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Chapter no 5 – Hannah

Bagging the Blueliner

I LOVED MY NEW job. Better yet, I was good at it. Really good. With two road trips under my belt—one long and one short—it felt like I was hitting my stride.

Networking with members of the other teams’ staff, I was making a name for myself in the world that I loved. As Hannah, not as Coach Moreau’s daughter.

I held value for the first time in my adult life.

Beyond anthem singing, I didn’t work during home games. Even so, I found myself at the rink earlier, seeking out the opposing team’s travel coordinator. My motives might’ve been self-serving, but I made sure to give them tips on where to hang out when they were in town, hoping to direct their players to my favorite haunts.

I was a woman of action. I couldn’t very well expect a hockey player to fall face-first into my lap. I had to make it happen.

Tonight, we were playing the front half of a back-to-back—two games in consecutive days—which meant the Indy Speed, tomorrow’s opponent, were already in town. Luckily for me, their travel coordinator was a guy who hadn’t exactly been subtle in his interest in me, and I intended to exploit that.

Hanging by the curved glass doors, empty of seats as a passageway for the ice resurfacer, I watched the team warming up for tonight’s game against the Wisconsin Wolves. The players’ kids were pressed against the glass, beckoning for their dads to skate over and give them a wave.

I smiled, remembering my own youth doing the exact same. These were memories the kids would have for the rest of their lives.

Natalie wrestled with a squirming Charlie in her arms while her older three— Amelia, Jameson, and Beau—stood against the glass. Stepping up beside her, I reached out to relieve her of the struggle with the spirited two-year-old.

Breathing a sigh of relief, Natalie sagged against the wall. “Thank you. That girl is gonna be the death of me.”

Bouncing Charlie, I brought her close enough to the glass that she could place her hands on it, and she instantly settled. Smiling, I looked back at Natalie. “Looks like you’ve got a hockey girl on your hands.”

Looking skyward, she uttered, “God help us all.” “You say that like it’s a bad thing,” I accused. “She’s a handful.”

“She’s spirited,” I countered. “There’s a difference.”

“Whatever you call it, I won’t survive the road trip out west next week. Ten days without Jaxon’s help? Charlie loses her shit when he’s gone on the overnight trips now.”

I glamorized the hockey partner lifestyle, but there were drawbacks—the constant road trips being one of them. Players spent at least one hundred days a year on the road, some trips longer than others, depending on the distance and schedule.

Occasionally, significant others traveled to away games, but it wasn’t feasible to attend every single one, especially if they had kids. Natalie highlighted the challenge of single-parenthood that came with the territory.

The constant travel demanded a high level of trust from the women left behind at home. It was no secret that women threw themselves at players, and many of the single guys on the team took full advantage of the easy pickings. The wives and girlfriends were trusting that their bond with their man was enough to avoid temptation.

Feeling guilty that I couldn’t help her out while the team was gone, I offered, “Call up my mom. I’m sure she’d be happy to come and hang out with the kids if you need a moment of peace. She loves them.”

Smiling, Natalie took Charlie back from me, careful to keep her close to the glass where she could see her dad. “I’ll keep that in mind. Thanks, Hannah.”

Warmups were wrapping up, and soon, the resurfacers would hit the ice to smooth it out before puck drop. If I was going to make sure the Speed players ended up at Spades tonight, I needed to make my move.

Grabbing my phone from my back pocket, I tapped out a quick text to the Speed’s travel coordinator, Jake.

Hey, Jake. Hope your flight from Indy was good. After the Comets g tonight, some of the players will be headed to Spades. Should be an e

walk from your hotel if you and some of your guys want to meet t

th

 

Indy was becoming a rival of sorts for the Comets. Both teams were coming into their stride and were strong contenders for a championship each year. Being in the same division, we often went head to head in the early rounds of the playoffs. The fans hated each other, and the battle on the ice was always hard- fought, but hockey was an incredible community. Off the ice, they were part of a brotherhood—connections ran deep, regardless of the team they played for. Even if they weren’t friends, there was always respect.

My phone buzzed in my hand, indicating a reply from Jake.

Jake: Are you coming?

 

I smiled, pleased he took the bait. I was using him, but I would make sure to set him up with a willing partner at the club. Jake would have a very pleasant evening indeed, even if it wasn’t by my hand—or mouth.

Wouldn’t miss it. Post-game at the club is my favorite *Winking emoji

 

Jake: I’m sure I can convince a few guys to come out tonight. Thanks for the tip. See you there.

 

I was giving myself a mental high five, when Natalie peered over at my phone. “Who are you texting? You can’t stop smiling.”

Locking my phone, I shoved it back into my pocket. “Oh, just Jake, the travel coordinator for Indy. Trying to get him to meet us at Spades tonight. You coming?”

Natalie stared at me in shock. “Are you kidding?”

I shrugged. “Why not? It’s Friday night. Let’s have some fun.”

Tilting her head toward her four children, she stated the obvious. “Friday night or not, I can’t go out any time I want. Those days are long gone. I’m exhausted. I’m not even sure I can muster up the strength to bring the kids to tomorrow night’s game.”

Nodding, I mused, “Last single friend left. Check.”

Natalie softened, remorse written on her face. “You know I didn’t mean it like that.”

I waved her off. “I know. We are in different seasons of life right now. I get it.

Girls’ night soon? When Amy gets back?” “Sounds great. Now, tell me about Jake.”

“Nothing to tell. We met last week on our trip out to Indy.” Overeager, she pressed, “And . . .”

“And what?”

“You asked him to come to Spades tonight. That has to mean something.”

Natalie had never approved of my plan to hook up with a hockey player, so telling her I was using Jake to get closer to the players from another team would only earn me a lecture. Not wanting to lie to my best friend, I skirted the truth the best I could. “He’s nice, I guess. Played high school hockey and is trying to stay close to the game.”

Bouncing on her feet, she couldn’t contain her excitement. “That’s great! That’s exactly what you need—someone who has close ties to the game but won’t cause your dad’s head to explode.”

“Uh-huh.”

I didn’t want some wannabe clinging to his past glory. I wanted the real thing. Warmups finished with the teams heading back to their locker rooms, so Natalie gathered her kids to head up to the family suite. With her hands full, she could only give me a little bump with her shoulder, winking as she whispered,

“Break a leg.”

My friends and family were always my biggest supporters. They begged me to reconsider pursuing a career in music, saying I was too talented to let it go to waste. I used not wanting to relocate closer to the best recording studios as an excuse, but in truth, I was afraid of rejection. The music industry was cutthroat, and I loved singing. What if I went out there and they tainted the euphoric feeling of performing, putting doubt in my head? It wasn’t worth the risk.

If that meant singing the anthem at Comets’ home games was the extent of my music career, so be it. The rink was my safe space, and if this was my sole concert venue, featuring only two songs—both the American and Canadian anthems—that was enough for me.

Waiting in the wings, the lights in the arena dimmed, and the pre-game lights show with accompanying video drew the attention of the crowd. Looking up, I watched alongside the twenty thousand fans as the oversized video screen showed clips from seasons past, featuring our present players.

The hairs on my arms raised, and chills ran down my spine. This never got old.

With the lights still dimmed, both teams’ players took the ice, taking a few laps before starting lineups were announced. The Comets always ran with the same starters, barring an injury.

Starting at Center—Jaxon Slate. Starting at Right Wing—Benji Mills. Starting at Left Wing—Levi Nixon. Starting at Right Defense—Cal Berg. Starting at Left Defense—Luka Winters. Starting in Net—Reed Wilder.

Each man took their place on the blue line, with the goalie hanging back, standing closer to his net. I ventured through the glass doors and onto the red carpet rolled over the ice.

Showtime.

Walking down the carpet’s length, I waved at the crowd as my name was announced as the anthem singer. Larger than life, a live feed showed my entrance on the big screen, clad in a navy blue and gray Comets jersey and blue jeans.

When I took on the role, I decided to do something different. I requested a complete set of home jerseys from the equipment staff, and each year, roster changes added to my impressive collection.

Forty-one regular season home games, plus a few additional pre-season and playoff games, meant I could wear each player’s jersey at least twice over the course of a season. It was a random rotation, but the players loved it. Especially the players who weren’t the top-line guys and often didn’t get representation from fans in the stand. It was my pleasure to make them feel special and seen.

Tonight, I wore the number nineteen with the last name Bond stitched across the nameplate. Casper Bond was a newer player on the fourth line, and I gave a little wink in his direction when I reached the end of the red carpet.

All eyes on me, I lifted the microphone a few inches from my lips and belted out our national anthem, the words and tune automatic after all these years. There was no fear, no nerves, just me and the music. Exactly the way I liked it.

Drawing out the last note as the crowd’s applause grew in volume, the adrenaline rush that performing gave washed over my body.

I only knew of one high more intense than the one I received while singing, and as I left the ice, I was that much closer to achieving both highs in one night.

Indy Speed, I’m coming for you.

 

 

Spades was hopping tonight.

The DJ must have gotten the memo on my mood because the beats were sultry and sexy. Perfect for a little bit of foreplay known as dirty dancing. I was experienced in the ways of silently indicating to a man that I wanted to take the party elsewhere, and I fully intended to put them to good use tonight.

Jake found me the second I walked in, congratulating the Comets on their win over the Wolves but teasing they’d better prepare for a loss tomorrow against the Speed. Placing a hand on his forearm, I asked if his players needed help accessing the VIP section. Eyes dropping to where I touched him, a smile graced his lips before he nodded enthusiastically—too enthusiastically.

Letting him lead me to the bar, where a handful of Speed players sat with beers in hand, he introduced them—Maddox Sterling, Jenner Knight, Asher Lawson, and Wyatt Banks.

God bless Jake.

He’d brought me four gorgeous specimens, including the one I’d had my eye on when searching for fresh meat in free agency. Jenner Knight was just as impressive in person as he’d been on film, but tonight, I had options. There was no need to get hasty and choose one too soon.

A small thrill ran through me when all four sized me up.

Running home quickly after the game, I had redone my makeup, giving myself a smokey eye allowing my blue eyes to pop. Pulling my hair from my high ponytail, I’d curled it—thank God for automatic curling irons. Then, a quick swipe of pheromone oil behind my ears was my secret weapon; men couldn’t resist it, but too often, it attracted the duds.

The dress I wore had sat in my closet for months, waiting for the perfect opportunity to take her for a night on the town. Tonight was that night. Popping the tags, I’d forced my body into the tight black bodycon dress. Like a second skin, it hugged my body with a one-shoulder crisscross strap, featuring cutouts up the right-side panel from the hem to my ribs—underwear was not an option. A pair of strappy black hooker heels completed my look.

Nobody would believe the girl next door at the game in a jersey and jeans was the same woman who stood under the flashing lights of the club now.

Curling my finger in a come-hither motion, I turned and skirted the edge of the dance floor until we reached the velvet rope at the bottom of a set of stairs. I gave a wink to the bouncer standing guard, and he instantly unclipped the rope, allowing us to pass.

Reaching the VIP section overlooking the crush on the dance floor, I scanned the area. None of the Comets players were there yet, but I knew they needed showers and had interviews to complete before they could venture out to celebrate the win.

I’d gotten a head start on the night. Good.

I didn’t need one of my “big brothers” tattling to Daddy.

The “protective older brother” routine was getting old, and I caught myself before I rolled my eyes at the thought. A majority of the team was younger than me at this point. I was a big girl, and it was nobody’s business whom I slept with—including my father’s.

Operation Hook a Hockey Player was on.

Snagging a circular booth in the corner large enough for all six of us, I slid in first so the muscular men were forced to surround me. Maddox slid in behind me, sitting to my right, while Asher took the seat to my left. This was the hunkiest Hannah sandwich I’d ever been a part of, and I was soaking it in.

Boldly, I dropped a hand to rest on Maddox’s thigh, and his quad tensed at the contact but didn’t shift away. Instead, he leaned in closer, draping an arm over my shoulder.

Fuck yes. This is happening.

Jake watched our interaction with a resigned look on his face. This likely wasn’t the first time a girl he liked had passed him over for one of the players. Giving him a shy smile, I doubled down on my silent promise to get him hooked up with someone before the night was over.

Asher leaned over, undeterred by his teammate’s physical claim. “So, Jake here tells us you work for the Comets. What’s a guy got to do to steal you away? Wouldn’t you rather work for a real contender?”

Giving him a slow smile, I licked my lower lip. “Oh, Asher, let’s not ruin the night. You boys can settle it on the ice tomorrow—don’t put me in the middle.”

Laughing, he shook his head. “Let me guess. Comets fan, born and raised?” “Not exactly,” I teased. “But I’m no bandwagon fan.”

He didn’t need to know that my loyalty to the Comets ran deeper than a job or where I lived.

Bending down, he whispered in my ear, “I bet I could convince you to switch teams.”

Is it warm in here? Or is that just me?

Asher seemed confident. If he wanted to try and change my mind, who was I to stop him?

Glancing at the other players at our booth, Wyatt was scanning the section, paying us little attention. He probably figured his chances were slim with Maddox and Asher plastered against my sides. Jenner kept checking his phone, completely uninterested. From what I’d heard, his divorce was recent, and he was giving off wounded-bird vibes.

Wonder what happened there.

Maddox raised a hand, signaling the waitress working our section. As she approached, his fingers toyed with the bare skin of my shoulder. Asher might have the words, but Maddox’s physical cues had me leaning toward him as the front-runner for my focus tonight.

“What’ll it be, love?” Maddox’s voice was thick and rolled over me like honey.

Shifting slightly in my seat to ease the ache between my thighs, I breathed out, “I’ll take a Screaming Orgasm.”

With our bodies flush, I could feel the tremor that ran through his. “Fuck yes,” he said low before turning to the waitress. With his free hand, he held up two fingers. “We’ll take two Screaming Orgasms.”

Nodding, she wrote the order on her notepad, asking the rest of our group if they needed anything else.

Maddox dropped his hand to cover mine on his thigh before gripping it and shifting upward until it rested on his rock-hard dick, straining against the fly of his jeans. It was my turn to shudder.

He wanted this. I just had to seal the deal. I was so close I could taste it.

Returning, the waitress placed the coffee-flavored, layered shooters before us on the table. Maddox lifted his and clinked it to mine before throwing it back. I watched how his throat muscles worked as he downed the shot before following suit.

Green eyes flared as they stared at my mouth, my tongue darting out to lick the remnants of Irish cream from my lips.

I smirked when his cock twitched beneath my palm, giving it a slight squeeze. Closing his eyes, Maddox let out a low groan. Turning, I pressed my breasts to the side of his body and ran my hand up his chest, moving further upward until I felt the scratchiness of his soft, dark beard. Cupping his jaw, I pressed my lips to his.

Maddox took action, crushing me to him as he ravaged my mouth. He was so dominant, taking over the kiss, that I shivered, thinking of how confident he would be in bed.

needed this. So badly.

A decade of bad sex was about to be wiped clean.

Breaking the kiss, puffs of air from his ragged breathing caressed my face. Panting against his mouth, I smiled. My heart raced with the promise of what this night would bring.

“Dance with me.” His words were a command, not a question. Nodding, I pressed my forehead to his. “Get me another drink.”

Taking my hand, Maddox pulled me from the booth. Looking around, I noticed we were alone in the booth. Everyone else must have fled when they realized I made my choice, seeking alternative companionship for the evening.

Trying not to get too hung up on the promise of incredible sex, I let Maddox pull me down the stairs, skirting the dance floor on our way to the bar. Grabbing another beer for himself, I had him order me a shot of cinnamon whiskey. Throwing it back quickly, I stopped the bartender, asking for another.

A little liquid courage on the dance floor never hurt.

Spotting a group of girls who were regulars at the club, I scanned the crowd for Jake. One—or more—of them would gladly take him on.

He was a good-looking guy. He simply wasn’t what I was looking for. Finding him further down the bar, watching the dancers, I tapped Maddox on the shoulder in a silent gesture to follow me.

Working our way to Jake, I grabbed his hand, tugging him toward the group of girls. They saw me, instant recognition lighting in their eyes, and two of them hugged me. Pulling Jake forward, I gave a slight tilt of my head. They assessed him quickly before surrounding him, placing him at the center of their mini- dance party.

Confident he’d get his happy ending, I turned back to Maddox. His dark hair fell across his forehead as he peered down at me. Reaching up, I ran my hands through it, pushing it back, only to have a stray lock fall forward again.

Smirking, Maddox grabbed my hips, pulling me flush against his body.

Looping my arms around his neck, I began to dance.

The way we moved was sensual, a promise of the night to come. The liquor warmed my body, emboldening me further, and I turned in his arms. Pressing my ass to his groin, I ground back against him.

Raising my arms to loop behind his neck, I turned my head to kiss him. Stealing my breath away, he slid his tongue against mine as one hand traveled from my hip to cup my breast. I arched into his touch, moaning into his mouth.

Swaying on my feet, he held me steady, even when my knees threatened to buckle, as his other hand lowered to the hem of my short dress. If he shifted a few inches, he would be touching me where I burned for him.

I didn’t care if there were people everywhere. No one was focused on us. I wouldn’t stop him if he wanted to give me a little preview of the night ahead.

Dropping one hand, I placed it over his, moving it under my skirt and between my legs.

I was dizzy. My head was swimming—whether from the alcohol or the height of my arousal, I couldn’t be sure. Maddox’s strong hand found me ready and waiting, and I gasped as he dipped one finger through my wetness before circling over my clit.

“Get your fucking hands off her.”

Wait, what? That voice sounds familiar.

Forcing my eyes open, I wished I hadn’t as I stared straight into the murderous blue eyes of Callum Berg.

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