The Good Luck Charm Page 37

“Get them off!” I scream like an idiot. They’re crawling up my legs, and now it feels like my entire body is covered in them. I kick off my shoes and yank my yoga pants down. “How the fuck did they get in there?” I’m still yelling because they’re literally everywhere and it’s gross.

Ethan is doing the ant dance just like me, pulling his shirt over his head and dropping his shorts around his ankles.

It feels like there might be a few in my bra, and I’m suddenly paranoid that they’ve found their way into my underwear. I stick a hand down the front—there is no back since it’s a thong—and check to make sure I’m in the clear. Ethan—who’s ant-free, apparently—has stopped his search to watch me.

“Do you want me to check inside your bra?” His cheek tics.

I pick my shoe up off the ground and throw it at him. “You jerk! Don’t laugh at me!”

“Trust me—I’m not laughing.”

His eyes roam over me in a slow sweep. I’m dancing around in a forest, wearing only a bra and a thong, and a pair of white ankle socks. Well, the soles are no longer white. “I can’t believe you’re checking me out! Stop drooling and start helping!”

“Is that a thong?” He peeks around behind me. “Ah, fuck, it is.”

He licks his bottom lip and takes a step closer.

I point a shaking finger at him. “Oh no. No way. Don’t even think about it.”

His grin is wicked. “Too late for that.”

Even as miffed as I am, my nipples perk up, especially when I note the way he’s straining against his boxers. The sound of voices not too far off in the distance freezes us both.

“Oh my God.” I rush to shake out my tank, making sure it’s ant-free. Then I quickly do the same with my yoga pants, yanking them up my thighs and over my butt. Ethan checks his own shirt and shorts—although he makes a point of watching me the entire time I dress. I’ve just slipped my feet back into my shoes when a couple of teens approach the fallen log. The girl who’s hanging off the arm of the boy she’s with shrieks when she sees us, apparently startled. She laughs and apologizes, then shrieks again when she notices the swarm of ants.

“Careful, those bite,” Ethan says as they skirt the hazard, rushing off.

Dusk is creeping in and the temperature drops as we make our way back to the truck. I can’t shake the creepy-crawly feeling or the shivers that run up and down my spine as I get in the cab.

“You all right?” Ethan asks, cranking the heat when I run my hands up and down my thighs. Merk sits beside me, tongue hanging out, happy and oblivious.

“I still feel like there are ants on me.”

“Me, too.” He puts the truck in reverse. Pinks and oranges color the clouds in a pastel rainbow as the sun dips below the tree line. I can’t appreciate it the way I’d like since my focus is on the phantom tickle and sting of ants on my skin.

“That didn’t go quite the way I’d planned.” Ethan squeezes my hand. “When we get back to your place, I’ll make sure you’re ant-free—sound good?”

“You just want to get me naked.”

“I’m pretty transparent, huh?”

“Just a little, but I don’t mind.” I wink and settle back in my seat. I know I should focus on course work when I get home, but I want this time with Ethan. I don’t know how long I get to have him in my life again, or if he’s going to end up leaving, like everyone seems to.

chapter sixteen




Dips in the lake become a memory of another summer past, and hot days give way to the frosty mornings of fall. The official hockey season begins and leaves turn yellow, then sunrise orange before vibrant red flutters to the ground.

Tonight we’re getting in as much one-on-one time as we can before he leaves in the morning for a five-day stretch. I have an assignment that needs my attention, but I’m wrapped up in Ethan, and with him gone starting tomorrow, I’ll have more time to focus on school.

I shift away from his side and he makes a grab for me. “Where you going?”

“I want to take a look at your ankle.” He rolled it last week during a game but powered through anyway, as men full of adrenaline tend to do. For a couple of days after, it was stiff and achy.

“It’s fine, baby.”

“Great. I still want to look, though.”

“You don’t trust the team doctors are doing their job?”

“I’m sure they’re doing a fantastic job. I just want to make sure you’re not playing it off as nothing when it’s really something.” I roll his sock off and check for any kind of residual swelling. It looks good, but I make him do range-of-motion tests and watch his face for signs of discomfort.

“See, Nurse Delilah? Nothing to worry about.”

“Someone has to make sure you’re not pushing when you should be resting.” I roll his sock back on.

“I do have another spot you might want to check, though,” Ethan says before I settle back into his side.

I sit back up, alert. “Did you pull something during practice?”

He purses his lips and nods. “Maybe. It might be good for you to look at it.”

“Where does it hurt?”

“It’s more of an ache, really.”

“Okay.” I nod. “A muscle ache? Maybe I can rub it for you.”

“Oh yeah, that’ll definitely help. It might be swollen.”

“Why didn’t you say something before?” I’m irritated that his doctors haven’t been more thorough.

Ethan shrugs, chewing the inside of his lip. “It wasn’t a problem before.”

“Well, let’s have a look. You might need heat or ice therapy.”

“Heat therapy is probably the best.” He reaches down and pulls at the elastic waist of his sweats, where an erection makes itself known against the gray fabric.

“Oh my God!” I shove his shoulder. “You jerk. I thought there was really something wrong.”

“But there’s swelling, see?” He’s laughing now.

“Don’t make fun of me!” I try to push away from him, but he wraps me up in his arms so I can’t get away.

“I’m not. I love that you want to take care of me. It’s too bad you can’t be my personal nurse when I’m at away games. You could give me sponge baths after games.”

“Wouldn’t you love that.”

“So much.” He flips me over, edging his way between my thighs. “But I do think I need some heat therapy.”

I snort a laugh that quickly turns into a groan as he rolls his hips.


Half an hour later, we’re stretched out on the couch again, mostly undressed and covered in a blanket, watching a replay of Ethan’s last game against New York, which they lost.

Ethan rewinds a play for the third time so he can pick apart where he went wrong.

“You don’t have to be perfect, Ethan. It’s okay to make mistakes.”

He kisses my forehead. “I know. I prefer when I learn from them and don’t make them again. I don’t like that my game isn’t as good when we don’t have home ice advantage.”

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