Home > Jett (Arizona Vengeance #10)(8)

Jett (Arizona Vengeance #10)(8)
Author: Sawyer Bennett

I recoil slightly from the acidity of her tone, then immediately take offense which comes out as slicing sarcasm. “No… because you have black hair and blue eyes and your skin is rather pale, while she’s blonde and brown eyed with tanned skin.”

Emory seems to fold in on herself as she lets out a long breath of frustration before giving me a baleful stare. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have jumped to such an awful conclusion. Jenna is having a hard time with it and it makes me overprotective. I can obviously see that’s not what you meant.”

“You do have some matching facial features,” I say, pointing out I had at least noticed that.

Emory actually smiles fondly and nods. “We share the same dad. We’re half-sisters.”

“Okay.” I sit back for dramatic effect and pick up my drink—a club soda with lime, since this is business. “Give me the low down on your family, especially why you have an English accent, and hers is more American.”

I get a solid nod of understanding, as if I’m not the only one who’s noted the differences in the siblings. “It’s pretty simple. My dad is English and I was born in London. My mom died in childbirth, but he met Jenna’s mother and married her when I was two. Jenna came along a year later. I look just like our father, and she looks just like her mother.”

“And the accents?” I inquire.

“We lived in London until I was fifteen and Jenna was twelve, before moving back to my stepmother’s home city of Los Angeles. Jenna had developed a bit of an accent while we lived in London, but for whatever reason, hers became very Americanized when we moved here. I retained mine though.”

“Genetics maybe?” I ponder. It’s truly fascinating, but I also know accents are a product of environment. My own Swedish accent had lightened considerably since living in North America the last six years.

Emory shrugs and continues to talk about her family. It doesn’t take long to figure out she comes from money, although she never comes out and says it. Her father is a hotelier and franchised his company to the States, which is why they moved back here. Her mother is the chief marketing officer of his company, which is how they met originally when she’d moved to London to take a job he was offering.

“And what about you?” Emory asks, sipping intermittently on her Diet Coke.

“Born in Stockholm, had a bit of hockey talent. Played for Färjestad Bollklubb in Karlstad.”

“And what is that?” she interrupts.

“It’s a team in the Swedish Hockey League,” I explain, and continue on. “I was actually drafted by Toronto and immediately loaned back to Färjestad Bollklubb where I played until I was twenty. Then I moved to Toronto and played there for four years and then to the Vengeance in the expansion draft.”

This precipitates a bunch of questions from Emory, some from natural curiosity but some from a business perspective. I can see she’s trying to figure out how to leverage my international background into the team’s social media strategy.

Because, as she said, “We’re not only interested in American fans.”

I tell her that Färjestad Bollklubb is the most successful team in Sweden and that I was recruited to play for our national team because of my success there. I explain the differences in the styles of play, including the fact the size of the international rink compared to the North American rinks lends to more emphasis on puck handling and defense.

It was then that I learned Emory was just learning about the sport of hockey, which was one of her downfalls when deciding to apply for the job with the Vengeance. She was more of a football person—meaning soccer. I was impressed to learn she studied the league and all the teams extensively before her interview, including an exhaustive comparative review of the social media platforms, with a game plan on how to make the Vengeance’s even better. I’m guessing that landed her Dominik’s respect and the job.

How she got the job lent to more discussion about her vision for the team and how she’d like me to conform to that. Admittedly, it was something I could easily do.

It’s not until we finish our meals that I finally ask the question, “So you’re a single mom, huh?”

Emory smiles, her eyes sparkling with pride. “Felicity is seven and the best thing I’ve ever done in my life.”

That statement right there should be an accurate representation of why I stay away from women with kids. They are a priority, as they should be.

But my life has priorities too, mainly my career, and I’ve found the two just don’t mesh well.

And yet… there’s something in her tone that touches a soft spot inside me for the role a single mom takes on. The bravery of it.

“Her father out of the picture?” I ask, trying to poke gently without being overtly nosy.

She nods but doesn’t elaborate. I can tell by the pinched expression he’s a sore subject, so I leave it alone. She does say though, “Jenna coming to live with us has been a lifesaver. She works from home so she’s there when Felicity gets home from school. Saves me on having to pay for daycare after.”

“What does Jenna do?”

“Freelance copy editing for newspapers,” she replies, circling her finger around the rim of her glass. “Although she just landed a job with the Phoenix Tribune and will be starting there soon. Still, I wonder how long this career will be since print media seems to be a dying breed.”

I nod. I can’t remember the last time I even saw someone reading their news in print. It’s all right on our smartphones now. “It’s good to have family to lean on.”

I know this from personal experience. My mother has a muscular dystrophy disease, and my older sister lives very close so she can help care for her back in Stockholm. If I didn’t have her, I’m not sure what choices I’d have to make to ensure my mom had everything she needed.

Emory picks up her phone from the table, looks at it briefly before bringing her eyes to mine. “It’s getting late. Want to go over a few more things about your IG account while we get the check handled?”

“Sure,” I say easily. While this wasn’t a date, I actually had a nice time. Emory’s a fascinating woman and I enjoyed learning more about her, even if the things I learned all spoke to why I’m not interested in a second date.

She waves at someone behind me—presumably the waiter—who seems to appear out of nowhere with the check. Emory tries to take it, but I manage to snag it out of the man’s hands. “I’ve got this.”

“I was going to expense it out,” she says with a pointed look. “You agreed.”

“I’m the one who invited you to dinner,” I reply, with my own pointed look. “Besides… you know I’m kind of rich, right? I don’t need you to buy me dinner.”

Emory tips her head back and laughs, and I have a crushing sense of disappointment at how beautiful she looks in this moment.

Because there can’t be anything between us.






“He has an Olympic medal, you know?” Jenna says as she drives me to the arena. It’s actually my car, but she’s driving since I’m going to hop out when we get there.

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