As the new captain of the Colorado Coyotes, there’s a heavy weight on my shoulders. The Coyotes lost five players last season to a tragic arena explosion, and as the new team leader, I want to be a rock for my teammates. That includes battling my new neighbor Eleanor Lawrence, the Denver newspaper columnist who’s on a mission to end the city’s pro hockey team for good. Do I want her? Desperately. But we’re on opposing sides of a war I don’t intend to lose.
I’m in no danger of being charmed by Ford Barrett. My new neighbor is a caveman—not remotely my type. He may be attractive, but he’s also stubborn and permanently scowling. Even worse? He dropped a couch on my foot. The more we spar, though, the hotter my secret attraction to him burns. Once I give in to the possessive hockey player, lines get blurred.
I want to win, but I also want him. And I can’t have both.
The last thing any professional hockey player wants is to be the old man in the game. The guy who doesn’t know when it’s time to retire. Still, I can’t bear the thought of leaving the game.
This past year I’ve reflected on all my regrets, and I told myself that once I retire it’ll be the time to find the right woman. But this is where it gets tricky.
I think I’ve found her—although she’ll deny our connection to anyone who asks. We’ve been sleeping together casually and since I’m still playing hockey, I’ve let her get what she wants—me—whenever she wants.
After being told my career as a player is over, the owner of Florida Fury grants me a shot to stay in the game. A coaching position I didn’t know I wanted until it was offered. The catch? He’s also passing the family business down to his daughter.
Who’s his daughter?
The woman who’s been in and out of my bed for the past year. Which means the woman I intend to make mine is now my new boss.
My mom always said you don’t get a second shot at making a first impression. I’ve remembered that my entire career. Especially since I’m one of the few black men who play professional hockey.
I’m calculated and respectful in the way I speak to my coaches, the owners, and the media. I’ve never taken a risk… until her.
I could blame it on the fact that for once I pushed away the pressure of my career for the ocean waves, the sand, and good times with my new teammates. But those are excuses because the minute I saw her at the airport, something lit up inside me and the best week of my life was spent with her in my bed.
After our week in paradise, we said goodbye, exchanged phone numbers and both assumed that unless one of us was flying through the other’s city on the opposite side of the country, our vacation fling was over.
Then one night after practice I see her. She’s here. In my city. Telling me she moved here for a job. If that’s not fate tell me what is.
I’ve never wanted a second shot more than I do this time, but she’s determined to leave what we were on the island we left behind.
I have a reputation for being tight-lipped. You learn quick when you become a professional hockey player to be guarded with the media, so I’ve worked hard to cover up the mistakes of my youth.
But when I’m traded to the Florida Fury, where my ex–best friend is the starting right wing, I’m forced to confront my past. Ford and I have a lot of history, especially when it comes to his little sister, Imogen.
My heart still lurches in my chest when I see her.
My hands want to reach out and touch her.
My mouth wants to keep apologizing.
She’s the only woman who ever made me want more. But she’s also the one who fell victim to my most regrettable decision.
I’m not a believer in fate, but I must be back in her world for a reason. I’ve fought for everything I’ve gotten and I’m not backing down from what I know will be the best thing in my life.
Being the heir to Jacobs Enterprises, I’ve been around fake people my entire life. I promised myself a long time ago that I wouldn’t change for anyone. Which is the only reason I’m a professional hockey player who lives on the beach and does as he pleases without answering to anyone—except my father.
And now, my daughter.
Being a single dad wasn’t in the plan but after a one-night stand who took off after the baby was born, this is my reality.
My dad’s been harping on me to quit hockey and join the company for years and now that I’m a father, he’s only intensified his efforts. Until he makes me a deal I can’t refuse.
Insert Lena Boyd, the Jacobs’ family PR rep. She’s beautiful and intelligent and not at all the woman for me—ask anyone.
My dad needs us to act happily engaged and sell the idea that we’re in love. If we’re successful I won’t have to join the family legacy—ever. Of course, I agree.
That’s when things get complicated. I thought I had her all figured out until I found out there was more underneath her judgmental sneers and eye rolls. It feels like everything is coming together for the future I really want—with Lena—until my past ruins everything.
One word that comes to mind when someone talks about me. I like to think of it as protection, watching out for the ones I love. But now I’m spending more time in the penalty box than on the ice and the team owner isn’t happy.
Finding myself across the room from the hot therapist I kissed on New Year’s Eve only makes me push my problems down further. I want couch time with her but not the kind she’s used to.
I decide to lie to her just to finish off my therapy so I can do what I really want—date her—even if she says she doesn’t date hockey players. Just when my therapy sessions are up and I’ve made some headway with Paisley, it’s my parents who throw another wrench in my plans.
If I abide by my parent’s wishes to marry the one they’ve chosen, I’ll lose Paisley forever. But if I go against my parents, I’m failing my deceased best friend all over again.