I can’t resist it—the challenge in his tone. I meet his gaze head-on. “Frankly, there’s never been anything interesting about it to me.”

He smirks. “I bet I could change your mind.”

“And why’s that?”

“Because it’s the best sport there is, and because it’s fucking awesome when I play it.”

He is cocky, and it’s too sexy for words.

But I won’t let him best me in this battle of wits.

“I dunno,” I say. “Isn’t hockey sort of uncivilized?”

I expect him to recoil at my dig, but he just laughs. “All right, before you start ripping on my sport, I’m going to need your name.”

Giving him my name feels personal. Giving him my name makes this go from flirty to dangerous.

But a name isn’t breaking the rules or losing the game.

And I can pull back.

I always do.

“Dean,” I tell him. “And I didn’t intend to offend your sensibilities. I suppose I’m just surprised you aren’t missing some teeth or something. I bet your dentist is pissed at you for not needing him.”

He laughs so loud that it seems to fill up the bar. “Thank you for noticing my pearly whites. I make a habit of staying on top of things, both on and off the ice.”

Ignore it . . . ignore the image of what he just said. No matter how hard it is.

“By the same token, shouldn’t you be making martinis for James Bond and drinking tea? If we’re playing stereotypes,” he continues.

“Is that your way of saying you want a martini? Because I make a fantastic one that will go to your head.”

A groan seems to rumble up from his chest, and he murmurs his appreciation. And I am skating on thin ice right now.

Must stop flirting.

“Sounds like my kind of martini.”

I return to his sport before talk of martinis goes to my head. Besides, hockey is an innocuous enough topic, since I know nothing about it. “Speaking of sports with sticks, isn’t the point of hockey just to get hit really hard all the time?”

“The point is to hit the puck really hard,” he says. “Hitting the players is just a bonus.”

“And you find this sort of heavy contact exhilarating, do you?”

The guy grins, leaning closer. “Oh, I find all sorts of heavy contact exhilarating. Given the right party, of course.”

Shit. We just jumped firmly over the dangerous line.

And I need to reel this back in. Whatever it takes.

I’m not going home with the hottest man I’ve ever seen walk into my bar.

No matter what superhuman feats of resistance are required.

3

Fitz

I didn’t come to England to get lucky.

I came here to support Emma, my brilliant little sister, who’s earned the chance of a lifetime to study art in her favorite place in the world. I’m just here to be the best big brother I can.

But getting lucky along the way?

Well, I certainly wouldn’t say no.

After all, I’ve worked damn hard to get here.

Hockey is the reason why I should be getting lucky in England. We’re only one week away from training camp, and that’s when our pact kicks in.

The pact that will expressly forbid getting lucky.

So yes, while I didn’t come to England for a little action, I’m not opposed to it preseason.

Not at all.

I’m pretty much never opposed to physical activity, especially of the bedroom variety.

But I can tell I’ve got my work cut out for me with Dean, and that’s exactly how I like it.

A little challenge.

A bit of a chase.

That’s a huge fucking turn-on.

I settle in at the bar, ready to do whatever it takes to get this man back to my hotel room.

He’s all Michael B. Jordan—hot as fuck and even better to listen to with that insanely sexy accent. I’m not immune to a hot-as-sin accent, or a man with a quicksilver tongue.

Because I’ve learned something about a man who isn’t afraid to give and take in a conversation. A man like that?

He’ll give and take the same way in bed.

In my pocket, my phone buzzes, and I check it to see a message.

Emma: Seems like you found someone fun.

I look down the bar and see my sister and her friend have settled there. A pretty brunette bartender is cracking jokes with them as she mixes a drink.

Emma catches my eye before pointing to where Dean’s dealing with other customers. Then she’s tapping into her phone.

Emma: I called it the second we walked in. You’re so into him.

I roll my eyes. I’m used to the teasing about my love life. My three sisters have wanted to hook me up with every guy friend they’ve ever had.

But I’m happy playing the field.

Especially when there are hot British bartenders just waiting to be picked up.

Dean grabs two different bottles and whips them around to make a cocktail. He moves them easily, quickly, almost like he’s performing a magic trick. The customers he’s mixing the drink in front of ooh and aah, clapping as he does a long pour. He finishes and hands the glass to an older woman at the other end of the bar. Then he pivots and heads my way. As he walks over, my lips curve up in a grin. Sure, I’m his customer, but he could have sent someone else to see if I needed a refill.


Tags: Lauren Blakely Romance
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