Read Online Books/Novels:
Pucked Love (Pucked #6)
Author/Writer of Book/Novel:
1989185010 (ISBN13: 9781989185018)
As an NHL player, relationships haven’t been my thing. Shrouded in secrecy and speculation, they never last very long. But then that’s what happens when you require an NDA before the first date.
Until Charlene. She’s like a firefly. She’s elusive, and if you catch her she’ll burn bright, but keeping her trapped dulls her fire and dims her beauty.
I caught her. And as much as I might want to keep her, I’ll never put the lid on her jar. Not at the risk of losing her. So I’ve let her set the rules in our relationship.
But as long hidden secrets expose us both, I discover exactly how fragile Charlene is, and how much I need her.
We’re all broken. We’re all messed up. Some more than others. Me more than most.
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I breathe into my palm to check for freshness. I brushed my teeth less than ten minutes ago, but I pop two Altoids anyway. Fresh breath is crucial. I crunch down and spread the fiery-cold bits over my tongue. The burst of mint makes my eyes water, so I have to dab at the corners with my sleeve and breathe through my nose to avoid making it worse.
Darren Westinghouse is picking me up for a coffee date. The Darren Westinghouse, Chicago’s NHL right wing and the most mysterious man in the league. There are loads of rumors about him. His dating history is unclear and based mostly on speculation and conjecture. I’m excited to get to know the man behind the intense, stoic mask.
My palms are sweaty, and my panties are inappropriately damp as I wander around my kitchen. My reaction to anxiety is weird. And rather inconvenient. I’ve already changed my panties once in the past half hour.
“It’s just coffee,” I scold my crotch.
It doesn’t seem to matter, though. She’s preparing for all possible scenarios.
I introduced myself to Darren when I went with my best friend, Violet, to an away game. He was gentlemanly and sweet, offering to walk me back to my room. I went in for a goodnight kiss that turned into an epic make-out session. We kissed like teenagers until my lips were raw. It took a week before they finally stopped peeling.
Today I’m wearing shiny gloss that tastes like cotton candy—my hope is that Darren likes the flavor and will want to kiss it off more than once. I smooth my sweaty palms down my jean-covered thighs. I’m going for casual—except under my jeans I’m wearing a nice pair of lacy panties, just in case his hand happens to find its way into them. My bra matches, of course.
I check the time. It’s nine forty-nine in the morning. He’s picking me up at ten, but those eleven minutes feel like they’re taking an eternity to pass. I mentally scroll through the approved topics of conversation: obviously hockey, weather, my job, and my college experience are all approved.
I’ve learned that it’s best to give people the barest of facts and then shift the topic away from the really personal stuff. People usually love to talk about themselves, so it’s not all that hard to do. At nine fifty three I do another breath check and startle as my doorbell chimes.
“He’s here!” I whisper-shriek to no one. Or maybe I’m addressing my anxious vagina. I take two deep breaths and count to three before I open the door.
I’m still not adequately prepared for the vision taking up my front porch.
Darren’s in jeans and a long-sleeved shirt—so different than the suit he was wearing the last time I saw him. His short hair is styled neatly, and his hard, icy blue eyes move over me in a casual sweep that I feel everywhere. Darren is intense. He’s lightness and darkness fused together. And he’s unearthly beautiful. It’s a lot to process.
A half-grin tips his mouth and quickly becomes a disarming full smile that transforms his face from severe to stunning for as long as it lasts.
“Hi.” It’s almost a moan it’s so breathy.
I have tingles below the waist from those two words.
“Hi.” I’m repeating myself. Not smooth.
“I’m a little early,” he says. “I hope that’s okay.”
I snap out of my Darren-induced daze. “Yes! Yeah, of course. Just let me get my purse.” I turn, prepared to grab it from the kitchen, when I realize it’s already hanging from my right arm. “Oh, never mind. Looks like I’m all set.” I hope he doesn’t think I’m a complete idiot.
I shrug into my coat with Darren’s help—so courteous—grab my keys from the hook, and step out onto the porch. It’s a crisp morning, but the sun is shining, so it takes the edge off the chill in the air.
Darren is ultra-polite, opening the passenger door and helping me in before he rounds the hood and takes the driver’s seat. We make small talk as we drive toward the water.
I’m a little surprised when Darren pulls into a Starbucks and heads for the drive-thru. This isn’t quite what I had in mind when he proposed a coffee date. I figured we’d go to some quaint, cozy little café and stare into each other’s eyes.
“I thought we could go to the park.”
“Oh, sure. That would be great,” I say. Parks can be romantic. Especially since it’s kind of chilly today. Maybe he’ll have to put his arm around me to keep me warm. I can totally get on board with that.
Once we have our coffees, Darren drives to the water. He parks the SUV, but leaves the engine running. I assume we’re going to get out and stroll the boardwalk, but instead we stay where we are and chat while we people-watch. Also not what I was expecting, but he smells great, so I guess I’ll take it.