Skating the Line:San Francisco Strikers, book 2(11)

By: Stephanie Kay

“Amanda’s a writer. Works at SF Life. She wrote an article about the team.”

“You’re a reporter?” The words sounded like a curse from his lips, and she spun around.

“First of all, thanks for reading it, Ethan,” she said with a quick glance over her shoulder to Ethan. Hopefully it hadn’t been too fluffy for someone who actually played the game. Then she turned her gaze back on Ben. “And what is your deal?” She didn’t miss the color creeping up his neck as a few of the other guys leaned in. Served him right.

“I didn’t realize we had the media just walking around and taking notes when we weren’t aware. I didn’t come here tonight to have to worry seeing what I said amongst friends ending up in the press.”

“Whoa, man. Calm down,” Ethan said, as Amanda continued to glare at Ben. He had a lot of fucking nerve.

“What, exactly, is the big deal? I write for a lifestyle magazine. We don’t cover sports typically.”

“So why are you writing about us? And what are you writing about us?” His face hardened.

“I’m writing a series of articles for visitors. What to do and see in town that’s outside the normal tourist traps. I thought seeing the local sports team play was a good idea. Something different. I didn’t realize I needed a signed permission slip from you,” she bit out.

“Okay. Okay. Ben isn’t a fan of the media,” Ethan said, trying to settle them, but she wasn’t interested in playing along.

“You don’t say. And why is that? Someone do a number on you? You don’t like to talk about yourself. Isn’t that part of your job as a professional athlete? Talking to reporters?” The steam was rising, threatening to choke her, and her fingers itched in anger.

“No one did a number on me. I just like to know what’s going on with my team and to make sure we aren’t giving out free press to friends who aren’t upfront about who they are.”

Holy shit. Was he serious?

“I’m not a regular reporter. I’m an editorial assistant who sometimes gets to write a few pieces for the magazine. It’s a newbie’s view of the game. There were no interviews. I didn’t quote anyone. It was my perspective as a fan. I don’t know what your deal is, but direct your distaste for the media somewhere else.”

“So we should just assume that you won’t write about us? And why pick hockey? Because you had an in with Penny? Reporters are always looking for an in.”

“And now we’ve moved on to general sweeping assumptions. You know what they say about assuming,” she said. She hadn’t known this asshole side existed. Sure, he was short with the media, but Ethan always joined in and took over. Had Ben always been a media nightmare for the team? What the hell had happened to him?

“You shouldn’t call the talent an ass. They won’t do you any favors.”

“For fuck’s sake. I’m not asking for any favors, and you’re being an ass. Don’t worry, Cheese. I won’t be revealing any of your deep, dark secrets.” How dare he accuse her of exploiting them for favors.

His lips tightened. “What do you know about my secrets?” The question was soft, but she didn’t miss the weight behind it.

Yes, something was definitely up with him. And now she wanted to know every secret he had.

“While I would love to delve into the crazy superstitions that I’ve heard you all have, it was more of an overview. Fluff, really. I’m not after your secrets,” she said, unsure of why she felt the need to reassure him.

What was his issue with reporters? Not that she classified herself as a reporter, but something was definitely going on with him. Sure, the press could crowd a person, maybe get in his face because of his elite athlete status, but that was not who she was, or the type of journalist she ever wanted to be. She was perfectly content with writing about travel and food.

“Have you always been a reporter?” Ben asked.

She pulled back and stared at him. He would not let this go, and it made her want to research the hell out of him. Or throw a drink in his face. She could go either way right now.

“Cheese,” she drew out, ignoring his bristle. “I’m not a reporter. I have no desire to do an in-depth review of anyone on the team. Anything you say to me, will not end up online, I promise. The sports article is done, and I probably won’t be writing about hockey—or its players—again, so chill out.”

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