My Lucky #13 (Hockey Hotties #1) - Piper Rayne
After a long shower, I throw myself onto my couch and click on the television. I’m greeted by my name coming from the announcer’s mouth and I can’t switch the channel fast enough. But before I grab the controller, the same old tape from nine games ago plays on the screen. I slide my ass to the edge of the couch as if I haven’t seen the exact game-winning goal replayed thousands of times since I fell into the slump of all fucking slumps.
See that guy on the ice? The one who undressed the defenseman and buried the puck in the net? That’s me. Nine fucking games ago. Which is the last time I lit the lamp. My teammates rush over to me on screen, patting me on the head, congratulating me. Those were the good days. The happy days. The days I earned my nickname, Shamrock.
Now, I’m down eight games without a goal scored. The trade deadline is creeping up, and the owner has me by the balls.
“I guess we’ll see what happens tonight,” the sports commentator says. “Maybe something over New Year’s changed Drake’s luck.”
I click off the television and toss the remote onto the sofa cushion. Screw them.
I hate seeing that clip because it’s the old me. Even if my game comes back, I won’t be that same naïve player who automatically expects to score every game. Up until recently, I was always lucky, could always count on things lining up for me in a game. Hell, that’s how I got my nickname in the first place—because I didn’t need any of those stupid superstitions the rest of my teammates subscribe to in order to have a good game.
I head to the fridge to make myself a sandwich before the game, repeating the same old mantra in my head that there’s no such thing as superstitions. I’ve never believed in them, and I won’t believe in them now.
When that analyst said New Year’s, all I thought about was the woman I met at the team owner’s New Year’s Eve party, Saige. After I spent most of the night with her, she turned out to be my agent’s date. Karma at its fucking finest.
All these years traveling and on the road and I finally meet a woman who intrigues me only to discover it can’t go anywhere. Because my agent, Joran, is like an older brother. He took me on when some others didn’t see my value. He’s negotiated all my contracts, gotten me what we both felt I deserved, and stuck his neck out for me more than a few times. No woman is worth fucking up my relationship with my agent.
I eat my sandwich, dress in my suit, and head out to the rink. Because it’s just after New Year’s, the weather is pretty mild in Florida. I’m not surprised that once I’ve slid into my high-end SUV and pulled out of my driveway, Joran’s name shows up on my Bluetooth screen. He wants to boost me up and act as though he’s not fearful that I’m not gonna perform again tonight.
“Hey, Joran,” I say.
“Just checking in before the big game.” He’s obviously in his car too from the amount of road noise in the background.
“I’m good. On my way to the rink now.”
“Awesome. Listen, I wanted to tell you this story I just heard from an agent at our firm.”
“What story?” I entertain him because, well, I’m out of ideas on how to get out of this slump. Desperate times and all.
“He said he had a client once who kept striking out at the plate.”
“Just listen to me, okay?”
“Okay.” I’m already tuning him out as I signal to make a right turn.
“Finally mid-season, all the announcers are talking about him and the team GM is calling him into the office. They’re reworking his swing, calling in other hitting coaches. Nothing works.”
“Is this supposed to be an uplifting story?” I brake when some idiot changes lanes and cuts me off.
Joran chuckles. “Hold on. I’m getting there.”
I change lanes and give the guy the finger when I pull up beside him at a red light. Of course he pretends not to see me, his vision focused straight ahead.
“He saw a shrink and voilà, some deep shit from his childhood came up. Once he got it all out and made amends, he hit a two-run homer the next game.”
My shoulders sink. I don’t have any childhood shit to deal with. I have parents who, if anything, almost put