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Playmaker, Max Perron, never expected a woman to accept him and his twisted desires. Oriana came close, but he wasn't surprised when she walked away. A girl like her needs normal. Which he can't give her. He's too much of a team player, and not just on the ice.
But then Oriana's father goes too far in trying to control her and she decides to use exposure as blackmail. Just the implication of her spending the night with the Cobra's finest should get her father to back off.
Turns out a team player is exactly what she needs.
This ebook contains material not suitable for readers under 18. In also contains scenes
that some may find objectionable, including BDSM, ménage sex, bondage, anal sex, sex toys, double penetration, voyeurism, edge play, and hockey equipment being used inappropriately.
Max left the men in the player's lounge and approached the bathroom across the hall. He knew his vague "Trust me" hadn't satisfied Sloan, but that was the best he could offer until he made sure his plan worked for everyone involved. He reached out to push the door open and noticed his hand shaking like he had pregame jitters.
He clenched his fist and knocked. "You in there, sugar?"
No answer. Well, hell, he shouldn't be surprised. Even if Tim was right and she needed his help, that didn't mean she'd accept it. Her reasons for rejecting his friendship—for rejecting him—hadn't changed. He still saw the flowers she'd left to die on the passenger seat of his pickup that night, on her birthday, when he'd told her he loved her.
You went too far. You had no right.
But things had changed.
"Look, Tim called me and . . . ." He rested his forehead on the back of his fist. "I'm . . . I'm here if you need me, Oriana."
The door opened a crack. Oriana peeked out at him, eyes rimmed with tears. "That's what you said when I stopped being your friend."
Shit. She likely thinks I'm going to rub it in. He pinched the tense flesh between his eyes and eased the door open. "I was pissed off when I said it, but I meant every word—" Every word? Including 'have a nice life' and all the crap after? "I mean—"
"I know what you mean."
Her arms crossed under breasts which seemed dangerously close to spilling right over the top of her corset-style bodice. For a second, he wondered how she could breathe with the laces done up so tight, but then he forced his gaze to where her nails dug into her bare arms. Then up to her face.
Fresh tears spilled down her cheeks. Her lips trembled.
"Come here," he said, holding out his hand. Deep inside, part of him braced for rejection the way he'd brace for a solid check into the boards. But he knew on the outside he looked calm. In control.
She sobbed, put her hand in his, then threw herself into his arms. "I'm sorry. You were right. You were right and I was so stupid—"
"None of that, love." Face buried in her hair, he closed his eyes and absorbed her scent, her warmth, grateful for the chance to be close to her again. Maybe not for long, but he'd take what he could get. "We both know why you were with Paul. The important thing now is gettin' him out of your life."
"Yes." She sniffed and looked up. "Then we can—"
"One thing at a time." He tapped her nose and smiled so she wouldn't take him cutting her off too hard. Much as he wanted to, he couldn't let her finish that sentence. She'd end up offering something she'd regret. "Tim said you were willing to do anything to make your dad and Paul back off. Did you mean that?"
Her tiny nose wrinkled and her nostrils flared. "Definitely. Why, do you have an idea?"
"I might." But she wouldn't like it. Fuck, he wished he could come up with something else—anything else. Instead, he had to use the one thing that would remind her of why she'd ditched him in the first place. "What would you think of involving the other guys?"
The look on her face was priceless. Lips parted, cheeks cherry red, she stared at him like he'd just asked her to strip and strut around the forum naked. His lips quirked. The next part of his plan was almost as bad.
"The other guys?" Her voice squeaked and she turned even redder. "How many of them?"
Hell, she thinks I mean the whole team! "Just four. My line and two defenseman."
"Ah." She rubbed her bare arms, then covered her cleavage with her hand. "And what exactly do I do with them all?"
"You don't have to do anything." He reached out and curved his hand under her jaw, angling her face up so she could see the camera in the hall right between the locker-room and the bathroom. "We'll just make it look like you did."
Her hand slid up to her throat. "Oh."
Oh? Frowning, he studied her face. She blinked at him and pulled away.
Very strange. She seemed nervous, but Mason always said dilated pupils combined with rapid blinking and—he watched her tongue dart over her bottom lip—that, were signs of arousal. His blood surged downward and his palms got damp. He'd been worried about scaring her, but his suggestion seemed to have had a very different effect.
The metallic heels of her boots clicked as she walked across the room, watching him through the mirror. "So you think evidence that I'm . . .fooling around with the team . . . you think that will be enough?"
"I don't know—Paul's got some pride, I don't see him wanting to be associated with something like that, but this is more about your father." He paused, meeting her eyes in the reflection. "I have a reputation, Oriana. There are a lot of rumors about me sharing women. If I bring the guys in here, and then walk out with you half naked—"
All the color left her face. "Half naked? You want me to walk out of here—"
He quickly stepped up behind her to hug her before she got all upset for nothing. "In a jersey or somethin', I know you're not into exhibitionism."
"Max." She squirmed in his arms until she was facing him. Her fingers hooked over the collar of his white undershirt. "I might—"
Please don't say it. Not unless you . . . .Breath held, eyes shut, he waited. And waited.
"Um." She gave his shirt a little tug. He looked at her, and she looked away. "Let's get this over with."
"Sure." He ground his teeth, then glanced at her hand. "You'll have to let me go."
"I know, I just . . . ." Her fingers slid up the length of his throat. She licked her lips again, deliberately, as though savoring the last drop of something sweet. Or slightly salty. "Will you—"
"God, woman! You're going to drive me insane!" He took her face between his hands and kissed her, groaning when her lips and body fitted against his. Slick, peach-flavored lip gloss smeared everywhere. The depths of her mouth held pure, hot sin. But the tentative touch of her tongue was almost innocent. Letting out a gruff sound, he deepened the kiss, loving how she clung to his shoulders and took everything he gave. In this moment, she accepted him. Because her head wasn't telling her not to.
This woman—this unhindered, passionate woman—usually hid from the world. But he'd gotten glimpses in the past of all her many facets. The sweet, eager-to-please girl. The clever imp. The hot-blooded tease—who didn't often come out to play.
I won't let you stash them and be all proper, darlin'. Not this time.
He caressed her tongue with his, then grazed the sensitive spot at the roof of her mouth. She bunched up the collar of his shirt in her hands like she was afraid he'd get away. And he wanted to stay with her more than she'd ever understand.
If only his needs were different. Or hers.
But his body's needs seemed normal enough now. His pulse raced and his dick got hard. Like any guy who wanted a woman.
"I'm willing to try, Oriana." He sucked on her bottom lip, then moved down to kiss the slender length of her throat. "Not here, but when this is done, we'll go out to dinner and act like a regular couple. If you can forget what you saw and what I said—"
"No. I won't forget and I won't pretend." Oriana retreated a step and put a finger on his lips. "I already told you I wouldn't do that to you."
He felt like she'd just thrown ice water in his face. She wouldn't even give him a chance. Not that he blamed her. What she'd seen him and Sloan do would traumatize most women.
Her fingers stroked along his cheek, then delved into his hair. She rose up on her tiptoes and gave him a quick kiss. "You said we should take this one step at a time. How about we do that?"
"Yeah." Drawing her into a firm embrace, he pressed his lips to her brow before backing. "Let's do that."
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