When I set her down, she looked past me. “Where’s everyone else?”

“Just me tonight.” I held my hands up. “I came for the best burger in the state, and to see you, of course.”

“Awww.” She grinned and batted her eyelashes at me. “Well, sit wherever you want. I’ll be out in a minute to take your order.”

She turned and walked back to the kitchen while I made my way to the table we all normally sat at together. I knew it seemed silly to have one person at an eight-person table, but I didn’t care. It was ours and I was sitting there.

The Twins game was playing on the TV above my head, but I was too busy watching Portland strut that hot little ass of hers around the restaurant to care. The way she walked was more entertaining than any baseball game I’d ever seen.

She sighed as she walked up to my table and gave me a big grin. “Okay. What can I get you tonight¸ Viper?”

“I’m gonna have an order of potato skins and a burger, medium.”

She chewed on her juicy bottom lip as she wrote down my order. “Got it. What to drink?”

“Just a root beer, please.”

“You and your root beer.” Tilting her head to the side, she narrowed her eyes at me. “You get that almost every time you come here. Not a lot of people order that.”

“I’m full of surprises.” I wiggled my eyebrows up and down at her. She rolled her eyes and started to walk away, but I called her back. “Hey!”

She turned back and rested her elbows on the table.

“Let me ask you something, Portland.” I leaned in close. “I get asked at least once a day for my phone number from random women. You’ve had my number for a few months now. Why haven’t you ever used it?”

Her cheeks flushed as she shrugged and looked down at the table, nervously picking off an old sticker. “I don’t know,” she said in a low, shy voice. “I’m not sure how long I’m staying here, and getting involved with someone makes things messier, ya know?”

“I don’t know. My life is hockey. Nothing more. Nothing less. If you ever change your mind, just remember it doesn’t have to be messy.” I smirked at her. “At least not outside of the bedroom.”

“Oh my God!” she squealed, her face growing as red as her T-shirt as she laughed and walked away.

For the next hour, every time Portland was at my table or near my table, I tried to convince her to come home with me. After being turned down for the tenth time, the group of women playing pool in the corner started looking better and better. The tallest of the group, a leggy brunette, kept staring at me, then looking away every time I stared back.

She thought I was smiling at her, when in reality, I was laughing. Did girls really think that worked? The play-shy-to-try-to-get-you-to-come-over thing? Fuck that. If you want to come over and say hi, say hi.

To my surprise, she did just that a few minutes later.

“This is going to sound really weird,”—she giggled as she came over to my table—“but my friend and I have a bet going about you…”

Weak. I’ve heard that one already.

“She thinks you’re a famous hockey player, but I told her no way.” She giggled again and shook her head, her bangs swishing back and forth. “Who’s right?”

“Not you.”

She gasped as her mouth fell open.

Looks big enough.

“You are a famous hockey player!” She clapped her hands together and jumped up and down. “That’s so exciting. I’ve never met anyone famous before. What’s your name?”

“Viper,” I answered as she dragged the chair back from the table and sat down across from me.

“Oooh, sexy.” She licked her lips and lifted her eyebrows once at me. “I’m Jade.”

And just like that, was a done deal.

THREE HOURS LATER, we crashed through the front door of my house, barely inside before we started ripping our clothes off. We were both naked from the waist up, bumping into this wall and that wall like bulls in a china shop, when we finally made our way to the hall. She pulled away from me and started toward my bedroom when I gently yanked her hand back.

“No, not that one. In here.” I led her to the guest room.

“This is your room?” She turned her nose up slightly as she looked around the room. “I figured it’d be… I don’t know… decorated better?”

“Did you come here to bash my paint colors or fuck me?” I growled as I crashed into her, claiming her mouth and shoving my hands into her hair.

She let out a pleasant moan as our tongues slid around each other’s mouths, sucking and teasing. Her hand slid down my stomach and into my jeans, wrapping around my hard dick. That was the kind of girl I liked—no need to romance, no need for an hour of foreplay, just straight down to business. I unbuttoned her jeans and stepped back as she wiggled out of them and hopped onto the bed. Shoving my own jeans down as fast as I could, I grabbed a condom out of the nightstand and rolled it on. I jumped into bed in one swift movement, grabbed her legs, and hooked them around my waist as I pushed my cock into her roughly. She let out a loud gasp, and part of me hoped it wasn’t too hard for her, but mostly I didn’t care. I needed a pussy to get lost in, and she was the willing recipient.

My hands were wrapped tightly around her thighs, lifting her ass off of the bed just a little so I had better control of how hard I fucked. Her fingers grabbed my wrists and her nails dug in as she opened her mouth and closed her eyes, thoroughly enjoying it.

I didn’t hold back.

I couldn’t hold back.

I closed my eyes and crashed into her over and over and over.

“Lock your legs around me,” I said gruffly. Still not getting the leverage I wanted, I leaned forward and grabbed the top of the headboard with both arms, giving me the extra boost I needed.

“Oh, yes!” she called out as I drove into her as hard as I could. “Oh, fuck! Yes!”

Ten seconds later, my balls tightened and I came hard with four long grunts. I opened my eyes and looked down at Jade. Her eyes were wild and she was biting her lip, trying not to smile.

“What?” I slid out of her and tossed the condom in the garbage before heading into the connected bathroom.

“Nothing.” She giggled, rolling over to face the bathroom doorway. “That. It was hot. Intense.”

Please. On a scale of one to ten, it was a six at best.

I stood in the bathroom doorway, wiping my dick off with a towel, and stared at her. She wasn’t the most beautiful girl I’d ever been with, but she was definitely cute and she seemed pretty cool, not as ditzy as most of the others. Typically, I would have already been in my kitchen getting money out of the cookie jar, but that night I was willing to break my own rule and let her stay, assuming she wanted to.

“You gonna stay or do you wanna go?” I asked as I pulled my pants on.

She shrugged. “What do you want me to do?”

I glanced down at her lying innocently on my guest bed, oblivious to the fact that I’d just used her to try and forget the last two months of my life, and something in me ached. I surprised myself when I responded, “Stay. Please.”

MY PHONE BUZZED for the fifth time before I even considered rolling over and looking at it. I was lying in bed on my stomach with my hands under the pillow as I cracked one eye open to see my blue voice mail light blinking.

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