Growing up on an isolated island in the middle of Lake Erie, Aaron Sheftall learned to skate as a young child when extreme weather would cut his off his small community -- and its legends about a lost colony of seals -- from the rest of the world. Now an elite figure skater, Aaron dreams of getting to the Olympics. Yet competition is fierce and in a sport filled with injuries and drama, careers are short. But when a fluke accident changes the stakes for the entire U.S. team, Aaron sees his chance.
Zack Kelly used to be a war reporter. But a successful book about his time covering global conflicts, an unsuccessful marriage, and a dose of PTSD have sidelined him from the journalism game. When an old friend calls him with a long-form assignment about competitive figure skating, Zack has no idea what he's getting into. He also doesn't care -- it's a change of scenery and a paycheck.
Thrown together under circumstances neither of them are initially enthused about, Aaron and Zack ultimately embark on an unlikely -- and ill-advised -- romance about trust, myth, and what it really means to be comfortable in your own skin.
Ink and Ice is part of the same series as After the Gold. The books can be read in any order. Katie and Brendan's story continues here as a key part of Aaron's coaching team.
An Olympic hopeful and the reporter assigned to cover him navigate a rocky relationship in the pleasing second Twin Cities Ice romance from McRae and Maltese (following After the Gold). Twenty-three-year-old figure skater Aaron Sheftall rushes to Minnesota for preseason training after a top-ranked U.S. skater suffers a career-ending injury, opening up the field. Zack Kelly, an award-winning war-zone reporter coping with a recent divorce, receives a call from his editor asking him to write a story about Aaron and the other front-runner for the spot on the U.S. national team. Though he's unfamiliar with the sport, Zack agrees and he's immediately attracted to Aaron. The men grow closer, with Aaron teaching Zack to skate and Zack introducing Aaron to the pleasures of bondage. But Zack's worried that he'll be a distraction during Aaron's competitions and deflates Aaron's elation following a risky performance by ending their relationship. Now Aaron faces the intense qualifying competitions alone while Zack struggles to build a new life in the Twin Cities. But can they really stay apart? The friction between Aaron's bubbly, open style and Zack's outwardly brusque but sensitive personality buoys the plot along through these ups and downs. The result is a solid if not particularly memorable romance. (Self-published)