Someone is about to have their pretty eyes open to what real love means
The Golden Rule of Friendship: Do not covet thy best friend’s fiancée.
An easy rule for Shane Gallagher to obey when he first meets Eden, as staid and business-minded as his friend she was about to marry. But when she starts blossoming before his eyes, can Shane stay away from the forbidden fruit?
“You don't have to do this.”
“You're starting to sound like a broken record there, Gallagher.”
Shane didn't care. He held firm to Eden's arm, balancing her as they made their way to the homemade ice rink in the backyard.
“I'll be fine. Honest.”
Even though a grin sparkled in her eyes, her earlier trepidation when he mentioned skating at Rockefeller Center concerned him. Added to the fact she wore an old pair of men's hockey skates instead of a better fitting lady's skate, he planned to stick close—very close. How would he explain returning a bruised and battered fiancée back to Brad? The bruised and battered part wasn't pleasant—neither was the returning part. Not a thought he was willing to dwell on at the moment, especially when he had more important things to take care of.
He stepped onto the ice first. There wasn't a winter day in his childhood memories and beyond that didn't have half the neighborhood out here skating at the homemade 'Gallagher rink'. All his siblings, sisters included, grew up in various hockey leagues.
Holding her securely, he stepped over the short rim. “Okay, watch your step here. Hold onto my arm and....whoa!”
He grabbed for Eden as one of her skates slid out from under her. Keeping his own balance was a chore as they danced a farcical pirouette. Her laughter bounced off the glass surface, crashing like a body check into his chest and effectively toppling him onto the ice. He ended up on his back with Eden clasped atop his chest, her infectious giggles fanning his chin.
“Sorry. I caught my toe on the rim.”
Her gaze sparkled down at him. The tip of her tongue darted out to wet rose-colored lips as her breath warmed his face.
Cold seeping into his back brought him back to reality. The reality that she was a taken woman. Taken by his best friend.
For the only time he could remember, Shane was honestly jealous of Brad.
This was a bad idea.
Carefully, he disentangled himself and got them to their feet. “Look, we should go back inside.” Where he could put a table or, better yet, a whole room between them for safety. His or hers, he couldn't be sure.
“No, please. I've got it now, see.”
She let go of his arm and stood alone. He kept his hands at the ready even though her balance seemed much better. In fact, she looked remarkably relaxed.
Eden's gaze danced to the others practicing their slap shots. “Do you have a stick I could use?”
“Whoa there, Gretzky,” Shane chuckled. “Let's get you skating first before you try your hand at a stick.”
“What? You mean like this?”
He grasped at empty air when she suddenly pushed away to slide smoothly backwards. A mischievous glitter twinkled up to him as she swayed her hips, propelling herself faster. Before he could say her name, Eden skidded to a stop and returned to him all in one fluid movement, ending with a small spray of ice shavings over his own skates.
Why that little...
Crossing his arms over his chest, he narrowed his gaze. “I thought you said you can't skate?”
“Can't skate? Can't skate? Nope, I don't recall actually saying those words,” she mimicked. Eden zipped around him in a circle, her laughter trailing after her like fairy dust. “I believe what I said was 'it'd been a while'. Years in fact. Guess it is like riding a bike after all, huh?”
When she stopped, Shane took his turn, unable to stop himself from assessing the snug jeans under the ski-bunny attire as he slowly circled her. “What other tricks do you have up your sleeve, Ms. Rossi?”
“Wouldn't be much fun if I told you all my secrets, now, would it?”
He slid off to the far side and retrieved two hockey sticks. “All right, Red. Let's see what you got.”