Kyla has tried so hard to be one of the boys. She was always like a little sister to Tag. One summer, things changed from sibling teasing to blazing sexual tension. When they're reunited for a two-family reunion, the desire and lust are still there, simmering below the surface.
Tag is a pro hockey player who is cynical about women. He knows they're only interested in him because of who he is. Kyla is an attorney who's still trying to be "one of the boys" at her law firm. They're both adults and neither of them is looking for a relationship. A hot summer week at the lake. Need. Attraction. There's no reason they shouldn't explore each other.
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November 13, 2009
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Excerpt from Faceoff by Kelly Jamieson
Friday night. Six o'clock. A briefcase full of documents to review for the coming week that would occupy pretty much her entire weekend. Super fun.
Kyla MacIntosh rode the elevator down from the twenty-ninth floor of the Richardson Building, immune to the ear-popping speed of the elevator after years of working at the law offices of Ingram Howell Grant. Alone in the elevator, she leaned her head against the wall, then straightened and rolled her head, trying to ease the tightness in her neck that was causing a feeling of pressure around her head. The headaches were so constant now she barely noticed them, but at that moment she longed for some ibuprofen. And a massage. Her massage therapist was getting rich off her lately.
She came to a halt in the building lobby at seeing the pouring rain outside. Damn. With slower steps, she wandered into the hotel adjoining the office building to peer out the front doors. She set down her briefcase and purse and was about to slide her arms into the beige trench coat she carried over one arm when a burst of laughter from the lounge off the hotel lobby had her turning her head in recognition. Several of the lawyers from the firm sat on stools at a high round table, drinks in hand, laughing at something one of them had just said. Including her mentor, senior partner Jim English, and her biggest competition for partner, Alex Covell.
She blinked at them. Damn. They'd gone for drinks without her again. She looked down at the gleaming stone floor, then back up. She pressed her lips together and lifted her purse and briefcase, then straightened her shoulders and strode into the bar.
"Hey guys," she said, pasting on a smile. "I didn't know you were going for drinks tonight."
They all looked up at her, Jim, Alex and a few other partners and associates. "Hey, Kyla." After a short pause, Jim said, "Why don't you join us?"
"Thanks!" One of the men pulled another stool up to the table and she smiled at him as she climbed up onto it. "It's been a long week, I could use a drink."
The jocular conversation had come to a screeching halt and Kyla sighed inwardly. What had they been talking about? Probably her. She ordered a martini from the waitress with determined cheerfulness. "Pouring rain out there," she said. "Maybe by the time I've had a drink, it'll stop."
Reduced to talking about the weather. You could always talk about the weather in a city with four distinct seasons, where the temperatures ranged sixty degrees Celsius or more over the course of year. "It's supposed to clear up for the weekend," Jim said.
"Heading out to the lake?" Alex asked him.
"Yeah. Pam's been up there all week. Jason and Lacy are bringing the kids this weekend," he said, referring to his son and daughter-in-law.
"How about you, Kyla? What are you up to this weekend?"
"Oh not much." She smiled. "Work."
They all made understanding noises. The conversation stuttered again.
She wasn't the only woman at the firm. There was, in fact, one female partner, but Kyla suspected Morgan had actually once been a man. Seriously. Not that Kyla had any issues with transgendered folks, but since Morgan had never married and, as far as anyone knew, had no family, she certainly didn't have to struggle with issues of maternity leave or trying to rear a family while billing as many hours as possible.
And inviting one of the female associates for Friday happy hour drinks wasn't apparently something her mentor felt comfortable with.
Kyla took a burning gulp of her martini.
"How's your golf game?" Hugh asked Jim. "Been out much so far this year?"
Kyla resisted the urge to roll her eyes. Jim somehow managed to golf in every big tournament in the city, which seemed to be a couple of times a week in the summer. Yeah, sure, it was networking, but geez.
"Yeah, I've been out a few times." Jim also had a membership at the most expensive golf club in the city and occasionally invited some of the other lawyers at the firm to golf with him there. He'd never invited Kyla, even though she'd made a determined effort to learn how to golf, knowing how much networking was done on the links. She despised golf, but saw it as a necessary business skill.
The men started talking about putters and drivers, effectively shutting her out of the conversation. As usual. But she smiled and nodded and asked the odd question when she could, determined she was going to be part of this boys club.
A decision about who was going to be named the next partner at Ingram, Howell and Grant was being made this month. She and Alex were both considered the front runners. She'd been working her ass off for eight years for this and her plan to make partner was seemingly on track, but last week Jim had invited Alex to join him at a big golf tournament, making up a foursome with one of their largest corporate clients, and that had resurrected all her self-doubts. She hated that after months, even years, of feeling confident and on track, all of a sudden she was hyper aware of every decision, every exclusion--like the lack of invitation to join them for drinks tonight.
Hell. This wasn't the first time that had happened. She'd become aware a long time ago that Jim wasn't comfortable asking her out for drinks. He was old enough to be her father, but their relationship wasn't father-daughter or even father-son, like his relationship with Alex was, and having drinks or lunch alone with her, or golfing with her, were clearly things he didn't feel comfortable with.
She stared glumly down into her martini, momentarily diverted from her cheery fa?ade.
"How about those Jets," Jim said. Everyone laughed. "Never thought I'd get to say that line again," he continued with a grin. "A toast to the Jets."
They all lifted their glasses and a chorus of "To the Jets" filled the air. People at the tables around them regarded them with amusement and then the entire lounge was filled with people shouting "To the Jets!" and lifting their glasses in a spontaneous toast.
Kyla couldn't help but laugh. The city of Winnipeg had never recovered from losing their National Hockey League team back in 1996 and the recent news that a couple of wealthy businessmen in town had finally succeeded in purchasing a struggling NHL team and were bringing it back to Winnipeg had created a buzz of excitement throughout the city.
She'd grown up with two older brothers who'd played hockey, although neither of them were good enough to turn pro, and her parents' best friends, the Hellers, had four boys who she'd practically grown up with as if they were brothers too. Three of those four boys now played in the NHL and the fourth had just been drafted. In fact, one of them played for the team that was moving back to Winnipeg, which had added to the excitement. Return of the home town hockey hero.
She too had been following the story of the team's purchase in the news for months, interested largely in the complex legal and business issues that had arisen. She'd done a lot of legal work for the AHL team that had played in the city since the Jets had left and found the business side of professional sports fascinating.