man, you get all the fun gigs.” Benny glanced at the clock and stuffed the remainder of his donut into his gaping mouth.
“I had to do it. You know, breed goodwill between the Admirals and the team the Admirals wish they were.”
Benny shot him a disapproving look. “Dude, that’s cold.”
Quinn knew his comment was harsh. Having played in Milwaukee for a few months while rehabbing a knee injury, Quinn Murray knew very well how forgiving and supportive the Milwaukee Admiral fans were, even of players who were moving on quickly. Chalk it up to my overall terrible mood. “Well, like I said, it was a working trip. If you don’t believe me, go ask Serena. It was her idea I go.”
“Boss lady does not have me on a leash.” At least not that I’m going to admit to. “Boss lady doesn’t like hockey and she doesn’t like winter, but she has a big interest in the future of the Predators. So she sent me.”
“Oh please. You and Serena-” Benny let out a laugh that actually freed donut crumbs from his mouth.
“You and Serena what?” Quinn shot a sharp glance over the pile of papers.
Don’t continue with this line of conversation, Benny. You won’t like where it takes you.
“Oh, you know. You and Serena. Come on. Everyone knows about it.”
Everyone thinks they know about it. If they really knew they’d run screaming into the river. “What do you actually think you know, Benny?”
“You and the Black Widow. You know, you’re getting’ it on, right?” Here Benny started humming some sort of lascivious music that Quinn could only surmise was the producer’s attempt at a porno movie soundtrack.
“Very funny, Benny. You know she’ll kill you if she hears you call her that. Don’t we have work to do?”
“Oh my gawd…did you meet someone in Wisconsin? Did you have non boss lady sex with some Dairy State beauty?”
The very thought was so ludicrous, Quinn laughed out loud. “Okay, Benny, obviously you’re not going to let anything go. Go ahead; tell me what you’re thinking.”
“Okay. Deny this if you can. You and Serena have been a thing for what, two, three years. She gives you zero breathing space. Am I right?”
You have no idea. “I will neither confirm nor deny anything.”
“Which proves my point completely, dude. Every time you come in here, you’re pleasant, you’re polite, which pisses me off, by the way, but you don’t let anyone around here have a clue what you’re really like. So, if that’s how you are when you’re only getting Boss Lady lovin’, then I can only deduce from your ashen pallor-“
“Ashen pallor?” Quinn grinned.
“Hey, I read a book once. Yeah, ashen pallor. It means, you look like you feel like hell and might just burst out into some girlie tears.”
Quinn leaned back in his chair and studied Benny with amusement. “Seriously. I’m dragged out from schmoozing the brass on two hockey teams for almost a week and you think it’s because I’ve been, how did you put it? Getting something other than ‘Boss Lady Lovin’?”
“Well, you look different than you always do which means you did something you never do. Look at you…you were out there, being charming with that face of yours and that air of mystery that women love, and you were a whole time zone away from Serena? That’s a no brainer! I want details!”
“Well, you’re not getting any details, because there are none, Benny, sorry. I did get a little ice time.”
“Dude, unless that’s a euphemism for sex with a cool looking chick, I’m not that interested.”
“Sorry to be such a disappointment. But the Admirals let me work out with them. It was a blast.” Quinn checked the studio clock and noted they were on air in two minutes.
“I thought you abstained from the ice.”
No, I abstain from alcohol. I abstain from normal relationships. I love the ice. “Just because I don’t skate out every time the Predators need to have some sort of bobble head promotion, that makes you think I hate skating?”
Benny let out another donut crumbed guffaw. “Dude, that last bobble head night was classic. Here it was, ‘Quinn Murray’ night, and they unveil the things and they’ve got the wrong numbers on them.”
“Yes, Benny, I was there.”
“And had the wrong name on the back.”
“Yes, Benny, I was there.”
“And the bobble dude was black!”
Quinn rubbed his temples. “This is what I get for not giving you a play by play of some sexcapades that never happened? You bring up my most humiliating moment? You are a complete jerk, Benny.”
Benny wiped a mirthful tear from his eye. “No, I’m an overweight radio producer who is very, very lonely. And, you’re on in twenty seconds.” Benny pointed to the clock as he closed the studio door and seated himself behind the soundboard.
Accepting the inevitability of how awful the next four hours were going to be, Quinn put on his headphones, checked the clock, and pulled the microphone close to his mouth. “Hey there all, you’ve got Bob the Bruiser and Benny Sports Zoo, I’m Quinn Murray, sitting in for Bruiser. And yes, we will continue the discussion about the debacle at the Superbowl a couple weeks ago. But, today I want to lead off with hockey. I just got back from a trip up north to see how our AHL affiliate, the Milwaukee Admirals are doing, and I’d love to answer your questions about the Preds chances in the NHL playoffs. Benny, who’s our first caller?”