Confessions of a Former Puck Bunny

By: Cindi Madsen

Chapter One

Lindsay

The following is a true account of what happens when one former puck bunny encounters one determined, sexy hockey player and slips off the wagon. Like so far she forgets what the wagon looks like, mostly because she’s blinded by said hockey player’s muscles and charm. Our story starts in a library, where being bad at math—and at hiding, apparently—started me down a path there was no coming back from…

It’s come to this. Hiding in the library, thighs burning from being crouched behind a tall desk, desperately hoping that he wouldn’t look my way and discover me.

As I calculated the distance between me and the bookshelf where I’d have better coverage, and the odds of not being seen while making a run for it—which was ironic considering that being bad at math was the entire reason I was even in this situation in the first place—a blonde strolled up to Ryder “Ox” Maddox. She flashed him a coquettish smile and put a hand on his arm, as if she simply couldn’t help herself.

She probably couldn’t. It’d taken awhile for me to break the habit when it came to guys of the hockey-playing sort.

Confession #1: I used to be a puck bunny.

Puck bunny.

noun | [puhk buhn-ee]

A female ice hockey fan whose interest in the sport is primarily motivated by sexual attraction to the players rather than enjoyment of the game itself.

Yeah. The term can come across a little harshly, especially when spat at you by other women who most definitely didn’t look at your efforts as a positive effect of the sexual revolution.

Back then I let the term roll off my back. In fact, I proudly claimed the title and the perks that came along with it. The hockey players knew me by name, I was invited to their parties, and the time I spent shamelessly flirting with them was fun.

Until I broke the cardinal rule and fell for one of them. It wouldn’t have been so traumatic if I hadn’t been foolish enough to think that star winger, bad boy of the team, and all-around player, Hudson Decker, fell for me, too. The crash that followed made me examine my life, and I didn’t like what I saw. Didn’t like who I’d become—which was basically my mom, something I’d sworn to avoid. I thought I’d been smarter, that I’d been the one in control. What I’d actually been was stupid with a side of naive.

My mid-college-life crisis made me realize it was time for some major changes. I went cold turkey, quitting all things hockey related and vowed to never fall for another one of those rugged, muscular, sexy…

I shook my head, stopping the train of thought that’d impede the progress I’d made over the past year, and silently repeated the vow in my head. I’m never falling for another hockey player.

Keeping a mental running log of my emotions and mistakes I’d made in the past helped keep me in check. Lately I’d had to remind myself of the hard lessons I’d learned more than usual, because for some reason, Ryder Maddox had set his sights on me, and the guy was intense with a side of intense.

He was the very definition of the strong and silent type, and yet he had this ability to surprise me and completely throw me off my game.

A couple of weeks ago, he’d invited me to a party, which I’d been foolish enough to attend in a moment of weakness. I’d told myself it was in the name of needing to keep in touch with the student body for my job as the editor of the college newspaper, but it was just a thinly veiled excuse.

Really, it was the fact that when I’d retorted “I stay away from those parties because hockey players are all cocky meatheads who have enough people slapping them on the back, for the record,” I’d expected offense. For Ryder to argue or insult me, then walk away and never talk to me again.

Perhaps even the bitter, still-hurt part of me was a little bitchier than necessary because I wanted a fight, so I could prove that I was right. I had a problem with needing to be right.

Instead, Ryder calmly replied that he knew a lot of reporters who’d do anything to get ahead, but he liked to reserve judgment until he actually got to know someone as opposed to assuming the worst.

Like I needed to prove anything to him!

But it got under my skin.

Especially since he’d followed it up with, “By the way, I really liked your ‘More than My Major’ article,” without even a hint of insincerity.

Naturally, that article was about how people were so much more than their major so we shouldn’t make snap judgments or decide our majors meant we only had one career path to choose from, and it almost seemed like he was hinting that I wasn’t being open.

Possibly because I wasn’t, which made me determined to show him I could be. By going to that party and proving my point.

Only when I’d arrived at the Quad, he’d squeezed my shoulder, told me he was glad I decided to come, and then added, “Don’t worry. I don’t expect you to slap me on the back for winning our game.” A barely there, hint-of-a-smile curved his lips, and stupid butterflies had started to stir. “For the record.”

Is that sarcasm I detect? With some flirting mixed in?

Again, he took me by surprise, acting opposite of what I’d expected. Witty banter was like my catnip, too, so I slipped a little and accidentally flirted back. “Oh, I’m putting everything on the record.”

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