SCARLETT MILLER IS YOUR DREAM GIRL?
Sunday, we get a day off from practice and workouts, and Coach Miller invites the team over to his house. We did it last year, right before the pre-season kicked off, to get to know the new head coach, and I guess now it’s going to be tradition.
We’re outside in his back yard, where a bar is set up and there’s enough food inside to feed us twice (which is saying something). Everyone is on their best behavior tonight. Not that Coach doesn’t know we like to get rowdy and have fun when we’re on our own time, but this could be a big year for us. We’ve all been feeling it since that very first day we were on the ice together.
Sure, we’re young, but teams that count us out because of that are going to end up icing their old man aches and pains while watching us in the playoffs come spring.
“Hey, man.” Maverick corners me next to the bar where I’m standing with Ash and Jack. “Do you have any extra tickets for the home opener?”
Ash speaks before I can. “I already asked. He’s saving them for his dream girl.”
“Dream girl?” Maverick asks. “Is she real or fantasy? Because mine is very much real, and she’s thinking of flying up for the game with some friends.”
“I’m going to call her tonight. Can I let you know then?”
“Sure. Thanks, man.” He walks off with a salute.
“Dream girl?” Jack angles his body, closing the small circle between the three of us. “Why am I just now hearing about this?”
“He’s being stingy with details,” Ash answers for me. “Met her at a college bar. She doesn’t know he’s a hockey player.”
“What am I a toddler? I can answer for myself.”
“I met her at a college bar. She doesn’t know I’m a hockey player,” I repeat his words.
Both of them laugh.
“She was gorgeous and unexpected and…”
The guys are hanging on my words and grinning like a bunch of idiots. Fuck them. I don’t even care.
“Whatever. I’m going to call her tonight and invite her to the first home game and then out to Wild’s after.” I shouldn’t have put it off this long. It’s been more than a week since she left my house at sunrise, smelling like chlorine and sex, but I’ve been trying (and failing) to come up with a better follow-up date to our fuck-a-thon. Don’t get me wrong, I’m hoping that’s how the end of this one turns out too, but I’d like to spend some more time getting to know her.
She was funny and enchanting, and I felt good hanging out with her. She liked being with me, not Leo Lohan. I forgot what that was like. But, I think my only option is to invite her to a home game and hope she wants to hang out after.
“Why wait?” Jack asks. “That’s another almost two weeks. Give me your phone. Let’s text her now.”
Jack thrusts his hand out toward me. “Come on. We both know I’m better at talking to chicks.”
He isn’t wrong, but I need to do this myself. I push my hand in my pocket and grip my phone. “I’ve got this.”
“All right, but if she’s forgotten you or doesn’t answer or agrees to come to the game and then ghosts your ass, don’t say that I didn’t—”
My arm slices through the air, and I place my hand on his chest, silencing him, as my gaze snags on the other side of the yard near the back door where more people are arriving. I have to convince myself my brain isn’t playing tricks on me as Scarlett steps off the porch, wearing a yellow dress. Maybe I’ve conjured her up by thinking about her nonstop.
“That’s her. That’s Scarlett.” I blink a bunch of times, but she’s still there.
“Which one?” Ash asks.
“Yellow dress. Do you see her?” I’m still not totally convinced that I’m not imagining her.
The smile on my face falls as Coach Miller embraces her. A sick feeling washes over me, settling like a rock in the bottom of my stomach.
“No fucking way.” Jack cackles. He fucking cackles. “Scarlett Miller is your dream girl? Get in line, buddy. Coach will trade your ass faster than you can say, Stay away from my daughter.”
“I didn’t know.” I look at Ash.
He shrugs. “Never seen her before. Are you sure?”
Jack gives a definitive nod. “She was studying abroad the past couple of years. Paris or Australia or…”
“London,” I say.
I’m gonna be sick.
As if she can feel me staring at her, she looks in our direction, eyes quickly flitting over and dismissing us, then snapping back to me. Her gaze widens, and she stops in her tracks.
“Looks like she remembers you.” Jack slaps my back. “Congrats.”
“Sorry, man.” Ash’s words are a consolation I don’t want.
Fuck me. Did I get played? Was all of that guessing my occupation a joke because she knew exactly who I was?
I move toward her, hoping I figure out what to say before I reach her. She’s just as gorgeous as I remember. Brown eyes framed with thick lashes and a mouth that looks like it was made to be kissed. I should know because despite being confused and irritated, I still have the overwhelming urge to drop my mouth to hers.
I’m grappling for words when I reach her side, but I don’t get a chance to say anything. Coach’s voice booms with pride next to her as he introduces her to a couple of our assistant coaches. “This is my daughter, Scarlett. Just back from London and attending Whittaker.”
She says hello and shakes each of their hands, then introduces Jade standing beside her. Jade. Fuck.
“Hi,” I say from just behind Coach when her gaze snags on me again.
“Leo.” Coach opens his stance to include me and gives my shoulder a squeeze. “Honey, this is Leo Lohan, our newest captain. Leo, this is my youngest daughter, Scarlett and her friend, Jade.”
The back of my shirt sticks to me as I start to sweat. How the hell did I get myself in this situation? His daughter!? Fuck me.
Scarlett offers me her hand. “Nice to meet you, Leo.”
The slight taunt in her tone when she says my name is the only indication that she knows me. Well, that and the snicker from Jade as she watches us pretend to meet for the first time.
Coach falls into conversation with someone else, and I take Scarlett’s hand and practically drag her around the side of the house and out of view.
“Slow down,” she whispers in a haughty voice that goes straight to my crotch. “These shoes were not made for running in grass.”
“Did you know?” I ask, reaching for calm. Here she is. The girl I’ve thought of nonstop since she left my house. My fucking coach’s daughter.
“I thought you were a college student still living with his parents, so no. Did you know? Is that why you were so cagey about telling me what you do for a living?”
“I wasn’t cagey.”
She crosses her arms over her chest. “Yeah, okay.”
“I had no idea.” I run a hand through my hair. “I can’t believe this.”
“It’s fine. I’m about as eager for my dad to find out I had a one-night stand with one of his players as you are. So neither of us says anything. Are we cool?”
Are we cool?
I’m silent for too long, and she adds, “We don’t have to make a big thing out of it. It was one night.”
“Are you serious?”
“Umm… yeah. I have enough chaos in my life without worrying about a hot hockey player who doesn’t know how to work a phone.” The ice in her tone solidifies my fuck-up.
Ah, shit. “I was going to call. Just now, I was talking to my buddies about it.”
She laughs and lets her arms fall to her sides. “Let’s make a pact. I won’t tell my father, and you won’t pretend to care when I walk away and act like I don’t know you.”
She starts to leave, and I reach for her, wrapping my fingers around her wrist. The contact sends tingles all the way up my spine. “I was going to call. I swear. My schedule is nuts right now, but I wanted to invite you to the first home game.”
“You wanted to invite me to a game? A girl you didn’t even tell you played hockey.”
“I’m sorry,” I say. Damn, am I sorry.
She shakes her head, making her brown hair move around her shoulders. “It doesn’t matter. There’s no reason we need to run into each other again.”
“Come to the game,” I beg.
“I’ll be there… for my dad.”
“How about after?”
“You don’t need to do this. I’m a big girl, and I knew exactly what I was getting myself into the other night.” Her eyes drop, and she does a sweep of me from head to toe. “Just not who I was getting into it with.” She inhales sharply. “All the things I told you. Oh god. Please don’t say anything about me dropping out of school. I will tell him. I just haven’t found the right time.”
This is what she’s worried about? That her dad will find out she quit school, not that she spent last weekend riding my dick? Well, that feels… honestly, I’m not sure.
“Your secrets are safe with me.”
She tenses. “Ditto.”
I imagined this moment—seeing her again—a whole lot differently. For starters, I thought the expression on her face would read more excitement than repulsion.
“I don’t have any secrets. Don’t get me wrong, your dad may very well send me across the country if he learns what I did with his baby girl in my hot tub, but I’ll tell him myself right now if it means I can do it again.” I bring my hand to the curve of her neck. “You’re all I’ve thought about for the past week.”
Her lashes flutter, and her pulse races under my touch.
“Scarlett.” Jade appears around the corner, a warning in her gaze as she waves Scarlett over. “Your mom is looking for you.”
She nods, walking away from me, and toward her friend. I have so many more things I want to say, but this isn’t the place, so I don’t follow. Before she disappears, she glances over her shoulder to find me still staring after her. “See you around.”
She can count on it.