I always thought I was a bit of a free bird. My father let me run wild—within certain limits—because what’s a widowed father to do but dote on his only daughter and give into her every whim?
But really, until I met Hawke, I was merely existing. Going through each day, one step at a time and closing my eyes at night without truly knowing my purpose.
Now, my blood races constantly when we’re together and I feel like I’m on the verge of conquering the world.
I guess that’s what love is all about.
“So you wouldn’t come in the river after me because you wouldn’t want to get wet?” I ask playfully, my fingers sifting through the long hair at the back of his neck.
“I wouldn’t want you to break your neck,” he says with a smirk, and then leans down to place his lips right at the spot he mentioned. He glides a kiss over my skin and a shiver runs up my spine. “It’s a lovely neck.”
“You take all the fun out of me,” I tell him halfheartedly, because really, this is way more fun than me walking on an uneven wall in the dark after drinking several shots of Jack.
“I’ve got an idea for fun,” he says ominously, and another shiver follows the first. I recognize that tone in his voice. It’s one I love hearing, especially after he took my virginity on my eighteenth birthday four months ago.
“Oh, yeah?” I whisper as my fingers curl deeper into his hair and then clutch hard. I give a tiny pull so his face lifts and his eyes slam into mine. “What’s that?”
“Let’s go back to our apartment,” he says gruffly. I moved in with him just two weeks after my eighteenth birthday much to my dad’s dismay.
“Want to make love to me?” I tease, enjoying my new sexual freedom now that I’ve reached adulthood. Hawke impatiently waited, out of respect for my dad, until I attained majority. I’d have given it up sooner, but Hawke was ever the romantic, wanting to make it a special occasion on my birthday.
“No,” he says with a dark laugh. “I want to fuck you.”
“That I am,” he mutters, and grabs my wrists to pull my hands away. “Let’s go.”
He manages to tug me two steps before I dig my heels in. “Wait.”
Hawke turns to look at me and my breath seizes in my lungs.
Absolute hunger on his face.
“What?” he says impatiently.
I look around…left, then right. It’s dark, secluded. No one else around.
“You could just fuck me here,” I suggest coyly, and even bat my eyelashes at him. I think it’s a wasted move in the gloom.
A low growl emits from deep within Hawke’s chest and he tugs on my hand. “We might get caught.”
“So?” I challenge him as I wrench my hand free of his and reach for the hem of my T-shirt. “You’ve seen one dick, you’ve seen ’em all.” I stare at him a moment and then whip the tee over my head, tossing it onto the rock wall.
His posture is stiff with tension and he looks around with uncertainty. I use the opportunity to kick my tennis shoes off and unzip my jeans. His head snaps back to mine and he watches me guardedly.
“Come on, baby,” I urge him quietly. “Get naked.”
He looks around once more, then his shoulders go lax. He grabs his shirt and pulls it off.
Hawke advances on me and mutters, “A fucking nut job.”
“But you love me,” I assert as my hands go to my bra.
“Too fucking much,” he agrees.
My alarm goes off and my hand slaps at it. It takes two tries, but I manage to quiet it and open one bleary eye, which confirms it is indeed five A.M. Rubbing my hands over my face, I try to shake off the foggy dregs of my dream.
Of course I had to dream about him, didn’t I?
A dream about the glory days of my youth, really only but seven years ago. Walking around with my head held high and my eyes gleaming with the possibility of unparalleled fun. Laughing, joking, and getting drunk. Spending every free moment with Hawke because we were young and in love and so into each other we could barely see anything else. But in seven years, my life has changed so drastically I’m nothing but a mere ghost of that same person I was then.
And I’ve been thinking about that since yesterday.
Ever since seeing Hawke at the team meeting.
It wasn’t a surprise to me that he would be there; not the way I know it shocked him. I could see it in his expression when I turned to face the crowd of hockey players staring down at me. Long before I saw him saunter into the meeting room, I had been preparing myself for when he’d first lay eyes on me again. While there’s no doubt in my mind that Hawke never kept track of my whereabouts, I couldn’t say the same. Of course I knew he’d been traded to the Cold Fury, so I was somewhat prepared for this. But that’s only because I know everything that goes on in the hockey world. It’s my passion and always has been, compliments of being Dave Campbell’s daughter. I follow the sport religiously. Can tell you anything you want to know about the “Q,” the Western Hockey League, and the Ontario Hockey League, and those are just the Canadian juniors. I know all the American minor leagues and without a doubt, I follow the NHL with an eagle eye. I do this not only because I was raised in hockey, but because I now want to work in hockey. I’ve put in my fair share of job applications from the juniors all the way up to the top. My time working in college football wasn’t a desire but a lack of options, but here I am now. At the top with nothing more than one well-placed call by my father to Brian Brannon, his old college buddy, and I became a Cold Fury employee.