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He’s the perfect catch…for now!
When it comes to romance, Tracy Hayden is not looking for a rematch. She’s had epic passion—and problems!—with professional hockey player Ike Jelinek. Brilliant on skates and magic in bed, his too-traditional-for-her views were like a bucket of ice water on their affair.
Then an injury takes Ike out of the game, and everything changes. Suddenly he needs her services-providing business—even though he once claimed it was their biggest problem. Tracy’s determined to be professional, despite the sizzling attraction between them that won’t go away. Maybe they need a second fling to fix that!
Enjoy an exclusive excerpt:
Ike wasn’t as superstitious as most goaltenders, but he knew it was a bad sign to fall flat on his ass in the pre-game warm-up before he’d even made it to his crease.
He jumped up and made a show of poking at a nick in the ice, then called for a water bottle from the bench.
Kenny brought one for him, laughing. “I was expecting a freaking crater the way you wiped out, bro.”
Ike let his brother’s comment slide. He knew Kenny was excited to be back in the lineup after having been a healthy scratch again for the past week’s games. Kenny had only played once—the night after baby Joe’s birth—before Coach had benched him again. The rationale had been that they’d needed one of the tougher fourth-line guys in Kenny’s place for the harder, more physical games, against those opponents. Facing a younger, faster team tonight, Kenny had earned his place back.
“Do you need salt to throw over your shoulder?” Jean-Baptiste Larocque added as he joined them. “We don’t want to start the game with bad mojo.”
Ike flicked the bird at the star forward, then poured water into the divot. “Nah. No bad luck involved. I must have caught it funny.”
Jake skated over and tossed Ike a puck to smooth off the newly frozen patch of ice. His blue eyes were rimmed with red and he looked like he hadn’t slept in a week.
“Has your son been keeping you from your beauty sleep again, Bad Boy?” he said, to deflect the attention from himself.
Jake’s glare didn’t have its normal cutting edge. “Yeah. I’m thinking of getting a hotel room so I can get my pre-game nap in peace.”
“You can always crash at my place, bro.”
“Thanks.” Jake leaned on his stick. “I may take you up on that. Especially when we play Detroit and Toronto.”
Both teams were riding winning streaks and had strong road records. The way the Cats had been playing lately, they’d need to bring their A-game to have a chance of getting any points off either team.
“Anytime. There’s a bed with your name on it.”
“As long as you don’t take a nap while you’re on the ice, Bad Boy.” JB punched Jake in the arm and skated off.
The captain, Scotty Matthews, frowned at them as he glided past. “Stop flapping your gums and get some action going. The Oilers are going to come out hard tonight.”
The Islanders had handed Edmonton their butts last night in a game the Oilers should have won. Edmonton’s players would be looking to redeem themselves, which wasn’t good news for the Cats, who desperately needed the win.
Ike tossed Kenny the water bottle, then kicked the puck at his net. “Just fixing the ice to make sure no one else falls on their ass.”
“Aye aye, captain.” Kenny saluted Matthews, before dumping the bottle at the bench and joining the rest of the guys skating drills.
Scotty skated back around, then stopped. “So, do you need to sacrifice a chicken or something to ward off the bad luck after your tumble?”
Ike rolled his eyes. “Not this time.”
Scotty slapped him on the back. “You sure? We could razz that new kid on the equipment team.”
They both laughed. For a moment, Scotty looked like the young rookie he’d once been, rather than the grizzled veteran he was now. As Scotty skated off, Ike knew he’d miss him when the captain retired at the end of the season.
Retirement. Even though it loomed on the horizon at some point for Ike—sooner rather than later—it wasn’t something he looked forward to.
Pushing that thought from his mind, Ike warmed up, easing the stiffness from his muscles as he prepared to face shots. He practiced sliding between the pipes, right side, then left side, then right again. He’d need to be on his guard for fast break-outs to¬night, especially with the speedy Oilers’ wingers.
About the Author: Harlequin SuperRomance author, Anna Sugden, loves reading and writing happy endings as much as hockey! When not reading or watching hockey, she loves football, good food & wine, making simple cross-stitch projects, and collecting memorabilia, penguins and fab shoes!
A former marketing executive and primary teacher, Anna lives in Cambridge, England, with her husband and two bossy black cats. Learn more about Anna, her heart-warming romances and her shoes at www.AnnaSugden.com. You can also follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and on the Romance Bandits blog .