Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Hockey Is My Boyfriend, Part Two: Deleted Scene

Dogs will not appear regularly on this blog. Signed, Rex.
Surprise!

Hockey Is My Boyfriend, Part Two is now available for pre-sale here. It takes place two years after Part One, so heres a little update for you.

When I passed my new book on to a beta reader, she sent me an electronic groan that said, I’m not going remember all the characters from Part One. I was shocked, since I’ve been obsessively rewriting about Kelly and the gang for months. But if you’re normal and unable to remember characters for weeks on end, then this post is for you. 

Originally the first chapter of Hockey Is My Boyfriend, Part Two, was an update on all Kelly’s friends from high school—especially Phil Davidson. But most of Part Two actually takes place in new settings with new characters, so I decided to change the beginning. Thus, I deleted this chapter, which I am now presenting for your reading pleasure. It takes place nearly two years after we last saw Kelly speeding away from everything familiar, in Donna Crofton’s car. Kelly is back in Vancouver, the summer after her second year at McGill.

“I still can’t believe you made me buy a bikini,” I told April as she drove us home from Metrotown. I peeked into the bag at the two tiny scraps of brightly-printed fabric. They barely looked big enough for a Hawaiian purse dog.

“I can’t believe that you didn’t look at yourself in the mirror and decide to start living in bikinis. You actually have abs of steel, whereas mine seem to be made of Play-Doh. Seriously, Kelly, you’re in better shape every time I see you!”

“I had to be in good shape to do the West Coast Trail,” I explained. Keeping in game shape was easier if you set goals during the summer. So in early June, I had hiked the Vancouver Island trail with three of my teammates from McGill. It took us a week, the scenery was spectacular, the camping was insane, and we had seen whales and a sea lion. We all had to be in top condition to take on the trail with fully-loaded backpacks. The ladders alone were a challenge, but it was tougher still with my competitive friends trying to outdo each other.

“I liked meeting your friends from McGill,” April said. “And you know what was weird? Seeing how proud you were of Vancouver while you showed everyone around. I guess you have a different perspective since you left here, I take the city for granted.”

“I love Vancouver,” I declared. I had to show those Easterners what real mountains and big trees look like.”

“If you like it so much, why have are you leaving so soon?” April complained. I was leaving in three days for a job at a hockey camp in New Brunswick.

“Don’t you start. Between my friends and my parents, I feel like I’ve spent half the summer defending why I’m not going to be here for the other half. Teaching at a hockey camp will be a great experience for me.”

“Too bad it’s not closer. Although I suspect you have ulterior motives for fleeing, like avoiding commitment.”

“This is actually why I’m leaving Vancouver. I’m hoping to find a place where the amateur psychologists don’t already know my flaws.”

“No wonder you’re going to the Maritimes, Vancouver and Montréal are already out. I noticed that Deirdre can read you like a book. She’s a hoot.”

Deirdre Tough was my best friend on the McGill team. She was the one who got me the hockey camp job. It was hers originally, but then she got a chance to join the national team training camp in Calgary so she recommended me instead.

“Are we not going to your house?” I wondered as April turned up my street.

“Oh, I’m sorry. I forgot to mention that I have a late date,” April explained.

“Who’s the lucky guy?” I wondered.

“Damien. Remember, you met him at a couple of weeks ago? He’s doing a play, so we’re getting together afterwards.”

April’s acting career had gone up and down. She had a recurring role on a teen drama in L.A., but that had just been cancelled. So now she had nothing going on and was doing every possible audition. She pulled the car into my driveway and yanked up the parking brake. “I still have half an hour, so I can stay for a chat,” she declared.

“Okay. My mom was baking up a storm today, so there’s probably something good to eat.”

“No way!” April patted her stomach. “Abs of flab, remember?”

We walked up to the front door. The house looked strangely dark since my whole family had been there when I left.

“That’s weird. Maybe they all went to a movie or something,” I said. But the door was unlocked. I opened it, and suddenly all the lights came on.

“Surprise!”

To my shock, there was a big crowd of people, with my mom and dad in front. My mouth opened, but not one word came out. Everyone was watching my reaction and loving the complete shock on my face.

My mom came over and gave me a big hug. “It’s a surprise party, darling. For your birthday and because you’re going away.”

“It’s not my birthday,” was all I managed to say.

My mom laughed. “I know, dear, I was there. But you won’t be here on the real day.”

Someone turned on music. I managed to close my mouth and look around. All my good friends from high school were here, as well as a few of my parent’s close friends. There were even a couple of McGill friends who lived here.

Cameron zipped over. “Hi, April. Can I get you a drink?” Without even turning my way, he added, “Uh, you too, Kelly.”

“We’ll both have Cosmopolitans,” April declared, and off he went.

“Unless my parents have conjured up a bartender, I don’t know how he’s going to get a complicated mixed drink in this house.”

April flipped her hair. “When a guy wants to be your white knight, he wants a difficult task to perform. So until there be dragons in the Cove, a Cosmopolitan will have to do.”

“I can’t believe he still likes you, high school was two years ago!”

“It’s only because he hasn’t actually dated me. Reality sucks,” April said.

Charmaine came over, and she wasn’t alone. There was a tall, skinny dark-haired guy with her. He was nerdy-cute.

“Kelly! Happy early birthday.” She gave me a hug and then introduced us to her date. “April, Kelly, this is Will.”

We both smiled and greeted him politely. Even April was on her best behaviour because Charmaine had been mentioning Will, each time with goofy grin that was quite unlike her. Not only had she started dating at university, but now she wasn’t even dating Chinese guys—much to her parent’s disapproval. But not only did Will seem smart and nice, I liked the way he was looking at Charmaine with puppy dog eyes. They were both smitten.

Cameron returned with two red drinks in martini glasses. I didn’t even know we owned martini glasses. Maybe he drove out to a real bar and bought them. He looked extremely proud.

“M’lady,” he said, offering the drink to April with a flourish.

She sipped it and gave him a slight nod. “Not bad.”

“Thank you very much, Cameron,” I said and took a sip. It hardly tasted like alcohol, which was a sure sign there was a lot of alcohol in it. I was not a big drinker and looked around for a discreet place to leave my special drink. I noticed Phil was sitting on the couch and watching me with a smirk. We both knew what happened when I had too much to drink.

Poor Cameron, as soon as he had stammered out his latest programming accomplishments in his coop stint, April declared that we needed food and steered me to the kitchen. I was hungry. I grabbed one of my mom’s yummy cheese puffs and some carrots sticks. Then I turned to April. “I can’t believe we were together all night and you didn’t give me a hint that this was happening.”

“Never let it be said that I am not a wonderful actress. Of course, anyone but you would have noticed I was way overdressed for shopping.” She motioned to her glittery top and black mini-skirt. “And don’t forget to thank me for making you change out of shorts and a tank top.”

“I wish she was still wearing the shorts. Especially short-shorts,” said a voice behind me.

“Marcus!” I gave him a hug, “Great to see you.”

I hadn’t seen Marcus since Christmas. We started talking about his new job, he had finished a two year college degree, and now he had a job in construction management.

“I’ve got my own place now,” he bragged.

“A bachelor pad?” April wondered.

“Definitely. Just give me time to get rid of my two roommates before you come over.”

We all laughed, but Marcus was starting his real life already and that seemed pretty grown up. The whole evening was like that, catching up with everyone and joking around. I had a great time. Finally things wound down and people started to drift away.

“Can I help you clean up, Mom?” I asked. My mom was putting dishes away in a kitchen that was already surprisingly neat. I hugged her from behind. “Thanks so much for everything.”

“You’re welcome, darling! You’ve been so busy, I thought this would be a nice send-off for you.” She kissed me. “I’m fine in here. Why don’t you go out and keep your friends company.”

“I think almost everyone’s gone,” I said. I knew there was at least one person left, and I wasn’t in a rush to see him.

“Not everyone,” Phil said from the doorway. My mom beamed at him and he smiled back. Ah, the Phil Davidson Fan Club was once again in session with Molly O’Brien-Tanaka, President. My mom gave me an unsubtle shove and I went into the living room with Phil. We sat down on the couch together.

“Finally, I get to talk to the birthday girl. You’ve been ignoring me.”

“Not true. I noticed you giving me your sex-ray look all night.” I spoke in a low voice, I knew my mom couldn’t hear me but I still felt uncomfortable.

Phil laughed. “My sex-ray look?”

“Yeah, like you’re imagining us naked and having sex. You’re doing it right now!” He was looking at me with his eyes half-closed. Well, I guess it wasn’t that big an accomplishment since I already knew what Phil looked like naked, right down to the pale scar that ran up his right thigh and ended at his—I shook my head to get that image out of my head.

He was watching me. “Gosh, Kelly, that’s just my normal expression. I think you’re projecting your own fantasies. But is does it work?”

“Definitely.”

“Oh, really?” Phil moved closer and slid his arm along the couch behind me.

“Not on me. Allie Malcolm got caught in the crossfire as you were trying to zap me. I think you melted her panties right off.”

“I don’t think I even know who Allie Malcolm is,” Phil replied, puzzled.

“Well, I’m sure you’ll be hearing from her soon.”

He shrugged and leaned back. “Still doesn’t explain why you didn’t talk to me all night.”

“I don’t know, because everyone was waiting for it.”

“When have you ever cared what people think?”

“It’s not what they think so much as doing what people expect. Don’t you ever feel like rebelling a little?”

“I do what I want. It’s not a big deal to me.” He had magically moved right next to me. “I’m really going to miss you.”

I told Phil straight up that I didn’t think it was worth getting all involved when I was only in town for a few weeks. Of course, he’d seen it as a few weeks where we could be reuniting our heads off. After first year, wed gotten back together in the summer. 

“I don’t understand why you’re going to this hockey camp in New Brunswick. The flight alone will cost you more than you’re going to make.”

“Not quite. But it’s mainly to get coaching experience.”

“Why can’t you do that around here?”

“It’s not easy to get hockey jobs, everyone wants them. And this is a good camp run by an ex-NHL player. They wouldn’t have even interviewed me without Deirdre’s recommendation.” Phil didn’t look convinced, so I tried to explain how I felt. “Plus, I wanted to do something different this summer. I felt like a change. I’m tired of being old predictable Kelly.”

“Hey. I like Kelly—in all her forms.”

“Seriously, Phil, don’t you ever feel like doing what you want instead of what everyone expects.”

“I already do what I like, so it’s not a big deal. Are you becoming a teen rebel just before your 20th birthday?”

“You know me, always the late bloomer.” I was late to date and now a late adolescent.

“You weren’t late for everything,” Phil said, his voice loaded with innuendo. Yeah, because once I did start dating, I did it with a bang. Ha ha. I looked over and he was giving me that sex-ray look again. Damn. Maybe it wasn’t deliberate, but I was still getting an urge to shed all my clothing.

“Well, good night, you two.” My mom appeared in the doorway, on her way upstairs. Startled, I tried to move away from Phil but I was already at the end of the couch. Phil didn’t even twitch.

“You’re so calm,” I chided him. “When we’re here on the couch, it reminds me of high school. I feel like my parents are going to come down and get mad at us for staying up too late.” And for fooling around, I thought, but I didn’t say that part.

“We’re adults now. I’m sure your parents understand that you have a sex life.”

“Please. Don’t use 'my parents and 'sex in the same sentence.”
Naturally, even saying the word “sex” made me blush, but even more so when Phil was so close that I could feel his breath on my shoulder.

Phil inched even closer, so our thighs were touching. “How come we havent had any time alone all summer?”

“It’s just happened that way,” I lied. “I’ve been busy. We did our road trip from Montréal, then Deirdre was here, and we got ready for our big hike.”

“Okay, if that’s how you want to play it, the fact that this is the first time we’ve been alone is a complete fluke.” I knew exactly how skeptical his expression would be, which saved me from having to look at him. “But being back together last summer was great. So, why didn’t you want to go out again this summer?”

We did have a lot of fun last summer. It didn’t take Phil long to work his way right back into my life, and there was an easiness about the two of us together.

“I don’t know, a few reasons. The fact we knew we were going to break up didn’t make it any easier.” It had been surprisingly wrenching, for me anyway. Phil had seemed to roll with it, and I got the feeling he was looking forward to going back to Calgary.

“And what else?” Phil’s arm was now curled around my shoulder.

“I don’t want to do the expected thing,” I said, for the second time tonight. It bothered me a lot that Phil took for granted that when we were both in the same place, we’d get back together. I knew he had this idea in his mind that we would get back for real once university was over. But I couldn’t keep doing this over and over. “And really, Phil, the whole point of breaking up was supposed to be having new experiences.”

His body moved slightly away from me. “You seem quite able to have new experiences. What about that goalie?” Phil had not been too happy to find out that I had finally dated someone else in the winter. I’d met J.P. Denis at the rink and we had fun until he left to play hockey in Europe.

“That wasn’t a serious thing. I can’t be like you—compartmentalizing everything,” I replied.

“What are you talking about?”

“You seem to be able to pick up where we left off and then go back to Calgary and party like nothing happened. Meanwhile, I take ages to get over breaking up, and then I see you all over again—at Christmas, at reading week, in the summer. It’s like this emotional seesaw.” 

I couldn’t get into a new relationship as long as Phil was constantly on my mind. Ever since I left for McGill, I’d found that there were lots of other amazing things to do and see out there.  I wanted to have new experiences, and that included dating too. Not dating with my ex hovering in the background like some chaperoning spirit.

Phil grinned. “So, you’re fleeing across the country because you find me irresistible?”

I frowned. “I wouldn’t put it exactly like that.”

But maybe he was right.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

New Book Launch



The official date for the launch of Hockey Is My Boyfriend, Part Two will be October 30th 31st. 


Hockey Is My Boyfriend, Part Two

Kelly Tanaka has moved on. Moved on to university and a whole new life in Montréal. She left behind her high school boyfriend, Phil Davidson, even if he keeps trying to rekindle their romance. The only thing she hasn’t left behind is her fear of commitment. 

Luckily for her, a job at a summer hockey camp is the last place she would expect to meet Mr. Right. Sure enough, from an overconfident ladies man to a tongue-tied nerd, all the guys here are Mr. Wrong. And there’s no way she could be interested in a tall, muscular centreman with the face of a fourteen-year old.


Even if he is the best hockey player she has ever seen in real life.