Pucked Page 32

“I saw the interview you did. It’s on YouTube.”

“Which one?”

She glowers. “Which one do you think?”

I try not to react. I know the interview she’s talking about. It’s atrocious. In fact, it shot a number of endorsement opportunities—unless I wanted the genital herpes campaigns. The trashy gossip spotlight did nothing good for my career. “I never admit to having sex with three women in one night.” I didn’t contest the assumption, which is as good as confirming it in most people’s eyes.

“Like hell you didn’t.” Violet stomps to the laptop.

It takes her three seconds to pull up the interview and another twenty to find the Hat Trick part. She must have watched it more than once. I can’t decide if this is a good or a bad thing. It means she’s been thinking about me, but probably not in the way I’ve been thinking about her.

This interview went live a few weeks after the incident took place. I’d grown accustomed to omitting details, especially where my sex life was concerned. At first, the way the media misconstrued everything was funny. After a while, I became resigned to the annoyance. Now I wish I’d handled things differently.

“Right here.” She jabs at the screen.

“You should listen again.” I know exactly what I said, since it’s bitten me in the ass so many times.

Violet sneers. It’s sexy-scary. “All righty, then.”

Interviewer: “There’s been a lot of talk regarding your sexual exploits recently. I’m wondering if you’d like to elaborate on the Waters Hat Trick for us.”

I can feel Violet’s angry glare.

Me: “I’m not really a kiss-and-tell kind of guy.”

Interviewer: “Rumor has it some of the women you’ve been with aren’t so tight lipped. I’ve heard the hat trick actually has nothing to do with your skills on the ice, would that be accurate?”

Violet stares at the wall and fidgets with the collar of her shirt. I want to do the same. The interview was horrifically invasive. I was appalled by the questions and that Dick had approved them.

Me: “That’s quite the rumor.”

Interviewer: “Would you like to substantiate it? I’m sure your female fans out there would like to know.”

Me: “Like I said. I don’t kiss and tell.”

Violet hits pause. “Right there.” Despite her triumph, I can see it’s all bravado.

“That’s not an admission of anything.”

“It’s certainly not a denial.” She crosses her arms over her chest. No one really challenges me unless I’m on the ice. It makes me want to follow through on the conference table fantasy, but the interview is ruining my chances of that ever happening.

“It’s an old interview.”

“What does that have to do with anything? You made no attempt to correct them if they were wrong, which is hard to believe.”

“The media likes to twist things around.”

“Do they? You’re the one who showed up at my hotel room in the middle of the night so we could ‘hang out.’ You’re the one with the sleeve of damn condoms at the ready. Judging from all the shit floating around out there on the Internet, I don’t think the media is far off the mark.” She flails, pointing at the screen, then me, and then the screen again.

“I’m trying to explain—”

“Why bother? I don’t get it. I’m just another woman you’ve stuck your monster cock in. I’m not your girlfriend. You don’t need to account for where else you’ve put it.”

Her eyes are shiny, the way my sister’s get when she’s on the verge of tears. Oh shit. What if I make her cry?

“I want a chance to defend myself before you lump me in with all the other assholes out there.”

“You’ve done a pretty good job all on your own.”

The door rattles, followed by a soft knock. “Violet?” It’s a deep male voice. I don’t like it.

Violet’s relief isn’t what I want to see. She tries to sidestep me, but I’m bigger, faster. A decade of figure skating helps. Violet trips over my foot, giving me the perfect excuse to touch her.

It happens in one of those slow motion sequences. As she falls, I wrap my arm around her waist and spin her body toward me, righting her. She ends up pressed against me, her face mashed into my chest. She’s so warm, and small, and soft in all the right places. She smells fantastic—like fabric softener and fresh shampoo. She lets out the tiniest whimper, gripping my shoulders rather than pushing away. Of course, the guy on the other side of the door ruins the moment by knocking again rather vigorously.

“I-I need to let Dean in,” she says softly, her eyes fixed on my chin.

“I want to ask one thing first.” I hold her tightly, battling an inconvenient hard-on.

“I need to . . .” Her fingernails dig in harder, and I feel the slight shift of her hips. That last part may be wishful thinking.

“Have coffee with me. Or tea or beer, whatever you want to drink. We can even go for chocolate milk. I just want to talk.”

She peers up at me, her chest brushing against my ribs. I remember with unparalleled clarity what her nipples feel like in my mouth. I’m getting harder by the second. If she feels it, I’m screwed. Letting her go isn’t an option until she agrees to go out with me. It’s a conundrum.


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