This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Dakota will be awarding a backlist eBook to three randomly drawn commenters during the tour, and a grand prize of a print copy of After Alex Died (US ONLY) to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.
After Taylor Thompson’s heart was completely shattered by her high school’s most popular jock, she vowed never to date another athlete. She keeps that promise through her first three years of college. But after a chance meeting with a star hockey player, the charming and irresistible Kian Kavanagh, Taylor’s carefully constructed walls are in serious danger of being burned down by Mr. Fire on Ice.
Read an excerpt:
Runt stamped out his cigarette and glared at me.
“You really want to go into this place?” he muttered, already half drunk.
At only 5-feet 7-inches, Runt was the smallest recruit on our team. But what he lacked in size, he made up for in speed on the ice.
He crossed his arms over his chest. “This place is for all the rich kids over at the U. Why don’t we head over to O’Sullivan’s instead? Sheree said she’d be there after work.”
Sheree was a dancer that Runt liked to hook up with. She worked at a strip club on the other side of town.
“I’m sure she’ll have a few friends with her,” he offered.
I shook my head. I was tired of the whole scene. Easy girls with daddy issues were just too easy sometimes. Where was the challenge? The thrill of the chase? Those girls would be on their backs the minute I got into their apartments. And there were always plenty of puck bunnies around—fan girls we could count on for a good time.
“Can we just go in and have a drink?” I suggested. “One drink isn’t gonna kill you.”
Runt exhaled loudly. He loved to give me exaggerated teen-age girl sighs just to get under my skin, especially when he didn’t get his way. Runt and I had known each other for years. We kicked around the same neighborhood growing up and when I started playing hockey, I dragged him along with me. I was tough, the player that no one ever messed with, but Runt was fast and could handle the puck. Sometimes his talent was the only thing that saved him from getting his teeth knocked out because he could be kind of a jerk.
“If we’re going to go in, let’s do it,” Runt insisted. “And quit standing out here like idiots.”
Everywhere we went in town, people knew we played for the Firestorm. We were like celebrities in a town where not much else happened on Saturday nights but hockey. We never had to wait in line or pay to get into even the hottest clubs in town and we always had the pick of the crowd when it came to getting laid at the end of the night. I hadn’t learned very much in my first 21 years on earth but two things I did know about were women and hockey. I had plenty of experience in both arenas. And I knew most girls fell over themselves to date hockey players, even smart college girls.
Just as I expected, heads turned and eyes followed us as we entered the already crowded club. The Twisted Kilt was known for being one of the most popular places for kids from the U to hang out, probably because they were extremely lax with their carding policy, which could be summed up in two words: looks legit. As long as you looked even close to 21, you were in. I had a feeling the owner must have known some high rankers in city government or paid off the right people, maybe both. The place never got shut down despite the fact that probably half the people in there at any given time were underage.
Runt ordered us the usual: two pints of Guinness.
“One drink and we’re out of here,” he reminded me. “I don’t want to keep Sheree waiting.” What he really meant was if he didn’t catch her before her third drink, Sheree would probably be out the door with somebody else.
As I glanced at the sea of college kids drinking and laughing, I had a sudden twinge of regret. They were experiencing something I would never have the opportunity to experience. My life was all about the ice. It seemed like my entire life was predetermined the moment I first set foot in a hockey rink and showed so much promise. I knew I was destined to play pro hockey and that had been my focus since I was a kid.
Not that college was ever an option anyway. I barely made it through high school. I was smart enough to get good grades but my life was so messed up that I only made it to school occasionally and when I did, I was usually so far behind, it wasn’t worth trying to catch up. I finally ended up earning a GED instead of a diploma.
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