Now that that sporting event is over and the eagleBOLTbar can go back to its usual crowd of Bears fans (credit for that joke goes to Jana Shortal, who is more clever than I am), we can concentrate on what is a much, much geekier sporting event: the Winter Olympics. With such events as curling, skeleton, and biathlon, how can the games not be geek approved? And here in Minnesota we know from ice and snow, so here are four romance novels featuring Winter Olympics sports to kick off the two weeks and change of international competition.
1. Score by Victoria Denault
Let’s start with perhaps the most common of all winter sports: hockey. Although this particular novel—the first in the author’s series about a fictional hockey team, the San Francisco Thunder—isn’t specifically Olympics themed, it is about a sport that does figure in the games. Zoey Quinlin, who is just getting her career in real estate restarted, runs into the sister of her old crush, Jude Braddock, who is now a huge hockey star.
Recently this particular book got some press when Paul Scheer, comedian of How Did This Get Made? and The League fame, saw a copy of the second book in the series and discovered the wild world of sports-romance fandom. To his credit, he read the book and enjoyed it quite a bit. See his commentary here on Twitter.
2. The Next Competitor by Keira Andrews
While we’re all waiting for the promised Yuri!!! on Ice movie (currently in preproduction!) and getting excited to see Japanese pairs skaters Miu Suzaki and Ryūichi Kihara skate to the music from Yuri’s free skate in their short program, how about enjoying a novel about two figure skaters in love? Adam Grady is a young, brash, and outspoken singles skater, and Matt Savelli is the opposite—an older Canadian pairs skater whom Adam describes as “cardboard” at one point early on. And yet there’s an undeniable spark between them. Originally published in 2010, this story was extensively reworked in 2016 for a rerelease and gets high marks from readers for accuracy about skating and competition.
(As a note, publishers, why could I only find about three male/male ice-skating romances? With the popularity of Yuri!!! on Ice and ice skating in general, there’s a big untapped market out there. Where’s my Cutting Edge redo?)
3. Edge of Glory by Rachel Spangler
So maybe hockey and ice skating are too mainstream for you. I get it, friend—I’m up at 3:00 a.m. watching handball during the summer, too. Try this novel about a romance between a free-spirited snowboarder toward the end of her competition career and an ice-princess downhill skier coming back from a major injury. The story also features a variety of lovely platonic relationships, such as the one between Corey (the snowboarder) and her sister and manager, Holly, as well as between a 17-year-old newbie to the circuit and the older characters, who all mentor her. As a bonus, the book makes boardercross (also called snowboard cross, Corey’s primary race) sound like a lot of fun, and I look forward to watching it in the Olympics coverage this year.
4. Love on the Tracks by Tamsen Parker
For a real taste of obscure winter sports, the first volume of the Snow and Ice Games, about a fictional Winter Olympics–style event, will certainly deliver. Rowan Andrews is a luger, and she makes an offhand comment in an interview about Zane Rivera, member of the boy band License to Game, being her favorite of the group. Zane reads that interview and flies out to Denver to meet her, and they end up deciding to start a fake relationship to benefit both of them. However, the fake relationship quickly turns real—and hot—as they find themselves falling for the parts of each other that the rest of the world doesn’t get to see. As a bonus, Rowan and Zane go on a date to see mixed doubles’ curling.
What about you, readers? What’s your favorite winter sport? Have you read any books featuring it?