Will Lexie arrive to the rink in time to meet the guest coach of the day? Early excerpt reveal

Lexie is in for the surprise of her life. She’s a single mom, and she was never able to find the man of her dreams she hooked up with in Bora Bora to tell him he’s a dad. Now, over four years later, her son has an uncanny athletic ability on the ice and wields a hockey stick like a pro! Who is the guest coach helping out at the mite team practice?

I open one eye and look at my watch. Dammit, I overslept. I jump out of bed, run into the bathroom to splash water on my face and brush my teeth in record time. I need to hurry if I’m going to make Jack’s practice. A good mom would have gotten up earlier and taken him, but I was exhausted from working late.

I toss on old jeans, grab the nearest cable-knit sweat, and pull it over my head. As for my hair, oh, well. I’ll shake it out before I arrive at the rink. I sit on the storage bench at the end of my bed and tug on my black suede boots. The rink is especially cold in winter, and these boots keep my feet warm.

I fly down the steps with my cell phone in hand.

“Jim, you let me oversleep!” I call out when I hear dishes rattling. Another way of guilt washes over me when I find Jim standing in front of the sink washing dirty dishes in the sink.  Another wave of guilt washes over me. He cooks for us daily. I should be doing the dishes.

“I thought you needed your sleep. I made coffee,” he says cheerfully, his blue eyes twinkling. What would I do without him? I grab a thermos from the cupboard, wedge my phone under my arm, and pour the hot beverage from the percolator. I snap the lid on. “Thank you, Jim. Sorry about being cranky.”

“It’s fine. I should have known watching Jack play is more important to you than sleep.”

“You should come with me,” I suggest, knowing Jim prefers to stay home with a book.

“I’m fine, thanks for asking. I’m in the middle of a good book.”

Knowing Jim, it’s the history of the world or the newest murder or spy thriller. He watches lots of public TV educational programs but also loves good sitcoms or series such as Getting Away with Murder or some Housewives series. I get annoyed with some of the shows, but Jim finds them entertaining and sometimes comical.

I text Robby, letting him know I’m on my way, before dropping the phone into my purse. There is no time to waste as I pull on my coat. 

“No cream in that?” Jim asks.

“No time. I’m late.”

“Well, drive safely. I can’t have you sliding around and ending up in a ditch,” he warns with a hint of sarcasm.

“Got it. Bye.” I grab my purse before jogging to my car.

After unlocking my old Volvo, I slide in, put the coffee in the holder, and pull the gloves out of my pockets. I put the key in the ignition and turn it on—the engine chugs, then nothing. I fret as I look at my watch.

Shit, shit, shit. I’m late.

Of all days for my car to act up! I wonder if it’s the battery. I have to get to the rink. I don’t want to disappoint Jack if he looks for me in the stands and I’m not there. I can’t disappoint him.

“Come on, Marilyn—don’t keep Jack waiting.” I will ask her to start. I’d be impressed if Marilyn fired up right about now.

The chugs continued longer this time around, and I eventually heard the engine catch and turn over.

I call my car Marilyn, so I’ll feel pretty no matter how I look or feel when I’m behind the wheel. Marilyn Monroe is an icon to me. She inspires me to take better care of my skin. In photos, she looks flawless. That was before digital filters were invented and digital airbrushing.

The fact that she’s still making headlines to this day is impressive. Some icons never fade. I’d love to be that pretty. It’s probably why I’m fascinated with her. There’s something about young stars passing that gives me reason to pause and appreciate what I have to be grateful for. Sure there is, whew, it didn’t happen to me—I’m still here. Which is a relief because I have a son to raise. But it’s not lost on me that, as a whole, many of us are too busy focusing on what we don’t have in life, and it takes us down roads that can be dark and dreary. I’m a spiritual person who projects positivity, but sometimes I get down in the dumps. Sometimes, it’s tough to pull myself up. I’m grateful Jim is always on hand for these emergencies as he has expertise in psychology.

Or maybe he knows me better than I know myself. But he’s incredibly intelligent, as in he’s a member of the MENSA society. I figure I’m in good hands, and surprisingly, he’s well-rounded for being so intellectual.

I look behind me and wait for a car to pass before backing onto the country road that leads to the city. I floor it and keep my eyes appealed for police cars. I can’t afford a ticket.

I flick my long hair out with my fingers and look in the rearview mirror to take in my appearance. I didn’t even wash my face. I blow into my hand to check my breath. Coffee will cover the staleness on my tongue.

I finger comb my long hair and check my look in the rearview mirror. “Ugh.” I need sunglasses to cover my bloodshot eyes.

I reach for the thermos and take a sip. I need the caffeine.

I’m ten minutes from the arena and hear sirens. I look in my mirrors, and a state trooper has his lights on. Today is not my day. It’s for me.

Shit. I’ll never make it to the rink in time to see Jack play.….

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