Dear Ms. Martin:
So I’ve bemoaning the economy this past week (so glad I’m not retiring for decades) and I got an email from a publicist declaring that in this depressing time I had to read a book about a doomed tsarina and it would sweep me away. My first response was, um no, during this time of sturm und dang, I need happiness, not doomed tsarinas. Thank god, I read romance and in particular, thank goodness I had to read this book. Admittedly, I didn’t have to. I wanted to.
Power Play tells the story of Eric Mitchell, the hotheaded, playboy twin brother of the hero in Chasing Stanley. The two are pro hockey players and Eric has just been traded to the NY Blades. The Blades aren’t having a great season and some look at Eric with resentment. One of the team favorites was traded to get Eric’s stick on the NY Blade ice and because the team is not winning, many of them don’t believe he was worth the loss.
Monica Geary is an established soap star on the top rated The Wild and the Free. A new, younger co-star is brought onto the show. This co-star in true All About Eve fashion is willing to do anything to be come a star right now, and that pretty much means muscling Monica out of the picture. Worried that her star is fading, Monica contacts her publicist and demands help. Help comes in the form of Eric Mitchell. Pretend the two of you are having an affair and the tabloids will eat it up.
So Monica and Eric enter into this tentative pact where Eric provides credibility to Monica as an attractive star, encouraging tabloid articles, and Monica makes Eric popular with his teammates who are addicts of The Wild and the Free.
Everyone in the league watched The Wild and the Free. Soaps were a favorite way for them to pass the time in hotel rooms when they were on the road, and they all watched when they were home, too, since the teams’ workout and weight rooms had TVs. Eric couldn’t count the times he’d been sweating his ass off on a cross trainer with his eyes glued to Monica Geary.
Jason had a faraway look in his eyes. “Remember that time Roxie’s fiance plunged into a volcano, but it turned out he didn’t really die, and he secretly came back to Garrett City, gaslighting Roxie for a while?”
“That was great,” Eric agreed. Talking about the show was getting him pumped.
“Or the time Roxie was reunited with the baby she’d given birth to in high school but didn’t know she had, because she’d been kicked in the head at the prom by a runaway horse and got amnesia?”
“Oh, man. The way Monica turned on the tears during that scene? You could hear guys sniffling all over the weight room that day. She’s a great actress.”
The funny thing is that Monica thinks Eric is a bit of no nothing jock who is a bad actor. His humungous ego takes a bit of beating at her hands. What I thought was great about this story was that Eric and Monica were definitely opposites whose weaknesses were offset by the others’ strengths. It was easy to see that these two not only belong together as a couple but would be strong far after the pages of the story closed. Both characters showed character growth. Eric learns that being in love makes you vulnerable and Monica learns that being vulnerable is the only way to be in love. The two of them deeply needed to be loved and at first, they sought it in different ways. Monica from her fans which means not taking risks and Eric by spreading his favors around in superficial ways.
And for any readers out there that think this is an unbelievable set up, it’s totally true that many, many pro sports players watch soap operas. This requires no suspension of disbelief. In fact, there is a sportscaster for ESPN named
Mike Mark Schlereth. He had wanted to be a soap star and it became kind of a running joke until Guiding Light had him on as a guest star and now he has a recurring role. Pretty funny. I saw in your first sale letter that you had wrote for Soap Opera digest and it shows. This story reeks of authenticity.
By the way, while I know you have no say over your covers, if you did, I would ask never to use powder blue on the cover again because it looks like the guy is wearing his pajamas and it’s kind of hard to get “bad ass hockey player” when half dressed in powder blue. This book doesn’t topple my favorite Martin which was Body Check, but it rates right up there. It’s definitely a book that can take your mind off the dreary economy for a few hours. B