taking his shot
Buffalo Bedlam series
This season is the season for the Buffalo Bedlam to win the Cup. All the pieces are in place. Getting sidelined by multiple concussions wasn’t part of Dylan Fraser's plan. Yet, the team captain is starting off the playoffs on the injured list and hating every minute of it. He knows the detrimental effects concussions can have on the brain but if this is his last shot at earning his place on the most hallowed trophy in hockey — like his dad and his brother — he’ll do whatever it takes to get back in the game.
Assistant athletic trainer Blair Proch knows all too well how concussions sustained during a player’s career can still affect them decades later. Her own father is living proof. After months of her and Dylan dancing around, their friendship has finally become more, but she won’t allow anything to detract from making sure the stubborn hockey player is taking care of his health. She’ll take on the league, the team, even Dylan himself to keep him safe.
When Dylan returns to the ice, Blair faces her worst fears with every hit he receives or dishes out. Dylan is falling hard for Blair, but with the Cup so close, he can’t turn his back on his dream, despite his concerns about his health and his future. Can love survive with these friends-to-lovers facing off on opposite sides?
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They reached the door and Dylan’s hand grazed her back when she passed in front of him. The touch sent a shiver over her skin.
She lifted her face to the sky when they stepped outside and breathed in deep. The stress of her day faded. They walked for a few minutes until the hotel was out of view. She looked out over the water. “It’s pretty here.”
“From where I’m standing too.” He stood a few steps away, his gaze intent on her face.
Heat flushed into her body. She moved closer to him and leaned on the iron railing that separated them from the bay. Wind whipped all around them in playful gusts, ruffling clothes and hair. She tugged her shirtsleeves over her hands and wrapped her arms around her torso.
“Cold?” Dylan wrapped his arm around her shoulder. Strong and warm, it held her snug against his side.
Her skin tingled at his nearness, at the touch and the closeness she’d thought about for so long. She relaxed against him and leaned her head on his chest. She was too short to reach his shoulder. The lights reflecting off the water and the palm trees wrapped in tiny white lights made her smile. Romantic, given the company.
He brought his other arm around her, enclosing her in the circle of his embrace. She lifted her head and tilted it to meet his gaze.
His expression a study in seriousness, he shifted his hold. Blair wet her dry lips. Pulse thrumming a steady beat, she traced the dark stubble covering his jaw. His eyes closed as she explored. When they opened they were darkened with desire.
“I like this. It’s softer than it looks.” She cupped his cheek again. “And it’s sexy.”
He smiled. “It’s the playoffs.”
“Otherwise known as no shaving season.”
“Unless we’re not winning, then it can come off.” Dylan’s fingers wrapped around her wrist and traced a slow path to her shoulder then down to her elbow before it dropped to rest on her hip.
Blair shivered as fresh goosebumps rose. She slid her hand from his cheek to his neck. The move brought them torso to torso. Her curves fit against the hard planes of his body and his heat seeped into her.
Intensity crackled between them. Dylan leaned in, slow inch by slow inch, with a hint of a smile. Blair strained toward him until his lips were teasing over hers. Whisper soft and feather-light, from one side of her mouth to the other.
Then he settled more firmly in place, increasing the pressure as he slanted his mouth. Blair’s core turned to liquid heat. She parted her lips and swiped her tongue over his lips to get another taste.
He groaned low in his throat. The hand on her shoulder moved to cradle the back of her neck. Strong fingers flexed there, angling her head to give him deeper access. His tongue curled into hers, tempting and teasing.
The flames of desire stoked higher. She curled her fingers into the collar of his shirt and hooked her other arm over his shoulder to pull him tighter against her body.
For a long while, the world consisted of nothing but Dylan hard and hot at her front, the cylindrical metal railing at her back, and the breeze blowing around them.
Desperate to drag in full breaths, she eased back. Dylan looked sleepy, sexy, and soft, like they’d just woken up after a long night together. His hands roamed over her back, soothing strokes that made her arch into his touch.
“So, I’d say there is a connection.” His voice was raspy. “I didn’t doubt it though, I’ve felt it for a while. You’ve always made my
heart beat faster. You make me want things.”
“You.” His mouth curved in a lopsided smile. “A chance. We were friends first. I think we can be more.”