The following day, I arrive at the arena with Scarlett’s coffee as usual. I stop in the break room, but the coffee is already made. Someone got here early. I’m smiling as I head to her office, thinking of last night. Daria already texted late after I got home to give me the thumbs up. I was tagged in a bunch of photos outside of the exhibit and I got bonus points because one of Maxwell and me blew up. He’s been retired for two years, but the people of Minnesota still love him.
I head to Scarlett’s office to deliver her coffee, but when I step into the doorway, my steps falter at the sight of Anna. She looks up from her desk and smiles. “Hi, Leo!”
“You’re back.” I’ve never been more disappointed to see Coach’s assistant.
“Yeah. Just this morning.” She blows out a breath and looks around frazzled. “I feel like I’ve been gone for a million years. Did you need anything? I haven’t checked emails yet.”
I take a step backward, retreating from her office. “No. I didn’t need anything. I just saw the light on. Welcome back.”
I can’t believe how disappointed I am. I guess the good news is that I’ll still see Scarlett, but with the season in full swing, it was nice to catch little glimpses of her during the day and steal kisses over breaks.
She’s waiting for me outside of the locker room, coffee cup in hand. A smile spreads across my face at the sight of her. Damn, I’m going to miss seeing her every morning.
“I just stopped by your office,” I say when I stop in front of her.
“Was I there being fabulously efficient?”
“Sadly no.” I lean in and inhale her fruity-smelling shampoo. “There’s an imposter in my dream girl’s office.”
I pull back at her soft laughter.
“I found out last night when I got home.”
“I guess you’ll have to get your own coffee from now on.” I point to the cup in her hand.
“Oh, no. This is for you.” She holds it out. “I thought it being my last day and all, I’d bring you a morning drink for a change. A small repayment. Plus, I wanted an excuse to see you.”
“You never need an excuse.” I take it but don’t make any move to drink it.
“It’s tea.” She rolls her eyes. “I had a real moral dilemma ordering it, too.”
I hand over hers. She reads the side where I had the barista write Girlfriend instead of her name. The guy looked at me like I was an idiot, but the smile on Scarlett’s face makes it totally worth it.
“Where are you heading today?” I put a foot of distance between us when a couple of teammates appear in the hallway.
“I’m not sure, but I’ll be at the game tonight, boyfriend.” She brushes her fingers against mine and starts down the hall. “Do me proud.”
We have a light practice, and then I go home to nap before the game. Ash stops by when it’s time to go to the arena.
“Knock, knock,” he says as he walks through the front door. “Ready?”
“Yeah. One more minute.” I set the vase of roses on the kitchen table. The entire first floor is romance central—candles and flowers on every surface.
“What in god’s name happened in here?” Ash looks horrified as he takes in my attempt at romance and seduction.
“Scarlett’s staying over tonight after the game. Too much?”
“It’s… intense.” His brows climb up toward his hairline.
I may have gone overboard. “We made things official last night. I wanted to do something big for her.”
“Congrats. You sealed the deal with your dream girl.” He claps me on the shoulder. “I’m happy for you.”
“Okay.” I step back and scan the room one last time. She’s either going to be pleasantly surprised or run out the door. Here’s hoping she’s wearing heels, so I can catch her if she chooses the second option.
Ash and I are both due in the media room before the game. As much as I dread interviews, the best time is always before the game when I can wax poetic strategy and optimism.
We’re playing Pittsburgh tonight. We’ve tinkered with the lines enough that we’re starting to get into a rhythm. Those early season nerves and worries are abating, and it’s just pure excitement rushing through my veins during warmups.
As I stretch near the bench, I scan the seats Scarlett sat in last game with her mom, but they’re empty. A ping of disappointment hits me, but then I see her making her way down the aisle with a drink in one hand, popcorn in the other. Jade is a step behind her. Warmth spreads through my chest, and another dose of adrenaline floods my bloodstream.
She looks up and catches me staring. Two fingers around her drink lift in a small wave, and my heart beats faster.
My family doesn’t come to my games that often anymore. They’re supportive, and I know they’re proud, but we weren’t a hockey family growing up. In fact, my family wasn’t really into sports at all.
Having Scarlett here for me feels nice. I forgot what it was like to look up in the crowd and have people there just for you.
I don’t have time to bask in it for long. The game is a full-out war. We lost to Pittsburgh in the playoffs last year and the hard set of Ash and Declan’s jaws during the first period tells me I’m not the only one out for redemption.
At the first intermission, we’re up by one and head to the locker room. I glance up at Scarlett, and she winks at me. Yeah, I think I could get used to this.
We pull out a victory, and after cooling down and showering, I’m the first dressed and ready to go. I don’t have any after-game media tonight, so I slip out and text Scarlett.
She replies back with a selfie of her standing next to my car. Hell yeah.
Ash stops me before I leave. “Wild’s tonight?”
“Got plans,” I say with a grin.
“Right. The fiery seduction. Don’t burn the place down. I’ll call you tomorrow.”
I make a beeline for the parking lot. Before Scarlett can see me, I hit the unlock on my car, and she jumps back.
She looks up, smiles, and jogs toward me. I let my bag fall to the ground and catch her.
“First one out. Impressive.” Her breath is visible in the night air. “I missed you all day.”
“I had incentive.” I place a quick kiss to her mouth. “Missed you too.”
“What are we doing tonight?”
“The guys are going to Wild’s, but I was thinking we could celebrate by ourselves at my place?”
“Love that idea.” She drops down and tries to pick up my bag. It weighs about as much as she does.
Laughing, I scoop her up, bag and all, and deposit them both in my car. When we get to my place, I do the same, picking her up and carrying her inside.
“I thought we were celebrating.” She laughs as I strip out of my T-shirt and jeans in the entryway.
“Yeah.” I pause, boxers still on. “A naked celebration. Was that not clear?”
A sexy, husky laugh sounds from her lips, and she pushes the only remaining clothing down over my hips. My dick springs up, happy to see her. She kisses the head of my cock, just as I remember I have a whole setup for this.
“Hold that thought, dream girl.”
She shoots me a confused look as she pops off.
“Close your eyes,” I instruct as I haul her into the living room. I light all the candles, then turn back to her. She’s still fully clothed, but damn, if she isn’t the sexiest girl I’ve ever seen. “Okay.”
Her dark lashes flutter open, and she inhales sharply. “Leo Lohan.”
“That’s the first time you’ve said my full name, and I don’t feel like I’m in trouble.”
She shakes her head. “Definitely not in trouble. You did all this for me? Why?”
“I haven’t had a girlfriend in…” I trail off. I don’t even know how long. “That’s not the point. The point is, I’m in this. All in. I really like you. I want to celebrate this.” I motion between us.
I don’t think I’ve ever said those words to someone. Definitely not naked.
Slowly, she pulls her shirt over her head. She kicks off her shoes as she unbuttons her jeans. There’s a look on her face that tells me not to move, so I stare at her as she strips down in front of me in the glow of the candlelight.
She glances at my dick like she might be thinking of dropping to her knees again.
“I need to be inside of you,” I say. “Condoms are upstairs.”
“I’m on birth control,” she says.
“I’m clean. I was tested last month, and I haven’t been with anyone else.”
My chest rises and falls in anticipation as she nods. Lust and excitement hang heavy in the air around us.
I set the stage for romance, but I fuck her hard against the wall the first time, too pent up and eager to hold back. I’m so into her. My living room is a scene straight out of a cheesy, romantic comedy, and I’m already thinking of all the other crazy shit like this I can do for her.
The second time is slow on the floor in front of the fireplace—the one thing I didn’t light. When we’re temporarily satiated, I grab blankets from the couch for us to lie on.
“You really haven’t had a girlfriend recently?” Scarlett asks as she curls into my side. She runs a finger down my chest and over my stomach.
“No, not since college.”
“Uhh…” I try to think of a nice way to put that I was busy sleeping my way through puck bunnies for the first year.
She smirks like she can read the thoughts in my head.
“I let all of it get to me—the girls, the money, the attention.”
“What changed? I mean, you haven’t been in the league that long.”
“At the end of my first year, we were in Boston for a three-game series. It was the first time I’d been back since I left college. After the second game, I went to a party at my college to catch up with some buddies. It was nuts.” I still remember walking in and people calling out to me, and the girls—damn, the girls. I got attention from girls in college, but this was different. They were unabashedly down to fuck, and they let me know it by pulling me into a room where five girls fed me shots, and we did just that. Yeah, not my finest moment.
“I showed up late to practice the next day. I was so hungover.” I shudder at the memory. “Coach Drew, my coach before your dad, took one look at me, benched my ass, and as soon as we got back to Minnesota, he kept me at the rink all-night skating and yelling until he was convinced I learned my lesson.”
“And did you?”
“Yeah, definitely. And the photos that surfaced of that night a few days later only confirmed it.”
She makes a face. “Ouch.”
“Yeah. So, I focused on hockey. I’ve dated a little, but I guess you’re the first girl I’ve really wanted more with.”
She grins. That finger trailing along my chest lifts to the dimple in my cheek. “You know what this means, right?”
That I’m a goner? Totally head over heels for this chick? I shake my head. “What?”
She hops up and takes my hand to help pull me to my feet. “It’s time to tell my dad.”