Icing (Aces Hockey #1)(8)

By: Kelly Jamieson

He’d seemed like such a nice guy.

She glanced their way. One of the other waitresses was taking their orders. They’d all gathered around a high table, still standing, and the testosterone level in the room ratcheted up several degrees. Luckily they weren’t in her section and she could just ignore them.

But that wasn’t so easy. Their presence filled the room and attracted attention from the other patrons, especially the female ones. There was soon a crowd gathered around them, mostly girls in short skirts or tight jeans, and lots of makeup.

Amber’s lips tightened as she served drinks and kept busy. Those girls might just want to say they’d had sex with a professional athlete, which was fine, sure, but she’d bet a lot of them were hanging out there because they wanted a rich husband. They had no idea what they’d be getting into. Heat roiled in her stomach and her teeth set together.

She focused on her job. The bar was filling up and drink orders were coming fast. She was an experienced waitress, so she was able to keep up with a smile on her face. Tips were a big part of her waitressing income and she wouldn’t get them if she scowled and snarled at the customers over her own stupid hang-ups.

She’d known when she took the job that the owner of the bar was a pro athlete, but hadn’t realized he and his friends hung out there. But it was okay. It was his bar. She was just a waitress.

With a smile, she set a glass of wine in front of a customer. She recognized the heavy feeling inside her as disappointment. She’d been flirting with Duncan, and he’d been flirting back, and she’d been having a bit of fun in her busy life, and…now she knew he was totally off-limits.

She approached the table of guys who’d been there for a while to see if they needed another round. “Hey, babe,” one of the guys called as she neared them. She blinked and balked a little as he reached out and grabbed her hand to draw her closer. “Where you been?”

“Sorry, it’s been busy. Another round of the same?”

“Nah, we just want you, hot legs.”

She resisted an eye roll, keeping her smile in place. They’d been giving good tips all evening and she needed the money. “Sorry, I’m not on the menu.” She extricated her hand.

The guys laughed.

“Too bad.” One of them leered at her.

“How are y’all doing for drinks?”

“Sure, another round,” a different guy said.

“You got it.” She flashed a big smile again and headed back to the bar.

“We need another bartender,” Jack said. He’d been going crazy since his shift had started.

“I know,” Amber agreed. “I think Elliott’s looking for someone. I heard he was doing interviews next week.”

“Better hire someone soon or I’m gonna lose my shit.” Jack slid a draft beer across the bar to her and she set it on her tray with a sympathetic smile.

Her feet were hurting and her shoulders ached and she wanted to crawl into bed and sleep for about twenty hours. But tomorrow she had research to do, a thesis paper to write, and at night she had to work again, not here but at a charity event with her other part-time job. But graduation and the end were in sight.

She straightened her shoulders, smiled, and picked up her tray.

Duncan was both relieved and disappointed his buddies had shown up. He’d felt like a loser sitting there by himself, but on the other hand, talking to Amber had made up for it. He’d been having fun with her. Except she was working and couldn’t really sit there and spend the whole night talking to him, maybe feeling sorry for him because he’d been stood up by his friends and was a big loser who couldn’t keep a girlfriend.

“Hey, what are you doing here?” Hughie called as he approached them. “Thought you were out with your supermodel tonight.”

Duncan gave the guys a grim smile. “We broke up.”

“Ah shit, seriously?” Hughie clapped a hand on his shoulder. “Sucks, dude. You okay?”

Duncan rolled his eyes. “I’m fine. I’m the one who ended things.”

All mouths dropped open.

“Yeah, yeah, I know.” He waved a hand. “She was hot, but…” Fuck, he didn’t even want to tell his friends that he felt like she’d been using him for his money. “Whatever.”

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