Feb 13 2014 2:00pm

Loyal, Ambitious, and Strong: Winter Athletes as Romance Heroes and Heroines

Golden Dreams by Darlene FranklinThe athletes currently participating in the 22nd Winter Olympics possess many of the qualities that romance readers are looking for in their favorite fictional heroes and heroines. They're strong, both physically and emotionally. They're loyal, dedicated, and hard-working. They're ambitious, with a drive to be the best. And they're passionate. They're almost too good to be true. And in some cases, they've inspired romance authors to write some heartwarming and sexy stories to entertain readers once the Olympics are over and all the athletes head home.

Golden Dreams by Darlene Franklin is a historical romance set in Maple Notch, Vermont, in 1931. Frank Sawtelle, a former figure skating champion, returns home an injured, but still beloved, town hero. Winnie Tuttle, who's also a talented figure skater, has always had a crush on Frank. When he begins coaching her, the crush grows into something deeper, but a romantic relationship could jeopardize Winnie's athletic future.

In Ice Games by Jessica Clare (a.k.a. Jill Myles), Zara Pritchard is a former Olympic figure skater who takes a fall from grace and ends up working in an ice rink at a mall. Ty Randall is an MMA Fighter with a violent reputation looking to improve his image. When Zara is invited to be on a reality television show called Ice Dancing with the Stars, she sees it at a chance to restore her career, but skating with Ty may end up being a more difficult challenge than she ever could have anticipated—particularly when her heart gets involved.

Cold War by Keira AndrewsCold War by Keira Andrews is a unique, Olympic-themed m/m erotica novel. American pairs skater Dev Avira finds himself inexplicably drawn to his sexy Russian rival Mikhail Reznikov. Dev doesn't want to let his partner down and endanger their chance to win gold, but Mikhail is a very compelling distraction. Mikhail is equally distracted by Dev, but it's not just his heart or a medal in danger—it's his freedom.

Pippa Baker, the heroine of Carry Your Heart by Audrey Bell, is a championship skier who broke her leg and lost her boyfriend Danny in an avalanche. A year later, she decides to start skiing again in Utah. She meets up with Danny's friend Hunter Dawson, a daredevil with a reputation as a womanizer, and starts to fall for him. Hunter has unresolved issues from his own past, however, that could ruin their chances of a happily ever after.

Shannon de Croix, the heroine of Love on the Slopes by Elizabeth Goddard, is also a championship skier who experienced a potentially career-ending injury and a broken heart. She refuses to give up on her dreams of downhill success, however, and wants her coach Hudson Landers to help her train hard. But Shannon is more than just another student to Hudson, and his feelings for her complicate his ability to coach her.

Instant Attraction by Jill ShalvisIn Instant Attraction by Jill Shalvis, the heroine Katie Cramer flees her boring job in LA for a temporary bookkeeping stint at an outdoor adventure business in the Sierra Madre Mountains. She survived a near-fatal accident and wants to live a more exciting life. Cameron Wilder is a former snowboarder who survived an accident of his own but hasn't completely recovered from his injuries—mental or physical. After time spent away, he returns home to the family business and falls for Katie, even though he knows he shouldn't date employees. When it's time for Katie to leave, she and Cameron will have to decide if their relationship is worth fighting for.

Treacherous Slopes by Terri Reed is a unique, sports-themed suspense novel. The hero Nick Walsh is a talented ski jumper who's ready to fight for gold in the Winter Olympics. Reporter Julie Frost is assigned to write a story about him and his family. She discovers that Nick blames himself for his brother's death, but the real culprit is still at large and waiting to take Nick—and possibly Julie—down.

Which winter athlete heroes and heroines get the gold medal from you?


Brittany is a freelance writer, aspiring novelist and small business owner who hopes that heaven will be like a bookstore with an endless supply of free books, free coffee and super comfy chairs.

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1. willaful
Iris Johansen's White Satin, which is set during the Calgery Olympics is dated but very enjoyable. I especially liked the hero and heroine romantically skating together.
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