“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.
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?”
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.
“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.”