As the captain of the Chicago Aces, Marc Dupuis is all business. The apartment he shares with his teammate and best friend, Duncan, is a refuge from the pressures of fame. But when the sexiest woman he’s ever seen interrupts his early morning coffee wearing only a skimpy cami and matching panties, Marc can’t exactly say he minds. Their chemistry is off the charts. Unfortunately, this girl’s no random puck bunny. She’s Duncan’s little sister—and she’s moving in.
Lovey Armstrong could stare at Marc’s chiseled abs and listen to his French-Canadian accent all day. She just has no idea what’s going on inside his head: When he’s not charming her pants off, Marc makes a Zamboni machine seem warm and cuddly. Lovey knows the team’s bro code says no messing with sisters, but all these mixed messages are hard on a girl’s self-esteem—especially since she’s finally getting her new life together in Chicago. She decides he’s worth another shot . . . because if anyone can melt the ice around Marc’s heart, it’s Lovey.
“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 then you quit.”
“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.
“Only 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.
“That’s 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. “He 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.