Pucked Off (The Pucked Series)(10)

By: Helena Hunting


“The season’s starting soon. I’m not going to interfere with your time with her.” Especially not since his dad blew in and out of town not long ago and that sure as fuck didn’t go well. I think he might still be repairing the damage.

“Lily would’ve understood.”

Wiener turns around three times beside me and settles his butt against my leg. I know better than to pet him right away or we’ll have to go through the whole barking-skittish thing again.

“Maybe, but I don’t want to be the friend who’s a problem.”

“You’re not a problem, Romance.” Randy taps his steering wheel. “So I’m guessing things with Tash didn’t go well?”

“Nope.”

“What happened?”

“Just the usual bullshit. Me wanting things I shouldn’t, expecting it to be different when it never is.”

Randy doesn’t know how things go down between me and Tash. He has a vague understanding that I wanted more out of it than she did, and that’s about it. As far as most of the team is concerned, I’m the asshole because we were fucking in the gym locker room and got caught, resulting in Tash’s termination from her job as team trainer. The real story behind that scenario isn’t quite so straightforward.

“What happened that your face ended up being used as a punching bag?”

“I went to a bar, and some chick recognized me. She and her friend propositioned me, and one of them had a boyfriend she failed to mention. He showed up and got all aggressive, and I stepped in the middle to make sure she didn’t get a fist in her face.”

It’s the abridged version. Randy doesn’t need to know the less-than-flattering details. He’s aware of what I’m like when I’m in a bad mood, especially after I’ve seen Tash.

“Jesus.”

“Pretty sure he wasn’t looking to save me based on the state of my face.” I close my eyes. My head hurts. I can’t tell if it’s from the concussion or the whiskey, or both.

Wiener nudges my hand, which is his way of telling me he’s ready for pets. I scratch his head, but keep my eyes closed. I’m so tired of everything.

Randy nudges my shoulder. “’Kay, man, we’re home.”

I crack a lid, disoriented until I realize I’ve fallen asleep and we’re parked in Randy’s driveway. “You brought me to your place?”

“You have a concussion. You gotta be woken up every two hours.”

“It’s mild. I’m fine.”

Randy strokes his beard. “And if Tash calls again?”

“She’s not gonna call again.”

“You sure about that?

“If she does I won’t answer.”

That’s bullshit and we both know it—especially after a night like this. My phone’s full of messages from her, waiting for a reply.

“That’s what you said last time, and look where that’s gotten you. I don’t know why she’s got such a hold on you, man, but you need to get her out of your life. She’s fucking toxic. You gotta cut her out like cancer.”

“I know, man.” I tap my temple. “She just gets in here, and I can’t get her out.” And sometimes I want her there, because the pain she causes is something I understand.

Wiener lets me pick him up and carry him into the house. Randy’s place is nice, in a nice part of town, but it’s not reflective of the money he makes. He could live in a monster house if he wanted. Instead he lives in a very reasonable house.

“The spare room’s already made up.” He leads me down the hall and shows me where the towels and stuff are. “I’ll be back in two hours to make sure you’re still alive.”

“Thanks for coming to get me.”

“It’s no problem. Get some rest. You need to be on it for practice tomorrow.”

He leaves me alone in the spare room. I go to the bathroom and check out my face. It’s beat up. I took a couple solid shots to the ribs, and being slammed into the table definitely didn’t feel good. I brush my teeth and spit out a lot of pink thanks to the lacerations in my mouth.

I pop a couple of aspirin and lie down. My phone still goes off every once in a while. I should turn it off and leave it until the morning—or longer. But I don’t. Instead I hit the button and the screen lights up.