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Shameless Puckboy: Chapter 1

LANE

I STARE AT MY SCREEN, watching the CCTV footage that’s gone viral. The back door of a club opens and spits Oskar Voyjik and two others into the alley. They’re a tangle of groping limbs, hot mouths, and clear intent.

The PR manager in me is fucking pissed this has happened again, but the red-blooded gay man in me is struggling to pull my eyes away. If this was a random clip on Pornhub instead of our star player, it’d be perfect jerk-off material.

Which probably explains why it’s the center of most news stories this morning.

“I’m sorry,” Keerson says, burying his face in his hands. “He’s out of control.”

Well, I can’t disagree there, but this isn’t a simple oopsie that we can talk our way out of. Oskar’s becoming a real problem for San Jose, which means he’s a real problem for me.

“You had one job,” I remind Keerson. “And I’m sure I was clear in my expectations.”

“What was I supposed to do? Chain him to me? I’ve been available at his beck and call, and the things he’s been calling me with …” Keerson stops to take a level breath. “I’m sorry. I’m out of ideas. I dropped him off at his place at nine so I could go home to bed, and he said he was going to do the same. I remember specifically because he said, ‘You can tell your boss I’m being a good little hockey player.’ What else could I do? Short of sleepovers, I just …” He mouths wordlessly, and even though I try not to be softhearted when it comes to work, I do feel for him. He has a family he’s barely seen for the last month, thanks to being solely assigned to Oskar.

The PR department is supposed to look after the entire team, but it’s true what they say about twenty percent of the people taking up eighty percent of the time. In this case, Oskar is the complete twenty percent all to himself.

I’d thought giving him a direct PR liaison would help him make better choices, but Keerson is the third person I’ve assigned to him, and the third person to completely fail at keeping up. At this rate, San Jose is going to fire my ass and find someone better equipped to deal with the situation.

Oskar should be the one getting fired, but he’s too damn good at what he does. Team management has made it clear that it’s our job to put an end to the scandals. It’s kind of hard to do that when he has threesomes in seedy alleys.

I rub my jaw, gaze straying back to the screen and where Oskar has his hand down one of the guys’ pants while the other drops to his knees. It might be my imagination, but I swear Oskar’s eyes keep flicking to the surveillance camera, and if that bastard knew it was there, he won’t need to worry about being fired—I’ll kill him myself.

“This is my fault,” I say, finally tapping my keyboard to pause the video. “I’ve put too much on the rest of you when you have lives outside of work. Unluckily for Oskar Voyjik, that won’t be a problem for me. I’m a thirty-nine-year-old, single workaholic who will do anything for this team.”

Keerson cracks a smile. “Are you … do you mean …”

“It’s my turn. If I can’t sort him out, they might as well fire me now.”

He cringes because we both know that while my words are light, it’s a very real possibility. “He’s, ah, waiting in the hall.”

Oskar Voyjik showing patience? I wouldn’t have guessed that.

“Good. At least he can follow some directions.” Still, I need a minute before I can face him. A minute to gather my weak professionalism and remind myself that his flirting is all bullshit. He might be my exact type, but I absolutely cannot look at him that way unless I want to kiss my career goodbye.

“Are you sure you can manage?” Keerson asks. “He’s a handful, and you already have a busy schedule.”

“I know how to delegate. If this is where my focus needs to be, then so be it.” I compulsively straighten my desk. “Send him in on your way out.”

Keerson jumps up, clearly relieved to be free, and I watch him all the way to the door, refusing to let my focus slip back to the monitor beside me. Murmured voices sound from the hall, and it’s easy to pick Oskar’s low, scratchy tone.

A second later, he walks in and closes the door, and my resolve about being professional flies out the window.

All the air in the room suctions his way, like there’s this great gravitational pull toward the man who is literally sex on legs. From his just-been-fucked dark blond hair to the scruff on his jaw, his intense eyes, and those sexy tattoos all over his body, every day is a mission to be good.

Especially when he opens his mouth.

Mr. Pierce.” His confidence takes all the air in the room as he stalks closer and takes the seat opposite mine.

I lean back in my chair, holding his gaze and doing everything in my power to show he has no effect on me. He might be hot, but my willpower always holds. “Look at that, you do know how to be respectful.”

His lips quirk. “When it gets me what I want, I do.”

“Is what you want to continue playing for this team? Because if so, your professionalism could use some work.”

I tilt my screen toward him and hit Play, right at the moment things start to heat up. Oskar doesn’t react at all to the footage—not that I thought he would.

“Interesting …” he says.

“Not the first word that comes to my mind.”

He sniggers. “It’s interesting that you’ve watched so much of it. Like what you see?”

“Personally, of course, we both know how good-looking you are.” And for the first time since he walked in, he looks like I’ve said something unexpected. I never should have admitted that, but I’m an openly gay man with eyes. He’d know I was lying if I said otherwise. Good-looking might not be an apt description, or enough of one, because when it comes to Oskar Voyjik, I don’t think there’re enough words in the dictionary to describe how sexy he really is. “Professionally, this makes me want to hit you over the head with a hockey stick.”

“You’re not the first person to say that to me.”

“Not surprising at all.”

Oskar threads his hands through his hair and leans back, lifting the front two legs of the chair from the ground, and mimicking my relaxed posture. “You know, if you’re into corporal punishment, I hear spanking is more effective.”

“I have something better in mind.”

He eyes me. “I’m not a fan of paddling, but I suppose I could give it a try.”

And damn that asshole, a laugh slips from me. “I’ll keep that information in my back pocket. But no. Congratulations, Mr. Voyjik, you’ve been upgraded. You’re looking at your new PR minder.”

“You?” He doesn’t look anywhere near as worried as he should. “Aren’t I below your pay grade?”

“If you’re calling yourself cheap, I’m not going to argue, but don’t worry, I like getting my hands dirty.”

“Cheap and dirty. If I didn’t know better, I’d say you were coming on to me.”

“Do you talk to all your PR managers this way? Because it would explain why you’ve been through so many in the last few years.”

“Only the hot ones.” He winks, and he has no right to make it look so smooth. “Cute of you to assume this club revolves around me though.”

I don’t point out that it basically does. It was a fast lesson I learned when I was first accepted for this position and moved to San Jose. It’s why I’m bothering with trying to control him in the first place. The reasons given for the high turnover of my position have been bogus things like scheduling conflicts and culture fits when I know that the actual reason is sitting right in front of me. If San Jose had any other players with even an ounce of Oskar’s talent, I can guarantee he’d be out on his ass already. So the way I see it is I either need to step in and help the coaches find a D-man with Oskar’s talent or keep him under the thumb. And if I can pull Oskar Voyjik in line, I’ll have teams lining up to work with me.

I give him a benign smile. “Feel free to drop off a key whenever you get a chance.”

His calculating eyes narrow. “Key?”

“I know we’ll be together a lot of the time, but I’d like to have the freedom to come and go as I please.”

His chair thunks back to the ground. “Back up. I’m not following.”

“You want to act like a child? Fine. We’re playing by kindergarten rules now, and from today, the buddy system is officially in place.”

“I don’t think I like where this is going.”

“Probably a good thing since this is a punishment.” I tuck my hands behind my head this time because while this isn’t an official dick-measuring contest, I’m sure as hell going to show Oskar who’s in charge. “The buddy system is simple. I know where you are at all times. At all times. You won’t need to call us to clear if you can go out or not, because when you do, I’ll be right there beside you. And the only way for me to monitor you that closely is to move into your spare room.”

The worry I’m expecting doesn’t come. “Technically, if you want twenty-four seven supervision, you really should share my bed. You know, to be safe.”

“We both know sharing a bed would be the furthest thing from safe. And like I said, this is a punishment.”

He sneers. “There’s no way management is agreeing to that.”

“I think you’re underestimating how far management is willing to go for these antics”—I point to the screen, where Oskar and his guys are finishing up—“to go away.”

“So … what? Sleepovers at home, sharing a room at away games?” He pumps his eyebrows. “I hear Ezra and Anton made great use of their shared rooms while they were on the road.”

“And you will make great use of ours too. By not sneaking out and going right to sleep.”

“I don’t know whether it’s adorable or naive that you think following me around will stop me.”

“I don’t know whether it’s adorable or naive that you think I’m not up to the challenge.”

We hold each other’s stare for a moment, and I know Oskar is puzzling out how to play this. On one hand, the whole situation isn’t ideal—for me as well as him—but on the other, I know that backing down isn’t in his nature.

He’ll agree, if for no other reason than his need to prove he can outsmart me.

“Fine.” The smile he gives me is dangerous. “I’ve always wanted a roomie.”

“Oh, Mr. Voyjik. You should be careful what you wish for.”


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