Roman:A Cold Fury Hockey Novel(10)

By: Sawyer Bennett

“And you believe her?” Ryker asks calmly.

Turning my gaze to my son-in-law, I say, “I do. I spent a good chunk of today talking to her, getting to know her. She looks a lot like her mother, but her chin and nose are mine—”

“That doesn’t mean anything,” Gray murmurs, and there’s no doubt she’s rattled by this.

I look back to my daughter, reach my hand across the table, and hold it palm up. She refuses to move but I pin her with a hard, fatherly look and then nod down to my hand. Reluctantly, she slides her against mine, and my fingers wrap gently around her. “Gray…honey…I can tell. And besides that, she came prepared with a paternity test for me to take. We’ll have solid proof within a few weeks, but I know it’s true.”

“And what does she want?” Gray asks, some of the heat in her eyes dying down but still no denying the suspicion in her question.

“To get to know me,” I tell her frankly. “To get to know you too. She has no other family…not close family anyway.”

“And you’re not the least little bit curious as to what her ulterior motives are?” Gray asks me with a focused look. “You are, after all, a very rich man.”

I squeeze Gray’s hand and try to reassure her. “She doesn’t want my money—”

“How do you know?” Gray presses.

“I just do,” I tell her patiently. “And you’re going to have to trust me on that.”

She gives me a grunt of denial and pulls her hand from mine. “I trust you with my life, Dad, but I’ll have to form my own opinions about her.”

“Fair enough.” What else can I say?

What else can I expect?

Gray has the right to decide this for herself. She has the right to accept Lexi or not.

Gray has had me all to herself for most of her life. While I never exactly pined for another child, I can tell you it’s a wondrous thrill knowing I have another. I’m not sure Gray is going to feel that way anytime soon, but I’m sure Lexi can win her over the way she has me in just a short afternoon together.

If she’ll just give her a chance, get to know her a bit, she’ll see that she could have a solid relationship with her sister. I’m sure of it.

Chapter 4


My eyes go to the round clock on the locker room wall the minute I step inside, and it confirms what I already figured.

I’m late to practice.


Pavel Alogrin pushes past me in a rush, giving me a brief “What’s up?” He’s late as well, but he doesn’t make it a habit, so I’m sure he’ll be forgiven.

As it stands now, I’m totally going to get the evil eye from Coach Pretore. Fortunately I can usually get that look to die down before the end of practice, because I work my ass off for this team. Every time I put on my practice jersey, I play as if it I were in a Stanley Cup final game.

Not bragging. It’s just that I don’t know how to do anything half-assed.

Except, well…being on time.

It’s a fault for sure, but one I think they should forgive me, since I have so many more things in the plus column as a Cold Fury member. And Coach will forgive me for sure. Gray Brannon…probably not, since I’m already on her shit list. Luckily, general managers do not attend practices, and as long as Pretore doesn’t tell her I’m late again, she’ll never know. I’ll just make sure to superiorly impress him at this practice so he has a smile on his face when I skate off the ice.

Because I’m late, I don’t waste time going to my locker so I can get suited up. Sitting on the bench, I bend over to take off my shoes when the voice of Brian Brannon catches my attention. I tilt my head to the right toward the athletic training room as my fingers work the laces and spot the CEO and owner of the Cold Fury looking sharp in a dark charcoal gray designer suit. The training room has glass walls that separate it from the general locker area and is where the athletic trainers work on our injuries. It should be empty now, as the athletic trainers will be up on the ice with the team during practice. My fingers freeze on my laces and my attention is immediately taken by the woman with whom Mr. Brannon is talking.

The gorgeously sexy black-haired woman I spoke to briefly two days ago in the Cold Fury executive lobby. She’s leaning a curvy hip against one of the training tables, pressing one hand down into the vinyl-covered top for balance. The other hand is at her hip, with her thumb hooked through a belt loop of faded jeans with holes in the knees and rolled at the cuffs. Her top is nothing but cream-colored lace with long flowing sleeves with a cream camisole underneath, and she’s wearing Dr. Martens again. Very funky and totally out of place with Brian Brannon’s posh attire. I note, though, that the woman’s posture is relaxed and she’s listening with interest to Mr. Brannon as he explains the training room.

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