Chapter 3: Attraction
Axel tries to speed through the tour of the training facility, but our heroine, Jennifer, is actually quite smart and catches on and asks why he’s trying to get rid of her. She also spends a great deal of time admiring Axel as they race through the rink. She decides that the scar on Axel’s cheek (a U-shaped scar) must be from a puck, and she admires his butt, thinking “Constant skating, apparently, yielded a truly spectacular butt” (25). I appreciate the fact that this author knows something about hockey players—yes, they tend toward having very nice butts for precisely this reason.
(Someone I respect a helluva lot and who had a serious position above me, shocked me once by telling me a story about hockey butts. Once, while she was buying hockey skates for her son, she saw Shane Doan, captain of the Coyotes, in the same store denying his son an incredibly overpriced hockey stick. He was apparently right in front of her and facing away, so she ended up staring. Her husband caught her at it. She said at least she hadn’t grabbed Doan’s butt. After this story I respected this person even more, heh.)
Anyway, Jennifer not only calls him on his trying to get rid of her but on his trying to intimidate her, too. Often romance novels gain their tension from the eventual couple not telling each other things or confronting each other. So I quite like that these two (at the moment) are up front. Are you trying to get rid of me? Yes. (On the other hand, Axel doesn’t tell her why and just says that he thinks the idea for the documentary is lousy and everyone should be focused on the game. Currently I’m okay with that since they met roughly and hour (or four, depending on the shower scene) ago.)
This confrontation, however, leads to the clinching. Axel claims, “I tried to outrun you” (27), but when Jennifer says that avoidance might have been the better plan, he’s all “You called. I came.” Jennifer says this might be a bad idea and Axel agrees that their attraction will lead to complications (28).
Axel has Jennifer pinned to the wall and she has her hands clutching his shirt, and yet she says she wasn’t coming on to him. Methinks the lady doth protest too much. But they do, despite their attraction, manage to pry themselves apart for the sake of their working relationship.
Jennifer then asks who would be better to talk to, since Axel is no longer willing. But as soon as she starts naming his teammates, Axel gets jealous and decides he does, in fact, have time to talk to Jennifer, the next day. Besides, he’s telling himself that it’s better if he keeps her nearby so as to have an eye on her.
This chapter’s hockey metaphor: Desire slammed him like a body check to the boards (31).