This weeks Friend Friday is coming from Emily Cale and Angela s Stone. Two, very wonerful friends with a very brilliant book to show off!
By Emily Cale and Angela S. Stone
Hockey goalie Tarah ‘TJ’ Elliot is too busy stopping pucks to go looking for love. When her friend Natalie sets her up through Madame Eve’s 1 Night Stand service, she grudgingly agrees to go. Her ultimate fantasy comes true when Scott Alarid, one of the top scorers in the league, shows up at her hotel room. Hockey player TJ can’t possibly spend a night with him, but Tarah certainly can.
Scott’s tired of dealing with women who only like him for his all-star status. After his teammates arrange a date for him using the 1NS website, he’s delighted to find a woman who doesn’t know a thing about the sport. But, will the truth force them to put their relationship on ice?
Finally. What kind of guy showed up late for a first date, anyway? After thirty minutes of exploring the room’s features then sitting on the couch flipping through TV channels, TJ had been tempted to bolt the door and pretend she’d left when he showed up. If he ever did. For a while, she’d been skeptical. When the front desk called to confirm she expected company, she almost told them to turn him away. He deserved it, after keeping her waiting so long. Taking a final look in the full-length mirror, she took a deep breath and opened the door.
Fuck. What the hell was Scott Alarid doing there? “Hi,” she said, her voice wavering. You sound like a teenager at a boy band concert. Pull it together.
After three years playing in the ECPHL, she should have been over her nervousness when it came to big time hockey players, but her knees still went weak when she encountered any of the more famous guys. He counted as a star. Super star, actually. Lead scorer, team captain, and potential to end up in the big leagues. She’d wanted to meet him for years. Sure, she’d seen him on the ice during games, but from a distance, and she’d never spoken to him. Of course, he had the worst timing in the world. Her date would be here any minute and she’d have to send him away.
Wait. Natalie was the only one who knew her plans, her friend would never tell anyone about the arrangements for the evening. “What are you doing here?”
“Isn’t this room 1018?” He glanced at the number plate on the door and frowned.
“Yes.” That figured. He didn’t know whose room he’d knocked on. The man probably got confused on his way to meet one of his friends. For a second, she’d thought he might be the guy she’d been set up with. Yeah, because she always got that lucky.
“Then I guess I’m your date for the night.”
Her heart raced as she stood dumbfounded. That couldn’t be right. He took a step forward and she moved aside so he could cross the threshold.
“I think my friends said your name was Tarah?”
Ouch. He didn’t recognize her. Not even a little bit. She’d gone by TJ since childhood. Outside of her family, few people even knew what it stood for. She shut the door and turned toward him. He glanced back at her, but not even the slightest hint of familiarity registered in his face. “Yeah.”
Even though he’d crushed her ego, she started to see an upside. The awkwardness of TJ and Scott together after a one-night encounter could be trouble for a lot of people. The hockey magazines would have a field day speculating about their secret relationship and the possibility of a pregnancy. Plus, they’d have to see each other on the ice at games and at publicity functions for years to come. Her teammates would be more than happy to torment her for the rest of her career over it.
Tarah didn’t have any of those problems. She was a woman on a blind date, nothing more.
“You have a last name?”
“Not tonight.” That would make things a lot simpler. He might not recognize her, but her surname would give her away. If not now, at their game tomorrow, when they announced the lineup. Most of the time she wore a mask that covered her face and more padding than people would think possible. Dressed in her uniform and gear, she didn’t blame the people who mistook her for a man. She preferred it most of the time. Helped to equalize her position on the team.
Her slight deception might not lead to the fairy tale ending Natalie hoped for, but TJ would be lying if she said she hadn’t fantasized about him. With his shaggy brown hair and blue eyes, he managed to mesmerize every woman who came within a fifty-foot radius. “It’s just Tarah.” She’d never considered the idea, but being mysterious turned her on.
He shrugged. “Sounds good to me.” He took a quick peek around the corner toward the sitting room then straightened. “I’m Scott.”