The moment everything changed didn’t happen in that cliché rockets-red-glare kind of way, it happened in the form of a waking nightmare. I caught my husband, my high-school sweetheart, the father of my children, balls deep in a sordid affair.That was when I gave up on men and love.
I didn’t count on the NHL’s golden boy, the beautiful, arrogant Cooper Stone turning my life and my hockey rink upside down.
My kids are why I wake up in the morning.
Hockey is what Cooper breathes for.
We’re from different worlds and places in our lives but when our hearts collided something so wrong and different turned into something so right.
We pull up to the house way after everyone’s bedtime. Allison was asleep even before we pulled out of Meghan’s driveway. It’s been a long time I’ve felt this content.
I look over at Cooper, who looks far away in his thoughts.
He’s been like that all evening.
Once we get home, he quickly takes Allison out of her seat. Luckily she changed into her pyjamas before we left Meghan’s.
“I got her, babe, get the bags.”
Matthew is continuing his ‘celebrating’ by staying over at his friend’s house. Usually I would say no, but like Cooper said, it’s like he just won the cup.
By the time I get inside and sort through all the wet things, I sense him before I feel him wrap his hands around my waist.
“Babe, come outside with me.” Something in his voice makes my heart pound. My hands are getting clammy just walking outside with him.
We get to the hammock, and he sits down on it, making it like a swing. His feet are on the ground in front, and the back of the hammock against his back halfway. “Sit on me,” he demands.
“I can’t. I’m going to throw you over.” I stand there in front of him. He rubs his hands up and down the back of my legs, kissing my stomach. I’m still wearing my sundress from this afternoon.
“I won’t make you fall, I promise.”
I comb my fingers through his hair, looking down into his blue eyes. They’re like the key to his soul, always bright. Tonight they look clouded, like a storm is brewing.
“Okay,” I whisper and straddle his lap. I’m surprised we don’t topple over, but Cooper has his feet planted on the floor, so we aren’t going anywhere.
“Baby.” I look at him. “You’re scaring me.” I’m sure he can hear my heart beating in my chest.
“I’ve never felt like this.” He whispers, “I’ve had women, many women, but none were like you.” He kisses my chest right above my breast.
“Okay.” I twirl his hair through my fingers.
“When I looked over at you today and saw you sitting with James, my breath caught in my throat.”
“Honey.” I pull his hair so he looks up at me. “James and I, we are the past. Way, way in the past.”
“You made a life with him, you made a home with him, you have kids with him.” His voice trembles.
“I had all that, I made a home with him. I had kids with him. He threw that away. He tossed it aside.” I’m trying to calm my nerves. I’m scared that this is it. This will be the last time that I hold him. “Cooper.” He looks up at me, and I snap, my heart snaps. “No, you don’t get to decide this, you don’t get to toss me aside because you think you know what I want or need.” My heart is literally hurting. It’s aching. I blink away the tears that are forming in my eyes, continuing what I have to say. “If you don’t want me, just say it, but don’t you dare try to cop out of this giving yourself a clear conscience.” I drop my hands to my sides, looking into his eyes. I lean forward, kissing his eyes. “I’ve had many years with a man who not only looked through me, he passed by me, not stopping to look at me. But you, you see me.”—I kiss his cheeks—“I’ve had many years not smiling. Now I smile so much my cheeks hurt. I smile for no reason at all. I smile at you and because of you”—I kiss his lips—“I’ve had many years of little kisses, but none of them made my heart flutter like yours, none of them left me breathless because of them, none of them I longed for.” I can’t stop the one tear that has rolled down my face. “I want you, I want this”—I point from him to me with my hand—“I want this more than I care to admit”—I put my forehead on his, our eyes watching each other—“I want you to want me,” I whisper the last part, my heart hoping that he does pick me, that he picks us.
“I want you,” he says softly. “I want all of you. I want your mornings. I want your afternoons. I want your nights. I want your tomorrows, baby. I want it all. I was so scared you would want what you had, and not want what we have.”
I don’t say anything anymore. I just lean in, kissing his bottom lip, hoping he opens up for me, and he does. He opens so our tongues touch each other, and I know I’m home.
I want to get under his skin and it still wouldn’t be close enough. I fumble with his shirt, trying to rip it off his body. When my hands touch his chest, I make little traces of imaginary infinity signs all down his chest, hoping he feels it. He pulls down the tube part of my dress, bringing my bikini top with it. My nipples peak with the cold air on them. Cooper’s thumbs circle around my nipples, then he places his finger in the middle of my chest, making an infinity sign, all while looking into my eyes.
My need for him is all-consuming. He squeezes my breast, rubbing down to my ass. When both his hands cup my ass, he just palms it, pushing me more to him.
“Honey.” I’m stopped by his tongue invading my mouth. I’m invaded by his scent. His hand makes its way under my dress, moving my bikini bottoms to the side.
He enters me easily with two fingers, making me gasp. “Always ready for me, always.” With my head tossed back, he kisses down my neck with his tongue all the way to my nipple.
He takes it into his mouth, sucking deeply, sending shock waves all down to my core. “Honey, please.” I look down at him. “Be with me.”
He withdraws his fingers from me, then opens his shorts, freeing himself.
“Be with me, baby.” I lift myself till I’m positioned over him where I slowly slide all the way down, one inch at a time. I feel him stretching me open while he invades me.
I look into his eyes, hoping he sees what I feel. I move up and down again, all the while looking at him. He’s beautiful. He’s everything I’ve ever dreamed of, and he’s mine.
He picks me up by my hips, bringing me to the top of his dick before bringing me down again.
He lifts his feet off the ground, making us swing back and forth, putting him deeper into me. It’s like we are on a swing, so I push back, making him go back, him pushing forward, both of us wanting to go deeper and deeper. I’m close, so close. I know he is too because I feel fuller.
“Honey, I want you with me.”
“Babe, I’m there.” He grabs both my shoulders, thrusting down on him where I come apart. I squeeze him, taking him with me. He is groaning out his release, all the while we look into each other’s eyes. His blue eyes are clearer than before, more at peace, more calm. He kisses me deeply while still in me, the aftershocks of my orgasm still squeezing him.
“Stay with me tonight?” I ask him.
“What about Allison?” he says, knowing that I never want to cross that line.
“It’s okay. We can set an alarm, wake up together. Say yes, please.”
“As long as I’m with you, it’s yes, it’s always yes.”
About Natasha Madison
When her nose isn't buried in a book, or her fingers flying across a keyboard writing, she's in the kitchen creating gourmet meals. You can find her, in four inch heels no less, in the car chauffeuring kids, or possibly with her husband scheduling his business trips. It's a good thing her characters do what she says, because even her Labrador doesn't listen to her...
3.5 Stars - Worth a Reader's Time
Review Copy Provided by Author
I really debated how to rate this book. It was more than an average (3 star) read, but I wasn't sure it made it all the way to 3.5. The fact that it's Ms. Madison's debut novel factored in a little bit and I gave it the bump up.
I love the set up of this story. We have a divorced mom/hockey rink owner/personal trainer in her mid 30's (Parker) and a super sexy NHL player who is a few years younger and so very Alpha (Cooper). Some of the initial interactions struck me as very "kindergartner on the playground," but they made sense the more we got to know Cooper. I also loved the fact that he was "all in" fairly quickly and had to work to convince the cautious Parker.
Both characters are interesting and fun to get to know. Parker is sassy and a fabulous mom and Cooper is hiding a lot of sweet under all of the alpha. The secondary cast is entertaining, I especially enjoyed the kids.
My two complaints/concerns/issues- whatever you want to call them - the amount of sexy time and how the "other woman" conflict played out. On the sexy time front - there was almost too much very detailed sexy time. Yes, it was a big part of their relationship, but there were enough super detailed scenes that it almost became redundant. The "Other woman" issue - I got it, but I didn't. I understood why the character behaved the way she did, but not the support she received. Parker's reaction to the situation also seemed more aggressive than her normal behavior.
Overall, I'd say this was a good debut novel and I am curious about what Ms. Madison has for us next.