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Jami Davenport presents Game on in Seattle, a new series featuring Seattle sports teams, hot men, and strong women.
He trusts his gut, she trusts her numbers, and neither trusts the other, as a billionaire's mission to bring hockey to Seattle clashes with his passion for the woman who holds his heart.
Ethan Parker, a billionaire determined to bring a professional hockey to Seattle, will stop at nothing to realize his dream. After signing an agreement to purchase another city's team, Ethan is anxious to make the move to Seattle, but a gag order by the League forces him to keep the sale a secret until the season ends, leaving him no choice but to go undercover as a consultant to study his team during the playoffs.
Lauren Schneider, Assistant Director of Player Personnel for the Giants hockey team, gets no respect from the team's testosterone-loaded staff. When Ethan bursts onto the scene, full of charm and genuinely interested in her opinions, she shares the team's weaknesses and discovers a weakness of her own--for Ethan. But when his true identity is revealed, and he starts cleaning house based on her unwitting input, his betrayal cuts deeply on both a professional and personal level. Bound by an employment contract, Lauren reluctantly moves to Seattle to work for the newly christened Seattle Sockeyes and her sexy, infuriating boss.
Lauren and Ethan must come to terms with their passions--for the team, for hockey, and for each other. Will their situation build a frozen wall between them, or will their love burn hot enough to melt the ice shielding their hearts?
Ethan Parker came into this world with a silver spoon in his mouth. He would’ve preferred a hockey stick in his hands, but sometimes those were the breaks.
He’d never skate in the pros or hoist the Stanley Cup in victory, but that didn’t squelch his enthusiasm for everything hockey. Two to three times a week, he played for an adult league in a rink minutes south of Seattle, while he dreamed of one day bringing professional hockey to the Emerald City.
And maybe, just maybe, he’d realize that dream in the near future.
Months ago the Sleezer brothers—yes, seriously that was their name—contacted the Puget Sound Hockey Alliance through Ethan’s attorney, Cyrus North, with an offer Ethan couldn’t refuse, so he did what any billionaire with a hockey obsession would do—he wrote them a big check and waited.
Increasingly impatient, he slid a blank check for expansion fees under the table to the league and waited some more. Nothing happened. Not a damn, fucking thing. So much for money talking. His considerable bankroll wasn’t even whispering to the hockey powers that be.
It’d been months since he’d heard even a peep. While a day didn’t go by that he didn’t wonder what the hell was or wasn’t happening, tonight wasn’t about his frustrations with professional hockey. Tonight was all about immersing himself at the game’s most basic level while getting down and dirty with his amateur teammates. Tonight was about playing the game he loved with a bunch of guys equally as rabid. And tonight reminded him of all the reasons why he couldn’t give up until Seattle had a big-league hockey franchise.
Hockey fans like these deserved a team. The city deserved a team. And the effing Canucks deserved an effing rival. Oh, yeah, he could picture it now. Ethan grinned at the thought of trading trash-talk with some of his Canadian business associates.
Regardless, he forced himself back to the here and now. His team, the Mercer Mets, were playing for the adult league trophy, against the too-many-fucking-time champion Bothell Bombers. He’d looked forward to this game all day long—hell, all week long—and had arrived early to take practice shots at the net until he was cross-eyed.
Both teams traded scores in the first two periods until the Bombers took the lead with three minutes remaining in the third. Ethan skated down the ice after a runaway puck only to have Hal Johnson, a dirty player who’d had it out for Ethan all season, slam an elbow into his face. Skidding on his shoulder, Ethan hit the boards head first, sending waves of pain through his neck and back to all parts of his body. Even his dick hurt. Gathering his bruised wits about him and angrier than hell, he shot to his feet, head down, and rammed into Johnson, lifting the asshole off his skates and catapulting him across the ice.
Whistles blew and striped shirts stepped between them before they could do real damage to each other. Ethan attempted to lunge at the asshole but his teammates held him back. Fighting didn’t go over very well in this amateur league, but that’d never stopped Johnson before, and Ethan had been known to drop the gloves a time or two when absolutely necessary. He deemed this necessary. Obviously, the referee didn’t agree. Within seconds Ethan cooled his ass in the penalty box.
Fine. Whatever. Fuck this.
He pounded his hockey stick against the boards in a futile effort to spur his team on to winning the trophy.
The Mercer Mets’ goalie, a convenience store clerk who spent every spare penny on hockey equipment and fees, pushed up his mask to wipe away the sweat then hunkered down again as Bothell Bombers skated toward his net. Nat, the Mets’ best defenseman and a laid-off Boeing machinist, cut off the Bombers’ center and took a hack at the puck. Not pretty, but it shot down the ice away from the net where Syd, their top scorer and a city cop, sped after it and a hit slap shot toward the net. It missed by a fraction.
Ethan glanced at the scoreboard. Seconds left. Leaping to his feet, he shouted encouragement, but it was too late. The final buzzer sounded. With a heavy sigh, Ethan skated back onto the ice to shake hands with the opposing team like the good sport he really wasn’t. Except for Johnson. Instead he trash-talked the jerk as he walked by and engaged in a pushing match until their respective teammates pried them apart once more. Since he wasn’t going to get any satisfaction, Ethan headed for the locker room, sad to see the season end. It’d been damn fun while it lasted, but there was always next year.
“Ethan.” Cyrus, his attorney, stopped him short as he stepped off the ice.
“Come to watch me skate like crap and blow the game for the guys, Cy?” Ethan managed a grin despite how pissed he was at himself. Sure it was just a game in an adult league, but he hated losing. Hell, it could’ve been a pickup game of basketball in the parking lot and he’d treat it like the NBA finals.
Only Cy was grinning, and Ethan doubted it was because he enjoyed Ethan’s pain—which the bastard usually did.
“They’re ready, E.” He kept grinning, and Ethan could not for the life of him understand what the fuck they were ready for.
“Ready?” Ethan halted and squinted at his friend, not making sense of the words. That blow he’d taken to the head earlier must’ve have done more damage than he’d originally thought.
“All our hard work is about to pay off.” Cy looked ready to pee his pants from excitement.
Ethan went still inside, as Cy’s words sank into his thick skull. His heart stopped beating. His lungs stopped heaving. Nothing moved. Not an eyelash. Cy waited patiently, still grinning.
“What did you say?” Ethan pushed his dark hair off his forehead and wiped his face with a towel Nat tossed his way.
“They want to sell. The league is on board. Everything’s in place but with the stipulation that the sale be kept absolutely quiet as long as the Giants are in the playoffs.” Cyrus, a hockey fan in his own right, hopped from one foot to the other as if he were walking over hot coals. His hips swayed, and he danced to the disco music constantly playing in his head. He wouldn’t win Dancing with the Stars, but Ethan gave him points for enthusiasm.
“Playoffs?” Ethan said.
“Yeah, the Giants made the playoffs tonight by a thread.”
Ethan sat down hard on one of the bleacher seats, looking up at Cyrus. “As late as last week, the Sleezers swore they’d go down with their sinking ship.”
“That was before they lost a harassment lawsuit to a few former employees. Now a couple hundred million in their pockets is looking damn good.” Cyrus checked his watch. “I have the private jet idling on the tarmac at Boeing Field before the flakes change their minds. Again.”
“Did you call Reynolds?”
Brad Reynolds had been Ethan’s best friend since junior high football. The Reynolds family represented old Seattle money. Even if their fortune might be somewhat diminished of late, they still commanded instant respect and brandished major political clout. That political clout was proving to be more valuable than the cash when it came to getting permits approved for the new ice arena. Brad, the middle Reynolds brother, had jumped on board immediately as the family representative, while his two brothers, parents, and a sister came along for the ride as somewhat silent partners. None of them knew a damn thing about hockey, but they loved sports and were more than willing to learn.
“Yeah, Brad’s on his way. He’ll meet us at Boeing Field.”
Ethan checked his watch. Six-thirty on a Saturday. It was going to be a long but profitable night. “Crap. Let me shower, and I’ll be out in fifteen.”
Ethan made it out in nine minutes. The only reason he wasn’t quicker was because of the required commiserating with his teammates over the abrupt end of their season.
Several hours later, Ethan and Brad signed on the dotted line as majority shareholders and main representatives of the Puget Sound Hockey Alliance.
Seattle had a professional hockey team.
Only no one could know it.
An advocate of happy endings, Jami Davenport writes sexy contemporary and sports romances, including her two new indie endeavors: the Game On in Seattle Series and the Madrona Island Series. Jami lives on a small farm near Puget Sound with her Green Beret-turned-plumber husband, a Newfoundland cross with a tennis ball fetish, a prince disguised as an orange tabby cat, and an opinionated Hanoverian mare. She works in computer support in her day job and juggles too many balls, but she wouldn't have it any other way.