Play by Play Series #8.5
Trick and Stella dated before but seemed to drift apart because each was so busy with their lives. But he saw her again in a bar and asked her out. They start seeing each other again and enjoy it. But Stella is determined that it is not a relationship. But what happens when Trick falls for her?
I enjoyed this novella.
From the author:
Superstar hockey player Patrick “Trick” Niemeyer and dancer Stella Slovinski have picked up where they left off a year ago, resuming their hot, uncomplicated affair. Stella refuses to call it dating, or a relationship. But lately, Trick is looking for more…
Stella’s been burned before—in a relationship she never talks about—not with her family, not with her friends, and definitely not with Trick. But now it’s the holiday season and Trick is determined to give Stella his heart wrapped up in a bow. He knows Stella is the right woman for him, but he’ll have to melt the ice surrounding her heart to keep her from walking away.
Patrick “Trick” Niemeyer walked into McGill’s, his favorite after-game bar hangout, with several of his fellow players.
It had been a grueling game tonight, and they’d eked out a win by only one goal over Winnipeg. Since it was Friday night and they were on home turf, they deserved to celebrate.
“I need a drink—or three,” Drew Hogan said.
He and Drew were of like minds there, which didn’t surprise him since they were friends and had been as long as they’d both played for the New York Travelers.
“Let’s get this party started.” Trick led the way to the bar.
“How many of us are having beer?” Avery Mangino, their goalie and the main reason they’d won tonight, turned and counted as all of them raised fingers.
“Okay, that’s a half dozen.” Avery turned to the bartender, who slid bottles across.
Trick took a long draw from the bottle, then sighed. Nice and cold, like the ice had been tonight. But the crowd had been hot, and so had the game. They’d had to work hard for this win, and it had been a nail-biter all the way to the buzzer at the end of the third period.
“We need to avoid these close ones,” Avery said, leaning against the bar. “You all are going to have to score more goals next time.”
“It’s Trick’s fault,” Drew said. “He let that asshole steal the puck on a power play and slide one past you.”
“I agree,” Boyd Litman said. “Let’s blame Trick.”
“I don’t know,” Trick said. “You looked a little slow, Boyd. Stay up past your bedtime last night?”
“I say we blame the defense,” Drew said.
Avery frowned. “Don’t mess with my defense.”
“Someone fucking with us?” Colin Kozlow slung an arm around Avery’s shoulder. “If it wasn’t for us, we’d have been down by several goals since you pansies could only sink two in the net tonight.”
They spent at least a half hour giving each other shit, ordered up a few more beers, then set up at the pool table. Nothing like winding down after a particularly grueling game.
Trick had found a comfortable spot leaning against the wall, watching the guys take their shots, when the door opened and two women walked in. Not that women being in the bar was unusual, but these two caught his eye.
He noticed the blonde right away. Tall, with short hair and big blue eyes, she stood out even across the room. She was slender, and wore black leather boots over skintight jeans. She had on a long coat that hid the rest of her body, but Trick knew that body well, just like he knew the woman well.
He hadn’t seen her in a while. They’d been hot and heavy on and off for several months late last year, and some earlier this year, and then they’d lost touch. She was a dancer, and about as busy as he was during his season. It had been a no-strings kind of thing, just the way he’d wanted it, and so had she.
He couldn’t even remember why they’d stopped seeing each other.
He sure liked seeing her right now. So did every other guy in the place. Stella was the kind of woman who commanded a man’s attention without even trying. It was the way she moved, with a confidence and grace like she didn’t give a shit if a man looked, but she had to know they were all looking.
She didn’t make eye contact, in fact was laughing with her female friend as they grabbed a table at the opposite corner of the room. She shrugged out of her coat, and he saw she was wearing a body-hugging top.
She’d lost some weight since the last time he saw her, which was . . .
Hell . . . March, maybe? He’d been at the tail end of his season, and busy, trying to make the playoffs, working his ass off. He hadn’t called her. She hadn’t called him.
And then the Travelers had lost in the playoffs, and he’d taken time off, gone to visit his mom. He’d taken a vacation, done some endorsements, and he’d still never heard from Stella. It wasn’t like they’d even dated. It had been more like a series of hookups.
Fun ones, too. His lips curved at the thought.
Read more here.