Lucas, p.1
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       Lucas, p.1

         Part #8 of Cold Fury Hockey series by Sawyer Bennett
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  Lucas is a work of fiction. Names, 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.

  A Loveswept Ebook Original

  Copyright (c) 2017 by Sawyer Bennett Excerpt from Van by Sawyer Bennett copyright (c) 2017 by Sawyer Bennett All rights reserved.

  Published in the United States by Loveswept, an imprint of Random House, a division of Penguin Random House LLC, New York.

  LOVESWEPT is a registered trademark and the LOVESWEPT colophon is a trademark of Penguin Random House LLC.

  This book contains an excerpt from the forthcoming book Van by Sawyer Bennett. This excerpt has been set for this edition only and may not reflect the final content of the forthcoming edition.

  Ebook ISBN 9780425286593

  Cover design: Lynn Andreozzi

  Cover photograph: Gerber86/Getty Images





  Title Page


  Prologue: Lucas

  Chapter 1: Lucas

  Chapter 2: Stephanie

  Chapter 3: Lucas

  Chapter 4: Stephanie

  Chapter 5: Lucas

  Chapter 6: Stephanie

  Chapter 7: Lucas

  Chapter 8: Stephanie

  Chapter 9: Lucas

  Chapter 10: Stephanie

  Chapter 11: Lucas

  Chapter 12: Stephanie

  Chapter 13: Lucas

  Chapter 14: Stephanie

  Chapter 15: Lucas

  Chapter 16: Stephanie

  Chapter 17: Lucas

  Chapter 18: Stephanie

  Chapter 19: Lucas

  Chapter 20: Stephanie

  Chapter 21: Lucas

  Chapter 22: Stephanie

  Chapter 23: Lucas

  Chapter 24: Stephanie

  Chapter 25: Lucas

  Chapter 26: Stephanie

  Epilogue: Van

  By Sawyer Bennett

  About the Author

  Excerpt from Van



  This is not the first charity gala I've attended, but it is the first being held underneath a thirty-eight-foot Acrocanthosaurus fossilized skeleton on Valentine's Day. I have to say, the dinosaur makes this event so much better because of the location and the fact there's a large stuffed satin heart attached to the skeletal structure right around the area I believe the heart would have been.

  We're at the North Carolina Natural Sciences Museum. I'm here with my Carolina Cold Fury teammate Van Turner, my older brother, Max, and his fiancee, Jules. My crazy brother proposed to her in a magazine article, and she accepted just two days ago. Van is new to the Cold Fury, just as I am. We've been here less than two full weeks, both of us brought in to beef up the defense, as the Cold Fury is taking a very focused shot at a repeat Stanley Cup victory.

  I want to hoist that cup more than anything in the world, so the answer was a big "fuck yes" when my agent contacted me to see if I was interested. Actually, I think it was more like "fuckity fuck fuck yes," because Max was the starting goalie for the Cold Fury and we'd never played on the same team before once we went professional.

  I'm attending this black-tie gala tonight to help raise money for the museum. It's not a cause that's near and dear to me, but I'm here because Brian Brannon, the team's owner, gave Max four tickets, which cost two hundred dollars each. He couldn't come because his daughter, Lexi, was in a car accident three days ago and landed in the hospital.

  Let me qualify by saying his new daughter, Lexi. Gray Brannon, the league's only female general manager, announced it at a team meeting. Lexi is a long-lost daughter whom Brian purportedly didn't know about and she's recently shown up. More surprising is that she's dating Roman Sykora, because he and Gray Brannon don't get along.

  Gotta love the drama.

  That's not the only thing causing stress within our locker room. We've got the play-offs looming in just a few months, and right now we're at the top of our conference and want to keep that going in. But we have some key players injured, which is a major stressor, and because Van and I are new to the team we're trying to fit in to their system.

  Add that Gray's pregnant and due in a few months, and that makes for a moody GM. I wonder if something's in the water, because our team's captain, Alex Crossman, is expecting a baby as well in July with his wife, Sutton. Zack Grantham, our second-line left winger, and his wife, Kate, are expecting a baby in August. He's injured and riding pine, so he's extra cranky, but he's supposedly going to be good for the play-offs.

  I sip my champagne and glance at Max and Jules. "You're not pregnant, are you?"

  "I'd like to be married first," Jules says dryly. "And why would you ask that?"

  I shrug, tucking my free hand into my pocket. "Seems like everyone's getting pregnant lately. Gray, Sutton, Kate. It's like a virus."

  Max chuckles. "Well, when you settle down, little bro, you'll be thinking of babies at some point."

  There's no controlling my visible shudder. Not at the thought of babies, but at the thought of settling down. Did you know it's statistically impossible for a professional hockey player not to get laid if he feels like it? Why would I ever give that up?

  "Just make sure you practice safe sex," Van says with a wink. "Then you've got no worries. At least 99.9 percent of the time, if she's on the pill."

  Jules rolls her eyes and drains her champagne glass. "I'm going to walk around and check out some of this exhibit."

  Max slips his hand around her waist. "I'll come with."

  "Later," Van says as they saunter off, then he and I are standing shoulder to shoulder watching the crowd. There's a silent auction going on right now and people are circulating around the tables to put in their bids. The event is being sponsored by the Carolina Cold Fury and thus some members have to be here tonight to represent the team. I never mind dusting off my tux and rubbing elbows with people, because generally I'm a sociable guy, and who doesn't like doing something charitable?

  "How much longer do you think we have to stay?" I mutter out of the side of my mouth to Van while keeping a pleasant smile in place.

  "Half hour?" he asks back.

  "Done," I agree as my eyes move over the crowd.

  "I'm going to hit up the hors d'oeuvres," Van grumbles to me. "It's the only reason I came."

  He hates these things and bitched and moaned about it the entire time he was driving us here tonight. He's my temporary roommate for now and seems pretty chill, but he can be kind of an asshole at times.

  My eyes move from Van's retreating back to sweep the room, and that's when I see her.

  Going back to that statistical improbability about getting laid, I'll clarify that only holds true if the woman is single, as I don't mess with married ladies. I see no ring on her finger, which is the first place I look, then I take a moment to appreciate everything else I'm seeing.

  She's tall and lithe, walking gracefully my way, but she's not looking directly at me. She has long, curly fiery-red hair, and her ice-blue eyes are looking a bit distressed.

  I turn my head to look over my shoulder, but the only thing behind me is the Acrocanthosaurus. That dinosaur isn't going anywhere, so I look back to her. When she's three feet away, her gaze sweeps to me briefly and I get a polite smile.

  Then to my surprise she walks up to the exhibit, which sits raised on a tiled dais, and pulls up the skirt of her black evening gown. It's simple but form fitting with thin straps, exposing light freckles spread across her shoulders. They match the ones over her nose and forehead. I'm not normally a freckle dude, but her skin is like creamy porcelain and her facial
features are damn near perfect. She's the type of woman who doesn't need makeup. Her face alone is the beauty, the freckles only enhancing it.

  Yes, she pulls her skirt up to her knees, and without any hesitation steps up onto the tiled dais. She side-steps through some fake foliage that's added to give an idea of the terrain that this dinosaur once roamed and stops in front of the back left leg. With her brows furrowed, she squats with her legs primly angled to the side and reaches a hand out, rubbing her index finger along one of the bones.

  Very interesting.

  She's totally hot and so very interesting. I figure she's supposed to be fondling the dino bones, or she's a nut case and will be hauled out of here soon, but I'll enjoy the view until then.

  Before I can contemplate it further, though, she stands up and walks back through the foliage to the edge of the dais and looks directly at me. "Help a girl down?"

  I take the hand she's holding out to me as she pulls her dress up a bit in preparation to step off.

  "Absolutely," I say as I present my hand to her gallantly.

  Her resulting smile is actually a little flirty as she quips, "My hero."

  One seriously high and spiked heel comes down onto the industrial carpet that runs through the building, followed by the other, and as soon as she's stable, I contemplate letting her hand go. But as I said before, she's totally hot, most likely single, and very interesting indeed.

  "I'm Lucas Fournier. I'm here on behalf of the Cold Fury."

  Her hand squeezes mine as she inclines her head. "I actually know who you are, Mr. Fournier. I'm Stephanie Frazier."

  Still holding her fine-boned hand with the softest skin, I ask, "And you were molesting that dinosaur because...?"

  Stephanie's laugh is bold and infectious as she tips her head back, making her flame-colored curls spill farther down her back. When she looks back to me with sparkling eyes, she says, "I thought I saw a nick."

  My eyes cut over to the skeleton and back to her in confusion. "Nick?"

  "I'm the director of acquisitions," she says, still holding on to my hand. "Well, I've recently been promoted to the director position due to some unfortunate scandal the previous director was embroiled in. But, whatever...Part of my job is to make sure all our specimens are in good shape and perfect order at all times after they're put in place."

  Fascinating about her job, I guess, but more interested in something else. "What was the scandal?"

  She steps in closer to me, looks around the room quickly, and whispers as she brings her eyes back. "A sex scandal."

  I feign shock as I whisper back, "You're kidding."

  She shakes her head and smiles at me mischievously. "The rumor is he had a penchant for cross dressing as well as for sleeping with some of the other staff's wives."

  Okay, that is sort of scandalous now that I think about it. And hilarious she just told me that. "You don't think perhaps you shouldn't be telling one of the benefactors about this, um, sex scandal, do you?"

  Her cheeks turn pink, but she still looks sinfully playful as she smiles at me. "I suppose not...but I'm not really cut out for these types of events. Natural-born rebel and all."

  "Rebel?" I ask roguishly. "I'm liking the sound of this."

  "Well, I really shouldn't have told you about the sex scandal," she admits with a chagrined look as she removes her hand from mine. "You won't repeat that, will you?"

  "How about you tell me something scientific so I can legitimately say that's what we talked about tonight if anyone asks."

  "Hmmmm," she says as she looks up briefly, then her eyes go from playful to serious when they return. "Did you know that North Carolina is the only state where all four major gemstones--and that would be emeralds, rubies, sapphires, and diamonds--have been discovered?"

  "I absolutely did not know that," I say seriously, then I turn it playful again, because honestly, that's where the most fun is. "Would you like to get out of here and go get a drink together?"

  Stephanie blinks once in surprise, and then she appraises me. Her eyes are fucking gorgeous, a light blue that looks like that sheen of blue you see deep inside of Arctic icebergs, and yet it doesn't make her look icy. In fact, her eyes actually have a sizzling quality to them or maybe it's just the hair the color of molten lava spilling all around that gives a warm effect.

  "A drink?" she asks, not really to clarify, but more of a contemplation for herself to see if it's something that would interest her.

  "Sure," I say with an easygoing shrug. "There's a lot of great bars downtown."

  "Okay," she says gamely. "A drink. Meaning one. I have to be at work super early tomorrow to make sure all of this party stuff is gone and this exhibit is show quality for when the doors open."

  "I have an early practice," I tell her nonchalantly. "So I have to be in top shape tomorrow as well."

  "Then let me make some goodbyes and get my purse. Give me fifteen minutes."

  I watch her ass the entire time she walks away, knowing that even though she said one drink, this night isn't going to be over early. Like I said...near statistical impossibility for me not to get laid.

  When she's out of sight, I pull out my phone and shoot a text to Max, Jules, and Van in case I don't see them before Stephanie gets back.


  The elevator doors close and then I'm on her. Stephanie said she lives on the fourth floor, but I can't wait that long. She's got me so thoroughly inflamed I consider hitting the STOP button.

  My mouth crashes down on hers and she groans lustily.

  You see, one drink turned into two. Then three. Then four. And then...well, we hit another bar.

  Steph in her evening gown and me in my tux.

  Having fun and getting hammered.

  Small talk turning to flirting.

  Innuendo turning into action.

  She made the first move and I tried not to smirk when she stepped up to me and murmured, "Want go to my place? It's just a few blocks from here."

  My dick answered for me. Fuck yeah, I wanted to go to her apartment.

  I plunge my hand into her long curls and fist her hair near the nape of her neck. I give it a short tug, then her head tilts back and her throat is exposed to me. I run my lips down her velvety skin to her collarbone as I press her body back into the wall of the elevator. My pelvis grinds into hers and she moans again as she feels exactly how badly I want her.

  Lifting my head, I look at her eyes hazy with alcohol and lust. "How drunk are you?"

  She grins at me. "Drunk enough that I don't have a single inhibition left, and I hope to God you've got a condom on you, because I'm pretty sure we're not going to make it past my front door, but sober enough that I know this is just a hookup."

  I blink at her in surprise, my dick turning harder. I've never had a woman tell me she knows it's just a hookup. Most see a professional athlete as a prize catch and are calculating the next day. Many see someone like me and are already envisioning marriage.

  But not Steph, which is what she said all her friends call her. She's a confident woman, bold and ambitious. She's also a twenty-first-century woman, and I can tell she's in touch with her sexuality. This is going to be fucking awesome, not having any feelings to worry about bruising.

  The elevator chimes and comes to a stop. As soon as the doors open, Steph takes my hand and pulls me out. She practically jogs down three doors in her sexy high heels, and then she's releasing me to fumble in her purse for keys.

  "This your place?" I ask as I step up to her, taking her hips in my hands and pressing into her backside.

  She hums her approval and grinds back against me. "Yup."

  With keys in hand, Steph efficiently opens the door, telling me she's definitely not stinking drunk. She's also a fantastic kisser, which is another telltale sign, because drunks kiss all sloppy and wet. That kiss in the elevator was focused, passionate, and hot as fucking hell.

  When she pushes her door open, I start moving her gently inside. She laughs, and as soon
as I close the door, she spins around and throws herself at me. I catch her easily, and because there is no seducing necessary, I drag her gown up until it's around her hips as her hands pull at my tuxedo jacket to rip it off. When the coat hits the floor, I pick her up and turn her toward the apartment door, walking her right into it until her back thuds against the wood. Her long legs wrap tight around me and her core comes to rest on my erection. She undulates her hips and I can feel the heat of her through her panties and my pants.

  Fucking Christ, she's hot. This is all so fast and unrehearsed, and nothing but pure lust guides us.

  My mouth is on hers again, and we kiss like we are both starved. Like we haven't had sex in decades--although for me it was four days ago with someone random I'd hooked up with. But damn...her mouth. The way she naturally fits in my arms. Hell...she's got me whipped just from the way she gyrates against me, and I need to be inside of her right fucking now.

  Ripping my mouth from hers, I mutter, "Let me get the condom."

  She makes a groaning sound of disappointment but lets me lower her to the floor so I can grab my wallet. She watches with anticipation, her chest rising and falling. I toss my wallet to the floor when I have the condom in hand, and she starts working at my pants.

  My head spins when she frees my cock, grasping it tightly and giving it a few long strokes. I work at the foil, but I keep fumbling it because what she's doing feels so good.

  She urges me, "Hurry."

  So I put my mind to the task and rip open the packet. Her hand moves faster on me as I pull the condom from the wrapper.

  "Roll it on," I order her gruffly.

  She looks at me with glazed eyes filled with need, then she takes the rubber from me. I grit my teeth as she rolls it on me and takes a moment to fondle my balls. Fuck, I love it when a woman does that.

  One last barrier and we are ready for action.

  I push Steph's hands away and go for her panties. The material of her gown bunched around her hips doesn't give me a good look at them, but they're black and look flimsy. With one hand to her hip, I stare into her eyes as I slip the other down the front of her underwear. My finger immediately feels moisture between her lips, so I gather it up and roll the tip over her clit. Steph bucks against my hand and my finger easily slips inside. She bucks even harder.

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