By the time his appointment approached, Ari was ready. She had the stereo switched off and her game face on. Before she began his massage therapy, she would greet the elephant in the room, acknowledge its presence, and then show it the door.
At ten thirty sharp he sauntered in wearing nothing but a towel, his hair damp from the shower, his skin glowing with a life force which she’d experienced the other night at very close range . . .
Focus, Ari. “Good morning,” she said with the same firmness she greeted all her clients. “How are your hip flexors feeling today?”
Before answering, he shut the door and faced her. She was keenly aware that nothing separated her from the potent look in his eye except a not-so-wide massage table and a towel. It was as if he’d failed to hear the cool, businesslike tone of her greeting. He studied her the way she looked at the cupcakes in the case at One Girl Cookies—like she was a well-deserved snack he was about to gobble down. “Hi, sweetheart,” he said slowly. “You doing okay?”
Gulp. “I’m doing well,” she said, trying to remember what it was she had rehearsed saying. “I got an order of protection, and hired a process server to track Vince down to serve it. And the lawyer Becca recommended is ready to step in if the cops try to tie me to any of Vince’s shady dealings.”
“That’s good,” Patrick said, never breaking her gaze. His intensity made her knees feel squishy. Eventually he dropped his towel and slid onto the table, releasing her from that laser stare, thankfully. “No Pearl Jam today?”
“Um, I can turn it on.” She tossed another towel over his midsection before it became tempting to stare. “After we have a quick chat.”
His eyes lifted to hers again, and he looked almost amused. “What’s on your mind?”
“It’s about the other night. We can’t have a repeat performance.”
“Of course not,” he said, letting out a wolfish chuckle.
For a split second she was actually disappointed at how quickly he’d agreed. But then she caught herself and remembered to be relieved.
“. . . I mean, not an exact repeat,” he added. “I like to mix it up a little. The shower sounds good. Up against the wall.”
“Patrick,” she warned. “I’m not joking. We obviously have a bit of chemistry . . .” She rubbed a bit of oil onto her fingers and then started in on the muscles just above his knee.
He snorted. “We have a bit of chemistry. And hockey has a bit of violence. We practically burned down your bed together.”
by Sarina Bowen
Released: January 3rd 2017
Series: Brooklyn Bruisers #2
Published by Berkley
He’s a fighter in the rink, but he’s about to learn that playing nice can help you score...
As team captain and enforcer, Patrick O'Doul puts the bruise in the Brooklyn Bruisers. But after years of hard hits, O'Doul is feeling the burn, both physically and mentally. He conceals his pain from his coach and trainers, but when his chronic hip injury becomes too obvious to ignore, they send him for sessions with the team’s massage therapist.
After breaking up with her long-term boyfriend, Ari Bettini is in need of peace of mind. For now, she’s decided to focus on her work: rehabilitating the Bruisers’ MVP. O'Doul is easy on the eyes, but his reaction to her touch is ice cold. Ari is determined to help O'Doul heal, but as the tension between them turns red hot, they both learn that a little TLC does the body good...