Aleece Campbell stopped and stared. There was no fucking way. No goddamn way in hell. And then, her best friend, Laurelynn, smiled up at him.
She knew there was a reason she wanted to say no to Laurel’s suggestion of going for a few drinks to celebrate a big client at work. But she thought her reasoning was Laurel’s increased thirst.
Aleece closed her eyes. when she opened them, she’d be awake and see this was all a bad dream. She opened them. He was still there.
“He said he’d buy me a drink after we danced and I didn’t want you think I’d ditched you, so I insisted he come over here.”
Only Laurel could go to the bathroom and return with a dance partner and free drink.
“What can I get you?” he asked Aleece.
He didn’t recognize her. That was a relief. “Nothing, I’m still drinking this.” She held up her drink.
“Vodka cranberry,” he said. He patted Laurel’s arm. “I’ll be back with those drinks in a jiffy.”
Jiffy? God, to think he’d called her a geek once.
“Thank you,” Laurel called over her shoulder as he walked away. She turned around to her friend. “He’s a professional hockey player. Isn’t that cool? I knew coming to the bar down here would be cool.”
“I never said it wouldn’t be. I just said it would be better if we took a night off.”
“If I took a night off, you mean.”
“I never said that either. I’m tired, I’m burnt out from all these hours we’ve been putting in to get the business going.”
“Okay good. My mother’s been on my case.”
“Mother’s worry, that’s their job. I’ll police you, let you know if you get out of hand.”
“Alright. Anyway, what do you think of Robin? Totally hot right?”
Oh yes, he was hot alright. He was also a cocky asshole, who played games with girls he thought beneath him. “Yeah sure.”
“He’s got some friends with him, I thought we could all make our way over there. Find you someone who appeals to you.”
Aleece wrinkled her nose. “Maybe I should go home.”
“Go home?” Robin’s voice boomed as he came to the table. God, how had he heard her say that? He slid three drinks onto the table. “Who is going home? Not you I hope,” he said to Laurel.
“Aleece here is thinking about leaving us. She thinks she’s a third wheel.”
He stiffened for a moment when her name was spoken. “I think both of you should come to our table. I think I have some friends who wouldn’t mind meeting Aleece. Good guys.”
Not like Robin Portella. Laurel was practically drooling at the thought, she tugged on Aleece’s arm. Aleece could rarely deny Laurel even the smallest happiness. “Fine, one drink at your table with your hockey buddies.”
“Teammates, please. You make us sound like a rec team. I’m a professional player.”
He was a professional ass. He’d only gotten called up from the minors tonight because the team wasn’t going to make the play-offs and they wanted to give some minor league players a chance to play on the big ice.
She hated that she knew that about him. She’d had the radio on at work today and in Calgary, anything hockey related was newsworthy. She could not believe when Robin Portella’s name was mentioned. Not that she’d thought of him a lot during the last six years since high school.
Hardly at all. And yet hearing his name today was bad enough. Seeing him in person, the Gods were cruel.
“Come on then, let’s see what you and your big-league friends are all about.” She grabbed her drink and watched as her best friend linked arms with her nemesis.
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