Dancing in the Rain

A Novel

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Happily ever afters aren’t just for fairy tales. In this heartfelt novel, a retired athlete must become a father to the daughter he never knew—just as he discovers the power of love with a woman who reignites his passions.

Drew Sellers is drowning in broken dreams and empty beer bottles. Hockey was his world, until a bum knee reduced him from superstar to has-been. Then he learns that, thanks to a one-night-stand back in college, he’s the father of a preteen girl with major issues. Her protective aunt sees right through Drew’s BS, but “Auntie P” is no stereotypical spinster. With her slender curves, toned legs, and luscious lips, she has Drew indulging in fantasies that aren’t exactly family-friendly.

At another point in her life, Peyton Watt would have been all over a cocky alpha male who pushes all her buttons like Drew. Right now, though, she needs to focus on taking care of her niece during her sister’s health crisis, all while holding down a job and keeping her own head above water. Besides, Drew’s clearly no father of the year. He’s unemployed. He drinks too much. And he’s living in the past. But after Peyton gets a glimpse of the genuine man behind his tough-guy façade, she’s hooked—and there’s no going back.

“Kelly Jamieson is my go-to author for hockey romance.”—USA Today bestselling author Jami Davenport

Kelly Jamieson’s USA Today bestselling Aces Hockey series can be read together or separately:
MAJOR MISCONDUCT
OFF LIMITS
ICING
TOP SHELF
BACK CHECK
SLAP SHOT
 
Don’t miss any of Kelly’s alluring reads:
The Bayard Hockey series: SHUT OUT | CROSS CHECK
The Last Shot series: BODY SHOT | HOT SHOT | LONG SHOT
The standalone novel: DANCING IN THE RAIN

Praise for Dancing in the Rain

“A hot hockey hero and a sweet, emotional romance. Kelly Jamieson’s Dancing in the Rain touched my heart and left me smiling through my tears.”New York Times bestselling author Virna DePaul

Dancing in the Rain is a heartwarming story of love, loss, and finding your way.”New York Times bestselling author Kelly Elliott

Dancing in the Rain is an emotional and heartwarming story of new beginnings.”—Harlequin Junkie (four stars)

“I enjoyed this story so much, even though it is sad and emotional, it has an uplifting message. . . . I couldn’t put this book down.”—Cocktails & Books

“This was a three-hanky novel, and I really enjoyed being put through the wringer.”—A Chick Who Reads

“Emotional and beautiful.”—A Crazy Vermonter’s Book Reviews

Includes an excerpt from another Loveswept title.

Under the Cover

An excerpt from Dancing in the Rain

Chapter 1

Drew turned disbelieving eyes on the man who’d just spoken so crudely to the woman seated next to him at the bar. Did he really just ask her if she’d ever screwed a real man?

“Uh . . .” She glanced nervously at Drew.

“Does that line really work for you, a-hole?” Drew asked him. “Pretty sure a ‘real man’ wouldn’t use it.”

“Buzz off,” the guy said. “She’s talking to me.”

“No, she’s not. She’s with me.”

She wasn’t, but this jerkwad didn’t need to know that.

“Come on, honey. I’ll show you a real man. Not a pansy hockey player with a bum knee.”

Greeeaat. The jerk knew who he was. “Okay.” Drew stood, drawing himself up to his full six-foot-three height.

“You can leave right now.”

The dude shot him a dirty look but moved away.

The woman gave an uncomfortable laugh. “Whoa. Thanks.”

He hadn’t really been talking to her, just sitting beside her at the bar. “What a creep.” Drew followed the guy’s movements with narrowed eyes, watching him stop next to another woman.

“Are you really a hockey player?”

“No.” He picked up his beer and drained it, then signaled the bartender for another one. He’d lost count of how many he’d had tonight.

“I’m Savannah.” She held out a hand.

Drew took in her blond hair, spidery eyelashes, and high-maintenance manicure with her nails painted red and black in what looked like butterfly wings. She reminded him of his ex-wife.

“Drew,” he said, shaking her hand.

“It’s so nice to meet a gentleman.” Her shiny pink lips curved up.

“I’m not really a gentleman.” He attempted a smile.

“Well, you rescued me, so I think you are.”

Drew watched as Dickwad returned, this time with another guy. Their eyes focused on Savannah with undisguised lechery. Oh, for God’s sake.

Annoyance burned in his chest. Along with the alcohol he’d consumed, the driving rhythm of the music in the bar, and the frustration he’d kept pent up for months, a wild, reckless feeling buzzed through him.

He was already pissed at the world. Apparently it didn’t take much to make him bloodthirsty. And hell, a woman should be able to tell a guy to get lost without being harassed. He didn’t even know her, yet he somehow felt responsible. So when Dickwad slid a hand around Savannah’s upper arm and said, “Let’s dance,” Drew was on his feet in an instant.

“Seriously, dude?” he said to the guy. “Are you hammered? Let go of her.”

“We’re going to dance.”

Savannah was trying to pull her arm out of his grip.

“No, you’re not.” And Drew lunged at him.

Savannah squealed as Drew landed a right cross on the guy’s jaw. With a roar, the other man fought back.

Rage rose inside Drew in a burst of heat. He threw a flurry of punches, felt a crunch of bone, and had the a-hole over the bar and helpless in minutes.

Bouncers pounced on Drew and dragged him off the guy. Blood dripped from Drew’s eyebrow and he swiped it away with the back of his hand, his chest heaving.

“Get the heck out of here before we call the cops,” one of the big bouncers said to him in a low voice, giving him a shove.

“Gotta pay for my drinks,” he mumbled, reaching for his wallet.

“Forget it. On the house.”

Drew stumbled out of Jimmy’s Kitchen and Bar, one of his favorite local watering holes, onto Southport Avenue. What. The. Heck. Drunk, bleeding, and now he was laughing. Darn, that had felt good. He shook out his throbbing hand as he walked unsteadily down the sidewalk to his Porsche. He had his hand in his pocket looking for his keys when he paused.

He closed his eyes. Okay, he was drunk and he’d been doing a lot of stupid, risky things lately . . . It was only a few blocks to his place. Driving was so much easier than trying to track down a cab, but . . . aw, crap. Even he knew better than to drive drunk. With a sigh, he walked past his car and kept going toward Wrightwood.

Drew flashed the cute barista a smile the next morning as he accepted his large Americano and turned to leave the coffee shop. At nearly eleven in the morning, the café was almost empty. He’d slept in after a late night, but what difference did it make what time he got up when he had nothing else to do?

His temples pulsed with a faint headache, the result of those Fireball shots and too many beers last night, not to mention the small bar brawl. He was about to slide his sunglasses back onto his nose and step outside into the bright September sunlight when a woman stopped in front of him.

“Drew?”

The blond hair first made him think of Savannah from last night. But no. He eyed her. Not one of the women he’d partied with lately either, so probably just a hockey fan who recognized him. He summoned a smile despite the small hockey sticks tapping inside his skull. “Yes?”

“Drew Sellers?”

“That’s me.” He studied the woman, taking in her thin frame and pale face, stylish short blond hair, and dark blue eyes. Something about her tweaked his memory, but he couldn’t place her.

She was studying him, too, those blue eyes big and hesitant as her gaze swept over him, lingering on the cut above his eyebrow. “You don’t remember me, do you?” she asked quietly, not in an accusing or even disappointed tone, as he’d heard a couple of times when he’d run into women he didn’t recall meeting before.

“That’s okay.”

“I’m sorry . . . we’ve met?”

“Yes.” Her teeth sank into her bottom lip and her fingers twisted the strap of her purse around and around. “A long time ago, though.”

This was getting awkward and he wasn’t sure how to extricate himself. Damn, he needed some Advil. “I’m sorry,” he said again, lifting his eyebrows.

“Sara Watt.” She shook her head. “I don’t think you ever knew my last name. We met one night at Notre Dame.”

“University of Notre Dame?” He frowned.

“Yes.”

Jesus, that was going way back. He’d played two years of hockey at Boston University, and they’d played against the Fighting Irish a couple of times a season.

“I didn’t know your last name, either,” she continued quickly. “Until a few weeks ago.”

“Uh . . . okay.”

Her smile stretched her lips but it held no humor. “We, uh, hooked up one night.”

Drew nodded. Yep, awkward. Not remembering that was insulting, but even if he did remember, it would still be awkward twelve or thirteen years later. He rubbed the stubble on his jaw. “Forgive me,” he said, trying not to be an a-hole.

She licked her lips quickly. “It’s okay,” she said. “It was one night. It’s not like you broke my heart.” That tense smile appeared briefly again. “Look, um, I know this is weird. But I need to talk to you.”

Drew’s body went cold and still. Because those words were always enough to strike frozen fear into the heart of any man. Heck, no . . . it was too ridiculous. This woman he didn’t even recognize appearing out of the blue was not about to tell him he had a child he’d never known about. Why was he even thinking that?

He wouldn’t be the first guy that had ever happened to, but it would be pretty bizarre if it happened now, when his career was over, his wife had dumped him, and his life was basically a wasteland of broken hopes and dreams. Sure, there were women who tried to claim a pro athlete had knocked them up. Didn’t this chick know he had nothing to offer? It wasn’t like he’d just signed a five-year, thirty-million-dollar deal with the Blackhawks. He was done. Done like lobster in butter sauce.

So that couldn’t be what was happening here.

He held up a hand. “Look, honey, I don’t know who you are, but you’ve got the wrong guy. And maybe you haven’t heard, but I’m a washed-up, retired winger. There’s no point in even trying this.”

Her mouth dropped open. Those big blue eyes stared at him, and then cobalt sparks flashed in them. She snapped her mouth closed and her lips thinned. “I think you should hear me out.”

Something about the expression on her face made him pause. She wasn’t disappointed, and she was holding his gaze in a way that made him think she wasn’t playing him, whatever this was about.

He tugged the sleeve of his long-sleeved T-shirt to glance at his watch. “I have five minutes.”

A lie. He had nowhere to go other than his house for Advil and an afternoon spent playing videogames.

“Fine.”
 

- About the author -

USA Today bestselling author Kelly Jamieson is the author of more than forty contemporary romance novels. She writes the kind of books she loves to read—sexy romance with heat, humor and emotion. She likes coffee (black), wine (mostly white), and shoes (high!). She also loves watching hockey.

More from Kelly Jamieson

Dancing in the Rain

A Novel

Dancing in the Rain

— Published by Loveswept —