Ah, weddings. Who didn’t love them?
Not Mia Wallace, that was for sure. She loved the spectacle, the dancing, the romance of it all.
She loved the cake. (Especially the cake.)
She wasn’t a fan of heels, though, and at five feet ten, she usually went without. But Harper Chase, her sister-in-law’s sister—say that ten times fast—had suggested heels would make her outfit “pop,” whatever that meant. So here she was at the wedding of one of her brother’s teammates, popping like a spent bubble and towering over half the men here. The other half were the Chicago Rebels hockey franchise.
Not that she was interested in impressing one of that lot. She wouldn’t touch a hockey player with a well-taped stick. Her brother was one—a player, not a stick—and she spent much of her time around them because she spent much of her time around her brother. Despite not being too shabby on the ice herself, she didn’t get a whole lot of respect, or ogles, from that corner. Which was fine because ew, David. She’d rather give herself a root canal with a skate blade.
No. She had her sights set a little higher than some bang-and-bolt puck chaser.
Standing at the bar, she had a good view of the dance floor fringed by the tables. This wedding was set under a marquee tent on the grounds of Chase Manor, home of Harper and Remy DuPre, the franchise’s soap opera super couple of CEO and retired player. Hosting a Rebels wedding here had become quite the tradition. All the Chase sisters and the general manager had married at the Manor. Now Levi Hunt, the NHL’s oldest rookie, was tying the knot with Jordan Cooke, ace sports reporter. Simply magical, and a perfectly inspiring place to launch her plan.
So the title needed work. Hell, the plan needed work. Because she didn’t really have a plan beyond wowing her target with … hockey stats? What else could she talk about? After twenty-four years on this green earth, she still felt like that same sheltered girl raised in half-hiding by her single mom, playing dress-up with the big girls. Definitely not the kind of woman who would attract a man so suave, so sophisticated, so urbane … so she’d obviously swallowed a thesaurus. But he was all that and more.
And he was coming her way.
“Mia, you look amazing!” Tommy Gordon, sports agent to the stars, and the unwitting love of Mia’s life gave her an appreciative look up and down. A non-leer, perfectly on brand. “I didn’t recognize you with all the …” He made a general hand wave that encompassed … her dress? Her hair? Her makeup? (Which felt shoveled on a la garden trowel. Curses, Harper!)
“I figured I wouldn’t get away with sweats here.”
He smiled kindly. Her heart swooped. With a sexily-held index finger to the bartender and a head tilt her direction, he asked, “Need a drink?”
The bar was open but it was nice when a guy asked all the same. “I’d love a champagne cocktail.”
“You got it.”
She wasn’t a fan of champagne, but beer-swilling seductresses weren’t in this year. She would sip, flirt, and win the prize.
Tommy looked out of this world—and her league—in a gorgeous black suit that must have cost thousands of dollars. It shaped his broad shoulders to perfection and made her tingle all over. With his copper brown hair and clear blue eyes, he was the embodiment of sex in a smart, refined package. Only problem, other than the pesky he-barely-knew-she-existed one, was that he was a tad older than her. Ten years to be precise.
Oh, and he was her brother’s agent.
Not exactly a conflict of interest, she had insisted to herself, repeatedly, for the last six months. But she could imagine easily the mighty Vadim Petrov’s reaction. Something angry, negative, and incomprehensible in Russian. That Tommy might not want to damage a relationship with one of his most lucrative clients was a distinct possibility. Her brother did more modeling than skating these days, and those endorsements earned Tommy a nice ten percent. But that would be the ultimate test, wouldn’t it? If he was interested in her, he wouldn’t care what her stupid brother had to say about it.
“Here you go.” Tommy passed off the flute of sparkling liquid to her and raised his own glass. Likely whiskey or scotch. Maybe she should feign an interest in top-shelf distilleries. Men loved talking about that kind of thing.
Anxious to keep his attention, she went on the conversational offensive. “Great wedding, wasn’t it?”
Those dreamy eyes flashed with surprise at her gush. Or, that’s the interpretation her fragile ego clung to rather than the alternative that he might feel trapped in her presence.
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