Max (Carolina Cold Fury Hockey)(4)

By: Sawyer Bennett

“Yeah,” I say slowly. “You too.”

She never even gives me a second glance, and I’m not being egotistical when I say that I usually get a lot more attention from the female persuasion than what I’m receiving right now. Mostly because I’m in the media a lot with the Cold Fury, but also because I’ve been told on more than one occasion that I’m hot.


The point being, this woman doesn’t give me a second glance, and I find that I…

Well, fuck…I like it a lot.

I think I might be a bit of an oddity. While a lot of the single guys on the team revel in bachelorhood and the never-ending supply of puck bunnies who gladly give it up so they have a chance to be with a hockey star, that’s not my way. Never has been. I get nothing out of a shallow woman throwing herself at me, with no real care as to who I am as a person. They see a hot goalie who makes millions, and well, that’s all they see.

But this woman…she doesn’t see anything but an ordinary guy who is easily dismissed, and yeah…I totally dig that.

I turn from the counter and walk out the door, making a mental note to myself to stop back in the near future and see if I can talk to her some more. Unpeel a few layers. Maybe ask her on a date.

I chuckle.

Max Fournier—professional hockey player and one of the team’s most eligible bachelors—wanting to flirt with a convenience store cashier who couldn’t give a rat’s ass about him.

Totally like it.

“Levy, please just try those carrots once,” I say pleadingly as I finish cutting up Annabelle’s chicken. “I swear they won’t kill you.”

He ignores me, his palm supporting his head, elbow on the table while he moves the carrots around on his plate. I don’t bother asking again because it won’t do any good.

“Okay, there you go, Annabelle,” I say as I straighten, and turn to Rocco. “Do you want any more milk?”

He shakes his head with a smile, and to make me proud he stabs a carrot with his fork and eats it. I beam back at him for just a split second before I turn my wrist over and look at my watch.

Crap. Tina is fifteen minutes late, and if I don’t leave in the next two minutes I’m going to be late as well.

I spin toward my purse on the counter, miscalculating how close I am, and slam my hip bone into the corner.

“F-u-u—,” I start to say but change directions mid-curse. “Fudge.”

It’s been four months since the kids have come to live with me, and I’ve just about broken my pattern of cursing in front of them. I reach across the counter, fish inside my purse and pull out my phone. With a few taps on the screen, I’m dialing Tina.

“Hey,” she answers on the second ring. “I was just getting ready to call you; I can’t make it tonight.”

I close my eyes as my free hand curls into an involuntary fist, take in a breath, and when I open my eyes the tears come. Lately I’m having a harder and harder time holding them back. I blow the air out and beg with all my might, my voice suffering a slight quaver. “Please don’t do this to me, Tina. I can’t miss work again.”

“I’m sorry, Jules,” she says in a placating manner. “But Marshall’s running a fever—a hundred and two—and I think I need to take him to the doctor.”

I nod…not with acceptance but rather defeat. I blink my eyes, force back the tears. “Okay, I understand.” I’d be a shit not to, and I’d do the same in a similar situation.

Marshall having a fever I totally understand. I didn’t understand Tina flaking out on me two nights ago when she couldn’t watch the kids because her boyfriend, Todd, wanted to take her to a concert at Red Hat Amphitheater after he’d scored tickets on a radio show. That left me with no other choice but to bring the kids to the convenience store, which I knew was a very bad idea. I ran a good fifty-fifty shot of getting busted by the manager, Chris, as he would sometimes come by to check on me. The seven P.M. to midnight shift tended to be busy for the first couple of hours and then petered out after about nine P.M. I was usually good if I could make it to that magic number, but two nights ago he surprised me with a visit around eleven. Of course, by then the kids were conked out on the hard tiled floor in the break room, which I know wasn’t ideal, but I also couldn’t afford to lose this job.

I most definitely could not leave them at home alone.

So I got an ass-chewing from Chris and a warning that kids were not allowed there when I was working. Something about liability issues, or that was the reason he touted, though I think it is more that he’s just an asshole boss who doesn’t like kids.