Sunday, March 25, 2012


“Oh you’re a piece of shit, Boll!” Nora said loud enough to make the guys at the next table laugh.  Emily shoved her friend’s shoulder and smiled proudly.

“Don’t mind her, she’s got a crush on Giroux,” Emily told the boys.

“We all do, honey,” the burly one said, tipping the brim a Flyers hat that looked twenty years old and never washed.

The refs peeled back players from the knot of bodies on every television in the bar.  It was pretty packed, full of fans hoping to see the Flyers open up the Columbus Black Jackets, owners of the worst record in the NHL.  Of course things never went as planned.  Halfway through the second period the game was still scoreless and things were getting scrappy.

The camera followed Giroux across the ice into the penalty box, still yelling at Jared Boll as he was escorted to the neighboring sin bin.  Claude plunked down on the bench, took his helmet off and pushed a hand back through his sweaty mess of curls.  Then he looked right at the camera and smiled, missing tooth and all.

“Siiigghhhh,” said every woman in the place, and more than one man.

Emily groaned out loud.  Nora nearly bit the neck off her beer bottle.

She was in the Flyers bar.  Every bar in Philly that ever played a hockey game was a Flyers bar.  And every team that ever played against the Flyers was an enemy.  Most teams fans’ wouldn’t bother hating the Columbus Blue Jackets - they weren’t a threat, they weren’t really worth it.  But Philadelphia fans had energy to spare, and they never let any opponent go unnoticed.

The penalty ticked down without Columbus registering a shot on goal.  With five seconds left, a pass caromed wide and Carle controlled it with a step around the Jackets’ forward.  He sent it hard up the boards, through a slot at the blue line, and right onto Claude’s stick as he jumped out of the penalty box.

He was behind the Columbus defense before they even knew he had the puck.  Nora marveled fast he could go.  Before anyone could react, he’d cut across the lane and put it high over the goalie’s glove side.

The bar went crazy.  Nora was on her feet without realizing it, Emily hugging her around the waist.  She dropped back into her seat, sshaking her head.

“That fucking guy!” the table next to her was saying.

Tell me about it.

The Flyers won 3-0.  Near the beginning of the third, Claude went into the boards in a pile of guys and came up swinging, his helmet nowhere to be found.  His glove found a nose and stayed there, facewashing one of the Jackets as the refs again waded into the fray.  The slow-motion replay got quite an audience reaction.  Even their waitress stopped mid-serve to watch it, then she looked at Nora and Emily like they were all sisters.

“He’s so fucking hot,” she said.

Nora closed her eyes.  Emily gave the girl a twenty and told her to keep the change.  When she was gone, Emily raised her bottle in a toast.

“Your boyfriend owes me twenty bucks.”

The Flyers plane touched down at half-past midnight.  The first thing Claude did was check his phone.  One text.

Nora: Door’s open.

He smiled so widely that Danny rolled his eyes.  Ten minutes later he was zipping through empty streets.  There was even a parking spot open right in front. He rang the number for her place; the door promptly buzzed open without a word.  He climbed the stairs and, just barely, pushed his palm against her door.  As promised, it opened.

“You really shouldn’t....” he said, realizing the living room was empty.  But a single lamp was on low and strewn across the floor, a line leading in the direction of her bedroom, was just about every pair of sexy underwear Nora owned.  He leaned down and picked a pair at random - black lace with a small triangle of animal-print silk in the middle.  Claude stuffed them in his pocket, then locked the door behind him.  Leaving his shoes, he followed the path around the corner and down the short hallway.  Her bedroom door was also open.

Nora was propped up on an extra pillow, one arm behind her head.  In the near darkness she was little more than a shadow and a stain of dark hair against the light bedclothes.  

He stopped in the doorway, silhouetted.  Nora didn’t say a word as he started to undress.  She wasn’t even sure he could tell she was watching, biting her lip, trying not to whimper.  First the suit jacket went over a nearby chair, then his tie tugged side-to-side until it was loose enough to open.  One shirt button after another, to the waist, before he started on his belt.  The tink of metal and the sound of the leather strap slipping free shot through her veins like adrenaline.  Claude stepped out of his pants and socks together, and moved toward the bed.

“Uh-uh,” she finally said, gesturing to his boxer briefs.  They were tight enough that in silhouette there was nothing she couldn’t see.  But she still wanted them off.  

Claude smiled as he peeled them down.  He’d pictured coming home to her a number of times in the last three days, but Nora managed to trump them all.  He slipped between her sheets, right up against her body.

“You shouldn’t leave your door open,” he tilted her head and ran his hand down her throat.  Then he met those big, dark eyes, long lashes casting even more shadows.  “Anyone could get in here.”

Nora touched his thin, curvy lips.  “You shouldn’t smile at the camera.  Our waitress had to change her panties.”

He chuckled softly, letting his hands wander until her nipple was stiffening against his palm.  “That smile was for you.”

She drew in a slow breath, fighting the ragged gasp that rose in her throat as his rough fingertips tweaked her nipple to full hard. With a deadpan look, she said, “As you can see, I’m out of panties.”

Claude was laughing as he kissed her.  A second later those two busy fingers were between her legs, stroking hard over skin so soft the sound turned to a growl. Nora spread her legs and let him have at her, chest already heaving with anticipation.  She reached for him, her palm wrapping around his already hard length.  Two flicks of her wrist and she was guiding him  against her folds.

“Claude,” she said quietly and moved her slit over the tip of his dick.

She wanted it fast, she got it fast.  Claude pushed, forcing himself against skin not quite wet yet, the friction a hundred times more than usual.  He was painfully hard before he was halfway in.  Nora gritted her teeth against the equal parts pleasure and pain and tried not to scream.  The very thought of Claude made her wet with desire, preventing that had been no easy feat to achieve.

And it didn’t last.  Two strokes of his perfect weapon and she was soaked like a whore and moaning to match.  With one hand behind her neck, Claude held her mouth to his while he plowed her into the mattress.  Zero to a hundred in ten seconds.  The frame squeaked as it moved across the floor.

He froze.  “Sorry!”

Nora didn’t care if they woke the whole neighborhood.  With a sassy smile, she said, “Oh God, right there, harder!” at full volume.

The next thrust nearly put her through the floor.

Only desperation could be credited with leaving her building standing.  Claude didn’t have to focus his energy - he only had enough left to go one round and it was coming fast.  The soft, hot give of her body made him faint, the dig of her fingernails into his back like being whipped into a frenzy.  She wrapped her legs around his waist and held on, panting.

Nora knew he was close.  She knew that a few thoughts of him - the way he’d looked at her at  the Casino Night, the first time he’d kissed her with his whole body, up against his car - could get her off in a second.  But closing her eyes was out of the question.  Even the half-light revealed every hard, flat plane and rounded edge of his body as he hovered over top.  She adjusted her hips so he was sliding against her clit and watched him put every muscle to work for her.

Claude was about to go, but he wasn’t about to go first.  So he used the dirtiest trick in the book, the secret weapon no one could survive.  He put his lips to Nora’s ear and said exactly what he thought of her and exactly what he wanted to do to her - in explicit detail.

In French.

The moment her pussy quivered around his buried cock, Claude let go with a roar.  Judging from the noise she made Nora came at the same time, but all Claude could feel was the red hot rush of release.  He collapsed over her boneless, ruined body.

“Fucking hell.”  Her voice was nearly lost in the tangle of limbs.  Claude pressed a kiss to the nearest inch of skin and passed out.



Claude lifted his head.  He was on his back, Nora sprawled across his chest and the blankets wrapped around them like a cocoon.  If he hadn’t experienced what had happened in that bed last night, he would have known just by looking at it.


“Shufffupppp,” she moaned, sliding off his body and burrowing into his side.  He moved down the bed until his foot hung off, then his knee, and kicked around until he hooked his pants with one toe and dragged them up to the bed. His phone was in the pocket.

“Carson wants you to come to practice and sign his cast,” he read from the screen.

Nora looked up from the pillow she’d put over her head.  “How does he know we’re together?  It’s eight in the morning.”

“He knows about grown up sleepovers.  Danny’s not a monk, you know.”

Nora made a horrified face.  “Dear God. Eleven year olds should be thinking about that stuff!”

“Carson’s pretty grown up for a kid.”

“Boys. You’re all such perverts.”

Claude crawled back up the bed, in tight to her body, until his leg was over hers and his cock nestled against her thigh.  A few quick hip movements and he’d be ready to go again.  In fact, that sounded like a really good idea.

“You seemed to like it last night,” his voice was low and husky.

Nora tilted her face up and kissed him.  “What did you say in French?”

Claude smiled.  He’d said something along the lines of ‘I am crazy about you, don’t ever leave this bed, now please roll over, hold your ankles and bite that pillow’ but he wasn’t about to tell her that.


Nora’s turn for a sneaky grin.  “Because you said some of it again, in your sleep.”

Claude quickly dressed in sweats and a baseball cap while Nora helped herself to some orange juice from his fridge.  He didn’t care if the boys knew he’d never gone home from the plane, but he didn’t want them meeting Nora for the first time knowing she’d just been thoroughly fucked by their top star.

She was in the kitchen, leaning against the counter when he came back.  She raked a hand through her mop of dark hair, unconsciously elongated the shape of her body beneath a clingy blue sweater.  He nearly dropped his bag.

They’d know.  One look at her and the Flyers would all know.

“Nora!” Carson jumped up from his seat and rushed at her, giving her an awkward one-armed hug.  The other was in a sling across his chest, as orange as a hockey sweater.  Nora ruffled his hair, surprised at the reception.  

“Where are your brothers?”

“Only I got to come today, Dad said.”

Danny offered Nora another hug.  “Thank you again, so much,” he said in that light, airy voice.

“It was no trouble!  Carson did all the work.”

“Well, I really appreciate it.  Though I gather my ex-wife was not very nice to you.”  Danny’s face clouded.  “I should have warned you better, she is....”

“Protective.  Of her kids.  I get it!  It wasn’t that bad, honestly.  She just thought that you and I were....”

Danny laughed right out loud.  “Wow.”  He glanced at Claude then looked back to Nora.  “She really overestimates me, sometimes.”

Claude felt a surge of pride over Nora and how well she handled the situation.  It could have been a big deal if she made it one, then there would be endless big deals as they moved forward - other WAGs who never seemed to like new girls, puck bunnies who wanted to be WAGs, the media, not to mention slumps and trade rumors and everything else that came with the game.  Nora brushing Sylvie off was a very good sign.  He wanted to kiss her so bad he could taste it.

Carson reappeared with a black Sharpie marker.  They carefully unlaced his arm and Claude went first, signing above the wrist and drawing a little 28 below his name.

“Nora, you sign the top.”  Carson pointed to the back of his hand.

“Wow, that’s prime real estate!  I don’t autograph things every day,” she rolled her eyes in Claude’s direction, making them both laugh, “so I need a little room.”  Carefully she wrote her name in neat block letters, then drew a box around it with a circle in each corner, so it looked like a little sign bolted to his cast.

“Cool!” Carson said.  “Can you do mine?”  She obliged and wrote Carson’s name in a similar fashion, only larger, along the arm.

“Cool!” Claude mocked when she finished, looping an arm around her waist and swinging her a bit.

“Jealous!” Nora declared, giving Carson an awkward high-five to his uninjured hand.

Plenty of noise was coming from the hallway outside as it filled with players going about their equipment and trainers’ visits.  The practice was more of a team meeting, getting organized for the upcoming homestand.  Claude laced his fingers into Nora’s and lead her toward the stick room.  Carson darted in front of them.

“Hi Scott,” Carson said in a serious, adult tone.  “This is Nora.  Claude’s girlfriend.”

Claude barked a laugh, gave himself a facepalm, and walked out of the room, leaving Nora.  Hartnell put down his tape, grinning ear-to-ear.

“Ah, Casino Night girl.  Nice to meet you, Nora.”

She wanted to hit herself in the head with a nearby tool.  It was Scott Hartnell and he seemed so... nice.  Goddamn it.  It was bad enough she already liked two Flyers - two point seven-five if you counted to kids.

“You too,” she said, shaking his massive hand.  Carlson was already dragging her toward the next table, where Wayne Simmonds was working.  As expected from watching HBO’s 24/7, she liked Wayne instantly.  He signed Carson’s cast by drawing a little cartoon face of himself.  Claude was waiting for them in the hallway outside.

“May I?” he asked Carson.  The boy shrugged and ran off to find his dad.  When he was gone, Claude turned to Nora.  “Someone’s got a crush on you.”

She looked right back at him.  “I think it’s Hartnell.”

They were smiling stupidly at each other when a silky voice sounded behind.  “Well, it seems Claude failed to share how beautiful you are.  Unless you’re not Nora.”

She turned to find Max Talbot grinning.  His dark hair was longer, more rakish, matching the scruff on his olive skin so he looked like a particularly sexy, capable pirate.  Claude’s hand closed over the back of Nora’s neck, sending shivers down her spine.  He liked his fellow Frenchman a lot, enough to know never to leave a woman he cared for unattended in Talbot’s presence.  Something about Max made women do crazy things.

Nora leaned back into Claude’s grasp, even while shaking hands and talking to Max.  It never hurt to give a guy a little competition... after all, she didn’t actually know Tyler Seguin.  When Max had moved on with a wink, Claude whispered into Nora’s ear.

“Don’t even think about it.”

She turned, her lips inappropriately close to his for the workplace.  “I bet he’d translate that French for me.”

Nora had looked up the team online in anticipation of meeting them, so it was easier for her to put faces to names.  She got a little giggly with Jaromir Jagr - who wouldn’t, he was a hockey legend.  As they left to head to her car, Coach Laviolette was coming out of his office.  He stopped, looked twice, then recognized her.

“The Bruins fan, eh?”

“Yes sir.”

He nodded to Claude.  “You’ll never change her mind, you know.”

Claude squeezed Nora’s side.  “She’s already slipping.  You’ll see.”

Laviolette laughed.  “Right.  Good luck.”

Outside, Claude hurried ahead of Nora and leaned against the side of her car, letting her walk the last ten feel like she was strutting across a catwalk.  She moved right into his chest, body poured over his a little too provocatively for daylight hours, and gave him that kiss he’d been craving.

“Gotta go to work,” she said.

“Busy tonight?”

“Dinner and a movie with Emily.  Do you want to come with us?”

He lifted his eyebrows in genuine surprise.  “Third wheel on girls night?”

Nora pursed her lips and hooked a finger into the neck of his t-shirt, brushing gently along the bare skin.  “Yeah, me.  Emily likes you even more than I do.”

Sunday, March 18, 2012


Claude shoved his backpack into the overhead bin and dropped into the wide seat of the jet with a sigh.  He was exhausted and sore but happy and satisfied - much the way he felt after winning a particularly close game.  The similarity made him smile and he filed it away to tell Nora someday.

Hartnell reached a paw over from the seat behind and mussed Claude’s hair.  Danny took the spot next to him as the plane filled, ready to make the short trip to Buffalo.  As ever, the pre-flight safety briefing was completely ignored while the guys ogled to blond attendant and considered creative uses for the seat belt she was demonstrating.  The luxury of private travel meant they were taxiing toward the runway less than ten minutes later.

Claude put his head back, intending the sleep.  Sometimes they played video games - another perk of flying private meant they could use in-flight wi-fi.  No cell phones though, just a few old built-in handset phones that had never really been a hit with commercial airlines.  But Danny was halfway through a paperback and no one seemed particularly rambunctious.  Before they reached cruising altitude, he was drifting.

“Excuse me, Danny?”

Claude blinked his eyes open at the flight attendant’s voice too.

“There’s a call for you at the front.”

Danny glanced at Claude with a look that only fathers can give.  There was really no other reason to reach him except in an emergency.  He’d dropped the boys off at school just an hour earlier, and their nanny Alice would pick them up at the end of the day.  She lived in the house while Danny was away - since Claude moved out, Danny had put her in his teammates’ former, larger room.  She was very sweet and motherly - and older, not of any romantic interest to her charges’ father or his teammates.  Danny disappeared into the galley for a few minutes, then came back.

“Merde.  Carson fell in gym, they think his arm is broken.”

Claude hissed.  “Is he at the hospital?”

“It’s just the school, they can’t get Sylvie on the phone.”  

Danny’s wife had left him.  All sorts of stories and rumors abounded, but Claude knew that regardless of the reasons it was still a heartbreak every time Danny had to see or talk to her.  She lived nearby, to be near her kids, but Danny was their technical guardian and so he over-provided for them.  Especially when he was on the road.  Hockey required a lot of away time and it was one of the reasons his marriage had fallen apart.  He wouldn’t give his ex-wife the satisfaction of saying he couldn’t supervise the boys because of his career.

Danny rummaged around for his phone, heading back up front.  He was gone about five minutes, then Coach Laviolette joined him.  When Danny came back, he had an unsure look on his face.


“Alice isn’t picking up either of her numbers, and I got voicemail for Kristen,” he said.  The coach had kids of his own, they often hung out with the Brieres.  Kristen Laviolette filled in as an emergency contact at home.  “I don’t want to call Jessica.”

Jessica was the girl Danny was casually dating.  Claude knew the problem: Jessica was hot and into being with a star hockey player, but she was a long way from wanting kids.  In another situation, she might have been perfect for Danny.  But she did know the boys and would do in a pinch.  Until Sylvie got there, and took one look at Danny’s new girlfriend - she was not kind to her replacements, particularly any who got close to her sons.

“Call Nora.”  Claude didn’t really think about it but it seemed like the right idea.  She was at work -  he’d delivered her right to the front of the office building wearing her clothes from the game.  The clothes from his kitchen floor.  


Nora had hit it off with the boys, and Claude had no doubt that she’d drop what she was doing in an emergency.  Probably for a complete stranger,  but definitely for him.  He pulled his phone from his pocket.  “She can at least go with him.  He can’t wait in pain while they find Sylvie.”

“Are you sure it’s...,” Danny hated to impose on anyone.

Claude followed Danny up front and took the phone from the flight attendant, dialing the number in Nora’s contact.  It only took two rings.


“Nora, it’s me,” he said.  Then added, “Claude.”

“Hmm, Claude. Red hair, right?” she laughed.  “I told you not to crash the plane with phone calls!”

“It’s the plane phone, don’t worry.  I have a favor to ask.”  Claude looked at Danny as he quickly explained the situation.  Danny wore the pinched, anxious look of a worried parent.  After a minute, Claude passed him the phone.

“Nora, I’m sorr...,” Danny started.

“Not at all!  What’s the school?”

Danny gave her the information, thanking her profusely.  When he’d promised to owe her forever, he offered a quick warning about his ex-wife’s territorial nature.  Then he returned the handset to Claude.

“Are you sure it’s okay?” Claude asked.  This was a big, important thing to ask and Claude thought of Danny’s kids as his little cousins.  Now he was really glad he’d taken Nora there for lunch.  Claude could hear Nora moving around like she was already on her way.

“Of course!  Poor kid.  Give my number to whoever and I can tell them when we get Carson situated.”

“Thank you.”

“You can thank me when you get home.”


Nora popped her head around the corner of the nurse’s office backroom.  Danny had phoned the school and authorized her to pickup his son.  The school only had permission to move kids on their own in more serious situations.  The brown-haired boy looked up at her in surprise.  His arm was carefully across his chest in a sling and  packed in ice.  His eyes were puffy from crying but he’d stopped for now.

“Hi Nora.”  He sounded worn out.

“What happened, bud?”

“I suck at basketball.”

Nora laughed.  She tried to stop it, so it came out as a sharp bark.  Carson’s face clouded, then he cracked a smile.

“I’m sorry!  I shouldn’t laugh, I once broke my nose by running into the pole that holds up the backboard.”  Nora mimed faceplanting into her palm.

“Where’s my mom?”

Nora took a seat on the cot across from him.  “She didn’t answer, and they didn’t you want you wait.  Is it okay if I go to the hospital with you?  I’m sure you mom will come as soon as she gets the message.”

Carson nodded like it was no big deal.  He was twelve, he’d been through a divorce and his dad was away a lot - Nora figured Carson was probably stronger than she was.  After a quick word, the nurse helped Carson sit up then get to his feet.  Another attendant called ahead to the emergency room to try to speed the check-in process.  They gently loaded Carson into the front seat of Nora’s car.

“Okay?” she asked.

The hospital was only ten minutes away.  Luckily it was pretty empty.  Once they were sitting in the waiting room and the forms were filled out, Carson asked Nora to reach into his jacket pocket.

“Of course you have an iPhone, you’re cooler than I am.”  She turned it on and he quickly showed her how to email Danny.  With his right arm in a sling, he couldn’t do much.

“My dad can get email on the planes, just no calls.”

At the ER with Carson, they’re going to x-ray him in a few minutes.  We’ll let you know what they say.  He’s okay now, calm but it hurts. - Nora

“He’ll email back in ten seconds. He always does,” Carson bet.  He was right.

Thank you so much.  Sylvie should be there soon.  Carson, you okay?

Carson had Nora reply that he was fine, and they were summoned into an exam room.  She entertained him with stories of the times she’d been to the hospital as a kid.

“My brother got our soccer ball caught in a tree, and I fell trying to get it and broke my hand.  I played catcher on a softball team, and a really big girl tried to knock the ball away by landing on me.  She broke my rib but I held onto the ball and she was out!”

A technician took them to the x-ray room.  Carson sucked in a sharp breath as his sling was unwound, and Nora found herself stroking his hair to try to keep him calm.  A few tears slipped free when they gingerly arranged his arm to be photographed, but mostly Carson chewed his lip and tried to stay quiet.

“You’re pretty tough,” Nora said honestly.  

It was another half an hour back in the exam room, watching TV on the overhead monitor and Nora reading to Carson from an issue of National Geographic.  When the doctor came in, he was carrying x-ray films.

“Carson? I’m Doctor Preston.” He shook the boy’s hand, then turned to Nora.  “Mom, nice to meet you.”

“She’s my friend,” Carson corrected.  “Not my mom.”

If it was possible to nod condescendingly, the doctor did it as he let his eyes roll down Nora’s body.  “Of course.”

Nora almost laughed.  This guy saw Briere on the chart and thinks I’m Danny’s girlfriend.  I was eleven years old when Carson was born.

Dr. Preston slid the film into the lightbox and showed them where Caron’s arm was broken in two places.  They were clean breaks and already set, so it would require only a tiny adjustment and a plaster cast.  A nurse came in and assisted as Dr. Preston gave Carson’s arm a small twist.  He yelped in pain but it quickly subsided.  Nora closed her eyes.

A nurse wheeled in the plaster cart with everything needed to produce the cast.  She showed Carson a book of colors that he could choose for the outermost layer of bandages.

“Orange,” Carson said, then turned to Nora.  “My dad says you don’t like the Flyers.”

“Your dad is right.”

“But you like Claude.”  He just laid it out there, so like a kid.

Nora nodded.  “Right again.”

The nurse started her work, wrapping a bandage, and Carson winced at the cold of the plaster paste.

“He lived with us, did you know?”  Carson smiled.  “It was fun, he likes to play video games more than my dad.  And he’s good at kickball.”

Nora could picture Claude in the yard running the boys ragged with day camp games and sports.  It sounded fun.  She didn’t say anything, hoping that Carson might just continue with stories...

I’m mining a child for information.  A broken child.

But Carson delivered.  “He only brought one girlfriend over.  She wasn’t as nice as you.”

“Aw, thanks Carson.”

He shrugged just his uninjured side.  “But she liked the Flyers.”

Nora reached over and ruffled his hair as best she could without disturbing the nurse.  There was a flurry of footsteps in the hall and the door opened.  A round-faced woman with straight, short brown hair about ten years her senior burst in.

“Carson, mon dieu!”

Nora stepped aside as Sylvie Briere fluttered around her son, speaking in rapid-fire French and examining his as best she could.  Carson told her what the doctor said and the nurse filled in some more.  Sylvie kissed her son’s forehead, squeezing him into half a hug. The doctor must have been notified because he appeared at that moment, re-answering all of Sylvie’s questions and fawning over Carson.  Nora saw his eyes drift to her once, as if to compare Danny’s ex with his current woman.

Nora turned away to keep from sticking out her tongue.

It was time to set the angle of Carson’s arm for the sling and ensure the cast would be comfortable before the final layers were applied.  The doctor moved in and Sylvie backed away, finally acknowledging Nora.  She crossed over to where Nora had moved to give the hospital staff room.

“Hi, I’m....”

“So you’re fucking my ex-husband.”

Sylvie’s voice was lowered, but not enough to hide the growl behind her words.  Like a mother bear seeing her cub threatened, she was angry at not being there for Carson from the start.  And she didn’t like the sight of a slimmer, younger version of herself looking back.  With her short mop of dark hair and big brown eyes, Nora was an edgier and warmer approximation of the former Mrs. Briere.  A cold burst of adrenaline flashed though Nora’s veins, even as she knew she should have expected nothing less.

Hell hath no fury...

“I’m Nora.  And I’m with Claude.”

Sylvie scoffed, giving Nora another once over.  “I should have known, the puck bunnies have moved on these days.”

Nora had no idea what happened between the Brieres, but clearly it was bad.  And still fresh.  She wasn’t the type to be goaded into a confrontation, so Nora knew it was time to leave immediately.  But she wasn’t going without some kind of self-defense.

“Well your kids are charming. I see they didn’t get it from you.”  She brushed by Sylvie, passing alongside Carson and the doctor on her way out of the room.

“Nora!” Carson called, pointing to the bright orange layer the nurse was cementing into place.  Nora scrunched her nose like she smelled something bad.

“Thank you,” Carson said.

“I can’t wait to sign your cast.”

Later that night, Nora was halfway through a Reese Witherspoon movie and bag of popcorn with Emily sprawled across the other side of the couch.  Some sequence involving a loose puppy running through a park with hilarious consequences took place on screen while Nora’s mind was elsewhere.

Emily had told the condensed, tabloid gossip version of the Briere divorce story - allegedly involving porn stars and naked pictures and lots of accusations and denials. It gave Nora the shivers to think about, though Emily was sure the sordid stuff was bullshit and even the Flyers had officially commented to that effect.

No wonder Sylvie hated me, Nora thought.  She didn’t feel bad for the ex-wife because it was never okay to treat anyone that way, but the woman had been through some things.  Even if they turned out to be false.  Her phone rang.

“Bowchickabowwow,” Emily sang without turning from the movie.

“How do you know it’s him?”

“Only two people call you, and I’m the one who’s not Claude Giroux.”

She was right.  Nora found her phone.  

“Hi gorgeous,” she said loudly, leaning over the back of the couch into Emily’s face.

“She sleeps in a Seguin shirt!” Emily hollered.

Claude laughed at the other end.  “Not in my bed.”


“Uh, you okay?” Claude asked.

Nora deadpanned.  “I just walked into the wall.”

When she was safely sprawled out atop her own bed, no Bruins shirts in sight, she told Claude about the trip the the hospital.  Danny had talked to Carson, who was home and resting, and he’d said that Nora was really nice.

“You are really nice,” Claude agreed.

“I wasn’t really nice to Danny’s wife.  But she took one look at me and assumed I was sleeping with him.”

Claude groaned.  Sylvie Briere was a woman who thought she’d been wronged and would never get past it, at least where the Flyers were concerned.  Claude had experienced the two year breakup process and all the other gossip that had surrounded the Flyers - players accused of cheating with their teammates’ wives, drinking and partying instead of playing.

“Wow,” Nora said as Claude spilled some of the details.  “It’s the Real Housewives of Broad Street.  And you wonder why people don’t like the Flyers!”

Even he had to laugh at that.  “We’re not all bad.”

“You sure?  I told Sylvie I was with you, she called me a puck bunny.”

Silence.  Claude was stunned.

“I’m sorry,” he said eventually.  “She’s such a bitch.  I’m not seeing anyone else, Nora.”

In her room, she smiled.  “It’s okay, we just met!”

“No, it’s not okay.  Sylvie has no right to say I’m picking up a different girl after every game.  I’m no saint but if you can’t trust me then....”

“Hey,” Nora interrupted, the topic getting tense.  “Hey.  I’m not so innocent.  I once picked up a guy at a casino night and let him take me home.  Total stranger, scruffy looking dude, from the wrong side of the tracks.  Could have been a serial killer.  I’m probably lucky to be alive.”

Claude gritted his teeth and forced the argument about Sylvie from his mind.  Some women believed whatever you told them, some wouldn’t believe a word.  It made it hard to do the right thing.  But Nora didn’t seem like that kind of girl.  

“Lucky I let you leave,” he countered.  Then seriously, “I’m not seeing anyone else.”

“Okay,” she accepted.  But she didn’t elaborate.  As much as Claude didn’t want to sound pathetic and pry, he had to know.

“Are you?” he asked quietly.

Nora’s heart squeezed.  As if she’d have eyes, or the energy, for anyone else.  Claude had turned her world upside down in less than a week.

“Just Seguin.  But he’s young, he’ll rebound.”

Claude was still smiling when he hung up.  

I’m in trouble.

But it sounded pretty good to him.

Nora tossed the phone to the other side of the bed, put her face into the pillow and allowed herself a ten second giggle-fest.

God, maybe I am a puck bunny.

Note: I'm not at all a Flyers fan. Excuse any of these team history details I'm getting wrong as I use Google for research. :)

Saturday, March 10, 2012


Claude was wiped out.  He lay wrapped around Nora, catching his breath from the intensity of what she’d done to him.  The intensity and exertion of the game was not far behind that.  Yet he didn’t want to fall asleep.  Not only did he have a favor to return, but there was a fierceness about her that he hadn’t seen before tonight.

“I could see you from the ice,” he said quietly.  Soft dark strands of her hair drifted back into place as he brushed them from her neck.

“I couldn’t see anyone else when you were on the ice.  I’ve never watched a game like that before, fixated on one person.  It was intense.  It made me want to punch something or go running or...,” she paused, “or get to you.  As fast as I could.”

“Hmmm, I’ve discovered another weakness.”  The teasing in his voice didn’t match the triumphant smile on his face.  She wanted him, at least in that instance, as desperately as he wanted her.  Creepy and crazy were starting to look unlikely now that she was curled in his bed for the second time in three nights.

Claude was fascinated by beautiful women.  More than a few had been through his bedroom, or hotel room, or wherever, and he never got tired of trying to decode their perfection.  He liked slender but fit bodies - active, healthy.  When Nora drew her calves up against his shins, he felt the muscle flex and define, like she used those legs for something scandalous he might get to learn.  The way her rib cage whittled down into a narrow waist - it was like his own shape, the same ratios, but a hundred times more precise.  And his hand fit right into that curve.  That had to be magic.  He pressed his lips to her shoulder and closed his eyes.

Nora felt Claude’s breathing lighten, his chest rising and falling evenly.  He wasn’t a big guy but his arm was heavy around her side, his legs holding fast into their fitted position.  She guessed he could squat for hours and not even tremble.

He could see her from the ice.  She didn’t ask how often he’d looked.  But it did make her wish, just a little, that she’d stood up for that first goal.

I’m not cheering for the Flyers, she told herself.  I’m cheering for this.

She fell asleep too, drugged by the heat and weight of a very sexy man at her back.  Her phone was in her purse, which she hoped was in earshot or she’d be late to work in the morning.  Claude shifted, pulling her closer.

Don’t care about work, was her last waking thought.

It wasn’t her alarm that woke Nora.  It was Claude’s hand, cupping her breast, moving so slowly she thought he might still be asleep.  Then it continued downward across her stomach, giving him away.  Nora waited till he reached her navel before surprising him by parting her legs.

“Hmmm, morning,” he murmured, though it was nothing of the sort.  The room was dark, the bed was warm and it was a long time before either of them would have anywhere else to go.  Nora turned onto her back, brushing Claude’s growing erection.  He hissed at the contact.

“Sorry I fell asleep.  Big game, someone important was watching.”

Nora’s lips pursed, pinching back a smile. “At least we made it to the bed.”

They connected with a kiss, rolling into each other.  Already their bodies were lined up perfectly, moving of their own accord.  Nora had barely opened her legs before he was between them, tip of his cock prodding her slit.  She wasn’t surprised to find herself wet - no dreams that she could remember, but sleeping next to Claude Giroux was sexy enough to have her permanently turned on.  Pulling him into a kiss, she let it take her breath away as he spread her open and screwed himself slowly inside.

Claude murmured in French: things he could stop himself saying, things he hoped she couldn’t understand.  There were terms of endearment and explicit praise for the way it felt to bury his dick in her warm, forgiving body.  He stroked gently, savoring the thin line between sleep and sex, as she made soft noises beneath.  They were important tells, more weaknesses that he wanted so badly to remember, but Claude couldn’t focus on anything but the tight squeeze of being fitted together.

Nora wanted to come.  She’d been keyed up pleasuring Claude earlier, but something about sleeping so closely had her buzzing like a bug on a light.  He was moving wonderfully, stroking deep and even, but it would be a long, slow burn before she caught fire.  Nora couldn’t wait.

For a second, she thought about trying to roll herself.  Then she remembered who she was underneath.

“Let me lay on my stomach.”

Claude quickly obliged, thrilled that Nora would tell him what she wanted.  He felt a weak kick as the pleasure of her body disappeared.  But it was quickly better.  Nora rolled and Claude pressed himself back into her hot pussy, this time with the perfect rise of her ass in the equation.

“Ohhhyes,” he said softly.  The more of Nora’s smooth skin he felt, the better.

She agreed.  Claude felt bigger from this angle, his chest heavy against her back and the rough, sexy feeling that he was holding her down.  Nora wiggled her hand between her stomach and the mattress.  At the first fingertip touched her clit she sobbed out a tiny breath.

Claude felt herr buck slightly and his mouth fell right open.  A woman who said what she wanted was good.  A woman who wasn’t afraid to get it for herself was great.

This just gets better.

“Mmmm,” he said quietly.  “I want you to feel as good as I do.”

“You feel very good,” she promised.  Claude delivered a kiss to the top of her shoulder, just below the neck, and the sensation made her back arch and ass lift.

“Like that,” he requested and Nora kept her backside high as Claude pumped strongly.  Her breathing was already shortening.  “Are you close?”

“Yes,” she whispered.

It was too good to pass up.  He put his mouth right to her ear.  “I want to feel you come.”

She exhaled heavily.  Claude thrust again, hard but slow.  He wanted her to be so close she was spinning when he pushed her over the edge.  Again he drove home.

“So fucking sexy,” he continued to say right against her skin.  “You make me so hard, Nora.”

A whimper was all she could manage.  It was enough to be with him, enough that every stroke was the perfect promise of another, deeper one to follow.  But Claude talking dirty was....

“OhGod,” she said, working her fingers harder and more quickly against her clit.  She was right there, that moment between pushing through and coming hard or easing up and dragging out the flutter in her stomach.

“Fuck me, Nora.”  He was barely speaking.  “I want you so much.”

With a huge thrust, he forced her into the mattress and onto her own hand, rubbing furiously.  His cock bottomed out and he groaned at the same moment she moaned out and broke wide open.  It was almost painful, she burst so hard that the rush hit the roll head-on.  Her back curled with enough force to actually lift Claude, the orgasm bubbling between her hips and quickly spreading a tingle from her fingers to her toes.  When it flashed out she collapsed, gasping.

Claude couldn’t withstand the strong pulse of her pussy, clenching hard and throbbing.  With a feral noise of his own, he blew his load against the wet heat of her pleasure.  His arms wrapped around her and held tight as they both felt him drain his tank.  He pressed his sweaty forehead against the hair plastered to her neck.  

Nora was dazed.  Too much of everything - desire, hormones, the heavy breathing in her ear - threatened to sink her like a ship in a storm.  Every so often, the mayday call would beep, “Flyers, Flyers, Flyers.”  It was useless, she was going down.

A few minutes passed before either of them could move, and then Claude only rolled off and kept her in his arms.  She kissed his lips and watched that easy smile appear like a magic trick.  

He stole another kiss before asking, “What is your last name?”

Her alarm woke them both.  A good amount of twisting and clawing was needed to get either of them free from the tangled sheets and blankets - Claude finally got loose, climbed halfway out of bed and grabbed her bag.  She shut the alarm and considered throwing it out the open door into the hall.

“Work?” he asked.

She couldn’t answer.  He was sitting up, chest bare and hair a mess, leaning on one sculpted arm while he looked down over her.  It was girl-porn, even if you didn’t like hockey.  If you did... well, Nora was pretty sure as a photo, this could be all twelve months of a best-selling calendar.

“Yeah,” she made a face.

“I leave for a road trip today.  Just one game, be back on Thursday.”

Nora had been wondering if Claude would say something, or just go.  Then last night she’d been too busy to care.  “I know.  I may have printed out your schedule.”

That grin lit up his face and he dove on top of her, growling.  She squealed and pretended to fight him, but gave up when his mouth found hers with a kiss that quickly turned deep and serious.

“Can I call you on the way home?”

“Don’t crash the plane or anything, but yes.  Of course.”

He lay back, arms bent behind his head because he could tell she liked the way it made him look in bed.  Nora stuck her tongue out as she walked around the room, collecting pieces of her clothing.  Her body, still naked and perfect, made Claude want her to call in sick and lock the bedroom door.  She let him watch as she shimmied into her panties and jeans, slipped on her bra and found her sneakers.  Then he got up, pulled on his shorts from the day before and walked downstairs with her to find her sweater.

Clothes were sprayed all over the hallway - his jacket nowhere near his pants, both crumpled on the floor, his shirt and tie a ball in the corner.  Nora’s sweater had landed in the entrance to the kitchen.  She shook it out, pulled it on and thanked heaven it was too stretchy to show wrinkles.  Then she looked over at Claude, in his tight black boxer briefs, just leaning against the wall.

“You are stunning,” she said openly.

“I was thinking the same about you.”

She rolled her eyes but stepped right up and accepted his kiss, keeping her hands on his neck.  Any lower and they’d be back to tossing clothes into other rooms of the house.

“I need a ride,” she whispered.

“I know.”  But he made no move.

“You’re going to drive me like that?”

He smiled, her heart skipped.  “I was hoping to change your mind.”

Nora let her hand fall, running the back of one finger down between his pecs, pausing at his sternum, then drawing the fingertip slowly over his abs.  She stopped as her nail hooked into the elastic of his waistband, just barely.  

He’s going away.  I won’t have any of this for three days.

Claude watched her up close as she considered the options. Nora bit her bottom lip gently as she moved further south and Claude felt his cock twitch against the tightness of his underwear.  When she got to his waist, she hesitated.  He didn’t need more than that.

In a split second she was up against the nearest kitchen counter.  A pile of mail went flying to the floor as she tried to brace herself.  Claude hoisted her a few inches and pushed with his hips till Nora sitting on the edge.  He went right for her pants, unzipping and pulling as she lifted her ass just enough to get wrench off everything below the waist.

“You have ten minutes!” she said.

He had one of her ankles free.  “I only need four.”

Claude left her jeans and panties hanging from one foot.  She threw her sweater back where it had been.  With a grunt of satisfaction he ground his growing erection beneath the single layer of his shorts.  Nora’s hands were in his hair, clutching him into a kiss.  Without taking his lips away, Claude shoved his shorts down and rubbed the underside of his cock against her bare pussy.

Holy, shit, he thought.  His heart as pounding, blood rushing in his ears.  And it wasn’t just the rush of a quick fuck that had him revved up.

“Please,” she whispered.

Claude’s fingertips dented her skin as he held her to the spot and pushed himself inside.  She was soaked, ready for him like she’d been waiting all night.

Nora moaned.  No stopping it.  She shifted her hips to give him room, knowing he’d take everything and then some.  The hard muscles of his shoulders and back were quick beneath her hands - he wasn’t that wide but there was nothing to hold onto.  So she wrapped her arms around his neck and scooted closer. Her ankles locked behind his waist and Nora gave as good as she got.  For every thrust, she twisted her hips, extending the pull and push along his shaft until Claude was swearing in French.  She giggled and did it again.  He sank his teeth into the curve of her neck suddenly and sucked hard.  She hissed at the pain and he rammed home a deep, hard stroke that made her bare ass squeak against the counter top.  

Claude wanted to climb right up there with her but he was already close.  The four minute mark had passed.  Nora was panting too.  Using a handful of her hair to steer, Claude laid her back until she was stretched out before him.  She half-smiled, her eyelids fluttering as he stroked in and out.

The sight was gorgeous - her hair everywhere, breasts bouncing.  Claude pinched her nipple before running his hand over her stomach.  With his eyes on hers, he didn’t stop till his thumb pressed her clit.

“Oh God,” she said in a short, choppy gasp.

“Another weakness,” he teased.  The pad of his thumb was bigger than hers, slightly calloused.  He made tiny circles - light, hard, long short, right, left.  

Nora whimpered, arching her back and trying to go harder against his hand.  She was going to come so hard she’d need to go to work on a stretcher.  The taste of his kiss on her tongue was enough to give her three days of wet dreams.  But his hands on her hot button... she’d be in the bathroom once an hour reliving this breathless moment.

“Not yet,” he said.  Because he was close, and he knew what he wanted.  The only way to get him through three days without this.  He pulled his cock out painfully, hissing at the pounding of blood below his waist, and dropped to his knees.  At the first touch of his tongue, Nora screamed.

Her slit was slick and swollen, the sexiest thing he’d ever seen.  Nora tasted like honey.  He drove his tongue into her, dragged it flat and then wiggled the tip into her clit.  She was trembling.

“Come on, baby,” he said.  Then his fingers went back to work on her hard little button and his tongue worked the rest of the scene.

She was slipping.  Claude’s curls were soft between her fingers as he had his way between her legs.  The slow, velvety swirl of his tongue was making her see stars.  As he moved faster, so did his hand.  All she could do was pant his name.  She made a strangled noise at the tension that threatened to warp her spine, building at an impossible speed.  Long circles became short, flicking strokes to her clit.  

“Ohgod!”  Nora put her head back and let the orgasm run her down like a train, twisting her against the hard, cold counter and banging her heels.  Claude gripped her thighs and held them open, face still buried in her pussy, lapping and milking her for every last drop.  She didn’t even hear herself moaning.

Through half-closed eyes she saw Claude get to his feet.  He gave her a cocky smile and went balls-deep on the first stroke.  He could have come three times while rolling his tongue around her pussy, but he’d fought it off.  Now he needed to go hard and heavy.

“Fuuuuuck,” he groaned as he slapped his thighs against her ass.  She made a breathless noise.  Claude hauled her up to sitting, her eyes a little unfocused.  He crushed that perfect mouth with a kiss and let Nora taste herself on his lips.  It took a moment before she greedily, hungrily kissed him back.  That did it.

Claude growled right against her mouth and buried his cock.  He came in a hot spurt,chest roaring as he filled her body with his desire.  Then he collapsed, sprawled across her and the kitchen counter.

“Wow,” Nora said, shaking weakly with the last jitters of her orgasm.

“You can go to work now,” Claude lifted his head and smiled at her.  “That should get me through three days without you.”