Home > Knight Before Christmas

Knight Before Christmas
Author: Kat Mizera

 

Chapter One

 

 

Remy

 

* * *

 

I leaned back against the plush leather seats and loosened my tie as the limo inched through the snow of an unexpected New York City storm.

“I don’t know if we’re going to make your flight, sir,” the driver called back to me.

“Do your best,” I told him. Weather wasn’t something anyone could control so there was no need to express frustration, especially to my driver.

I sent a text to my assistant, Fiona, and asked her to call the airline’s customer service number to see if there were any backup flights available if I missed this one. I was flying to Vancouver, British Columbia and from there, renting a car and driving to Garland Grove. I didn’t have time for this trip, but going forward I’d have even less, so it was now or never. Besides, my mother was in Vancouver, so I’d be able to spend a few days with her during the holidays.

Picking up my phone again, I called the older of my two younger brothers, Kingston.

“Hey.” He sounded half asleep, which was no surprise since he was a rock star who was currently on tour.

“Did I wake you?” I asked.

“Yeah, but it’s cool. What’s up?”

“Needed to run something past you.”

“Shoot.”

“In Dad’s infinite wisdom, he left us an ice arena.”

“He left us an ice…arena?” Kingston sounded as confused as I’d been. “The lawyer didn’t say anything about that when he read the will.”

“It was part of the everything-not-mentioned-above stuff. The lawyer sent me a box of papers and deeds and shit, so I forwarded it all to my attorney and asked him to sort through it. It’s deeded to the three of us. You, me and Ashton.” Ashton was our youngest brother, who was only twenty and in college.

“You’re not going to keep it, are you?” he asked.

“I don’t think so, but I’m on my way to visit now. You’ll never guess where it’s located.”

“Garland Grove?” he asked, chuckling.

“Yup.”

“He didn’t have a romantic or sentimental bone in his body for anything except that place. You think we have a whole family of half-siblings living there?”

I groaned. “Jesus, don’t even put that out in the universe, man.”

He laughed. “Look, if you want to buy me out, I’m cool with it. I have zero interest in an ice rink in Bumfuck, British Columbia.”

“I’m thinking Ashton will be excited to get a check from me,” I mused. “Since I was definitely not his favorite person after the reading of the will.”

“Well, Dad put his entire inheritance in a trust with you as the administrator. What twenty-year-old would be happy about that?”

We both laughed. “You’re lucky he didn’t do the same with yours.”

He snorted. “Fuck him and his inheritance. I’ll donate it to charity. I don’t need his fucking money.” Kingston and our father had not been close. At all.

“I don’t either,” I replied, “but I feel like I should check out the rink, see what’s what, before I sell it off sight unseen.”

“Wait, is that the place he said is magic or some such bullshit? Like everyone who skates on the outdoor rink during the holidays falls in love?”

“That’s the place.”

I could picture him rolling his eyes.

“Look out, bro, or you’ll be married before the end of the year.”

“It’s November thirtieth. I highly doubt it.” I was a confirmed bachelor, as was Kingston, so it was a joke between us about who would succumb to matrimony first. I was thirty-five, of course, to his twenty-seven, which meant statistically it would be me. But I was fighting it for all I was worth. Women had been nothing but a hassle as far as I was concerned.

“Friendly wager?” he asked.

I laughed. “Sure. What are we betting?”

“If you lose, you come onstage and sing with me at the venue of my choice.”

I cringed since I couldn’t sing for shit and Kingston’s band, Onyx Knight, was one of the biggest rock bands in the world right now.

“Fine,” I said, since there was no way I was getting married in thirty-one days. “But it has to be at a relatively convenient time—I did just buy an expansion hockey team. However, on the flip side of the bet, if you lose, you play hockey with me at my yearly charity event.”

“Ugh.” Kingston groaned. He liked hockey about as much as I enjoyed singing. “Fine. It’s a bet.”

“Love you, kid.”

“Love you too, asshole.” He disconnected.

I put my phone away as the limo got on the highway that would take us to LaGuardia.

“We might make it,” the driver called over his shoulder.

“Excellent.”

I didn’t want to miss the flight because I’d probably change my mind completely and just head to Florida. I’d just bought a house in Fort Lauderdale on the Intracoastal Waterway. After bidding for an NHL franchise in said city two years ago, it was now official, and I’d just left a meeting with my investors. I hadn’t thought a pro hockey team in South Florida would garner much interest, but my business colleagues had surprised me. Now we were less than a year from our inaugural season and I had so much damn work to do.

A trip to British Columbia was a huge inconvenience but the holidays were around the corner so it was the perfect time for a little R&R before the new year. There was also a tiny part of me that wanted to visit Garland Grove, perhaps for the last time, because it was the last place I had any good memories of my childhood. Dad had loved Garland Grove, and we would go for a few weeks at Christmas every year. It was where I’d learned to ice-skate and had fallen in love with hockey.

We’d stopped going a few years after Kingston was born and by then I was involved in hockey, baseball, and all kinds of other things so it hadn’t been a big deal. Now that I was on my way back, memories suddenly flooded me, and I wondered what my father had been thinking by leaving us the rink there. A rink we hadn’t even known he owned.

My phone rang as I got to the airport and Ashton’s name flashed on the screen. Kingston had probably texted him with an update and I answered, saying, “Kingston tell you to call me?”

Ashton chuckled. “He texted me and said, ‘Remy has a surprise for you. You should call him.’ I can only imagine what you’ve got up your sleeve.”

I told him about the rink and he was as unimpressed as Kingston had been. “Oh, yay. Another asset I don’t have access to.”

“Actually, I’m probably going to sell it and we can split it three ways. I don’t need the money and I’m happy to give you your share once it’s sold.”

“You will?”

“I know you’re pissed off about Dad making me the administrator of your trust fund, but that was his doing, not mine. And the way he set it up, I legally can’t give you the money until you’re twenty-five even if I wanted to.”

“I know, but it still sucks,” he muttered.

“You’re twenty and have a free ride playing college hockey. Mom and I give you everything you need, including spending money. I don’t know what you would do with millions of dollars at your age anyway.”

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