I’m going to be honest with you guys. I haven’t read anything by Sawyer Bennett but she’s one of the authors that I’ve been meaning to read, an author that I know that I’m going to enjoy but I just haven’t gotten around to it yet. I hear nothing but good things about her books and I am frothing at the mouth to read them.
This book is one of the reasons that I want to read this series. I’m always up for a blast from the past story and this is one of those. Yay!
Oh man, I can already tell this book is going to be filled up with angst. Yasssss!
A knock on the door doesn’t quite disturb me from my reading, but the voice that says, “Hey, man . . . I need my knee taped,” does, and my head swings up.
Hawke stands in the open doorway in full gear minus his helmet, his forehead sweat slicked and his long hair sticking to his temples. He stares straight at Goose and I use the moment to try to still my beating heart, which started running away from me the minute I saw him.
But damn . . . why does the man have to look so freaking good?
I just saw him but a few hours ago in my early morning dream, and yet even that memory of what we had was dull and faded next to him up close and personal. Dark brown hair that he still wears long. It curls just above his shoulders with a heavy wave and his blue eyes set deep above darkly slashed eyebrows. The one thing that’s different in this man just seven years later is that he now sports a beard. While we are well out of playoff season, Hawke apparently liked the look and decided to keep it. Its full but well trimmed; dark with some subtle lighter strands woven in.
I have to say, it does him justice, only serving to highlight his high cheekbones and strong jawline.
He’s perfection, and I while I want to tear my eyes away, I just can’t. Besides, he hasn’t spared me a glance, and while we were over years ago, I can’t say it’s a chore staring at him like this. What woman in her right mind wouldn’t stare at that?
“Be just a few minutes,” Goose says with good nature as he pulls another piece of tape from Kip’s lower back, who in turn groans dramatically. “Then I need to get him in an ice bath.”
“Why can’t she do it?” Hawke asks, and his eyes slide lazily over to me.
My body stiffens and I stand upright from the way I was leaning on the table as I read from the laptop. My heart skitters out of control as I realize Hawke was very much aware of me.
He stares at me now with those mesmerizing eyes that don’t speak a single word to me. There was a time in our lives when he could communicate to me just with those irises. I could read want and need. Anger and love. Pain and happiness. Hell, I could tell if he was hungry for a steak or a chicken by the way he stared at me.
Now I get nothing. Not even a hint of welcome or even curiosity about me.
I have to wonder what he’s feeling, because we did not part on good terms. In fact, we parted on very bad terms. I shut him down and out, and refused to even let him know my thinking.
Of course, I was operating on pain, loss, guilt, and anger myself, so I felt I was justified back then.
I’m not so sure I did things right, but I can’t change the past. I was ruled by emotion, and I acted in the only way I knew my conscience would let me at that exact moment in time.
“Vale’s still reading the procedural manual,” Goose says. “I can get you in a few.”
“Or she can tape me now,” Hawke suggests with what borders on an imperious tone. “I need to get back on the ice.”
“Suit yourself,” Goose says with a shrug of his shoulders. “She fucks it up, not on my shoulders.”
My body jerks and my gaze swings over to Goose. Now why would the asshole say that?
“She fucks it up, it’s on her shoulders,” Hawke clarifies, and my head snaps back to him. He’s got a challenging glint in his eyes and I realize in this moment, that I much preferred the blank, uninterested look he gave me earlier. This look right here says there’s still some bitter feelings toward me, and that’s just an unnecessary complication I don’t need in my life right now.
With a sigh, I tip my head toward the table next to the one that holds the laptop. “Skates, socks, shin pads and pants off.”
Hawke lumbers toward me, his skate guards clacking dully on the industrial tile floor. “Jock strap too?” he asks without a trace of humor.
“No,” I tell him coolly as I grab a towel and toss it at him before turning to the supply cabinet. “You can put that over your lap though.”
He’s only half a foot away when he catches the towel and murmurs so low I barely hear him, “Why? Seen one dick, you seen ’em all.”
I freeze with my hand on the cabinet handle and a sudden wave of longing and sadness crashes through me. Anguish over what we had, which was still so fresh in my mind from my dream of him and me and that stupid stone wall along the Sydney River. Wondering through the years, and more so now with him standing just a few feet away, what would have happened had things just been a little different.
“Vale?” Hawke says softly, and I jerk into action. I pull the cabinet open and gather adhesive, gauze, and tape, knocking it closed with my shoulder.
I turn to face him, squaring my shoulders and sliding a neutral expression on my face. I tip my head toward the table. “Let’s go, Therrien. Thought you wanted back on the ice?”
His eyes flick back and forth between mine, his jaw muscle ticking. He studies me, appears to want to say something else, but then silently bends down to start unlacing his skates.
I take a deep breath but blow it out silently.
This should be fun.