When superstar winger Neil Shannon is injured in the Stanley Cup Finals, he loses more than the hockey championships. With his confidence shot, his career begins to fall apart and an early retirement seems inevitable. Unwanted by his former team, Neil is traded to one that's starting over. Even worse, he's joined there by his biggest rival, the sexy Swede Adrian Magnusson. Adrian feels responsible for Neil's fall from grace and is determined to revive his career, but Neil wants to stay far away from this Swedish temptation, or else he'll lose the last thing of value he owns: his reputation.
“I like keeping in touch,” Magnusson admitted. “And I thought it would be fun, texting you. We’re always being pitted against each other by the fans and the media. Funny if they got it all wrong, yeah?”
“We’re not really friends, though,” Neil said, regretting it immediately when the light dimmed behind the other winger’s eyes. “I mean, we don’t know each other that well,” he hastened to add. “This is the first time we’ve said more than a few words to each other.”
“We should be a secret.” Magnusson’s face, normally animated, became still. “You and me.”
You’re already mine, Neil thought. He knew Magnusson meant only friendship, but a person could dream, and Neil was good at entertaining dreams.
“We are a secret,” he declared with drunken boldness. Let Magnusson think he meant it innocently. It didn’t matter.
Emotion moved across the Swede’s face, something wistful. Something stronger. Magnusson was strangely intense when he was drunk. It made Neil nervous, as though anything could happen, good or bad.
Then Magnusson grinned, and the tension snapped.
“I’m glad you yakked today, Shannon.”
Neil sighed, his arousal deflating. “Bite me, Magnusson.”
“Don’t say something like that around a Swedish lion.” Magnusson abruptly stood up and strode to the bathroom. “I’m going to shower.”
He left the door open and Neil could see him clearly in the mirror’s reflection, clumsily undressing. Neil opened his mouth to yell at him to shut the door. But then the tight yellow dress shirt came off, and the undershirt beneath it—and Neil forgot what he was going to say.
Damn, he’s built. He stared openly, unable to look away as the other man struggled with his tight pants until he finally managed to yank and kick his way free of them. His thighs were indeed tree trunks, his calves chiseled. And his ass—Magnusson wore a thong beneath his pants. Neil choked.
Magnusson heard him. His blue eyes flashed up to the mirror, wide with shock. He hadn’t realized Neil could see him. But instead of blushing as Neil expected, Magnusson’s expression grew intent again. Holding Neil’s captive gaze, he reached back and slapped himself loudly on one ass cheek.