The Good Luck Charm Page 39

“You can study on the plane. And in the hotel room when I’m at practice. Come on, Lilah, please?” He rests his chin between my breasts and blinks his wide, sad eyes. His hair is a mess, lips dark and full from so much kissing.

I cover his face with my spread fingers so I can’t see his puppy dog eyes. “Don’t look at me like that.”

“I want you with me. It’s one weekend. You’ve never been to an away game. We hardly had any time together over the holidays. Finals will be coming up before long and we’re playing well. My dad is way better. Mom will be okay on her own with him for a couple of days.”

He’s right. In the past few months, Martin’s speech has improved significantly, the words coming faster and smoother, although never as smooth as they were. And he’s walking with the assistance of a cane, rather than a walker.

I don’t want to say no to Ethan. I want to be there with him, because I love being able to support him, and I miss him when he’s gone. But on the other hand, I can’t just drop everything. I have a job and I’m legitimately concerned about this course. The midterm is worth 30 percent of the final grade. If I don’t do well on this, it could hurt my chances at making it into the master’s program, and then it would be another year before I could apply again. Ethan’s already succeeded at his dream—he’s living it. This is mine and it’s what I’m good at. I don’t want to lose that.

When my silence drags on, no commitment either way, his eyes go soft and pleading. “This game is important. Please.” He plays with my bracelet, fingering the hockey stick charm, symbolic of so much more than just his love of the game. He’s almost obsessive about me wearing it.

“If I come, you have to respect that I’ll need time to study. This course is important to me like hockey is important to you.”

“I know that. I want you to do well. I promise I’ll give you whatever time you need—just come with me.”

The look on his face and his pleading break me down and make me give in to him, even though I know I shouldn’t. “Okay. But only for the weekend. I can’t take time off work.”

The smile that lights up his face is so stunningly beautiful, I’m convinced this is the best idea in the world.


Two nights later I’m standing in the middle of the crowded hotel bar among Ethan and his teammates, celebrating their win against Chicago.

“Shots!” his teammate Josh yells and passes one over his shoulder to Ethan. “You, too, princess.” He hands me one as well.

Ethan throws a glare his way and I laugh. “What is this?” I sniff the amber liquid.

“Just drink it.” Josh clinks his shot glass against mine and then Ethan’s before tipping his head back and draining it in a single gulp. He follows it up with wide eyes and a violent shake of his head. “I need another one of those!”

Josh turns back to the bar and Ethan’s slightly glassy gaze finds mine, a small smirk pulling up the corner of his mouth. “You want me to do it for you?”

“I don’t know if that’s such a good idea if you’re planning on scoring goals off the ice tonight.”

His grin widens. He scored twice tonight—on the ice. It’s his best away-game performance so far, and against his former teammates, at that, so he’s riding a serious high, and people keep feeding him shots. He tips back his glass and drains the liquid, then wraps an arm around my waist. He’s wearing a suit and a tie with his team logo on it. He looks incredibly sexy and he’s cocky as hell tonight. He dips his head, nose skimming along the edge of my jaw, lips following until they’re at my ear. “Oh, I plan to score, all right.”

He flattens his palm against my low back, bringing me flush against him so I can feel what his suit jacket is hiding. “I can’t wait to get you back to the room.”

“You think you’ll be able to perform by then?”

His hand eases lower, giving my bottom a squeeze. “You questioning my stamina, baby? I think we both know I’m more than capable of taking care of you.”

“Stop manhandling your girl, Kase.” Josh elbows him in the side and hands him another shot. “Drink up, princess.” He passes me another, too, and gives me a conspiratorial wink with a head nod to Ethan. “Pisses him off when I call you that, doesn’t it?”

“Seems that way.” I down one shot and then the other, coughing on the back end. Those were definitely not broken-down golf carts. “What the hell was that?”

“Liquid cocaine.”

“What?” My panic over the nonsense idea that they legitimately serve cocaine in liquid form at a bar is short-lived.

“Jägermeister, Goldschläger, and peppermint schnapps—heavy on the Jäger, though.” Josh laughs and slaps Ethan on the back. “You’re gonna be a mess tomorrow morning, my man.”

He pulls me into his side. “I plan to work it off later.”

“Oh my God.” I duck out from under his arm, my cheeks flushing. “I need to use the bathroom. Please give him some water before you feed him more shots,” I say to Josh.

“Wait.” Ethan grabs my hand and yanks me back into him. Taking my face between his palms, he tips my head back and covers my mouth with his. He tastes like cinnamon as his tongue sweeps my mouth. He’s on such a high from the win. I can only imagine how voracious he’s going to be when we get back to the room. I can hardly wait. He breaks the kiss, eyes hot. “Don’t be gone long.”

“I’ll just be a minute.” I’m actually several minutes because there’s a line for the bathroom.

Women in tight dresses and team gear primp in front of the mirror, talking players and who they want to hook up with. Someone mentions Ethan’s name and another woman says something about him having his girlfriend with him while I’m hidden in the stall. They make a joke I miss because of a flushing toilet, but their bitchy laughter fades as they leave.

I check out my own appearance. I’m in a pair of jeans and a Minnesota T-shirt. I’m not particularly sexy. I didn’t have Carmen to help me with my hair or makeup. And I’m definitely a little drunk. Or maybe more than a little. Those shots are hitting me and so is the insecurity, all of a sudden. Ethan has eight more days on the road after this. Without me.

I leave the bathroom and make my way through the crowd, back to the bar and Ethan. I finally spot him, talking to some dark-haired exotic-looking woman. She’s wearing a slinky black dress and sky-high heels that accentuate her ample curves and long, toned legs. She looks like a goddamn swimsuit model.

I mutter excuse me and push through the crowd, slipping my arm around his waist and tucking myself into his side. “Hey, baby, sorry I took so long.”

Tall and Exotic glances at me, a small smirk curving her very-full lips. One of her perfectly plucked and shaped eyebrows lifts and her nose crinkles. “Is this a fan of yours, Ethan?”

I mirror the raised brow and the condescending smirk. “His biggest.” I look up at Ethan, whose expression is slightly panicked. Oh, this should be interesting. “Aren’t you going to introduce us, Ethan?” I ask sweetly.

He wraps an arm around my shoulder and squeezes—maybe a warning, maybe a reassurance; I have no idea—but I don’t like the way she’s looking at him or how awkward this has become. “Lilah, this is Selene. She’s, uh, a friend.” His throat bobs with a nervous swallow. “Selene, this is my girlfriend, Lilah.”

Source: www_Novel22_Net

Prev Next