Major Misconduct(Aces Hockey #1)By: Kelly Jamieson
“Oh my God. What have you done now?”
Lovey frowned, her cellphone held to her ear. “What kind of greeting is that?”
Her brother, Duncan, sighed.
Lovey beamed at the taxi driver as he hauled her last suitcase into the condominium lobby on East Monroe Street in the Chicago Loop. She shifted the phone away as she handed him some folded bills so she wasn’t speaking to Duncan. “Thank you so much.”
He smiled back at her. “Sure you don’t want me to help get them up to your condo?”
“No, that’s fine. My brother and his roommate are big strong guys. They’ll help me with things.” She heard a faint snort on the phone. “Thank you again for your help.”
He nodded and chilly air rushed into the lobby as he opened the door and walked out.
“Where are you, Lovey?” Duncan asked.
“I’m standing in your lobby!” She turned a circle in the elegant lobby, taking in the arrangement of modern furniture and huge potted plants, winter sunshine flooding through tall windows. “I’m here to stay with you.”
She briefly bit her bottom lip. “Just felt like coming to see my big brother in the big city.”
“Can you come down and help me with my luggage?”
Another audible exhalation. “I’ll be right down.”
Lovey smiled. “Thanks, Dunc.” She ended the call and dropped her phone into her purse. She grabbed her suitcases, but with her purse over her shoulder, her carry-on balanced precariously on top of one case, and both of the pieces of luggage huge and heavy, she struggled across the pale stone-tiled floor toward the elevators in her high-heeled boots. Then the carry-on slipped, pulling her off balance, tipping the suitcase. She released the other one and fought for control of the weighty beast, purse falling off her shoulder, throwing her even more off balance. “Oh, for the love of cheese.”
Her hair fell across her face and she began to sweat. The sweater and wool pants were appropriate for Chicago in October, but inside the warm lobby, fighting with uncooperative luggage, she was getting hot. Also high-heeled boots were stylish but not exactly helpful when wrestling suitcases.
She was just getting the suitcase righted when the elevator doors slid open. Then her other suitcase topped over with a bang. Duncan strolled out, taking in her flustered state with a long-suffering big-brother look.
Lovey pushed her hair back and straightened, bestowing one of her highest-wattage smiles on her brother. She threw out her arms and rushed at him for a hug. “Hey! So good to see you!”
He hugged her back, then with a shake of his head and a reluctant smile he set her away from him. “Good to see you too, Lovey. Still not sure what the hell you’re doing here…” He surveyed her luggage. “With apparently your entire wardrobe.” He lifted an eyebrow. “But come on up.”
He grabbed her suitcases, including the carry-on, and headed back into the waiting elevator. Lovey slung her purse over her shoulder and tapped along behind him. Easy for him. Big bro was an NHL hockey player—six foot two, two hundred pounds, big muscles everywhere. One corner of her mouth kicked up. There were advantages to having a brother who was big. Really big. And strong.
The doors slid closed and Duncan punched the button for the fourteenth floor.
“Thank you,” she said gratefully. “Those suitcases weigh a ton.”
“How the hell did you get on the plane with them? And from the airport to here.”
She shrugged. “There were always people around offering to help.”
She blinked. “Well. Yeah.”
He shook his head, lips twitching.
“What’s with the beard?” She touched her own chin with thumb and forefinger. “You look like a mountain man. I thought you only grew a beard during playoffs.”
He shrugged. “I got tired of shaving.”
“Duncan! Eew. No woman is going to find that attractive.”
“And it’s freezing here! Why is it so cold here?”
“It’s forty degrees,” Duncan said dryly. “And probably not much colder than Madison.”
“But it’s windy. It is the Windy City.”
“Chicago is no windier than any other city.”
She frowned. “But it’s called the Windy City.”
“That apparently has to do with the long-windedness of Chicago politicians.”
“Huh.” She tipped her head. “Really? But it is windy today. I’m sure hundred-mile-an-hour winds.”
He grinned. “Yeah, Lovey, it’s windy.”