The Good Luck Charm Page 45

Ethan’s moved from second to first line thanks to his outstanding performance this season. Watching him race down the rink, the puck shifting under his blade as he navigates around the opposing team with single-minded focus, is enthralling. It makes me wish I didn’t have to work in the morning and that the sleepover Ethan wants tonight was possible.

Minnesota wins the game three to one. Ethan scores a goal and manages an assist, adding points to his consistently increasing stats. I stop to congratulate a sweaty, happy Ethan on the win before I take his parents home. The sportscasters clamor around him, seeking commentary on his performance. We’re surrounded by people, players, reporters, and screaming fans, but the only person he seems to see is me. It’s heady, watching his confidence soar like this and feeling like I have some small part in it.

“I can’t persuade you to come back to my place tonight?” he says in my ear, his damp, hot fingers trailing along my throat.

I want to say yes, but I already need to catch up on my sleep after last night. I can’t afford to be more tired than I already am. “It’s almost eleven, and I have to work in the morning.”

“I need you beside me, though. I promise I won’t bother you.”

Based on the way he’s looking at me, that’s a total lie. “Tomorrow night I’m all yours.”

“Only mine.” He tilts my head back, lips brushing over mine gently at first. His groan buzzes across my skin and his tongue slips inside, seeking out my own. It’s the high of the win making him like this. My body already regrets that I have to deny us both. But I need to draw some lines or I’m going to put more at risk than just course work.

Cameras flash, and catcalls and shouts have me pushing on his chest, so Ethan finally disengages from my mouth. I’m sure I’m the color of a tomato as he tips my chin up and places a chaste, somewhat-but-not-really-apologetic kiss on my lips. “I love you, baby.” He follows it up by dragging a finger down the slope of my nose.

Microphones are shoved in his face. I step back, and even as he reaches out to keep me with him, I’m swallowed by the crowd. He has no choice but to turn his attention back to the media after that little stunt.

Avoiding the cameras as best as I can, I find Jeannie and Martin and escort them to the parking lot. It’s never been like this before. Ethan was always a local star, but this is a whole new level. This is the success he always wanted, though not necessarily the media frenzy that comes with it. But reaching this caliber of performance garners a lot of attention, and I’m on the fringe of it all, watching his rise, wondering how long I get to be a part of it.

Martin is tired by the time I drop him and Jeannie at home. Fatigue makes him uncoordinated, so getting him upstairs isn’t realistic, even though he’s been managing for the most part lately. He protests at first but finally agrees that the main-floor bedroom is a better place to sleep.

By the time I arrive home, it’s well past midnight, and although those essays need my attention, I’m barely awake enough to brush my teeth, let alone focus on a textbook. Tomorrow, when I’m fresh, I can tackle the assignment.

I fall asleep within seconds of my head hitting the pillow.


I’m jostled around, and a heavy arm comes across my stomach, pulling me in tight against a huge, hard body. I startle awake and it takes me a moment to realize this isn’t a dream, and I recognize the smell and the feel of the body in bed with me. “Ethan?”

“Shh. Go back to sleep. I just want to sleep with you. Beside you. I just want to hold you.” He fits himself around me, his erection pressing against the small of my back.

I’m disoriented and irritated that I’ve been woken up at God knows what hour. “Are you serious with this?” I elbow him in the ribs and try to squirm out of his hold.

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry.” He runs his palm down my forearm. “I didn’t mean to wake you up.”

The length of his erection—his bare erection; I know this because my sleep tank rides up—rubs against my low back, silky and hot. I’m angry that my body responds in his favor, nipples hardening, back arching reflexively. “Then why the hell are you naked?”

He tucks his knees into the back of mine, shifting against me. “I was hot. Just ignore it. It’ll go away.” Even as he says it, his fingers dip under my tank, finding bare skin.

I elbow him in the side again and he grunts, his hold loosening enough that I can roll away. “What part of no sleepover tonight did you miss, Ethan? You can’t just show up in the middle of the night all liquored up and crawl into bed with me. How the hell did you even get here, anyway?”

He blinks and frowns, eyes hazy with lust and dimmed with booze. “I took a cab. Don’t be mad at me. I don’t want you to be mad at me. I missed you. I have to go away again in a few days. I just wanted to sleep beside you, but you feel so good and then my body just reacts.” He bites his lip. How a grown man manages to look so ridiculously contrite and innocent when he’s clearly not is beyond me.

“I need sleep, Ethan. When I tell you I need a night off, you have to respect that.”

“I know. I promise I won’t do it again. Please don’t be mad.” He drags a single finger down my nose. “If I lie on my back, I can tuck you into my side and you can go back to sleep. I won’t bother you.”

“Really?” I arch a brow, glancing at the tent in the sheets.

“I’ll just go to the bathroom and take care of my problem?” It’s a question.

There’s no way I can let him jack off in the bathroom while I lie here in bed thinking about what he’s doing on the other side of the door. I close my eyes on a sigh.

I grab his wrist, eyes darting to his heavy, thick erection. “You don’t have to do that.”

“You need sleep.” He bites his lip, his eyes full of apology even though his lids are heavy with desire.

“Well, I’m awake now.”

“I’ll make you feel good. I’ll tire you right out if you’ll let me. Show you how sorry I am for waking you up.” His mouth is on mine, unrelenting, demanding, and then his hands are roaming over my body, peeling off the tank top and shorts, kissing his way down my stomach. He makes good on his promise, licking me until I come.

“I love you. I need you,” he says as he fits himself between my legs, entering me.

Deep down a part of me worries this isn’t good for me, for either of us, that his need for me and how much I love it is dangerous. But the fears dissipate like smoke as I get lost in the feel of him moving inside me, taking me higher with every stroke.

He’s slow and careful, he’s sweet and gentle. He’s the boy I fell in love with as a girl, grown into a man I don’t think I ever fell out of love with, between then and now.

Morning comes way too fast. Ethan doesn’t so much as twitch when my alarm goes off at 5:43. I hit Snooze twice, but Merk is breathing in my face, so trying to sneak in a few extra minutes of sleep is impossible. I’m beyond tired; parts of my body ache that really shouldn’t. While the first round of sex was gentle, it was like the lead-up to a thunderstorm, a soft breeze that suddenly changed course and became aggressive, sweeping in and dominating. Round two followed minutes after round one and lasted a hell of a lot longer.

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