Off season, p.1
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       Off Season, p.1

         Part #5.50 of Off series by Sawyer Bennett
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Off Season


  OFF SEASON

  By Sawyer Bennett

  All Rights Reserved.

  Copyright (c) 2014 by Sawyer Bennett Published by Big Dog Books ISBN: 978-1-940883-23-6

  This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

  No part of this book can be reproduced in any form or by electronic or mechanical means including information storage and retrieval systems, without the express written permission of the author. The only exception is by a reviewer who may quote short excerpts in a review.

  Find Sawyer on the web!

  www.sawyerbennett.com

  www.twitter.com/bennettbooks

  www.facebook.com/bennettbooks

  Table of Contents

  Acknowledgments

  Prologue

  Chapter 1

  Chapter 2

  Chapter 3

  Chapter 4

  Chapter 5

  Chapter 6

  Chapter 7

  Chapter 8

  Chapter 9

  Chapter 10

  Chapter 11

  Chapter 12

  Chapter 13

  Epilogue

  Acknowledgments

  This one is for Rose Holub... for everything you do to help make my work beautiful. Many hugs!!!

  Prologue

  Cady

  December 24, 2014

  Have you ever thought about doing something that was just plain crazy? And although you may have had some fleeting doubts, deep down... right inside the middle of your gut... you know it's the right thing to do?

  You know that if you just have the fortitude to make that decision, put your fears aside and really go for it... it could represent that one thing in life that will make you happier than anything else will. It will bring you what you desire most and even the things you are actually sacrificing to get it will pale in comparison.

  So yes... I'm really thinking about doing something that is wild and completely out of my comfort zone.

  Many say that Christmas is a time for miracles.

  This year, I say Christmas is a time for some crazy.

  Chapter 1

  Cady

  August

  Four months earlier...

  I bolt straight up in bed, the sheets clutched to my chest. Panic fills me as I take in the bright sunlight filtering in through the windows. I turn my head slowly, dread filling me as I make eye contact with the alarm clock beside the bed.

  10:03 AM.

  Phew! My heartbeat settles down immediately as I realize I haven't missed my flight back home, which is scheduled for late afternoon. And while the panicked feeling has been immediately eased, I take stock of the fact that my head is pounding, courtesy of a hangover I fully expected to have. Grimacing, I swing my legs to the side of the bed, intent on searching my purse for the bottle of Excedrin I know will assuage my suffering.

  My body freezes when I feel a hand snake around my waist. A large hand. Rough... yes, I feel the calluses scraping against my skin, and then I'm pulled backward into a hard body.

  For a split moment, my mind is blank, and I search in vain to remember why there is someone else in this bed with me.

  Then it all comes back in a rush.

  Zane.

  Sexy as hell, professional hockey player... Zane Kavanaugh.

  I groan loudly as the back of my naked body connects with his front... hot skin, the scrape of his chin on my shoulder, and a very stiff erection poking me in the backside.

  "Where are you going?" he asks, his voice all rough and raspy.

  I take a deep breath in and let it out slowly, but it does nothing to relax me. My body is stiff and unyielding in his embrace. "Just to get some headache medicine. I think I drank one too many last night."

  Zane chuckles and plants a soft kiss on my shoulder, then follows it up with a nip of his teeth, which causes a jolt of pleasure to spark through my body and I melt back into him. "I thought you said there'd be no regrets," he murmurs near my ear. "Your voice is sounding regretful."

  Sighing, my hand comes up to rest over the arm wrapped around my waist. "You're right. We agreed... no regrets."

  But damn, I regret every bit of it as I lay here in bed with a practical stranger who will officially become my first one-night stand ever.

  But oh God... what a night. It may be a one-night stand, but it certainly wasn't a one-orgasm night. I may have started off partially inebriated when his lips first touched mine, but I sobered up quickly when we had our clothes off and were rolling around naked on my bed.

  No... correction... not my bed.

  Linc and Ever's bed. Their guest bed to be precise and I groan out loud again.

  "What's wrong now?" Zane asks softly as he moves his arm from around my waist, only to caress his hand over my hip.

  Turning abruptly in the bed, I face Zane to tell him exactly why I just groaned, but my thoughts scatter when my eyes lock onto his. How is it possible I forgot how insanely gorgeous he is? It's the eyes... bright green, flashing with heat and intelligence, and a bit of a cocky attitude. Full, generous lips, a surprisingly straight nose given the nature of his work, and golden blond hair that's unfashionably long and unruly. Oh, and let's not forget... a body that was built by the gods themselves.

  Zane's hand travels over my backside, where he squeezes my ass cheek and pulls me in closer so his erection now lays pulsing and hot between my legs. He leans in to kiss me, and my heart rate zooms away. Just before his lips touch mine, I come to my senses and push him back. "Wait... you've got to get you out of here before Linc finds you in this room. We can sneak you out the window."

  Cocking an eyebrow at me, Zane scoffs. "I'm not sneaking out the window. Linc won't care that I'm here."

  "Yes, he will. I distinctly remember last night him warning you that he'd kill you if you harmed a hair on my head before he left."

  "And have I hurt you in any way?" Zane counters.

  "No, but you know what he meant... he meant for you to keep your hands off me."

  Zane chuckles and pulls me back closer. "Relax, Cady. You're a grown woman, and you can make your own decisions. You and I had a great time last night. We both knew what we were getting in to, and you don't answer to anyone but yourself. I sure as fuck don't answer to Linc."

  "I know you don't answer to Linc," I say quietly as my fingertips dig into his chest muscles with anxiety. "But you are teammates. Buds. Friends. This is just awkward."

  "Awkward for you? Because it's not going to be awkward for me to have him see me walk out of your bedroom."

  I'm silent, digesting what he says. I am an adult. While it may not be something I've ever done before, if I'm truly honest with myself, I really don't have any regrets about sleeping with Zane last night. I can't explain it, but I've never had such an intense and chemical attraction to someone before. Yes, the alcohol may have lowered my inhibitions, but I was completely sober by the third time we'd had sex last night, and I knew then--as I know now--this was not an experience I could ever regret.

  I have been in the States for the last two weeks, visiting my family here. My trip started in New Jersey, staying with my aunt and uncle, Nora and Nick Caldwell. My dad, Keefe, is Nora's older brother, both siblings having been born and raised in Dublin. But Aunt Nora moved to the States going on close to thirty years ago and stayed because she married a Yank. That would be my Uncle Nick. I spent a week there, hanging out with them and my cousin, Flynn, who I don't get to see enough of as I live across The Pond in Dublin, where I was also born and raised.

  It was a whirlwind week. Flynn is a firefighter just across the river in Brooklyn and along with his girlfriend, Rowan, took me out in the Big Apple a few times, showing me all around the touristy sights. I also spent some time with my other cousin, Nix Caldwell, and his wife, Emily. Nix is sort of my cousin... by marriage anyway. His dad, Hank, is my Uncle Nick's brother, and the Caldwell kids all grew up together. Nix, his brother Linc, and my true cousins, Flynn and Renner Caldwell. We came to visit the Caldwell clans every few years, and since we were all close in age, I was just as close to Nix and Linc as I was to Renner and Flynn, although being as Renner was the only girl, I was obviously much closer to her than I was the boys. Which works out nicely for me now that she lives in Dublin with her rock star boyfriend, Cillian, and I get to see her all the time.

  Nix and Emily live in New Jersey and my nights with them were quiet, consisting of family dinners and lots of catch-up talk. I had a great time with them, but before you knew it, I was flying out west... to Phoenix, to visit, Linc and his fiancee, Ever Montgomery. He's the star goalie for the Phoenix Coyotes and because it's the off-season, he had nothing better to do than hang out with me during my visit, which was a wonderful end to my vacation. We mostly chilled out at his home, and I soaked up the hot Arizona sun by lounging outside by Linc and Ever's pool. I read books, listened to music, and was basically a slug. It was the most relaxed I've ever been, and it was just what I needed before returning to Dublin, where I'd be entering into my second year at Trinity College, working toward my master's in Education.

  "You're thinking too much," Zane says, and I raise my gaze to his. His brow is furrowed in worry. "I see regret in your eyes that you promised me wouldn't be there."

  "No," I hastily say as I smooth the anxiety out of my face. Giving him a smile, I say, "I don't regret last night at all. It was amazing. It's just a little awkward for me facing the 'morning after'. I thought one-night stands usually ended with one party slinking out of the other's bed to make a hasty escape."

  Zane laughs, his green eyes sparkling, and he lays a swift kiss on my lips. "You crack me up, Cady. It's one of the reasons I'm insanely attracted to you."

  Now, that's nice, but it makes me feel shallow because I was initially attracted to those eyes... and that body. Oh, geez. Wanton hussy here, I think as I mentally point to myself.

  Last night was intense. Linc and Ever suggested going out clubbing as a memorable way to send me back off to Dublin and celebrate my last night of vacation. I was all for that. Linc also mentioned that he happened to invite a few of his teammates. And how could I argue with that? I mean... what girl doesn't want to be surrounded by gorgeous, professional hockey players?

  I'll admit, I know next to nothing about hockey. We play rugby in Ireland... a real man's sport, but I wasn't let down in any way as I met all of Linc's friends at the nightclub he took us too. They were all handsome... most in a charmingly rugged way. But when I met Zane, my fate for the evening was sealed. He captured me with those eyes, and then proceeded to sinfully flirt with me for the next hour, causing Linc's gaze to harden and Ever to roll her eyes at his antics.

  As drink after drink went down, as I danced with Zane song after song, my attraction to him increased tenfold. By the time Linc and Ever were calling it a night, because Ever had to go to work the next morning, I was seriously trying to figure out how I could get in Zane's bed.

  Me! Cady Dunne... nice girl... studious, serious girl... trying to figure out how to seduce a professional hockey player for the night.

  Turns out... I didn't even need to. As Linc and Ever were saying their goodbyes, Zane turned to look at me, leaning in close, and said, "Don't go home with them. Stay out with me tonight. Let's keep having some fun."

  I didn't hesitate a second, giving Ever an intent look as she walked up to me. "I'm going to stay out with Zane. Just leave the door unlocked for me."

  She gave me a knowing smile in return.

  Linc growled at Zane that he better take good care of me, and that he'd kick his ass if he harmed a hair on my head.

  And yup... just as Zane pointed out, he had not harmed me in anyway. Unless you counted the fact I was slightly sore from the numerous times we had sex last night.

  "So, what do we do now?" I ask Zane, tapping my index finger in the center of his chest. "Walk out all nonchalantly, or have you make a beeline for the front door?"

  Zane smirks and then wraps his arms around me, pulling me in so every bit of my body from my chest down is mashed up against his. I can feel his dick twitch against my leg.

  "I say you let me fuck you one more time before you leave," he murmurs, just before brushing his lips against mine. "Just one more time so I have something to remember you by."

  My insides melt, heat swells between my legs, and how could I ever deny him that request? Besides, I want something else to remember him by as well.

  Seeing as how this one-night stand is almost over, and we won't ever see each other again...

  Just as we knew it had to be.

  Chapter 2

  Zane

  Flopping down into my leather recliner, I reach to the side, pull the lever, and kick back, the footrest popping up. Leaning over the armrest, I grab the two basic necessities a man needs in times such as this.

  The remote control and my beer.

  Taking a quick swallow, I set the bottle back down and click on the television. Flipping idly through the channels, I search for something interesting to watch. Something to occupy my time. Because that's really all I have during the off-season.

  Our training camp for the upcoming hockey season won't start for another month, so I have a few more weeks left to be lazy. Some of my teammates hate the off-season, completely bored with the summer months.

  Not me though. I relish it.

  Don't get me wrong. I love my career, and playing professional hockey is the most important thing in my world.

  Next to chasing women, that is.

  But we have a grueling schedule nine months out of the year... upwards of ten if we make the playoffs... so I enjoy every minute of my time off in the summer.

  My mind wanders to Cady Dunne, and I know I sure as hell enjoyed last night with her. When Linc and Ever first introduced her, and I took her small hand in mine to shake, I felt a current of something potent pass between us. Sure... she was gorgeous, but in a very unconventional sort of way. Her hair was cut into a sleek bob of the purest black that came to rest just above her shoulders. The ends were tipped in an almost-platinum white--maybe even silver--color, and she sported a tiny diamond through her right nostril. She wore a pair of skinny, black jeans and a black, mesh-type shirt over a white tank top and finished the look off with a pair of black Converse.

  She was beautiful, but funky. Part beatnik, part punk rocker. The look worked for her, and her clear, blue eyes popped under the swirling strobe lights of the nightclub. As we talked, I was surprised to learn she was studying for her master's degree, so in addition to being uniquely gorgeous, she was smart as well.

  A killer combination in my book, and I decided that I was going to do whatever I could to get in her pants that night.

  Turns out... didn't take much, because Cady was as attracted to me as I was to her. We flirted, we drank, and we danced. We joked, we talked, and we flirted some more. She had no hesitation in staying out with me after Linc and Ever left, and I immediately pulled her out on the dance floor, holding her body intimately close.

  Just as I was contemplating how to best seduce her into bed, she stood on her tiptoes to place her lips near my ear. I bent slightly and had no problems hearing her when she murmured in that gorgeous, Irish accent, "So, how do you Yanks feel about one-night stands?"

  I jerked in surprise and pulled back so I could look in her eyes. They were seriously intent, warmed with desire. My lips pulled upward in a smile, and I told her, "I can't speak for all Yanks, but I'm firmly in support of the idea."

  And that's how it started.

  It ended with some seriously hot making out in a dark corner of the nightclub, followed by groping in the cab that we took back to Linc and Ever's house. It wasn't until the cab came to a stop that I was sure it was going to happen. But Cady tugged on my hand, and I followed her out of the cab, releasing her just long enough to pay the driver.

  When he pulled away, I turned to look at Cady... standing in the shadows near the mailbox at the end of the driveway. I couldn't see her eyes, as the porch light on Linc's house didn't extend down that far.

  Stepping up to her, I slipped my hand around the back of her head and fisted her hair. Leaning in, I asked, "So... we going to do this?"

  "Do what?" she asked innocently, and even though I couldn't see her eyes, I knew they were lit up with mischief by the tone of her voice.

  Gripping her hair more tightly, I pulled her in close and growled. "Are we going to go inside and fuck like animals all night?"

  Cady let out a soft gasp over my filthy words, even as she pressed her pelvis in toward me. My cock jumped in appreciation.

  "Yes," she whispered as her hands came up to press against my chest. I could feel the erratic thump of my heartbeat just underneath her palm. "We're going to do this."

  Her words came out in a breathy promise filled with desire and laced with lust, and my blood boiled in response. I leaned down and kissed her, groaning in approval when her tongue met mine.

  She was sweet and soft, pliable under my hands. I wanted her desperately... more than I can remember ever wanting a woman in recent history. I had just enough alcohol in me to make me bold, but not enough to make me stupid.

  Pulling back, I looked down at her seriously. "No regrets, right?"

  She blinked at me, and I could see the moonlight reflected in her blue orbs. "Regrets?"

  "About doing this... having a one-night stand," I confirmed.

  She blinked again. "Why would I have regrets?"

  I shrugged my shoulders. "We've both been drinking. You're leaving for Ireland tomorrow. And Cady... you just don't seem like the type of girl that does this."

  She didn't seem the type of girl to jump into bed with a near stranger because, despite her punk, emo look, I found her to be just a damn nice woman with a good head on her shoulders.

 
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