Game Misconduct (The Dartmouth Cobras Book 1)
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The game has always cast a shadow over Oriana Delgado's life. She should hate the game. But she doesn't. The passion and the energy of the sport is part of her. But so is the urge to drop the role of the Dartmouth Cobra owner's 'good daughter' and find a less...conventional one. 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.
The players on the flat screen above the hard liquor skated in reverse as the bartender rewound the game. Again. Piss-drunk fans crowded around the bar cheered as though watching the winning goal live and thrust their empty glass mugs out for refills. Tap beer was on the house whenever the home team won. First time in a while the generouspolicy would cost the Red Claw’s owner a dime.
“Perron passes to Vanek. Vanek winds up, shoots . . . Scores!” the announcer shouted as cheers erupted from the stadium crowd. “The Cobras win!”
Max Perron lifted his beer in acknowledgment as strangers slapped his shoulders and yapped about his wicked setup. Finally, they backed off him to surround Tyler Vanek, rookie extraordinaire.
“Naw, Thornton don’t scare me!” Vanek laughed and thumped his chest with his fist, his tone dropping as he aped the Wild’s enforcer. “‘You wanna go? You wanna go?’” He paused to accept a beer from the pretty young waitress who’d been hovering and took a swig. “Sure, man, just let me drop this off in your net.”
Freakin’ mouthpiece. One corner of Max’s mouth crept up. Maybe he should remind the kid he’d be gumming his buffalo wings if their good buddy Dominik Mason hadn’t dropped the brute like a bag of manure.
He’s got their attention. Why ruin a good thing? Max fished in his pocket for his cell phone to check for missed calls. Maybe I’ll have a reason to slip out early.
The scuffing of shoes at his side brought his head up.
“She won’t call, Perron.” His captain and best friend, Sloan Callahan, gave him a grim smile. “Her and Coach have been together for three months—they won’t be breaking up any time soon.”
“Coach Stanton’s a dick. Oriana will figure it out eventually.” Max gulped some beer to wash down the bitterness clogging up his throat. “We talked before the game. She didn’t sound happy.”
Sloan sighed and rested his forearms on the shiny, black bar top. “Paul’s good at smoothing things over with her. They’re probably having make-up sex as we speak.”
Make-up . . . his stomach clenched like he’d gotten a good gut-check. He groaned as he pictured her soft body laid out on the bed she shared with Coach, her beautiful eyes squeezed shut as she rose to each hard thrust.
“Fuck, man!” He slammed his bottle on the bar and stood. “Seriously? You really think I need to hear that?”
“Yeah, I do.” Sloan nodded toward the back door of the bar. “I got Roxy for the night. Why don’t you join us—have a bit of fun? You haven’t had any since you got hung up on that girl.”
Rolling his eyes, Max finished his beer. He had plenty of fun—just the other night he’d swapped Vanek’s equipment with the goaltender’s. Pranking the rookie was worth a couple of laughs.
You fixin’ to tell Callahan messing with the kid is enough for you? He smirked and considered. Might throw the man off for a second . . . His lips tightened. The man’s dealt with all my kinks so far. I doubt that would faze him.
Across the packed bar, he spotted Roxy, illuminated by the bright red exit sign. Her pouty, crimson lips curved when she caught him looking. She flipped her sleek, blond hair over one shoulder and tipped her head toward the door. The invitation alone was enough to make his dick swell against his thigh. He adjusted his jeans to give it some space.
Roxy slipped two fingers in her mouth. Her cheeks drew in as she sucked hard.
Naughty little whore—and damn proud of it too.
“Turning tricks just does it for me,” she’d told him once. “Being with different guys every night, sneaking around . . . I’m careful, I’m clean, and I’m expensive enough to be picky. I don’t see nothin’ wrong with it. Do you think I’m a freak?”
“No, I don’t think you’re a freak.” He’d indulged in a rare moment of postcoital cuddling with the hooker in the backseat of Sloan’s classic ‘stang. Inhaling the hot scent of sex mixed with Roxy’s spicy perfume, he’d felt so at ease, he’d made a confession of his own. “I just wish I could find a girl like you who’d be mine—a girl who’d be okay with my freakiness.”
“You’ll find her, Max,” she’d said. “But until you do, I’m perfectly happy giving you everything you need.”
And she really was. So, after their intimate little chat, Max gave up looking for “that girl” and decided to enjoy all Roxy had to offer.
Then he met Oriana Delgado.
Beautiful, sweet, easy to talk to—hell, he’d started falling for her the moment she’d stuttered his name. He had a feeling she’d get him . . . only Coach got to her first. And the bastard had her daddy’s stamp of approval, which mattered way too much. From what she’d let slip, Coach didn’t treat her good.
I would treat her like a queen. I could give her so much more . . .
But not tonight. Tonight, she was in the arms of another man. A man she’d made it clear she wanted to be with. Nothing Max could say would change her mind. He couldn’t force her to leave the man, and pining over her made him look like a fool.
The skin over his biceps tightened as he clenched his fists. He turned to Sloan. “Motel or parking lot?”
Sloan grinned and gestured for Max to lead the way out. “How ‘bout the alley behind the bar? Someone might see us, but the thrill is worth the risk.”
Max shuddered and nodded. He weaved through the throng of drunks, then paused beside Roxy. In a black fishnet shirt and a leather micro-mini, Roxy looked ready to be fucked. Nothing new; she always did. But this time was different. Something in her blazing, blue eyes was almost tender. Sloan must have told her about his . . . predicament.
A pity fuck. He snorted and rolled his shoulders. Not that it mattered—unless sympathy came with a discount?
Roxy frowned at his snort and reached for the metal door handle. “Shall we?”
“Yeah, we shall.” Max put his hand on the door and held it open for her. “After you, ma’am.”
“Uh—” She blushed and ducked out. “Thanks.”
Once they’d cleared the door, he shoved her against the brick wall and braced an arm across her throat.
She let out a surprised squeak.
“Last time we were all together, you mentioned a scene you wanted to try.” He bared his teeth in a ruthless smile. “Still game, babe?”
Her eyes widened, and she shivered. Her gaze flicked from him to Sloan. Then she closed her eyes and nodded.
Sloan snarled and lurched to grab a fistful of Roxy’s hair. “Say it, Roxy. The money ain’t worth the pain if you’re not enjoying yourself. You know how rough I can be.”
“Yes, Sloan.” Roxy whimpered when Sloan released her. “I’ve been fantasizing about this for so long—I wouldn’t have told you otherwise.”
“Good girl.” Sloan gave her a tender smile and plucked a switchblade from his pocket.
Heart hammering in his chest, Max inhaled deeply as Sloan opened the knife. He’d seen Sloan scene with knives before, knew the edge was dull, but he still felt an instinctive rush of adrenaline. Logic insisted he protect the defenseless woman from the psycho with the knife. But something deep and dark reveled in Roxy’s reaction to the threat. As Sloan touched the blade to her throat, her thighs shifted. The sweet musk of her arousal mingled with her floral perfume and Sloan’s cologne. Under pale flesh, a thick blue pulsed against the blade.
“What do you say if you want me to stop, Roxy?” Sloan’s tone was dead calm.
The tip of Roxy’s tongue flicked over her bottom lip. “Pay up.”
“That’s right.” Sloan’s expression changed, warping to one of pure insanity. “Listen to me, bitch. I had every intention of slicing you up and stuffing all your pretty pieces in that big trash bin over there.” He pointed to a massive black bin across the alley from them. “But the way you moved in the bar got me all hard. I watched you all night and started thinking there might be better uses for this pretty body. Was I right?”
Roxy started to nod, then whimpered when the blade dented her flesh. “Please don’t hurt me. I’ll do whatever you want!”
Damn. Max rubbed his dick through his jeans and gave Roxy a heavy-lidded look as he watched for any sign that she was more scared than turned-on. She lowered one hand to the hem of her skirt and curled her fingers under the leather as though tempted to touch herself.
“Max, check if the slut’s wet.” Sloan’s lips twitched as he glanced down. He’d noticed too. “I’m not in the mood for dry pussy tonight.”
Kneeling beside Roxy, Max slid his hand up between her thighs. Her flesh quivered as he stroked her with his fingers. When he touched the crotch of her panties, she gasped.
The silken material was soaked. He pushed the fabric into her with two fingertips and grinned up at Sloan.
“She’s drenched.” He shoved in deeper and felt her pussy spasm. His cock twitched, and a bead of pre-cum seeped out. “I’m thinkin’ she needs to be fucked.”
“She will be.” Sloan wrapped his hand around the nape of Roxy’s neck. “But, first, she’s gonna earn me sparing her life. Get on your knees, whore.”
Roxy carefully eased down to her knees, hissing in each breath, eyes crossing as she tried to watch the knife, which Sloan kept pressed against her throat. The tips of her red stilettos scraped the pavement as she shifted from knee to knee.
“Stop moving,” Sloan said.
“There’s gravel digging into my knees.” Roxy’s color dropped as Sloan slid the knife across her throat like he fully intended to slice her flesh. “Please, it hurts!”
“It’ll hurt more if I cut your neck, don’t you think?” Sloan smiled when she nodded. “Now take out my dick and suck it. If you’re good, me and my friend will fuck you and let you go.”
“O-okay.” Roxy brought her trembling fingers to the zipper of Sloan’s black jeans and deftly freed his cock. She closed her eyes when Sloan traced her cheek with the tip of the knife. As soon as Sloan moved the knife, she swallowed his dick whole.
In the shadows of the bar, with the far-off streetlights glinting off the knife and the beads of sweat on Roxy’s temples, with the black tears slipping down her cheeks, the whole scene reminded Max of a horror flick. Only, in the movies, the girl wouldn’t leave the dark alley alive—no matter what she did. He stood, then took a step back to enjoy the show. Pussy juice cooled on his fingers as the wind picked up, and he brought them to his mouth to suck them clean.
Sloan groaned as Roxy deep-throated him, and Max gulped back a moan. Roxy sucking Sloan’s dick with a knife held so close to her face was one of the most erotic things he’d ever seen. Not a scene he would have thought of on his own, but he couldn’t deny how it affected him. His balls tightened with each wet thrust of his friend’s cock between those soft, glossy lips, with the thrill of seeing things he shouldn’t be seeing. The very atmosphere around them thickened with fear and arousal. Their emotions and desires wound so tight with his, he couldn’t tell them apart. He felt like he’d swallowed a bottle of Viagra or something. Like jerking off for hours wouldn’t be enough. Like his dick would be hard forever.
“Enjoying the show, Perron?” Sloan asked between grunts.
Max ground his teeth and nodded. He stuffed his hand in his jeans and gave his dick a hard tug. “You know I am.”
“We sharing or are you just gonna watch?” Sloan raked his fingers into Roxy’s hair and jerked her to her feet. “Because I need to pound this bitch’s pussy.”
“Do it,” Max said.
“Please.” Roxy’s hands slapped the brick wall when Sloan shoved her away from him. “I want—”
Sloan flipped up her skirt and slapped her ass. “Shut up.”
“Hey!” Roxy scowled over her shoulder at Sloan. “Careful, someone might hear.”
Now she’s worried? Max sighed. Much as being watched appealed to him, he had to admit, Roxy had a point. “If you’re gonna play that way, maybe we should go somewhere private. She hollered so loud last time, you freaked me out.”
“Don’t worry.” Sloan laughed and pulled a condom out of his pocket. Once covered, he positioned himself between Roxy’s spread thighs. “No one’s—”
Sloan froze and stared at the mouth of the alley. Max frowned and followed his friend’s gaze.
His blood ran cold when he saw who stood there, wide-eyed and pale with shock.
She turned and ran.
“Oriana!” Max bolted after her. “Oriana!”
* * *
Oriana’s throat felt scored, like she’d swallowed sand and ground-up glass. She imagined blood rising with the bile in her throat; the pain was that deep. Her soft place to land wasn’t there. Wasn’t soft. Wasn’t . . . she didn’t know what it was. What he was. How could he?
A horn blared, then another. Bright white headlights flashed. She stumbled back from the edge of the curb. Arms wrapped around her waist and held her tight.
“Oriana!” Max hauled her farther away from the intersection. Golden strands of hair stuck to the beads of sweat on his temples. “Hell! Why didn’t you stop?”
“I can’t talk to you right now, Max.” She pushed at his chest and sighed when he refused to budge. “Let me go.”
“No. Not ‘til I’m certain you’ll be all right.” His sharp tone softened to a soft drawl as he slid his hand down her arm to twine his fingers with hers. “Come on, darlin’, let’s go for coffee. I know a good place.”
The “good place” was the one they went to every time he had a home game—and the last place she wanted to be. The front of the café was filled with people winding down from hours of clubbing, but there were a few empty tables near the back where she and Max always sat in relative privacy and talked. Here, she felt smart, pretty, special. Here, the jolt came from more than caffeine. It came from just being around this man.
This man she apparently didn’t know as well as she thought.
Max took her jacket to lay over the back of a chair before pulling it out for her. She perched on the seat, placed her purse on her lap, then clasped her hands together on the table. Max sat across from her and reached over to cover her hands with his.
He didn’t speak at first, just looked at her, as though he sensed that, at the wrong word, the wrong move, she’d bolt. And she looked back and realized the last thing she wanted to do was leave. Being in Max’s presence was like a vacation on a tropical beach. His blond hair always seemed windswept. His skin reminded her of smooth sand, glowing as though just kissed by the sun. She licked her lips, tempted to press them to the back of his hand to absorb some of his warmth. To inhale the fresh scent that clung to him, the scent of the ice, which on him smelled exactly like the surf catching the breeze.
“You came to the bar to see me.” His tone was level, calm, but his hands shook with nervous energy. “Did something happen?”
But she couldn’t. Not after what she’d seen.
Besides, vacations were temporary escapes. Not places to stay forever.
“No, nothing happened.” She smiled at Max, then glanced at the door. What could she say to convince him she could walk out of there without blindly stepping into traffic again? “I just wanted to congratulate you—maybe have a couple of beers. I didn’t realize you’d be . . . busy.”
Brow furrowed, Max looked down at their hands and nodded slowly. “Yeah, well, I’m sorry you had to see that.”
“Me, too.” She flushed and ducked her head when he glanced up. “I was . . . shocked. To tell you the truth, I almost called the cops. I thought you and Callahan were . . . until she said she didn’t want anyone to hear. Then I realized she wanted you both to do . . . well . . . whatever you were doing.”
A familiar waitress stepped up to their table and flashed a brilliant smile, her gaze, as usual, lingering just a little longer on
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