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Authors: Sawyer Bennett

Tags: #Romance, #Adult

Garrett (9 page)

BOOK: Garrett
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“Let’s go get that coffee,” I tell him.

“And I want sex details,” he reminds me. “Lots and lots of sex details. I need something to scrub that procedure from my mind.”

“Was it really that bad?”

“Oh, God, Olivia…you should have seen it. He was twisting that big-ass spike-looking thing back and forth to work it down into your bone. It was like he was tightening a screw or something. Grossed me out.”

“Yeah, well, I’m glad I wasn’t watching. It wasn’t too painful. Except when he sucked the marrow out. Fuck, that hurt.”

Stevie wraps me up in a warm hug, the little sequins on his vest digging in to my face as I rest against his shoulder. “My brave girl. So brave.”

I stay in Stevie’s embrace, letting him comfort me. Yeah…that didn’t hurt that much, but I’m all kinds of scared over what’s to come.


“He’s got a huge package, right? Tell me I’m right,” Stevie says as he blows across his caramel macchiato to cool it down.

“I’m not telling you any such thing,” I grumble as I sip at my iced coffee. “Those details are for me and me alone.”

“Aha,” Stevie exclaims and everyone in Starbucks turns to look at him. Leaning in toward me, he whispers, “There’s details, so that means you know exactly how big his package is, and I’m guessing you know exactly how he works that equipment.”

I snicker and my cheeks fire red, but I hold my tongue. Yes, those details about what happened last night are for only me. They will remain in my memory, and I’ll draw upon them when I want to erase the ugliness from my thoughts.

“I didn’t think it would happen,” I ponder out loud. “I mean…I hadn’t intended for it to, but I don’t know…I just—”

“Just wanted something that was good…exciting…something to take your mind off your troubles,” Stevie supplies knowingly. “And I say, good for you, girl. Are you going to see him again or was this a one-time-only thing?”

“We’re going out tonight again, but honestly…Garrett isn’t a long-haul kind of guy, and frankly, at this point, I’m not sure I’m a long-haul kind of girl.”

“Stop it,” Stevie hisses at me. “Don’t ever say that again. You and I are going to grow old together. I’m going to look fabulous when I’m eighty because I’ll have had plenty of plastic surgery and Botox, and I’m going to have a fabulous sequined quilt to lay over my bony legs. You’re going to be a beautiful silver fox, and we’re going to sit on the front porch and sip mimosas all day long.”

I smile at the imagery and at the confidence with which he boasts of such things. It’s a beautiful picture and I truly want that to occur. Although I had sort of thought when I got to be eighty I’d be surrounded by my children and their children, not by Stevie wrapped in a sequined quilt.

“Sounds like I might be out of work for a few days,” I tell Stevie thoughtfully. “At least tomorrow and the next day while I get my treatments, and then the day after that I’ll be a bit late since I have the PET scan. And even if I’m sick, we can just put a garbage can next to the design table for me to puke in.”

Stevie looks horrified over my joke. “No fucking way. I want you to take at least a week off. More if you need it. I got the store covered.”

“Stevie,” I say in warning, “I don’t want you to treat me like an invalid. I need to feel normal, and normal to me is working.”

“I can’t stand puke. It will make me sick,” he says adamantly.

“Then I promise to puke in the bathroom, but seriously, you heard Dr. Yoffman. He’ll give me medicine that will combat that, and he said it should only last a few days.”

“You can’t overdo it, though. You have to promise to listen to your body, and if it demands rest, you need to give it rest. Which means that Garrett’s going to have to lay off of you for a few days.”

Oh, God. I never even thought of that. I hadn’t planned on telling Garrett anything, because I had assumed that after tonight, I’d never see him again. In fact, I know tonight has to be the last night, because after that I am truly going to be out of sex commission due to my treatments.

Tonight is it for me. I’ll have one more night with Garrett, and I’m sure it will be a spectacular night, but then it’s time to part ways. He has more carousing to do, and I have cancer to fight.

Chapter 9
Garrett

I push open the door to Fleurish and saunter in. I’m not supposed to pick up Olivia until eight tonight at her apartment, but I just couldn’t fucking help myself. I wanted to see her before then.

Stevie is helping a customer…some big thug-looking dude with a hangdog look on his face. I’m guessing he’s in the market for some apology flowers.

Stevie’s head swivels my way and a bright and knowing smile pops on his face. “Hey, Garrett…she’s in the back.”

The guy next to Stevie spares me a quick glance, then does a double take as he recognizes me. “Holy shit…you’re Garrett Samuelson. My girlfriend and I are huge fans. We never miss a game.”

I walk up to him and stick my hand out. He shakes it with a shit-eating grin on his face.

“Hey, man. Nice to meet you,” I tell him. “Shopping for some flowers?”

The man’s smile slides from his face. “Yeah…fucked up with my girl and hoping these will make things right.”

“Well…I kind of like those white ones there with the little yellow centers,” I say, pointing at a vase within the cooler.

“Excellent choice,” Stevie exclaims, and reaches in to pull the flowers out. “Nothing says ‘I’m sorry’ like happy daisies.”

“Okay,” the guy says hesitantly. “Sure. That will work.”

“I know something that would be even better,” I say, an idea popping into my head. Turning my back on the two, I walk over to the checkout counter and immediately see what I need. Grabbing a piece of paper from the printer that sits on a lower shelf and a black Sharpie marker, I hastily scribble some words.

Walking back over to Stevie, I take the flowers out of his hands and hold them up near my face, then bring the piece of paper up to the other side. “An apology would be even better with a personal message, right?”

They both read what I wrote and start laughing. The guy whips out his camera phone and takes a few pictures of me. I put on my most apologetic, simpering look, and ham it up big for the camera.

“Dude…you are like the fucking coolest guy I’ve ever met,” the man says gratefully, and then he pulls up one of the pictures to show me. I look like a fucking dork, but his girl will get a kick out of this.

The sign next to my face says “He’s really sorry. Please forgive him.”

Handing the flowers over to the guy, I shove the piece of paper at Stevie. “My work here is done. Good luck, man.”

Turning away from them to head to the back room, I’m brought up short when I see Olivia standing there, leaning casually against the entryway to the design area and staring at me with a smirk on her face. She’s stunning, and I wonder if I’ll ever get used to that little skitter of pleasure that floods through me when I first see her. I’ve never felt that before, and while it’s an odd sensation, it’s most definitely a pleasant one.

She’s wearing nothing more than a pair of faded jeans, running shoes, and a T-shirt that bears the name
FLEURISH
on it, yet she’s far sexier in this very moment than any other woman I’ve been with before. Fuck…she even has her hair in those loose pigtail braids again, and I hope she keeps them in tonight. Gives me something to grab on to when I take her from behind…and that most certainly is on the agenda for tonight.

“You’re too much,” she says teasingly.

I give her the best innocent look I possess. “What? No idea what you’re talking about.”

Cutting her eyes over my shoulder, she gives a nod. “You just ensured not only his girlfriend is going to forgive his transgressions, but also that he’s most assuredly going to get laid tonight.”

I slowly walk up to her, and her eyes are warm as she watches me approach. I was afraid she might not be happy to see me, busting in on her place of business and all, but it appears I’ve managed to charm her with my actions.

Reaching out, I dig the tips of my fingers just half an inch into the front waistband of her jeans and give her a little jerk to pull her closer to me. Whispering to her, I say, “I’m wondering if I need to get you some flowers or something to make sure I get laid tonight.”

She looks up at me through heavy, dark lashes, her green eyes sparkling with mischief. “Um…no. Your track record speaks for itself. I think you’re golden tonight.”

“Excellent,” I murmur, then brush my lips against her temple. She emits a tiny shiver, but then pulls away from me.

“So, what are you doing here?” she asks genially as she turns her back to walk into the design area. See…that’s what I love about her. She doesn’t fall all over me, desperate for my attention. Not that I’d argue if she did fall all over me…but she knows she doesn’t need to. I like that bit of cocky attitude in her.

I follow Olivia, looking around with interest at the back room where she works. A large walk-in cooler in stainless steel sits on one wall, while another has floor-to-ceiling shelving that holds glass vases, clay pots, and an entire array of stuff that I have no clue what it is. Arrangement-making stuff, I guess. A large square table sits in the center of the room, and there is a massive basket of flowers sitting on it.

“I couldn’t wait until eight o’clock to see you. Just thought I’d hang out…if that’s okay with you and Stevie, that is.”

“Sure,” she says with a quick smile, then plops down on a stool in front of the basket of flowers. “You can keep me company while I work.”

I take the stool next to her and rest my forearms on the table. Olivia is silent for a while as she works, taking long-stemmed flowers of different colors and poking them into the basket. I stand up from the stool and lean over the top to watch what she’s doing.

“What’s holding the flowers in place?”

“Just some foam block that I’ve taped into the bottom,” she says. “It holds water to keep the flowers fresh.”

Sitting back on the stool, I continue to watch as she tucks flowers in all around, slowly building up the arrangement until it’s nearly bursting. “It’s beautiful. You’re really talented.”

“You’re sweet,” she says as she cuts her eyes over to me. I see pure happiness in her face, and I’m wondering if it’s because she’s glad that I’m here or she really loves what she’s doing. I’m guessing the latter, although she doesn’t seem put out that I showed up announced and totally invaded her work space.

“So…tonight,” I say casually. “I was thinking about having dinner at my house.”

Olivia keeps her eyes on her work, now picking up some long green leaves and tucking them in around the outer edges of the basket. “You can cook?”

“Um…no. But we can pick something up or order in.”

“Where do you live?” she asks curiously.

“In Raleigh.”

“Gosh…I’d hate to have you take me all the way there, then have to bring me back to Chapel Hill. Makes for a really late night.”

“Easy enough to solve…just stay the night with me.”

Olivia turns and cocks an eyebrow at me. “A sleepover, huh?”

I shrug nonchalantly. “Sure…why not? I slept over at your place last night, you stay at my place tonight. We’re even.”

Chuckling, Olivia stands from the stool and steps back from the table, giving a critical eye to the arrangement. “Tell you what…I’m liking this notion of a sleepover at your place, but how about I follow you there so you don’t have to bring me back in the morning?”

“Now, that wouldn’t be very gentlemanly of me if I were to let you drive to our date,” I tell her.

Snickering, Olivia turns and walks up to me. Laying a hand on my knee, she says, “Is that what you’re calling this? A date?”

Her words aren’t censuring, and I get that she’s even a little amused by this notion, but I don’t want her thinking that I take her for granted. “Yes, it’s a date. It’s where two people spend time together to get to know each other. In fact, I’ll swear right now I won’t even touch you. We can put on our PJs—or get totally naked, I don’t care which—and watch movies all night, if that’s what you want.”

Olivia’s eyes get a little guarded. “Where did Garrett Samuelson, the player who wants to put notches in his bedpost, go?”

“He’s still there,” I tell her sincerely. “I’m just figuring out that maybe he wants something more than a notch with you.”

The cynic in most would say,
How convenient. You’re taking a woman to your house. Kind of obvious what you have planned, dude.

And, yeah…I had planned on spending a lot of time tonight in my bed with her. But that’s not the only reason I’m bringing her to my house. My ulterior motives are not so selfish.

I invited Olivia to my house because I want to share a different part of me with her. I’ve never brought another woman that I’ve fucked over to my house. It’s private…all mine, and because my “relationships” are always so tenuous…absolutely fleeting…I never have wanted to share anything of myself before. Plus…don’t want some crazy stalker chick to know where I live.

But that’s not Olivia. While she was completely all in last night, giving me everything she had to give, and fucked me like no one else has, she wasn’t doing it because she wanted to get in good with me. She wasn’t trying to seduce me into a relationship, or find herself a hockey husband. She gave me all she had because she wanted me as much as I wanted her.

I also know that she’s not charmed by my success. She isn’t stuck on the fact I’m a professional athlete. She’s never once simpered over my star power or asked hesitant questions about my money. She seems oblivious to it all, and only wants to be with me…the person that is Garrett Samuelson. It’s nice…being desired for something other than my bank account or celebrity.

So, I figured I’m going to dive right in. I think Alex may be right…I think I might have it a little bad for Olivia. Not sure if it’s her slammin’ body, her smile, or her sweet southern accent. I can’t tell if it’s because she radiates this strange mix of happiness and sadness or if it’s just because she’s so uninhibited and passionate. Hell…maybe it’s just because I’m ready for something different and she’s the first option available to me.

“Okay…let’s compromise,” she says as she picks the basket of flowers up off the table. “Let’s have our ‘date’ at your house, but I’ll follow you over there because I have an appointment early tomorrow and I don’t want you to have to drive me back.”

“I don’t mind—” I try to assert, but she cuts me off.

“I’m driving…deal with it, buddy.”

Olivia disappears briefly into the cooler with the basket and emerges with another handful of loose flowers and greenery. She walks back up to the table and lays them in the middle.

I decide to try one last-ditch effort to let me drive her to my house. “I really think you should let me—”

Raising her hand, Olivia places her fingertips on my mouth. She strokes her thumb over my bottom lip and murmurs, “I’m driving, Garrett. No arguments.”

Her tone of voice says it will be futile to stay in this battle, so I just nod at her.

Leaning in, she removes her fingers and replaces them with a warm brush of her lips. “And, Garrett…I most certainly don’t want you to be gentlemanly with me tonight.”

I can’t help the groan that pops free and rumbles into her mouth. I bring my hand to the back of her head and pull her in deeper to the kiss.

Yeah…Alex is right. I have it bad for Olivia.


“Wow,” Olivia says, her eyes wide with interest as she steps out of her car to look at my house. “This is just…wow.”

“Impressed?” I ask with a grin, waggling my eyebrows at her as I shut the door to my own car. “Going to get me laid tonight?”

She snorts…so unladylike, yet damn…it makes me want to kiss her.

“More like flabbergasted,” she says with awe as she takes in my six-thousand-square-foot monstrosity of gray slate stone and rough-cut timbered siding. It sits on a heavily wooded acre-sized lot with river birch trees gracing both sides of the driveway.

I reach into the back passenger seat of her car and pull out the duffel bag that she had quickly packed when we drove over to her apartment. “Come on…I’ll give you the grand tour.”

Once we get inside, I drop her bag to the floor. “Welcome to my humble abode.”

“There’s nothing humble about this place,” she says, her chin tilted up to look at the two-story foyer and double wrought-iron staircase that leads up to the second floor. “What can one man possibly need with all this room?”

Chuckling, I take her hand and lead her back to the kitchen. “I don’t need all this room. It’s actually kind of a pain in the ass to take care of.”

“So why did you buy it?” she asks me.

“When you’re young and have more money than you know what to do with, you sort of buy things,” I tell her by way of sheepish explanation. “We didn’t have a lot growing up, so I guess I went a little crazy. Plus…I got a really great signing bonus with the Cold Fury.”

Olivia releases my hand and walks over to my Italian six-burner gas range with double oven. I think I’ve used it a grand total of three times in the last year, and that was to cook frozen pizzas. She runs her hand over the shiny silver surface like it’s a precious piece of art…which is cool, because, hey…it cost about the same. I lean back against the counter, placing my hands by my hips, and watch her. She fiddles with the knobs, lost in thought.

“Does it make you feel better…buying expensive things?” she asks softly as she turns to run her hand over the gray granite countertops.

“Not really,” I answer her truthfully. “Except my parents’ house. I paid that off for them. Tried to buy them a new one, actually, but they wouldn’t accept. And I’ve paid my brother and sister’s college loans off. That felt awesome.”

“So you’re not in the game just for the money?” she asks as she turns to walk toward me.

“No. The money’s nice, but I’d play for free. Hell…I’d pay to be able to play hockey.”

Olivia steps in close with a smile and rests her hands on my hips. I inhale deeply, smelling her light floral perfume and looking at the various colors that play through her long hair.

Reaching up, I tug on the end of one braid…so very happy she kept them in. “What do you feel like eating tonight?”

She presses in closer to me and rests her chin on my chest, looking up at me through fluttering lashes. “Would it be completely slutty if I said I felt like eating you tonight?”

BOOK: Garrett
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