Home > Dirty Rebound (Slayers Hockey #3)

Dirty Rebound (Slayers Hockey #3)
Author: Mira Lyn Kelly

sChapter 1

 

 

Cammy

 

 

“Look, Cammy, you’re a nice girl. Easy on the eyes. And I tried to give it a chance,” he says around a yawn he doesn’t bother covering. “You know, gotta respect the single mom and all. But I’m just not feeling it.”

Gah, me either.

Zipping my parka against the biting January night air outside Wagner Arena, I nod as fans stream out around us. “I understand.”

I understand that I should have held out longer with the hockey tickets. Stretched it another month, maybe even two. But he was persistent, whiny, and fine, I felt guilty about using him. Even knowing he was using me for my connections to the Slayers hockey team.

Why did I think this was a good idea?

I’m a romantic. And despite a pretty rotten track record when it comes to guys—present company included, thank you—I still believe in happily ever afters.

This guy was no candidate.

He does that neck-twitch thing that drives me nuts and winces. “You gonna be okay getting home on your own?”

Seriously? I blow out a steamed breath and force a polite smile. “I’m fine.”

Sympathy shines in his eyes and I kind of want to puke a little. “Keep your chin up.”

 

 

“Bullshit!” George snaps from across our table in the back of the Five Hole. “If you’re going to break up with someone, you do it before the game. Not after. Never after. Is he here tonight?” Straightening in her seat, she scowls toward the front end of the bar. “I bet he’s here.”

“He is.” I huff, picking at the damp label on my beer. “A couple friends were waiting for him when he finished dumping me. It was super awkward walking fifteen feet behind them all the way from the arena to the bar.”

“This is why I avoided dating hockey fans,” Natalie groans, absently rolling the fat diamond on her finger. “It’s so hard to read when they’re really into you instead of being into your brother—or brother-in-law in your case.” Her brows furrow. “No wait—Julia had that thing so Greg donated his tickets tonight. George and I sat in Vaughn’s. Whose seats were you in?”

“Rux’s.”

Pinching her lips together against a laugh, she shakes her head. “Oh man, he’s going to be pissed.”

“So pissed,” George gleefully agrees, clinking her beer with each of ours.

Six more bottles land on the table as Quinn O’Brian leans in between them. “Hey Georgeous, who’s gonna be pissed?”

The girls are out of their seats in a flash, George throwing her arms around Quinn’s neck, and Natalie giggling as Vaughn Vassar sweeps her into his. It takes another minute before Rux clears the crowd. He’s tall and broad, dressed in one of his gorgeous custom post-game suits, chestnut hair combed back, but it’s that cocky smile that sets him apart. This guy. Even as he drops into the seat beside me, fans are still slapping his back.

Slinging a powerful arm around me, he flashes a huge grin. “You see it?”

“Nice breakaway.” It was beautiful. Tie game with thirty-seven seconds left in the third, and he scored the winning goal.

Pulling me in tight, he presses a quick kiss into my hair and then leans back, looking around. “Where’s what’s-his-name?”

“You mean The Blip?” George offers, getting comfy in her man’s lap. “Probably jerking it to a selfie from your seats.”

These girls are the best.

Rux leans back with a satisfied smile. “You finally drop his ass?”

I choke on a swallow of beer.

This time Nat is the one chiming in. “Not exactly.”

No more smile.

Between the music and the amped-up post-win crowd, the Five Hole is pretty loud, but I swear I can hear his molars grinding together as she fills him in. Rux has been a little overprotective of me since I scored what Natalie calls surrogate-little-sister status, but I think of more as being besties-in-law. And the look on his face right now is about as threatening as I’ve ever seen. But I’m pretty sure I don’t have to remind him of the no-beating-up-Cammy’s-ex-boyfriends rule.

“Keep your chin up?” he growls. “Is he fucking kidding?”

I lean into his side for a squeeze. “I know, right? Like I’m going to be so broken up about losing him? Please. And honestly, I can’t even be angry about him waiting until after the game—because, come on, Slayers tickets.”

Everyone around the table grudgingly agrees.

“The thing that rubs is I only agreed to go out with him because he asked like two hours after I found out Jeremy was moving back to Chicago. And I didn’t want to be single when he got here. But now, not even a month later and here I am… single again.”

Rux shakes his head. “What do you care if Jeremy thinks you’re dating someone? That asshole left you pregnant at eighteen.”

I shouldn’t care. After all these years I wish I didn’t. But the way he left me was brutal.

“I guess I just wanted him to see that I’m doing fine without him.” That I’m not waiting anymore.

“Sunshine, you’re better than fine. So you don’t date much—”

“I’m choosy.” Careful. Patient. God, have I been patient.

“Hell, yeah you are. And you’re also an awesome, hot-as-fuck mom with an incredible kid, a sister who would lay down her life for you, and kickass friends who love you. Plus, you’re rocking a great job that lets you work from home, your fridge always has the best snacks, and you score Slayers tickets on demand. Babe, you’re killing it.”

I feel myself getting a little misty, so I focus on the fun. “Your seats are pretty great.”

I grew up on football thanks to Julia, but since she married into hockey, I’ve seen the light.

“Right?” Reaching for my other shoulder, Rux pulls me around so we’re facing each other and I’m looking into his dark brown eyes. So it’s just him and me. “Jeremy know who you were dating?”

“No.” He hasn’t even asked.

Which is totally fine. It’s not like I thought Jeremy Levenson would be banging my door down trying to score some long-overdue second chance. He’s had seven years and hasn’t done it yet. Besides, if he’s really back for our son, then I don’t want anything else muddying the waters.

A nod. Rux looks past me. His eyes get hard, and I swear the next breath he takes fills his chest to twice its size, broadening his already intimidating shoulders. Following his glacial stare, I find The Blip standing a few feet off, his fangirl eyes locked on Rux.

“Yo, Rux, great game tonight… buy you a beer?”

No. Freaking. Way.

I turn back to Rux, expecting the seams of his suit to be busting open. But instead of going full-on Hulk… he’s smiling. Sort of. This isn’t Rux’s real smile, the one so contagious my son can’t see it without breaking into fits of giggles. This is something else. Something dangerous.

Rux nods to the guy I’m pretty sure he wants to take apart. “Yo, thanks for getting out of my way.”

Out of his way? What’s he—

In the next second, his mouth slants over mine in a kiss so unexpected, that in a million years I wouldn’t have seen it coming. A kiss that startles me still, frozen in his hold as he bows me back through one heartbeat, two… thirteen. When Rux pulls clear, he looks past me to where The Blip is standing red-faced and openmouthed, and growls, “Leave.”

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