Icing (Aces Hockey #1)(4)

By: Kelly Jamieson


With a wry smile, she took the empty glass, set it on a counter, and grabbed a clean one. Seconds later he had a full glass in front of him. He nodded approvingly. “That kind of service’ll get you a good tip.”

She smiled back. “So you broke up with your girlfriend and want to get drunk.”

It felt like a good night to get trashed. No game until Sunday night. Hell yeah. His smile went crooked. “That’s right.”

“Are you celebrating or drowning your sorrows?”

He considered that. “Well, seeing as I’m the dumper, not the dumpee, I should be celebrating.”

She nodded. “Yup. But I have the feeling you’re not.”

“It sucks.” He sighed. “She wasn’t happy.”

Her brown eyes softened. “You’re a nice guy.”

“You don’t even know me.”

“A jerk wouldn’t feel bad because he hurt someone’s feelings.”

“Well.” He pursed his lips briefly. “I don’t know how much I hurt her. Kinda feel she was more pissed than heartbroken.”

“Ah.” She set a glass on a shelf, easily reaching it with her height. “Still. Breaking up is hard to do. According to Neil Sedaka.”

“What? Who?”

She grinned. “Neil Sedaka. Come on. Never heard of him?”

He wrinkled his nose. “Uh, no.” He was pretty sure he wasn’t a country singer.

She shook her head.

“Thought maybe you were speaking from experience.” He eyed her as he lifted his drink to his mouth.

“Well, that too,” she said lightly. “Everyone’s been through it, right?”

“I guess. I actually don’t have much experience doing the dumping. I’m usually the dumpee.”

Her eyes widened briefly. “That’s hard to believe.”

He rolled his eyes. Heat gathered beneath the collar of his shirt and started to spread up to his face.

“Oh, come on. Good-looking guy like you? Don’t give me that.”

He shook his head, his face getting hotter. He scratched his head beneath the back of his ball cap and looked away. “Uh.”

Yeah, that was why he was such a loser with women. Scintillating conversationalist. Not.

Jesus.

“Another draft.” He pushed the glass across the bar toward her. Maybe a few more drinks would help him. “Please.”

“Okay, but I’m keeping an eye on you. You wanna give me your keys right now?”

He frowned. “Why?”

“So you don’t drive drunk.”

“I would never do that.”

She held out her hand, palm up, and wiggled her fingers. Sighing, he pulled the keys out of his pocket and slapped them into her hand. She grinned as she tucked them into a pocket, then got him another beer.

“My friends are meeting me here. Just so you know I’m not sitting here getting wasted all alone. They won’t let me drive drunk.”

“That’s great. Friends don’t let friends drive drunk. Good that they look out for you.”

He nodded. “They do. We all do. We have to.”

“Oh yeah? Why’s that?”

For some reason he didn’t want to tell her it was because they were a team. A pro hockey team. She worked at the Sin Bin, she had to know her boss was a hockey player. At that moment, he just wanted to be Duncan Armstrong who grew up on a Wisconsin dairy farm. Eh. The dairy farm part wasn’t exactly sexy.

Why was he even worried about that? He did a mental eye roll at himself.

“We just have each other’s backs,” he finally said vaguely.

“Well, that’s nice. Excuse me for a few minutes, I need to look after that table.”

She moved away again. This time he watched her the whole time, for some reason intrigued by her easy, friendly manner. She wasn’t drop-dead gorgeous like some of the other babes Rupper hired, but she probably made great tips just with that smile and the way she looked at people, all interested and shit.

Yeah, the guys at the table she was serving were laughing and flirting with her. He narrowed his eyes at one who laughed too loudly and leered too lasciviously.

How the hell did he even know that word? What a dork. He shook his head and turned back to his beer.

“So you’re not heartbroken and drowning your sorrows.” She resumed their conversation when she returned.

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