So Over You(6)

By: Kate Meader


He still held her hand.

If she weren’t so annoyed, she’d think it was kind of nice.

She yanked it away. “Who the hell do you think you are?”

“Who am I?” he boomed, and she prayed it was rhetorical. Unfortunately, no. “I am Vadim Petrov. Leading goal scorer for my first two years in the NHL. Winner of both the Kontinental and the Gagarin Cups. A man not to be trifled with. And you are, who, exactly? The daughter of a hockey great who was not so great when it came to running a team. The woman who can no longer play yet thinks she can offer ‘tips’ to me. To me! You may have pedigree, Isobel, but there is nothing I can learn from you.”

This arrogant, douchewaffle piece of shit!

She straightened, pulling herself millimeters from the wall, which had the effect of putting her eye-to-eye with him. Or eye-to-chin. Close enough.

Too close.

He was breathing hard, and so was she, the lift of her breasts teasing, tantalizing brushes against his chest.

“One conversation and you’re out of breath, Vaddy? We’re going to need to work on your conditioning.”

More of the dark and broody. More of the nipple pops against her sweater.

Stop being so Russian, Russian!

“My conditioning regimen is fine.”

A glance over to the bar found “Dwinkie” biting her lip in concern, throwing nervous blinks at her gal pals, and possibly planning an extraction with SEAL Team: Boobs Are Our Weapons.

“Getting your exercise with puck bunnies and Vesna groupies doesn’t count.” Isobel slid her hand between their bodies and brushed his abs. Good God, hard as ice and hot as sin. “As I suspected, a bit flabby with all your time off. We’ll take care of that with your recovery program.”

He stepped back, as though burned by her touch, and she willed away the ping of hurt in her chest. At least she knew where they stood on that score.

“I will discuss this with Coach Calhoun and Moretti tomorrow.”

“You do that, but do it early, because I’m still expecting you in full gear at 9 a.m. And, Vadim? I’d suggest you quit with the trail of women looking to sit on your . . . knee. We don’t want to weaken it or any other parts of your anatomy. Keep that up and you won’t even have a shot at Dancing with the Stars.”

Then with the reflexes that had once accorded her MVP status on the ice, she escaped his orbit and headed back into the crowd.





TWO




Isobel charged into Rebels HQ in Riverbrook, thirty miles north of downtown Chicago, on track for her father’s office.

No. The office of Dante Moretti, the Rebels’ new GM.

She was late, so she gave a quick wave of yes yes I’m here to his assistant and crashed through the door with her typical aplomb. Harper was already there, seated in one of the leather armchairs, which Isobel knew from personal experience were not as comfortable as they looked. In her hand was a coffee cup—not a mug, but a white porcelain cup on a saucer—which accessorized perfectly with her whole put-togetherness. Corn-silk-blond hair in a chignon, a houndstooth check sleeveless dress, black patent heels. Harper looked like she owned a pro hockey team.

They had never gelled, not for want of trying on Isobel’s part. From her earliest memories, Isobel adored her older-by-six-years sister. So pretty, so blond, so petite. Popular with everyone. But the admiration wasn’t reciprocated.

After Clifford Chase married Isobel’s mother, Gerry, he had abandoned his daughter from his first marriage. Harper had taken that hurt and used it as a shield whenever Isobel tried to get close. She hadn’t understood then why Harper pushed her away. Their father was a tough man to like, and while Isobel adored him, it had taken her a long time to acknowledge his faults. She now recognized the pain their father had caused. Six-year-old Harper, abandoned by Cliff, forced to live with her depressed, eternally blotto mother while Isobel enjoyed all his attention.

All of it.

Named after Lady Isobel Gathorne-Hardy, the daughter of Frederick Stanley, Sixteenth Earl of Derby and donor of the Stanley Cup, Isobel had lived her entire childhood burdened by her father’s expectations. Skate faster, Isobel. Shoot harder. You’re my winningest girl.

The past five months since his death had been turbulent, to say the least. Old wounds were ripped open and hastily sewn up, all so the Chase sisters could get through the next few months and make the play-offs. As for what would happen then, Isobel had no idea.

Whereas Harper looked like the model of an NHL franchise owner, Isobel most certainly did not. She’d awoken late and thrown on a tracksuit and sneakers, shoved her hair into a ponytail (with a rubber band from the junk drawer, because she couldn’t find anything else), and raced to the Rebels’ practice facility a few blocks over to meet with Vadim. That was an hour ago.

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