We win by one. My one.
The buzzer sounds, and suddenly my teammates are rushing onto the ice. They slam into me, jumping up and down. Celebrating. It echoes in my ears, mixing with the roar of approval from the crowd.
I automatically search the crowd and find Violet pressed against the glass with a huge smile. She’s surrounded by a sea of blue and silver. I point at her, and she pretends to catch it. I’m pulled away before our exchange can continue.
The next hour is a blur. There’s an award ceremony, where the national tournament officials bring out a trophy. And then Coach Roake names me most valuable player. I stare at him, a little bit in disbelief, until Knox prods me forward to accept it.
The crowd is still cheering, the lights dim, and a spotlight is on us.
It’s one of those dream-come-true things.
“And we’re only juniors,” Knox says, hooking his arm around my neck. “Just think about next year’s potential.”
I grin at him. Knox, Steele, and I will be seniors next year. Miles will be a junior. Jacob and Erik are moving on, but I’ll be honest—I’m not close enough with them to care. It feels right to be here, to solidify this as my family.
The place I belong.
We go into the locker room, still riding a high, and Erik calls out that we’re celebrating at a club. Apparently, he has connections in Boston, and the owner is letting us in—even though we’re not all twenty-one.
I change into my street clothes, the button-down shirt and slacks we all arrived in, and stuff the rest of my shit into my duffle bag. We drop off our bags in our hotel rooms. We spill out of the elevator into the lobby. We crammed too many of us in there, but none of us gave a shit.
My phone goes off.
I whip around, trying to find her. There’s too many people, but then she stands out. My eyes are drawn to her like magnets. She comes through the crowd in my jersey, and my cock instantly twitches at the sight of her. An image of fucking her in that jersey and nothing else comes to mind, and I have to banish that thought before I ignore the club and drag her back upstairs.
A quickie wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world.
“Hey, MVP,” she greets me.
I wrap my arms around her, pressing my body to hers. Her eyes widen slightly at the feel of my erection, and I laugh. I feel… I don’t know. Lighter than a fucking feather.
I have her, I have hockey. I have another year at Crown Point University with her.
“You in my jersey is doing things to me,” I tell her.
She smirks. “I can tell. I didn’t get a chance to wear it when you first gave it to me, so…”
I kiss her. I can’t not kiss her. She lifts up on her toes, and her tongue slips along the seam of my lips. I open for her, letting her deepen it. She tastes like popcorn and beer. I cup the back of her head.
This isn’t helping my erection.
She finally settles back flat on her feet and gives me a wicked smile. “Maybe we should take a detour,” she offers. “The bathroom is over there.”
I find myself nodding before she even finishes talking. She leads me through the crowd, slipping past groups of people easily. I try not to get stuck, people tossing out congratulations for the MVP award, for the game, and Violet’s grip on my hand is unrelenting.
Nothing’s stopping her.
She pushes into the hotel lobby bathroom and goes straight to the handicapped stall. I raise my eyebrows as she locks us inside and shoves her leggings down.
I don’t need much more prompting than that. I undo my pants and push them down just far enough.
“Turn around,” I order. “Hands on the wall.”
My voice is fucking hoarse, but she does what I say. I grip her hips and kick her legs a little wider, then slide my hand down to feel how wet she is. My cock is harder than granite, but I ignore it for a second. Her cunt is wet for me, and she bites back a sigh when I brush her clit.
“Fuck me,” she demands.
I adjust my hold on her hips and slide into her. I grunt as her muscles clench at me. Fuck . I’m not going to last long at all. I’ve been looking forward to this since we left our bed this morning. I probably think about sex with her too much. I’m obsessive.
But I’m pretty sure she’s just as obsessed with me.
I lean forward and bite her shoulder through the jersey. She arches, tensing, and swears. It’s only then that I begin to move, thrusting in and out of her with powerful strokes. She lets out little gasps, trying not to make much noise.
The bathroom door opens. The sounds of everyone in the lobby slip through, then dull again when the door swings shut. Someone enters, going into one of the other stalls.
Violet looks at me over her shoulder, her expression… still fucking hungry.
I wink at her, but I don’t stop. She’s holding her breath, I think. Her face is turning red. My hand goes around her front, sliding down into her wetness to flick her clit. I rub it hard, just the way she likes it.
Her fingers grip the tile wall, her knuckles turning white. Her head falls back, and her mouth opens.
She’s going to break and say something. Gasp, whimper, moan. Anything.
The girl in the other stall is carrying on her business. Maybe she can hear us and is mortified. It’s a quiet bathroom, after all. Just the sound of her piss, and then the flush.
Violet uses that noise to cover her own sounds.
The water turns on at the sink. She takes a fucking eon to wash her hands. I increase my speed, both my finger on her clit and my cock pounding in her. I’m gonna fucking come before this chick leaves.
But then the door opens, the noise seeping back in, and swings shut.
Fucking finally .
It seems Violet was holding out for that moment, too, because her orgasm hits her a second later. I groan, her cunt squeezing around my dick enough to send me over the edge, too. I stop fully inside her. She pushes back against me, her ass meeting my hips, and we both stay like that for a minute.
I cup her jaw and turn her face. I kiss her fiercely, then pull out of her.
She lets out another little whimper that sets my heart on fire.
“That was fun,” I say.
Violet snorts. Her cheeks are pink. I hand her a wad of toilet paper, then take care of my own mess. When we’re both presentable, she unlocks the door and steps out. Washes her hands, presses her palms to her cheeks. She meets my eyes in the mirror.
“Do you think she heard?”
“Baby, don’t know if anyone would’ve been able to miss it.”
She freezes, then shakes her head. Can’t tell if I’m joking or not, I guess.
We catch up with everyone on the sidewalk. Steele gives me a subtle fist bump, and I grin. Violet ignores it—or misses it. Her friends swarm around her, walking ahead of us.
There’s just one last thing to deal with…
And he’s in Boston tonight.
Knox knows the plan. So does Steele. We decided to let Miles keep his innocence another year, but this is going to bond the three of us harder than any hockey game.
We’ve all agreed.
So we follow the girls to the club. We dance and nurse our beers, waving away offers for another round. Until my watch vibrates on my wrist at eleven o’clock. There are so many people in this place. It’s three stories of dancing bodies. But I clock Knox and Steele moving through the crowd.
I give them fifteen minutes, then I tap Violet’s hand and motion for her to follow me.
She’s not as drunk as she probably expected to be either. I’ve been running interference on her drinks. Her eyes narrow, but she doesn’t object when I turn and bulldoze a path toward the door.
We go down the block, back to the hotel, and into the elevator.
She grips my hand tightly, confusion all over her face. “Are you going to tell me what this is about?”
I tilt my head. “No. You’ll see for yourself in a minute.”
Violet goes quiet, her mind clearly spinning. We get out on the top floor, and I lead her to the stairs that go up to the roof. She hesitates but nods slowly to herself. Steeling her nerves, perhaps. She trusts me.
When she pushes through the door, a cool spring wind tugs at her clothes.
Knox and Steele are there with a figure on the floor between them. He’s got a hood over his head and a walking boot on his leg. His wrists are bound behind him.
I glance at her, then stride up to Jack and yank his hood off. He blinks up at me, first shock and then outrage crossing his expression.
“You fucking bastard—” His attention swings past me to Violet, and his outrage explodes into fury. He struggles, trying to get to his feet.
Knox and Steele grab him, forcing him back down.
“I’m going to kill you,” he seethes at her.
I punch him.
His head whips to the side, and pain flares through my knuckles and up my arm. I hit him again, and again, until blood pours down his face. His nose might be broken.
Knox and Steele remain passive, although their jaws are tense.
They like Violet. Jack threatening her threatens all of us.
My girl approaches carefully, stopping just shy of me. Not quite courageous enough to cross that line and put herself in danger.
“Did you sneak into my room, Jack?” she asks.
He spits at her. The glob of saliva and blood lands just shy of her shoes.
I circle around and kneel behind him, gripping his hair and forcing him to face Violet. I put my face close to his. “Look at her, Jackie boy. You didn’t break her. You don’t scare her. But you will answer her goddamn questions.”
Jack scowls, but he does answer her question. “I did,” he confirms. “Many times.”
Her brows draw together. “What?”
“Any fucking chance I got.” He laughs. “You caught me once. I made sure you knew I was there another time. But I loved slipping into your room and jacking off with your panties in my hand. I memorized every fucking picture on your wall, your scent, your makeup.”
“That’s creepy,” Knox mutters.
Violet shudders. “Why go through the trouble?”
Jack jerks, but my grip on his hair is solid. He’s let it grow in his off-season. Shame on him.
“Why?” he yells. “Because you’re fucking mine , Violet. We’re soulmates.”
I laugh. In a flash, my knife is out of my pocket and at his throat.
I could do it .
He goes silent and still, his eyes flashing with fear for the first time. Maybe he didn’t think we were serious . That I wouldn’t kill for her.
“You’re not her soulmate, asshole.”
His eyes roll, finding my face. “I swear to God—”
“You better hope God is on your side.” I lean in, making sure he can see just how fucking dark I’ll go. “Because the Devil’s on mine.”
He sees it.
“Here’s what’s going to happen, Jackie boy.” I look up at Violet. “We’re going to take that video of your confession and turn it in to the police. Along with you. I don’t fucking care what you tell them, but you will make sure you go to prison.”
His nostrils flare. “Why the fuck would I do that?”
I tap his walking boot, and he cringes again. He’s used to pain from me. Expects it.
“This was just a little taste of what I can do. And if you don’t put bars between us to keep you safe, well… maybe we’ll take you out on my father’s boat. Maybe there will be an accident, and you’ll fall overboard. Or maybe you’ll slip on your way to a new club tonight, fall into the subway tracks. Electrocute yourself.” I hum. “There are so many possibilities.”
“You should take prison, Jack,” Violet says. “Sounds like the lesser of two evils.” She dusts off her pants. Just to give herself something to do maybe. She doesn’t wait to see what he decides. She leaves us, the door to the stairwell swishing shut behind her.
I drop his head and step away. There’s a great view of the city from up here. And when I inhale, there isn’t much of that city smell. I do detect the ocean, though. A faint saltiness.
“Well?” I ask without turning around.
“Take me to the police station,” he says.
“Take yourself,” I snap.
Knox and Steele cut him loose. He stands between them, wary, and then leaves.
“Follow him,” I tell them. “I’ve got a girl to comfort.”
It’s just me, then. I take a deep breath, then leave the roof. Mia and Jack were loose ends. My father has issued a temporary truce. Her mother is gone… for now maybe. Hopefully.
I unlock the door to the room Violet and I are sharing, and I’ve barely made it inside when she throws herself at me.
“I love you. I don’t think I’ve ever said it out loud, but I do.” She cups my face. “I love you, I love you—”
I kiss her, swallowing the words. Something in my chest unlocks. Not fear, like I expected, but acceptance. I can love her, and I won’t lose her. I’m not a child, afraid of my parents disappearing if I cared too hard. Warmth follows a second later, and I wrap her in my arms.
We’re going to be together forever.
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