One Baby Daddy (Dating by Numbers #3)

One Baby Daddy (Dating by Numbers #3)

Meghan Quinn

Chapter One


“Do you have any regrets about that fight with Marcus Miller?”


Flashes of light repeatedly go off, the clicks a sound I’ve become accustomed to.

A sound I hate.

Sip my water.

Look around the room.

Cameras point in my direction, stage lights blare from above, the bill of my hat being the only protection from the onslaught of light. I adjust it, curving down the sides as reporters raise their hands for the next question.

I know what they want to prove, what they want to get at, but I’m not taking the blame.

“So you don’t think the fight cost you advancement in the playoffs?”

Of course he would ask that question.

Bob, I think his name is.

He’s a dick. He makes it his mission to turn any story into something completely fabricated for more reads on his news site. I’ll never understand why the Brawlers still let him in the media room.

“The shots O’Reilly deflected cost us our advancement. He played a hell of a game and shut down our offense.”

“You were tied heading into the last five minutes of the game, right before you were sent to the penalty box, leaving your team short a man. You don’t think that has anything to do with the loss?”

I cap my water bottle and clear my throat. Pinching the microphone with my fingers, I lean in and look directly at the smarmy reporter with yellow teeth, sporting a brown suit and a cue ball of a head. “Tell me, Bob, if someone came up to you and slapped a hockey stick across the back of your legs, would you bend over and ask for another? Or would you have retaliated?” He’s about to answer, but I cut him off. “From the look of it”—I eye him up and down—“you would have bent over, but that’s not how I handle things. Miller deserved to be brought down to the ice, and I won’t apologize for my actions.” I grip the table’s edge and look around, ready to stand. “Unless you have any other questions about the actual game, I’m done for the night.”

Questions fly but I don’t listen, I zone out and stand from the table, taking my water with me.

Gripping the curve in the bill of my hat, I walk down the steps of the podium and head out of the media room, my publicist hot on my heels.

“Could have handled that better,” he says, trotting next to me to keep up with my pace.

“Well, we just lost our chance at fighting for the championship, so excuse me for being fucking pissed.”

“Steinman is not going to be happy about that comment.”

Greg Steinman is the owner of the Philadelphia Brawlers, and the controlling nitwit sure as hell won’t be happy with that comment, but he can deal with the repercussions. I’m allowed to be pissed. I answered their questions, I played the media game, but I don’t deal well with being blamed for the loss. There are a lot of factors that went into that game, resulting in us being knocked out of the playoffs. We are a team. Everyone contributes to every aspect of the game, for fuck’s sake.

Do I regret cracking Marcus Miller’s jaw with one solid punch to his face? Fuck no. That dickhead had been on my ass the whole series taking cheap shots with his stick. Today was the only time I lost my cool, which is rare for me. It takes a lot for me to shuck my gloves and fight on the ice.

And maybe the Renegades will be going to the championship, but Marcus won’t be playing. I made sure of it when my fists connected with him over and over.

I squeeze my hand, pain searing through my bruised and swollen knuckles.

“I’ll deal with Steinman,” I huff out. Turning the corner to the locker room, the space is silent, my teammates either quietly packing up or already gone after Coach’s speech.

Next year, we will train harder. We will study harder. That championship will be ours.

It’s the same damn thing you hear after every hockey season. I might be a rookie in professional hockey, but I’ve heard my fair share of end-of-year speeches and this one is no exception. Did I think we would win the championship my rookie season? No, but fuck, it would have been awesome.

“Are we not meeting?” James asks, looking so goddamn put together it’s pissing me off. One hair out of place would have been nice, one button undone, one showing of how upsetting our loss was would be fucking comforting at the moment.

“Does it look like I want to meet with you right now?” I toss my water bottle into my locker and shift around my gear, pulling my wallet and keys from the locked box. My phone is already in my pocket, and the suit I’m supposed to be wearing is hanging from the coat hook. Fuck that shit. I’m walking out of here in a T-shirt and athletic pants. “Can’t you tell now is not a good time?”

“When will be a good time?”

Head turned down, my hand gripping the back of my neck, I answer, “When I’m fucking ready.”

Doesn’t he get it? The last things I want to talk about right now are endorsement deals and positive publicity during the off-season. Let me fucking mourn my loss for a day. He should know this. Working with athletes, we take a loss hard, let alone a loss that ends the season.

Shifting behind me, his shoes rubbing against the short carpet of the locker, he says, “I’ll call you tomorrow.”

Tossing an almost empty roll of tape across the room, I spin on my heel, suit hooked in my finger and hanging over my shoulder, I say, “Don’t bother. I’m heading to Binghamton for a few weeks, clear my head. I’ll call you.”

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