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Pilots Hockey #3
Pilots Hockey #3
By: Sophia Henry
Releasing June 7, 2016
REVIEW POSTED AT HARLEQUIN JUNKIE
In Interference (Pilots Hockey #3) by Sophia Henry, Jason Taylor has never met a more intriguing woman than Linden ‘Indie’ Meadows. Especially since she’s not afraid to express her opinion, whether it’s when she disagrees with his coaching decisions for her brother’s hockey team, or when he’s performing in his duties as a police officer. Unfortunately, Indie’s not eager to get to know him and unless he can convince her to take a chance on him, their chance at happy ever after might slip them both by. READ MORE
“Sophia Henry tackles real issues that tug at your heartstrings,” raves bestselling author Rachel Harris. Now, in this sweet, sensual Pilots Hockey novel, a young single mom falls for a damaged coach pulling double-duty as a cop.
Linden Meadows doesn’t back down from anyone, especially if her family’s involved. So when her little brother’s new hockey coach benches him in the middle of a game, Linden lets him have it. She also notices that the coach is way hotter than she expects, but Linden won’t let herself get burned by another athlete. Been there, done that—and had a kid at seventeen to show for it.
When Jason Taylor isn’t taking abuse from hockey moms, he’s patrolling the streets as a member of the Bridgeland PD. After Jason pulls Linden over for speeding, he begins to see that there’s more to her than a big mouth . . . or a lead foot. Their chemistry leads to good company, intense conversation, and an intimacy that pushes beyond the boundaries of friendship. And yet Linden’s decision to keep her now three-year-old son, Holden, is a painful reminder to Jason that his own mother gave him up for adoption.
Linden’s sure she’s found the man to round out their family. But when Holden’s deadbeat dad forces his way back into the picture, Jason starts to back off. He needs time—to heal, to grow, and to love with all his heart.
“What do you recommend, Indie?” The woman asked, glancing at me before dropping her eyes back to the menu.
“Um, well,” I said, faltering. How did the cop’s mom know my name? Had he told his mom about me?
“She read your name tag. Don’t get your hopes up.” Officer Taylor nodded at my chest.
Warmth rushed into my cheeks as I skimmed my fingers across the badge pinned on the right side of my shirt. Name tag, duh. Stupid overactive imagination. Of course he hadn’t told his mom about me. He probably hated me.
The silly disappointment I felt was short-lived, lasting only until his snarky comment hit home.
“Well, the beef brisket is a customer favorite, but I’d recommend the ribs. I mean, everyone loves a pig, right?” I cocked my head to the side, pleased with my joke.
The cop’s lady friend choked on the swig of beer she had taken. She raised her hand and patted her chest.
“You okay, Mom?” He asked, clapping her on the back.
Aha! She was his mom. I knew it.
Taylor’s mom nodded. “Went down the wrong pipe,” she squeaked out before coughing again.
“Should I give you another minute?” I asked. I wanted to slink away. I shouldn’t have said that in front of his mother. I wasn’t a confrontational person. What was it about him that brought out that side of me?
“No, no. We’re ready,” she said and coughed one last time to clear her throat. “I’ll take the ribs.” She winked at me, then bit her lip to keep a smile away.
The cop’s mom was pure awesome.
“And for you?” I coughed my own smile away as I lifted my chin and focused my attention on the officer.
“I’ll have the same thing. I love pigs.” He held out his menu, a smug smile spreading across his face. “With fries, please.”
“Oh, good lord, Jason,” his mom hissed, emphasizing her annoyance with an eye roll.
Jason. Officer Jackweed had a first name.
“Touché.” I nodded as I plucked the menu from his hands, spinning away toward the safety of my computer. If I didn’t know better, I’d think the cop was flirting with me.
It took every ounce of willpower I had not to look over at Jason. Thanks to his mom, I now knew the name of the infuriating, hot, jerky, muscular, arrogant, sexy man I hadn’t been able to get out of my head since I saw him at my brother’s game.
My head snapped up, breaking me out of the fog of thoughts I’d disguised while inputting the dinner order. How long had Kristen, a server who went by her initials, KK, been calling me?
“Yeah. Sorry. What?” I couldn’t get the right word out.
Get it together, girl. Stop thinking of Jason’s buff forearms.
“Did you make that Bloody Mary for table thirty-three?” KK asked.
“Table thirty-three?” I glanced at Jason, whose eyes caught mine, then shook my head and looked at the tiny printer on the end of the bar, buzzing as it spewed orders the servers had punched in from the dining room computer.
Damn. Bloody Mary for table thirty-three. Four ales, two reds, and a Weizen for various other tables.
Time to get my head back in the game, especially since the printer wouldn’t stop. No looking at Jason until I had to check on how his meal tasted. Usually, I wasn’t easily thrown, especially by a guy.
It’s because he’s new in town. That’s his intrigue. His mystery.
The drink orders never slowed, and I turned my focus back to my customers at the bar and in the dining room. On busy nights, I usually had a second bartender helping with the madness, but Stacy had called in sick at last minute and I hadn’t found a replacement. I couldn’t even be angry with her, since she was three months pregnant. I knew how fast morning sickness came on, and how there was no working around it some days.
I’d been so busy filling drink orders and waiting on my customers at the bar that I hadn’t even had a chance to check on Jason and his mom. Thankfully, a porter had brought out their meals. At my first free moment, I wandered over to Jason.
“You scared off your own mom?” I asked, nodding to the empty chair next to him.
“She’s using the restroom.” Jason took a sip of his beer. “Are you gonna throw sarcastic comments at me all night, or talk to me?”
“What do you want to talk about?” I asked, filling a pint glass with red ale.
“Do you have a boyfriend?”
Not a question I’d expected.
“How is that your business?”
“You smell like a dude,” he blurted out.
I curled my fingers around the glass, which had almost slipped out of my hand. “Excuse me?”
“Shit. I meant you smell like men’s cologne,” Jason said, backtracking. “It wasn’t an insult.”
“I like the smell of men’s cologne better than perfume.” I set the first pint aside and began filling a second.
“Why’d you skip the boyfriend question?”
“Because it’s not your business.”
Jason leaned in, his voice low. “It is if I want to ask you out.”
“You what?” I readjusted my grip on the glass and pushed the handle of the tap back to stop the flow of beer.
“I think we should hang out.” Jason wiped his mouth with his napkin and tossed it onto his empty plate.
“That’s the best you can do, copper? I thought you were smoother than that.” I winked and walked away, carrying the beers I’d filled to the end of the bar for a server to pick up. Then I made a Moscow Mule and checked on a few other customers sitting at the bar before printing Jason’s check and placing it in front of him.
“Will you please go on a date with me?” Jason asked, not missing a beat.
My heart pounded against my chest. I was both flattered and frustrated by his persistence. “You expect me to say yes, don’t you?”
“It’s obvious that you like me.” Jason’s blue eyes twinkled, catching light from the pendulum fixture hanging over the bar.
“I like looking at you,” I countered, “but your personality leaves a bit to be desired.”
“Really?” The skin around his eyes crinkled when he smiled.
“Let’s pretend I’d ever say yes. Where would a cocky cop take someone on a first date?” I couldn’t wait to hear what he thought was fun.
“It’s a surprise.”
“You ask me on a date and you don’t even know where you’re going to take me?” I lifted his plate and wiped crumbs and condensation off the bar with a towel. “That’s sad, copper.”
“Why would you assume that?” he asked, his tone indignant.
“Can I be honest?” I asked. Time to strike the final blow. Though Jason had my insides flipping like no one ever had before, now wasn’t the right time to start dating. I had a million things to worry about before opening up my heart again.
“Please.” He nodded.
“You moved to a small town to be a cop and coach hockey.” I paused. “You sound like a total bore.”
Sophia Henry, a proud Detroit native, fell in love with reading, writing, and hockey all before she became a teenager. She did not, however, fall in love with snow. So after graduating with an English degree from Central Michigan University, she moved to North Carolina, where she spends her time writing books featuring hockey-playing heroes, chasing her two high-energy sons, watching her beloved Detroit Red Wings, and rocking out at concerts with her husband.
Top 3 Scenes with excerpts
According to popular adult opinion, children make stupid choices. But sometimes those choices, which stem from the most primal (usually erratic and naive) logic, turn out to be the wisest.
Second: turning to face her.
I hadn’t expected the chastising voice of one of my player’s sisters to be attached to a woman with the face of an off-duty model. Her dark hair was pulled into a high ponytail, which gave me an unobstructed view of olive-toned skin, high cheekbones, and full, pink lips. I shifted my weight as my jeans got a little tighter in the front.
“Watch your language, ma’am.” I smirked. “There are kids here.”
“Ass,” she muttered loud enough to be heard over her heavy footsteps as she stalked up the aluminum benches to her seat.
Folding my arms across my chest, I focused my attention back on the ice. Time to regain my composure before I climbed over the glass to chase her. The middle of a game wasn’t the time to think about hooking up with a player’s sister. The best time to think about things like that was never.
Never get involved with a kid’s family member. Remember that part of The Mighty Ducks trilogy where Gordon Bombay went from banging Charlie’s mom in the first movie to hooking up with the Iceland chick (and the kid’s tutor) in D2? They must’ve cut the part where Charlie kicks Bombay’s old ass. Because that’s what my kids would do if I screwed a new mom every season.
I’d only been coaching this hockey team for two weeks, and already I had parents and, add to that list, hot sisters yelling at me. At this rate, it was going to be a long season.
Scene 2 - Police on My Back
Scene Set Up: Indie gets pulled over on her way home from work.
I slammed my hand on the steering wheel before pulling my car over to the shoulder. I knew the blue lights on top of the car spun and flashed for me, since I was the only one on the road. I waited impatiently as the cop took his time getting out of the squad car. Two frickin’ blocks from home. Two.
From my side mirror, I watched as the officer finally got out. I took in the way his broad shoulders filled out his dark-blue, department-issued leather coat. There were only a few young, fit cops in this town. I thought I knew them all, either from high school or from their routine stops at Peak City, the restaurant where I worked.
But when my gaze trailed back up his muscular body to his face, I almost lost my dinner.
“Do you know why I pulled you over, miss?”
Damien’s hockey coach leaned over, peering into my car. He didn’t look me in the eyes at first. Instead, he scanned the interior of my vehicle, as if I had something to hide.
No drugs or weapons in here, jackweed.
“No, sir.” I knew he pulled me over for speeding, but I refused to admit guilt.
“I clocked you at fifteen miles per hour over the speed limit.”
“Just trying to get home, sir.” I fought the sarcasm trying to weasel its way into my voice. Be civil. He’s an officer of the law, after all. The cop paused, eyebrows drawing together as he observed me.
“Have you been drinking, miss?”
Observed might not be the right word. More like bored into my soul. I sat, mesmerized by the cute wrinkle that formed between his eyebrows when he squinted to get a better read. Arctic-blue eyes peeked through the slits beneath his lowered lids.
“No, Officer—” I tore my eyes from his to read the shiny, silver name tag on his chest. “Taylor.”
“You smell like a brewery.”
“That’s probably because I work at one,” I said through my teeth. I’d never been disrespectful to a police officer in my life. But this wasn’t any old cop, it was Coach Jackweed, so he didn’t count.
“Have a few drinks after work?” he asked.
“No. I didn’t,” I answered, squeezing my steering wheel. Guess he was a prick all the time, not just during children’s hockey games. High school kids were still technically children.
Officer Taylor continued to stare down at me as if he could tell if I was sober or not by looking. Maybe he had super cop powers.
I jerked my head upward to meet his gaze. “Geez, I need to move to a bigger city. One where cops have better things to do than pull people over for going a few miles per hour over the speed limit.”
“I just came from one of those. You don’t want to live there. I’d much rather be pulling you over for speeding than pulling your dead body out of a car.”
“Well, that’s morbid.”
“That’s life in the big city.” He lifted his head and scanned the road in front of my car.
I shook my head, trying to get the conversation back on track.
“I’m sorry I was speeding, Officer. I got an emergency call from my family and I’m just trying to get home. You’re welcome to escort me to make sure I’m telling the truth if you need to.”
“Good idea.” He closed his uber-important cop notebook without ripping a ticket out for me.
Scene 3 - Everybody was Mascot Fighting
Scene Set Up: Jason is chosen to participate in a contest during intermission of a Pilots game. Orville is the Pilots mascot, who is previously described as: “a furry, white, cat-looking thing with an oversized head.”
“Okay.” She cleared her throat. “Orville’s gonna lead you guys out there. You’ll take two shots each. Good luck!”
The Pilots employee standing next to Jessica, a young dude with a shaggy, blond mullet, (sometimes known as “hockey hair”) handed sticks to Safina and me. I nodded my thanks, then bent down and gripped it like I would if I were taking a shot. The shine of my shoes caught my eye while my head was down.
Fuck. My shoes had absolutely no traction. Which would pose a problem when walking on the ice. I silently cursed Landon for not giving me the heads-up so I could have worn a different pair.
It would be super fucking embarrassing to fall on my ass in front of the crowd that stayed in the stands during intermission.
Completely missing the net would be equally embarrassing. I could hear the chirping already: No wonder Landon Taylor’s brother never made it to the big leagues.
I let Safina go ahead of me, and made sure to take careful steps as I followed Orville across the ice. Jessica and the other Pilots employee walked behind us, carrying the pucks.
Neither of poor little Safina’s shots even made it to the goal, but she got a huge round of applause from the crowd anyway. They should’ve let her move up a bit so she had a chance.
But rules are rules. Move aside, kid.
Jessica set the puck down in front of me on the blue line, then backed away. When I looked at the net to line up my shot, Orville was there, dancing in front of it, hopping from one foot to the other and waving his grimy arms.
Stupid cat-thing hadn’t done that to Safina. No worries.
I bent over, drew my arms back, and sent a sick slap shot at the net.
I should explain that it’s virtually impossible to make this shot. The entire goal is covered by a huge plank of wood, with a tiny rectangular cutout in the bottom center, just an inch or so taller and wider than the size of a puck. I mean, even Pavel Datsyuk might have a hard time making that shot. Notice I said might. He is the Magic Man and all.
The puck slid across the ice straight toward its target. The crowd seemed to take in a collective breath.
Then it careened off the wooden barrier just to the left of the tiny opening.
I released a breath along with the fans. And the cheering began. Hooting and hollering from every angle.
The shot missed, but it was a great try.
I had a better chance of winning the lottery than hitting as close to the opening in my second attempt as I had in my first, so instead of lining it up, I flicked a wrist shot toward the goal.
The puck caught a tiny bit of air and bounced off Orville’s shin. He cocked his fat head at me and then raised his arms up as if to say “What the fuck?”
The fans roared as Orville skated toward me with his dukes up, ready to fake a fight.
At least, that’s what I thought, until he got close enough for me to hear him.
“Why the fuck would you shoot the puck at me?” Orville yelled, his voice muffled by the mesh of the costume’s mouth opening. “I’m gonna kick your fucking ass!”
Then he charged me and I had to bat his nappy paws away.
Oh, it’s on, mofo.