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The Pucking Wrong Guy: Chapter 17


It was a few days before the big showdown against Dallas, the first of three times we would play my old team. And…I was nervous. An emotion that had become way too familiar in my new life in L.A. I’d always been all about the swagger and confidence, and it hadn’t been a front—I was, in fact, a badass. Since I’d moved, however, more often than not, anxiety was gnawing at me like a squirrel after a hidden stash of acorns.

Dallas was home. It’s where I’d signed my rookie contract, won the Stanley Cup…became the hockey sensation I was today. I didn’t think I could take it if I showed up and the fans who’d once screamed my name were now booing me.

I pulled up the stats for Dallas’s game last night. Cas Peters had taken my spot on the team and I’d been stalking his numbers like a madman. I didn’t feel bad at all about hoping the poor guy sucked ass all season though. I needed him to suck so I could get re-signed.

And he was sucking. I smiled when I pulled up an article about the game and some reporter called his play “sloppy” and “lackadaisical.” Just what I liked to see.

Dallas was still doing well though. Because of Lincoln, of course. When you had the undisputed king of forwards in the NHL, you had an edge. Teamwork was dreamwork but his skills were otherworldly, and his work ethic was unyielding. He’d only gotten better since Monroe had come into the picture—Lincoln had always been a show-off, and he was definitely showing off for her.

I was so damn proud of my buddy.

But I really missed playing with him.

That desire would never go away—I wanted to step onto that familiar ice, hear the crowd roar, feel the rush of adrenaline. Sure, I’d played in arenas all over the country, but Dallas was special. It was where I had some of my greatest moments, both as a player and as a human being.

I decided to text Lincoln, as one does when they have the bestest best friend in the world.

Me: Next week is going to be weird.

Lincoln: I know…like what if you accidentally pass it to me instead of Soto.

Me: You’re mocking me.

Lincoln: I would never.

Me: That’s it. I’m going to send Monroe a million of my jerseys.

Lincoln: Lol.

Me: Lol? That’s all I get?

Lincoln: If you think I don’t have my packages and all my mail monitored…

Me: Does Monroe know you’re a little obsessed?

Lincoln: …

Me: Blake and Monroe are going to be best friends.

Lincoln: I’m Monroe’s best friend.

Me: Calm down, golden boy. I could hear that growl from here.

Lincoln: middle finger emoji

I set my phone down. I loved that guy. I also finally understood the change in him after he’d met Monroe. I was absolutely feral for Blake. It was nice to have a partner in crime to help me through the red haze that seemed to have descended onto my vision. Although, come to think of it, he didn’t do a really good job of dissuading my craziness and holding me back.

Shaking my head, I went back to studying Cas Peters’ stats, game planning for how I was going to show him up in Dallas.


As I stepped onto the luxurious plane, my eyes widened in surprise as I took in the lavish interior. Ari had convinced Lincoln to let me fly to Dallas on his private jet. I’d been perfectly fine with a regular airline, but Ari had started muttering something about “crowd control” and “book boyfriend material” and somehow I’d ended up here.

Plush leather seats beckoned with promises of comfort, and rich mahogany accents exuded an air of opulence. A matronly older woman who could easily be cast as the perfect Nanny McPhee greeted me at the door, showing me to my seat. Her friendly smile and kind eyes made me feel instantly welcomed, despite the weirdness of flying by myself on a private jet.

I settled into my seat, getting ready for takeoff.

As I stared around though, I noticed something peculiar. Everyone working the flight looked like they were someone’s grandmother. Everyone…even the two pilots. A petite woman with a crown of silver hair, a cheerful demeanor…and a cat sweater, approached my seat. Her name tag read ‘Edna.’

‘Good morning, dearie,’ she said with a warm smile as she handed me a basket of freshly baked cookies. ‘I hope you’re all comfy and ready for your flight.’

I took the treat, bemused. ‘Thank you, Edna. These look delicious.’

Edna beamed at me, her eyes twinkling. ‘Oh, sweetheart, I’ve been baking these for years. No one can resist a good homemade cookie.’

I couldn’t argue with that, and I bit into the warm, gooey treat. It was as if I had just taken a bite of nostalgia and love, the flavors melting in my mouth.

As the plane taxied down the runway, Edna continued to chat with me, asking about my plans in Dallas and sharing snippets of her own life…which included ten grandchildren.

Soon, another flight attendant, Mabel, joined us with a tray of hot tea. She also had silver hair, spectacles, and a grandmotherly air about her. Her voice was soothing as she offered me my choice of brew.

‘Darlin’, we’ve got a variety here—green, chamomile, and good ol’ Earl Grey,’ Mabel said kindly.

I opted for chamomile, and Mabel served me with the care of a doting grandmother, ensuring my cup was just the right temperature and sweetness.

As we sipped our tea, the female pilot’s voice came over the intercom, announcing our flight details. Her tone was much warmer than you’d find on a commercial flight…but really, what were the odds of seeing a crew like this? Non-existent, right?

I pulled out my phone to text Ari, who had to fly with the team.

Me: So you don’t have to answer this…but does Lincoln have some kind of fetish…for older women?

Ari immediately responded like he’d been waiting for me to text him.

Ari: I’m dead. I will never let Lincoln live this down.

Me: So he does!!!! He likes grandmas? I mean, I won’t say anything…but does Monroe know?

Ari: I’m seriously dying…

Me: Ariiiiii

Ari: No, Mr. Golden Boy does not have a fetish for grandmas. He has a fetish for not letting anyone of interest speak to, look at, or touch Monroe. So rather than waste money on buying out all of first class for her every time she flies so no one can talk to her…he bought a plane and hired a bunch of grandmas to fly it so he didn’t have to worry anymore.

I stared at the message…completely dumbfounded.

Ari: Don’t be fooled though. Edna has a stiff right hook and carries.

Me: Okay…that’s good to know.

Ari: And if you’re wondering if I bought into the plane so that you too can travel with a pack of grandmas…the answer is yes.

Me: Are you serious right now?

Ari: As serious as Edna’s homemade cookies. Can you snag one for me, btw?

Me: I’m still getting over the fact that you and Lincoln are crazy. And also possibly genius. Only…I can’t afford a private plane to keep your admirers away from you…

Ari: My body is your temple, sunshine. I promise to stab anyone that touches what’s yours.

Ari: Now please bring me a cookie.

He sent an emoji of a dancing grandma…for good measure.

Me: Fine.

Ari: I love you. I love you. I love you.

Me: Me too.

I set the phone down and relaxed into my seat, accepting a whole basket of cookies when Edna came by again.

Grandma Airways was evidently coming in hot.


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