Roman:A Cold Fury Hockey Novel(3)

By: Sawyer Bennett

I snort. That was a good one. I took a high stick to my shoulder, then took a dive to the ice. It hurt, but not enough to put me down. The other players didn’t know that, though, and while a shoving match started right in front of me, my teammates clearly coming to my defense, I lay there on the ice playing dead. One of the trainers even came over to check on me. The scrums around me got broken up by the refs, and about the time all the players started to slowly skate away, I jumped up from the ice—scaring the shit out of our trainer Goose—and attacked the fucker who gave me the high stick in the first place. Got a few solid hits on him before the refs jumped on me.

That earned me a game misconduct ejection.

Gray Brannon does not laugh, but continues to extol my “virtues” as a member of this team.

“You’ve been suspended for eleven games over the past two years,” she says distastefully. “Three for illegal boarding, two for cross-checking, and six for abuse of an official,” she recites.

“Well, the abuse of an official was for ten games, but it did get reduced to six, so that’s good, right?” I ask without a hint of apology. “Besides, you and I both know that guy is a douche.”

“You’re late to practice most of the time,” she throws at me.

“I need my beauty sleep,” I say as I bat my eyelashes at her. “And it’s not personal. I’m late to everything.”

I can tell she wants to roll her eyes at me, but she never breaks that direct, hard stare. “You’ve heckled and threatened fans, gotten into a public drunken spectacle on several occasions—the last just four days ago—with your girlfriend that made the social media rounds—”

“I fucking hate Snapchat,” I say glumly but very truthfully. “And that was an ex-girlfriend. We’d been broken up awhile and had just run into each other at a bar, and she’s the one that—”

“—and then today,” she cuts in on me, grabbing the newspaper off her desk and sliding it across to me. “You make the front page of the sports section.”

My eyes drop down and I have to practically bite my tongue not to grin at the photograph taking up the entire top of the page. It’s of me, sound asleep in bed. I’m lying on my back, covers pulled up to my hips, but it’s clear I’m naked underneath. And next to me is a woman, also clearly naked but with the sheet pulled up over her breasts, taking a selfie photograph with me.

Unbeknownst to me because I was dead asleep.

Didn’t find out about it until she sent me a text with the photo day before yesterday along with a short but clear demand for money, and if I didn’t pay, she would go to the media with it.

My text back to her was simple: Fuck off.

Of course, that text exchange ended up in the paper too, along with a quote from yours truly. After all, the reporter called me for my side of the story and I told him I’d never be bribed by anyone, not to mention a two-bit model who would jump in bed with someone just for the attention.

I actually think I handled the situation well.

Inclining my head toward the paper, I try for my most seriously affronted expression. “You can’t honestly be mad at me for that. I had no clue she took that picture.”

“She was previously engaged to one of your teammates,” Gray grits out.

I hold my hands up in mock surrender. “I did not know that. Well, not until after the clothes came off, but still…she wasn’t engaged at the time.”

“Jesus Christ, Sýkora,” Gray mutters as she runs her fingers through her hair in a sign of frustration. “You have a goddamned answer for everything. But surely you can see…you’re taking things a bit too far. For fuck’s sake, you even had a rule instituted by the league named after you,” she adds. “They named a goddamn rule after you.”

I lift my chin in pride. Because that was epic. There was nothing in the rules preventing screening the goalies. It happened all the time. I just chose to do it more blatantly, actually getting right up in his face when the puck was in his end, and waving my gloved hands in front of him. It was a guaranteed goal getter, as my teammates had no problems slipping pucks past while the goalie was otherwise occupied with my hands in his face.

The league enacted a swift rule prohibiting it, and it’s known as the Sýkora rule.

“You got to admit, before the rule got enacted, I was pretty brilliant, right?” I say confidently, knowing that I’m starting to get on her nerves by the way a muscle at the corner of her mouth starts twitching.

“I’m not amused,” Gray says stiffly.

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