Title: Cross Checking: A Buffalo Steampunk Adventure
Author: Laura Strickland
Genre: Steampunk Romance
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
When Maddie MacGillicuddy loses her job, she's desperate to find another. Though good jobs are available at the stables, only men are hired. A big, strapping girl, she becomes Matty in her brother's clothing. Complications arise when a city magnate, assembling a tournament hockey team, admires Matty's skating skills and recruits "him," with real money and the city's reputation on the line.
Huritt Gilbert is used to battling his way through life. At the stables, he routinely endures racial slurs, sometimes striking back. He's never met a woman like Maddie and would do anything for her, including accept the dangerous position of goalie for her team. But when competition heats up, loyalties get twisted. Will Gilbert and Maddie play for glory, or love?
“You’re mad at me,” Maddie accused. Gilbert felt rather than saw her steal a glance at him as they walked back to the stables, side by side, both with ten dollars in their pockets.
He returned, “Shouldn’t I be? You volunteered me for something I might not want to do.”
“You played in goal before. I thought—”
“Do you know how many times goalies get hit in the head? In the face? In the knee? I get hit in the knee, I won’t be able to work my regular job. What then?”
“I—didn’t think. I wanted you to earn all that money. And I figured if you were playing goal, at least we’d be on the ice…together.”
That struck him down silent, like a slap. She wanted to be near him? Could that truly be the reason?
She hurried on, “You could have said no.”
“You didn’t have to sign.”
He thrust his hands into his pockets and jiggled the coins he’d been given. “If I said no, then we couldn’t be…together. On the ice.” She’d move away from him, into fame, maybe. Why should she even look at the likes of him then?
They stopped walking and turned to face each other, not touching—just two buddies walking back from a game.
Gilbert wished he understood what lay in Maddie’s eyes, but he hadn’t a hope.
He turned and resumed walking.
“Don’t be mad,” she begged.
“You shouldn’t have done that.” They were back where they’d started.
“You’re right, I shouldn’t. Let’s talk about it.”
“Not tonight. I’ve got all this money in my pocket. I’m going to take Brewster’s suggestion to heart, and get drunk.”
“No, you’re not.”
They’d reached his berth in the stables. She jerked him inside and left her hand on his arm. Earnestly, she stared into his face in the gloom.
“You’re spending the night with me.”
“What?” He goggled. “Have you lost your mind?”
“Maybe. But I don’t think so.” She kissed him, the kind of kiss a pal didn’t give another—not ever. They melted into each other there in the dark, even while Gilbert’s mind screamed at him.
Not a good idea.
Her tongue wooed his, tangled with it, and drew it inside her mouth in a manner that invited other intrusions of a similar nature.
Somehow, he broke the kiss. “Why?”
“I want you,” she gasped. “Can’t you tell?”
“Well, then, I’ve decided I’m going to have you.”
“But I mean, why tonight?”
She went quiet, her gaze still clinging to his. “Things might get crazy after this.”
So they might.
“I want to make sure—make sure…” She withdrew a bit. “But if you don’t want to—”
“I didn’t say that.”
“If I’m not woman enough, or something—”
“My God, Maddie. You’re all woman. I can’t believe those fellows couldn’t see it.”
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I’m one of the authors participating in the Pot 'O Gold Giveaway and you can win an e-copy of Dead Handsome: A Buffalo Steampunk Adventure.
Runs March 1 - 31 and is open internationally for most prizes.
Winner will be drawn on April 1, 2020.
Multi-award-winning author Laura Strickland delights in time traveling to the past and searching out settings for her books, be they Historical Romance, Steampunk or something in between. Her first Scottish Historical hero, Devil Black, battled his way onto the publishing scene in 2013, and the author never looked back. Nor has she tapped the limits of her imagination. Venturing beyond Historical and Contemporary Romance, she created a new world with her ground-breaking Buffalo Steampunk Adventure series set in her native city, in Western New York. Married and the parent of one grown daughter, Laura has also been privileged to mother a number of very special rescue dogs, and is intensely interested in animal welfare. These days while she's writing, you can always find her latest rescue, Lacy, nearby. Her love of dogs, and her lifelong interest in Celtic history, magic and music, are all reflected in her writing. Laura's mantra is Lore, Legend, Love, and she wouldn't have it any other way.