In the Zone (Portland Storm 5)

BOOK: In the Zone (Portland Storm 5)
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This is a work of fiction. Names, places, characters, and incidents are either the work of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, organizations, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.

 

 

 

In the Zone

Copyright © 2014 by Catherine Gayle

Cover Design by Kim Killion, The Killion Group

 

 

 

 

All rights reserved under the International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form by any electronic or mechanical means—except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews—without written permission.

 

 

 

 

For more information:
[email protected]

 

 

Dedication

Acknowledgments

Prologue

One

Two

Three

Four

Five

Six

Seven

Eight

Nine

Ten

Eleven

Twelve

Thirteen

Fourteen

Fifteen

Sixteen

Seventeen

Eighteen

Epilogue

Roster

About the Author

Other Catherine Gayle Titles

 

 

For Angie.

 

 

When I started work on this book, I knew a bit about my characters but not really all that much in the grand scheme of things. They came to life after a long talk with S. M. Butler. I don’t know that Burnzie would be the man he is if not for that day sitting in the bar. So thanks, Suzan, for helping me figure out what made this man tick.

 

Thanks also to Debra Stover who served as my recon-woman.

 

Trademark Acknowledgments

 

The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of the following wordmarks mentioned in this work of fiction:

 

NHL: National Hockey League

AHL: American Hockey League

Anaheim Ducks

Buffalo Sabres

Columbus Blue Jackets

Dallas Stars

Edmonton Oilers

Florida Panthers

LA Kings

Minnesota Wild

Philadelphia Flyers

San Jose Sharks

Portland Trail Blazers

Claussen

Craigslist

ESPN

FaceTime

Gatorade

Harley-Davidson

Hips & Curves

iPod

Jumbotron

Lane Bryant

La-Z-Boy

Mazda

Mercedes

Red Ryder

Snoopy

Spanx

 

 

 

 

 

 

A
S A PLAYER
in the National
Hockey League, hooking up with a random guest—regardless of how hot this random guest might be—at your team captain’s wedding was a bad idea, plain and simple. It was definitely not something
I
would ever do, but I had a pretty strong suspicion that a few of the boys had done exactly that when they’d left the reception.

I had been a member of the Portland Storm since a couple of years after I was drafted, and our captain Eric “Zee” Zellinger had been around that whole time. Zee and I weren’t best friends or anything—that was Brenden Campbell’s role for him, known as Soupy to the guys, and I don’t think I’d ever had anyone in Portland I’d call my best friend, anyway—but we were
good
friends. I was one of his assistant captains, and I couldn’t get behind the idea of running off with some girl who might have been one of his or Soupy’s best childhood friends when I was only in town for their joint wedding.

I mean, don’t get me wrong, Zee and his bride, Dana, and Dana’s brother—coincidentally Soupy—had invited tons of chicks to the ceremony in Providence, so there were ample opportunities. This was where the three of them had grown up. But the last thing I wanted to do while I was in their hometown was to take some girl who was a friend of theirs back to my hotel room for the night. Doing something along those lines would undoubtedly require
strings
, and I didn’t want any strings, even if I wouldn’t have minded having a little company.

I’d flown in a couple of days ago, in time to participate in the rehearsal and bachelor party and all that jazz, and I’d been feeling a strong itch, if you get me, all fucking day. There had been so many women—amazingly gorgeous women decked out in pretty summer dresses that amplified all their curves—surrounding me the whole damn day, and I was in bad shape. And my flight back to where I grew up in Nova Scotia wasn’t until Monday. I intended to spend the rest of my summer there, at the cabin I’d built on the bay in Annapolis Valley.

Don’t ask me what I had been thinking when I planned this trip or why I hadn’t scheduled the return trip for tomorrow, but it’d be two more full days before I could get back home. Even then, I didn’t know who I might find to help me scratch this particular itch. I mean, there were plenty of girls who
would
, but that didn’t mean I wanted to open that can of worms. So many of them were just looking for daddies for their babies, guys who had the money to get them
out
of Nova Scotia, and that wasn’t my idea of a good plan. Again, it all came down to strings.

That was why, once I had made sure Nicklas Ericsson, one of my teammates who I had been worried about all day long, got back to the hotel safely, I returned to my own room for the night and found myself looking through the Providence area “Casual Encounters” listings on Craigslist. I didn’t really expect to find anything that would pique my interest. Mainly I was looking for a diversion, a way to pass the time. But then I stumbled on an ad that made me stop and think. The subject line read:
BBW, no strings, I just need a boost in confidence, w4m
.

No strings?
That, plus the part about needing a boost in confidence, definitely got my attention enough that I opened the listing to see if it was legitimate or some sort of scam—a prostitute looking for a job or God only knew what else. Surprisingly, what I found not only seemed genuine but it made me seriously think about replying.

 

I think I’m probably crazy for posting something here. I hope I don’t end up regretting this decision. You hear all sorts of horror stories about this kind of thing, but a girlfriend suggested I try it and I attempted to convince myself that maybe they’re just stories. I hope so because I don’t know what else to do. Here’s the deal: my longtime boyfriend spent years telling me I was getting too fat for him, that he didn’t find me attractive anymore, that I had to get back to a size two or he wouldn’t be able to get turned on any longer. I tried everything, but I have a thyroid problem. That was what caused me to gain the weight, plus a few other things, and even with medication I couldn’t get back down to the size he wanted me to be. He cheated with a woman who looks how I used to look, and he left me, and I’ve been trying to find a way to believe in myself ever since. I don’t want to date right now. I don’t even want a friends-with-benefits kind of thing. I just want to have an experience with a man who finds me attractive as I am, so maybe I can start to believe it again, too. No real names. I want to meet at a hotel or somewhere equally neutral.
BOOK: In the Zone (Portland Storm 5)
2.17Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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