The Pucking Wrong Number: Chapter 16

MONROE

It happened so fast. One second Lincoln was scoring what seemed like his millionth goal of the night…

And the next, he was right in front of me, banging on the glass and seemingly pointing at my jersey.

The buzzer sounded, signaling the end of the game…and then Lincoln was sucker punching Ari Lancaster in the face, all while pointing to me…continuously.

The crowd around me was giving curious glares, so I innocently glanced around, trying to pretend like the scene had nothing to do with me.

Ari didn’t seem perturbed by the blood dripping down his face. He was laughing as hysterically as Ashley had—about what, I had no idea. But the surreal night had taken a turn into weird town.

Speak of the devil. Ashley appeared next to me.

“Come with me before the crowd gets too crazy. They love when he gets into fights. It’s going to be even more of a mad house since that performance just clinched a playoff spot.”

“Hey, was Daniels pointing at you?” one girl asked as we walked to the exit.

“Ignore her,” Ashley whispered, looking a little nervous as others peppered us with the same question.

I thought sneaking out was more suspicious than just saying no, but what did I know? I didn’t have any experience with anyone being interested in me.

I followed Ashley through a door and down another hallway. This place was like a maze.

“So they clinched the playoffs with that win?”

“Yes,” Ashley said dreamily. “Before Mr. Daniels got here, we hadn’t made it to the playoffs in twenty years. Now we’re basically a shoe-in, as long as he’s on the ice.” She stopped so abruptly I almost ran into her. She turned towards me, her face serious.

“It’s my job to make sure he’s happy, and he doesn’t ever want to leave. Do you understand what I’m saying?”

“Ummm…no?”

She sighed, her friendly demeanor slipping for a second. “I’m saying that we can’t afford anything that won’t make him happy. Is that going to be a problem?”

Alright, I got that he was a big star, but this was getting ridiculous. I felt sorry for any girl who lived to make a man happy just because he was a celebrity.

“That’s not my goal in life, no,” I said stiffly, causing her features to scrunch up. For the first time tonight, she looked ugly.

Before she could say anything else, the door in front of us flew open, and a woman with her hair held up haphazardly with a pencil, tortoise shell glasses that framed big blue eyes, and Dallas sweats burst through. I immediately liked her.

“What’s taking so long?” she snapped, peering over her glasses like she knew exactly what Ashley and I had been talking about. “Daniels is asking for her.” Her tone gentled as she glanced at me. “Monroe, come with me.”

I didn’t bother saying goodbye to Ashley. She didn’t seem to be in the mood for niceties at the moment.

“Ignore her,” the new girl whispered as she held her hand over a clipboard for me to shake. “I’m all about not slut shaming, but that girl has a screw loose when it comes to these hockey boys. She believes in very personal service, if ya know what I mean…”

I’d gotten that vibe from her…

“Anyways…my name’s Tenley,” she said as we shook hands. “And I want you to know that despite whatever she was saying out there to you, Daniels is actually a good guy. And he’s never done anything like what he’s set up for you tonight. Not for anyone.”

Hearing that she liked him, and that I wasn’t the latest in a long line of girls to get the VIP treatment, did make me feel better. .

Not that this had impressed me at all. Or that I cared about other girls.

Or at least that’s what I was telling myself.

Tenley chatted away as we walked down the hall. She stopped in front of a metal door. “Are you ready for this?” she asked.

“What do you mean? Ready for what?”

“It’s always a bit of a circus around Daniels. I just didn’t know how prepared you were for all of it.”

Not prepared at all.

“What kind of circus?”

“I mean, with how good he is, and how good he looks, and who his dad is…it’s a pretty lethal combination.”

“Yeah,” I whispered, remembering everything I had googled about him before tonight.

What the fuck was I doing?

Tenley’s eyes softened as she tilted her head slightly, a small frown forming on her lips. She held my gaze for a moment before giving me a gentle smile, wordlessly conveying her sympathy, like she knew something about what lay ahead that I did not. And then she opened the door, the scent of sweat and dampness hitting me like a wave. The musky odor permeated every corner of the room, mixing with the faint scent of Icy Hot and an odd splash of male cologne. My nose wrinkled as I took a deep breath, but I was immediately distracted from the smell by the sight of the locker room full of hockey players.

Half naked hockey players.

My cheeks blushed as two guys lounging around in nothing but their hockey pants whistled as I passed by, and Tenley shot them a middle finger.

“Behave. Daniels will kill you,” she snapped.

“She’s Linc’s?” one of the guys muttered. “Lucky fucker.”

She grabbed my arm and pulled me further, around a corner, and then…

There was Lincoln. Wearing nothing but a pair of tight gray briefs. I tried not to stare…I really did. But there was nothing I could do. All that smooth, gold skin. I’d never seen anything like it. His abs were like chiseled marble, each muscle perfectly defined, his chest broad and powerful. I found myself fixated on his shoulders, the way they moved as he pulled his pads out of his jersey, the flex of the tattoo inked across his skin. And then there was the one he’d given me a sneak peek of before…the butterfly.

A massive butterfly tattoo that spanned the expanse of his pectoral muscles. The butterfly was larger than life, its wings outstretched and seemingly ready to take flight.

The tattoo was rendered in stark black and white tones, a stunning piece of art, its wings spread wide in a graceful pose. The detail in the tattoo was incredible, each individual vein and contour of the wings expertly rendered. It seemed to almost come to life, its delicate beauty standing out in stark contrast against his rugged physique.

A flush crept up my cheeks as my gaze danced across his features, unable to tear my eyes away from the spectacle before me. It was as if the world had faded away, leaving only him and me in the room, and for a moment, nothing else mattered but the beauty of his body.

Finally, as if he’d sensed my presence, his gaze met mine. A jolt of electricity raced through my core as I stared into the pools of molten gold, blazing with a fiery intensity that was impossible to ignore.

The way he saw me. No one had ever seen me like that.

A shiver raced down my spine. I think I hated how he seemed to peel back every layer I’d built up across the many desperately hard years.

I didn’t want him to see beyond the surface, beyond the mask that I wore.

It wasn’t pretty.

“Hey dream girl,” he said lazily, his gaze licking at my skin…and it was all I could do not to melt into a puddle of want.

“Hi,” I gulped out…because I was burning alive inside as I stared at pure perfection. He grinned knowingly, and I was almost blinded by the smile combined with the rest of him.

His gaze suddenly hardened as it centered on my jersey.

“Take it off,” he snapped, all the smooth easiness of his voice completely gone.

“What?”

“Take it off, right fucking now.”

“I’m—”

In what may go down as the smoothest move in the universe, the jersey was suddenly torn off me, and I was standing there in my white tank top.

“I could have been naked underneath that,” I seethed, outraged as he held the jersey in between two fingers like it was tainted. The bastard just smirked.

Before he could say anything, the jersey was snapped from his fingers, and a large, hard body was holding it against my chest, his hands right above my heaving breasts.

Lincoln’s eyes took on a red haze as Ari Lancaster invaded all of my personal space.

“Get away from her,” he seethed, a darkness in his voice that I hadn’t imagined him capable of. In my interactions with Lincoln, whether in text or in person, he’d always seemed sunshiny, fitting his golden looks.

Right now, he seemed capable of murder.

I glanced at Ari to see how he was taking the threat evident in Lincoln’s voice, but his lips were turned up in amusement and there was a twinkle in his gaze.

“What’s wrong, Lincoln?” he teased. “Why are you taking away my gift to our girl?”

A giggle escaped me and Lincoln’s face softened momentarily, as if my laugh was a gift he wanted to savor.

They hardened again as his gaze shifted back to Ari. “If you want to be able to hold a stick ever again, I suggest you let her fucking go.”

“Which stick are we talking about?” Ari asked casually, his eyebrows going up and down like a cartoon villain. His hard body was still against mine, and I was feeling a bit lightheaded.

In a move that again felt practiced, I was ripped away from Ari’s grip and plastered against Lincoln. A soft moan fell from my lips as I felt him harden against my stomach. The world faded around me as my hands involuntarily clutched at his shoulders.

“That’s better,” he murmured, his lips grazing mine so softly it could have been a brush of wind, if not for the shockwave it sent spiraling through my freaking soul.

“If you ever wear another man’s jersey, I will kill that man. So be careful, sweetheart.”

I searched his face for the punchline, because of course he was joking.

I just didn’t find it.

All I saw was a stark coldness, that…was actually terrifying.

Arms were suddenly wrapped around the both of us, and Lincoln let out a soft sigh of annoyance.

“So, we’re all partying together tonight, right? We made the playoffs, baby!”

“You knew we would,” Lincoln told Ari, who obviously had no idea what personal space was.

“Still feels fucking good,” Ari responded, holding a fist up. “Stanley Cup. Stanley Cup.”

I had to admit, I’d missed this in my vision board. That I would find myself standing in a room full of half naked, perfect specimens of men as they all started chanting along with Ari.

Lincoln’s hands tightened around my waist as he stared around the room, bemused.

Ari moved into us even more, his face so close to Lincoln’s it would seem like they were kissing at the right angle. “Stanley Cup! Stanley Cup!”

Lincoln rolled his eyes at Ari’s antics and then glanced down at me.

Although I was still confused and overwhelmed by the situation, the urge to join in suddenly came over me. Feeling playful–not an emotion I felt often–I found myself chanting right along with everyone else in the surreal world around me.

Lincoln’s eyebrows lifted and his gaze heated, like the words “Stanley Cup” just did something when they came out of my mouth—and maybe they did—who knew what got famous hockey players off.

“Stanley Cup,” he finally yelled, raising one fist in the air. “Fuck yeah!” The whole room went absolutely crazy, and I was jerked around as they all started piling on us.

I gasped with the amount of hands on my body, and that was enough for Lincoln to yank me out of the pile and wrap himself around me like he was trying to smother me in his scent.

“This is a weird day,” I mused as we watched his teammates form some sort of super hot doggie pile.

He brushed a kiss across my shoulder, his hands going up and down my ribcage, in that space right under your breasts that makes your breath gasp because you wonder if he’ll go any higher.

“This is the best day,” Lincoln murmured as he brushed a kiss against my hammering pulse.

“You move really fast,” I told him, my words coming out breathy and embarrassing.

“I just know what I want,” he answered, absolute surety engraved in every syllable that came out of his mouth.

He turned me around in his arms, his hands never straying from the skin that had peeked through the band between my leggings and tank.

“I want to take you home, learn everything about you, but I probably need to make an appearance at the afterparty. Forgive me?”

A rush of disappointment hit me that the night was over. I felt a bit like Cinderella when the carriage turned back into a pumpkin. “Oh yeah, of course. I can get an Uber…”

“What?” he asked quickly, his fingers pressing into my skin like he was trying to hold me here. “I meant we had to make an appearance…not that I would go by myself.”

I blushed as his hands slipped from my waist to my hair. Suddenly, he was cradling my head tenderly. “I would put you in my pocket if I could, baby. Keep you with me always.”

The force of his emotions were overwhelming, threatening to choke me, drown me, because I’d never felt anything like this before.

I yanked my gaze away. Everything was too much, but it ended up with him cradling my cheek.

I had the strange urge to cry because no one had ever held me like that before.

Like I was priceless. Wanted.

Worthy.

“I’m going to throw some clothes on,” Lincoln finally murmured gently, and I started because I realized we were standing there, me pressed against his body, lost in our own world. Half of the locker room had somehow cleared out in the moments we’d lost.

“Right.” I cleared my throat, remembering just how little clothes he had on. His length was its own presence in the room, the top of it visible when I glanced down, peeking out from the band of his briefs.

Holy fuck, I think I had a mini orgasm staring down at the monster.

I tried to push away, but he held me there for a moment, his eyebrows furrowed, his lips pressed together, a mix of emotions playing across his face like he was torn about letting me go.

Finally, his hands left my face.

And I immediately missed them.

‘Don’t move,” he ordered, turning away and grabbing a bag sitting on the bottom of the large locker. He set it down on the bench nearby and took out a pair of jeans and a plain white v-neck. A thin gold chain followed, and he’d somehow unlocked a new level of hotness I’d never seen before.

I had no idea that watching a man get dressed could be as delicious as watching them get undressed.

Or maybe it was because he was staring at me, his gaze hot and lust-filled, like it was doing as much to him having my eyes on him as it was doing to me watching him.

“I can’t take it,” he finally groaned.

‘What?” I whispered.

Before I could blink, I was backed against the wall and the golden haired god was on his knees. I pushed at his head, panicked as I stared around the room.

Except it was now completely empty. Like he had some kind of magic that bent the universe to do his will.

Everything inside of me screamed this was too fast. But my head fell back as his fingers rubbed over the seam of my leggings, somehow finding the sensitive, swollen flesh there that had been throbbing since I first saw him on the ice. His eyes tracked mine, a kind of madness there that perversely caused my mouth to water.

Pleasure built as I continued to let him touch me, and suddenly I was flying, soaring above a million shooting stars as he brought me to orgasm.

Again. Just like at the gala.

I was half drunk with love when I heard him roughly mutter, “Fuck this,” and then my leggings were ripped and he was pushing my legs wider with a brutal strength that was impossible to resist.

Cool air brushed against my folds, and then his tongue was licking deep inside me. An insatiable invasion that was soaked with darkness and desire. He worshiped me, his tongue touching everywhere, pushing in and out as his rough fingers slid all over. I was soaking his face, the gleam of my slick all over his gorgeousness. His gaze stayed on me, his tongue and fingers swirling and pressing, and playing me like he knew my body better than I did.

My hips moved on their own, and he groaned, the sensual sound decadent and delicious…and I wanted more. My inner muscles squeezed as his tongue pushed deeply inside.

A rush that felt like it might kill me hit me all at once . I wanted him to stop staring at me like that, stop making me feel that way. Like I wouldn’t recover if I never tasted this again.

I once read an article about heroin that said the reason it was so addictive and dangerous was all tied to that first hit. It made the body feel better than it ever could again. It took more and more each time to get even close to how you felt that first time, until finally you went so high you overdosed…still not touching that initial high.

A high you spent your whole life chasing, it said.

This felt like that.

My breath was coming out in gasps as I stared at the wide grin that spread across his face, his eyes crinkling in pleasure like he’d been the one to come instead of me.

He slowly stood, his fingers gliding up my neck, into the roots of my hair as he gripped me, his lips crushing against mine. I’d never thought of how intimate it would feel to taste yourself on someone else’s lips…

He pulled away from me, decadently licking his lips like he could read my mind and he was trying to keep every trace of me inside him.

We just stood there, our breaths intertwined.

And I was scared.

I closed my eyes because it was too much. It was squeezing my chest because I knew he was going to disappoint me.

He was going to break my heart.

I went along with it when he pulled my hands up over my head and slid another jersey down my body.

This time, of course, with his name.

The jersey was long enough to hide the fact that there was a fucking hole ripped in my leggings…but at least my underwear was still intact since he’d pushed that to the side. Still, it felt awkward.

He finished getting dressed and then took my hand, like we’d been doing this our whole lives, and my hand was never meant to be without his. He led me out of the locker room and into an elevator that took us to an underground parking garage. There were only a few cars left, but even if it was packed, there’d be no missing his pretty car parked in a prime spot just a few feet away from the elevator.

Once we got to it, he opened the door for me, a warm, gentle smile on his face that felt like too much, especially since I knew it was still coated with my wetness. “Get in, baby,” he murmured as he brushed his lips against mine.

“Lincoln—” I started, not knowing what to say…but knowing I needed to say something.

“Just get in the car, baby, he repeated patiently, like he knew the words I didn’t. “When something feels this fucking good, you don’t fight it. You just follow it to the ends of the earth, no matter where it takes you.”

“I’m scared,” I admitted, and he nodded.

“I’ll show you how good it can be. Until you’re not scared anymore. Until trusting me is as easy as breathing.”

I got in the car, but I didn’t tell him, with what I’d been through in my life…sometimes breathing was the hardest part.

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