Page 57

“What if I win?” she asks while rubbing her index finger seductively along the edge of her cards fanned out on the wooden table.

“You get to take me back to my room and tie me up, have your way with me,” I tell her simply.

And I hope she fucking wins.

Please, please, please let her have the winning hand, because the thought of Vale having unrestricted access to do whatever comes into that dirty little brain of hers is completely fine by me.

“Deal,” she says, and with a flourishing flick of her wrist, she turns the cards over one by one. Three kings, two eights. A full house.

Standing up from the table, I throw my cards facedown and grab Vale’s hand, urging her to stand up too.

“Got me,” I tell her with a wink. “You win. Now let’s go so you can tie me up.”

Garrett barks out a laugh and grabs my cards to see what I had. I glare at him, silently explaining I will rain retribution down on him if he exposes me.

Max clearly doesn’t see my quiet command as he grabs the cards from Garrett’s hand before I can even pull Vale free of the table and places them face up. “Four of a kind,” Max says with a low whistle. “Look at them ladies.”

“Asshole,” I mutter as I look down at the four queens staring up at me, which clearly beat Vale’s hand.

When I look back at her, she’s staring at me in sympathetic amusement. She squeezes my hand and then makes my night. “I’ll give that one to you, so let’s get going. I hope you brought more than one dress tie for this road trip.”

I suppress a groan and try not to laugh over Max and Garrett standing there agog over Vale’s words. That was just a tiny peek at the woman I used to know, completely unafraid to say how it is. She may have tamed her partying ways, but not her penchant for honest and open talk.

“We’re out of here,” I tell Max and Garrett as I move past the table, tighten my hold on Vale’s hand, and pull her toward the door. Luckily my room is just three down from Max’s, and within just a few minutes I’m expecting Vale’s hands and mouth to be all over me.

Today has been a perfect day.

Chapter 22


This is nice.

Lying on my couch with Hawke, his long body stretched down the length of it with my backside snuggled into his front. We’re watching Nightmare on Elm Street with all the lights off, and while I’m normally a weenie about scary movies, I don’t feel an ounce of anxiety as I look warily at Freddy’s long arms and knifelike fingers. I suppose having a big, bad hockey player behind me eases the fear. Dad went to bed about an hour ago and we’re content to just lie here like this, his hand resting on my hip in a loose embrace.

Hawke leans forward, which pushes me slightly to the edge of the couch, reaches an arm over me, and dives his hand into the bowl of candy on the coffee table. “Want another?”

“No,” I groan. “I’m on sugar overload.”

“Well you shouldn’t have bought thirty pounds of mini Snickers.”

“I didn’t know how many trick-or-treaters we’d get in this apartment complex,” I point out about my tactical decision. “I didn’t want to be caught short and have to hand out protein bars. Plus, bonus, we get the leftovers.”

Hawke chuckles and awkwardly unwraps the Snickers. Awkward because my head is resting on his left bicep, which is tucked under me. He brings the Snickers to just in front of my face, where he manages to unwrap it. He holds the naked little candy bar in front of my mouth and teases, “Want a bite?”

I shake my head.

He waves it under my nose and the chocolate aroma changes my mind. “Okay, a little bite.”

He feeds it to me, letting me take half of the tiny bar, and puts the rest in his mouth. We chew silently, watching the movie.

I was kind of surprised that Hawke wanted to come hang here for Halloween. I mean, he lives in a gorgeous neighborhood and would probably have a ton of visitors. I didn’t think he’d be into it, but it was his suggestion we hand out treats from my apartment. I wasn’t quite sure why he suggested this, but in hindsight, I think it’s because he knew his presence would mean more to the socioeconomic level of people that live in my complex versus his neighborhood. While not every person to ring the doorbell was a hockey fan, more were than not. It was hilarious to see some of the kids freak out when they saw him, and more than one parent did the same. Hawke got really into it, although he didn’t have a costume. He did, however, have a huge sombrero he wore on his head and where he put some of the candy. He’d bend down and let the little kids take the candy from his hat. Dad and I just sat back and watched, highly entertained over how much he was enjoying this.

I was more than highly entertained, though. My heart purely throbbed with adoration of what he was doing, dredging up a ton of emotion within me. This is not new or odd, because I’ve been in a constantly swirling pool of emotion since Hawke came back into my life.

Forty-two days ago, I saw him in the team meeting room on the first day of training camp. My heart ached all over again for everything lost.

Twenty-eight days ago I broke up with Todd. My heart ached for that too, but it also thumped in acute awareness of Hawke and what it meant that he was back in my life.

Twenty-five days ago, my dad had a seizure and Hawke was there to support me. I felt part of my heart succumb to him right then and there, while the other part remained reserved and cautious. We still had too many secrets between us.

Tip: You can use left and right keyboard keys to browse between pages.