Page 72 of The Keeper

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But then I remember something important. Something I don’t want to forget to tell her. I hope it comes out right when I say, “I like having you here with me. I wonder…if this is what love really feels like.”


a really hot pirate


The Crush are losing, down by two points.

Sitting on the couch next to me, Calum’s pitched forward, elbows on his knees, a grimace on his face as the backup goalie, Castellano, lets in a third goal of the game.

“Get out of your head,” he mumbles at the television.

“Is that the guy you said was such a dick to you in the first weeks here—the one who gave you the black eye?”

“Yup, the very one.”

“Well, he’s probably jumping for joy that you got hurt.”

He shrugs. “Maybe, but he’s certainly not playing like his position depends on it. He really sucks.”

“He probably did some bad mojo to get you hurt. This is karma paying him back for it.”

Calum laughs lightly and shakes his head. “Not karma. He’s just that bad, Billie. Really, that bad.”

“You don’t think he was like praying to the hockey gods to get a shot this season?”

“Sure, but whatever. He’s messing it up. I can’t wait to get back out there.”

“All I want for Christmas is to put this jackhole to shame,” I sing.

“Pretty much.”

We watch the rest of the game, Calum making the odd comment about his teammates’ play and decision-making throughout. Somehow the Crush manage to pick up two goals, thanks to Boris and left-wing Mikhail. The back line rallies around Castellano, taking the pressure off to avoid more goals from the opposition.

When the game is done, he gets up and stretches, revealing his ripped abs and making my mouth go a little dry. He’s still on injured reserve, so technically, he hasn’t been cleared for any strenuous activity. He’s been doing some light workouts with the team trainers and physical therapists, but I’m certain sex (our sex, at least) might be too strenuous by medical standards.

As if reading my thoughts, he smirks. “What are you thinking about over there?”

“Um…just admiring my view is all.”

He grins. “That’s what I thought.”

“Actually,” I say, steeling myself for the conversation I was holding off for as long as possible, “I was thinking about when you were in the hospital.”

“Oh really? That’s what your face looks like when you’re thinking about someone in the hospital?” He chuckles and walks into the kitchen. “You want anything?”

“No, thanks.”

He comes back in with a glass of water and sits next to me, the length of our thighs touching. “So, you were saying?”

“I was thinking about some things you said while you were under the influence of some very powerful pain medication.” Looking sideways at him, I can’t help from biting my lip.

He uses his fingertips to turn my head so he can see me fully. He still has his right eye covered with an eye patch. “You look like a pirate,” I say, trying to distract him from my comment about what he said in the hospital. I should’ve kept my big mouth—

“So I’ve heard. Hopefully not for much longer.”

“A really hot pirate though.” I raise an eyebrow at him.