Must Love Dogs...and Hockey

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Can an idealistic dog lover teach a jaded hockey player new tricks?

“Kelly Jamieson is an auto-buy for me.”—Carly Phillips


Lilly: My life is like the love child of a train wreck and a dumpster fire right now. I’ve been canned, my professional reputation is shredded, and now I’m walking dogs to make ends meet.
But I still believe everything will work out. Somehow.
Then a dog at the park attacks my friend’s dog. At first, I’m ready to give the owner hell—but it turns out he’s in desperate need of doggie daycare. I figure, why not? I love dogs and I need the cash.
Too bad his cocky bad boy attitude annoys me. He’s too damn cute for his own good. And I’m not talking about the dog.

Easton: My coach is riding my ass and I’m not handling it well. When I’m saddled with an abandoned pooch, my teammate thinks a dog will keep my temper in check. I think I have enough problems already.
But when my new dog gets into a tussle that leads me to meet a smoking hot chick who knows how to handle the rascal, I start to think pet ownership isn’t all bad. At least it gives me an excuse to see Lilly again. . . .
Neither of us are interested in a relationship. First they steal your bed, then they steal your heart. And I’m not talking about the dog.

USA Today bestselling author Kelly Jamieson’s epic Wynn Hockey series can be read together or separately:
PLAY TO WIN
IN IT TO WIN IT
WIN BIG
FOR THE WIN

Don’t miss any of Kelly’s captivating reads:
The Aces Hockey series: MAJOR MISCONDUCT • OFF LIMITS • ICING • TOP SHELF • BACK CHECK • SLAP SHOT • PLAYING HURT • BIG STICK • GAME ON
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

Under the Cover

An excerpt from Must Love Dogs...and Hockey

Lilly

“His wife thinks he’s having an affair with me.”   

My best friend Carlin stares at me. “What the f***?”   

“I know.” I cut off another piece of pancake. “He’s actually having an affair with Parvati.”   

“Oh my God! But you got fired.”   

“Yep.” I swallow. “Again.”   

It took me months to finally find a job, after the clusterf*** at my last place of employment. Working the front desk at the No Tell Motel was a far cry from the career in hospitality management I imagined when working my ass off for my degree in Hospitality Industry Studies at NYU, but at least it was a job.   

I shove more pancake liberally drenched with butter and syrup into my mouth.   

Carlin sits at the small table in the apartment we share. “Oh, Lilly. I’m so sorry."

“I know.” I attempt a smile. “At least I paid my share of this month’s rent.”   

Things got pretty tight over my months of unemployment. I racked up an impressive credit card debt. I ended up taking out a loan at the bank to pay it off, and I still owe money on that. Carlin was generous enough to pay my half of the rent many months so I didn’t go homeless.       

“Don’t worry about the rent,” she says. “We’ll find something else for you. F*** ’em.”   

I nod, trying to appear optimistic. “Of course I’ll find something else.”   

I rise from the table and move into the tiny kitchen where more pancakes await me. I fork up a couple onto my plate. “Want any?”   

“Wow, you’re really carb loading. Oh, what the hell, sure.”   

She joins me and pulls a plate out of the cupboard. I slather butter all over the tasty circles then pour syrup and hand it to Carlin.   

“I think I put on ten pounds just now,” I tell her. “But I love pancakes.”   

“Who doesn’t?”   

“Right?”   

“You got this, Lilly. You know that, right?"

“Of course!”   

I don’t know that. There were a lot of days when I was unemployed where I could barely get out of bed. Why bother? I had no purpose, no meaning to my life, and the constant rejection destroyed any self-esteem I may have had. I used to be a confident, ambitious young professional with my whole life in front of me. Now?   

I swallow a sigh.   

I’m not going there again. Yes, I was using some unhealthy coping mechanisms—pancakes being one of them—but I’ve learned. This time I won’t spend days in bed, drink a bottle of wine every night, and not shower for days.   

I hope.       

“Let’s make a plan,” Carlin suggests. “You love making plans.”   

“No, you love making plans.”   

“Come on.”   

“I need a day or two to wallow, okay?”   

She eyes me worriedly. “I guess.” She pauses. “It’s Friday night. Let’s go out.”   

“That’s not wallowing.”   

“Okay, fine. I’ll get the squad to come over here. We’ll wallow with you.”   

I shrug. “I’m okay with that."

She starts sending messages.   

I’m still dressed in the black skirt and white shirt I wore to work this morning, although I’ve pulled the shirttails out. I came home after being canned and started making pancakes. “I’m going to change.” I slide my plate into the dishwasher and drop the cutlery in.   

“Sounds good.”   

I climb the curving staircase to my tiny loft bedroom while unzipping my skirt. First I toss it onto the chair in the corner, but with a sigh I pick it up and hang it in my closet. Likewise with the shirt. Since I’m not leaving this apartment tonight, I dress in leggings and a long, loose sweatshirt that says Time to wine down. Very appropriate.   
Then I lie down on my bed.   

I can’t believe this happened. I didn’t do anything wrong. I was good at my job. Even though it wasn’t what I wanted to do, I didn’t look at it as beneath me. I did my best. And my dickbag boss who screws around with his employees fired me, the one not screwing him.       

I’m so tired of getting f***ed in ways that don’t end in an orgasm.   

I close my eyes against the tears that sting the corners. Nope. Not gonna cry.

Last time I lost my job, I was trying to do the right thing. I knew it could cost me my job. I didn’t know it would cost me my whole life. I’ve second-guessed my decisions back then about a million times. I’m still pretty sure I’d do it again. I have to live with myself for a lot of years. Hopefully.   

But this? This wasn’t fair. I mean, I know life’s not fair; but this is f***ing ridiculous.   

I’m not going to be a victim. I’m not going to quit. I know I have much to be thankful for, including the friends who are coming over to help me mourn.   

I just need a few minutes to…remind myself of all this.   

I might have fallen asleep, because the sounds of the door opening and closing and voices jerk me to wakefulness. Okay. Time to be brave.   

I rub the inner corners of my eyes with my ring fingers, run my hands through my hair, and straighten my shoulders before joining my girls.   

“Hey.” Adriana spots me and heads right to me to wrap me in a hug. “What the f***, Lilly?”   

“I know.” I submit to her warm embrace. “ ‘What the f***’ is right.”   

“I can’t believe this,” Maya adds. “Don’t they know who you are?”   

“I’m afraid they do, and that’s why they fired me."

“You said it was because the boss’s wife thought you were having an affair with him,” Carlin says.

“Maybe that was just an excuse.” I shrug and move to the dining table where Carlin has set up a bar. I grab a wineglass and fill it with pinot grigio. “Maybe they just wanted to get rid of me.”   

I feel the collective sigh of my friends, because this is a definite possibility.   

“Well, f*** them,” Maya says.   

“Yeah.” Adriana holds up her glass. “Let’s get drunk and set shit on fire.”   

I have to laugh. “Sounds good to me.”   

I love my friends. We met in college and formed a bond that has lasted all these years. Okay, it’s not that many years. We’re all twenty-six. But we’ve stood by each other through all kinds of shit—breakups, family deaths and divorce and midlife crises, and my epic career flameout. They’re what’s most important. I’ll get things back on track. Right now I’m going to drink wine and eat Cheetos and let my friends prop me up.

- 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

Must Love Dogs...and Hockey

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Must Love Dogs...and Hockey

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