Release Date: June 7, 2021


There’s no faking it in love or hockey...

Transferring to a new school under false pretenses is harder than I expected, especially when my cocky new housemate, Callan Thomas, annoys me at every pass. He’s treated like a god and revered by everyone on campus. Too bad he made me feel like a rejected fool the first night we met.

But that doesn’t stop me from accepting his offer to become his fake girlfriend, because he has skills that I need. Only Callan can help me improve my game and make the USA women’s hockey team.

I try to keep despising him, but he keeps proving my first impression was wrong. And the more time I spend with him, the more complex my feelings become. I need to tell him the truth about who I really am before anyone finds out and things go too far.

Problem is, I think they already have...


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It’s like the cap has been unscrewed from a bottle of soda, because inside me the fizz and excitement of talking with this beautiful and captivating girl bubbles through my blood.

I offer my hand between us. “People call me Church. What’s your name?”

She raises her eyes to me, extending her arm to place her warm hand inside my palm, where I gently cup it in mine. She’s soft and warm and I know her prickly attitude is a defense meant to throw me off.

“I’m Aria. And Is Church your last name?”

I tip my head to the side, cocking an eyebrow. “You’ve never heard of me?”

Most people at the school know who I am. Hockey is a big deal around these parts and the Moo U hockey team is royalty. Unless she’s new or a freshman, she’d certainly know who I am. And based on the statement on her tank top, she knows hockey.

By deduction, that must mean she’s new or lying, but I can’t figure out her angle or what she’d gain.

She could just be messing with me as a joke. Maybe she was sent by one of the guys to prank me.

Aria shakes her head, some of her golden-spun hair spilling over her shoulder.

“I’m new to Burlington University this semester. In fact, I just arrived today.”

I laugh. “Well, welcome. And please don’t take this the wrong way, but I need to introduce you to one of the campus colloquialisms. Nobody calls it Burlington University. We refer to it as Moo U.”

She nods curiously, considering the validity of my suggestion, but then seems to think twice about it. “You’re serious? Moo U? Huh. Weird.”

I let out a hearty laugh and raise my hands in surrender. “I swear. Ask anyone. The school is well-known for its agricultural studies. We are in Vermont cow country. Surrounded by dairy farms and apple orchards.”

“Okay, if you say so, Church,” she says drolly, a hint of a smile around her full lips. “So, are you going to tell me why everyone calls you Church?”

I run a hand down my short beard, a reminder I still need to shave it off before the semester starts.

“Well, as you may have guessed, I’m a hockey player. Starting center. And the name was established when I played in juniors, when a kid said playing against me was just liking going to church.” I slap my hands together in a prayer position, giving her my best impression of a dutiful churchgoer. “Because when my opponents faceoff against me, they kneel and pray.”

She laughs in a fit of hysterics at this. Like seriously, full-on belly laugh, clutching at her stomach and throwing her head forward to her knees.

And I realize I think I’ve met my match.

How utterly inconvenient.




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