All his life Jochen has had one dream and one dream only—to become a professional hockey player. Now after years of hard work, he’s close to his goal. Well…maybe a better term would be
since he’s playing for a minor league team and is barely making a livable wage. Still, he’s not complaining since he feels like it will only be a matter of time before he’s called up to the NHL. He just needs to make sure that he doesn’t allow any distractions to get into his way.
Then a huge distraction plows into his life when Jochen volunteers to help at a summer youth clinic. There he meets Rebel, a very sexy, cute and tempting goalie. The problem is both of them are deep in the closet. They both fear that coming out could hurt their careers. Besides, all they’re doing is having a little fun on the side and they don’t feel like it’s anybody’s business. Then just as they least expect it, their secret comes out in the most explosive way possible, forcing Jochen to admit just how much Rebel means to him. Will their love be able to survive the fallout, or will they lose everything they ever wanted?
“Have they ever hurt you?”
Rebel shrugged. “Just some of your everyday locker room hazing. No biggie.”
Going by the tense way Rebel held himself, it actually was a really big deal. A wave of protectiveness rushed over Jochen and he felt the sudden urge to punch out the entire Cougar roster. Minus Rebel, of course.
“There’s a difference between harassment and some fun ribbing,” Jochen pointed out.
Rebel let out a sigh. “It’s not that bad. Certainly not anything even close to what they used to do to Sergei.”
“What they did to him was criminal, so I would hardly consider that the bar you should use for comparison.”
For a second he thought Rebel would argue that one, in the end the goalie set down his drink and rocked on his feet for a few moments before continuing on in a calm tone.
“I knew before I even went there it would be hard. I’m small, blond and shy. All of the things guys like that hate. My own brothers used to tease me about the way I am.”
“Let me guess, you were the youngest?”
“Yeah, I have three older brothers. While they’re usually pretty overprotective of me, at times they could be jerks, too.”
“But nothing like the Cougars.” It came out as a statement rather than a question, because Jochen felt pretty certain that Rebel’s brothers could never be that cruel. Or at least he hoped not. He couldn’t imagine having to grow up in an environment that hostile.
“No, my brothers could never be like that. In fact, if they knew how the Cougars were treating me, they’d…” Rebel bit his bottom lip and gave a slight shake of his head.
“They’d be pissed and want to do something about it?” Jochen finished for him.
Rebel didn’t reply. He just averted his gaze as he continued to gnaw on his bottom lip. He worked the piece of flesh so hard, Jochen worried he’d make the thing bleed. Even though he knew it wasn’t the wisest thing to do, Jochen reached out and gently used his thumb to nudge Rebel’s chin down.
It worked. Rebel parted his mouth, his lower lip springing free. Jochen’s breath caught as he found himself mesmerized by the temptation so close to him. All he’d have to do is lower his head a few inches and he could find out if Rebel tasted as good as he looked.
The craziest part of the whole thing was that Rebel didn’t appear to have any intentions of pulling back. If anything, he seemed to be swaying in a bit. As if he wanted the contact just as badly as Jochen did.
“Yeah, they wouldn’t want me to go through all that,” Rebel whispered.
Jochen frowned in confusion. The past few moments of lust having made his brain mush.
“My brothers. They wouldn’t want me miserable.”
It wasn’t lost on Jochen that he hadn’t moved his fingers. They were still cupping Rebel’s chin. It felt damn good, too. The heat of the man’s flesh called to Jochen, almost as if begging for him to slowly explore every decadent inch of Rebel’s body.
The one sane brain cell left in his head screamed at Jochen to pull away, that this was no way to guard his secret and that if he didn’t knock it off, Rebel would probably get pissed. Hell, the guy could strike out at any moment.
Yet, Rebel did none of those things. No, he did the last thing Jochen was prepared for. With a soft groan, Rebel ran his tongue over his lips. As if he was preparing them for some really good action.