Pucked Page 76

I hold up my hand in warning. “Don’t start.”

Of course my mother doesn’t heed it. She voices her opinion as usual, whether or not it’s solicited.

“What? I’m your mother. I have a feeling about this one. Her father’s a scout, Alex! She knows exactly what you make a year. She’s used to a certain lifestyle, I’m sure, and you’re perfectly equipped to provide it.” She slaps an old magazine on the counter with the pictures of my first kiss with Violet. I don’t want my baby corrupted by some puck slut.”

Sunny must have given her the magazine, because it’s not something my mother would typically buy. I cross the room, slapping my hands over the image.

“Let’s get a few things straight. I’m twenty-five. Any corrupting took place years ago. Everyone on the fucking planet can find out what I make in a year. It’s not a damn secret.”

She opens her mouth to interrupt, but I jab my finger at her.

“Oh no you don’t. I’m not finished. Violet isn’t a puck slut, and she’s not after my money.”

“How can you be sure?”

“Because I am. End of discussion. You want to know why I don’t bring girlfriends home? It’s because you treat them like crap.” Her eyes grow wide. I’ve never been this upfront with her before. “I won’t stand for it. Not with Violet. I care about her, and she’s important to me. This’ll be the last time I stay here if you can’t be nice.”

Her eyes drop, hiding her hurt. When she lifts them, anger flares. “This is the first we’ve heard of this girl from you. You can’t blame me for being worried, especially with all the press you’re getting lately.”

“So you grill her at brunch and make her uncomfortable? How’s that helpful? I’d pack up and take Violet to a hotel, but she doesn’t want to offend you. As for me, I don’t really give a good goddamn how you feel about it.”

“Alex.” She reaches across the counter for my hand, but I step back.

“Unless you’re going to apologize, keep it to yourself.”

I don’t let her say another word. Instead, I leave the room and head back upstairs. I’m going to get it from my father later for sure, but she needed to be confronted. My mother’s behavior is completely out of line.

Violet is surfing the Net, searching for more locker room articles. So far it remains conjecture and nothing else. It’s not as if it stops the media from reporting on the nothing they uncover, unfortunately.

She’s wearing super tight jeans and the red Blackhawks shirt from the other night. The logo is stretched across her boobs. I love them. The shirt, her boobs, whatever is under the shirt cupping her boobs—I wish I was her bra.

“You look—”

She startles at my voice. “Should I change? I didn’t know what to wear.” Violet adjusts her shirt.

“That’s perfect.” I motion to her chest. “I want you to wear that. Definitely.”

I’d like to have sex with her while she wears that shirt. I’ll get her one in white instead. Then I’ll stick her in the shower so it’s see through and fuck her against the wall. My phone beeps in my pocket, alerting me it’s time to leave. Not have sex.

I pocket my phone and wallet. “We should get going.” Otherwise I’m going to try and get her naked. She might resist at first thanks to the previous interruption, but I’m convincing when I want to be.

“Is there a back door?” She fidgets with the hem of her shirt.

“There is. The car’s parked out front, though.”

“Okay. Yeah. Uh . . .” Violet rummages through her purse for something. It’s huge, almost the size of a duffle bag. I’m not sure why girls need such big purses. It seems like it makes it difficult to find things. After a couple of minutes she still hasn’t found what she’s searching for. Her shoulders slump and she sighs.

“What’s up?” I tuck my finger under her chin and coax her to look at me.

“Oh, I don’t know. Your mother just caught us with your hand in my underwear. I’m not interested in running into her at the moment.”

“I just talked to her about that—”

Violet looks like she’s about to have a heart attack. “You what?”

“About her privacy issues.” The rest of the conversation I’ll keep to myself. Violet’s already stressed enough; she doesn’t need to know I’ve been fighting with my mother over her.

“Oh.” Her shoulders relax a little. “I still don’t want to see her right now, so can we go out the back? I’m already nervous about meeting your friends. Avoiding more awkwardness would be great.”

“Sure, baby. Whatever you want.” I steal a kiss.

Violet softens, allowing me to deepen it for a few seconds before she pulls away.

“My friends are just as laid-back as my dad. You’ll get along with them no problem.”

“You think so?”

“Trust me. You’re going to love them.”

We take the back stairs and walk around the side of the house to avoid another run-in with my mother.

“So . . .” I’m about to introduce her to my closest friends. These are the guys I grew up with—the ones who knew me before I became a seven-figure earner. They have tons of dirt on me . . . and not the kind that makes me look good.

“I’ll get over the thing with your mom,” she says. “As long as she never brings it up. Ever.”

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