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The Pucking Wrong Number: Chapter 14


In the light of the morning, last night felt like a dream. The best kind of dream and a shuddering nightmare all rolled in one. His promise that we were real coated my skin, and my stupid heart was at war with itself, both wanting, and not wanting him to keep it.

I dragged myself to Tres Medical, going about my work at half speed, the world blurry and gray around me.

Right as I was getting done with my shift, my phone rang.

It was Clarice.

“Darling,” she purred, and I lost my footing for a moment because she sounded so…happy.

I hadn’t expected her to call. I’d expected a text firing me, or just never hearing about another gig at all.

I’d certainly not expected this…whatever this was.

“Hi Clarice,” I said carefully.

“You naughty girl. You didn’t tell me you were dating Lincoln Daniels. It’s absolutely delightful.”

“Well, we’re not—” I began.

“Nonsense. You two were the talk of the party. You mustn’t deny it, dear. I told everyone how it couldn’t have happened to a nicer girl.”

Shit. Of course she did. And I’m so sure that’s what she’d said. Insert sarcasm, of course. Clarice was a viper.

“Now, I know you’re probably caught in your little love bubble this week, but next week I’ve got some wonderful jobs lined up. Maybe we can even talk about moving you up from waitstaff.”

I felt sick to my stomach. Her words like hot oil on my skin. I wasn’t even dating the guy and already, people were trying to use me.

I was all for moving up in my jobs; I needed the money desperately…but not like this.

“We’ll talk later, tata,” she said, before abruptly hanging up without me saying a word.

I shook my head and walked outside, staring up at the sky that, while I’d been working, had gone from a perfect blue to a canvas of deep, swirling clouds, the kind that promised a storm was coming. There was a charged electricity in the air that prickled at my skin and made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. I walked quickly down the sidewalk, wanting to get back to my place before the storm broke. Just then, though, like the crack of a whip, the thunder rumbled overhead, making me jump.

I looked up, watching as the lightning sliced through the sky like a jagged knife, illuminating everything in stark relief. It was both beautiful and terrifying. I shivered, from the cold and the anticipation, as I walked.

I usually hated the rain, but there was something thrilling about this storm. Like it was a signal that something was coming…

It had indeed started raining on the walk back, and by the time I’d gotten home, I was a sodden, soaked mess. I’d had to walk the entire way since the bus was delayed because of the storm, so I’d gotten home with just enough time to grab my backpack. I didn’t even bother changing; I would be soaked on the way to my classes anyway. Next paycheck, I really needed to invest in an umbrella.

I rushed down the sidewalk, desperate not to be late since the professor of tonight’s class was a hard-ass. And the whole time, I kept thinking that Lincoln hadn’t called…or texted.

Regardless of who he’d turned out to be, I’d come to rely on the comfort that came from my phone stranger. At least once a day, he’d send something that would make me laugh.

I missed…smiling.

It was for the best, though. That was why I’d pushed him away to begin with.

A smile wouldn’t feed me. A smile wouldn’t ensure I didn’t end up like Mama.

I resembled a drowned rat as I stepped into class. Connor tried to get my attention, gesturing to the empty seat next to him, and I pretended not to see him as I went to the opposite side of the room and slunk into my seat. He’d somehow ended up with a black eye after our disastrous dinner, which he claimed was caused by an errant football. It had healed, for the most part, but unfortunately it hadn’t knocked any sense into him that I wasn’t interested.

Some girls giggled as I wrung out my hair, and a literal puddle of water fell to the floor. I laughed weakly and prayed class would pass quickly.

Professor Watkins strode in, appearing much more cheerful than usual. Giddy, in fact. There was a flush to her cheeks and some of her hair had fallen from its severe bun. I exchanged a smirk with the girl next to me.

“Class—” she clapped her hands and practically jumped in the air. “We have a surprise guest today, here to talk about his incredible career. A star in our midsts for sure.”

Sparks burst in my chest, caused by both anticipation and dread. I mean, surely…it couldn’t be.

“Please give a loud round of applause…for Lincoln Daniels!” She practically shrieked his name like a thirteen-year-old at a boy band concert.

And then there he was.

Smoldering gold eyes and a wild mane of golden hair. His aura hit me hard, like I was seeing him for the first time all over again. Everything about him emanated raw masculinity, seeping into my skin, and making me dizzy as I sat there. He was wearing a fitted black henley that showed off his massive and ripped physique…and that stupid backwards hat that succeeded in making women all over the world go…well, stupid.

He was staring at me, a naked, hot yearning in his gaze that hit me…right between my thighs. He was turning me into a monster. A few weeks ago, the idea of sex or anything related to it was a topic I literally never thought about…unless someone was threatening me with it.

But now…

“Hey guys, how’s everyone doing tonight?” he drawled in that sexy rasp of his.

The girl next to me was literally melting in her seat, her breath coming out in gasps like she was about to orgasm right there.

I mean, I understood what she was feeling, but it didn’t stop the jealousy from licking at my insides.

“For those of you who don’t know me, I’m the starting forward for the—”

“The star starting forward,” a guy breathed from the front row.

“Well, I—”

“Born in a private wing of the Arlington Memorial Hospital to billionaire moguls Anstad and Shannon Daniels, you were a star prodigy from the time you stepped on the ice at twelve. Signed by the Dallas Knights when you were fourteen, you went to Dartmouth College for hockey, where you led them to four National Championships before going to the NHL. You were rookie of the year your first year, and the last two, you’ve led the league in scoring,” the guy continued, rapt awe in his voice.

“Well, that was creepy,” Lincoln quipped, and the whole class roared with laughter.

“Will you marry me?” the girl next to me suddenly shouted.

“Class,” Professor Watkins admonished, actually not looking that upset. Probably because she wanted to marry him too.

“Easy, everyone,” Lincoln held up his hands in front of him to quiet the room. “I told your professor that I would talk about the business side of hockey—and I’ll get to that—but I need your help with something first.”

“Anything!” someone else shouted, and the whole class laughed…including me.

“Well, you see, there’s a girl in here I’m pretty crazy about, but she’s told me to get lost.”

The whole class started talking at once and I slid down in my seat, my ears feeling hot with embarrassment…not that anyone in the class knew who he was talking about—but I was sure that was coming.

Lincoln motioned for the class to quiet down.

I gripped the edges of my desk for support. I felt like I was about to slide into a puddle on the floor.

Lincoln’s warm golden gaze slid over me, and I tried to make a discreet slice across my neck—for him to stop—but he just smirked at me lazily, the sight of it playful and hot…and annoying.

“So I’ve decided I need to play a little hardball. I’m prepared to pay for everyone in this room’s tuition for the whole year—if she agrees to go to my game on Friday, followed by dinner after.”

My mouth dropped open in complete shock.

A year’s worth of tuition.

I couldn’t even imagine that kind of help. What it would mean to me and probably most of the people in the class. There was a single mom in the back with tears streaming down her face.


He was such an asshole.

A generous, gorgeous…ASSHOLE.

The girl next to me literally started shrieking, her hands on her cheeks as she rattled her desk with her exuberance.

“Alright—who’s the girl?” someone asked, and everyone started looking around the room.

I slunk down further in my desk, but some of my classmates were already staring at me, Connor included.

Lincoln was really enjoying himself. His head was tilted slightly to the side and his sexy smirk had widened.

“It’s Monroe—she’s the only one fucking hot enough to date you,” the guy who knew far too much about Lincoln quipped after one of the longest minutes of my life.

“Language!” Professor Watkins snapped, a small gleam of amusement in her gaze.

“I’ll forget how creepy you are, for guessing right,” Lincoln laughed.

Then everyone’s eyes were on me. Heat crept up my neck, spreading like wildfire across my skin. My pulse quickened, and I knew my face had flushed beet red. My hands trembled, and I clasped them tightly together to hide the shaking. It was as if the temperature in the room had skyrocketed, and I was trapped in a suffocating heat wave.

“You’ve got to be shitting me,” the girl next to me snapped. “Why is this even a thing? I would do anything for that man. ANYTHING. I would literally let him fu—”

“Alright, that’s enough, Lanie. Thank you,” the professor quickly inserted.

“Well, Monroe, what’s it going to be? Free tuition for the whole class for the year, or are you going to disappoint everyone?” drawled Lincoln.

The whole class burst into loud and emphatic chatter, everyone urging and yelling at me to say yes. Everyone except for Connor—but I already knew from our contrived date he came from a wealthy family, so a year’s worth of tuition wouldn’t have been a big deal to him.

I was going to kill Lincoln

I would probably end up kissing him first.

But then I was definitely going to kill him.

“I’ll come to the game,” I finally muttered when I was afraid the class would riot.

He leaned forward, putting a hand to his ear, his bicep pulling at his shirt. “Sorry, what was that?”

“I’ll come to the game!” I snapped, crossing my arms in front of me.

“And the date?” the girl next to me—Lanie—said, sounding very put out.

I squeezed my eyes shut for a moment, before opening them, momentarily riveted by the burning want in his gaze.

“And the date,” I whispered after a moment, only half aware of the whole class jumping out of their seats and cheering.

I was completely lost in him.


Caught in his spell.

I was so fucked.


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