Pucked Page 72

I stand awkwardly in the middle of the kitchen, unsure if I should sit or stand. “He’s on the road a lot.”

She picks up the biggest knife I’ve ever seen and slices the top off a pineapple. “Mmm. Relationships have always been a challenge for him because of it.”

I hope the next twenty-four hours aren’t going to be full of jabs at me. I don’t think I can handle it without saying something I’ll regret.

Daisy immediately gives me a task; thankfully, it’s not a difficult one because I can’t cook for shit. While I cut the tops off strawberries, Daisy makes mimosas. Booze is exactly what I need to beat back the anxiety and the gross lingering taste of hairspray.

She hands me a glass as Alex and his dad saunter into the kitchen. Robbie is wearing a pair of plaid pajama pants and a Grateful Dead T-shirt.

“Robbie! You’re supposed to get dressed! We have company.” Daisy puts her hands on her hips. “Are you doing research again?”

I look from Alex, who’s smiling, to his father—also smiling, and back to his mother, who is not smiling. I take a closer look at Robbie. The whites of his eyes are shockingly red. If I didn’t know better, I’d say he’s high as a flipping kite.

“I’m testing a new batch of medical this week. It’s supposed to increase appetite by fifty percent.”

I guess my hypothesis is accurate. He slides his hand under his shirt, rubbing his stomach lazily. He’s got some abs under there. I look away. I don’t want to ogle Alex’s father.

“How are you, Violet?” He grabs a handful of hulled strawberries and takes a seat.

“I’m great. You?”

“Mellow would be the scientific term.”

I’ve only “met the parents” a couple of times in my dating history. None of those experiences were as bizarre as this one is turning out to be.

As Alex and his dad chat about medical grade Mary Jane, I continue to chop fruit. Most of it ends up in Robbie’s mouth rather than on the platter. I’d say if the point is to increase appetite, it’s working well.

Until now I’ve been so focused on being polite I’ve failed to take in the decor of the house. It looks like a bohemian gypsy got into a fight with a southern belle, and they exploded all over the place. Everything is either überfrilly or a throwback to the seventies. It’s hard to process it all. I wonder how a laid-back man like Robbie can handle so much visual over-stimulation. Maybe he likes tripping out to it.

As I sip my mimosa and ponder this, Alex’s sister comes into the room. I nearly choke as Buck comes in behind her. Shit is about to go down, rumble style.

Alex has his back to them. I do the most logical thing in the world. I grab his hand, pulling him toward me. My intention is to molest him. However, this plan has holes—the most important being the presence of his parents. So I stand there, staring up at him as I stroke his thumb with my fingers. Alex gives me a funny look.

“Alex! You’re here!” Sunny’s voice distracts him from my distraction.

He turns around. I assume he’s not very happy based on the way he squeezes my hand since I can no longer see his face.

“What the hell?” He scares his mother half to death—and me, too with his thunderous shouting.

“Alex! Use your inside voice,” Daisy says.

“Alex,” I say gently as his grip on my hand tightens. If he keeps going he’s going to break it. I need my hand, not just for my job but for other important tasks, such as jilling off.

Unfortunately his focus is not on the hand he’s crushing, It’s on Buck standing beside his sister and smiling his ass off. At least he’s not touching her.

“Hey, man. How’s it goin’?” Buck asks like it’s no big deal he’s here.

I pull on Alex’s sleeve with my free hand.

“What are you doing here?” he asks calmly.

I’m losing the feeling in my fingers. I lean in and bite Alex’s arm.


It works. He lets go of my hand.

His head swings around. Oh man, is he ever pissed. As badass as he is on the ice, and as dominating and frisky as he can be in bed, he doesn’t intimidate me. Plus, his family is here, and so is Buck, so I’ll be fine.

He rubs his arm. “Why’d you bite me?”

“You were crushing my hand and words weren’t working.”

He inspects my hand with his lips. “Shit, baby, I’m sorry.

“Alex, watch your language.”

“Sorry, Mom.” Alex then glares at his sister and motions to Buck. “Care to explain this?”

Sunny looks Buck up and down. “Explain what?”

“Why are you being so rude?” Daisy asks. No one pays any attention to her.

Sunny flips her hair over her shoulder. She’s wearing a rainbow colored tie-dyed shirt and a flowy, ankle-length skirt. She’s not Buck’s type at all. He goes for the skanky, nearly naked sure-things. Yet here he is with Sunny, who seems like neither.

Alex abandons questioning his sister—she does seem genuinely confused—and moves onto Buck. “Who invited you?”

“I invited him,” Sunny replies.

“Why?” Alex’s fists clench at his sides.

“Um, because I like him?” Her body language tells me things her words don’t. She wraps a tendril of hair around her finger, and her eyes drop to her feet. Buck has snared her with his yeti magic.

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