by Kate Meader Series: Chicago Rebels #1 Published by Pocket Star
on August 14th 2017 Genres: Contemporary
, Sports Pages:
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*** Special pre-order price of $1.99. First in series! ***
Three estranged sisters inherit their late father’s failing hockey franchise and are forced to confront a man’s world, their family’s demons, and the battle-hardened ice warriors skating into their hearts.
Harper Chase has just become the most powerful woman in the NHL after the death of her father Clifford Chase, maverick owner of the Chicago Rebels. But the team is a hot mess—underfunded, overweight, and close to tapping out of the league. Hell-bent on turning the luckless franchise around, Harper won’t let anything stand in her way. Not her gender, not her sisters, and especially not a veteran player with an attitude problem and a smoldering gaze designed to melt her ice-compacted defenses.
Veteran center Remy “Jinx” DuPre is on the downside of a career that’s seen him win big sponsorships, fans’ hearts, and more than a few notches on his stick. Only one goal has eluded him: the Stanley Cup. Sure, he’s been labeled as the unluckiest guy in the league, but with his recent streak of good play, he knows this is his year. So why the hell is he being shunted off to a failing hockey franchise run by a ball-buster in heels? And is she seriously expecting him to lead her band of misfit losers to a coveted spot in the playoffs?
He’d have a better chance of leading Harper on a merry skate to his bed…
He looked uncomfortable standing there, balancing on his skates, ready to spring for the door. But she knew he wouldn’t sit while she stood because his mother had raised him to respect women. Something fluttered in her chest at that notion. DuPre might be a lot of things—ladies’ man, good ol’ boy, thorn in her side—but she suspected he would never hurt someone weaker than himself.
“You’ve got three minutes, Harper.”
“Do you remember what I told you in Boston, DuPre?”
“Somethin’ about needin’ me to instill leadership and help these boys get to the playoffs.” Warm honey flowed through her veins at the timbre of his voice. She could have sworn her panties slipped an inch.
“I did say that. I meant it. And I thought you understood.”
He rubbed his chin, the scrape against stubble delicious to her ears. All he was missing was a Stetson, a blade of grass, and some flighty piece in a cropped tank and Daisy Dukes. “I understood the words because you’d put them together in a highly entertainin’ way, and to certain ears, they might make sense. Then I told you what needed to happen to ensure my cooperation.”
This nonsense stopped here. “Is that why you’re playing like you can barely walk, much less skate? What’s wrong, old man? Feeling a touch of arthritis in your joints?”
For a brief moment, she thought she might have found his weakness: vanity. But no. He merely threaded his arms over his chest—over the Rebels logo of a big C with a hockey stick and a cutlass crossed behind it—and cocked his head.
“You’re gonna have to use a little more finesse, Harper.”
More surprising than the fact Remy had used the word finesse correctly in a sentence was that he didn’t seem annoyed with her. He seemed . . . amused. As if she were a toy he could happily bat around like a kitten would a semiconscious mouse.
Applause sounded, signifying the beginning of the final period. Neither of them moved, hands metaphorically hovering at their hips like Old West gunfighters.
“The trade deadline,” she said, feeling livid and helpless. “Give me that.”
“The all-star game.”
Three months. The all-star game, held in late January, was traditionally viewed as the halfway point of the season. On the cusp of the busy trade period, it led into a month of bartering and haggling as everyone lined up their teams for the big push to the playoffs.
At her hesitation, he leaned in, those cobalt blues flashing. It wasn’t enough to unholster her gun; she should have already taken her shot, and that delay was her undoing.
“Would you rather three months of my full effort or a whole season of my skatin’ like I’m playin’ squirt hockey?”
“You can’t seriously be reducing this to a game of ‘would you rather’?”
His voice dropped to an intimate tone, her panties another inch with it. “If you shake on it now, I’ll begin that full effort tonight.”
The siren blared in the distance, followed by the home crowd’s roar. Five zip. Harper didn’t enjoy being blackmailed, but she enjoyed losing even less.
She thrust her hand forward impatiently. He took it in his firm grasp. That electricity setting her skin aflame was her body telling her she’d made the right decision. Nothing else.
“You have a game to finish.”
He held on, and now he inclined his head so close she could count each and every one of those pretty-boy eyelashes. Her pulse rate spiked, and she was certain he could sense it. Sense her heart thumping rabbit kicks, her vein pulsing in her throat.
“We’ve shaken on it now, minou, so don’t you dare think about welshing. I might sound like I spend my spare time spitballin’ from the rockin’ chair on my porch, but don’t let my accent fool you none. I’m not the kind of man you want for an enemy. We clear?”
She might have rolled her eyes if she wasn’t just a wee bit impressed by his chutzpah. Still, he needed to be informed that while he might have won this battle, the war was far from over.
“Try not to trip on your way to the rink, DuPre.”
He laughed, deep and robust, clearly delighted with himself. Idiot. His thumb pressed against her inner wrist, and a crackle of energy leeched from him into her body.
“You feel that, Harper?”
She snatched back her hand. “If you mean my goodwill evaporating with every second you’re standing here, then, yeah, I feel it.”
“I think we’re havin’ a thing.”
They were. Oh, God, they were. “Why are you still here again?”
His mouth curved. “Lady, I got the distinct feelin’ these next few months are gonna be fun.”
He picked up his stick and, with more grace than a six-foot-two brute wearing skates on dry land should possess, he left the locker room.
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