Page 45

“Why me?” he pushes.

I let out a frazzled breath. “I don’t know.”

“Yes, you do.” He chuckles softly. “You like me.”

“I don’t like you.”

“Yes, you do. That’s why you kicked me out last week.”

“No, I kicked you out because my father was standing outside the door while we were sixty-nine-ing.”

Jake makes a growly sound. “You just had to bring that up.”

“What, my father?”

“No, what we were doing.” His eyes gleam seductively. “Now I’m hard.”

“I feel like you’re always hard,” I grumble back.

“Come here and test that theory.” He pats his lap, while enticingly waggling his eyebrows.

I can’t stop a laugh. “What theory? You already admitted to being hard.”

He crosses his ankles together, staring down at his Converse sneakers for a few seconds. “Okay. So you’re saying you threw me out because your father almost caught us.”

“Yup.”

That’s not entirely true. I kicked him out because I refused to show him any more vulnerability. In the span of an hour or two, I allowed him to see how badly I wanted him, how wildly he turned me on. I allowed him to overhear a mortifying exchange with my father, in which I was admonished like a child and accused of being a train wreck.

I don’t want anybody else, let alone a guy, to ever view me the way my father does.

I feel Jake’s gaze on me. “What?” I mutter.

“I don’t believe what you’re saying.” His tone roughens. “What are you so afraid will happen if we keep seeing each other?”

“I’m not afraid. I simply don’t see the point when it can’t go anywhere.”

“Do you only spend time with guys you think it’ll go somewhere with?”

“No.”

He looks thoughtful. “C’mere.”

Before I can blink, he’s tugging me off my chair. I wind up in his lap, and the bulge in his jeans is impossible to miss or ignore. I sigh in resignation, adjusting my position so that I’m straddling him. His quickly growing erection is pressed directly against my core, and it feels so good I can’t help but rock against it.

Jake makes a husky sound. He slides one big hand to the base of my spine, while the other moves upward to tangle in my hair.

Against my better judgment, I lower my head. My tongue prods the seam of his lips, and he parts them to grant me access. I whimper when my tongue touches his. He tastes like mint gum and his lips are so soft and warm. I lock my hands around his neck, losing myself in the heat of him.

“Kissing you makes me so hard,” he murmurs.

“You were hard before I kissed you.”

“Yeah, because I was thinking about kissing you.”

I laugh, and it comes out a bit breathless. “You’re—” A crash of thunder drowns out my voice. The overhead lights flicker for a second.

Jake’s dark eyebrows fly up. “Shit, that was nuts.”

I stroke the wispy hairs at his nape. “Aw, Jakey. Are you scared?”

“Terrified,” he whispers.

Our lips meet at the same time the lights flicker again. This time they go out.

Darkness engulfs us. But instead of jumping up in a panic, we kiss harder. Jake’s hands travel beneath my black sweater. He pulls the thin material up to reveal my bra, but he doesn’t unclasp it, just pushes it down to reveal my boobs. Wet heat surrounds my nipple. He draws it deep in his mouth, and I shiver uncontrollably.

He squeezes my breasts while continuing to lave my nipple, licking and suckling until it grows impossibly harder in his mouth. I moan, louder than I should considering our surroundings.

Jake responds by capturing my other nipple and teasing it senseless. Then he gives an upward thrust, rubbing our lower bodies together. God. This guy. I’m so hot for him, it’s insane.

The room is still dark, but just when I’m starting to get used to it, the fluorescent lights flash back on.

Jake lifts his head, his gaze burning as he gets a nice eyeful of my chest. “So fucking beautiful.”

Groaning, he cups both my breasts before burying his face between them.

And that’s when Coach Pedersen walks into the room.

25

Jake

“For fuck’s sake, Connelly!”

At the incredulous exclamation, my head flies up and I swiftly shove Brenna’s sweater down to cover her bare tits. She dives off my lap and into the neighboring chair. But it’s too late. Pedersen’s not an idiot. He saw us, and he knows exactly what we were doing.

“Coach, hey.” I clear my throat. “We were…” I decide against lying. I’m not an idiot, either. “I’m sorry,” I say simply. “This isn’t the place.”

“No shit,” he snaps. “I’d expect this kind of behavior from Weston or Chilton, but not you, Connelly. You don’t usually screw around on the job.”

Coach doesn’t even acknowledge Brenna. He stalks to the front of the room and grabs one of the laptops. From the corner of my eye I see Brenna smoothing out the front of her sweater. She wiggles discreetly, and I realize she’s trying to put her bra cups back in place.

“I’m having a meeting with the assistants and forgot this,” he says tightly. “And here I thought you were being a conscientious player, studying film on your own time. But boys will be boys, won’t they?” There’s a sharp edge to his every word.

Brenna warily tracks his movements as he tucks the laptop under his arm and stalks to the door. “Get your guest out of here, Connelly. This is no place for girlfriends.”

“I’m not his girlfriend,” Brenna blurts out, and I know it was completely involuntarily because she briefly closes her eyes, as if mentally scolding herself for speaking.

Pedersen finally spares her a look. A long, intent one. During his scrutiny, his frown gets deeper and deeper until his eyebrows are practically touching. “You’re Chad Jensen’s kid.”

Shit.

Brenna blinks. For once, she doesn’t have a smartass comment locked and loaded.

I want to lie and tell him he’s mistaken, but he clearly recognizes her. He places the computer on a desk near the door and slowly approaches. His cynical gaze takes in Brenna’s rumpled sweater, her disheveled hair.

“We met at a banquet a couple years ago,” he tells her. “Yale alumni dinner. You were still in high school at that point. Chad brought you.”

“Oh.” She visibly swallows. “Yes. I remember that.”

“Brianna, is it?”

“Brenna.”

“Right.” His beefy shoulders lift in a shrug. “Even if we hadn’t met, I’d know you from anywhere. You’re the spitting image of your mother.”

Brenna does a terrible job of hiding her shock. Or maybe she’s not trying to hide it. She openly gawks at my coach. “You knew my mother?”

“We went to college together.” His tone is completely wooden, and his expression lacks any and all emotion. Which isn’t out of the ordinary. Pedersen’s emotional repertoire is limited. His go-to ones are anger and disapproval.

He continues to stare at her. “You really do look like her.” Then he shakes his head, turning to address me. “You didn’t tell me you were seeing Jensen’s daughter.”

Brenna answers for me. “He’s not. This is just…it was nothing. So, please, don’t say anything to my father, okay?”

Pedersen arches a brow at me as if to ask what I think.

I shrug. “She’s right. It was a one-time thing.”

“The only reason I’m here right now is because it’s pouring outside and Jake didn’t want me waiting in the rain for my Uber. Speaking of which,” she says with false brightness. She holds up her phone. “My car is here. I just got an alert.”

The back of her phone case is facing Coach, while the screen faces me. Which means I can clearly see that there’s no alert.

“I should get going,” she says hastily. “Thanks for letting me wait out the storm, Connelly. Nice to see you again, Mr. Pedersen.”

“Nice to see you, too.”

“I’ll walk you out,” I offer.

Pedersen glances at me. “You might as well take off, too. There’s already been one power outage. I don’t want you sitting here in the dark if the storm knocks out the power again.” With that, he stalks offs.

I release the breath I hadn’t realized I was holding. “Shit,” I say.

“Shit,” Brenna echoes. “You think he’ll tell my dad?”

“Doubtful. They’re not best buds.”

“Exactly. What if he snitches out of spite?”

“That’s not really Coach’s style. He prefers to let out all his aggression on the ice.”

We reach the lobby to discover that the apocalypse is in full swing beyond the huge front windows. The sky is nearly black. Gusts of wind smash tree branches against each other, and one branch has already crashed onto the hood of someone’s car. Thankfully it’s not Weston’s Mercedes, which I borrowed again. I might as well start calling it my own, considering how infrequently Brooks drives it.

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