"When two people who thrive on taking charge both in and out of the bedroom collide, the result is explosive."
Manage the Vipers hockey team! Me? Well, that’s my role now. Shame a gorgeous, cocky-assed goaltender is testing my patience. Sweet cheeks—really, is that any way to refer to the boss? Dustin “Speed” Reed certainly seems to think so.
It’s okay though. I’ll escape to my billionaire father’s paradise retreat. Except Dustin decides to jump on for the ride. Then the tension really heats up, hotter than the scorching midday sun.
I want to slap him and kiss him. Push him away and rip off his clothes. The feeling is mutual—a potent cocktail of anger mixed with lust. I know we shouldn’t. It can’t end well, especially when I’m going give him the sack as soon as I push him out of it.
But what’s the fun in having rules if no one ever breaks them? I’ll take what I can, give him what he wants and worry about balancing the books tomorrow. Surely my heart will be fine.
“You shouldn’t have worried my father about this whole contract business. He’s sick.”
“I didn’t, my agent did. That’s his job.”
“He should have contacted me.”
He huffed. “Perhaps he knew he’d get as much sense out of you as he would a damn puck.”
I poked his chest. This time, instead of feeling the hard padding he wore when dressed in his goaltender getup, I felt his sun-warm skin and the solidity of his sternum beneath my finger. I tried not to let touching his flesh affect my body, but it did. There was something about his skin and the strength beneath that flicked my switches. “I told you back there,” I said as firmly as I could, “I’m here to stay. Get used to it.”
“So am I?” He grabbed my wrist, wrapped his big fingers around it and pulled my hand away from his chest.
“We’ll see,” I said, tugging.
I was surprised when he me let go and quickly made the most of it by stepping around him. I needed the sanctuary of the villa.
I’d taken five steps when I felt him clutch my upper arm and the heat of his hand burn onto my skin. He spun me quite roughly to face him. I staggered but he had a good hold and righted me with what seemed like no effort.
“So let’s fucking do this,” he said harshly. “Right here, right now.” He grabbed my other arm, pulled me close.
I caught my breath and stared up at his wild, angry face cast in shadow by his peaked cap. “Do what?”
“Hash this out. The damn contract.”
“No, that’s not how it works.”
“It is in my world. Tell me, what do I have to do for an extension with the Vipers. I want three years. I’ll go with the same conditions as I have now. Can’t start fairer than that.”
“Dustin, no, we can’t do this. Not here, not now.”
He licked his lips, leaving a wet sheen there that captured my attention. “We can. Come on, what do you want?”
I shook my head, licked my own lips. I couldn’t bring myself to say it. But the truth was I didn’t want him at all because the team couldn’t afford him. Not on his current exorbitant salary anyway. God knows what my father had been thinking when he’d agreed to that. He must have been on the whiskey or something.
I looked out to sea, watched a lone gull swoop across the surface of a crashing wave.
“Tell me,” he said again, pulling me closer still.
My breasts came into contact with his chest. A dart of longing went through me like it had in New York when he’d kissed me. How did he do that, when he was so damn furious with me it just made me want to get closer to him, physically that was. Sense told me I should run, get the hell away, but I couldn’t. I didn’t want to.
“This won’t work,” I said.
“Because I…I don’t want you.” I pressed my hands on his dense pectoral muscles, stared up at him.
“The state I’ve inherited the team in is…” I stopped myself. I couldn’t go into all the financial details with a player. That wasn’t fair, nor ethical. Not when I hadn’t had a chance to hash it out with Dad yet.
“The state you’ve inherited the team in?” He spoke with a guttural quality to his voice, as though he’d mixed gravel with the words.
“I can’t discuss it. You’ll just have to accept the decision.”
His nostrils flared and his lips flattened. “You mean that, don’t you? You really don’t have any intention of renewing my contract.” He paused. “Shit.”
God, I hated to see pain in his eyes. He clearly loved playing for the Vipers. And who could blame him? It was every hockey player’s dream come true.
I slipped my hands higher onto the base of his neck and rubbed the taut tendons there with my thumbs. “I wish I did want you,” I whispered.
Oh, what a lie. Because I did, just not for the team. His body, pressing against mine, the smell of his slightly malty breath and the way he was eating me up with his gaze. It all made me want him very much. In my bed.
Suddenly he snapped me tight against him, wrapped his arms around my waist and set me flush against his body.
“And I wish I didn’t fucking want you,” he said, his jaw tightening, the syllables seeming to struggle to get out from between his gritted teeth.
He wished he didn’t want me? Those words ping-ponged around my mind. What did he mean? That he did want me, the way I wanted him, even though it made no sense?
I went up on my toes and cradled the back of his head. I stared into his eyes, looking for answers. His pupils were wide despite the sunshine, and desire flamed within them. Yes, I’d been right, he did want me, exactly the same way I had to have him. Now.
I kissed him. With the same furious passion he’d inflicted on me in the hotel. For a horrendous moment I thought I’d made a God almighty mistake—his lips were still, his tongue flat. But then he melted, opened up and let me in.
He groaned, dipped his tongue into my mouth and slid his hand up my back to my hair, bunching his fingers in my casual updo.
Like before, his kiss transported me to a wild place where anything could happen. I writhed against him and was aware of his cock hardening against my stomach. It thrilled me that he was turned-on by me. Big, tough Dustin was hot for a bit of action with little old me. Bring it on.
“Fuck,” he muttered against my lips.
“Okay,” I gasped.
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