Same Time Next Year – A Novella Read Online Tessa Bailey

Categories Genre: Alpha Male, Contemporary, Funny, Sports Tags Authors:

Total pages in book: 42
Estimated words: 39338 (not accurate)
Estimated Reading Time in minutes: 197(@200wpm)___ 157(@250wpm)___ 131(@300wpm)

From New York Times bestselling author Tessa Bailey comes a steamy novella full of hope and humor tracking a couple’s fake marriage for a year after the wild New Year’s Eve when they first say “I do.” Adored by all, Britta is an ambitious waitress working at Sluggers. The popular bar holds a special place in her heart and is a regular hangout for the Bridgeport Bandits, the local hockey club. With a half brother on the team, Britta has a strict no-dating policy for hockey boys. But she does have a soft spot for one particular player. A beast on the ice, Sumner Mayfield is on the brink of breaking into the NHL. But time’s running out. With his work visa about to expire, Sumner’s only chance to stay in Bridgeport is to marry an American—and get a green card. Otherwise, it’s back to Canada for the defenseman. On New Year’s Eve, the team begs Britta to marry Sumner that very night. Sum is embarrassed yet hopeful—he’s desperately in love. But Britta balks at first. Until something about Sumner’s soulful brown eyes and ripped physique makes her reconsider…

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Chapter One


New Year’s Eve 2023

“That table isn’t strong enough to hold three people!” I shout over the sound of fireworks bursting outside, directly above the harbor. A dancing trio of ladies in sequined dresses is putting way too much trust in an ancient piece of furniture, the stems of their high heels dangerously close to the edge. And somehow, their safety is the least of my concerns.

Sluggers is slammed. I can’t sling beers and shots fast enough.

Despite the handwritten sign I posted on the door, people continue to bring lit sparklers inside the bar. It will be a miracle if we don’t get shut down by the fire marshal. The glittery gold garland I hung in a zigzag pattern across the bar in the name of being festive is now being used for an impromptu game of tug-of-war. This year is definitely going out with a bang.

An hour ago, the volume level went from merely loud to earsplitting when the hockey boys arrived, fresh from a win. They seated themselves at one of the dented, wobbling picnic tables at the back of the establishment, but despite their location, they’ve managed to take over the entire bar, as usual. Out of the corner of my eye, I witness an arm wrestling contest, a violent game of beer pong, and the goalie, Riggs, making out with a girl who I’m dead certain arrived with another guy.

Ladies and gentlemen, our local, beloved hockey team: the Bridgeport Bandits.

They might be amateur players, but they’re professional partiers.

I wince over the sound of the belching competition that is literally drowning out the music and pour a round of shots for a group of college students wearing sparkly gold glasses shaped like 2024. I ring them up. Clean up a spilled pint of Guinness. Uncap three Coors Lights and slide them down the bar, which is a risk, because the warped wood has seen better days. Then I jog for the kitchen, where the cook has been slapping the bell for a full five minutes. I’m relieved when I see the food order is up for the Bandits, however, because at least it will distract them from their mayhem.


I load down my arms with plates and pray for no mishaps, walking through Sluggers like it’s a field of land mines, dodging dancing girls and rowdy guys. There is no easy journey from point A to point B on a busy night—let alone a wild New Year’s Eve—and no one can hear me yell excuse me over the sound of Greta Van Fleet pumping through the stereo.

At least, until Sumner Mayfield wades through the cyclone of bodies and quietly pushes the crowd out of my way, grunting to signal me forward. I would compare him to a solemn priest walking through a frenzied battle, except that Sumner is a scary-ass giant with shoulders that are wider than I am tall. He’s currently sporting bandages over the bridge of his nose and over his right brow, hints of blood seeping through. I’ve watched him play hockey on our local public access channel—there is nothing priestly about Sumner.

On the ice at least.

Out here in the real world, he is the calmly intense guy on the team. Even now, when customers turn to protest his intervention, Sumner’s soulful brown eyes hold a distinctly Canadian apology, and obviously, the patrons drop their protests as soon as they get a load of his otherworldly physique.

“Thanks, Sumner,” I say, winking at him.

Just so I can watch that blush ride up the thick cords of his neck.

They match the ones on his forearms. Not that I’ve been studying him.

He’s simply impossible to ignore, that’s all.

“Welcome,” he rumbles, nodding at the plates on my arms. “Take some of those?”

“If you take one, the rest of them will fall like dominoes.” His chin dips, as though he’s disappointed that he can’t do anything more to help me. “You’ve fulfilled your duty, big guy. Now sit down and relax.”

As I’m passing the defenseman, I lift onto my toes and plant a kiss on his whiskered cheek, sending the Bandits into an absolute frenzy of table banging and paper-horn blowing. I shake my head at them in reproof, but I’m smiling. Because as obnoxious as these guys can be, I adore them—and I adore one of them more than all the others.

Because he’s my half brother, Bryce.

“Hey, sis,” shouts Bryce over the noise, while I’m setting down his triple cheeseburger in front of him. “Busy night.”

“The busiest,” I call back, even though we’re practically face to face. “The waitress called in sick, but I’m pretty sure I saw her on television at the ball drop in Times Square. My barback is arguing with his boyfriend in the parking lot. The cook plots a new way to kill me every time I let food sit in the window for longer than ten seconds. We’re out of house whiskey. I’m officially in the weeds, but it should die down once midnight rolls around.”