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Authors: Kelly Jamieson

OneManAdvantage

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One Man Advantage

Kelly Jamieson

 

After her ex trashes her reputation
in front of the media and it quickly goes viral, Nicole vows she’ll never get
involved with another hockey player. Too bad her job with the Minneapolis
Caribou puts her in contact with sexy hockey players on a daily basis,
including the newly traded center, Logan Heller.

Logan’s pretty sure Nicole is the
perfect woman for him and he’s determined to have her—in and out of bed. Nicole
is equally determined to never date another hockey player. But Logan has a one-man
advantage…he knows what she really wants.

 

Ellora’s Cave Publishing

www.ellorascave.com

 

 

 

One Man Advantage

 

ISBN 9781419940224

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

One Man Advantage Copyright © 2012 Kelly Jamieson

 

Edited by Briana St. James

Cover design by Dar Albert

Photos: Ontario Ltd., FX Quadro/Shutterstock.com

 

Electronic book publication April 2012

 

The terms Romantica® and Quickies® are registered trademarks of
Ellora’s Cave Publishing.

 

With the exception of quotes used in reviews, this book may not
be reproduced or used in whole or in part by any means existing without written
permission from the publisher, Ellora’s Cave Publishing, Inc.® 1056 Home
Avenue, Akron OH 44310-3502.

 

Warning: The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this
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copyrighted material. Your support of the author’s rights is appreciated.

 

This book is a work of fiction and any resemblance to persons,
living or dead, or places, events or locales is purely coincidental. The
characters are productions of the author’s imagination and used fictitiously.

 

The publisher and author(s) acknowledge the trademark status and
trademark ownership of all trademarks, service marks and word marks mentioned
in this book.

 

The publisher does not have any control over, and does not assume
any responsibility for, author or third-party Web sites or their content.

One Man Advantage

Kelly Jamieson

 

Chapter One

 

“I guess she’s working her way through the team one by one.
It’d be faster just to have a gang bang.” Cody Burrell, defenseman for the
Minneapolis Caribou, smirked at the ESPN reporter who’d just asked him how he
felt about his ex-girlfriend dating one of his teammates.

His ex-girlfriend being
her
.

Nicole Lambert stared at the television, her mouth hanging
open. It felt as if the world slowed to a stop for a moment.

He did not just say that on national television! About her!

Maybe she’d heard that wrong. The newscast had gone back to
the studio with the announcer moving along with highlights from the hockey game
the night before. Which the Caribou had lost. Worse than lost. They’d been
handed their asses by the Chicago Wolves with a final score of nine to one.

He
had
said it. Nicole blinked as heat slid from her
chest up her throat and into her face, and her stomach twisted into painful
knots.

Tabarnac de câlisse
!
Bâtard!

She pressed her hands to her hot cheeks and sat back into
her couch, tuning out the rest of the sportscast. Her stomach heaved. Was she
going to actually throw up?

A gang bang! Just because she’d dated a few hockey players!
A shaft of pain stabbed through her heart. That hurt. That really hurt. The
corners of her eyes stung and she blinked rapidly.

Then red-hot anger ripped through her.
Merde
, he was
an asshole! Another string of profanities against the church ran through her
mind.

Her cell phone buzzed. She lifted her head and stared at it
blankly where it sat on the coffee table in front of her. It buzzed again and
she reached for it. Taylor Berezowsky, her best friend. Had she just seen that?
Nicole pressed the talk button. “Hi.”

“Nicole. Hi. Are you watching…did you see…?”

Nicole groaned and fell back into the cushions. “I saw it.
What the fuck, Taylor? Tell me I misheard that.”

“You didn’t.” Taylor’s voice held an edge of grimness.
“Jesus, Nic. Fedor is freaking out here. He’s on the phone with Scott right
now.” Taylor’s husband played for the Caribou too, and Scott was their coach.


Sacrament
,” Nicole breathed.

“I know things are bad when you’re swearing in French.”

“My god, Taylor. How could he say something like that? In
front of the entire freakin’ country! The world!”

“I know, I know. Fedor says you should be calling your
lawyer and suing his ass.”


Mon dieu
.” She reverted again to French, covering
her eyes with her free hand. “Sue him?”

Her miniature schnauzer lying on the carpet lifted her
black-and-silver head and gave a little whine, obviously picking up on Nicole’s
agitation. Absently, Nicole reached a hand down to rub Silvia’s head.

“Yes,” Taylor said. “What is it when you insult someone like
that? Defamation? Slander? I don’t know, but he can’t say things like that.
What the hell did you do to the guy, Nic? He’s got a hate-on for you.”

“All I did was break up with him.”

“I know that.” Nicole could picture her friend’s eye roll.
“Did you cut his balls off while you were doing it?”

Nicole choked on a laugh. “Maybe figuratively. He wasn’t
impressed when I dumped him.”

“Because he’s full of himself. God’s gift to hockey and
women.” She snorted.

Nicole’s land line rang. Great. Just effing great. She
glanced at the call display on the cordless phone. She didn’t recognize the
number. “Hold on.” She punched the button on the cordless phone. “Hello?”

“Nicole Lambert?”

“Yes?”

“It’s Jack Chambers.”

She frowned. Jack Chambers… “From the Daily Mail?” she
asked. She knew him, he was a sports reporter for the newspaper.

“Yes. I don’t know if you saw tonight’s Sports Rap on ESPN,
but I was hoping to get your reaction to Cody Burrell’s comments about…”

Her mouth dropped open again and her condo started a slow
spin around her. “You have got to be kidding me!”

“No, I just…”

She clicked the phone off and stared at it as if it was
covered with dog poop. She flung it down with a clatter, startling Silvia,
whose head lifted again. Nicole spoke into her cell phone. “Holy Virgin Mary,”
she said to Taylor. “That was a newspaper reporter. Oh my god, Taylor.”

“I heard. Oh, Nic. This sucks!”

“I know!” She rubbed her forehead. Her phone rang again.
“Not answering,” she said through clenched teeth. Silvia stood, stretched, then
leaped onto the couch and stared at her.

“No, don’t answer it! Want me to come over?”

“No. That’s okay.” She shook her head, her mind buzzing. “I
can’t believe he said that.” She sat back and let Silvia climb onto her lap,
automatically wrapping one arm around her warm, furry body.

“He’s a douchebag,” Taylor said. “I told you that before.
Why’d you ever go out with him?”

“I’m asking myself that right now too,” she muttered.
Actually she knew why she’d gone out with him. He had that edge, that dangerous
vibe she thought meant he might be into the same kinds of things she liked. The
reality was, he wasn’t edgy, he was just a jerk. “But
câlisse
, I sure as
hell know why I broke up with him. Douchebag is right.” Silvia licked her chin
and Nicole squeezed her tighter.

“When did you go out with Tyler? I did not know about this.”

She sighed. “Saturday night. I wonder if he saw that.”

“Well, if he didn’t, he’s probably going to hear about it.
If reporters are already calling you about it, it’s not going to go away. Hold
on, Fedor’s off the phone.”

Nicole could hear her best friend’s husband talking in the
background with his deep, Russian-accented voice.

“Scott’s furious,” Taylor reported.

Nicole sighed. “They always defend him,” she said. “No
matter what stupid thing he says or does.”

“Huh. I know. But this is really bad.”

“I’m nobody compared to him,” Nicole said. “I’m just a lowly
Communications and Publications Assistant for the team. He’s a superstar NHL
player.”

“He’s a superstar tool. This is the height of douchbaggery.”

Nicole choked on a laugh. “True. But I mean, the team is
hardly going to stand up for me over him.”

Taylor was silent. “Nic, I know you don’t make a big deal
out of it, but everyone knows who your dad is. And your brother. You’re not
just a lowly assistant. But whatevs, no matter who you are, you don’t have to
take that crap from him.”

“Oh hon. I don’t want to make this into a bigger thing than
it is. If I just ignore it, maybe it’ll go away.”

Famous last words. Nicole’s phones didn’t stop ringing,
buzzing and pinging with calls and text messages from friends and reporters for
the rest of the evening. And the story ran over and over on the sports channels
and on the late news too. By bed time, Nicole wanted to crawl into a hole and
never come out. Reporters had dragged out her entire dating history, which yes,
had included a few hockey players. She clutched a cushion and chewed on her bottom
lip as she watched the television, mesmerized as if it was some kind of
horrific train wreck that she couldn’t look away from.

Nobody came right out and said it, but they might as well
have called her a hockey whore. Probably the only thing stopping them was the
fact that her father, Jacques Lambert, was a hockey legend, one of the best
hockey players of all time and now a co-owner of the new Montreal Saints.

Her phone buzzed once more and she checked the call display.
She sighed and clicked the talk button yet again. “
Bonjour, Papa
.”

“Nicole.
Qu’est-ce que tu as fait maintenant?

What have you done now
? How was she supposed to
answer that? “I didn’t do anything, Papa,” she said in French, which was easier
for him.

“Then why is the entire world talking about you and
embarrassing us?”

Sure. This was her fault. Of course it was. And he was
embarrassed. “Papa. I didn’t start it. It was Cody.”

She heard his muttered imprecation. She knew what he thought
about Cody Burrell. “I’ve been trying to get hold of Jeff,” he said. The
Commissioner of the National Hockey League. Fanfuckingtastic.

“Papaaaaa.” She closed her eyes. “Don’t make this bigger
than it has to be. Please stay out of this.”

“I think it’s too late for that,” he said. “Christ, Nicole,
did you have get tangled up with someone like that?” He gave a long-suffering
sigh. “You should have gone into modeling like your mother wanted.”

“Models date hockey players,” she pointed out. “As you
should know.” Her mother had been a super successful model when she’d met her
dad. And her dad also ignored the fact that Nicole wasn’t exactly model
material, much to her mother’s disappointment and which she had reminded Nicole
of many times.

“That’s different,” he snapped. “And you’re missing my
point.”

“What is your point, Papa?”

“My point is, you don’t belong in the hockey world. You’re a
girl. It can only lead to trouble.”

She pursed her lips. After hearing that her whole life, you
wouldn’t think it would hurt so much, but it still did. The corners of her eyes
stung, and when she dragged her fingertips across them, they came away damp. “I
just want this to go away,” she whispered. “But please, Papa, don’t get
involved. That’ll just make it worse.”

“Here, talk to your mother,” he said, handing the phone
over.

She switched to English to speak to her mother, who wasn’t
any more sympathetic than her father had been. “What did you do to him to make
him say such things?” she asked.

“Mom. He’s an asshole.”

“Nicole!”

She ended the call before she burst into tears. Her phone
immediately buzzed again. With a groan, she saw her brother’s name and
reluctantly answered, this time in English. “Hey, Julien.”

“Nic. What the fuck?”

“I know, I know.”

“Are you okay?”

She closed her eyes. The one question her parents hadn’t
asked. “Not really.”

“That fucking shithead,” Julien snarled. “Just wait until
the game on Thursday.” Julien played for the British Columbia Rockies, who were
scheduled to take on the Caribou later this week.

“No! Don’t do anything.”
Tabarna
c, she did not want
to see her big brother start some kind of brawl on the ice with Cody. “He’s so
not worth it. Please don’t.” Much as she was fantasizing about cutting Cody
Burrell’s balls off, this time literally, she didn’t want a fight, didn’t want
to see her brother getting hurt.

“Oh, he’s worth pounding, all right,” Julien snapped. “Hell,
I wish I was there.” His voice softened. “What do you need from me, Nic? What
can I do?”

“Nothing.” Her throat tightened. “Thanks, though. I’ll just
have to deal with this.” They talked for a few more minutes, and once again she
tossed the phone down. Then she picked it up again and powered it off. She did
not need to talk to anyone else about this tonight.

Humiliating. That was the word. She heaved herself off her
couch, her body incredibly weary, her limbs stiff and heavy. How was she
supposed to go to work tomorrow and face everyone there?
Merde
.

“Time for bed,” she said to Silvia, who immediately jumped
off the couch and trotted into the bedroom, then sat on the bed and watched
Nicole change into her pajamas. Nicole scooped up her little dog and cuddled
her against herself, pressing her face into Silvia’s soft fur. “Oh Silvia.” She
sighed. “I love you.” No matter how bad things were, Silvia loved her too.

Nicole’s sleep wasn’t exactly restful, her mind whirling.
She cycled between burning humiliation and spitting rage, and by morning, she’d
worried herself into a tightly wound knot of panic, convinced she was going to
be summarily fired the moment she set foot into the offices of the Minneapolis
Caribou where she worked.

When she turned her phone on, she found missed calls, and
when she walked out of her townhouse condo, she met reporters hanging around
outside. She paused, staring at them. Media attention wasn’t entirely
unfamiliar to her, being the daughter of a hockey legend and having dated a few
hockey players, but that was never attention for
her.
Now she worked in
Communications with the Caribou, she dealt with the media all the time. She
knew those guys, for god’s sake. She’d even thought some of them were friends.
She eyed them with hostility.

“Guys,” she said. “What are you doing here?”

“C’mon, Nicole, talk to us. What did you think about Cody’s
comments last night?”

For several long, painful seconds she considered turning
around and bolting back into the safety of her condo. Then she slid her
sunglasses onto her nose, lifted her chin and strode toward her car. “
Va te
faire foutre
,” she muttered under her breath, resolutely ignoring them and
their requests for comments.

This was nuts.

She gripped her steering wheel for a moment and swallowed.
If she saw Cody today she was going to… She gritted her teeth. Slap him. Punch
him. Kick him. Yeah, right. Impotent fury bubbled inside her, a feeling of hot
pressure. As she left the parking lot, she stepped on the gas a little too
heavily and tossed some gravel out from under her tires in a satisfying spray
at the reporters. Then she bit her lip and glanced in her rearview mirror to
make sure she hadn’t actually hit anyone.

More reporters were hanging around outside the Halstead
Center, the arena that was home to the Caribou and their offices. For fuck’s
sake! Nicole set her jaw, once again ignoring them as she entered the building.
She shot a grateful smile at Albert, the security guy who let her in and kept
the media out. For now.

Her stomach bottomed out as she once again anticipated how
pleased management was going to be about this development and what they were
going to do about it.

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