"Did you say latte?" Georges asks, handing his Starbucks card to the girl at the register. I nod, before going back to reading the text my younger brother's just sent me, a grainy picture of some girl sleeping naked in his bed, probably taken with his cell phone, and the only explanation he gives is the simple one word title: 'latest'. I shake my head and erase the picture. Tuomo, always taking advantage of being the sports 'star', it's a good thing he's not here in Pittsburgh with all these young guys for competition.

I glance over to where Army and Geno are chatting up a couple of young urban professionals, or at least Army is. Geno's just smiling, he's still too unsure of his grasp of the language to actually try small talk. Tuomo would be in there already. But then he is the best looking of us, of my two brothers and I.

"See something you like?" Georges gives me an elbow as he hands me my coffee.

"Not for me," I shrug. "That kind of girl would never talk to me."

"Why? You don't smell or anything. Well, not too much anyway." Georges laughs, hip checking me as we walk towards the group milling around the door. I keep my head down, only glancing sideways at the women in their high heels and their expensively tailored suits with their perfect manicures and their name brand designer hand-bags. I watch them giggle and bat their fake eyelashes at the boys.

Been there, done that and if there was one thing I learned from that…disaster, it's that those aren't the girls for me. Next time I decide to give my heart away, it won't be to one of those kinds of girls. I may have been made a fool of once, but I'm not a fool and it won't happen again.

"Hey watch where you're going!" I'm so busy brooding over spilt milk that I walk straight into a girl with an armful of books, knocking them and my coffee all over the place. I listen to her curse a blue streak for a long moment, half admiring how many ways she can string together the f-bomb with many other colourful metaphors, and half admiring her long denim clad legs poured into a pair of high heeled very pointy black boots. "So you're just going to stare at me and not even help?" she snaps, dropping carefully into a crouch, balancing her weight on the pointed toes of her boots while she begins to pile her books on her knees.

Joining her, I glance over the titles, Contract Law, Tortes, Power of Attorney…huh, smart girl. As I hand her one of the thick tomes, I get a fantastic view of her ample cleavage as she reaches for one her notebooks, and I begin to feel a smile tugging at the corners of my lips. Smart and hot, interesting.

"Let me apologize for my silent friend here, he's nursing a broken heart, so he was worlds away, revasser," Georges explains with a flourish, handing her the last book and bowing his huge body over her small hand.

"Goody for him," she snaps, folding her arms around the books and brushing past us without so much as a look back. I give my head a shake, snapping out of the daze I've fallen into and turn around, ignoring the knowing look from big Georges as I jog to catch up with her.

"I'm sorry, about your books I mean," I begin, getting in front of her and turning around walking backwards so I can watch her while I walk.

"You'd have been a hell of a lot more sorry if that coffee had got on my essay," she snarls, looking over her books at me disparagingly. That look should make me want to slink away and lick my wounds somewhere, but somehow, coming from her full soft lips and her round baby face, it has the opposite effect. It has me rising to the challenge.

"Look, I lost my coffee and you're here for coffee so why don't I buy? It's the least I can do," I offer, grinning at her, even though she's narrowed her beautiful onyx Asian eyes at me from behind the lenses of her rectangular frames. She gives me one of those long lingering elevator looks, and then just the one corner of her lusciously moist pink lips twitches up into what could be considered a smile.

"Mocha, with whip," she adds with emphasis, practically daring me to ask her if she should have whip cream. Some other man might, but as my gaze takes in the curves that any sports car would be happy to race along, I decide it couldn't possibly hurt. "I'll be over there," she inclines her head towards a table towards the back of the café, and then with one more of those smoldering elevator glances, she turns and walks towards the table. Walks…more like struts, her ass swinging enticingly in those painted on jeans. I find myself whetting my lips as I watch her walk away, as if I'm getting ready to take a big bite out of that plump round ass of hers'.

Whoa cowboy. It's just coffee.

But then she glances over her shoulder at me as she slides her books onto the table, and I'm certain the invitation is there in the way she raises her perfectly arched eyebrow at me, in the way she flicks her long straight ebony hair over her shoulder as she slides into the chair and crosses her long, long legs.

My mouth goes dry, and my chest tightens, and suddenly it feels a whole lot warmer than the frosty morning would otherwise suggest, even though it's got to be warm in the café, it's not warm enough to have sweat trickling down the back of my neck, but there it is, nonetheless.

Coffee. Right. She could just be wondering if I'm going to continue to stand here staring at her like some kind of retard, or if I'm actually going to get the coffee.

Giving myself a little shake, I turn, and head for the counter. Mocha…with whip.


Okay, so I was pissed when he ran into me. No, I was fucking pissed. I'd spent all night on that stupid paper and if he'd spilled one single drop of his coffee on the paper I'd have had to go home and reprint the whole stupid thing. Lucky for him his coffee went mostly onto his sweatshirt and jeans. Not that he's noticed. Not that he even flinched when steaming hot liquid poured down the front of his jeans.

No, he was way too busy staring at my cleavage. Now, under normal conditions, that would piss me off too, but for him, I'm happy to make an exception. Of course I know who he is, but if he's happy to think I don't, I'm not ready to disabuse him of his secure feeling of anonymity. If he wants to be just a regular Joe out for a cup of coffee, well okay, then he doesn't need to know that he's one of the major reasons, okay, the major reason I applied to Penn State Law.

Jarkko Ruutu, otherwise known as the Finnish Dennis the Menace. Watching him walk away from now, I find myself licking my lips as I observe the way his nice big round skater butt fills his jeans to maximum capacity. Oh yeah, that's the way momma likes it, lots of muscular junk in the trunk.

It's not the first time I've watched him walk away from me, but he obviously doesn't remember, which, probably is a good thing. If I'd thought about that day a little more, if I'd planned it better, I would have tried to look a little more appetizing.

Not that this was planned; not exactly. I'd been trying every coffee joint within a ten mile radius of the arena since the day I arrived. I mean, who doesn't need coffee? I figured it was more than an average bet one or two of the players would show up at one of these places sooner or later.

Of course I'd tried the clubs, and yes I know which clubs they go to, but then so does every red blooded puck bunny in Pennsylvania by the look of some of the line ups outside those certain clubs on a game night. I don't count myself as one of those girls, the pink jersey wearing, bubble gum smacking, screeching bimbos that hold up those signs at the games. You know the ones, 'marry me Sidney.' Besides, it's not Sidney I'm after. Not that I'd toss him out of my bed for eating animal crackers, what warm blooded female would?

But that bespectacled unassuming looking man in his early thirties standing waiting for my mocha; now that is what I came to Pittsburgh for. Jarkko Ruutu, his name might be almost a curse word to some, but then, what girl can resist a bad boy? Besides, it's his perfect, almost Clarke Kent like chameleon personality that makes my blood run warmer in my veins. One minute mild mannered, dare I say, almost nerd like behind his glasses and receding hair line, the next, cursing like a sailor, and giving someone a bloody nose, and thoroughly enjoying his position as head agitator and second in command butt kicker. Oh yeah, who needs mild mannered Sidney Crosby when there's that big piece of muscled Finnish man meat available?

And he is available. I don't know if there's any other NHL team with quite so many young and available millionaires at the moment but once I knew he was free, I had to try. There may have been some tall lanky bottle blonde overpaid Finnish porn star before me, but I don't plan on there being any others after me. Stalker…maybe so, but the way he's looking over at me, I really don't think he's going to mind.

"Mocha, with whip, as the lady ordered," he says quietly, that northern European accent curling my toes as he glances at me over the lenses of his glasses, his jade green eyes catching the light. I slide my index finger through the tower of thick cream and bring the sweet confection to my lips, wrapping my tongue suggestively around my finger. He freezes, half standing, half sitting, his attention wrapped around my finger along with my tongue.

"Thanks," I grin at him, moving the cup over to make room for my books, spreading open one of my text books and pulling a hi-lighter from my purse, essentially dismissing him. As someone wiser and more experienced in these things than I once said, treat 'em mean, keep 'em keen.

"Law school?" he asks, stating the obvious in an attempt to keep the lines of communication open as I let my hand stray to the gold necklace dangling in my cleavage. With a small congratulatory grin to myself, I glance up at him, nodding, and then glue my attention to the book in front of me. "What are you planning to specialize in?" I can't help but think 'good, he's not stupid'. I never thought he was, not really, but it's good to know anyway.

"Sports and Entertainment," I answer, dragging the still capped hi-lighter slowly down the page, before seemingly becoming engrossed in a point on the page, lifting the hi-lighter suggestively to my lips. I'm rewarded with a sharp intake of breath from his side of the table as I bite on the cap.

"Sports," he replies quietly, grasping onto the word with a grin, spreading his full kissable lips over his amazingly still perfect teeth. "You like sports?"

Damn! I had been hoping to keep up the pretense a little while longer, but I'm not willing to out and out lie to him. So instead I let my gaze slowly wander up to meet his, wondering what the reaction is going to be when he realizes that I know. Happily, his grin widens into that infamous Ruutu grin, and then it's my turn to gasp when his tongue slides out to whet his full bottom lip.

"I do," I reply quietly, sure that if I speak any louder, he'll hear the quaver in my voice. "Especially hockey."

"Really?" he draws the word out, rolling his tongue around it, making my mouth go dry. "Are you going to the game tonight?"

"With these classes to pay for?" I ask, inclining my head towards my books but not dropping his gaze for a moment.

"But if you could?" he continues, his emerald eyes alight with intrigue.

"I might," I shrug, doing everything and anything in my power to contain my enthusiasm, to at least appear to be cool, calm, collected. I can always pass out later.

"So if someone was to leave tickets for you at will call…," his voice drops off as his gaze searches mine, making me want very much to squirm uncomfortably in my seat, but a voice in the back of my head tells me that the cool thing is working, don't lose it now. "What name would I leave it under?"

"Carmen," I reply, digging my nails into the palm of my hand in my lap, beneath the table, a last gasp measure.

"Carmen," he chews on the name, tasting it, rolling it around in his mouth until I want to crawl over the table on my hands and knees and suck it out of his mouth. "And what about a late dinner, after the game?"

I want to bounce up and down and clap my hands like a little kid at a birthday party. I want to say that I'd be all over that like a horny puppy on a pillow. Instead I shrug, and turn my attention back to the pages in front of me.

"I guess," I reply, clenching my teeth once I've said it to stop from squealing like a stuck pig. I dig my nails even deeper into my hand, and I can tell from the sting that I've drawn blood.

"Well then maybe I'll see you later, Carmen." He adds my name, like a cherry on top of a sundae, almost as if he likes the sound of it, or he knows the sound of my name coming from his lips has me wet in anticipation.

"Maybe," I manage, without looking up. I grind my teeth, counting silently, waiting for him to get a few steps away before I let myself glance up, let myself enjoy the sight of him walking away. Oh how I love to watch that man walk away.


"Did I just see you making moves mon frère?" Georges laughs heartily as I rejoin the guys near the door where they've moved back in from the cold.

"You may have," I reply, proudly, returning his toothy grin.

"Well, well," he laughs, offering me his big paw of a hand. "Welcome back from the dead mon ami. Bien joue, je t'ai sous-estime."

"Never underestimate a Ruutu," I remind him, taking his hand and shaking it.

"I should know that by now," he laughs, smacking me on the back, hard, sending me forward a pace. "Ravissant."

"I thought so too," I agree with him.

"So you get a number?" Army asks, glancing her way thoughtfully.

"I will," I reply confidently. "I'll be seeing her later."

"I didn't think you had it in you," Army continues, his gaze still trained on the tall Asian beauty. "I thought you were too broken to chase girls. Isn't that what you said?"

"Did I?" I ask, shrugging, knowing full well that I did. "Well I guess maybe not as broken as I thought."

"I'll say," Geno chimes in.

"Well let us know if you're not going to tap that," Georges smiles, shaking his head at me and chuckling like this is all very amusing.

"Don't worry, I won't," I reply, shaking my head at him and heading for the car.