Read Major Misconduct (Aces Hockey #1) Online
Authors: Kelly Jamieson
is a work of fiction. Names, places, and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
A Loveswept eBook Original
Copyright © 2015 by Kelly Jamieson
by Kelly Jamieson copyright © 2015 by Kelly Jamieson
All rights reserved.
Published in the United States by Loveswept, an imprint of Random House, a division of Penguin Random House LLC, New York.
is a registered trademark and the
colophon is a trademark of Penguin Random House LLC.
This book contains an excerpt from the forthcoming book
by Kelly Jamieson. This excerpt has been set for this edition only and may not reflect the final content of the forthcoming edition.
eBook ISBN 9781101887219
Cover design: Diane Luger
Cover photograph: Gerber86/istock
“Oh my God. What have you done now?”
Lovey frowned, her cellphone held to her ear. “What kind of greeting is that?”
Her brother, Duncan, sighed.
Lovey beamed at the taxi driver as he hauled her last suitcase into the condominium lobby on East Monroe Street in the Chicago Loop. She shifted the phone away as she handed him some folded bills so she wasn’t speaking to Duncan. “Thank you so much.”
He smiled back at her. “Sure you don’t want me to help get them up to your condo?”
“No, that’s fine. My brother and his roommate are big strong guys. They’ll help me with things.” She heard a faint snort on the phone. “Thank you again for your help.”
He nodded and chilly air rushed into the lobby as he opened the door and walked out.
“Where are you, Lovey?” Duncan asked.
“I’m standing in your lobby!” She turned a circle in the elegant lobby, taking in the arrangement of modern furniture and huge potted plants, winter sunshine flooding through tall windows. “I’m here to stay with you.”
She briefly bit her bottom lip. “Just felt like coming to see my big brother in the big city.”
“Can you come down and help me with my luggage?”
Another audible exhalation. “I’ll be right down.”
Lovey smiled. “Thanks, Dunc.” She ended the call and dropped her phone into her purse. She grabbed her suitcases, but with her purse over her shoulder, her carry-on balanced precariously on top of one case, and both of the pieces of luggage huge and heavy, she struggled across the pale stone-tiled floor toward the elevators in her high-heeled boots. Then the carry-on slipped, pulling her off balance, tipping the suitcase. She released the other one and fought for control of the weighty beast, purse falling off her shoulder, throwing her even more off balance. “Oh, for the love of cheese.”
Her hair fell across her face and she began to sweat. The sweater and wool pants were appropriate for Chicago in October, but inside the warm lobby, fighting with uncooperative luggage, she was getting hot. Also high-heeled boots were stylish but not exactly helpful when wrestling suitcases.
She was just getting the suitcase righted when the elevator doors slid open. Then her other suitcase topped over with a bang. Duncan strolled out, taking in her flustered state with a long-suffering big-brother look.
Lovey pushed her hair back and straightened, bestowing one of her highest-wattage smiles on her brother. She threw out her arms and rushed at him for a hug. “Hey! So good to see you!”
He hugged her back, then with a shake of his head and a reluctant smile he set her away from him. “Good to see you too, Lovey. Still not sure what the hell you’re doing here…” He surveyed her luggage. “With apparently your entire wardrobe.” He lifted an eyebrow. “But come on up.”
He grabbed her suitcases, including the carry-on, and headed back into the waiting elevator. Lovey slung her purse over her shoulder and tapped along behind him. Easy for him. Big bro was an NHL hockey player—six foot two, two hundred pounds, big muscles everywhere. One corner of her mouth kicked up. There were advantages to having a brother who was big. Really big. And strong.
The doors slid closed and Duncan punched the button for the fourteenth floor.
“Thank you,” she said gratefully. “Those suitcases weigh a ton.”
“How the hell did you get on the plane with them? And from the airport to here.”
She shrugged. “There were always people around offering to help.”
She blinked. “Well. Yeah.”
He shook his head, lips twitching.
“What’s with the beard?” She touched her own chin with thumb and forefinger. “You look like a mountain man. I thought you only grew a beard during playoffs.”
He shrugged. “I got tired of shaving.”
“Duncan! Eew. No woman is going to find that attractive.”
“And it’s freezing here! Why is it so cold here?”
“It’s forty degrees,” Duncan said dryly. “And probably not much colder than Madison.”
“But it’s windy. It
the Windy City.”
“Chicago is no windier than any other city.”
She frowned. “But it’s called the Windy City.”
“That apparently has to do with the long-windedness of Chicago politicians.”
“Huh.” She tipped her head. “Really? But it
windy today. I’m sure hundred-mile-an-hour winds.”
He grinned. “Yeah, Lovey, it’s windy.”
The doors opened and he let her exit first, but she paused, unsure which way to go. It was the first time she’d visited him since he’d bought this super lux condo that had to have cost a gazillion dollars. Nice to have that kind of money.
She’d felt a few twinges of guilt about arriving unannounced to stay with him, but she kept reminding herself his condo was huge. He did have a roommate, but still, there were three bedrooms, so she wouldn’t be putting anyone out. She’d be sure to stay out of their way. Not interfere with their game day routines. She’d clean up after herself.
He led them into his condo and she swept her gaze around, taking it all in.
“This is gorgeous! Holy cheese-its, Dunc!”
He grinned. “Yeah, it’s pretty cool.”
Wide-plank hardwood floors stained a dark chocolate color stretched all through the unit. Big windows let in bright golden sunshine. She lifted an eyebrow at the exercise equipment in the dining room instead of a table and chairs. Two big brown leather couches and a couple of oversized chairs were centered on a patterned rug in the living room, a big square table in the middle.
She walked through and turned to the kitchen. Creamy cupboards and granite countertops formed a U-shape around a substantial island with a couple of stools at the end of it. She blinked at the empty pizza boxes and beer bottles littering the counter, then turned away with a shrug.
“This is amazing.” She shook her head. “How much did you pay for this place? I’m guessing five million.”
He laughed. “Not even close.”
“Not telling you.”
She frowned. “Why not?”
“None of your business, li’l sis.” He leaned against the island and crossed his arms. “Now tell me what you’re doing here.”
She swallowed her sigh. “I’m moving to Chicago.”
He choked. “What?”
She lifted one shoulder. “I decided there’s not enough for me in Madison. I’m moving here. I want to live in a big city. There are more career opportunities.”
“Did you get fired again?”
“No!” She frowned. “No, I did not.”
She pursed her lips. “I quit.”
He shook his head. “Why, Lovey? I thought it was a great job.”
“It was okay.”
“Then why did you quit?”
She avoided his eyes and wandered back into the living room. “It wasn’t my dream job.”
He snorted and followed her. “Dream job?”
She whirled around. “You have
dream job! Why shouldn’t I?”
She knew he wouldn’t understand. Growing up, everyone had known he was going to make it big. His hockey talent had been evident from an early age, and their parents had dedicated their lives to helping him achieve his dreams.
Lovey, on the other hand, hadn’t even
She’d never begrudged Duncan his success. She was proud of her brother. He’d worked hard his whole life to achieve what he had and he totally deserved it. But there had been times she’d wished she had some kind of super talent that would make everyone proud of
“You’re giving me the gears before I’m barely in the door. Not cool, Dunc.”
His lips quirked as if he was repressing another smile. He gestured to one of the brown leather couches. “Sit down.”
She sank into the couch and crossed her legs.
Duncan sat across from her. “You don’t quit a perfectly good job just because it’s not your dream job, Lovey. If you don’t like it, you look around for something else and
“Not if you’re moving to Chicago. I had to quit so I could move here. I’ll find something here, I’m sure.”
Duncan thought she was a flighty, impetuous screwup who’d quit a good job and moved to another state on a whim. And she wasn’t about to set him straight on that, because…it was true.
Well, to a certain extent it was true. But she didn’t want to tell him about her goals and dreams because…because she wasn’t entirely sure she could do this…and she didn’t want him saying “I told you so” if she failed.
She pushed down her misgivings and smiled at him. “I just need a place to stay for a while.”
“You can’t stay here.”
Her mouth dropped open. “What? Why not? You’ve got tons of room! Look at this place.” She sat up straight and swept an arm out. “Fifty billion square feet, probably ten bathrooms…”
“Two and a half,” he corrected. “And three bedrooms. And it’s only two thousand square feet. Not fifty billion,” he added in a muttered tone.
two thousand. As if one guy needs that much space.”
“I have a roommate,” he reminded her. “Two of the three bedrooms are occupied and the third has no furniture.”
She frowned and sank back into the couch. “Oh. Well. That doesn’t matter. I’ll just sleep on the floor until we can get me a bed.”
“We’re not getting you a bed.”
“Hey, Army, what time are we heading out?” a deep male voice interrupted them. “Oh. Hey.”
Lovey’s head snapped around at the unfamiliar voice and then her eyes went wide and her jaw dropped.
The guy standing across the room wore a pair of boxer shorts and nothing else. Sweet cheese-its, he was hot. Even more muscular than Duncan, he was about the same height. Short brown hair stood in messy spikes on top, and the same golden-brown stubble lay over his chiseled jaw and upper lip. His lips were thinnish but nicely shaped, his eyes a beautiful sky blue color she could see from here, framed with thick eyelashes.
Her gaze tracked over bulky shoulders and arms, a chest that was slabs of muscle and smooth golden skin, a freakin’ eight-pack of abs that literally made her want to drool, then down over the blue boxer shorts sitting low on lean hips, to his bare legs. She blinked at the size of his thighs and the delineation of the massive muscles bulging above his knees. His calves were also strong, covered with more dark gold hair. His long, sinewy bare feet stood on the bare wood floor.
She lifted her gaze back up to his face and smiled. “Hi.”
He blinked, his expression not changing. “Uh. Hi.” He glanced at Duncan. “Sorry, man, didn’t know you had someone here.” He took a step back.
“Dude, go put some clothes on. This is my little sister.”
The guy’s eyes flickered. “Oh. Shit. Be right back.”
“Wait!” Lovey rose and legged it across the carpet in her heels, hand outstretched. “I’m Lovey. It’s nice to meet you; you must be Duncan’s roommate. Marc, right?”
He took another step back but she kept going. He shoved a hand out, maybe to stop her. She grabbed it to shake it.
The faint inflection in the way he said it was…sexy. “You’re French.” Her smile broadened.
“Yeah.” He gave her a quick handshake, then released her hand and took two more steps away. “Marc Dupuis. I’ll, uh, be back.”
He disappeared down the hall and she admired the back view. Whoa. Wide at the shoulders, muscled back, deep grooves down the middle that disappeared into the low waistband of the boxers, which did not hide a very firm ass. She gave a sigh of pleasure.
She blinked and turned to look at her brother.
why you can’t stay here. This is a bachelor home. You can’t live here with two guys.”
She frowned. “Why not?”
His eyebrows flew up. “We walk around half-dressed sometimes. We don’t want to have to be worried about covering up.”
She grinned. “Don’t worry on my account. You…phht.” She waved a hand and rolled her eyes. “
can walk around naked anytime he wants.”
“Jesus fuckin’ Christ.” Duncan rubbed his face. “We drink beer. We make a mess. Well, I do,” he amended. “We party. Lotta the other guys hang out here too.”
She shrugged. “It’s not as if I’m not used to your friends hanging out.” He’d played hockey all through high school—well, all his life, basically—and there’d always been a bunch of guys crowding up their Columbia County dairy farmhouse.
“We have girls over.” He gave her a meaningful look.
She laughed, flopping down on the couch again. “I should hope so.”
“You’re not going to be comfortable here.”
She looked around. “I think I could be very comfortable here.” She gave a nod. “This is a gorgeous place to live. Nice view too.” In the distance Lake Michigan was a haze of blue.
“Fuck,” Duncan muttered.
Marc reappeared, now fully dressed, sadly. Although with clothes on he still looked amazeballs hot. “Sorry about that. Didn’t know you were here, uh, Lovey.”
She beamed at him. “No problem. Duncan was more freaked-out than I was.”
Duncan rolled his eyes.
Lovey studied Marc in his clothes—low-rise faded jeans that had to be specially made to fit loosely over those massive thighs, and a long-sleeve black T-shirt. She let out another brief sigh.
He moved to perch on one of the stools at the big island, then stopped as he took in the mess in the kitchen. With a head shake, he began to clean up, tossing cold pizza into the trash, loading empty beer bottles into cartons. “This place is gross.”
Duncan shrugged and leaned back. “You knew that when you moved in. Don’t get all pissy. You don’t have to clean up.”
“I know, I know.” Marc stacked empty pizza boxes into a blue recycling box. “Just can’t stand the fucking mess.”
Duncan grinned. “That’s your problem.”
Lovey looked back and forth between them. Duncan was a slob, no doubt about it. Mom had pulled her hair out trying to teach him to clean up after himself. Apparently none of it had sunk in. Marc, on the other hand…seemed to have learned well. Or maybe he was a neat freak.
Nothing wrong with that. Not at all.
Especially when he looked that good while cleaning up.