Holdout by Jaqueline Snowe
Moo U Hockey: https://hearteyespress.com/wotn#/moo-u-hockey/
Jonah Daniels has enough work preparing for his hockey season without spending time interviewing a roommate to help share expenses. So when some dude answers J.D.’s ad and agrees to his terms, he puts a key under the mat and leaves for practice.
What he doesn’t expect is that his new roommate is not a dude at all, but an overtalkative, energetic hottie. What’s worse? She’s the younger sister of his friend on the team, and she’s sworn him to secrecy.
Ryann Reiner needs a place to live, stat. After an incident at the dorms that almost tanked her scholarship, Ryann wants a boring roommate who’ll leave her alone. J.D. almost fits the bill. He lives and breathes hockey, just like her brother, and he wouldn’t know a joke unless it hip-checked him against the boards.
He’s also gorgeous. And broody. And he looks fine on laundry day, in too little clothing. Soon, late-night study sessions turn into dangerous flirting. And then a kiss turns into more. But they’re determined to keep things in the feelings-free zone.
Until lines blur and tensions rise when Ryann’s brother learns the truth. And both their hearts are skating on thin ice…
Without overthinking my decision, I stomped out of my room and snatched a piece of blank paper from the bag hanging from one of the kitchen chairs. “We need rules.”
She tiptoed from her bed to the edge of her room and tilted her head out. “I can stay?”
A growl escaped before I could stop it. “Yes.”
“You sound thrilled,” she said, her annoyingly upbeat voice making everything worse. She continued leaning on her doorframe, her green tank top bearing the word MOO U on her chest, pointing out she was very much a female.
And Michael’s little sister.
“I’m not thrilled.” I narrowed my eyes when she grinned at me, all wide-eyed and happy. It was like she knew the punchline of a joke I wasn’t privy to. “Why are you smiling?”
“You really are grumpy.” She lifted one slim shoulder in a shrug and adjusted her long blonde hair into a ball on the top of her head. Her walk was more of a glide over to the kitchen chair. She sat and pulled her legs up to her chest, wrapping her arms around her knees. “You want to discuss rules?”
I fumbled around in the side pocket and grabbed a pen, writing RULES in all caps. “No mess, no parties, no friends coming over, no loud music, no hooking up, no girl stuff everywhere.”
“Wait? Whoa, whoa, whoa.” She held up a hand. She wore three small silver rings on her tiny fingers, and the light hit them just right, drawing my attention. “Settle down there, Jonah. You’re going to burst a vein in your forehead.”
I ran a hand over my forehead at her comment, smoothing down the lines that always appeared when I frowned—which was often. “I’m fine.”
“Is this a dictatorship, or am I allowed to offer suggestions?” She tapped her nails on the table, and I hated how I noticed they were purple.
My left cheek twitched at her insinuation, and I swallowed down my initial reaction to tell her to pack her shit and leave. Clearing my throat, I said, “Well?”
“Being clean will not be a problem. I will respect your place. I know the season is long and demands a lot of you physically and emotionally, so there won’t be any parties or friends here. I like music and will listen to it at reasonable hours, but you cannot dictate my sex life. If I want to hook up, I will, while remaining considerate of your boundaries.” Her high cheekbones reddened, but that was the only indication she was embarrassed saying that.
I clenched my jaw, imagining a fling discovering she lived with a guy on the team. If he shared that with his friends, people would show up here. Hockey was life on campus, and crazed fans came in every size, shape, and gender. Everyone wanted a piece of you, and once they got it, they left. “You don’t tell anyone you live with me. Not a person.”
“Deal. I’ll make sure all my hook-ups have no idea a hockey legend sleeps on the other side of the wall.” She grinned and jutted her jaw toward the paper. “Write the rules down, you ray of sunshine.”