SHOWSTOPPER BY REGINA KYLE
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About the Book:
I swore I wouldn’t do this again. Mix sports, school, and sex. But right now the only thing standing between me and the NHL is six feet of frenemy packed into a pair of form-fitting jeans that have me thinking all kinds of things I shouldn’t. Mostly how to get him out of them.
I don’t just want Kolby. I need him. Because I’ve got to pass this theater class–yeah, I said theater–if I’m going to keep my spot on the team. When tutoring sessions turn into dates-not-dates over Shipley Cider at Vino and Veritas, I realize it’s going to be harder than I thought to keep my hands on my stick and off of Kolby. Worse, I think I might be falling for him. But I’m not ready for that. I want to keep this thing between us on the down-low for now.
But Kolby hates secrets. Especially his own . . .
Let the games begin.
The professor’s words are like nails in my improv coffin. Aside from Kolby’s brief description of Questions Only and a handful of Whose Line episodes, I’m completely clueless as to what we’re doing here.
My body language must give away my nervousness because Kolby puts a hand on my shoulder. It’s warm and strong and reassuring. I try not to think about how much more I like his touch than Quinn’s. How much more I like everything about him, even though she’s objectively hot and practically throwing herself at me and he’s an emotional vault who thinks I’m a dumb, entitled jock.
Not that it matters, I remind myself. Because I’m not here to make friends. Or get laid. I’m here to play hockey and save my shot at the NHL.
And, apparently, because the universe hates me, do improv. It’s like my worst nightmare coming true, the one where I’m accepting the Calder Memorial Trophy for best NHL rookie in my underwear. No, I take it back. This is worse. I may have been half naked in my dream, but at least I had a script. Having to go up there and pull something out of my ass is just cruel.
Professor Frost is barking out instructions, and I force myself to pay attention. I’m already lost. The last thing I need is to get myself even further behind by zoning out.
“Rachel and Ian, since you two obviously understand what we’re doing, you’ll start.” He motions them to the center of the room.
“The rest of you, form a line along the wall near the whiteboard. When a player takes too long to respond or fails to answer with a question, they’ll hear this sound.” He produces a plastic dinosaur from behind his back and presses a button on its back. It comes to life with a tinny, electronic roar. “That’s their cue to take a seat, and the first person in line will replace them. Got it?”
Apparently, I’m the only one who thinks it’s weird that a grown man is playing with a toy T-Rex because the rest of the class just nods and murmurs their assent as they line up against the wall. I can’t believe my parents are paying good money for me to take this ridiculous, useless class. And that my future as a hockey player rests on me passing it.
I drag my feet, in no hurry to be part of the action. The further back I am, the more time I have to figure out what the fuck I’m doing. I feel a hand on the small of my back, nudging me toward the end of the line. To my surprise, it’s Kolby. I thought he’d be racing to the front, dying to get up there and show off.
“Come on,” he says. “We can watch the others so you can see how it’s done before it’s your turn.”
His lips quirk into a cheeky grin that lights up his face and simultaneously makes me want to push him away and pull him closer. “You didn’t think I was going to desert you in your time of need, did you?”
Honestly, yeah, I did. It wouldn’t be the first time someone’s let me down.
He gives me another subtle nudge forward. What’s not so subtle are the tremors racing up and down my spine from the spot where his hand rests, just above the waistband of my track pants. It burns through the thin fabric of my T-shirt like there’s not even a barrier between us. I don’t even want to think about what a mess I’d be if we were skin-on-skin.
We take our places at the back of the line. Kolby stands in front of me, letting me go last. Does he have to be so damn nice in addition to being so freaking hot? It makes him harder to resist, even though I know he’s only doing it because the professor forced him to. Kolby made his opinion of me loud and clear in the registrar’s office. As far as he’s concerned, I’m the poster child for pampered jocks.
I cling to that thought in the hope that it will kill any feelings I’m starting to have for this guy. I have to focus if I’m going to pass this class.