Next Season (The Elmwood Stories #2) Read Online Lane Hayes

Categories Genre: M-M Romance, Sports Tags Authors: Series: The Elmwood Stories Series by Lane Hayes

Total pages in book: 67
Estimated words: 64238 (not accurate)
Estimated Reading Time in minutes: 321(@200wpm)___ 257(@250wpm)___ 214(@300wpm)

The injured hockey player and the grumpy chef…


My time playing pro hockey will be up soon. I can feel it. And I’ve heard the he’s too old, he’s had too many injuries, he’s lost his edge. I don’t want to admit it, but they could be right. Next season might be my last.

Or this season. Because of course, this is when the universe decides I need another concussion. It’s a doozy too—the kind that’s going to keep me off skates for a while.

Which is how I end up in a small New England town in the middle of nowhere Vermont, eating every meal at a diner where a grumpy chef from Quebec makes haute cuisine…and burgers. Jean-Claude is funny and charming and—

Okay, I have a crush on a gay man.

This is a new one.


Confused straight men are entertaining. But Riley is…fascinating, sexy, and curiously vulnerable. His injury has rocked his confidence a bit, so perhaps he’s in need of a friend. Any friend. Even moi .

I’m an unlikely choice, but maybe he just likes my tuna salad.

No…I think it’s me.

And though I’m happy to help him explore his bisexual curious side, I have career concerns of my own. See, the things I love most about Elmwood seem shaky and uncertain, but not Riley. He’s solid and genuine. Suddenly, this temporary secret liaison feels more real than anything in my life.

I need more than this season. I want it all. With Riley.

Next Season is an MM bisexual-awakening romance featuring a grumpy chef, an injured hockey player, and a big HEA in a small town where anything can happen.

*************FULL BOOK START HERE*************



“Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves.” —Henry David Thoreau, Walden

Wednesdays = orange tape.

Okay, that was a personal preference and a tried-and-true ritual, but as anyone who’d ever played hockey could attest, certain rituals were sacred. For me it was right sock first, left knee pad last, and orange tape on Wednesdays.

Hey, hockey players were a suspicious bunch, and we all knew that the slightest deviation from routine could result in catastrophe.

Check this out:

The Slammers’ center, Mickey Romajski, tore his ACL the weekend after he’d accidentally used a teammate’s towel in the shower. For a germaphobe like Mickey, it was a no-no and possibly the cause of injury. Another teammate, Jake Moran, cracked a rib two days after he’d uncharacteristically sat on the bench to pull on his shoulder pads instead of standing as usual. Both injuries were sustained on the ice, but not on the same day as the routine hiccup, which might mean they had nothing to do with messing with tradition, but you couldn’t be too careful.

And how ironic was that? Caution didn’t fly in this game. The most superstitious D-man out there still had to play like a badass ’cause this was hockey, for crying out loud.

So as my teammates engaged in their own rituals, I taped my stick and gave my pregame “we got this” speech like a good captain. Or co-captain. This would be the night we’d turn our lukewarm start to the season around. This would be the night we’d come out strong, beat our opponent to the puck, pass like a finely tuned machine, and create scoring opportunities at will…no problem.

Except there was a problem: As I neared the end of my roll of tape, the color looked more yellow than orange. Like the manufacturer had started with yellow and switched to orange and— Fuck me. This was the wrong color.

No wait. It had to be the light. No issues here, folks. Nothing to worry about.

I pushed aside the tinge of apprehension and focused on my surroundings. The locker room was a flurry of fist bumps, words of encouragement, and then someone blasted a raucous beat to pump us up. We were warriors going into battle, and victory was ours for the taking.

We hoped.

We skated out to tepid applause and jeers as per normal for the visiting team. Some crowds were more brutal than others, but it was still early season and anything could happen. And after a particularly off-key rendition of the national anthem, I took my place on the bench, swallowing my annoyance when my co-captain, Ben Childress, lost the face-off.

So…co-captain. Yeah, not gonna lie, it sucked. Sort of like being given a sliver of a slice of chocolate cake instead of the chunk you’d been promised. Three years into sharing the C with a twenty-five-year-old phenom from Boston, I’d thought I’d resigned myself to reality, but some nights…not so much.

At thirty-five, I was one of the old-timers now. My minutes were down, and I resented every fucking thing about that. Childress wasn’t a better forward than me; he was just younger. Ben was also hotheaded, impetuous, and had a tendency to pick stupid fights, which was how he’d earned the nickname Chili.

Case in point: He not only lost the puck, but he pissed off Buffalo’s beast of a center. He’d probably called him a pussy or insulted his parentage or made fun of the mole on his left cheek. Who knew? Chili was a dick, and he loved the sound of his own voice.

Needless to say, the tone was set from that first slap of sticks. This wasn’t going to be pretty, and Buffalo’s fans fucking loved it. They wanted blood on the ice. Preferably ours.

Childress ate up the animosity, egging on the crowd with his arms raised. By the second period, you could practically see the energy roll through the stands like a wave onto the ice. So much for tepid.

I hopped over the boards with the second line and found myself battling with Buffalo’s new star, a quick twenty-one-year-old kid with fire in his eyes who’d sized me up and decided I wasn’t a problem. I didn’t like that. I kept up with the little shit, slicing in front of him and easily stealing the puck.

I could hear Childress’s whoop of glee above the crowd and Minski’s holler for me to pass as I deked around a D-man and tore off with a breakaway that couldn’t have been a sweeter opening if it had been gift-wrapped with a red ribbon and served on a silver platter. I didn’t need Minski. I had this one. The goalie was hugging the right corner, but there was just enough space to sling it in on the left. I angled my hips, gaining speed as I pulled my stick sideways, and—flew through the air, landing in a heap against the boards.