Pucked Page 29

I’m an absolute mess of nerves as we make our way out of the arena to the car. It takes forever to get to the bar, thanks to celebrating Hawks fans. By the time we arrive, my bladder is on the verge of exploding. I hightail it to the bathroom and get stuck in the unfortunate line of women who need to use the facilities as well.

Three underdressed puck bunnies primp in front of the mirrors, chatting away while I unleash Niagara Falls. How do I know they’re puck bunnies? They’re talking about the Hawks and who they’d do. One of them mentions Alex. I tense, halting the pee stream.

I hear the term hat trick again. Maybe they determine who they want to score based on the team members’ stats. The hand dryer cuts off the puck bunny conversation. As soon as I’m done, I button my pants and I burst out of the stall so I can eavesdrop again.

“Well, I’d rather be first in line than third. Who wouldn’t want to be first?” the fake blonde asks. There’s a skunk stripe of brown at her roots. She fluffs it out and pouts at her reflection.

The brunette beside her shimmies her head from side to side. “Whatever. First, second, third—if I got to handle Alex Waters’ stick, I wouldn’t care where I was in line.” Her eyes slide my way and stay fixed on my face.

“Oh my God! I recognize you. Aren’t you the one who was, like, making out with Alex Waters, like, three weeks ago?” she screeches.

I never expected anyone to recognize me from those pictures. I assumed the focus was on my tongue in his mouth. Horrified by what I’ve overheard, I go with denial. “I must be that girl’s doppelganger ’cause you’re not the first person to ask.” I lower my voice. “I read somewhere she said he was a shitty kisser.”

If I’m going to lie, I might as well make it a good one.

Her eyes widen. “Really?”

“And he’s got a small—” I point to my crotch.

“No!” Her jaw drops, her expression one of dismay.

“That’s the rumor.”

I wipe my hand on my pants in lieu of waiting for the hand dryer and leave the bunnies to their gossiping. What I’ve done is shamefully childish and vindictive, but I’m okay with it.

On my way to the bar I run into one of Alex’s teammates. I don’t remember him even if he remembers me.

“Hey, aren’t you Butterson’s sister?”

“Stepsister, but yeah.” I scan the crowd, searching for Sidney or Buck. They should be easy to spot, both being well over six feet.

“I’m Kirk. I play defense for the Hawks. You’re named after a flower or something, right?” The way he looks at me is discomfiting.

“It’s Violet.”

“Right. You gonna come hang with us?”

“I need to make a quick call first.” I hold up my phone as an excuse to get away from this guy. He’s got to be a good ten years older than me, and he’s smarmy.

“I’ll save you a seat. Maybe we can get to know each other better.”

“Uh, maybe.” I roll my eyes as he saunters away. I can’t believe women fall for such crap, but then again, look at what happened with Alex. After overhearing the bathroom gossip, all I want is to go home.

I wait until Kirk the Jerk disappears into the crowd before I put my phone away and resume my search for Buck. A bouncer puts a hand up to stop me, controlling the flow of traffic into the section the Hawks occupy.

“She’s with me.” Alex’s palm comes to rest on the small of my back as we move forward. His voice is low, burning like DEET over my skin. “I want to talk to you.”

All my witty retorts stick in my throat. There’s no escape; he’s right behind me, allowing no space.

In full bullshit-gentleman style, he leads me to the table, pulls out a chair, and takes the seat to my right.

My new buddy Kirk is on the opposite side of the table, his arm hanging casually across an open seat. “Hey, stepsister. I saved you a chair.”

Alex shoots him a look. “She’s good where she is.”

A leer distorts Kirk’s smile. I can see a space where a tooth should be. “Does Butterson know you’re—” A waitress with excessive cleavage stops to take his order, distracting him.

Alex seems relieved. I say nothing. Buck’s at the other end of the table, too busy chatting up a puck bunny to notice my arrival. The way these women throw themselves at these guys is embarrassing. What’s worse is knowing I, too, have fallen prey to the charms of a hockey player more than once.

Alex orders me a drink from the boobalicious waitress. I let him because I’ll need the booze if I have to sit next to him. He tries to engage me in conversation, but it’s loud and I’m too distracted for small talk.

Eventually I can’t contain myself any longer. I want him to refute what I heard in the women’s restroom. “So what’s with all the talk about you being magical?”

His damn grin appears. “I’m sorry, what?”

“Some girls in the bathroom were making reference to a hat trick.”

Alex blanches. The guy beside him, who’s been relatively quiet up until now, chokes on his beer, and Kirk laughs. Alex swallows thickly, eyes on the table. A couple of the guys closest to us appear amused. The quiet one beside him shakes his head.

“It didn’t sound like they were talking hockey scores. So I’m curious, what does that mean, exactly?”

He doesn’t respond right away, giving Kirk the opportunity to cut in. “It’s when Waters fucks three different bunnies in one night.”

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