A/N: This next extra is from chapter 19 from Along Came a Spider 2, during the team’s road trip to the New York City area. I wanted you to have it before this week’s chapter since some readers guessed correctly who the woman is. Ben is closer to Tyler than Edward, which is why we haven’t heard as much from him. I hope you enjoy a little insight from Ben.
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“Hello.” A soft voice from beside me gets my attention.
“Hey.” I glance over to see who that voice belongs to and can’t believe my eyes.
Long brown hair. Blue eyes. A face and body that could sell an endless number of magazine covers.
Maybe I’ve seen her before?
I squint, looking up at her in the low light while my eyes travel over the dress clinging gently to every curve.
“Mind if I join you?”
As the bartender leaves another beer in front of me, I reach for it, then nod toward the empty stool next to me. “Help yourself.”
“Thank you.” She smiles. “I think I will. Are you here for business or pleasure?”
I finish another long sip. “Business. You?”
“Now?” Her obvious perusal of me is in a way I haven’t experienced for quite some time. “Definitely, pleasure.”
I shouldn’t do it, but there’s no keeping the offer from falling from my lips. “Can I buy you a drink?”
She leans closer, setting a room key next to my beer.
God, she smells good.
I hope I’m not in my room dreaming this.
“I’ll let you buy all my drinks. What do you do?”
I smile lazily. “I play hockey.”
“For a living?”
“Yeah. They pay me and everything.”
Her giggles send a thrill through me. It’s been even longer since anyone laughed at my jokes.
“Are you any good?” she asks teasingly.
“You want to find out?”
No longer talking about hockey—I don’t believe she is either.
“I think I do.” She smirks, then not-so-subtly brushes her chest against my arm before whispering, “302. Don’t keep me waiting.”
I watch the swing of her hips as she leaves the bar, and I keep wondering if I just imagined that entire conversation. When the bartender returns, I stare at the room key next to my almost half-empty glass—not touching either. Before he helps another customer, I ask him to put her drinks on my room bill. His nod confirms this isn’t my imagination.
While most are invested in the football game on every television in the bar that will kick off soon, I nurse my beer, wondering about my next move.
I’ll admit, I’m curious. I don’t even know her name. And she doesn’t know mine. It doesn’t matter. And who would know? Could I be one of those guys, like some of my fellow teammates? I mean, who would it hurt if I take the elevator to 302 and find out what’s waiting?
Angela has been ghosting me since casino night. I have no idea where we stand, but if I’m honest with myself, we haven’t been in a good place for a few months, which is nearly the entirety of our relationship. It started out promising at first—meeting her at Edward’s sister’s house for that pumpkin carving party. The attraction was instant for me. Then she was at Thanksgiving too, when I found the courage to ask her out. But before we left for Mexico, I was ready to pull the plug for good reason. It will never be acceptable to call out some other guy’s name while having sex. And not just some other guy, my own damn teammate.
It wasn’t his fault, but I was still pissed. She claimed it was simply a mistake since she’s new to hanging out with everyone and not good with names, mixing them up sometimes. My gut is telling me that was no accident. She threw an absolute shit fit when I tried to uninvite her to Mexico. Then Jess chimed in, and I figured I could help keep the peace for Demir’s sake since they’re best friends.
Once we got to Mexico, it was more of the same with Angela ignoring me until James confronted her about stealing his clothes. At that accusation, I was ready to leave Mexico and Angela behind while checking available flights on my phone. Next thing I know, Vladdy and James are yelling, then Vladdy ended the conversation with a right to James’s face, which caused us to get thrown out of the bar. At least Vladdy had my back. He was adamant that James should be more focused on spending time with his teammates rather than picking a fight with a girlfriend over some damn shirt.
She’s supposed to be mine. There must be something wrong with me if I can’t keep someone like Angela interested. We’re just dating and I’m failing at it. Maybe I’m destined to be a life-long bachelor. I don’t want to be, but I hear the same thing every time. I’m too nice—too forgiving.
So, who would it hurt for me to follow this gorgeous, interested-in-me woman upstairs?
It’s definitely not Angela. My contract, my house, my place on the team―I’m the starting goaltender—yet, none of it matters to her.
Or how hard I’ve worked to achieve all that.
I can’t even get her to reply to my texts anymore.
So, I guess . . . it’s no one. Absolutely no one would be hurt, which makes the decision easier and maybe I can chase a little euphoria for as long as it lasts.
I stand, ready to depart.
I jerk my chin toward him. “Spider.”
“Don’t forget your keycard.” The bartender holds it out for me.
“Oh, right. Don’t want to forget that.” I grin, sliding it into my pocket.
“Are you joining everyone to watch the game?” Edward asks.
“Not yet. I’m going upstairs for a bit.”
“Okay, I guess I’ll catch up with you later.”
“Sure.” I nod.
After leaving the bar, I hurry toward the elevators, pressing the button as one starts to close. Fortunately, the doors open and I slip inside with a few others.
“What floor?” someone asks.
I smile. “Three, please.”
I’m ready for whatever happens next.