Roman:A Cold Fury Hockey Novel(4)

By: Sawyer Bennett

“Not even a little?” I ask with innocent eyes.

“Cut the shit, Sýkora,” Gray growls at me as she leans across the desk, eyes blazing. “You know why I brought you to this team, and I like that you’ve got a reputation. You’re an amazing defenseman and I like the grit you bring to the game. But you’re taking things too far, and regardless of what you think, this organization still has a reputation to uphold.”

“I am who I am,” I say with challenge.

“That may be,” she retorts. “But if you want to be on this team, you need to heed what I’m saying.”

“And what exactly are you saying?” I ask, leaning forward in my chair.

She sighs and sinks back into her own. She gives a tired rub to her eyes before looking at me. “I’m saying to cut out the stunts. Be tough on the ice, but quit being such an obvious jackass. Clean up your act. Lay off the booze. Stop making a spectacle of yourself. Play by the rules. Show up on fucking time. It’s not rocket science.”

“And if I don’t?” I ask, even though I know the answer to this. I’m just being a dick.

“Then you ride pine,” she says softly, referring to being benched, but it doesn’t lessen the punch. Especially when she says, “Or worse…I’ll release you.”

“This team needs me,” I growl.

“Yes, we do,” she says with a nod. “But we need more than just stellar play. This is a championship team, and your antics could backfire and drag all of us down.”

“They’re not antics,” I tell her firmly. “This was who I was before I came to the Cold Fury and you knew it when you offered me a contract.”

“And I’m telling you it’s not meshing with our vision,” she counters.

I lean back in my chair, cross my hands over my stomach, and give her a lazy look. While I very much do not want to lose my job and will probably take what she says to heart, I don’t ever let on that I’ll do such a thing. It’s about maintaining some level of control in this situation, and call that an ego thing, fine…but I’m not one to back down.

“What exactly would you have me change?” I ask casually.

“For starters,” she says with a hard stare, “show up for practice on time. Show up to your training sessions. Maybe even take an interest in the team off the ice. Quit doing stupid things. Grow up a little.”

I suppress a snort. While ironically I do play a team sport, I’m not overly close to my mates outside of partying with some of the single guys. I don’t really buy into this “family” sort of vibe that the Brannons have instituted.

Not saying it’s bad.

Just not me.

“Anything else?” I ask blandly.

“Maybe lay off the alcohol so you can control yourself,” she returns harshly.

Before I can even retort, because I’m not a fucking alcoholic—I just like to party on occasion—she says, “And try to be a little more frugal in the game-suspending penalties. Pick your battles a little more wisely and rein in that temper a bit. You don’t do a damn thing to help us from the stands.”

Okay, she may have a point there, but honest to fuck…it’s not like I plan to get suspended. I just go out there and play my fucking heart out, and I know that’s something she appreciates, even if I’m not getting that vibe from her right now.

I’ve heard enough, and although it borders on disrespectful, I stand, effectively calling this meeting to an end. Looking down at her with clear eyes and a resolved attitude, I say, “I’ll do my best to adhere to your wishes.”

“I sure hope so,” she says sternly, and the threat is clear.

Shape up or ship out.

As much as I respect Gray Brannon for her hockey smarts and for putting together an amazing team, I’m not liking her very much right now, because she wants to change who I am on a fundamental level. I simply nod and walk out of her office without a backward glance.

Chapter 2


“Mr. Brannon will see you now, Miss Robertson,” the receptionist says, and my head jerks up to look at her.

This is it.

The moment I’ve been waiting for for months now.

I swipe my hands along my stockinged thighs, hating how sweaty they are. I need to remember to give them another swipe before I meet the great Brian Brannon, president and CEO of the Carolina Cold Fury, so he’s not shaking my slimy hand.

I stand up from the couch on shaky legs as I haul my large black purse over my shoulder, actually pining for the few moments of easy conversation I had with the gorgeous Roman Sýkora a few moments ago. Of course, I easily recognized him, because I know every member of the Cold Fury and can cite their statistics too.

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