Author Willow Fox ebook eBook Daring the Hockey Player (eBook)

Daring the Hockey Player (eBook)

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I didn’t plan on dating a hockey player. It just kind of happened.

At least that’s what I’m telling everyone. Except maybe I did plan it. Maybe it wasn’t a coincidence at all…

Jasper Greyson is hot, flirty, and the epitome of trouble.

But he’s off-limits. He’s my sister’s brother-in-law, or at least he’s about to be, which kind of makes us family.

I should be staying as far from him as possible, except I like hanging out with him, watching him on the ice, and grabbing drinks with him and the guys.

Yes, I intentionally showed up when I knew he’d be at the bar because he posted it on social media. I’ve been stalking him.

I keep telling myself it’s a harmless crush. Feelings don’t have to be acted on.

We’re friends. I’m not sure he’ll ever see me as anything else. That’s problem number one. I’ve been friend-zoned.

Problem number two. My apartment complex caught fire, and I don’t have insurance. I have nowhere else to go.

And when Jasper finds out, he insists that I stay at his place, in his guest room. Stalking my crush online is one thing. Living with him is entirely something else.

This steamy rom-com hockey romance contains no cheating and no cliffhanger. It features characters from Faking it with the Billionaire but can be read as a standalone. HEA.

Amber

I'm not usually the girl who asks a guy out, but here I am. The butterflies in my stomach make me nervous, and I shift awkwardly on the bar stool, wondering if he's going to stand me up.

I have a date tonight with Tripp. I don't know his last name. It's probably for the best. Not that I'm looking for a hookup because I've never done that. I'm the queen of taking things slow, although that doesn’t mean that I don't crush hard and fast.

I've been scouring the dating sites, but I haven't talked with anyone online. But a few weeks ago, when I swung by Steele Concierge Medical to pick up my friend Charlotte, who had slipped and twisted her ankle while ice skating, I literally walked right into Mr. Handsome—AKA Tripp.

She did the tripping, and I did the walking smack into his chest. And I imagine it was a gorgeous chest. He certainly was rocking a six-pack, and those dark-rimmed glasses made him look a hundred times sexier.

When did I get so fucking horny that I started asking guys out? Not that there's anything wrong with a woman making the first move. It's just not what I do, and I'm uncomfortable waiting at the bar alone for him.

I grab my phone from my purse and text Charlotte. 

Hot date tonight with Tripp, the nurse from the hospital.

Charlotte and I met last summer at a frat party at NYU. We have an agreement that if we ever go out with a stranger, we meet him in a public place but also let each other know the details, just in case they turn out to be a kidnapper and toss one of us in the back of their trunk.

Charlotte watches a little too much true crime, and I think she's starting to rub off on me.

Details, and text me when you get home.

I bite down on my tongue, tempted to answer her with a “Yes, Mom,” but I think better of it.

Of course, I text and shove my phone into my purse. I don't want to be that girl on our date—the one who's staring at her phone and more interested in her text messages than the man she's conversing with.

I order a Long Island iced tea, and the bartender asks to see my identification. I grab my fake ID from my wallet and slide it across the bar to him.

He scrutinizes it for a minute before handing it back.

I'll be twenty-one in a few months, but I've been pulling off the fake ID for well over a year. The bar is loud already, and then the front door swings open, giving way to a group of guys barreling in together, happy and full of spunk.

One of them leans across the bar and asks the bartender to change the channel on the television, and a sports recap is playing on the screen. I glance from the screen to the guys, and I swear, the one with dark hair and the cutest smile is the same guy on the screen.

The screen displays an interview following the hockey game. The name at the bottom of the screen reads Jasper Greyson.

It's definitely him, unless he has a twin brother or a body double.

I can't help but stare, and when he notices, he offers me a friendly smile. He stands at the counter, ordering drinks for the table, and then he saunters off without so much as a hello.

At least I got a smile.

Not that I should care.

I'm waiting for Tripp to show up, and I try not to glance at my watch, but he's definitely a few minutes late.

He didn't mention having to work today, but it's possible he could have gotten stuck at the hospital. He's an ER nurse, and it wouldn't be unusual for him to have to work a double shift or something. At least, that's what I'm telling myself in light of him showing up late.

I sip my drink and glance at the door.

Tripp comes walking in, looking sexy as hell. I exhale a tiny breath, my hands trembling from nerves.

I'm a virgin. Never been kissed. Completely inexperienced with guys. But that doesn't mean I haven't been out on dates. I just like to take my time. I don't want to jump into something that I'm not ready for, and quite frankly, all the guys in high school and at college are super immature.

I take another swig of the Long Island iced tea, doing my best to settle the butterflies that are making me nauseous. 

I'm not sure why this guy, Tripp, makes me nervous. Maybe it's because he's a few years older than I am. He's also hot. Like, just staring at him for a few minutes will give me fantasies to live off of for the next couple of months.

"Hi, Amber," he says and gives me a friendly hug.

He's tall and smells good. I try not to embrace him for too long. I don't want to seem clingy or weird. "Hi," I say and force a smile. My stomach is tumbling, and I gesture to the seat beside me at the bar.

Tripp grabs the stool and waves the bartender over, ordering a vodka. 

I can't imagine drinking vodka straight, but I'm trying not to judge him. 

"Did you have work today?" I ask. What I really want to know is, did he have a bad day? Is that why he's going straight for the hard stuff?

Tripp shakes his head. "Day off for the week. I'm on for the next two weeks starting tomorrow."

"Oh, wow." I'm surprised by his schedule. "The hospital has you work fourteen days in a row?"

"I like the overtime. It keeps me busy, and the pay is great, too," he says.

I take another swig from my drink. Handsome. Check. Workaholic. Red flag. But he's an adult, and I'm still in college. Maybe that's what it's like when you get out of school? You work yourself to death. It doesn't sound fun.

At least this is a red flag, I can see. And the vodka might be one too. I'm not sure. It's still too early to tell.

"What about you? You're still in school?" Tripp asks.

I blush and nod. "Yes, I'm studying microbiology. I have another year until I graduate."

"What do you plan on doing with that?" he asks.

"I'm hoping to get a job at a hospital or university laboratory," I say.

"Let me know when you graduate. Maybe I can help you out." Tripp downs the shot of vodka and orders another.

"Thanks. How do you like working for Steele Concierge?" I ask. It's a privately owned and funded medical center in the heart of downtown New York City. Charlotte comes from money, so when she injured her ankle, she had the cab driver take her where there wouldn't be a long wait in the ER.

"The sixteen-hour days are a bit brutal. The nurses, you wouldn't believe what some of them are up to."

"What do you mean?" I ask.

"The charge nurse was caught in the stairwell with a bag of fentanyl, passed out. We thought for a minute that she ODed."

"Oh my gosh. Did they fire her?" I can't imagine anyone being allowed to keep their job after that type of ordeal.

"They forced her into thirty-day rehab. She's back on the floor again, was clean for about a year…"

"How did she not lose her license?" Shock floods through me.

Tripp shrugs. "The board doesn't really do much since the hospital is the equivalent of a drug dealer. Making her give patients drugs, it's like it's there and tempting her."

I'm utterly speechless, and I stare at him like the world suddenly makes absolutely zero sense. 

"But she stole fentanyl from the hospital."

"She wasn't the only one using fentanyl. Three, no, four other nurses were taking part. They'd all steal something and share it amongst one another. Super easy, post-Covid, when the inhalers for an asthma attack are in the same cabinet as the narcotics. A nurse unlocks the cabinet, rushes to get what they need, and doesn't bother locking it."

"That's insane." I can't wrap my head around how any of this is acceptable or how it could be true. But he doesn't seem like he's lying. He looks stressed, with dark circles under his eyes and his fingers drumming against the bar counter.

Tripp shrugs like it’s not that surprising anymore. He’s grown cold to it, like it’s just another day at the hospital. He finishes his second shot of vodka and orders a third.

Maybe he’s just making himself numb.

“I mean, I get it. I work sixteen-hour days. I've had to ask the doctors for methamphetamines." 

I stare at him, shocked by where this is going. Because, already, my mind is telling me it can't be good.

"You do know what methamphetamines are?"

I wasn't born yesterday, but my drug knowledge is limited. I've never done more than a few edibles of the marijuana variety. I just stare at him, too shocked to answer, and he continues speaking.

"Meth salts? Yeah, I'd have the doctor give me that when I'd have to work a sixteen-hour shift or drive home after."

I think my mouth just hit the floor. I tip my drink back, finishing the Long Island iced tea. I gesture the bartender over for a second because this conversation took a turn that I was not expecting.

And any warm, tingly feelings that I had toward Tripp have grown ice cold. 

Crush obliterated.

I should high-tail my ass out of the bar and leave while I'm sober enough to drive myself home. Not that I'm technically sober enough to drive legally, given I'm twenty, but whatever.

Laughter and high-fives pull my attention briefly away from Tripp. 

Another glance at the rowdy group in the back, and I'd bet it’s the Ice Dragons having drinks after a win. They're one of New York's NHL teams. I don't know a ton about the team, but from the short segment on the news, I recognize a few faces.

The man who had asked the bartender to change channels and bought a round for his buddies, Jasper Greyson, makes eye contact with me.

At least, I think he does. He could be glancing past me at the television screen, but I'd like to think I caught his attention. I wish there were a secret signal that I could give him to come and rescue me.

A girl can dream, right?

Tripp is talking, and I'm grateful when my second Long Island iced tea arrives because it helps dull my senses and the fact that my interest in him is waning. Okay, it's technically gone, but I'm not sure of a nice way to excuse myself and run.

I'm too nice.

Too friendly.

He seems to think I'm interested because he puts his hand on my thigh.

My eyes widen, and I remove his hand, putting it back on his leg. Tripp keeps on talking, and I'm not sure that he's even noticed my disinterest. He's now rambling about how he vandalized the local skate park, how he brought out his tools at night and tore down the metal fencing because he didn't believe it should be shut down.

"Kids should have a place to skate," Tripp says.

I stare at him with a smirk. "My best friend, Charlotte, she works for the park district," I say. 

His eyes widen. "You have to promise not to tell her."

I make no such promise. I just stare at him like he's the biggest dumb fuck in the world right now, confessing his sins to me. Although, he doesn't have any remorse for what he's done.

I don't ask him if he was on meth when he decided to tear down the metal fencing around the skate park. I honestly don't care.

"I think I should go," I say, finally gathering the courage to get my ass out of the bar before he starts thinking that he's going to get lucky because this guy clearly can't read the signs.

Tripp puts his hand on my arm, pulling me back onto the stool. "It's only been an hour. The night is still young," he says.

He shifts and stands, blocking me from getting up. There's the bar behind me and a small group standing on the opposite side, blocking me from exiting easily through their crowd.

"We're just getting to know one another," Tripp says.

"Yeah, Tripp, this isn't going to work out." I'm trying to be direct and as nice as I can be. His eyes are dilated, and I can't tell if it's because he's on meth right now or if the lighting in the bar is to blame.

"There's chemistry between us. It doesn't have to be anything serious. Have you ever had a fling before?" Tripp asks.

"Hold that thought. I need to use the ladies’ room," I say, taking my purse with me. He lets me pass as I head toward the back of the bar.

There has to be an exit out of here.

I hurry down the hallway past the bathroom for the back exit. The sign on the door reads emergency exit only. Yeah, it's an emergency, but if it's armed and has an alarm, I’m not sure that’s quite what they mean. I’ve never been much of a rebel.

My hands tremble, and I remain in the hallway near the bathroom, trying to figure out another way out of the bar without being seen. In order to leave, I’ll have to waltz right past Tripp.

Jasper Greyson heads toward the men’s room.

“I need—" I whisper, my voice trembling as I speak, trying to corner him.

“You want an autograph?” he asks with a warm smile and tilts his head at me. His brow furrows the longer he stares. “Are you okay?” he asks, taking a soft, tentative step forward, a hand reaching out for my arm.

My breath catches in my throat, his concern overwhelming. "I need help."

I didn’t plan on dating a hockey player. It just kind of happened. 

At least that’s what I’m telling everyone. Except maybe I did plan it. Maybe it wasn’t a coincidence at all…

Jasper Greyson is hot, flirty, and the epitome of trouble.

But he’s off-limits. He’s my sister’s brother-in-law, or at least he’s about to be, which kind of makes us family.

I should be staying as far from him as possible, except I like hanging out with him, watching him on the ice, and grabbing drinks with him and the guys.

Yes, I intentionally showed up when I knew he’d be at the bar because he posted it on social media. I’ve been stalking him.

I keep telling myself it’s a harmless crush. Feelings don’t have to be acted on.

We’re friends. I’m not sure he’ll ever see me as anything else. That’s problem number one. I’ve been friend-zoned.

Problem number two. My apartment complex caught fire, and I don’t have insurance. I have nowhere else to go.

And when Jasper finds out, he insists that I stay at his place, in his guest room. Stalking my crush online is one thing. Living with him is entirely something else.

This steamy rom-com hockey romance is a slow-burn and contains no cheating and no cliffhanger. It features characters from Faking it with the Billionaire but can be read as a standalone. HEA.

Steam Rating: 🌶️🌶️🌶️

  1. FAKING IT WITH THE BILLIONAIRE
  2. DARING THE HOCKEY PLAYER
  3. ARRESTING THE HOCKEY PLAYER (COMING SOON)

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