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Kendall Ryan

Playing for Keeps (Hot Jocks Book 1)

  • marti leonhar citeretfor 8 måneder siden
    “You know who else likes salsa?” Becca asks, smiling up at me hopefully. “Elise.”

    My lips twitch with a smile. I fell for that pretty damn fast.
  • marti leonhar citeretfor 8 måneder siden
    t. When I’m on the ice—it’s her I’m skating for. When I’m home in Seattle, she’s the person I want to spend all my free time with. When I’m travelling, my brain is constantly calculating the difference in our time zones and when I might get to talk with her.
  • marti leonhar citeretfor 8 måneder siden
    I would make it my personal mission in life to make her happy if I could.
  • Анна Карпычеваhar citeretsidste år
    “Was your … condition … the reason you didn’t want to hang out tonight?”
    I smirk at him. “My condition? It’s not a disease, you know.”
    His eyes meet mine, softening. “I know that.”
    “And yeah. I mean, I figured I was out of commission and wouldn’t be much use to you tonight.”
  • Анна Карпычеваhar citeretsidste år
    He presses a long kiss to my lips, and then carefully withdraws. I curl my knees up to my chest, still panting.
    “Are you okay?” He looks down at me in admiration.
    I did little more than lay here, but I’m glad he looks pleased. Actually he looks more than pleased. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen him look this happy and tender. He touches his lips to mine again, and then runs his thumb over my core in the most distracting figure-eight.
    “I got you all messy.” His tone is almost reverent.
    I can’t help the giggle that bursts from my lips. “Trust me it was more than worth it.”
    Justin helps clean me up and we lay together in bed for a long time, just talking
  • Анна Карпычеваhar citeretfor 2 år siden
    I feel Justin’s calming hand press between my shoulder blades, rubbing gently. It calms me almost instantly. “You okay, babe?” His chiseled features are drawn into a tight line, and his expression is unreadable.

    I smile, trying to reassure him. “Fine. I’m sure everything’s fine. It’s just sometimes my brother is such a jackass.”

    “There’s no denying that.” He leans closer, nuzzling his face into my neck. “I have to agree with you on that…but I may think he’s an idiot for different reasons than you. If it’s any consolation, though, I love you.”

    “I know you do. And can I just say I’m so glad your manwhore days are behind you?”

    He chuckles then, his lips grazing my jawline again. “I am too, sweetheart. I am too.” He kisses me once softly on the lips and then meets my eyes. “I’ve got everything I need right here.”
  • Анна Карпычеваhar citeretfor 2 år siden
    Owen gazes down at me. “Will you go check on Becca?”

    “Becca?” He frowns, his eyes swinging over to where she sits, contemplatively gazing down into an empty margarita glass. “I’m sure she’s fine,” he says, his tone non-committal.

    “Owen,” I say firmly, my tone a warning.

    He shrugs, relenting. “I’ll check on her. As soon as I assess the situation at the bar. Bridal parties are my jam.” Turning toward where Teddy sits, he makes a lewd hand gesture, then motions toward the bar. “Let’s roll, baby.”

    Teddy chuckles, and gets up to follow him. God, they are idiots.
  • Анна Карпычеваhar citeretfor 2 år siden
    Becca looks a little somber tonight. I’ve promised her that nothing about our friendship will change just because I’m in a relationship. The look she gave me said she wants to believe me, but she’s not so sure. She’s nursing a margarita at the far end of the table, listening to whatever Sara’s whispering to her, but her eyes are on my brother. I don’t think Owen even notices her. As close as they are, he can be a little clueless sometimes.

    But before I can ponder it further, Justin leans close, pushing my hair over my shoulder so he can plant a soft, damp kiss to the side of my neck that makes my toes curl.

    “I love you, Elise.” His voice is deep and raspy, and my eyes swing over to his.

    “I love you too.” I touch his jaw, wondering about the sudden emotion I feel flowing between us.

    A second later I see movement from the corner of my vision. “Enough you two. Just because you’re dating my sister now doesn’t mean I can’t still kick your ass, Brady.”
  • Анна Карпычеваhar citeretfor 2 år siden
    “I get it man, trust me, I do,” Justin says, leaning forward to place his elbows on the table, looking directly at Owen. “And I know you think things are going to change now that I’m out of the game, so to speak, but you and I both know I haven’t been … ah,” he looks at me once, narrowing his eyes as if he’s selecting his words carefully, “playing the game for a while now. Even before Elise, it had all grown stale to me.”

    Owen considers this, nodding once. “Yeah, I guess you’re right.”

    “But I promise you,” Justin adds. “You’re my best friend. And I’ll always make time for you. I’ve got your back. Just like I know you’ve got mine. And it means the world that you trust me with your sister. I promise I’m going to be good to her.”

    Owen raises his bottle of beer in a toast. “I know you will. And I’m glad you both understand that you’re stuck with me.”

    Justin grins, and joins him, clinking his own beer against Owen’s before taking a long drink. “We’re not going anywhere,” he reassures him.

    I rise to my feet, and round the table to throw my arms around my brother’s shoulders. “I love you, big bro.”

    “Yeah, yeah. Love you too,” he grumbles, but he’s smiling.

    My dad clears his throat and all eyes in the room swing his way once again. “Relationship drama out of the way… is it safe to ask what’s new with the team now?” Dad asks and we all begin laughing.
  • Анна Карпычеваhar citeretfor 2 år siden
    Does he really think Justin’s days of being a player (off the ice) aren’t over? Does he think Justin will cheat on me? Break my heart? That we’re not actually in love simply because Justin didn’t have a good parental example of love growing up?

    I’ve never seen Owen bothered by something quite so much. He’s always been the easy-going, down for fun, playful type. But the tense energy flowing off him in waves is hard to ignore.

    “Owen?” I ask, voice coming out soft. “Can you say something, please? Anything.”

    Finally, Owen clears his throat and looks up, locking eyes with Justin. “This is going to sound stupid.”

    My heart melts a little at the fact he’s going to open up. I have no idea what’s on his mind, but I’m thankful he’s going to talk to us, finally. And it’s only natural that he’s got thoughts about this. I’m just dying to know what they are, what his objections could possibly be to me being happy and treated well in a committed relationship. Because seriously, bro …

    He’s still looking across the table at Justin, still baring that same weird expression—it’s a mix between angry and hurt. “You’ve never been in a relationship before…”

    I hold up my hand, ready to jump in and defend Justin, when he stops me by placing one hand gently against my spine.

    “Let him finish,” Justin says softly, leaning in toward me.

    I take a deep breath and nod, gesturing for Owen to continue.

    Owen sighs, leaning in to look at Justin. “You’re my best friend. You’ve been by my side through team trades and draft picks, and injuries, and playoff games. We’ve shared an apartment for years now, and every hotel room while on the road for longer than that. Hell, you’re the only person I could call that time I was tied up and…” He looks down at his lap and shakes his head, and Justin does the same.

    Oh God, not the sex emergency.

    Owen sighs and looks back up. “Anyway, you’ve always been the one I can count on, and I appreciate that.”

    Justin nods, acknowledging him at a brief pause in Owen’s monologue. “Absolutely man, and it’s been a crazy good ride. I wouldn’t change that for anything.”

    Owen swallows. “But that’s just it. Change is inevitable now. You’re in a relationship with Elise, and I’m not so dense that I don’t see that it’s going to change us. Our friendship. Everything.”

    That’s what he’s worried about? For a second, I’m speechless. His little bro-mance with Justin? But then everything starts to click. With sadness, I finally get it. Owen’s worried he’s going to lose his best friend. His best friend of twenty-plus years. I’m about to open my mouth and tell him I would never let that happen, that I’d never stand in the way of their friendship, when it suddenly occurs to me, he’s right.
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