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Faking It with the Forward: Epilogue

Six Months Later

“Promise me one thing,” Reese says, voice rough with sleep. “Don’t ever let me give Axel permission to plan a celebration party ever again.”

Over the start of a pounding headache, I grunt, “Deal.”

The party had been to celebrate Reese’s contract with the Rangers. Axel, looking for any excuse, went all out. There were hundreds of people at the Manor the night before. Kegs, liquor, shots… I feel like I consumed them all.

But it had been fun—so much fun. The weight of waiting for an offer, the meetings with Reese’s agent and the negotiations, they’d taken up a lot of time. Time that seems to be running out. It was nice to have a night together that was pure indulgence.

“You deserved it though. Highest signing bonus in the NHL.” I’m so proud of him. Proud that he held out for the best deal and is weeks from getting his degree. The first thing he did was call his dad and ask him what color Charger he wanted.

With a speed unimaginable to my hungover body, he flips me on my back and moves over me. “You were too wasted last night to celebrate the way I wanted to—”

I was too wasted? You’re the one that sang karaoke with Reid for two hours—only Taylor Swift.”

“You have your favorite music. I have mine.” He smirks, then dips his head, capturing my mouth with his.

My phone buzzes on the nightstand. When I look over he says, “Don’t answer that. Basketball season is over. No one needs you.” His lips blaze down my throat. “No one, but me.”

As happy as I am that Reese got the offer and everything is settled for him, I can’t say the same. I have grad school applications submitted at half-a-dozen universities in the Northeast. I did already get accepted to the physical therapy program at Wittmore, so it’s not like I won’t go, but staying here is farther away from Reese than I’d like. The other decisions should come in soon—maybe this week—but the wait is fraying my nerves.

What if I don’t get accepted to a school near him? His schedule is already going to be impossible, with the intensity of his rookie season and all the travel and away games.

We’ve already made a million compromises for one another. Can we survive more?

Reese doesn’t want to think about it yet—he wants all the information before we even consider a decision. The school, the scholarship offers, the time and distance. Easy for him to say. He just got a million-dollar signing bonus.

My phone buzzes again, breaking me from my spiral. “It could be Nadia.”

“Nadia can wait.” His kisses move across my shoulder blade and his hand pushes under my T-shirt. What I feel the most is the hard press of his erection digging between my thighs. The thrill of knowing how much he wants me never gets old. “I’m not so sure I can.”


“Let me just check. It could be Ruby or my mom.”

He sighs, but releases me from his iron grip.

“It’s Dr. Parvi,” I say, reading the message. “She wants to see me.”

“When?” he asks, dipping his fingers under my panties. A shiver runs up my spine, that feel good heat that comes with being with Reese following close behind.

“In an hour.” I don’t miss the way his eyebrow raises. “And I need carbs to soak up some of this alcohol.”

“Sex then carbs.” A dark grin curves his mouth. “And I’ll give you a ride to Parvi’s office.”

Reese Cain is hard to say no to, but naked Reese Cain beckoning me with orgasms and carbs?

Absolutely impossible to deny.

After being knocked out of the Final Four in the semi-finals my work as a trainer intern at Wittmore U was finally complete. I still have a final presentation and a couple of exams, but it’s hard to believe I’m so close to graduation.

“Good luck,” Reese says, cupping his hand behind my neck and bringing me in for a kiss.

“Thanks. I’m sure it’s just a progress check on my final presentation.”

Entering the Arts & Sciences building, I head up to the fourth floor to Professor Parvi’s office. I knock on the door and her voice calls out, “Come in.”

My advisor sits behind her desk, but there’s another person in the room. Coach Green.

“Twyler, take a seat,” she says, smiling warmly. “Obviously, you know Coach Green.”

“Of course,” I say, easing into the chair across from her and next to Coach Green. I try not to show it, but I’m totally confused and a little nervous. My internship swap had been approved and signed off by everyone, but what happens if it messed up my requirements? I don’t like the sweaty feeling popping up all over my body. “Is something wrong?”

Professor Parvi nods to Coach Green, who clears his throat and says, “We didn’t get much of a chance to talk after you swapped internships, but I wanted to let you know that despite my concerns about dating a player, you did an excellent job with the team. You were always professional, punctual, and efficient.”

“Thank you,” I reply, waiting for the “but.”

“When I had a chance to go over the notes you made for Pete,” he leans back in his chair, “it was clear you had handled the situation with due diligence. You documented the issue and Pete told me directly that you had been warning him about the possible consequences of wrapping his ankle too tight.”

“I should have made a better effort to keep you informed.”

He shakes his head. “You did your due-diligence, Twyler. It’s my job to follow up on your process and keep track of what you’re doing. I’m the certified PT. You’re an intern.”

“Thank you for that,” I say, a little overwhelmed at getting such praise from my former mentor. “I really appreciate it and I’m grateful to hear that Pete’s recovering well.”

“He should be good and ready for the preseason.”

Thank God.

“Working for these teams,” he continues, “is a pressure cooker. There’s so much on the line. Not just championships, but what they mean. More money. More scholarships. More recruitment leverage. We carry the weight of these young athletes’ health on our shoulders. I allowed the pressure I was feeling to color my feelings about you having a personal relationship with Cain, when you did nothing but prove yourself competent and professional.” He glances at Professor Parvi and then back at me. “Which is why I recommended you for a work-study program up in Hartford.”

I blink.

“Hartford,” I repeat. “The Wolf Pack?”

The Wolf Pack is the Ranger’s farm team.


“What about basketball?” I ask.

“If your heart is set on basketball, then this may not be the right program for you, but you’re a damn good trainer, and I’ve witnessed firsthand that you have a knack working with the knuckleheads that make up the NHL.” His eyebrow arches. “Including your boyfriend.”


“Did he have something to do with this?” I blurt. “Because if he did—”

“Absolutely not,” Parvi interjects. “The farm team has a collaboration with NYU. When they called to follow up on your references, Coach Green and I realized this may be the perfect opportunity for you. You’ll go to school part-time and learn on the job training with the team.”

“I applied to NYU, but I haven’t heard back.”

Professor Parvi shuffles a few things around her desk and picks up an envelope. The logo for New York University is stamped on the corner. “We arranged with the program to notify you early and in person.”

She stretches her arm across the desk and I take the envelope. “You’re serious.”

“I know it may not be what you had planned,” Coach Green says. “It can take a little longer because you’re dividing your time, but it’s a good way to get on the job training while also receiving your degree. Bonus, it’s in the Northeast.”

Where I can be close to Reese. The expression on his face tells me he knows that.

“This is amazing,” I say, allowing the information to slowly sink in. “I don’t know how to thank you.”

“Help those boys get to the Stanley Cup,” Coach Green says. “That’s how you can express your gratitude.”

I’d like to think he’s kidding, but I know he’s serious. The Stanley Cup is no joke.

When I exit the building, the acceptance letter in my hand, I’m surprised to see Reese’s car by the curb. My boyfriend leans against the door, all tall and sexy, waiting for me.

“You didn’t have to wait,” I say, walking up to him.

“I knew you were nervous.” He tilts his head, looking at me in that way that tells me he sees me—all of me. “Everything okay?”

I smile up at him. At my future. At this man I love so much. And tell him unequivocally, “Everything is perfect.”


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