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By Nancy Warren

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And what she saw was that her legs were wide apart and she couldn’t help but hold her arms out wide to stop herself from falling. Somebody blew a whistle. “Okay, girls. ” JARRAD STOOD AT THE EDGE of the ice and realized his old buddy hadn’t lied about the team. These guys were all over the place. Sure, some of them could skate, and the men were all fit, but there was no sense of teamwork, no idea how to sense where the puck was headed and what to do about it. Not for the first time, he wondered what he was even doing here.

Maybe he’d fly up for a quick weekend. See the family and a few old friends. Maybe when the weather was better. But as his house came into view, he realized that his old buddy, Greg, wasn’t the only one who wondered how he was doing now that his ex-wife was engaged to a new victim. Paparazzi clogged the gated entrance to his home like rats packing a sewer. He swore under his breath. Didn’t stop to think. He swung the car around in a tight U and sped away from his own house cursing aloud. A couple of miles down the road, he pulled over.

She stepped a skate gingerly onto the ice. Hung on to the boards, stepped the other skate down. Had the ice been this slippery when she was a child? Her ankles wobbled alarmingly in her rented skates and the padding she’d borrowed from her brother made her feel like the Michelin Man. On skates. When she wobbled her way down the ice, holding her brother’s old hockey stick, since he wouldn’t trust her with his good one, joining the other women who were warming up, she realized that even here, in this fun hockey team for women, she was outclassed.

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