Icing (Aces Hockey #1)(3)

By: Kelly Jamieson


He walked into the bar, tossing his car keys and looking around for any of the guys. Still a little early for happy hour, the place was only half full and he didn’t see anyone he knew. With a shrug, he took a seat at the bar.

“What can I get you?”

He looked at the girl who’d appeared behind the bar. To his surprise, he didn’t recognize her. Rupper must have hired some new staff.

“Moens Ice draft, please.”

She nodded and moved away, reaching for a glass and then pulling on the tap to fill it with draft beer. He watched her move, recognizing the natural grace of an athlete. She was tall, though he couldn’t see if she was wearing heels. Some of the girls Rupper hired wore heels to wait on tables, and Duncan never got how they could do that. The Sin Bin had a reputation as having the hottest servers in town, guys and girls, which might have accounted for some of the restaurant’s popularity. Although the food was good too.

This girl was okay-looking—long, dark blond hair pulled back from a center part into a low ponytail, high cheekbones, brown eyes, and full lips. Her eyebrows were thicker than he cared for. Her black dress was modest and plain, unlike the skin-revealing, body-hugging dresses some of the other waitresses wore, and she didn’t use much makeup.

She set the draft in front of him.

“Thanks.”

“Do you want to run a tab?”

He tipped his head. Usually the waitresses knew him and his teammates and didn’t have to ask that. “Uh. Yeah.”

She nodded and gave him a courteous smile.

“You’re new here,” he said as she went to move away.

She paused, still smiling in a polite way. “Yes. I just started this week. You must be a regular.”

“Yeah, you could say that.”

Eh. She didn’t know who he was. He wasn’t going to tell her. He was tired of the puck bunnies, and he was especially tired of chicks who were interested in him only because of his fame and his money.

“I’m Amber,” she said. “Would you like a food menu?”

“No thanks.”

She grabbed a tray and moved from behind the bar to go look after a table of four, picking up empties and taking their order. He turned a little on the stool to watch. Nope, no heels, just black ballet flats and long legs. Killer legs, actually.

He shouldn’t be looking at her legs. He was done with women.

He leaned on the bar and sipped his beer. Damn. He liked women. He just wasn’t very good with them. In high school when other guys were getting laid, he’d been at hockey practices or playing games. The other hockey players had girls hanging all over them, but not him. He’d been focused on his goal—making the NHL.

Now lots of his teammates were married and having babies. He’d always figured he’d have that one day. Yeah, he was only twenty-seven years old, not that old in the real world, but in pro hockey, it was getting up there. He felt like he’d been an adult for a long time, thinking about how long he’d been on his own and focusing so much on his hockey career.

His best buddy, Marc “Super Duper” Dupuis, was now “in a relationship.” With Duncan’s little sister, for Chrissake. Duncan rolled his eyes at that. He’d been pretty pissed to discover they’d been screwing around with each other behind his back—in his condo, no less—but it seemed things were actually pretty serious between them. Lovey was a bit of a flake, but he was trying to give her the benefit of the doubt that she had her life on track. He sighed.

“That was a heartfelt sigh.”

He looked up at Amber behind the bar again. “Uh. Sorry.”

“Hey, don’t apologize. You okay?”

“Oh yeah. Fine. Great.”

She lifted her eyebrows. “Want to talk about it?”

“About what a loser I am?”

She burst out laughing. “Right.”

He shook his head, lips twisted into a smile that probably didn’t look real happy.

“Girl trouble,” Amber said. “Am I right?”

“How’d you know?”

She pushed out her bottom lip and nodded. “Lucky guess.” She tipped her head to one side. “Get dumped?”

“No. I was the dumper.” He drained his glass and held it up.

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