If you’ve watched Whip It more than once, can tell a blocker from a jammer, and know how to fall small, the odds are that you don’t mind a little roller derby in your romance.
After all, nobody makes a better romance heroine than a roller derby dame. Derby chicks are brave, tough, athletic, have their sisters’ backs and play to win. Plus, there’s an awesome poetry to the sport, the sort that sees events titled Bruise Cruise and Summer Smackdown, and team players named everything from Fannie Tastic to Flustercluck. Some of my favorite registered derby names include Ova Bearing, Katniss EverMean, “A” Cup Annihilator, 5 Scar Jeneral, A Fist Called Wanda, A'Maiming Grace, Baron von Punchausen and Charm School Reject.
The names alone make it pretty clear that derby chicks have a healthy—if somewhat bloodthirsty—sense of humor. They also have a code of honor since during the game there’s no tit punches, no king-hits, no eye-gouging, no kicking, no chokeholds, no locks, no fish-hooking, no bush pushes, no twat shots, no boob blocks, no cooter stomps, no beaver cleavers or titty take-outs allowed. That’s some Camelot-style chivalry right there.
Here’s some romance reads that celebrate the poetry, the chivalry, and the art of the booty bump.
Despite the unprepossessing series name (the Skid Mark series) and mixed reviews on Amazon, April Ryder offers the true derby fanatic the thrilling potential of not just one derby romance novel but a whole series. In the first book (One Skid Mark) the dumped heroine is refused a tattoo by an ethical tattooist and turns to roller derby instead. But the ethical tattooist can’t stop thinking about her… The first book of the Skid Mark series (all short steamy reads set in New Zealand) is billed as BBW (big beautiful woman) Sports Romance.
In Desk Jockey Jam by Australian author Ainslie Paton, the business analyst moonlights as a roller derby doll and skates right over the hero’s heart. The author’s writing style is punchy as a blocker on ‘roids.
Bree eyed the penalty box. It was only a bench seat positioned at the side of the track, but it was where roller girls who’d pulled something illegal got sent for a minute. Perhaps if she looked at it hard enough she could avoid going there during the bout, because her mood could best be described as savage. She felt like pushing, punching, elbowing, head-butting. She felt like ignoring safe contact zones and doing some damage.
Tamara Morgan’s The Derby Girl is worth a look as it features an Odd Couple dynamic: a bad-ass heroine—complete with makeup, tattoos and racy derby outfits—drawn to the uptighty, golden boy doctor she helps with changing a tire. Jayne from Dear Author gave it a B minus describing h/H as “militant roller skating pixie” and “assholic, egotistical plastic surgeon”. The plot involves girl teaching boy not to be an ass-hat. Awww.
Gretchen’s right eye was so swollen she almost missed seeing it.
Bright red, so small it looked as though it could barely fit a whole human being, probably purchased to make up for a penis of microscopic proportions, the vintage Ferrari that had pulled over to the side of the road was no more than a blip in her peripheral vision. A flash of color. A warning sign.
Heterosexuality doesn’t do it for you? Try Vanessa North’s f/f romance, Roller Girl, about a divorcee at wit’s end who gets introduced to derby (and a whole lot more) by the lady plumber who fixes her washing machine (and who just happens to also be a derby team coach). Staying in the closet, however, puts a strain on their relationship. I particularly liked one passage where a male friend is giving advice to the heroine.
“I mean it though. You haven’t dated anyone since Lisa. And I don’t want to get all lecture-y or anything, but more’s changed than your plumbing, you know? Dating isn’t like it was when we were kids.”
My cheeks flush. “Ben, if you give me a dental dam speech, I sweartagod I won’t speak to you for a month.”
“Dental-what? Oh, hell, that’s not what I—Oh man. No. No. No. No.” He digs the heels of his hands into his eyes and groans. “I mean yes, by all means, use whatever protection—can we go back to what I was saying?”
Last (but by no means least) is a perennial favorite of mine, Beast Behaving Badly by Shelley Laurenston.The heroine is a loveable but scatty wolf-dog hybrid shifter, plumber and derby player (another lady plumber who plays derby!) and her relationship with the schedule-waving, order obsessed pro ice-hockey shifter hero is more satisfying than a well-timed titty take-out.
The face slammed into the protective glass, blood spurting out as cartilage was demolished, bone shattered.
The crowd around her either roared and howled in approval or hissed and barked in disapproval, depending on which team they supported. But Blayne Thorpe could do neither. Instead, she only gaped at the behemoth hybrid continuing to force that poor, battered feline face into the glass by using nothing more than his hockey stick and overwhelming size.
What bad-ass roller derby player could resist an ice hockey enforcer like Bo “The Marauder” Novikov? Or the way he polishes protective glass with an opponent’s face?
Learn more about or order a copy of the books mentioned in this post:
|One Skid Mark by April Ryder|
|Desk Jockey Jam by Ainslie Paton|
|The Derby Girl by Tamara Morgan|
|Roller Girl by Vanessa North|
|Beast Behaving Badly by Shelley Laurenston|
H&H Editor Picks:
Rhyll Biest is an Australian author writing romance hot enough to melt your e-reader. Her latest novel, Hell on Wheels, features plenty of cooter stomps and boob blocks, and will be released on October 5. Rhyll is also one of the tarts on the Bookish Tarts podcast where she and fellow author Georgina Penney discuss romance novels in a high-brow yet potty-mouthed way.