- Title: City Boy
Series: Hot Off the Ice #1
Genre: Hockey Romance
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City Boy is a first time gay, fish out of water, May/December love story with a happy ending. It features snarky siblings, a dirty-talking farmer, lots of food, and big choices. (No poultry was harmed in the making of this book.)
When a blown tire leads directly to mind-blowing sex with a white knight named Dakota, pro-hockey player Bryce Lowery discovers he is most definitely gay.
Being with Dakota opens up a whole new world and Bryce can’t imagine life without him. But Dakota refuses to be Bryce's dirty little secret. If he wants to keep his new love, he’s either going to have to come out publicly or retire and walk away from a contract worth millions of dollars.
Follow the money or follow his heart? Either way, he loses.
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Dakota slumped in the saddle of his Harley Road King and stared at the red taillights of the brand new Toyota 4Runner in front of him. He wished he had the ability to make the vehicle explode with the power of his mind. Or at the very least make it get the fuck out of the way. He didn’t want anyone to get hurt; he just wanted to ride fast up a twisty mountain road. Was that too much to ask?
With all the stress in his life right now, a nice long motorcycle ride was just what he needed. The aspens blazed gold against a clear blue sky, and the road up to Rocky Mountain National Park should have been light on tourists on an October Sunday afternoon.
Should have been. Wasn’t.
Judging by the way this idiot in front of him was puttering seven miles an hour below the speed limit up the twisting mountain roads, there was at least one tourist left.
He couldn’t see the person behind the wheel, but he was going to assume it was a little old lady. Grandma didn’t even have the damn sense to pull over and let Dakota pass.
Maybe she wasn’t a tourist. The SUV had temporary Colorado tags. He bet she was a new transplant. She’d probably read one too many ‘10 Best Places to Retire’ article in the AARP magazine, moved out west, and got herself an SUV for carting the grandchildren around during the winter.
Dakota gritted his teeth and took a few deep breaths, trying to enjoy the feel of the bike between his legs and the road rolling out beneath him, no matter how slowly it might be rolling.
About a half mile ahead, after the next curve, the road straightened out and widened into two lanes; he would pass her there. He may be upset, angry, and confused, but he wasn’t suicidal. Besides, he was headed all the way up to Trail Ridge Road today, trying to get one last ride in before it closed for the season. Fifteen minutes extra wasn’t going to kill him.
As Grandma came into the hard curve to the right, she swung wide, crossing the yellow line.
Dakota slowed the bike to put more space between them and held his breath until she completed the turn safely. Okay, now he had to see what Grandma looked like. She was a menace. Jesus Christ, if anyone had been coming down the mountain…he didn’t even complete the thought.
The road widened, and Dakota shifted gears to pull up next to Granny and give her a death glare. Not that she’d be able to see it through the helmet, but she’d feel it. Deep in her soul.
He swung around the left side of the bright red SUV, turned his head, and the world slipped into slow motion.
Granny was a smoking-hot giant of a man with his hands clenched so tightly on the wheel, Dakota could see the whites of his knuckles through the window.
Not-Granny turned and looked at Dakota, his dark, gorgeous eyes wide. The guy filled the SUV, his head almost brushing the roof. His biceps were the size of Dakota’s thighs. Holy shit. Maybe Dakota should offer to give him the driving lessons he so obviously needed.
Dakota swung around in front of the 4Runner and gave the guy a last look in his rearview. Good luck with the driving, he thought. Try not to kill anyone.
As he pulled away, there was a pop Dakota could hear through his helmet, and the guy’s eyes opened even wider. Dakota had a quick second to marvel at how dark his eyelashes were before the SUV slewed sideways off the road.
Screeching to a halt, Dakota turned his bike across the road to block any oncoming traffic and watched helplessly as the guy yanked the steering wheel in completely the wrong direction to control the skid.
The SUV slid on the dirt, spun around, and ended up with its rear end sticking into the road and its front end facing a drop-off. The only thing keeping it from plunging down the short but steep bank to the river was a lone pine tree wedged against the grill. The rear driver’s side tire was shredded; the sidewall completely blown out.
- Title: Country Boy
Series: Hot Off the Ice #2
This book was fantastic to read. It dealt with issues facing normal people and i felt like i was a part of Robbie,Paul,Bryce and Dakota. As i read more, i came to understand where Paul was coming from and could even be angry at some of his reactions. This was off the charts A.E. I can't thank you enough for writing this series.😘
Genre: Hockey Romance
Country Boy is a love story about figuring out who you are, who you want to be, and how to get there. It contains sweet hockey plays, a 1976 Corvette Stingray, fancy underwear, and the journey of a lifetime.
The first time Paul Dyson met Robbie Rhodes, they ended up naked in Robbie’s bed. The last time they met, on the ice the morning after, Paul punched Robbie in the face and called him something he’d rather not repeat. Two years later, they’re teammates on the Seattle Thunder and Paul is so deep in the closet he'll need a roadmap to find his way out again. It’s going to take a lot of faith to find their way together in this shiny new world.
Sometimes the hardest thing to believe in is yourself.
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Shivering, he went in the living room in his boxers. Robbie’s blankets looked warm, and Paul wondered if Robbie would mind if he wrapped one around himself to warm up. He sat tentatively on the edge of the folded down futon and ran his hands over the soft comforter, an oddly intimate gesture.
Robbie raised one eyebrow when he caught sight of Paul sitting nearly naked on his futon. “Mr. Dyson, I’m not that kind of a boy,” he said archly. He threw a pair of pants and a gray t-shirt at Paul.
Blushing, Paul shook out the clothes. The shirt was a Bemidji Chargers’ t-shirt with Robbie’s last name on the back. He held it up and made a face.
“Tough luck,” Robbie said with a laugh. “It was the only clean shirt I had left. Count your blessings.”
Paul tried to hide his trembling hands as he pulled on the shirt and sweatpants. All he could think of was how kissing Robbie had made him feel. His lips tingled, raw from the cold, the pressure, and the scrub of Robbie’s end of the day stubble.
He was twenty-two years old, had been with more than a few girls, but he felt like a fourteen-year-old virgin.
Sure, it wasn’t quite his first experience with a guy. He pushed that memory down deep. Six-feet-deep.
But even that time hadn’t been like this. Lending a friend a hand in the middle of the night was one thing. But kissing? Especially kissing like that? Soft and sweet? The kind Paul secretly ached for? That was gay.
And so, apparently, was Paul, despite how often he had prayed to God not to be. Evidence A? He wanted to kiss Robbie again, right now. So, how could he make that happen?
Suddenly Robbie was up in his space, a hand on his chest, pushing him down to the futon. “I lied. I am that kind of a boy.” He climbed onto the mattress, straddling Paul’s lap.
Oh. Okay. Paul’s heart jack-rabbited as he swung between terror and elation. He lay there, eyes wide and arms gripping the comforter that was as soft as he’d thought it would be.
Everything he was feeling must have shown in his eyes, because Robbie stopped, his palm flat against Paul’s chest. The grin slipped from his face. “Are you okay?”
Paul nodded quickly.
Robbie didn’t look convinced. “Are you sure? It’s okay if you want to stop. I won’t kick you out or anything.”
Tentatively, Paul reached up and laid his hands on Robbie’s thighs where they rested on either side of his body. His muscles were hard as rocks under the soft fabric of his sleep pants. Paul couldn’t resist digging his fingers into them. “No,” he croaked. “Don’t stop.”
Robbie curved down over Paul, his face inches from Paul. “Do you really want to kiss some guy from BSU?”
“Yeah, I really do,” Paul said seriously. He might never get up the nerve up to do this again. If one night was going to have to last him a lifetime, he wanted to feel everything. “I want to do everything.”
“That’s a tall order,” Robbie whispered, slipping his hands beneath the shirt Paul wore. “I’ll see what I can do.”
- Title: Boy Toys
Series: Hot Off the Ice #3
Boy Toys is a steamy, yet sweet story about two men who have known each other practically their whole lives, yet don't really know each other at all. This story is just a prequel to the their story, but it definitely promises to be another hot read from Ms Wasp. I've loved everything that I've read by this author and if you love mm romances, then this entire series is a must!
Genre: Hockey Romance
Boy Toys is a heart-warming Christmas story featuring the inappropriate use of a Santa suit, sibling bribery, and ninety separate instances of the f-word.
10 siblings, 7 fish courses, 6 hockey players, 5 cousins, 4 calling birds, 3 spouses, 2 houses & 1 night that changes everything.
Betrayed by first his body and then his girlfriend, Liam O’Reilly, assistant coach of the Seattle Thunder, is not having a very merry Christmas. So when a smoking hot hockey player in a Santa suit offers himself up like a present begging to be opened? Well, it’s a freaking Christmas miracle.
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Merry Christmas, Kiss my Ass - Joey
The front door slammed open with a bang that Joey Luciano could hear over the raucous laughter and loud voices of the combined Luciano-O’Reilly shared family Christmas party going on all around him. A cold wind carrying with it the faintest hint of the sea and the promise of more snow before nightfall shoved rudely through the room, slipping icy tendrils down the back of the cheap polyester Santa suit Joey wore.
But the shiver that slid down Joey’s spine wasn’t from the wind. Only one thing – one person – ever had that effect on him.
Fucking Liam O’Reilly.
Even with his back to the door, Joey knew Liam was standing behind him.
Who knew why? Maybe it was his physical presence that pushed its way into Joey’s subconscious. Tall and broad-shouldered with the bright copper hair he shared with his four siblings, Liam stood out even on the ice with a helmet on.
Or possibly it was the massive crush Joey had on Liam that kept his entire being locked on Liam whenever they were in the same space.
“Fucking hell!” Liam bellowed drunkenly over the crowd of brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, significant and insignificant others.
Or maybe it was that.
“What in the name of all that is holy is she doing here?” Liam yelled, pointing at the blonde woman who was, as far as Joey knew, was Liam’s girlfriend. At least she had been when she’d left to pick Liam up at the airport
Come to think of it, hadn’t she left hours ago to pick Liam up at the airport? Joey knew she had because he had low-key fought with for the opportunity, but she’d insisted she had to pick Liam up because they had to talk.
But it was three in the afternoon already. She’d been back for at least an hour, and this was the first he was seeing of Liam. That must have been some talk.
“I live here, fucktard,” Michelle yelled right back.
“Yeah, and now I know why you didn’t want to fucking move to fucking Seattle!” Liam’s eyes flashed.
“Language!” Liam’s mother said with the air of someone who knew she was wasting her breath.
Luciano and O’Reilly siblings converged from all corners of the huge dining room/kitchen/living room combination that made up most of the first floor. There were benefits of having six professional athletes, a cop, and an ER nurse on hand for a family gathering, not the least of which was their catlike ability to move quickly through a crowd.
Natalie, Liam’s little sister, was closest to Michelle. A professional goalie used to reading large groups of people, she moved to put her body between the fighting couple.
“Why is she here?” Liam yelled at his mother. “I can’t believe you let her under your roof!”
“Michelle is like a daughter to me, Liam O’Reilly. I see her more than I see you,” Kathleen O’Reilly said, standing next to the crying blond and wrapping an arm around her shoulders.
Joey made his way discreetly through the crowd towards Liam. It was slow going due to the fact that he was wearing a Santa Claus costume and getting stopped every six inches by a kid demanding a present from the sack over his shoulder.
- Title: Skater Boy
Series: Hot Off the Ice #4
This is one of the best lifelong friends-to-lovers stories I've ever read. The whole cast is beautifully written, and the more who join in, the better it gets. And! I cannot believe how much parenting wisdom's in here! Particularly the 'pay attention to each other, too' parts. But all the other parts, too. Including that very last scene. 🙂 So typical.
Highest recommendation. You don't have to have read the series or know anything about hockey. But you should probably have a passing acquaintance with babies and how much time they require, or at least trust me when I say Wasp didn't exaggerate. Like, at all.
I had really high hopes for this book because I really enjoyed the rest of the series and I'm happy to say it delivered! The two main characters are well written and complex. They are faced with some terrible circumstances just as the friendship is transitioning into more and they struggle a little to come up with their path forward. They are so obviously in love that you can't help but root for them to make it out the other side. I really loved this story and had trouble putting it down. I definitely recommend this as well as all the other books in this series!
Genre: Hockey Romance
Skater Boy is a story about falling in love with your best friend. It contains discussions about baby poop, day drinking, girls’ night out, and the purchase of a mini-van.
When his most recent poor decision comes to a door-slamming end, former Olympic figure skater Alex Stanton is forced to move into the house of his best friend, Thunder starting goalie, Sergei Pergov. It's just temporary. Then Sergei kisses him and everything changes.
Sergei doesn't care that Alex has no money, no career, no future. He makes more than enough for both of them. But Alex says he's done being a kept man. He'll find a way to make it on his own even if he has to move across the country to do it. But Sergei knows he needs Alex more than Alex needs him. Alex is the one who makes their house a home; his love makes them a family. How can Sergei make him see that there are thing more precious than money?
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Worry creased Sergei’s brow as he hurried down the hallway to Alex’s condo. Alex hadn’t answered the buzzer and wasn’t answering his phone. Sergei had only gotten in the building by holding the security door open for a woman whose hands were full with grocery bags.
He could hear yelling and the sound of glass breaking even before he reached the apartment. Breaking into a run, he pushed through the partially-opened door.
Like a scene from a bad movie, Sergei had to duck when a wine glass came flying towards his head. It smashed into the wall, splattering red wine all over the white wallpaper. “Get! Out!” Alex yelled.
The cats took off running down the hall toward the bathroom.
Sergei was stunned. What had happened to make Alex so angry in the last fifteen minutes? It took him a moment to realize Chuck was standing there, hands raised, begging for Alex to listen to him.
Alex yelled at Chuck in rapid-fire French as he searched for something else to throw at the man. Sergei couldn’t exactly follow what Alex was saying, but from what he could understand Alex had just found out that Charles was not, in fact, divorced, but still married and living with his wife.
Alex was nothing more than his mistress.
That bastard. Sergei wanted to punch the asshole more now than he ever had. And he’d wanted to punch Charles many, many times.
Alex reached for a plate to throw, and Sergei rushed across the room to stop him. “Alex, no!” He grabbed Alex’s arm, holding it immobile.
“But he’s married! The estie de menteur bâtard d’enfant de chienne, is married!” There were tears in Alex’s furious eyes.
“So I gathered. But do not make the beavers pay for his lies.” He took the plate out of Alex’s hand and placed it back on the table. Then he stood between Alex and Charles, arms crossed over his chest. He used every inch of his six foot six height to loom over Charles. “Is true? You are married?”
Charles took a step back. Most people who weren’t hockey players did when faced with an angry giant. Hockey players just slammed right into him even when he was in the net.
“Yeah,” Charles admitted. “But come on. You can’t tell me he didn’t know. What does it even matter? It don’t change anything.”
Alex tried to get to Charles around Sergei. Sergei easily held him back with one hand. “I didn’t know!” Alex cried. “And it matters to me, you piece of shit. It would matter to Allie, too, if she knew!”
Charles rolled his eyes. “Kid, she would not care. She’s probably glad I’m not bugging her for sex anymore. Come on, Lexi,” he wheedled, “be reasonable. We have fun, right?”
“Get out,” Alex said again.
“It’s my condo, remember?” Charles said angrily. Normally, Sergei could admit that Charles was good-looking in a generic, moneyed way, but the sneer on his face turned him ugly. “So why don’t you leave. No sweat off my back. Aging twinks like you are a dime a dozen. I could go down to any gay bar in town and find a younger, hotter guy just gagging for what I could give him. Your ass is sweet, but other than that, you’re nothing special.”
Nothing special? Sergei had always known Chuckles was a dick, but he was obviously stupid as well. Alex was very special. A hot flare of jealousy when he realized Charles had seen Alex’s naked ass many times took Sergei by surprise.
- Title: Boy Next Door
Series: Hot Off the Ice #5
I savoured reading this like it was a top shelf liquor- reading slowly to appreciate its rich notes and repeating some phrases because I wanted to make it last as long as possible and it was so good. This author has the skills to make you laugh and cry and walk away sated in the end. I loved Joey and Nonno's talks. Some made me laugh and some brought tears to my eyes
Genre: Hockey Romance
This is a story about losing the path and finding yourself. It contains kissing, yelling, and carb-loaded family interventions.
Hockey superstar Joey Luciano has always been good at being whatever people needed him to be. The fans want a good-looking fast-living party boy? Enter ‘the Looch,’ Joey’s carefully created public persona. But the cracks in his mask are starting to show, and he’s begun to lose touch with who he really is. It’s going to take someone who’s been there from the very beginning, to help him find his way home.
Coach Liam O’Reilly always had a very clear picture of what his life should look like. Falling in love with the infuriating, passionate, stubborn, and endlessly fascinating boy next door was not part of the plan. But when Liam’s carefully constructed life fell apart one Christmas Eve, Joey Luciano was there to pick up the pieces. Now Liam can't stop wanting him.
The passion blazing between them on the ice and behind closed doors could leave both of them badly burned. But through the smoke, Liam can see glimpses of a future brighter than any he’d imagined, a future worth risking his career and reputation for, if only he is brave enough to reach for it.
But Joey’s got a secret he’s keeping from everyone. If it gets out, it could be the end of everything.
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“Speaking of right now,” Liam said. “What’s going on? Paddy claims Sergei needed to see me about his stick. Which is the saddest attempt at a lie since Jimmy told Mom that Conrad Sincowitz had given him his bicycle as an early birthday present.”
The cousins exchanged a look.
Natalie sighed. “It’s an idiot intervention.”
"Stop calling me an idiot at work.” Liam looked around quickly to make sure no one important was around.
“This is a bar,” Patrick said with frustrated patience. “This isn’t work.”
Liam pointed to the vast, strobe-lit expanse of the club behind him. “My boss is somewhere over there. Ergo, this is work.”
“Ergo, you’re a douche,” Gina said, pushing through the crowd with a tray of shot-glasses filled with amber liquid and a bottle of tequila.
Gina held the tray out imperiously, offering it to each cousin in turn. “Salud,” they said in ragged unison, tossing the shots back.
The tequila went down surprisingly smoothly. If Gina was shelling out for the good stuff, things must be serious.
“So why am I here?” Liam asked again, setting his glass back on the tray.
“Is the other idiot in there already?” Patrick asked, ignoring Liam and pointing at the men’s room door.
“What other idiot?” Liam asked, though as soon as he asked he knew. It could only be Joey. He’d fallen into some kind of family trap. God damn it. He used to be smarter than that.
His stomach cramped at the idea of seeing Joey again. He felt so guilty over how he’d left things between them. He was older, he was supposed to be the grown up.
As the tequila warmed his veins, he opened the door on the memories he tried to keep repressed. Joey half-naked on the mattress, tattoos gleaming with sweat as Liam worked a finger into him. Joey’s cock straining against the ridiculous black and neon blue briefs he’d been wearing. Red and green Christmas lights sliding over Joey’s skin as they moved together in the bed. No matter how often he pushed the images away, they always came back. Usually late at night.
He should have called.
Shoulda, woulda, coulda. as his dad would say. In the privacy of his own mind, he could admit that he was scared. Scared of what Joey would say. That he would yell and curse at Liam was a given. He just hoped Joey didn’t take a swing at him. Liam was taller and heavier, but now that he wasn’t playing anymore, he’d let the workouts slide. Coaching didn’t require the same strict routine.
Joey worked out constantly, and he had the three percent body fat and six-pack abs to prove it. Not that Liam was thinking about his body or his abs at all. There had to be a way out of this. Maybe there was a fire alarm he could pull.
Two men headed toward the bathroom, and Gina imperiously waved them away. “Closed!” she said. “Toilet’s blocked up. It’s really gross.”
One guy wrinkled his nose and they both walked away.
“You can’t monopolize the whole bathroom, G,” Liam protested. Surely someone would be complaining to the staff any second now.
“Yeah, I can,” Gina said. She glared at a giant drunk guy making a beeline to the door. “It’s closed. Use the ladies.”
Obviously, the guy had a death wish, because he pulled himself up to his full-height, grumbling something as he stepped closer to Gina.
His buddy looked at the group surrounding Gina and tugged the guy away nervously. Drunk guy shook him off.
“Sorry,” the friend said to Liam and Patrick.
Liam shrugged. It wasn’t them the guy should be worried about.
Gina took a step forward, coming down hard on the guy’s foot with her four-inch stiletto heel. “Yeah, I know the line for the ladies’ is longer. Sucks doesn’t it?” She poked him in the chest. “Welcome to my world. Now get the fuck outta here. This is family business."
The guy held up his hands and let his more sober friend drag him away. “Okay, fine.”
Gina turned her gaze to Liam. Despite being a foot taller than she was, he still felt like she was looking down at him. “When was the last time you spoke to my little brother? Or even texted him directly?”
She was in full big sister mode. Liam was in trouble. Joey was the baby of both families. “Um, well, I haven’t spoken to him in a while,” he confessed.
Gina narrowed her eyes, hands on her hips. “Define a while.”
“Since Christmas,” he admitted. The stunned silence that followed surprised him.
“Damn, Judy,” Deano said. “You’re a dick.”
“Stop calling me that.” He checked the people standing near them to see if anyone important was nearby.
“Stop being a dick, and we’ll consider it,” Natalie said, hopping onto the ‘pick on Liam’ bandwagon.
Liam shrugged like it was no big deal. Trying to keep his nerves from showing on his face, he looked directly into Gina’s eyes. “What’s the big deal? We’re both busy. We’ve gone months not talking before.”
“Yeah, but not after you fucked him,” Gina said, poking Liam hard in the chest with a long acrylic fingernail.
Oh, fuck. “What? And ow, Gina. That hurt.” She couldn’t really know, could she? Maybe she meant it in a ‘since you fucked him over’ way.
Gina poked him again. “Don’t even try to pretend like it didn’t happen.”
“Fuck.” He covered his mouth with both hands, scanning the crowd again. Coach Williams was making his way across the room. He was deep in conversation with the coach from the Rangers, Joey’s current team. Thankfully, he didn’t seem to be heading Liam’s way.
“Does everyone know?” he asked. Stupid question. Of course, they did. What one of them knew, all ten of them knew.
Gina pointed at Natalie, Patrick, and Deano. “We know, obviously.”
“I heard it from Angie,” Patrick said. “And I told Jimmy.”
left only Sophia and Nico. Sophia had to know; the girls told each other everything.
“Please tell me Nico doesn’t know,” Liam pleaded. That would be too much, though personally, he thought Nico getting Liam’s girlfriend pregnant was much worse than him sleeping with Nico’s little brother.
The other four traded glances and head shakes. “I don’t think so,” Deano said. “I know I didn’t tell him.”
The jury was still out on who was the main villain in the Nico—Michelle—Liam triangle. The times when he admitted his culpability in the situation notwithstanding, Liam’s vote swung evenly between Nico and Michelle. After all, it took two to tango, as his mother always said. Oh god, his mother.
Liam leaned forward and waved them closer. “Do Mom and Dad know?” His voice dropped. “Do Aunt Jeanie and Uncle Frankie know?”
Patrick and Natalie checked in with each other. Gina and Deano had a brief discussion of what, if anything, their parents were aware of.
“I don’t think so,” Natalie said.
"So who told who first?”
“Nana told me,” Gina said.
"What? Outta nowhere? She just blurted it out over breakfast?”
Gina grimaced. “Yeah, well, I caught her sneaking out of Nonno Lollo’s room late at night, and she threw you and Joey under the bus to distract me. Totally worked by the way.”
“Damn it.” Liam scowled. “We had a deal. I didn’t rat her out. That’s not fair.”
“You knew about them?” Natalie asked.
Liam surveyed the crowd, searching for a way out of what was quickly becoming the most painful conversation of his life. And that included the time at Christmas when Michelle told him she was pregnant and Nico was the father. Well, not so much told him as screamed it across a living room crowded with all their friends and family.
"Yeah, I knew,” he admitted. “I thought we had a mutual secrecy pact. Can’t trust that old Irishwoman.”
"I didn’t believe it at first,” Deano said as he poured another round. “I mean, I knew you were playing both sides of the street.”
“Lovely phrasing.” Liam scowled. He’d come out as bisexual more than ten years earlier in a show of support for Sophia Luciano who had come out as a lesbian. By the time Natalie came out, no one batted an eye.
"Thanks,” Deano said, completely missing the sarcasm. “So, yeah, I knew about you, but I didn’t know about Joey.”
Liam wasn’t so sure Joey had known about Joey. “Does he know you all know?” God, even he was starting to lose track of what he was saying.
"Nope,” Gina said. “He thinks we think you guys are just fighting. We know this is all your fault. You broke him, you fix him. He’s miserable and you’re, well, more miserable than usual.” She handed him two freshly-filled shot glasses. “Get in there, Tiger.”
Patrick pushed the door open with one hand and shoved Liam into the bathroom.
Liam stumbled over the threshold.
- Title: Boys of Summer
Series: Hot Off the Ice #6
Genre: Hockey Romance
Teammate, Roommates, Friends with Benefits. What could go wrong?
Boys of Summer is a book about finding the perfect person to ride shotgun with on the crazy road trip called life. It contains a Dolly Parton lookalike, an unfortunate deer versus car incident, and poorly-timed epiphanies.
Thunder goalie James McVicker learned early on - if you don’t want to hurt, don’t get attached. So obviously when Vicky finds himself possibly, maybe stupidly, falling in love with his best friend, it only makes sense for him to leave first, right? So why does it feel like he’s just made the biggest mistake of his life?
Patrick O’Reilly has the greatest best-friend-slash-teammate-slash-roommate in the world. Hanging out with Vicky is as easy as breathing, and adding some epic benefits of the sexual kind only makes it better. Obviously, Vicky isn’t in love with him. He’s just caught up in the whole wedding thing. If he would just talk to Paddy, they can work all this out and get back to being friends again.
The course of true love never did run smoothly, but maybe with the help of their friends and family and some last-minute divine intervention, what started as a road trip could turn into the adventure of a lifetime.
Also in this series:
“Hey! McVicker,” he yelled over the crowd, “I got you a present. Get that fine ass over here and have a drink with me!” They’d already had quite a few drinks, but one more seemed perfect. They’d killed it tonight, and they were young and healthy and on the top of the world.
Vicky caught his eye, and looked pointedly from him to Ashleigh, raising his eyebrows in a silent question. That questions was you gonna hit that? For some reason, Vicky had been on a mission lately to get Patrick laid.
Honestly. Patrick shook his head and rolled his eyes. He and Ashleigh were friends, that was it. Even if they hadn’t been, he wasn’t going to duck out with some girl. This was a night to celebrate with teammates. They were the only ones who really understood what it all meant.
Vicky smiled wide and shoved his way through the crowd, circling the room to slam into Paddy from behind, separating him from Ashleigh. He threw his arm across Paddy and Hubs’ shoulders and yanked them both into him with a whoop. “I love you guys!” he proclaimed, sealing his love with a loud smack on the side of first Hubs’ and then Paddy’s cheek.
“Love you too, Vicks,” Hubs said with a gentle smack on Vicky’s back.
Vicky fake-staggered into Patrick so hard he should have gotten a two-minute minor for embellishment, but since it ended with Vicky plastered against Patrick’s back and his arms draped over his shoulders, he decided not to complain.
Ashleigh gave them both a frown as she sidestepped out of the way.
“Sorry,” Vicky said, but he didn’t move. “So, boys and girls, what are we talking about?”
“How Coach got shot down in public,” Triple D said. “Brutal.”
Vicky scoffed, his breath warm on Patrick’s skin. His fingers pressed hard into the muscles at the base of Patrick’s shoulders, giving him a rough squeeze before resting heavy and warm on his shoulders.
Patrick shivered. Ever since Vicky had told him he'd been with guys before—casually, like it was no big deal, like it was a thing everyone did—Patrick hadn’t been able to stop thinking about it. He had never done anything sexual with a dude. Never masturbated in the same room with another guy, no devil’s three-ways where they could use the girl as an excuse, never shared a quick handjob between friends.
But with a gun to his head, he would admit he’d always been…curious. Like, shouldn’t he at least try kissing a guy? How could he really know he was straight if he didn’t? One day, he would work up the nerve to ask Vicky if he thought Patrick should explore his options. Not with Vicky. That would be weird.
Though even a straight guy could tell Vicky was hot. He had those rounded thick muscles Patrick envied and a superb hockey butt. And he was smart and funny. If he ever did try something with a guy, it would probably be someone who looked like Vicky.
What if Patrick brought it up, and Vicky volunteered to let Patrick. Let Patrick what? A voice in his head asked. Kiss him? Touch his dick? Butterflies flapped wildly in Patrick’s stomach. He quieted them with a big slug of whiskey.
It was probably stupid to wonder anyway. Patrick had a gay brother, a gay sister, and a gay best friend. He was twenty-five years old, if he was gay or even bi, he would have known by now, right?
“Think Coach will be okay?” Hubs asked.
“What?” Patrick asked having lost the thread of the conversation.
“With the Looch turning him down cold like that. That hadda hurt.” The poor guy looked as if he were seriously worried about Patrick’s prickly older brother’s heart despite the fact that everyone in both families had known for the last few years Joey would marry Liam one day. Who else on the planet would put up with him?
“Don’t worry about Judy,” Patrick said with a laugh. “It’ll happen. I predict by the end of summer the latest. Joey’s just going to make him work for it.” He pointed at where Liam and Joey stood side by side. Even though they weren’t touching, weren’t even looking at each other, the energy between them was palpable. “That, my friends, is destiny. True love. Written in the stars.”
Now it was Vicky’s turned to scoff.
“What? You don’t believe in true love?” Ashleigh asked him.
“Not even a little.”
Patrick shivered with a chill as Vicky peeled himself off Paddy’s back.
“I do,” Hubs said seriously. “I fell in love with Amber first time I saw her.” Amber was Hub’s girlfriend. A year younger than him, she was graduating high school soon, and they were already talking about looking for a place this off-season.
Patrick had money on them being engaged by Christmas. Paul Dyson, one of their defensemen, was from Alabama. He said he’d seen a ton of these high school things, and his money was on Hubs proposing the day of her high school graduation. Vicky had been horrified at the thought.
Luckily for him, Hubs was spared Vicky’s commentary on his ‘child bride’ by the cheers of the crowd as “My Humps” by The Black Eyed Peas, the unofficial anthem of the Seattle Thunder, came over the sound system. If there was one physical attribute most hockey players shared, it was a lot of extra junk in the trunk.
Hubs and Triple D whooped. Hubs slapped Devin on the butt. “Yeah, baby. Let’s get that ass out on the dance floor!”
“Dance with me?” Ashleigh asked Vicky, apparently done with Patrick ignoring her.
“I don’t dance,” he said.
“I do,” Hubs said, holding out a hand to her.
She looked at Patrick. He smiled and motioned for her to go ahead. With a shrug, she did. Hubs lead her into the crowd by the hand.
“Not gonna dance? Then what are you going to do with all that junk?” Patrick said with a hard smack to Vicky’s rear. There was a lot of ass smacking in all levels of hockey.
Vicky swatted him away. “I’m going to sit my junk down at a table and watch you all make fools of yourself.”
“Oh, come on now, Grumpy, don’t be a party pooper. Dance with me,” Patrick said.
Vicky crossed his arms over his chest and glared at Paddy. “Have we met? Have you ever seen me dance?”
“Only when there’s no hot water left in the shower,” Paddy said. He and Vicky were semi-roommates. Patrick technically lived with his brother and Joey, (well, technically he lived in the hotel the club had put him up at, but why do that when he could live in an actual home) but whenever Liam and Joey got too enthusiastic in expressing their affection in a physical way, Patrick would crash at the house Vicky and Nick Kaluck shared. Other times he simply fell asleep there after hanging out with Vicky, and no one bothered to wake him up.
“I rest my case,” Vicky said, leaning against the bar and watching the crowd.
“Your loss,” Patrick said, leaning next to him, their arms and hips pressed against each other. I’ve been to six zillion weddings. I can chicken dance and electric slide and even foxtrot.”
“I’m sure,” Vicky said.
“No. It’s true.”
“Is that true?” Vicky asked Liam as he and Joey passed by. “Can he dance?”
“It is,” Liam said. “And on that note, I’m going to deal with our baby players before the pictures get out. I think it’s past their bedtime.” He ruffled Patrick’s hair. “You too, Baby O’Reilly.”
“Bite me, and you’re too late,” Patrick said as he checked his phone. Sure enough, video of Hubs and Triple D gyrating with Ashleigh in surprisingly poor rhythm were already hitting Instagram and Twitter.
He turned his phone to show Vicky. “Come on, Vicky. Dance with me. You can’t look worse than those smelts,” Patrick said.
“So you say,” He turned to the bar to put his drink down.
Taking advantage of the movement, Patrick plastered himself to Vicky’s back, trapping him and swayed them both to the beat. Vicky shifted his weight backward, and Patrick’s lips accidentally brushed across the side of his neck.
Vicky sucked a breath in through his teeth and for a split second, his head tilted as if he were giving Patrick more room to reach his skin.
Oh. Patrick was suddenly aware of every place their bodies touched, of how firm Vicky’s arms were under his hands and how perfectly his ass fit against Patrick’s groin. This is what it would be like, his brain whispered to him. Or maybe that was his dick talking. Patrick’s stomach fluttered with nerves, or embarrassment, or some other thing he couldn’t name.
Blame it on the win or the alcohol or generalized stupidity, but Patrick felt wild and reckless like he could do anything and there’d be no consequences. It wasn’t as if he was doing anything that unusual, after all. They touched each other all the time.
Paddy liked to lean over Vicky’s shoulders when he showed him things on his phone or laptop. At restaurants, their legs pressed together under the tables so tightly that Vicky’s constant leg shaking transmitted to Patrick. (Sometimes he laid a hand on Vicky’s thigh to remind him to stop. Sometimes he had to keep it there for a long time.) At home, Vicky couldn’t lie on the couch without some part of his body in Paddy’s lap, either his feet or his head. There was no reason to change his behavior just because his brain was being stupid.
It doesn’t mean anything, he told himself firmly as he tightened his arms around Vicky and pulled him back in. He was just having some fun. “Come on, Jay,” he whispered, calling Vicky the nickname only he used. “I’ll teach you all the dances the young people are doing these days. All their dirty, dirty dances.”
Vicky reached back and gripped the back of Patrick’s thigh, holding him still. “Paddy,” he said through clenched teeth. “I’m going to kill you.” His hand felt like an iron brand. This time Patrick was positive it was his dick egging him on.
Hubs and Triple D waved at them from the dance floor. “Come on!”
“You know I don’t—” Vicky started to say.
“James Frances McVicker,” Patrick interrupted, turning Vicky around to face him and staring directly in his blue eyes. “Shut the fuck up and dance with me. We’re the fucking champions, and I want to celebrate.”
Vicky rolled his eyes, but he couldn’t hold back a grin. “I hate you,” he said and tossed back the rest of his drink. “Okay, let’s do this.”
Relieved, Patrick laughed. Vicky always gave into him. Pushing him from behind, he shoved them both onto the dance floor.
“My middle name isn’t Frances,” Vicky said loudly over the music. Vicky wasn’t objecting to Patrick’s arms wrapped around his middle, as a matter of fact, he was holding onto Patrick’s forearms.
“I had to pick something. It’s not the same without the middle name,” Patrick said, and then threw himself into dirty dancing with Vicky like he was getting paid for it. Wild and free. No consequences tonight. It didn’t mean anything. No homo, right?
He ground against Vicky’s backside before spinning him around and sliding his hands down Vicky’s side, dropping it like it was hot. Springing back up, he whirled around, hands on his knees as he ground his ass against Vicky’s crotch.
Vicky looked at Patrick like he was about one drink away from yanking him upright and doing things to him that would be very inappropriate to do in public.
Should he stop? Was this too much?
It’s not gay if you’re celebrating with a friend, his dick said.