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Authors: Deirdre Martin

Total Rush

BOOK: Total Rush
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Table of Contents
 
PRAISE FOR THE NOVELS OF DEIRDRE MARTIN
Fair Play
“Martin depicts the worlds of both professional hockey and ethnic Brooklyn with deftness and smart detail. She has an unerring eye for humorous family dynamics [and] sweet buoyancy.”—
Publishers Weekly
 
“Fast-paced, wisecracking, and an enjoyable story . . . Makes you feel like you're flying.”—
Rendezvous
 
“A fun and witty story . . . The depth of characterizations and the unexpectedly moving passages make this an exceptional romance and a must-read for all fans of the genre.”—
Booklist
 
“A fine sports romance that will score big-time . . . Martin has provided a winner.”—
Midwest Book Review
 
“Sure to delight both fans of professional ice hockey and those who enjoy a good romance.”—
Affaire de Coeur
Body Check
“Heartwarming.”—
Booklist
 
“Combines sports and romance in a way that reminded me of Susan Elizabeth Phillips's
It Had To Be You
, but Deirdre Martin has her own style and voice.
Body Check
is one of the best first novels I have read in a long time.”
—
All About Romance
(Desert Island Keeper)
 
“Deirdre Martin aims for the net and scores with
Body Check.
”—
The Romance Reader
(Four Hearts)
 
“You don't have to be a hockey fan to cheer for
Body Check.
Deirdre Martin brings readers a story that scores.”
—
The Word On Romance
 
“Fun, fast-paced, and sexy,
Body Check
is a dazzling debut.”—Millie Criswell,
USA Today
bestselling author of
Mad About Mia
 
“Fun, delightful, emotional, and sexy,
Body Check
is an utterly enthralling, fast-paced novel. This is one author I eagerly look forward to reading more from.”
—
Romance Reviews Today
 
“An engaging romance that scores a hat trick [with] a fine supporting cast.”—
The Best Reviews
 
 
 
Be sure to visit the Blades' website at
www.nyblades.com
THE BERKLEY PUBLISHING GROUP
Published by the Penguin Group
Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, USA
Penguin Group (Canada), 10 Alcorn Avenue, Toronto, Ontario M4V 3B2, Canada
(a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.)
Penguin Books Ltd., 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
Penguin Group Ireland, 25 St. Stephen's Green, Dublin 2, Ireland (a division of Penguin Books Ltd.)
Penguin Group (Australia), 250 Camberwell Road, Camberwell, Victoria 3124, Australia
(a division of Pearson Australia Group Pty. Ltd.)
Penguin Books India Pvt. Ltd., 11 Community Centre, Panchsheel Park, New Delhi—110 017, India
Penguin Group (NZ), Cnr. Airborne and Rosedale Roads, Albany, Auckland 1310, New Zealand
(a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd.)
Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty.) Ltd., 24 Sturdee Avenue, Rosebank, Johannesburg 2196,
South Africa
 
Penguin Books Ltd., Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
 
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
 
TOTAL RUSH
 
A Berkley Sensation Book / published by arrangement with the author
 
PRINTING HISTORY
Berkley Sensation edition / March 2005
 
Copyright © 2005 by Deirdre Martin.
 
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage electronic piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author's rights. Purchase only authorized editions.
For information, address: The Berkley Publishing Group,
a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.,
375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014.
 
eISBN : 978-1-101-01050-1
 
BERKLEY ® SENSATION
Berkley Sensation Books are published by The Berkley Publishing Group,
a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.,
375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014.
BERKLEY SENSATION and the “B” design are trademarks belonging to Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
 
 

http://us.penguingroup.com

For my sister Allison,
with gratitude for her love and friendship
Special thanks to
Lt. Dave Burbank and Lt. Gillian Sharp of the Ithaca Fire Department, whose willingness to take me inside their world helped make this book possible. Also firefighter Rob Covert, my CISD source.
 
Lt. John Miles of Ladder 35/Engine 40 in Manhattan, for allowing me to see how it's done in the big city and answering my endless questions without complaint.
 
Assistant Fire Chief Mike Schnurle, Mark Spadolini, Wade Bardo, Dan Zajak, and anyone else I might have missed from IFD's “D” shift. Your hospitality and friendliness made all the difference in the world to me.
 
The firefighters of Ladder 35/Engine 40 in Manhattan.
Thanks also to
My husband, Mark Levine, for his incredible patience.
 
Roberta Caploe, for allowing me to put her gorgeous
apartment in three books.
 
Ken Dashow, for putting me in touch with
Lt. John Miles.
 
Maggie Shayne.
 
Rachel Dickinson.
 
Dr. Brian Carpenter.
 
Elaine English and Allison McCabe.
 
And last but not least, Mom, Dad, Bill, Allison, Beth,
Jane, Dave, and Tom, who, along with Mark and
“the lads,” make everything worthwhile.
CHAPTER
01
“I need your help.”
Looking up, Gemma Dante smiled as her cousin Michael came bounding to the counter of the Golden Bough. As usual, the cozy, welcoming bookstore in Greenwich Village was filled with customers, some browsing among the bookshelves, others lounging in one of the plump armchairs Gemma provided. Soft Celtic music played, while the faint scent of lavender incense filled the air. The sense of serenity had no effect on Michael Dante, however. Right winger for the New York Blades, he was a man always in a hurry, both on the ice and off.
Gemma stepped out from behind the counter to give her cousin an affectionate hug. “ ‘I need your help,' ” she repeated. “I think I'll have that carved on my tombstone.” People instinctively came to her for aid and advice—not that she minded. She enjoyed playing the part of an offbeat Ann Landers to friends and family.
“Tombstone?” Michael feigned surprise. “I always figured when you went, you'd have some kind of moonlight ceremony where you'd be transformed into fairy dust and returned to the cosmos.”
“Remember that old Squeeze song that begins, ‘If I didn't love you, I'd hate you'? I think of you every time I hear it, Mikey.”
“And I think of you every time I hear Donovan's ‘Season of the Witch.'” He glanced around the store. “Not too many freaks today.”
Gemma ignored the crack, returning to her post behind the cash register. “What can I do for you?”
“There's this new guy on the team, Ron Crabnutt. He was just called up from Rochester and he doesn't know a soul in the city apart from us guys. He's dying to go out with a ‘real New York woman.' So I thought maybe—if you had time—you could break bread with him one night this week.”
Gemma looked dubious. “Are you trying to set me up on a date?”
“No, no, no,” Michael swore. “Well—yeah. It's an act of kindness, you know? For someone who's new to town.”
“I thought I was too ‘weird' for your teammates.”
Michael snorted. “You're too good for them! If you saw some of the skanks these guys hung out with . . .” He shuddered.
“Good to know I'm one up on the skanks, Mikey.”
He rounded the counter and gave her a bone-crushing squeeze. “Will you do it? He's a really nice guy, Gem, cross my heart. And who knows? Maybe you two will hit it off.” He winked.
Gemma chuckled. “I'm not looking for a boyfriend.”
“A relationship would be good for you.”
Gemma changed the subject. “Speaking of relationships, how's Theresa? The baby?”
Michael smiled giddily. “Both doing great. The christening invitations just went out in the mail. You're coming, right?”
“Are you kidding? I wouldn't miss it for the world.”
“Good. And Crabnutt? You'll have dinner with him?”
Gemma shrugged. “Okay. What have I got to lose? It might be fun.”
“I knew I could count on you!”
“That'll be the second line on my tombstone.”
 
 
Goddess, why did I let Mikey talk me into this?
Gemma thought, struggling to keep her eyes from glazing over. She had agreed to do this as a favor, and because it might fun. Little did she know she'd be listening to someone drone on ecstatically about his screwdriver collection.
“Now, your clutchhead tips have four points of contact—”
“Excuse me,” she interrupted Ron Crabnutt politely. “Could we talk about something other than screwdrivers?”
“Sure.” Ron looked wounded. “What would you like to talk about?”
“How about politics?”
“Well, I gotta be honest with you . . .” A mild grimace tugged at Crabnutt's lower lip. “I don't really give a monkey's hinder about politics.”
Gemma blinked.
Monkey's hinder?
“How about music, then?”
Ron's face lit up. “You like Skid Row?”
“Skid Row?”
“Don't tell me you've never heard of Skid Row!” Ron exclaimed, smacking the table in disbelief. “They're only the greatest band EVER.”
Maybe talking about screwdrivers wasn't so bad after all. “I'm more into Celtic music myself. Solas, Loreena McKennitt . . .”
“Never heard of 'em,” Ron grumbled. “If it doesn't make your teeth rattle, I don't want to know.”
Gemma deflated. “Right.” She decided to give it one more try. Perhaps a conversational push in the right direction would reveal unimagined depth to his personality. “Do you have any hobbies besides the screwdrivers?” she asked.
BOOK: Total Rush
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