It was later that evening—at an after-game party she attended with Gwenn and Zack, a DU player and Gwenn’s then boyfriend—when she got a closer look at Beckett. Though it had been ten years ago, she could still recall every detail of that night. He’d been across the room, flashing a smile he used with practiced ease on each of five young women surrounding him like the petals of a sticky geranium. The guy had won the looks sweepstakes, and Paige worked at not gawking like every other female there—and a few of the males. Added to his striking appearance was his presence, which electrified the room just by being in it. Despite the space between them, the voltage coming off him sizzled along her spine.
As if he felt it too, he looked over and winked. In spite of herself, Paige’s pulse skyrocketed, and she tried to hide behind her hair—an anemic tactic that proved fruitless.
Reading her thoughts, Gwenn elbowed her. “It’s hard not to get all moony-eyed over Beckett Miller. He’s a god,” she said. “Adonis, specifically.”
Adonis sauntered over, and Paige’s mouth went dry as Zack introduced them. How she managed to untangle her tongue and croak a “Hi” was still a mystery to this day.
Talk about the game followed, Zack musing over Beckett hitting everyone in sight and how his mouth had never stopped running.
“What did you say to get number eleven so pissed off?” Zack asked.
Beckett grinned, showing off perfect white teeth. “Not a conversation for mixed company. Some things are better left on the ice.”
Laughing, Zack turned to Gwenn and Paige. “Trust me when I say you wouldn’t want him kissing you with that mouth if you knew half the shit he says out there.”
But Paige wasn’t so sure she didn’t want Beckett Miller’s mouth on hers. He was gorgeous.
Later they stood alone, and he offered to get her a beer. She looked around, sure Adonis was speaking to someone else. But then he tapped her shoulder, surprising her. “I meant you, Red.”
She mustered attitude. “It’s auburn, not red.” Grabbing her cup, she waved it in front of him. “This is red, and it’s full. I’m set, thanks.”
He chuckled. “So are you a freshman?” Adonis paused for a sip. “Or still in high school?”
She bristled. “I’m a junior.”
“Really? Could’ve fooled me. You must go ninety, a hundred tops. How tall are you anyway? Are you even five feet?”
“Five-two.” She fumed. “And you must be, what, thirteen?”
“Funny.” He grinned, the cocky jerk. “Twenty-one. I’m a senior.” He looked around then, and a bevy of beauties waved at him and glared at her. “What’s your name again?”
“Paige? What kind of name is that?”
“What kind of name is Beckett?” she retorted.
He took a long drink of his beer and casually said, “Old family name. My brother’s a car. Cooper.”
“And people call you Beckett?”
“Unless they’re mad at me, and then it’s all kinds of other names.”
He asked her if she wanted to leave with him, and she gave him a flat “no.” His full mouth curved into a lethal smile, and his eyes glinted like moonlight on a dark sea. “Why not?”
“You appear to have a pretty big fan club already.”
He shrugged. “Girls like me. I like girls. We’re charter members of a mutual admiration society.”
“Wow. How do you fit your head through the door?”
“Big doors. So what do you say?”
She shook her head vigorously. “I’m guessing you need a lion tamer, not another conquest.”
He raised an eyebrow and laughed. “You’re feisty. Maybe it’s the redhead thing. What the hell’s your name again?”
She blew out an exasperated breath. “Paige.”
“I’m sorry. I’m fucking awful with names,” he said. “Anderson, right? I’ll call you Andie. I can remember that.”