The Good Luck Charm Page 63

I turn to face him, wrapping my arms around his neck. “I had to fight through your throng of fans.”

“You need to start taking advantage of the fact that you’re my girlfriend and throw your special pass around more.” He dips his head, lips meeting mine in a gentle, sweet kiss.

“You did it,” I say against his warm mouth. He tastes faintly of bourbon. “You brought the Cup home.”

He leans back far enough to meet my gaze. His smile is radiant. The only other time I’ve seen him this happy was when he was drafted. “Well, I can’t take all the credit. I have a whole pile of teammates who were in on it, too.”

“But you scored the winning goal.”

“I’m planning on scoring a lot of those later when we’re celebrating alone.”

I wrinkle my nose and poke him in the chest. “Leave it to you to ruin a moment by turning it into a sexual innuendo.”

“I’m not ruining the moment.” He holds me tighter when I try to push away. “Do you know what the best part of winning the Cup is?”

I try not to smile, certain he’s going to throw another dirty quip at me. He’s half in the bag, I think, despite only having been at the bar for maybe half an hour. “What’s that?”

“That you’re here to share it with me.”





Merk’s ears perk up and he gives his customary single-bark greeting, alerting me to Ethan’s arrival.

I sit up in a rush, dropping my book on the wet patio, not caring that I’ve lost my place or that the pages will be wavy with water damage. I wasn’t actually focused on anything I was reading. Ethan is finally home from an all-day meeting with his agent to talk trades. Until forty minutes ago, I was at work. I didn’t call or text for information. I want to be face-to-face with him when I find out what next season is going to look like for him, for us.

He smiles and takes off his sunglasses. “Anxious, baby?”


He straddles the lounge chair I’m half sitting in, slips his hands under my knees, and adjusts my legs to drape over his so we’re facing each other.

I slap his left hand when it slides up too high on my thigh.

“Ethan! Do not play this game with me. Tell me what the trade options are.”

“We have three.”

We. Not he. We. This has been the mantra in my head all day. Whatever happens, wherever he goes, I go, too. If we have to start over, we do it together.

I take a deep breath. “Okay. Give ’em to me.”

“Edmonton offered six million for one year.”

“Canada?” I like maple syrup, so I guess that could work for a year, but it means I’ll have to either postpone my master’s or look into programs out there, which is a little unfortunate considering I just received my acceptance letter to Minnesota last week. I have no idea if my nursing degree is accepted in Canada. It’s something we’ll figure out if that’s where we end up. Or I wait one more year. Either way, doable.

He gives me a cheeky grin. “It’s a nice place. The people are friendly up there.”

“Isn’t it a lot colder than here?” Minnesota winters are cold, but I’m pretty sure they don’t need freezers up there from November to April.

“Cold means lots of cuddling, and that’s only option one.”

“Okay, I like cuddling. What’s option two?”

“Nashville offered four million a year for three years.”

I try to temper my sigh of relief. That should take Edmonton out of the running. Nashville might be far away from Minnesota, but at least my eyelashes won’t get frostbite.

“What’s the third offer?”

“Three million a year.”

“Where and for how long?”

“Five years, and right here.” He tilts his head to the side, waiting for my reaction.

I want to scream my excitement. I want to hug him and celebrate, but there are things he has to consider, and I don’t want to push the decision one way or another.

I play it cool, but I’m sure the tremor in my voice is telling. “What does your agent say?”

“He says it’s up to me to make a decision.”

“Based on?” I prompt.

“What’s best for me.”

“And what do you think is best for you?” I run my fingers up and down the length of his.


I glance up, expecting a smile, but he’s completely serious. “You can’t ask me to make the decision for you, Ethan. I can’t do that.”

He flips his hands over, lacing our fingers together. “I wouldn’t ask you to do that.”

“And you can’t make a decision based on me. We’ve already been through that. It’s not realistic.”

“I know that.”

“So you need to make the choice that’s going to benefit—”

He cuts me off with a kiss.

As soon as he pulls back, I attempt to finish the sentence: “—your career the—”

His tongue is in my mouth again. I don’t fight, and this kiss lasts a lot longer—long enough that he untwines our hands, and his fingers start migrating up the outside of my thighs, and I end up straddling his lap.

“Do you know what benefits my career the most?” Ethan kisses a path down my throat, fingertips skimming along the edge of my bikini top.

“Don’t say me.”

“Fine. I want to stay here because it’s home. You have a life here and people you love and a career path all laid out. I won’t disrupt that when you’ve worked so hard for it, and I refuse to leave you again. So we stay here because that’s what’s best for us. We both know my career is temporary and you’re not. You’re forever and I’m not going to put that at risk ever again.”

“But what if you went to Edmonton and next year they sign you for five years at five million a year?” I’m playing devil’s advocate, not because I want him to change his mind, but because I want him to be sure this decision is the right one and that he’s not making it for the wrong reasons. Namely, me.

Ethan runs his fingertip from the bridge of my nose to the tip.

“Hypotheticals don’t matter. I want you, Delilah Jane. I want what we have right here. I won’t give that up, or my team, or my family. I’m willing to sacrifice a few million dollars over the next few years in order to secure that.”

“So you want to stay in Minnesota, even though they’re offering you the least money?”

“Per year. Contract-wise, it’s the best deal. Besides, I’m not worried about the money. Three million dollars a year is more than enough to survive off of for the rest of our lives if we’re not stupid about it.”

“So you don’t want to be greedy?”

“About money? No. About you, definitely. I spent eight years without you, and I had no idea what I was missing until I finally got you back.”

“I don’t want you to make the wrong choice.”

“I’m not. Staying here is the right decision. I do have two important requests, though.”

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