Home > Charming as Puck(3)

Charming as Puck(3)
Author: Pippa Grant

The line goes dead. I pull my phone back, a lump ballooning in my throat, and now I’m growling at the brick in my hand.

I freaking charged it last night, but the battery couldn’t even get me to the office. I have got to get a new phone.

And I also realize I probably shouldn’t have asked for a guy with a big penis before my battery gave way.

But that shower—and the way he liked to shove me against the wall and fill me and—

“Sex isn’t everything,” I tell Sugarbear, more because I need to hear it and I need to not give myself a reason to offer Nick another chance. “He never once ordered pizza with mushrooms only on half. Every single time, I had to pick them off.”

And every single time, I told myself it didn’t matter. Or that he liked sharing food with me, and he knew I’d pick them off, so he could eat my leftovers. Or that I only ate a quarter of the pizza anyway, so why bother with leaving mushrooms off an entire half?

Except I also know Felicity brings her own pizza to his place because he never thinks to get a veggie pizza with vegan cheese even though she’s been vegan for years.

And it’s not that we expect him to take care of us. It’s that all the rest of us remember that he can’t stand green peppers and that mangos make him break out in a rash.

“It’s the little things that count, Sugarbear. Don’t ever settle for a bull who doesn’t pay attention to which patch of grass is your favorite. Because you deserve to be taken care of too.”

She nods.

Probably because she likes me scratching her head like this, but I tell myself she’s listening carefully and taking notes about dating.

I pull my phone back out of my pocket to text Muffy that my date can’t like mushrooms, but I can’t, because my phone is dead.

“Argh!” I scream.

And then I want to apologize to the neighbors for making noise, because that’s me.

Sweet, compassionate, optimistic, everyone loves her Kami.

I’m so tired of being sweet.

And of putting everyone else’s feelings first.

I leave Nick’s closet alone, mostly because he’s already done a good enough job of making sure he can’t find anything in it, and rearrange the pictures on his wall so that the photo of himself laughing and pointing that’s usually hanging over the toilet in his powder room is hanging over his bed instead, and the shadow box his parents made him with his championship ring from last season is hanging in the powder room where the pointing picture went.

His prized possession is now hanging in the shitter.

In the kitchen, I take back the massive pizza cutter I got him when I realized his was broken, and I put all of his microwave popcorn bags in the refrigerator.

He’ll think he moved it while he was drunk and cut back on his drinking for a few weeks.

Especially since I also move a half-used stick of butter to where the microwave popcorn is supposed to live in his cabinet.

It’s not that he’d be lost without me.

It’s that he never wanted me as much as I wanted him, and he never even noticed half the things I did for him.

I sag against the counter. “It’s not his fault, Sugarbear,” I tell the cow. “He doesn’t know anything other than being the center of the universe, and he’s never even had to work hard for most of it because he’s hot and naturally talented. But he can’t be the center of my universe anymore. I need to matter too.”

She nuzzles her face against my belly. I rub her soft ears. “But this is going to be the best thing to ever happen to you. I promise.”

I bend and kiss her on the head, and though I don’t want to leave her, I have to go.

I need to get out of Nick’s space.

And I need to find somewhere to take her, and a vehicle I can transport her in.

And then I need to make sure he and his teammates never abuse a poor animal again in their quest to annoy each other in the name of camaraderie.

And once I’ve solved all that, maybe I can salvage what’s left of my birthday.

Preferably with a new potential man of my dreams.

Three

Nick

It’s not usually a wise idea to pick a fight with a guy who could crush you with his pinky, but Ares Berger is not only my teammate, he’s also my brother-in-law.

Also, no one’s ever accused me of being wise.

Plus, it’s his fault Kami’s pissed at me for the cow thing. I don’t like when my friends are pissed at me.

And Kami doesn’t get pissed at anyone. Not at the guy who spilled beer on her last week at Chester Green’s. Not at whoever left that ding in the side of her car door. Not at her dogs when they poop in her house.

It happens, she always says with that bright smile. Sometimes a resigned bright smile, but always a smile.

But she’s mad at me.

It’s sitting wrong in my gut.

And in my nuts.

“Morning, jackass.” I shoulder into Ares and push past him on my way into the dressing room to get ready for practice.

“Hey. Quit calling my brother names.”

Zeus Berger, Ares’s identical twin, is already inside, strapping on his skates in front of his locker. He’s the new guy on the team this year, and despite making no secret of his intentions to retire—for real this time—at the end of the season, he’s been working his ass off on the ice to prove himself. The two Berger twins together—known as the Brute and the Force—are seven hundred pounds and almost fourteen feet of pure hockey talent.

Ares gives me a shoulder brush back, and I almost lose my balance.

Zeus smirks.

Ares stays straight-faced while he heads to his locker and inspects his skate laces.

Duncan Lavoie shakes his head at me when I stop at my locker and start pulling out my gear. “You still haven’t learned not to pick a fight with one of them unless you have six of us behind you yet?”

“He’s hardly the intelligent Murphy sibling,” Manning Frey points out in his fancy accent. Dude’s a real fucking prince of a small country across the Atlantic, but he’s so far down the royal line to inherit that he left home to play pro hockey here instead of taking some ceremonial job in the kingdom.

“He knocked my sister up,” I tell Zeus. “I’ll call the fucker whatever I want to.”

I don’t mention the cow to any of them, because it’s part of the game. The next part of the game involves me getting Ares back, and I’m already plotting sweet, sweet revenge.

Probably something with a snake. Or maybe a litter of bunnies.

But it has to be somewhere that Felicity won’t have to deal with it.

“Ares outranks you in the family hierarchy now,” Zeus argues. “I’m fucking proud of him. Always wanted to be an uncle.”

“You’re already an uncle,” Frey observes, since his baby daughter is technically Zeus’s niece too because their wives are sisters.

“Only by marriage, and not on the Berger side of the family, dude. This baby’s gonna be fucking awesome. It’s already practically half me.”

“Felicity still puking every day?” Lavoie asks Ares.

He shakes his head and strips off his shirt, grabbing his pads.

“Saw her last night. She’s eating like a cow now,” Zeus offers with a sly grin.

Motherfucker.

The cow’s his fault.

Of course it is. Ares is too busy keeping Felicity happy when he’s not on the ice to put much effort into pranks.

But Zeus—his wife owns her own flight adventure company in Alabama, and she didn’t move here with him. He has time on his hands when he’s not having phone sex or playing hockey. And what you do to one Berger twin, you do to both.

Should’ve seen that coming.

“Get dressed,” Ares orders.

Dude doesn’t say a lot, so when he does, we all listen.

I yank on my practice gear, lace up my skates, and send Kami a quick text before I head to the rink.

Thanks for your help. What’s the name of that animal shelter you like again? Got ten grand sitting in my bank account with their name on it.

I wait, but she doesn’t reply. The text doesn’t change from delivered to read either.

She’s probably doing some vet shit.

Or pulling a cow out of my place.

“You still pissed about the game last night?” Lavoie asks as we step onto the ice and start warm-up laps. Last year’s championship banner hangs from the scoreboard over the ice, a reminder of what we have to live up to this year.

Of what I have to live up to this year. As goaltender, it’s ultimately my responsibility to not let anyone score on us. The better I do my job, the easier the rest of the team has it.

And last night didn’t give me a lot of confidence that I’ll be able to take on the tougher teams in the league.

Indianapolis—last year’s expansion team—nearly wiped us out in the first round of the playoffs last season.

Those two biscuits that got by me last night?

It would’ve been six if we’d been playing the Indies. I have a month to get back in my groove before we face them for the first time this year. The playoffs might be a long way away, but every game counts.

Especially the hard ones.

“Murphy?” Lavoie says.

“What? Oh. Yeah. The game fucking sucked. Thanks for those extra goals.”

He looks at me like he knows I’m just blowing smoke. The guy’s been with the Thrusters most of his career. Playing team captain this year, and he’s not an idiot.

“What’s her name?” he asks.

Kami’s easy smile flashes in my brain. Then the feel of her pussy squeezing my dick while she comes.

The way her cheeks flush when she shouts my name.

I ignore him, because it’s not like Kami and I are in a relationship. We’re friends. Friends who like to fuck. And I’m not gonna whine to Lavoie that Kami’s mad at me about the cow, because I’m not acknowledging the cow.

The Berger twins are racing Frey, all three of them grinning like kids who just learned to skate.

   
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