“Aaron, please explain to mehow you ended up ‘balls deep’ in the Stanley Cup?” You fucking idiot, I say in my head instead of out loud, pinching the bridge of my nose as I lean back in my chair.
I close my eyes as I listen to him. “Can.” He groans my nickname. “It was a private party. I’m allowed to be naked at my house. Fuck, I just won the Stanley Cup,” he snaps.
“There were over one hundred people there. Did you know all one hundred?” I ask but then don’t wait for an answer before I continue. “I wake up this morning to phone notifications through the roof, and then I open it, and there you are. Swinging your dick like you’re fucking Tarzan.”
“You looked at my dick?” He chuckles, and now it’s my turn to groan. “I always thought you liked me. But now that you see I’m a shower and a grower…?”
“Can you for one second shut up?” I ask, trying to stay professional by not telling him that I wouldn’t touch him with a ten-foot pole. “How do you want me to spin this?”
“How about you say that I was celebrating on my own private property, and that being said, I was having fun.” He almost groans out. “It’s not that big of a deal.”
“Actually,” I start. “It’s a huge deal, considering we spent the past year pushing you as a family man.”
“How do you think I got the family?” He laughs at his stupid joke, and I know that this conversation isn’t going nowhere.
“Auntie Can!” Hearing my name, I look up from my laptop toward the doorway and see my three-year-old niece, Zoey, running toward me. She climbs onto my lap, and I kiss her head as she leans forward to grab the pen next to my agenda. I reach for her book and open it so she can doodle on it.
I hang up with Aaron and look at my niece. “Don’t ever date hockey players,” I say and then hear my brother, Evan.
“Don’t ever date anyone,” he says, and I look over at him as he leans against the doorframe watching us. He and his wife, Zara, are in town from New York, visiting for the week. I’m in Dallas because Evan got drafted here when he was eighteen. When he turned twenty, his career really started to take off, so he began to work on his image and his branding, and that is where I as his little sister came into the picture. I took over his social media accounts, posting things each day, and the bigger he got on Twitter and Facebook, the more his jersey flew off the shelves. He brought me out to visit him, and the visit lasted longer than anyone expected. It started with him telling one person, and then the other person told another one, and I now manage the social media accounts of over fifty NHL players. I speak with each of them or their assistants once a month, and we go over everything they need. I also have a waitlist for the ones I can’t take on right now.
“What are you complaining about now?” Zara asks, hugging his waist. The story of the two of them is rather funny. She tweeted him, and before I had a chance to answer her, he agreed to be her plus one to crash her ex’s wedding. Well, I wasn’t the nicest person to her when she first came into the picture. To be completely honest with you, I was a bitch. I hated her before I’d even met her, but then I slowly got to know her. When he got traded to New York, he tried to get me to go with him, but my home was here in Dallas now. This is where I wanted to be.
“He’s complaining that Zoey can’t date,” I say, and she just shakes her head as I hug Zoey close to me. I kiss her head, and she looks up at me with big eyes and a huge smile.
“Did everything work out okay?” Zara asks, coming into my home office and sitting on my new loveseat. I smile when I look around because it’s decorated in my favorite color pink and everything I love from the throw pillows on the cream-colored couch to the furry pink leopard blanket that Zoey usually uses as a cape.
“I mean, define okay?” I say and then look down at Zoey who squirms in my lap to get down. Grabbing her pen and book, she walks over to the loveseat and climbs up next to Zara.
“I saw the video,” Zara says, looking down to make sure that Zoey doesn’t color on the cushion.
“You saw the video?” Evan asks in shock, coming in and scooting Zara over so he can sit next to her and pull her closer to him. “Why would you look at the video?”
“I didn’t mean to,” she says, laughing, “but it’s trending on Twitter.”
I close my eyes. “Of course it is,” I say and then look over to see that Zoey has laid down and asked for Zara to cover her.
Evan leans over and kisses Zara’s neck. “Sweetness,” he says softly, using her nickname and then burying his face in her neck.
“Barf,” I say, getting up. “Go to your room,” I say. “And cover Zoey’s eyes before you scar her.”
“She’s used to me loving on my wife,” he says, “so nothing will scar her, but I do have some news for you.” He looks over at me. “Everyone is coming here tomorrow for a pool party.” My mouth opens and then closes, and he just continues to talk as my eyes bulge out of my head. “What else was I supposed to do? You have the pool.”
“Who is everyone?” I ask, folding my hands over my chest. I know exactly who everyone is, but I want to see him squirm.
“Well, my in-laws,” he says and then puts his hand up to stop me from talking. “It’s not my fault no one can travel without each other. This is Zara’s fault.” He looks at Zara, who glares at him. “No one can be alone.”
“Your in-laws are a hundred people.” I look at Zara. “No offense but they can be a bit . . .” I try to be as polite as I can.
“Overwhelming,” she finishes the sentence for me. “And I get it, but I promise it’s not a hundred people. It’s actually only Justin and his family who are down this time.” I don’t listen to anything else she says, thankful we’re only talking about a couple of people and not the whole family.
I don’t have a chance to say anything before my phone rings, and I see that it’s another client of mine. “What is with today?” I mumble to myself, picking up the phone. “Hello?”
“Hey, Candace, it’s Jeremy.”
“Hey, Jeremy,” I say, grabbing my calendar and flipping it to his page. “How are you?”
“I’m okay,” he says, and I hear the waves crashing in the background. “Sitting out on the patio in Malibu.”
“Sounds divine,” I say, smiling. “Are you enjoying summer so far?”
“Yeah,” he says. “I’m still in the middle of training.” I nod my head. What people don’t realize is that the summer break isn’t really a break for the athlete; it’s when they actually get ready for the next year. Their training is sometimes even more intense during the off-season than when they play during the year. “I was actually calling to schedule a couple of things to promote.”
“I can definitely get those on the calendar,” I say.
“I wonder if you can add me to your calendar,” he says, laughing, and I ignore it.
“What were you planning on doing?” I ask.
“My foundation is having their annual celebration,” he says. “You should come down.”
“Oh, I think you told me that,” I say, looking at my calendar and see the notes that he gave me yesterday. “Yup, I have it down. I’m going to start posting about it tomorrow. I even set up a special link for people to follow via your website.”
“That is perfect, just like you,” he says, and I remain quiet, not sure what to say. “I might be in Dallas in a couple of weeks.”
“Are you coming here for business?” I ask. Looking at my notes, I don’t have anything about him coming to Dallas.
“Just coming down to check things out, and I was wondering if you’d like to get dinner while I’m there,” he says, and I stop, looking at the paper. “Maybe we can have dinner and then who knows . . .”
“Um . . .” I start. “I would have to check. Evan is in town, so I’m spending some much-needed family time with them.” When I look over at Evan, he’s looking at me, almost glaring.
“Oh, yeah?” he says. “Then why don’t we meet for lunch? Or what if I flew you out here, and you can stay at the beach house?”
“Jeremy,” I say, my voice going low. “That sounds amazing but . . .” I say, and he laughs.
“That but gets me every time,” he says. “One of these days, Candace, I’m going to fire you, and then you will have no other excuse.”
I laugh. “Good to know. Now, are we still okay with everything we discussed earlier?”
“Yeah,” he says. “Talk soon.”
I put the phone down after I end the call and shake my head. “Was that Wagner?” Evan asks, and I nod. “What did he want?”
“That’s confidential.” I look at him and wink, and Zara laughs.
“That’s code for he wanted to take your sister out,” she says, and Evan whips his head to look at me.
I put up my hand before he can open his mouth. “I said no.” Evan lets out a deep sigh of relief. “Besides, you know my rule,” I say. “I never get involved with a client.”
“That’s interesting,” Zara says. “I used to say the same thing and look at what happened to me.”
I laugh when they start to fight about how and when they got together.
“I don’t know about you,” I say, getting up from my chair, “but I can say that I will never ever get involved with one of my clients.” Little did I know, the universe had other plans for me!
They called me the pretty boy on and off the ice.
Hockey’s most eligible bachelor.
When my teammate asked me to donate one date to his charity,
I figured why not. Worst case, I’d spend the night with a fan. Best-case scenario, she would be hot.
What I wasn’t expecting was for my dream girl to be the highest bidder.
For years, she brushed me off, and now, I finally had a chance to take her out and show her who I really was.
With only one shot at this, I really hoped I didn’t mess it up.
At the top of my career, I was riding the wave of my sports talk show having the best rating on the radio.
I also made it a rule to never date any sports players.
It was my one rule, and I was sticking to it until I bid on the only man who gets under my skin.
All it takes is one touch, one night, one kiss, and only one chance.