Page 13 of Protective Player

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“You enjoy doing that, don’t you? You like saying things to get a rise out of me.” She pins me with a look.

“Yeah, sometimes. Your reactions are just too adorable to pass up sometimes.”

“Well… stop that,” she says with a giggle.

“I’ll consider it. Anyway, I need to go squeeze in a nap before heading back to the arena for the game. Should I go ahead and reserve the suite?”

“Yes.” That excitement is back in her voice. “Yes, please. That would be incredible.”

“Done. Go to the security door near the main entrance, and I’ll make sure to leave word that you’re to be admitted to the suite.”

“Thank you, Dawson. Thank you, thank you.”

“Like I said, you don’t need to thank me for anything.”

“Well, thank you anyway,” she says. “My mother raised me with manners.”

I laugh. “Fair enough. You and I will go to dinner after the game.”

“That sounds wonderful.”

“It does.” I lower my voice as my gaze drops to her lips. So sweet. So fucking tempting. “Anyway, I’ll see you tonight.”

“You definitely will.”

I lean forward and place a gentle kiss on the crown of her head, doing my best to not hear the gasping and surprised giggling from the crowd around us. It seems Devon is going to be something of a celebrity on campus after I leave. She’s going to love that. I turn and head out of the student union.

I’ve got just enough time to nap for a couple of hours then get to the arena to get something to eat before we hit the ice. I just hope we put on a good show for Devon tonight—and that we don’t lose.

As I walk across campus, heading for the parking lot, I feel a lightness in my chest and fluttering in my stomach. It’s…excitement. I haven’t had nerves before a game in ages. Which leads me to conclude it’s the idea of playing in front of Devon that has my gut churning. I'm excited for her to see me play.

There haven't been many people in my life who have given me a case of nerves before a game like this. I can count them on one hand and still have fingers left over. A smile creases my lips at the thought.

Mixed in with that excitement, I recognize the darker thread woven around it all. And its name is Zack.

Devon said she handled him, and I believe her. But I know guys. Especially the jealous and possessive types. Because I do, I have a sick feeling that we haven’t heard the last of him yet. Not by a long shot. And knowing that, my excitement is tempered by the tide of worry that's rising inside of me.

I hope I’m wrong. But I don’t think I am. Which means that something is going to need to be done about this kid because he will not bother Devon anymore. I won’t allow it. He’s gonna have to get through me, and nobody—I mean nobody—gets through me. Zack’s about to learn it the hard way.



“That was unreal!” Sammy exclaims. “Baby, you need to make this man yours so we can keep getting sweet seats like these.”

I laugh. “I would never date somebody just for the things they can give me.”

“Come on.” She waves her hand wildly to the view from our box. “It doesn’t hurt.”

“You’re awful.”

“That’s why you love me.”

“I don’t know that I’d go that far,” I tease.

Sammy laughs. She was kind enough to explain the game to me the whole night. I was having a hard time keeping up with it all at first, but I started to understand it a little better by the end of the game. I think I’ve got a grasp on the basics. But the nuances of the game are still way over my head. I know enough anyway to know that Dawson’s team won. That somehow made it even more exciting.

And he had a great game. He scored twice, and Sammy said he assisted on two other goals, giving him four points for the night, which I took to mean was a really good thing. She was super excited about it.

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