Pucked Page 83

While the orgasms are stellar as usual, I feel like I’m missing something important.

I notice the pattern and call him on it. “What’s going on with Dick?”

He tenses, staring up at the ceiling. “We’re not seeing eye-to-eye on how to handle some of my endorsements.”

“Which endorsements?”

“The ones for Bachelor of the Year.”

He mentioned this in passing a few weeks ago and hasn’t brought it up since. “What’s the issue?” Silence stretches out so long I prop up on an elbow. “Alex?”

He shifts his gaze from the ceiling to me. “Dick thinks it’s better for me to appear available until it’s over.”


“Unattached.” He swallows.

My stomach bottoms out. “There are pictures of us together everywhere.”

“I know. So does he. It’s stupid.” Alex sighs. “It could help me secure that big endorsement campaign, Violet. I have to start thinking about my career outside of being on the ice.”

I know this. Hockey careers are short. It’s the reason I have my job and also the reason I have to do it well. It doesn’t mean I have to like what he’s telling me, though. “Is this why we’ve been staying in the past few weeks?”

“I’m trying to fly under the radar. I don’t want you caught up in all my crap.”

It’s another evasive answer. I try a different angle. “Does Dick know you’ve asked me to move in with you?”


“Don’t you think you should tell him if you’re serious about being with me?”

Alex skims my cheek with his knuckles. “You’re right. I should. I will. I’ll talk to him this week.”


“Promise, baby.” He holds out his arms. “Come snuggle with me.”

I settle with my cheek on his chest. His arms wind tight around me, his heart beating hard beneath the cage of flesh and bone. Our conversation should make me feel better. Instead I worry about what else he might be keeping from me.

Instead of things settling down when the Hawks make the first round of playoff games, Alex is more stressed. Needier. I stay at his place almost every night leading up to the first playoff game.

“I’m going home tonight,” I say while Alex inhales a heaping plate of pasta.

He finishes chewing before he replies. “Why?”

“You need to get a good night's sleep tonight. I won’t be responsible for messing up your first playoff game because I kept you up with these.” I motion to my rack.

“I sleep best when my head is resting on your delicate pillows of love.”

I roll my eyes. “You can snuggle with them after dinner, but me and the girls are going home at nine.”

“That’s less than two hours from now.” Alex shoves his plate aside, picks me up out of my chair, and slings me over his shoulder. “Dinner’s over.” He takes the stairs at a run.

Two and a half hours later, I’m fully dressed and standing at the front door. I’ve been trying to leave for the past twenty minutes. Alex is having some difficulty letting me go.

I wrap my arms around his neck and kiss the dimple on his left cheek. “I’ll stay tomorrow night.”

“Since we’re into playoffs, I was thinking maybe you’d reconsider moving in.”

I smile. “I thought we were going to talk about it after playoffs were over.”

“No. You said you’d talk about it after playoffs are over, not me. You’ve stayed here the past six nights. You might as well keep staying and make it permanent.”

I can’t understand why he’s pushing now. “So we have Dick’s seal of approval?”

“I don’t need Dick’s seal of anything. Are you considering it?”

“You’re impossible.”

“I prefer the term tenacious.”

“I’ll call you before the game tomorrow.” I wait for him to kiss me for the seventy-fifth time. It takes another ten minutes to get out the door, but I don’t mind.

The following evening, Charlene comes to my place and we all pile into Sidney’s Hummer, excited to be front and center for game one of the playoffs. The stadium is buzzing with exhilaration.

I’m currently staring at the back of Alex’s head while Charlene moans about Darren’s hotness. Charlene and Darren have been out a bunch of times since returning from Toronto. It’s been all over the gossip rags, which is a nice distraction from the less positive attention Alex and I have been receiving. The hockey fanatics are shocked. Darren has never been captured with anyone except his fans. He and Charlene spending time together makes for good publicity. He’s getting a lot more press on and off the ice. Charlene pretends she isn’t fazed at all by the attention; however, it did take her two hours and twelve wardrobe changes to get ready for the game.

“Just look at him.” Charlene sighs as Darren skates across the ice.

“He’s awesome.” It’s what she wants to hear. It’s also true.

“He really is, Violet. He’s got to be the most romantic man I’ve ever met.”

She yammers on and on, but I can’t be mad at her. I’ve definitely done the same thing to her regarding Alex over the past couple of months.

Alex is on his game tonight, as is the rest of the team. No one’s messing around or getting chippy with the opposition. The focus is singular: Get the puck in the net and win the first game of the playoffs. This is a big game; it sets the tone for the series.

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