Only one more day until the release of Before the Whistle!! Here’s a sneak peek at Chapter 1.
Before the Whistle | Chapter 1
ordyn dove into the pool. The shock of the cool water made her breath catch, and she surfaced with a gasp. It was chillier than she’d expected. She shouldn’t complain, really. Outside the snow was flying, and the temperature had dipped below freezing. At least her condominium had an indoor pool to use. It was quiet, clean, and available all year round, even if it was a little colder than she liked. She settled into a front crawl, and rolled and pushed herself off the wall to do another lap when she reached the deep end.
It was so tranquil. Beyond the glass walls, which buffered the sound, a couple of young men played squash and a handful of people used the weight room. She had the pool all to herself. At nine o’clock at night, it was a bit late to be swimming, but she needed to test out the swimsuit fabric before tomorrow.
November first had crept up on her. She had an order of twenty-five swimsuits due by the twentieth. The varsity synchronized swim team had approved her design three weeks ago, and she’d been meaning to test out the fabric she’d chosen. It was a stunning shimmering aquamarine and a dream to work with, but if it didn’t hold up in the water, she’d be choosing something else. She used to just jump in the shower with it on, but she’d learned the hard way that chlorine and salt water sometimes did odd things to fabric. Just ask the men’s diving team. Their bathing suits had already been pretty tight, and shrinkage was a problem. So now she whipped up a prototype and tested it out before she started sewing. It was an extra step and a little obsessive, but that’s what set her apart as a swimwear designer. She had become known for her unique fabrics, edgy design, and quality workmanship. And it brought in the big bucks, she thought with a grin.
Late that afternoon, she’d quickly made a one-piece suit. Now came the real test. So far it felt pretty good. It was holding its shape. Nothing was worse than a loose bathing suit especially when you were underwater upside down. Except maybe a tight one as you dove, she thought with a wince.
She tried a butterfly stroke and then rolled onto her back and did a couple of laps with a backstroke. It really was a dream fabric – not too clingy, not too heavy. It didn’t feel like it took on water at all. She slowed and gazed up at the ceiling. Not many stars through the skylights tonight. Snow curled on the edges of the windows. She imagined the wind was howling, but you’d never know. The only noise inside was the sound of water lapping gently as it hit the edge of the pool. She flipped and went through a sidestroke and a breaststroke and finished another two laps with the front crawl.
Perfect. She’d been in the pool for over half an hour. If the fabric had a flaw, it would have shown up. She dove under the water one last time and then swam toward the shallow end as someone came into the pool area. She wrung water from her shoulder-length hair as she climbed the steps out of the pool. She’d thought about wearing a bathing cap to keep the dark brown from turning chlorine green, but she loved the feel of the water without one.
The young men had finished their game and stood laughing on the other side of the glass. One of them glanced at her and then nudged his friend. They turned and watched her.
Slightly flattering, she thought, biting her lip. But she felt exposed. Not that she could blame them. The fabric really was eye-catching, and despite her five-foot-two frame, she was curvy and fit. All those workout sessions were good for something. She’d left her towel on a lounger near the deep end and had to walk the length of the pool. Oh well, no choice but to own it, she thought. She tossed her hair, pulled back her shoulders, and did her best model walk on the slippery pool deck, trying to ignore their avid interest.
The man who’d walked in as she’d come out of the pool – and wasn’t he gorgeous? – glanced over at the teenagers and then stepped in front of her, blocking their view. “Hi. You’re Jordyn, right? Danni’s friend?”
Jordyn stumbled to a stop. The top of her head came level with the middle of his bare chest. There were only a few advantages to being short. Being eye level with that view – sculpted muscle, smooth skin, broad shoulders – was definitely one of them. She swept her gaze up to his face. He looked familiar, but she couldn’t place him.
“Ben Matthews. I work with the Quakes.” He took the towel from around his neck and handed it to her.
She took it without thinking. “Of course.” He was the head athletic therapist for the Clarington Quakes, the professional hockey team in town. She’d met him a couple of times at team events when she’d accompanied her friend, Dr. Danni Angelo, who was one of the team physicians. She hadn’t realized that impressive physique was under the loose team jacket he usually wore. “Hi, Ben. Yes, I’m Jordyn Kendra. Nice to see you.” She held up the towel. “Ah, thanks, but I don’t really need to take yours. I left one on the chair over there.” She pointed to the lounger at the end of the pool.
He nodded. “That’s okay. I can get another. You go ahead – it’s a bit chilly in here.”
Jordyn tilted her head. Really? The water was cool, but the air felt like a balmy summer day. She shrugged and wrapped the towel around herself. “I didn’t know you lived in this condo.”
He smiled. “Just moved in last month. I had an apartment close to the rink, but when something opened up with a view of the river, I jumped at it.”
“You can’t beat it. You’ll love it here. I’m sure you’re busy with the team, but it really is convenient having the pool, squash courts, and weight room in the building.”
“I’m certainly enjoying the view.” His eyes lit with amusement.
Jordyn nodded. “Well, I should get going. It was good to see you. Maybe we’ll see more of each other.”
He chuckled. “Maybe.”
That was funny? She didn’t get it. “Thanks for the towel.”
She walked toward the change room and glanced back as Ben dove into the water. Hmm. Perfect form and hardly a splash. For a huge guy, he was pretty graceful. It looked like he’d done that before. She fleetingly wondered if he ever had trouble with shrinking bathing trunks.
She headed inside and fiddled with the combination of the lock to her locker. She’d rather shower upstairs in her condo, but she’d brought a cover to wear in the elevator. She unwrapped the towel, threw it on the bench, and glanced at her reflection in the mirror across the room. Her heart pounded in shock.
Her bathing suit was completely see-through. Her eyes widened. It left absolutely nothing to the imagination. She groaned and covered her cheeks with her hands. No wonder the teenagers had been so interested. She shook her head and laughed in embarrassment.
And then it dawned on her – when Ben had stepped in front of her, he’d shielded her from their view. She should go back in there and thank him. No wonder he’d handed off his towel. Oh my god, that wasn’t embarrassing. She looked at her taut nipples and the dark triangle low on her belly clearly visible through the fabric. Her words rang in her head: “Maybe we’ll see more of each other.” A blush rose on her cheeks. That wasn’t possible. He’d already seen all of her.
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