Rafe Savage was going to get laid tonight. Laid good. Laid hard. And laid by an extremely hot chick. Too bad it wasn’t the woman he’d wanted to fuck since he’d been eighteen.
He finished drying off in the locker room shower and tugged a towel around his waist, knotting it at his hip. Wandering back toward his bench, Rafe found most of his Rough Riders teammates already showered and dressed. And while they were planning various ways to celebrate their win on home ice tonight, Rafe’s head was still pounding from his last hit against the boards.
At his space among the heavily lacquered wooden benches, he pulled ibuprofen from his duffel bag, popped a few, and downed them with cold water.
“Mia’s going to be bummed when I show up without you.” Tate Donovan wandered to the bench next to Rafe’s and sat. “She just texted to say she’s sorry she missed the game. She’s waiting for us at Top Shelf with a few of the other girls.”
That made Rafe smile. He could see Mia catching up with the wives and girlfriends of teammates at the bar. Tate’s sister was as much a part of the Rough Riders as any of them. Maybe even more so. Wives could be divorced, girlfriends dumped, but sisters were blood.
Which was exactly why he’d never touch her. But that was only one of a slew of reasons. Those thoughts stole the smile from his face. Rafe could weather a lot—the hardest hit from any NHL player, the most grueling training schedule, new strategies thrown at him on the fly. What he couldn’t face was another concrete demonstration that he and Mia would never be more than friends.
“I’m sure I’ll catch up with her while she’s in town,” Rafe lied, scrubbing a dry towel over his head.
Every time Mia had come to see her brother over the last year, Rafe made some excuse to avoid her. But the longing never faded. If anything, it only got worse. She still texted him, but he rarely responded. She still called, but he never answered. And just knowing she was in town made him hurt. He fucking missed her.
And that was the problem. He shouldn’t care enough to miss her this badly.
He spread a little gel through his hair, wondering how she was wearing her hair now. What she looked like now. What perfume she was using. What new clothes styles she’d helped create and started sporting. Man, he could talk to her for hours about what she’d been doing in New York. Missed hearing her crazy stories about the characters she met and worked with in the fashion industry. Missed the way she made him laugh.
God, he hated it when she came to town.
Tate’s question helped Rafe refocus on the night ahead and the stupid dinner he’d been roped into. At least the chick who’d won the charity auction and chosen Rafe as her companion for the evening was hot. He was hoping this puck bunny would be able to distract him from the fact that Mia was relaxing just blocks away from the restaurant, enjoying time with their mutual friends.
“Sure,” Rafe lied again. He pulled on his suit pants, wincing at the aches pulling through his body. “Just want this headache to go away. It’s not the head I want throbbing while I bang the hell out of someone.”
Tate snorted a laugh. “Just because she’s hot and she chose you for the dinner doesn’t mean she wants to fuck you.”
“Of course she does. She didn’t choose me for my excellent breeding or outstanding intelligence.”
His buddy grinned. “I see your point.”
That brought some laughter from the others in the locker room—because it was true.
“All right.” Beckett Croft, the team’s captain, tossed his duffel over his shoulder and walked toward Rafe on his way out of the locker room. “You’ve been milking the hell out of this damn dinner. Let me see her picture.”
Beckett had once been Rafe’s womanizing wingman. The two of them had been able to make more women swoon than a half a dozen karats from Jared’s. The bruise developing around Beckett’s left eye would have had women swarming around them in the old days. Before Beckett’s five-year-old angel of a daughter had been dropped on his doorstep and put a wrench into his bachelor lifestyle. But Rafe loved Lily. And he also liked the woman Beckett had recently swept off her feet too.
“I’m gonna tell Eden,” Rafe said, referencing Beckett’s fiancée as he picked up his phone and tapped on the photo of the season ticket holder who’d won the auction.
Ashlee Covington was the woman’s name, and she looked every bit the young, sexy puck bunny Rafe bedded on a regular basis. He handed the phone to Beckett and started on the buttons of his dress shirt.
Isaac Hendrix, their second-line right wing, glanced at the phone past Beckett’s shoulder and whistled through his teeth. “If her body is even half as nice as her face, you’ve got a twelve on your hands there.”