Home > Charming as Puck(9)

Charming as Puck(9)
Author: Pippa Grant

“No, everybody,” Mrs. Ostermeijer confirms. “Some people were just nicer about it. Or so I heard.”

I finally get the cow patty scooped into the bag and straighten. The thing must weigh five pounds.

“Here, let me,” Nick says, and before I know it, he’s swinging the cow poop bag and I have all four leashes—and Tiger—back in my arms.

“Put the shit down,” I hiss.

“What a sweet gentleman,” Mrs. Ostermeijer croons. “Kami, that one’s a keeper.”

He grins at me, still swinging the poop bag that he’s undoubtedly going to shove into someone’s locker. Or into their helmet.

I need to call Felicity and have her warn Ares.

“I’m a keeper,” he tells me.

“I have a date tonight,” I reply.

His brows crinkle and settle back into smirk mode almost as fast. “With who?”

“None of your business.”

“Where?”

“Again, none of your business.”

“You’re going to the zoo, aren’t you?”

“Yes. I’m going to the zoo. And we’re going to ride the zoo train and make out in the tunnel.”

His knuckles go white around the bag handles. I tell myself not to read into it.

“He probably kisses like an anteater,” he declares.

“Have you ever kissed an anteater?”

I regret the question instantly, because he’s smiling at me again, and I will never be immune to the magnetism and charm that oozes out of that smile. You’d think with the carved cheekbones and the square jaw and the growing stubble, that smile would look more predatory than boyish, but it’s everything.

It’s sexy and tempting and full of a promise that if I let him back in, I won’t regret it.

My body wouldn’t regret it. It’s humming in anticipation of having those long, strong fingers stroking and teasing my skin and my breasts and my pussy and my ass.

I love it when he strokes my ass.

“I’ve done a lot of things I wouldn’t do again,” he says, now working that smoky bedroom voice too, “but I’ve done a few things I’d like to do more of.”

I yank hard on Sugarbear’s leash, and she finally moves. “I need to go.”

Nick tosses the bag of poop into the back seat of his Cherokee. I cringe, because I can only imagine where it will end up.

My dogs are still overeager to love all over him, so they’re tangling up their leashes to get to him as he joins us again.

“I miss you,” he says quietly.

I miss who I always thought you could be.

I swallow hard before I can force the words I know I need to say. “It’s time to move on.”

“But we’re friends. We can stay friends.”

“Sure. We can stay friends.” Friends who don’t see each other. Who don’t call.

Who don’t go to each other’s hockey games.

Dammit, I’m going to miss watching hockey. Maybe I’ll cheer for the Seattle Badgers instead. They’re all the way across the country. I’m in no danger of meeting and falling for one of their players.

“Are you brushing me off?” he asks.

“What? No. That would be rude.”

“Kami.”

We reach the short sidewalk leading up to my little two-story house with the powder blue siding and the white trim, and I do my best to rein in my dogs. “Treats inside!”

All three of the canine dogs bolt up the steps. The bovine dog looks at me like I’ve just run over her pet bunny.

Like she knows I’m trying to brush Nick off.

“Are you seriously keeping the cow here?” he asks again.

“I’m fostering her while I look for a more permanent solution.”

“What about that place you took the goats over the summer?”

“Full.”

“And the donkey—”

“It ate through three fences and they asked me to not call them again.”

He tries to hide a grin, but he utterly fails. “Wasn’t there some farm that took those baby bunnies?”

“The owner died and his kids sold the bunnies to be made into fur coats.”

He has the decency to look horrified, so I don’t tell him that I’m lying, and that all the baby bunnies were actually adopted by families, though the process took a couple months.

“So, yes, I have a new dog who needs a bigger home, but I refuse to let her go until I know she won’t be turned into ground beef. And if any of you ever use an animal in a prank again, you’ll have to deal with something way worse than penguins invading the ice.”

His head jerks up, eyes wide, and I realize he needs to go.

Now.

“Did you—” he starts, admiration shining in his eyes, but I cut him off.

“Excuse me. I need to go wash my hair.”

Before I realize what’s coming, he grabs me around the waist and captures my mouth with his. His cheeks are scruffy, his lips firm and talented, brushing over mine, teasing the edges with his tongue, tasting like coffee and chocolate, and I could so easily melt into this kiss and pull him inside and beg him to take care of that ache building between my thighs.

And he would.

He’s not selfish in bed. He’d go down on me if I asked him to. He’d worship my breasts. He’d trail his fingers down my spine and circle my ass with that light touch that sets my nerves fluttering.

He’d make me come so hard, I’d see stars.

He’d come too. Hard and fast and deep, with an oh, fuck, yes moaned out while he buries his head in the crook of my neck.

And then he’d leave.

Because it’s what he always does. Even when I’m the one at his place, he leaves.

It’s a mental thing. You can just see him leaving.

He pulls out of the kiss and tucks a lock of hair behind my ear. “Have fun on your date tonight. Call me if I need to buy any puppy food for you.”

And while I stand there gaping, my cow-dog peeing a river down the sidewalk, he turns and strolls away.

Nine

Nick

October is my favorite month of the year. There’s the start of hockey season. Halloween candy and pumpkin spice lattes. The weather.

Like tonight’s weather.

Fifty degrees.

Overcast.

And dark early so I can pop a movie into the projector behind my parents’ place, stretch out on a pool lounger, and watch Miracle outside.

Okay, fine.

I don’t give two shits about the weather. I don’t want to be hiding by a pool that’s too cold to swim in, watching a movie by myself. I want to have a woman’s feet tucked under my legs.

I want to hear her laugh when I crack a terrible joke and her moans when I talk her out of her pants and bury my cock deep inside her.

I want to kiss her again like I did when I left her house earlier today.

I could hit the bars, but I don’t want some bunny offering to kiss my booboos over the game last night.

I want—

Fuck. I just want. And I want to not think about what I want, but since Lavoie brought it up, all I can think about is want.

And I don’t want to want what I want, but I can’t help myself.

So I’m hiding. From all of it. Including my sister’s attempts to murder me with her eyeballs, because she doesn’t want me to want what I don’t want to want either.

Fuck, I’m a complicated mess.

The one thing I’m not complicated about?

This date Kami’s on tonight.

She shouldn’t be dating random dickheads. They’re not good enough for her. They’ll probably only tolerate her dogs so they can get a shot at her pussy, and that pisses me off.

At least I was honest with her about only wanting her pussy.

And to be friends.

I like being friends with Kami. She’s easy to talk to. She bakes brownies. And she’s the only person who laughs with me at the same inappropriate places in The Mighty Ducks.

Fuck, I’m thinking about her again.

This isn’t good.

I’ve had plenty of friends-with-benefits relationships before. Usually they end when she finds a guy who’ll give her something I won’t—I’m not commitment material, which is something I accepted about myself a long time ago—and we’re all cool with that.

But Kami—she doesn’t have anybody else.

She just got sick of me.

It’s unsettling. Is it age? Is it that I got a little fluffy in the off-season? Am I—

Fuck.

Am I losing my ability to make her come?

I look at my crotch. “We’re thirty-one, dude. Swear to god, if you go soft on me—”

“There you are, you shithead,” Felicity says in her happy puppet voice, which is about the hugest warning she can give me, because that happy puppet voice is about as likely to call me names as Kami is. “Ares, tie him up while I go get a lighter for his shoelaces.”

I jump up, wishing I had that cow with me, because I know Ares wouldn’t lay a hand on me if I were holding a cow. And while I’m dodging him, Felicity hits me with a sneak attack.

She grabs my ear and twists, and I go down like I’ve been hit with a triple-strength stun gun. “Ow! Let go.”

“You know the rules,” she says. “You don’t sleep with my friends. Now you have to pay.”

“Felicity. It’s hockey season. You can’t beat me up. Think of the team. Ares, man, tell her.”

Ares doesn’t tell her. Instead, he grips me by the arms and lifts me, holding me in front of him so she can rack me in the family jewels if she wants.

I don’t thrash and fight it, because I’ve seen Ares squish a small sedan the way a normal man crushes beer cans. Fighting only makes it worse.

I do cover the family jewels though. “I didn’t mean to hurt her,” I tell Felicity, who’s had to climb up onto the stone patio table to be at eye-level with me because of how high Ares is holding me. “And you should get down off that table before you fall and hurt the baby.”

   
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