Him, Book 2
Can your favorite hockey players finish their first season together undefeated?
Five months in, NHL forward Ryan Wesley is having a record-breaking rookie season. He’s living his dream of playing pro hockey and coming home every night to the man he loves—Jamie Canning, his longtime best friend turned boyfriend. There’s just one problem: the most important relationship of his life is one he needs to keep hidden, or else face a media storm that will eclipse his success on the ice.
Jamie loves Wes. He really, truly does. But hiding sucks. It’s not the life Jamie envisioned for himself, and the strain of keeping their secret is taking its toll. It doesn’t help that his new job isn’t going as smoothly as he’d hoped, but he knows he can power through it as long as he has Wes. At least apartment 10B is their retreat, where they can always be themselves.
Or can they? When Wes’s nosiest teammate moves in upstairs, the threads of their carefully woven lie begin to unravel. With the outside world determined to take its best shot at them, can Wes and Jamie develop major-league relationship skills on the fly?
Warning: contains sexual situations, a vibrating chair, long-distance sexytimes and proof that hockey players look hot in any shade of green.
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At long last, I’m twenty paces away, then ten. Then I’m opening our door. “Hey babe!” I call out like I always do. “I made it.” I drag my duffel over the threshold, then toss my suit coat on top, abandoning these things beside the door, because all I need now is a kiss.
Only then do I notice that our apartment smells amazing. Jamie has cooked dinner for me. Again. He is the perfect man, I swear to God.
“Hey!” he calls, emerging from the hallway leading to our bedroom. He’s wearing jeans and nothing else except—and this is unusual—a beard. “Do I know you?” He gives me a sexy smile.
“I was going to ask the same thing.” I’m staring at the sandy-blond beard. Jamie has always been clean-shaven. I mean—we’ve known each other since before facial hair. He looks different. Older, maybe.
And hot as blazes. Seriously, I can’t wait to feel that beard against my face, and maybe my balls… Jesus. The blood is already rushing south, and I’ve been home fifteen seconds.
And yet I’m just stuck there in the middle of the room for a moment, because even though it’s been eight months since Jamie and I started up together, I’m still a little stunned at my own good fortune. “Hi,” I say again, stupidly.
He walks forward, his easy gait so familiar that my heart breaks a little bit. He puts his hands on my traps and squeezes the muscle there. “Don’t go away for so long. If you do that again, I’m going to have to sneak into your hotel room on the road.”
“Promise?” I ask, and it comes out like gravel. He’s close enough now that I can smell the ocean scent of his shampoo and the beer he drank while he waited for me.
“If I ever get a winning lottery ticket and a day off, I’ll do it,” he says. “Hotel sex after a game? Sounds hot.”
Now I’m measuring the distance to our sofa and counting the layers of clothes I’ll need to remove in the next ninety seconds.
“Glad I wasn’t the goalkeeper.” Jamie lifts his sexy arms overhead, and I notice that he’s in our bed. That’s the wooden headboard I chose, and the flannel sheets I bought when winter hit and Jamie began objecting to the cold.
A wave of homesickness hits hard. “I would kill to be there right now.” Can’t believe I fucked up our time together last week. “I’d show you exactly how hot you look.”
Jamie grins, and I practically smack myself in the head when realization strikes. “The beard! Where’d it go?” His face is now perfectly cleanshaven.
“Eh,” he shrugs. “Got sick of it. Beards itch.” He lifts a hand to his cheek and slides it slowly down to his chin.
When his little finger drags across his lower lip, I hear myself growl. “Do that again, Canning,” I demand.
He quirks an eyebrow at me. “Why?”
“Because I need to see it.”
He must hear something desperate in my tone, because he complies without any more lip. He lifts his palm to his cheek again and closes his eyes. I watch him take a deep breath, and on the exhale, he slides his hand down his jaw. When his fingertips reach his mouth, he slants his eyes open just a couple of millimeters. Then he slides two fingertips into his mouth and sucks on them.
“Fuck,” I breathe. I’m jealous of the fingers, the camera and the bed. “Take off your shirt for me.”
For a fractional second I think he’ll protest. We never do this. And we just had the shittiest week ever. But Jamie sits up a little, the camera losing him and showing me the ceiling instead. But then I see his arm sweep past, his T-shirt flying up and away. When the camera tilts again, Jamie’s golden chest is on full display.
March 8, 2016