Shayne Donnelly wondered what she was wearing under that little green dress. It was the neckline, he decided, that made him wonder. He was sure there was a technical term for the sequined fabric curving over her breasts like a lover’s hands. He didn’t care if they called it a dead-man-walking neckline. His finger itched to hook into the little dip between her tits and pull the glittery fabric down. Which nipple would he lick first? Left? Or right? It seemed very important for him to decide.
It was a dress meant for fucking. So was the woman.
The non-existent back curved over her plump ass...an ass that beckoned him to push that fabric up to her waist then bend her over the poker table. He’d fill his hands with that butt, parting the cheeks and then he’d bury his dick in her. He swore he felt that tight little hole stretching over his cock, felt her ass rubbing him as he plunged hard and fast.
He lifted his glass up as he next contemplated the short length of dress she wore. It ended high above her knees, revealing the longest legs he’d ever seen. They’d wrap around him a few dozen times as he plopped her ass down on the dessert table and fucked her hard. Maybe he’d pop one breast into the chocolate fountain and lick her clean. He’d leave her killer heels on so he felt the sharp heels digging into his ass each time they slammed together.
God almighty, he wanted to fuck her.
He wanted to fuck Lacey Magerin--until last year, Lacey Magerin-Hodges.
His cock pounded with the need to claim her. Any way, every way. Over and over until they were both dead.
His thoughts were going to get him killed.
He sipped his scotch as he envisioned the woman writhing naked in his thoughts. This was Lacey, he told himself. Lacey. Not some puck bunny who screwed around with anyone who had a helmet. She was a mother for crying out loud. The mother of teenage daughters at that. She was the oldest sister of his best friend. She had driven him and her brother Todd to hockey practice when they were kids. Damn it, she had even babysat him a couple of times. She had taught him and Todd how to drink when they turned nineteen.
None of this was helping drive the prurient thoughts from his brain. It was that green dress. He knew it. He never would have looked at her if she had been wearing black.
Maybe he needed to get laid.
A few of the ladies at the fundraiser were puck bunnies. He could tell. Sure they wore fancy dresses but they still wanted to sleep with hockey players. Any hockey player would do. Their panties dropped fast when the word NHL was tossed about. They didn’t care about him as a person, only that he was a goalie for the Houston Steam. His gaze scanned the room before returning to Lacey.
“Who’s the babe?”
Shit. He took another sip, contemplating the level of alcohol in his glass. Too much to excuse himself to the bar. Adam Payne stood beside him, drinking imported beer. The man crapped gold out of his ass and played center like an assassin--fast and lethal, especially with his slap shot. They didn’t get along. Never had, never would. Payne thought the world owed him because he could play hockey and was the son of a former mayor.
The two of them competed hard throughout their time at Magerin Hockey School. Shayne determined to prove to himself he wasn’t like his drunk of a father and Payne determined to remind Shayne he didn’t belong at the expensive school. They didn’t play the same position, nor on the same NHL team. That didn’t mean they didn’t try to flatten the other when they were on the same ice.
The press fed off the rivalry.
“Hm?” Shayne watched as Payne’s ice blue eyes immediately sought out Lacey. Her back was to them and Shayne wanted to pour his drink along that smooth plane of skin, then sip the expensive scotch from her skin. Paradise.
Payne just smirked and sipped his beer. Shayne fought the urge to punch him in the face. “Less watching from the bench, Donnelly.” He slapped Shayne on the back and sauntered across the room to hit on Lacey. Shayne decided not to warn him the woman was Lacey. This would be entertaining.
Fuck--unless she decided to sleep with Payne.
No, she wouldn’t do that. She was smart. Sex with Adam Payne would be...unbelievably stupid. That’s what Shayne told himself anyway.
He watched the approach of the NHL bad boy. As a waiter passed, Payne plucked a glass of champagne off the tray. He spoke to her back. The face-off would undoubtedly be something sexy. She turned. Home team grabs the puck. Visitors scramble. Grinning now, Shayne wandered over to the bar and ordered two Glenfiddich. Whistling the “Hockey Night in Canada” theme song, he approached the pair where home ice still had the advantage.
He had to give Payne credit. He tried to make it look like he hadn’t been hitting on her. He really did.
“You look stunning, Lace.” Shayne handed over the second drink and earned a smile.
“Thanks Shayne, you read my mind.”
“That you’re stunning?” Shayne met her gaze. In those towering heels they were the same height. “It’s a gift.”
An unladylike snort came from her as she took a sip. “I needed this.”
“When one gets hit on by Payne, alcohol is usually required.”
She grinned suddenly, her eyes crinkling around the corners while her nose made a little wrinkle. Payne called him a cocksucker under his breath while Lacey smacked his arm lightly. “You are so bad. You clean up pretty good though. A tux.” She bobbed her eyebrows up and down as she adjusted the shoulder of his jacket.
“What do you know?” Payne took a sip of his beer and gave Shayne a bored look. “You can clean up a dirt farm boy.”
Lacey’s eyes narrowed as she plucked a non-existent piece of fluff off Shayne’s jacket. Shayne took a sip of his drink, ignoring Payne. He had been called worse by better men.
“I like a little dirt under the nails,” Lacey said as she gave Payne a slow look up and down. “It gives a man character. Excuse us. Shayne promised me a dance.”
He couldn’t help his smirk as he took another sip of his drink then set the glass down on a table. “Can’t let a lady down. See you on the ice, Payne.”
“Count on it,” the other man growled.
Every July when school was out, the annual fundraiser for the Magerin Hockey School also included a hockey game. A little over thirty-three years ago, Lacey’s father, Coach Magerin, had retired from his short stint in the NHL. Coach had told Shayne it was because his family was growing, his home was here. Somehow Coach had gotten the idea to start up a hockey school. From kindergarten to grade twelve, students enrolled where they got regular schooling and learned hockey. There had been classes on contracts in high school, public relations and even how to find an agent. The Magerin Hockey School was why Granville had turned into a successful city in Saskatchewan. The news called their growing city the hockey capital of Canada. Some major companies had even relocated their headquarters here so kids could go to school because the odds were high that a kid who attended MHS would make it into the big league. Tonight’s fundraiser was for the scholarship program. Shayne had been a scholarship kid, so even when he didn’t attend he sent in a healthy chip. Without MHS, Shayne would never have escaped Granville.
Considering a lot of the alumni had gone on to play in the NHL or on the Canadian national team, the annual alumni game was always a good one.
Lacey set down her own drink along with a little gold purse that matched her heels. They walked towards the dance floor where couples were currently swaying to a Frank Sinatra song. The music ranged all over the place. Earlier he had watched Lacey’s mother, Dana Magerin, rocking out to AC/DC.
“Thirty years old and he’s still an asshole,” Lacey said as stepped into his arms.
Wow. She smelled really, really good. Dancing with her was not a brilliant idea.
“At ninety-five he’ll still be an asshole.” There was nowhere to put his hand but on her back. Her soft, silky back. I am not getting a hard-on dancing with Lacey. I am not getting a hard-on dancing with Lacey.
He fought the urge to spread his fingers on all that warm skin and pull her close so her body rubbed against his hard-on. Her dark hair was pulled up into some kind of girly twist with curls tumbling down around her face, to the base of her neck. He wanted one of those curls to coil around his cock as she went down on him. Fuck. Donnelly, get a grip on reality and not your dick.
“I’m trying to remember the last time you were here for one of these things.” Whiskey bronze eyes searched his face, a little frown between her elegant eyebrows.
Really? Elegant eyebrows? He was a sick, sick man. “Four years ago.” Four years ago she had been married. The asshat had up and run off with a twenty-two year old last year. “How you holding up? Want me to beat your ex-husband with my stick?”
“Absolutely, but can we discuss the beating later? I want to enjoy myself tonight.” Her smile looked strained around the edges. Oh yeah, he was so going to beat up the asshat.
“Then you shall. Ready?” Before she could ask ready for what, he took her spinning across the dance floor in a series of quick turns. He brought her to a controlled stop, continuing to dance while she laughed with delight. Much better than her earlier attempt.
“Well, well, don’t you have hidden talents. Do it again.”
He did, managing to navigate them around the other dancers. At least it was a distraction from the arousal nipping at his system. Crap. He wished he had never noticed her. Could he go back to the moment when she was only his best friend’s older sister?
“You seem to know exactly what I need tonight.” She met his gaze, a soft smile appearing. “Thanks, Shayne.”
“More booze?” His naked body covering her naked body?
Reluctantly he released her and took her back to the tall table where their drinks waited. He rested his forearms on the table as he scanned the crowd. He spotted his friend, Todd Magerin, at the roulette wheel. His gaze shifted back to the woman. She was gorgeous.
Long, wavy chestnut hair, eyes the color of whiskey in a dark room, the Magerin nose that was a little big at the tip and a succulent mouth he definitely imagined wrapped around his cock. Her skin was almost copper in color and she had the most luscious ass.
She had modeled in her late teens and early twenties, even with a baby on her hip. Until the asshat had nipped that in the bud because he refused to have a successful wife. Irony was he had been her agent so he had to have known that those lean inches would make a successful model.
Screw it. “You are one gorgeous woman.”
She paused in sipping her drink, studying him. “This a sudden realization?”
He tilted his head. “Yeah.”
A snort escaped her. “Thanks, babycakes.”
Mayday! Mayday! Shayne caught her wrist when she went to walk away. “Before you were Todd’s beautiful oldest sister. But now,” he lifted a shoulder in a shrug even as the voice in his head told him to pull up before he crashed and burned, “you’re a gorgeous woman.”
Sweet God, would someone shut him up? He was not usually this idiotic around women. He was stumbling in the dark because all of a sudden Lacey was this tasty morsel he wanted in his mouth. Her gaze flicked over his face before she looked away.
“Uhm-hm,” she responded, clearly flustered.
Smooth, Donnelly. So smooth. He swallowed the rest of his drink and searched for an escape route. He had mentally mocked Payne and now here he was, no better. Awesome.
“Did you want a play air hockey?”
“What?” His brain couldn’t keep up as he gazed at the woman beside him.
“Air hockey. Couples tournament. Someone needs to kick my parents’ asses this year. I think we can take them.”
He stared at Lacey, his mind churning the words around. “Yeah,” he said slowly as a grin emerged on his face. “I think we can take them.”
* * * *
“Keep it clean, Magerins,” the ref said. Walter Lewis was one of her parents’ best friends, the father of her own best friend and was this year’s emcee and referee. He was dapper in his tuxedo, his gaze shifting between the two teams. Lacey expected him to say ‘touch gloves’ like they were in a boxing match.
“Yeah, yeah,” Lacey said then snarled at her mother. Her mother’s blue eyes narrowed in response. “You’re going down, old lady.”
“Watch your mouth,” her mother snapped back and tightened her grip on the plastic mallet. She looked ferocious in her gold evening gown. The bodice hugged her mother’s slender body and the starburst of gems added an extra sparkle. Her mom was gold from the tips of her heels to the elegant upsweep of her hair.
There were times Lacey felt her mom was too elegant for Granville, Saskatchewan. Until she opened her mouth and cursed like a trucker...or the wife of a hockey coach.
“Call it,” said the referee.
“Heads,” Shayne said beside her, glaring at her father. The two men had beady looks in their eyes, like gun shooters standing in the middle of town waiting for high noon.
Air hockey was taken very seriously with this crowd.
Walter flipped the coin. “Tails it is. Swap to the men at five points.”
Favoritism. She knew it. She moved to her end of the table, not sure she wanted to be the red player. She wanted yellow. For no other reason than it would irritate her mother. “Take her down, sweetheart,” her father said, his arms folded over his chest.
“We’ve got youth on our side, Coach,” Shayne said. “You’re what? Pushing ninety?”
Lacey fought a grin as her father glared. Seventy-one on his last birthday. Her mother pointed at Shayne. “You shut your yap, boy-o. I put Band-Aids on your skinned knees.”
“Asshole,” her mother growled then the thin puck was dropped and Lacey went after it. Light streams of air brushed over her arm as she snapped the puck at the slot at her mother’s end. In, damn it.
“Right on, sweetheart,” her dad shouted as her mother blocked the shot. “Spank her.”
Jesus. It had been awhile since she had played this. She hadn’t participated in the games at the fundraiser in years because Kevin found them demoralizing. She blocked the shot and fired it back, her bracelet sliding back and forth on her wrist. Her mother blocked Lacey’s shot, retaliating in kind. “Fuck,” she muttered when the puck got past her and slammed into the slot. Her mother spun around and high-fived her dad then returned as Walter retrieved the puck.
“Hang on.” Shayne leaned over the table. She stared at her wrist as his fingers brushed her skin. The same skittery feeling from when he had called her a gorgeous woman flittered in her stomach as he removed her bracelet and tucked it into his pocket. “Game on.” He folded his arms over his chest. He looked intimidating, his hazel eyes flat in what she often referred to as his game face. Not even the tuxedo diminished that hard expression.
The man needed to wear a tuxedo more often. It hugged all that muscle perfectly. He was, she searched for the word, sexy.
She blinked twice as the puck sailed right by her. then looked up and over her shoulder, meeting Shayne’s gaze.
“If you move your hand,” he moved his side to side, “your chances of stopping shots increase.”
“My team,” she said, pointing at her chest. “You’re on my team.” Was it her or had his gaze flicked down to her cleavage before snapping back up to her face? What the hell was going on? What kind of drink had he given her? Shayne didn’t look at her boobs, and she never used to notice he was sexy. He was Shayne for crying out loud. Her little brother’s best friend.
Ten years younger than her. He wasn’t sexy. He was a kid.
He pointed down and she nodded, focusing on the game. The puck dropped, so to speak, and she went after it determined to not be beat by her sixty-eight year old mother. “Damn it,” she snarled as her mother sank another goal.
This was embarrassing.
“Who’s your mommy, little girl? Me.” Her mom was pretty good at the trash talk as she pointed her fingers at herself then flicked them at Lacey in a “come and get it” wave.
This was mortifying.
“Don’t shoot head on,” Shayne said in a low voice, standing at her back. “Hit it off the boards.”
“Trust me. Aim for where her champagne glass is. And don’t move when she shoots. She’s always head on and you’re all over the place. Hold it in front of the slot.”
“You told me to move it,” she said, glaring at him.
“Well you were just standing there. At least make it look like you’re moving. Fake it.”
Okay. He was the pro here. She fought the urge to nod and returned to the game. She focused on the game, not the man behind her. Damned if his method didn’t work.
She barely moved her paddle then when she saw her chance; she aimed at her mom’s drink. The puck hit the low wall then bounced off and went into the slot, the sweetest vision ever. “Yes!” She punched her fists in the air. “Take that, old woman! Yes.” She jammed her fingers towards her mother.
“Nicely done. This time block the left half of the slot then aim straight down the middle.”
She turned to look at her partner. Shocked. She was shocked. “You’re a hustler!”
He cleared his throat, his eyes twinkling so they looked more green than hazel. “I’m a goalie. She’s predictable. Center left right. You’re watching the puck. I’m watching your mom.”
“Awesome. We’re kicking ass,” she said with relish.
“We’re down by two, doll. Don’t get cocky.”
She nodded the returned to the game and did what he said. Exactly. Scoring twice on her mom. “Oh yeah, who owns it. Huh? Huh?” She watched as her mom faced her dad for a meeting.
“He’s about to tell her I cracked her pattern,” Shayne said as he gave the couple a hard look.
“What? I did not!” Her mom yelled then spun around to give Shayne the evil eye.
“Would I do that to you?” He flattened his hand on his heart. “You’re the beat in my pulse, Mrs. Magerin. The blood in my heart. Lacey is just that good.”
Her dad glared. “Lay off, boy-o. Get your own woman.”
“What do I do? Stop flirting with my mom and tell me what to do.” Lacey swatted his chest and waited for her instructions. He glanced down at her and she found her thoughts wavering from the air hockey game. Had his mouth always been that sensual?
What the hell was going on?
She got the fact that it had been a long time since she had sex but that didn’t mean she went around eyeing up her kid brother’s friends. For crying out loud! Snap out of it.
“Repeat the pattern,” he said as he took a fresh drink a waiter brought over.
“Are you drunk? What?” He had to be. Did he miss that part where he told her that the enemy now knew they had cracked her game?
He handed the glass to her, put his hands on her hips and turned her around. Her heart gave an idiotic extra thump as she sipped his drink. “Repeat the pattern,” he repeated. His hands squeezed her and she almost dropped his glass. “Trust me.”
What the hell was going on? She surrendered the glass, wiped her damp hands on her dress and faced her mom. Her heart was racing. She felt hot and itchy. She was too busy thinking of her malfunctioning body and her mother used that to her advantage. Damn it.
Focus on the game. She stared at the hand braced on the table not far from her. An athlete’s hand, it was large like the rest of him with a broad palm. A finger pointed and she followed the direction to the game. The game, the game.
Right. Okay. Where were they?
“Left,” he said softly.
She rolled her eyes but once more guarded the left then fired the shot. Slick as the scotch he was drinking, she made her shot, tying them up again.
She could do this then it would be up to him to win this. It wasn’t an easy shot this time. The plastic puck made sharp sounds as it was pushed back and forth.
“Champagne glass,” Shayne said into his glass.
She banked the shot and watched in total surprise as her puck went in. “Holy cow,” she said quietly. “Holy cow!”
“Point to the red team. Five-four. Partner swap.”
“Did you see that? Yes! Take that!” She gave a hip wiggle as she stuck her tongue out at her mother.
“Nothing like winning like an adult,” her mother said with a dignified sniff, as if she hadn’t started the trash talk. “Game’s not over yet.”
“Please. I have the best goalie in the NHL on my team. Who do you have? Retired left wing? Please,” she snorted, waving her hand in dismissal. She glanced at the best goalie in the NHL and watched as he shrugged off his tuxedo jacket.
The white silk shirt hugged one broad chest. She wanted to stroke her hands over the breadth of his shoulders and down the soft fabric of his shirt to his ass. Shayne Donnelly had a fantastic ass. He folded the coat and handed it to her before he removed the green cufflinks from the wrists. He tucked them into his pants pocket and rolled up his sleeves.
Had his forearms always looked like that? They were tanned and roped with muscles. There was a tattoo around his left wrist. Had that always been there? She reached for his hand and turned it so she could see the design. It was the Granville Husks logo. On the inside of his arm were the two hockey stick blades that wrapped around his wrist, turning into wheat ears. Two zeroes were in green between the tip of the wheat and the stick blades. The year he had graduated from MHS. Crap, as if that wasn’t reality right there.
He had left high school ten years ago. Ten!
“Have you always had this?”
“Five years.” He took a sip of his drink and handed the glass to her, which meant he had it last time he was here but she hadn’t noticed. “You ready, old man?”
“Bring it, kid.” Her father had removed his jacket also. “You think you can take me? I know all your moves. I know for one you can’t shoot for shit. That’s why they put you in net.”
“How’re the joints? Arthritis acting up?” Shayne took the red paddle, spun it on the smooth surface of the table then settled into place. He crouched down like he was in the net, his legs spread and bent at the knees. He didn’t look at anyone but her father, two warriors facing off.
Lights glinted off her dad’s steel grey hair and his brown eyes were locked on Shayne as if the power to win was in his gaze alone. Her dad was competitive. His rule with hockey was to have fun but “Who says you can’t have fun and win?” was often heard coming from his mouth more often than not. His nose had been broken a few times in the game and decades ago the top three teeth had been removed by a facer from a puck. His knee was shot, arthritis had kicked in, and none of it kept him off the ice – even now.
She loved every bump and line in his craggy face, but he needed to go down.
The puck dropped and it was a vicious battle. She and her mother were amateurs in comparison to her father and Shayne. The puck was barely visible as it flew back and forth. She moved so she could watch them better. Shayne’s gaze was everywhere as he tracked the puck with ease. Unfair.
Granted he was used to keeping his eye on the puck but, really, this was rubbing it in. His arm snapped forward and the puck was a blur as it flew over the little streams of air. Right past her father’s yellow paddle and into the slot.
His eyebrows rose and fell. It was all the trash talk he did.
He settled back into position and this time she watched him instead of the game. He was utterly absorbed in the game, his gaze tracking and following, his hand barely seeming to move as he stopped shot after shot. No, he wasn’t following the puck. He was anticipating. He was almost two seconds ahead of where the puck would go.
She watched as he delivered another hard shot, sinking it. Her father cursed and once more those eyebrows rose and fell. She sipped Shayne’s scotch, enjoying the smoky flavor on her tongue as Shayne spun the paddle once more, letting the puck coast away before he recaptured it and hunkered down.
“This is almost sad,” her brother said behind her. “Watching the old man get spanked like this.”
She glanced at Todd who was smirking. “You bet on this game.”
“Please. Shayne versus Dad? Everyone has bet on this game. It’s like making a six-year-old go against the NHL. But Dad’s needed to be knocked off this pedestal for a while. Way to kick Mom’s ass.”
He snorted as he squeezed her shoulder. Clearly he knew who had shared that wisdom. She looked at the game then back at her brother. He looked grown-up. When had that happened?
Like the other men in the room, he wore a tuxedo but with a green and yellow vest instead of a cummerbund. The colors matched the team colors for the Granville Husks. Usually his hair was a mess, the curls dominating but tonight it was almost smooth to his skull. He had tried shaving his head once. He did not have the right face and head shape to go without hair, even a crew cut. So it grew wild. Like him. Even his blue eyes looked older tonight. When had these two grown up on her?
The third face off and once more the puck was being abused. She focused on the game. “He knows where Dad’s aiming before Dad does. How does he do that?”
“He’s good, Lace. He’s really good. He can’t shoot for shit though.”
The puck hit the corner of the slot before her father knocked it away. Yeah, she thought, her brother was right. Every time Shayne missed a decent shot, his left eye twitched as if he was cursing in his head. On the outside though he was utterly calm.
Another point and his eyebrows bobbed.
Both Shayne and her father shook out their wrists. The paddle made another slow, floaty spin as he stretched his arms over his head. The shirt strained over his chest and she wondered if every feminine heart fluttered in appreciation or if it was only hers.
“Feel the burn. You’re going to choke,” her father taunted.
“Only on the trophy, old man.”
They had two more goals to go. Once more he was crouched down and the game was on. On the other side of the table were her two younger sisters cheering for their parents and taunting Shayne. He ignored them. She supposed if one was sometimes booed by twenty thousand people, her sisters were white noise. Although if Shelley, the second of the five Magerin kids, had been in town, odds are he wouldn’t have been able to ignore them. She was the loudest of all the Magerins, including their mom.
She watched his mouth move. Watched his lips form, “fuck” a second before the puck few past him.
“Haha!” Her father crowed while her sisters and mom cheered, lipping off at the goalie.
Shayne rested his hands on his hips, ignoring the trash talk, his gaze skating over the table as if he was replaying the game. He looked up, met her gaze then he grinned. He winked before he bent down, focusing on the game. “Like you can do that again,” he said.
“Watch me, kid. Watch me then you can weep tears when I beat your ass.”
© Jenna Howard
Author: Jenna Howard
Publisher: Liquid Silver Press
Lacey Magerin never expected her husband of twenty years to leave her for a twenty-two year old. She never expected her fifteen-year-old daughter to blame her for the divorce. Lacey also never expected Shayne Donnelly.
The NHL goalie is her brother's best friend and is ten years younger than her. Neither of them know the rules in this new game but that's not stopping either of them from playing or finding love in the least likely place - on home ice