Saved (Minnesota Caribou #5) - Colleen Charles

Chapter One


“Bet you can’t light a fart on fire.”

I lean back on the leather couch at Dylan’s place and twist my face into a grimace. Whose dumbass idea was it to throw this getting-to-know-you party for the new rookie, Kane Wilson? Yeah, mine. Well, that’s the last time I try to be the nice guy—or the older brother type who just wants this immature tool to succeed. I should have left it to Dylan, our assistant captain. But Kane’s a defenseman and both Max and I need him to play his best if we want our heads to remain firmly attached to our bodies. Closing the gap and all that shit.

Max shoots me a look as if to say, ‘Remember you were this way once upon a time.’ Monroe can go take a flying leap into Lake Superior because I was never this lame. That might be because I’ve been in love with the same girl since grade school and that girl would never appreciate the antics going on at this house party tonight.

Not the drinking to excess.

Not the wing eating and licking of fingers.

Not the naughty locker room talk about anything with a pussy.

And sure as hell not lighting your own farts on fire.

No can do. I imagine Cora pulling her full lower lip between her teeth, tugging on her glasses, and giving me her full-on naughty librarian look telling everyone between the stacks to hush.

I won’t deny I’ve stroked myself to that look a time or two all while imagining her wearing a pencil skirt and pumps while spanking me for being a bad, bad boy.

But tonight that thought doesn’t even tighten my crotch because I’m nursing one hell of a groin injury, and I’m willing my junk to cease and desist.

Grumpy as hell most days, Dylan points a finger in Kane’s general direction. “Do not do that disgusting shit inside this condo. I don’t pay my cleaning lady for fart smells and singe stains on the rug.”

Our captain, Adam Spencer, is absent from this one. His wife, Julia, is pregnant again and about to pop, so she’s having some hormone-induced migraines. But a pulled groin isn’t a good enough excuse to get out of the party I suggested, so here I am, annoyed as fuck and wishing I was at home with an ice pack and not sitting here nursing the scotch in my hand.

Some guys are smoking cigars out on the deck with the perfect view of Duluth’s skyline and the lake that looks more like an ocean. The last time it froze over was back in 1979 before I was even born. Others are sitting in front of the huge flat screen playing Grand Theft Auto. But somehow, I’m stuck on this couch looking at a teenage doofus who didn’t even have to finish freshman year because his talent is bigger than his brain.

Who drafts nineteen-year-olds straight out of high school? Obviously, the Caribou’s front office. And now we all have to deal with their mistake like a bunch of babysitters for the next few years.

Kane takes a huge swig and slams his bottle of non-alcoholic beer down on Dylan’s glass and chrome coffee table. Sans coaster. I watch as D’s huge body tightens into a ball of pissed-off winger. I swear I just saw steam drift out from his ears. He looks like a man who needs to get laid, and I wonder when that happened last. He keeps his personal life pretty private, and he doesn’t talk women like most of the guys. He’s all about being respectful. I guess growing up with a single mom and three sisters will do that to a guy.

Kane doesn’t miss a beat. “Hey, Blaine, ever notice that our names match? They like rhyme and all that shit. Kane and Blaine. Kane and Blaine.”

Tim Olsen, our backup goalie, snorts from his spot in front of the flat screen. “Kane and Blaine sitting in a tree. K-I-S-S-I-N-G.”

That starts a whole new round of teasing and bullshit that makes me want to either storm out the door and get the hell out of here or drink the entire bottle sitting in front of me just to withstand the agony. But overindulging in alcohol will only make my injury worse. I’ve been told to make sure I stay as hydrated as possible and not to eat anything inflammatory. I talked the team trainer, Bob Kitzinger, into one scotch and some veggies and dip to sustain me as I try to get