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Shameless Puckboy: Chapter 19

LANE

I’M NOT SUPERSTITIOUS—NOT like a hockey player, anyway—but even I’m hesitant to jinx this. I think … I think this might be working. I noticed the shift after the game in Vegas, Oskar lost some of that extravagant personality he always puts on, and now he’s almost subdued.

Well, subdued for him.

He’s humming when I walk into the kitchen and pull out a stool at the counter. “Nice sleep?” I ask.

“Yeah, it was okay.”

“You’re in a good mood.”

“I’m always in a good mood.” He flashes me a smile from where he’s frying eggs. “Breakfast?”

“I didn’t know you could cook.”

He winks. “There you go underestimating my pretty face again.”

“It’s less because you’re pretty and more because it’s been about a month now, and I’ve never actually seen you do it.”

“Yeah, well, we’re on the road half the time, and I’m usually too beat from the season to do much more than order in. Plus, my babysitter has been keeping me fed.” Oskar’s back is to me as he cooks, but even without being able to see his face, I can tell he’s relaxed. There wasn’t the usual derision on the word babysitter, and his shoulders aren’t tight like usual.

My stare slides over his back muscles, which bunch and smooth out as he moves, and it makes me want to crowd up behind him and slip my hands down his sweats. I don’t though. Because I have restraint.

We haven’t had as much sex as I’d assumed this week, but after Vegas and his shift in mood, I’ve left it up to Oskar to initiate things. Unlike him, I can go long stretches of time before the itch becomes too much, and he knows where I’m at with everything. He has the green light, and I’m leaving it up to him to decide when to use it.

If he can keep it in his pants without me having to keep him satisfied, that’s a good thing. Fewer chances for us to get caught. Fewer opportunities for me to get hooked on him. It’s good. All good. Except for the part where I picture him getting it from somewhere else and end up blind with jealousy.

Luckily, I keep those moments to myself.

“Even though you didn’t answer me, I’m going to assume you want some,” he says, that low voice way too sexy for this time of the morning. “How many eggs?”

“Three. I’ll get the coffee.”

“I’d assume you’re being nice, but I feel like it’s more of a self-preservation thing.”

“How so?” I ask.

“Because you don’t trust me not to poison the food, and I don’t trust you not to poison my coffee.” The teasing look he throws my way makes me a little too happy. “Guess we’re just going to have to take that risk.”

“I like risks.”

“I know. That’s why you’re here.”

I pour our coffees, and Oskar steps closer than he needs to take it from me.

“The chances of you offing the star player on the team are slim though. Whereas I’ve wanted to get rid of you since you started this job as my shadow.”

“Get rid of me?” I cock my head. “Or get under me?”

He laughs as he steps back and hands me my plate. “Eat this and find out.”

I retake my seat, and Oskar pulls one up opposite me. The smell of bacon and eggs makes my stomach growl, and even if I really thought there was the possibility for him to lace it with something, I’d probably still take my chances.

I lock eyes with Oskar as I spear a piece of egg and pop it into my mouth. His lips twitch, and then he grabs his coffee and takes a slow sip, still watching me over the cup.

“How are you feeling?” I ask.

“Good. You?”

“Completely fine.”

“Give it a minute, then.”

I marvel at how ridiculous he is, then set my fork down. “We haven’t argued as much this week.”

“I’m happy when I’m not horny.”

I narrow my eyes because we both know that’s bullshit.

“What? You were expecting a heart-to-heart or something?”

“Or something. You’re definitely not … you.”

He throws his hands up. “First I’m too me, now I’m not enough me. What do you want?”

That’s a good question. Obviously as his PR rep, my answer is for him to keep doing what he’s doing, but as me … I like Oskar. And I hate that I like him. I give him the realest answer I can.

“I want you to be you but without all the media attention.”

“That’s an oxymoron.”

“Big word.”

He taps his temple. “I’m smart if you haven’t noticed.”

“I didn’t.” I smile at him through a bite of bacon. “At least until this week. You’ve been making smart choices.”

He shrugs awkwardly. “I don’t know what you want me to say.”

“I’m interested to know why.”

“You want me to spill all my secrets? Open up? Be vulnerable to my jailer so I can see that you’ve cared all along? I’ve seen that movie, and it’s called Stockholm syndrome and isn’t as romantic as people think.”

Damn him, he gets an actual laugh out of me. “Fine, don’t talk to me. We’ll eat breakfast in complete silence. That won’t be awkward at all.”

“What about you? I’m always the one sharing. You tell me something.”

“Like …”

“Well, even big bad babysitters have to come from somewhere, right? What lab did they make you in?”

“One in Texas.”

Oskar blinks. “Southern boy? No way.”

Deep South. I basically have sunshine in my veins.”

“That explains the sunny personality, then, though not your lack of accent. What about your parents?”

“What about them?”

“What are they like?”

“I haven’t seen them in a long time.” I keep my tone light and airy, but I don’t think I pull off the nonchalant act. It’s hard to do when it comes to my parents.

Oskar’s cocky expression dims, which makes me think he’s come to two conclusions: dead or disowned. “Why?”

“The gay thing.” I keep my voice light because even though it was fucked-up, I’ve long worked through my issues with them. “And at least they cared enough to fill up my bank account before they shoved me out the front gate.”

Oskar drops his fork loudly onto his plate. “Assholes. Want to invite them to a game and I’ll shoot a puck at their heads?”

“Aww, I didn’t know you cared.”

“No one should have to go through that. Even you.”

“I detect a level of affection buried under all that animosity,” I tease. “But it’s okay. I have a great life.”

He lifts a skeptical eyebrow. “At what point during getting your college degree did you stop and think, ‘following around a professional hockey player to make him behave himself sounds like my idea of a dream job?’”

“Never. Obviously. It was more, ‘following around a professional hockey player sounds like perfect spank bank material. Go, future Lane!’”

My insides thrum happily as he laughs. I watch him practically inhale the rest of his food before throwing back what’s left of his coffee. “This has been fun, but I gotta go. Are you driving me in today?”

I hesitate over the question. The answer should be of course because letting him go anywhere alone is dangerous, so I’m unnerved when my answer is, “You go. Keerson has been trying to get me to go out for lunch, and, well, you’ve done well this week. I think you’ve earned a day off without your babysitter.”

He stares at me like he’s waiting for me to go on. “Wait. You’re serious.”

“I am.”

“This isn’t one of those situations where you say I can go and then follow me, is it?”

“No.”

“Even though Aleks will be there.”

I try really hard not to clench my jaw. “As much as we both like to pretend I’m in control of you, if you really wanted to go and screw up, you would. With or without me. But remember …” I stand and round the counter to stop in front of him. Then I tilt my lips to his ear, “If you choose Aleks, this thing with us is done. And no amount of teasing and flirting and fucking yourself in bathrooms will change that.”

His stool makes him a fraction shorter than me, and I love the look in his eyes when he glances up at me. “Noted.” He grabs the front of my shirt and tugs me in closer. “But if you’re not going to follow me, how would you ever know?”

“Because …” My eyes fall closed for a second, unable to believe these words are about to come out of my mouth. “I’m choosing to trust you. For an entire day. To make your own decisions. Keep yourself out of the headlines and be back here for dinner, and I’ll make it worth your while.”

“Oh, really?”

“Don’t get too excited,” I point out, stepping away. “You have to do it first.”

“I think you’re underestimating a hockey player’s need to win.”

“Maybe, but I think I’m estimating your need for trouble just fine.”

He gets up and grabs his plate, but I take it from him. “I’ll clean up. You go.”

“I could get used to all this domestic shit. You cooking for me most nights and cleaning now? Plus orgasms on top? Heaven.”

I sigh as he slaps me on the ass and bounces away to get ready.

Then I spend the morning hoping I haven’t made the wrong decision again.


“You’re game,” Keerson says. “A whole day? You do know the trouble Oskar can get himself into with that much time at his disposal, don’t you?”

“We’ll see.”

“Quick, let’s email the PR department and place bets on what he’s going to do to make our lives hell.” He grabs his phone, and I pluck it from his grip.

“No need. Oskar has been on track the last few days, so I’ve given him a few hours off. He knows if he wants any more than that, he’ll need to play nice.” I don’t bother getting into the real reasons with Keerson. How Oskar found out his talent isn’t enough to coast on for the rest of his career. I think seeing an actual consequence outside of the multiple slaps on the wrists he’s had has been a reality check for him, and … I’m not convinced Oskar wants to be that guy.

Which is not a thought I should be having. Tempting my protective side is an idiot move.

Keerson stares at me, disbelief all over his face. “He’s really got you fooled.”

“I guess we’ll find out.”

“This isn’t like …” He lets out a quick burst of air. “I know you’re a professional, and you’re one of the best PR bosses I’ve had—way better than the last one—but … you don’t want to sleep with him, do you? Like, it’s Oskar Voyjik, so you probably do, but you wouldn’t is what I’m saying … right?”

I chuckle. “You don’t need to worry about me.” I’ve already crossed every possible career line there is.

“Phew. I think he’s hot, and I’m straight—I can’t imagine how it is for a gay guy.”

“The same as any other man. I have a type, and I have self-control.” And maybe if I keep telling myself that, it’ll be true at some point. “Both mine and Oskar’s careers are tied together. If I don’t want to be his shadow for the rest of his time in the NHL, then I need to make sure he can be trusted to make his own choices. Otherwise, what’s the point of all this?”

“I guess, but … man. That’s a big ask. I barely lasted as long as you have now, and by the time I was done, I was ready to smother him with his own pillow.”

“Oh, I’ve been there, trust me.” I’ve also smothered him with my cock a few times, which has been fun. “But I get enough of Oskar in my day. How’s the family?”

Keerson is easily distracted and fills me in on everything from potty training to new words to his wife’s morning sickness. And as sweet as it is when he talks about them, it makes me happier than ever that kids are not in my future.

We’re almost done with lunch when my phone dings, and I’m hit with a sinking feeling. I only have one email account set up with a notification sound—the others get too many emails to bother—and there’s only one thing I use that email for.

Google alerts on the players.

I take a deep breath and hold it as I open the notification, hoping and begging that it will be any other name but the one I’m expecting. One glance at the subject line dashes all my hopes to hell.

Oskar Voyjik.

Motherfucker.


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