Roman:A Cold Fury Hockey Novel(2)

By: Sawyer Bennett

But before I can even push my hand toward her, the receptionist behind me says, “Mr. Sýkora, Miss Brannon is ready to see you now.”

With a sigh, I push myself up out of the chair, and the woman gives me another smile and says, “Good luck. I hope you’re not in too much trouble.”

I offer a grin and a wink of my own. “Unfortunately, I have a feeling I’m in quite a bit of trouble.”

Her jaw drops open slightly and her eyes round in sympathy, but before she can even put a voice to her commiseration, I lean over her and whisper, “But it’s nothing to worry about. I’m sort of a troublemaker.”

Her eyes sparkle with mischief as she nods in grave understanding. “I can kind of tell that about you. But hey, you carry it really well.”

“And don’t you forget it,” I say with a chuckle as I turn from her to face the receptionist. She laughs softly behind me, and with that raspy grit to her vocal cords…yeah, it’s totally sexy. Maybe if I’m lucky enough, I’ll run into her again on the way out of here. Totally wouldn’t mind getting to know her better.

But the minute I face the receptionist and she points me down the hall toward the executive offices, I put the woman and all her sexy ways out of my mind. I stiffen my spine as I walk toward Gray Brannon’s office because I know I’m getting ready to have my ass handed to me.

“She’s the office at the end of the hall,” the receptionist says smoothly.

I don’t even acknowledge her because frankly her attitude is snotty and doesn’t deserve an acknowledgment. I merely stride down the corridor until I reach Gray’s office door, which is open. With a slight tap of my knuckles against the wood, I announce myself and stick my head in.

Gray Brannon is the general manager for the Carolina Cold Fury hockey team. This is her second year in the position and she is proudly sporting a Stanley Cup championship cup. This is also my second year with the team, as I was added last year after Gray took over management. I owe a lot to her for her faith in me, and knowing that I could be a great contribution to this team.

However, just because I’m grateful to her does not mean I’m going to take her shit or change my ways.

Gray lifts her head from some documents she’s reviewing on her desk, and for a brief moment, I’m captivated by the sheer beauty of this woman. I’ve never been a fan of redheads, but I have to say Gray Brannon wears the color well and her face is almost angelic. So yeah, our general manager is hot as hell, but she’s also fucking brilliant at her job, and while I’m sure every man on this team has eyeballed her in a way a man will look at a gorgeous woman, she is more than respected for her abilities to do right by this organization.

As I step into her office, Gray stands from the desk and holds her hand out across to me to shake. My eyes immediately draw down to the rounded bump of her belly before coming back up to lock with her own. Gray announced a few weeks ago at the team Christmas party that she and her husband, Ryker Evans, were expecting their first child together in May. Ryker was the starting goalie last year for the Cold Fury and was instrumental in our winning the Stanley Cup. He retired this past summer and is now one of the goalie coaches for the team.

I take Gray’s hand and give it a quick shake before releasing. She waves to a chair behind me and I take it, settling in casually. While I am most assuredly going to get an ass-chewing during this meeting, I don’t ever want her to have the impression that it bothers me.

I pretty much do what I want and I take my lumps when I deserve them.

And in fairness, I probably deserve this ass-chewing.

Gray sits down in her chair, rests her elbows on the top of her desk, and steeples her fingers in front of her. “No sense in beating around the bush. You have to pick your battles better, and frankly, a little less frequently.”

“Not sure I’m following,” I say with utter honesty as I blink in surprise. I thought I was going to be given the command to stop my wild ways completely, not telling me to dial it back a notch.

“Well, let’s take a look at your history,” she says blandly and with a touch of sarcasm. It causes me to give an involuntary smirk, which she chooses to ignore. “A year and a half ago, you celebrated joining the Cold Fury by going out and getting extremely drunk at an away game in Toronto and got into a shoving match with a fan from the other team.”

“He started it,” I say with a smile.

She ignores that too. “You got arrested for drunk and disorderly.”

“Those charges got dismissed,” I point out.

“Then,” she says, barreling right past my excuses, “you pulled the infamous ‘possum’ stunt.”

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