Home > A Heart So Wild (Atlanta Siege Hockey Romance #1)(4)

A Heart So Wild (Atlanta Siege Hockey Romance #1)(4)
Author: Raine Thomas

Allison had given her a pointed look over the rims of her square-framed reading glasses. “You know, if you did more research before making employment changes, you might be able to avoid those kinds of surprises.”

“Yeah, yeah.”

Roxy took her more grounded friend’s words as her due. She did tend to jump into things with more enthusiasm than planning. It was why she hadn’t yet established herself in a career—or even a steady job—at the age of twenty-eight. But there were so many potential careers out there, she liked to point out to her friends and family members when they questioned her choices. How could she be sure what she wanted to do for the rest of her working life without giving them a try?

Plus, she had met so many interesting people at her various jobs. She’d met Allison while working a temp job at the marketing firm Allison worked for, for example. She’d made hundreds of new connections over the past decade.

It was actually while Roxy was helping one of those connections flip a house earlier that year that she got her first taste of selling real estate. As she’d helped her friend paint walls and rip out carpet, she’d learned what today’s buyers were looking for and where sellers should invest the most money when preparing their homes for sale. The renovation project had been one of the most entertaining experiences of Roxy’s life, and it drove her to make a life-altering decision: she was going all-in on a career in real estate.

Her mind set, she invested her earnings from the reno job into a real estate licensing course and the licensure exam. Once she activated her license, she joined a brokerage where she partnered with a mentor to learn everything possible about her new career.

Two months later, she had no regrets. Sure, she’d love to have a steadier income than she had at the moment, but she understood having to pay her dues first. Which was why she was so indebted to Allison for dedicating nearly all of her free time to helping her with the various marketing tasks involved in her new career. Ending Allison’s dry spell was a low price to pay for everything she’d done.

“It’s ladies’ night at Nightscape,” Roxy had said to convince her friend. “Let’s get dressed up and head there when we finish this. I’ll buy us a couple rounds of drinks. If you’re not hooked up by ten-thirty, we’ll call it a night.”

And now here they were.

Although Roxy didn’t think Stan was the right guy to give Allison the night of hot sex she envisioned, she had to fulfill her job as a wingwoman. Allison was still talking to Stan, which meant Roxy needed to take another stab at conversation with Bob.

“You mentioned you’re a project manager,” she said during the next gap in conversation. “What’s that like?”

Bob shrugged and took a sip of his drink. The shrug was a nervous habit, Roxy had noticed. He did it any time she asked him a question. It made her think he was uncomfortable talking about himself.

Either that, or he was lying through his teeth. Neither would surprise her.

“It’s boring, in all honesty,” he said with a self-deprecating smile. “Right now, I’m overseeing the transition of our HR team to a new employee management software.”

He was right. That did sound boring. But she knew how to navigate around boredom in a conversation.

“What’s the most exciting project you’ve ever worked on?” she asked.

As Bob shrugged again, Roxy was suddenly overcome by the sensation of eyes fixated intently on her. It felt like someone seductively brushing their fingers over her exposed skin. The powerful sensation drew her attention to her right.

And she saw him.

He stood with one other man, both of them tall and solidly built. Unlike his companion, the man watching her wore his dark hair on the longer side, the edges of the thick, slightly unruly waves brushing the collar of his white dress shirt. A closely trimmed beard covered the strong lines of his jaw and upper lip but left his poetic mouth exposed. When his dark eyes met hers, she knew instantly that he was in an entirely different league than the two guys in front of her. From the quality of his attire to the dangerously alluring pull of that gaze, he exuded sex.

Her lips turned up. Oh, yes … she would definitely be meeting him. But for now, she had to give Bob and Stan a fair shake.

“And they ended up turning the software into the game Sandy Shells,” Bob was saying. “Made ‘em millions.”

Roxy lifted her eyebrows in a way that conveyed interest even though she’d never heard of Sandy Shells. “Good for them.”

“Yeah.”

She kept the sluggish conversation limping along for a few more minutes. Then a light tap against her pinky toe told her Allison wanted an extraction. They used the foot-tap cue as an S.O.S. if things weren’t going well. Roxy immediately implemented their exit strategy, turning to include Allison and Stan in the conversation.

“Well, fellas, this has been fun, but our drinks need replenishing,” she said, lifting the glass of melting ice in her hand. “We’re just gonna head to the—”

“Oh, we’ll take care of that for you,” Stan interrupted, lifting a hand and flagging down a passing cocktail server.

Roxy’s lips pressed together in irritation, both over the rudeness of the interruption and the derailing of her exit strategy. Stan must not be familiar with the etiquette of club mingling. Rather than allowing her and Allison to exit gracefully with an excuse that would have spared the guys’ pride, he was making things more awkward. Before Roxy could voice a protest, the cocktail server strode up to them.

“What can I get you?” she asked.

“Um.” Allison glanced at Roxy and then Stan. Her shoulders drooped when she also realized they couldn’t smoothly get out of this. “A vodka and cranberry juice for me, please.”

“A mojito for me,” Roxy said. “Thanks.”

“A Tom Collins for me and a Mich Ultra for my buddy,” Stan said.

“You got it,” the server said before hurrying off.

“We’ve got you covered, ladies,” Stan said with a suggestive wink.

He and Bob exchanged fist bumps, making Roxy sigh. Allison clearly didn’t want to continue hanging out with these two any more than she did, but if she extricated them now, Allison would feel guilty for the rest of the night, likely giving up on finding Mr. Right Now. That just wouldn’t do.

A thought occurred to her then … one that made her smile. It was time to see if her senses were guiding her true.

Turning back to Tall, Dark, and Sexy, she gave him the green light to indicate he was clear to approach. He nodded, telling her that her silent message had been received.

A delicious shiver of anticipation ran through her as he turned to his companion and then started in her direction. He moved through the people in his path like they weren’t even there. She wasn’t sure if that was because people instinctively moved out of his way because of his size or if he had some kind of innate dexterity, but it was something to behold. She couldn’t remember ever experiencing the kind of raw magnetism she sensed in him. She was eager to find out how he would “rescue” her and Allison.

“Wasn’t that nice of Stan?” Allison asked her with a gentle nudge.

“You bet,” she said, flashing a smile at Stan. “Thanks.”

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