Tip of the Ice-Berg


Matt came over the next day for his usual cup of coffee and a chat. His main purpose in going over—aside from the amazing hello kiss—was to get her phone number. After the season opener next week, he'd be gone on a week-and-a-half-long road trip. He hated to leave her alone in her house after their talk, even though he supposed he was stretching his overprotective instincts a little far.

After her explanations, he'd felt angry and helpless. There was nothing he could do to change the past and make her less nervous around men now and he hated not being able to make things better. He figured the best he could do was not push her and just be ready to talk things out.

It amazed him that he'd become so attached to her in such a short amount of time. He hadn't had a serious long-term relationship since entering the NHL. Not a lot of women put up with the long absences and late nights. He still didn't know how Rosana felt about his career but since his first taste of her the other night, he knew he wanted to find out. There was no way he could walk away without giving this a chance.

He walked over the day he was leaving on the road trip and knocked on her front door. Rosana answered after a minute and his body tightened almost to the point of pain when he saw her.

"Hi, Matt."

She was wearing loose black pants with a drawstring waist and a snug t-shirt that hugged her luscious curves like nobody's business. Matt swept his eyes down her body to her bare feet and swallowed with some difficulty.

"I thought you had a game tonight."

Her voice forced his eyes back to her face and he gave a slow nod. "I do. I just wanted to stop by and see you." Stupid, stupid, stupid! What was he thinking, laying it all out like that?

There was something about Rosana's shy smiles and glances through her full, dark lashes that made him forget he had a working brain.


Matt shifted from one foot to the other and lifted his hand to rub his neck. "Can I come in?"

"Of course." She stepped back and held the door open for him.

They walked inside and he sat beside her on the couch. She was listening to some music and there were some lit candles on her fireplace mantle.

"Is everything OK, Matt?"

"Sure, why?"

"You seem tense."

That's because it was taking every ounce of concentration not to launch himself at her. She was so alluring and she didn't even know the depth of her appeal. Ever since that kiss they'd shared the other morning he'd been dreaming of her taste and the silken feel of her tongue. The thought stirred his blood and he jumped to his feet to pace across her living room floor.

"I don't like the idea of you being here alone."

Her eyes popped open wide. "What do you mean? I've lived alone here for a long time."

"Yeah, and how much of that time have you been harassed by aggressive ex-boyfriends?"

When he looked over at her, her cheeks were pink again and she wasn't looking at him. Her jaw was clenched and she was wringing her hands together in her lap.

He hadn't meant to blurt that out and maybe he was grasping at straws but he hadn't realized until that moment exactly what worried him about her living here alone. "I'm sorry, Rosana." He crossed the room and dropped beside her on the couch, reaching for her hands.

She wouldn't meet his eyes. "I'm so embarrassed."

Matt clenched his teeth and reached out. He hooked his fingers under her chin and turned her face towards him. "Why are you embarrassed?"

"I shouldn't have told you about my lousy dating history." She paused and shook her head, still not lifting her eyes. "It's humiliating."

Matt wanted to beat the hell out of all the guys she'd been treated badly by. His fierce protective urges for this woman were overwhelming and all they'd done was share one kiss.

So far.

"Don't be embarrassed, Rosana. It's not your fault."

She looked up then and offered him a tremulous smile. Matt sucked in a breath and leaned closer, stopping just short of devouring her.

"I am worried about you being here alone, Rosana."

"You shouldn't be. My dad is fifteen minutes away and I'm careful about who I'll open the door to."

Matt wanted to say that a lot could happen in fifteen minutes but he kept the thought to himself. She was upset enough and he didn't want to add to it.

"Well, you've got my cell number. Call me if anything happens, all right?"

She smiled, the tremor gone from her lips. Her fingers squeezed his and his blood surged before settling low in his abdomen. He watched her eyes widen and knew that his face was reflecting his strong desire for her.

"I want to kiss you," he whispered, not surprised when his voice came out hoarser than normal.

She bit her lower lip and he stifled a groan at the sight. He wanted to do a hell of a lot more than kiss her but he didn't want her to think he was like her previous boyfriends.


Her murmured acquiescence stirred his blood to a boiling point and he all but hauled her across his lap.

He tried to keep the kiss gentle but he wanted to devour her. He wrapped one arm around her waist and cupped the back of her head, all the while struggling to conjure up images of disgusting locker rooms or losing teeth in a game, but his body would not be swayed.

Then Rosana parted her lips and moaned.

That was it.

Matt tipped her back over his arm and opened his mouth on hers. She grasped his arms and held on as he licked along her lips. Sliding inside, he tasted her again, her warm, soft flavor wrapping around him. Her fingers slipped up his arms and caressed the back of his neck. He could feel tingles in the longish hairs at his nape.

With a groan, he pulled his lips up from hers. If he didn't stop this now, he'd have her naked and spread out before him in seconds.

He looked down into her blue eyes, seeing the same dazed feeling he had reflected in her face. He opened his mouth to say something, anything, to defuse his passion and remove himself from the house, but her hand tensed on his neck. He felt himself being pulled down and he went with a sigh, laying himself on top of her and sinking into her.

She kissed him this time, tilting her head and rubbing her lips over his. The touch of her tongue on his lips was tentative and he clenched his hands into the cushions of the couch beneath her, determined to let her explore him.

Slow, go slow...

It was a losing battle, especially when she lifted one knee, forcing his hips to slide against hers. Her eyes met his and a radiant blush spread across her cheeks when she felt the full effect of his desire for her.

"I'm sorry," he murmured. He wasn't sure what he was sorry for but he felt like he should be.

Her light giggle broke the spell and he grinned. They kissed for another minute, holding each other without the hungry urgency of a moment ago.

At last, Matt sat up and helped Rosana sit up beside him. She patted her hair and slanted a nervous glance in his direction.

"Are you still sorry?" she asked in a quiet voice.

Matt smiled and brought her fingers to his lips without breaking eye contact. "Not really. But when we... if we do this... I don't want to be rushed because I have to get to a game."

His confession brought a startled exhalation from her and he had to tamp down the urge to pull her closer. Before he gave in, he stood up and walked towards the front door. There he pulled his jacket back on and pulled Rosana close for a warm hug.

"I'll call you tomorrow."

She nodded and hugged him back. "I'd like that."

He pulled back and smiled as he touched her warm cheek. "When I get back to town, can I take you out?"

She laughed and nodded. "I'd like that, too."

With a grin, and another chaste kiss, Matt let her go. He didn't know if he'd even make it back to South Jersey in one piece. With thoughts of Rosana arching underneath him and her hot kisses stirring his brain to pudding, he'd be bashed into the boards his first shift on the ice.

I'm going to end up with a concussion, he thought before whistling all the way back to his home.

* * * *

Rosana told herself not to sit around waiting for Matt's call. She went to work for the lunch shift, came home, showered and settled on her living room couch. Rhiannon called and they went to a movie one night. When she came home later, the lights in Matt's house were on and she frowned.

After changing her clothes and boiling water for tea, Rosana peeked out the window across the yards. Matt's house was still lit up and she saw a shadow pass in front of one of the windows.

That's odd. She sipped her tea and frowned.

She considered calling the police. She knew that Matt wasn't at home, and wouldn't be home for almost two weeks. There should be no lights on and definitely no shadows moving within.

She walked back through her house to grab her phone and was just about to dial the police when the doorbell rang. Startled, she turned and walked to the front door. Through the peephole she saw a tall man standing on her front porch. He had a pleasant smile and he looked somewhat familiar. Double-checking the chain, she undid the dead bolt and peered outside.


"Hi. I'm Malcolm Robinson, Matt's brother." He gave her a wide grin. "You must be Rosana."

Rosana smiled and nodded. She recognized a little of Matt in this man. "I am."

"Matt told me to come introduce myself to you since he wasn't home." He didn't move any closer as he spoke and pushed his hands into his front pockets. "I've come down to stay with him for a little while."

"You must not mind entertaining yourself since he's gone so often."

Malcolm nodded. "Sure. I just needed to get away for a bit and this was the cheapest option."

Rosana laughed. "Makes sense. Just one second." She shut the door and lifted the chain to open it all the way. She held her hand out and Malcolm clasped it for a hearty handshake.

"Pleased to meet you, Rosana."

"Same to you, Malcolm."

He released her hand and took a step back. She liked him already. He wasn't trying to push his way into the house and he was keeping his eyes on her face and not on her tattered sweats.

"Well, it's late. I just wanted to introduce myself so you didn't think Matt's house was being burglarized."

Rosana laughed and held up the phone in her hand. "Good thing you did. I was about to call the police."

Malcolm laughed and took another step back. "I'll see you around!"

She watched him go with a smile and then shut the door.

* * * *

Malcolm knocked on Rosana's door the following day and invited her to lunch. She wasn't working and she thought it'd be a good way to get some insider info on Matt. They went to a nearby deli and commiserated over the sudden downturn in the weather. As they relaxed over coffees, Rosana considered the best way to bring up the subject of Malcolm's brother.

As it turned out, she didn't have to.

"I think Matt likes you."

Rosana's cheeks burned and she gave a nervous laugh. "I don't know about that."

"I do." Malcolm shrugged. "But then, I've known him for twenty-five years."

"You're older?"

"By a year and a half. We have a younger brother too, Marshall."

"I have three sisters, two older, one younger."

Malcolm gaped and then chuckled. "Your poor father."

Rosana had to laugh at his reaction. "That's exactly what Matt said."

"Honestly, Rosana. Matt told me to introduce myself only under the strict understanding that I was not to flirt with you in any way."


Malcolm rolled his eyes as he leaned his elbows on the table between them. "Apparently I'm a ladies' man."

Rosana arched her eyebrows and tried to stifle a grin.

"Matt doesn't want me encroaching on his territory."

Rosana's eyebrows rose even higher and she laughed. "Big word, but that's hardly a concern. We're not... that is, Matt and I...."

Malcolm chuckled and reached across to pat her hand. "It's fine."

"No, but we're not even seeing each other."

Malcolm gave her a playful wink. "You mean I can flirt with you?"

"No! That's not what I meant!"

Malcolm laughed as he squeezed her hand. "Don't worry, Rosana. I would never try to scoop my brother's lady."

Rosana shook her head, heat flooding her face.

"Whether you're officially dating or not, my brother is into you. And I think it's great."

Rosana twisted her fingers together and lowered her gaze. "Can we talk about something else, please?"

"Of course." Malcolm sat back in his seat and smiled at her. "Have you been to a hockey game yet?"

His question made her laugh and she started to relax. They stayed at the deli for a little while longer, talking about work, their families and other neutral topics.

Back at home, Rosana tried to put the conversation with Malcolm out of her mind. She changed into her comfortable clothes and went to her library. She was just settling in with an old favorite when the phone rang.


"Hi, Rosana."

"Matt! What a surprise."

He gave a low chuckle that had Rosana curling her toes under her. "Is it? I told you'd I'd call."

"Yeah, but shouldn't you be playing hockey or something?"

"We don't have a game until tomorrow night and practice just ended. Do you want me to call back later?"

"No! I mean, now is fine." Rosana laid her head back and squeezed her eyes shut. She was an intelligent woman and yet, every time she talked to Matt, she felt like an idiot.

"Good. So have you met my brother yet?"

"Yeah. He came over last night to introduce himself and we had lunch today."

There was a silence before Matt responded. "Oh, really?"

Rosana stifled a giggle at his tone. "Yeah. It was fun. He's a nice guy."

"Most of the time."

"He, uh, told me about your warning."


"Yeah. About not being allowed to flirt with me."

Matt's nervous laugh made Rosana smile. "I'm sure he made it sound worse than I meant it."

"You didn't mean to tell him that I was off-limits?"

There was a pause and Rosana laughed into the phone. "Relax, Matt. I'm just teasing."

"You're not mad?"

"Of course not." She'd been surprised but getting upset would be a silly overreaction.

"Oh, good. I didn't want you to think I was pushing you or anything."

Rosana's stomach flipped at his words. Somehow, he'd voiced her personal concerns and she was impressed that he'd recognized it.

"When are you back?" she asked.

"Next Wednesday."

"And I'll see you then?"

Matt chuckled and Rosana bit her lip to keep from making any sound. "If you want to see me."

"Yes. I do."

"Great. Then how about I take you for dinner?"

"I'd love to."

They both fell silent and Rosana couldn't stop smiling. She started to say something but there was a shout in the background on his end and he yelled something back.

"Shoot. I've got to go. The guys are heading out for dinner. Can I call you later?"


"Great. Then I will."

"OK. Have a good time with the guys."

Rosana hung up the phone, feeling like she was floating on a cloud.

* * * *

Next Wednesday couldn't come fast enough for Matt. The team's games through New York and into Ontario took way too long for his liking. It was an odd feeling since he'd always loved his career. Now he had a reason to rush back home.

His brother greeted him when he came home late Wednesday afternoon. He'd known Malcolm had been planning a visit and had apologized for having to leave town so soon after his arrival.

"I hope you've been able to entertain yourself, Malcolm."

Malcolm shrugged and grinned. "Once I found the porn on your satellite, I was more entertained."

Matt laughed and hurried upstairs to shower and change. He'd called a restaurant to make reservations and he'd barely been able to keep his seat on the plane. It was the endless mocking by the rest of the team that made him rein in his hormones. He couldn't deny how excited he was to see Rosana tonight.

"I hope you don't mind me taking off so soon tonight," Matt said to Malcolm as he came back downstairs. "We can hang out tomorrow."

"Or the day after that."

When Matt looked over, Malcolm gave him a knowing wink. Matt was too excited to be embarrassed by it. He straightened his tie and asked for Malcolm's opinion.

"You look like you're trying too hard."

"Bite me."

"You asked."

Matt ignored his brother's laugh and picked up the phone to dial Rosana.


"Hi, Rosana."

"Hi, Matt. Are you home?"

"Yup, the flight got in a couple hours ago."

"I saw that you won last night."

"You watched the game?"

She laughed and he swallowed hard when the sound went straight through him. "No, but I read the scores in the paper this morning.

Matt chuckled. It was a start. "Are you looking forward to dinner?"

"Oh, yes. Very much."

He had to squeeze his eyes shut and turn his thoughts to something less sexy, like drying paint and traffic jams. If he was already straining within his pants at a few mere sentences, he was going to be a wreck by the end of the night.


He didn't realize until she spoke that he'd been silent for several seconds. "Yeah. I'm here. Sorry, Malcolm... distracted me."

Malcolm gave him a curious look and Matt walked away from his brother's prying gaze. "I'll pick you up at about six. Is that all right?"

She laughed again. "Pick me up? Matt, we're next door to each other. Why don't I just walk over?"

"No, I'm a gentleman and a gentleman always picks the lady up at her door." Plus, he didn't want to take the chance of Malcolm making any smartass comments.

"Well, why don't you come over a little early? I brought some danishes home from the country club today."

"Are you kidding?"

"I wouldn't joke about something like that."

Her playful tone decided it for him. "See you in a minute."

Matt hung up before she could change her mind. He dumped the phone in his brother's lap and bolted from the house after a brief good-bye.

Rosana pulled the door open as he was bounding up the steps of her porch. He stopped in his tracks when he saw her. She was breathtaking in a simple black dress that fell in soft waves over her slender form and flared over her hips. When he met her gaze behind the eyeglasses, and took in her sweet, shy smile, he couldn't stop himself from moving closer.

He took her in his arms without a word and covered her mouth with his. She gasped and he swallowed the sound, savoring the taste of her. He felt her hands come to rest on his shoulders and he stooped to put his arms low around her waist. When he straightened, still plunging his tongue into her mouth, he drew her right up off her feet.

Her mouth tore away from his in surprise and she glanced down. Matt didn't give her a chance to protest. Instead, he carried her inside and kicked his heel back to shut the door. It closed with a resounding slam and Rosana laughed.

Without setting her down, Matt covered her lips with his again. She met him with the same eagerness he felt, opening her mouth and tangling her tongue around his. Her arms went around his neck and she clung to him, all her soft curves pressing into his body. When one of her legs bent and she hooked a heel behind his leg, every part of Matt hardened in an instant.

Twisting, he moved her back until he had her pinned to the wall. She groaned at the impact but didn't move her mouth away. Matt slid his tongue between her lips as he settled his weight against her. She kept her leg around his and he felt the slow rub as she moved her foot up and down. With a groan, he dropped his hands to cup her ass and she gave a throaty moan at the caress.

Matt tore his mouth away from hers to trail kisses down her cheek and onto her neck. She pushed her head back against the wall and clung to him, her breath coming in short little pants. He clenched his fingers into her bottom, squeezing her lush curves. Her hips moved at his touch and he froze with his mouth open on the hollow of her throat.

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