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

By: Stephanie Kay

“If you knew what was going on under there, you’d be stripping him, too,” Penny shot back, her cheeks flaming brighter and Amanda didn’t hide her chuckle. She loved how happy her friend was. It was about damn time.

And it wasn’t like she didn’t know what was going on under those uniforms. She’d seen more than enough images online portraying one ripped hockey player after another. Not that she was scoping out anyone in particular. Nope. Definitely not number thirty-three. She turned her focus back to her friend, the cool air in the arena a welcome relief.

“So you pitched a hockey article to a lifestyle magazine and you don’t even like sports?” Penny asked, her quizzical expression justified when she stated it that way.

“I know. Totally random. But I’m so freaking bored and I threw out the idea to Betsy a few days ago and she jumped on it like a person on a diet who hasn’t tasted a donut in ages. Which, in her case, is pretty damn accurate. Nothing good comes from that much kale.”

Penny wrinkled her nose, and Amanda laughed.

“I’m still amazed you’ve lasted over a year working for that woman,” Penny said. Amanda had shared her fair share of horror stories about her boss, dragon editor-in-chief.

“It’s been over eighteen months. Aren’t you proud?”

“You haven’t stayed in one place for this long since college.” Penny leaned in, wrapping her arm around Amanda. “And I know you’re itching to travel again, but I selfishly want you to stay put.”

“I know. And I’m glad I’m here, but I’m hoping these articles serve a dual purpose. Mainly, getting Betsy to give me more articles, and to weasel my way in to the travel department.” Sure, it wasn’t ideal. She’d rather go back to traveling the globe, but without a steady stream of income, her ideal was impossible.

Her salary as an editorial assistant for San Francisco Life only covered her basic expenses, with little left over, and she did not want to be an assistant forever. After traveling to more locations than she could count, being chained to a desk for the last eighteen months was torture. If she could find a way to move from editorial assistant to travel staff writer, she’d at least be able to get a portion of her trips covered by the magazine. They preferred to stay stateside, but a few times a year they covered exotic locales. That’s what she was aiming for.

“And this article is going to do that?” Penny asked.

“This isn’t just a sports article. It’s a four-part series about activities tourists can do in the city that aren’t super touristy. Everyone knows to visit the Ghirardelli Chocolate Factory, take a cable car ride, and shop at Fisherman’s Wharf, but my articles will be different. What to do around the city as a local. Spots you won’t find in a travel guide.”

“Sounds interesting.”

“I hope so.” It was a puff piece at best, but it was a start. “And who wouldn’t want to visit the city and take in a hockey game?”

“They are fun to watch,” Penny said, staring back at the ice. Ethan skated over and blew Penny a kiss before heading back to the locker room to wait for the game to officially start.

Amanda chuckled at her friend’s sigh. “Not everyone gets to fall in love with a hockey player.”

“It’s the best way to go,” Penny said, with a grin. “Okay, so tell me more. I swear I’m listening.”

Amanda shook her head. “Anyway. I’m focusing on all the local pro sports teams, but baseball season hasn’t started, and football just ended. And I like hockey. This isn’t even my first game this season,” Amanda said, scoping number thirty-three as he skated by.

“Uh huh. Sure you do,” Penny said, but Amanda ignored her and focused on the ice.

They’d arrived early for warm-ups, but really it was so Penny could watch Ethan skate around with no helmet on. Not that Amanda could blame her. So many gorgeous guys in one place and they chose to cover up their faces. Apparently, a stray hockey puck to an unguarded forehead before the game started was not something the players were on board with.

Safety over pleasing their fans. Hockey players were so selfish. She laughed at herself, remembering that exact conversation she’d had with the team captain a few months ago. The night she’d pathetically flirted with Ben, Captain Cheesy. A nickname that definitely didn’t fit the overly serious man.