Home > Killian (On the Line #1)

Killian (On the Line #1)
Author: Brenda Rothert

 

Killian

I ducked, but I was too late. The puck had been fired directly at my head, bouncing off the front of my facemask. I slipped but regained my footing, digging my skate blades into the ice.

“Who the fuck did that?” I demanded, casting a furious gaze at my teammates for the Fenway Flyers. No one said a word, but I saw two of the guys glance quickly at the third man in their line. Anderson. His ass was mine.

“Fuckin’ big shot, are you?” I skated toward him as he tried to flee, but he wasn’t fast enough. I jumped him, knocking him to the ice and making sure he felt every one of my two hundred pounds of pissed off fury.

I was on top of him in a nanosecond and landed my first blow to his gut. He grunted.

The shrill sound of the coach’s whistle made us both stop.

“Get up, ladies!” our coach Orion Caldwell yelled. “Work it out later.”

I got up, pushing off of Anderson’s chest. He gave me a murderous glare, and then silently pulled himself to his feet.

“Everybody on the line,” Orion shouted.

There was a collective groan. Bag skate. We’d lost 5–1 in our game last night, which meant today we were facing a grueling practice. It would start with suicides—rigorous skating back and forth between the rink lines. It was something our old coach wouldn’t have dreamed of making us do. I actually hadn’t done them since my college days.

The three-man lines skated to and from the blue lines on the rink, most of the guys panting and swearing under their breath within a few minutes.

“My fuckin’ thighs are on fire,” my winger Liam said. “We’re paying the price for the dead weight once again.”

“Enough of this shit,” muttered Bennett, my other winger.

I was still too busy thinking about the ass beating I owed Anderson. If the bastard was lucky, this bag skate would probably work out some of the fire in me.

Our punishment ended ten minutes later and, with a self-satisfied smirk on his face, the coach moved us on to running plays. Believe it or not, we couldn’t do that right either. We were worse than we’d been in the game last night, which seemed impossible.

The puck got away from one of the guys twice in rapid succession, and Orion was silent for a few seconds. He was a former NHL player who had only been coaching us for a couple of weeks, but I knew what that quiet meant. An explosion was on the way.

“Boys, if you can’t get this shit done in practice, think about what we’re gonna look like in our next game. I think I need to take some of you over to the fucking peewee practice so you can learn how to move the goddamned puck.” He was looking each of us in the eye and there was no doubt what he thought of us. “OK, again, and this time move it.”

I was getting to know that pissed off glare very well. Two weeks ago he had started off mild-mannered and cool, but after seeing this fucked up team in action his fuse had shortened fast.

Our line wasn’t the problem. Me and Bennett and Liam were the first line, and we knew our shit and worked in tandem. But one line couldn’t hold up an entire team. The other lines were the problem, and everyone knew it. They never failed to blow our lead.

When it was our turn to execute the practice play, I charged down the ice and didn’t even have to look at Liam to know he had the puck I’d passed him. Bennett finished the play by sliding the puck into the net and then we all got back in line. Orion said nothing because we’d done the play perfectly.

However, things weren’t going well for Steve Grayson and his line. He just missed his pass.

“Grayson, you live to fuck with me, don’t you?” Orion yelled. “Everyone get over here so I can go over this play again.”

We all skated over and surrounded Orion, watching as he sketched on his dry erase board. I stood at the back, zoning out. I knew this fucking play as well as I knew all the others, and this was boring as shit. My mind wandered to the brunette bartender who worked at the bar I hung out at. She was much more interesting. Stacy was petite and had nice big tits. She’d slid down the waistband of her pants last night to show me her new tattoo—some kind of flower design right above her bikini line.

She’d asked me if I’d stay until close tonight, which meant she wanted to come home with me after her shift was over. Fuck, yes I would stay until close. Nothing excited me like fucking a woman for the first time. Only a handful ever made it to a second time though.

My mind was jerked back to the present when I became aware that the coach had moved on from his teaching lesson. “The new owner’s upstairs watching practice,” Orion announced, giving us the evil eye. We all looked up in the direction of the owner’s box, but I couldn’t see anyone standing inside.

Orion turned to Bruce, the Flyers assistant coach, and spoke in a voice loud enough that no one could miss what he was saying, “Bruce, did we not have a meeting with the new owner before practice this morning?”

Bruce nodded his agreement.

“Tell me if I remember this right, Bruce.” Orion continued. “Did she tell us this team will be undergoing some major changes? That we’ll be making cuts and bringing in new talent?”

“That’s right, Coach,” Bruce said in an even tone.

Sighs and shuffling from around me indicated nervousness. I had nothing to worry about. I was the captain of the team and probably the best player here, though Bennett was a very close second. But the idea of cutting the dead weight got my attention. I was as disgusted as Orion with the record of our team. It was fucking embarrassing. He’d been brought in by the new ownership to turn things around and it sounded like that was about to happen.

“I’ve been here two weeks,” he said. “I’ve given all of you a chance to show me you want to be on this team. Starting today, there’ll be one-on-one meetings between some of you and the new owner. Later, Bruce and I will talk to each of you individually to let you know who’s staying and who’s going. Now back to the fucking play, boys.”

As we turned to get back in line, Orion called Liam’s name. “You’re up first with the owner,” he said. “You know where her office is?”

My head swiveled to look at Orion. Her? The new owner was a woman? Fucking hell. A woman wouldn’t be able to make the tough decisions this team needed to recover from its place at the bottom of the league.

And what about Liam? He was a quiet, solid player on the first line. What the hell did the new ownership want with him? I wanted to go with him to that meeting, but that was never going to happen.

Liam skated over to the bench and I glanced back up at the owner’s box, glowering. Anybody who fucked with Liam was also fucking with me. I had nothing to lose, and a man with nothing to lose was never someone you wanted to fuck with. Especially not by some woman who thought she could overhaul this team and turn things around. Others had tried and failed. She would be no different.

 

Sidney

I stood in the owner’s box, watching the practice, my arms folded and my face impassive. These players were enough to make a girl want to throw up her arms in disgust. When they missed their mark, they either looked like they didn’t give a damn, or they cracked their sticks against the ice like little boys having a temper tantrum.

“Looks like I bought the proverbial Bad News Bears, Keri,” I said, turning to the woman standing next to me. “It’s going from bad to worse.”

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