One More Shot


By Victoria Denault

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They say you only get one shot at making your dreams come true.

Jordan is determined to take two.

Drafted by the NHL at eighteen, Jordan Garrison was headed for fame, and there was only one person he wanted to share it with-Jessie Caplan. He was crazy in love with her, and had finally told her so. They shared an amazing night . . . and then everything fell apart.

Jessie tries not to think about the night she gave herself to Jordan-or how he broke her heart. She tries not to think about it, but she does. Especially now, when she’s staring into his sky-blue eyes for the first time in six years. After so much time and torment, she can’t tell if she loves him or hates him. But Jordan has learned enough to know a connection like theirs is rare. He was lucky to find Jessie once. No way will he lose her again.




You’re drunk. Again. I told you I’m not talking to you when you’re drunk. Not about this.”

She doesn’t even look at me. She keeps her eyes on the tabletop she’s wiping down with much more vigor than necessary. I sigh and run a hand through my hair. “Callie, I’ve had few beers. I’m not drunk.”

“Five. You’ve had five beers. I know because I served them.”

“Not drunk,” I repeat, even though…Yeah, I may be a little drunk.

She looks up, but not at me. She looks at the group I walked into O’Malley’s with—Luc, my ex-girlfriend Hannah, one of her friends and two girls Luc and I met at the lake today. “Really? If you’re not drunk, then you’re just plain stupid to come in here with your girlfriend and ask me for my sister’s phone number.”

“Okay, now you’re the one who must be drunk,” I bark back. “Hannah and I haven’t been together since last year.”

“Then why are you always with her?”

“She’s dating one of the guys on the Royales now so she’s decided we should be friends.” I roll my eyes and then lean forward and put my hand over hers so she stops the incessant table scrubbing. “Callie, please. Just give me her new number.”

She pulls her hand away and straightens up, pushing her shoulders back and stepping around the table to stand toe-to-toe with me. She’s maybe half an inch taller than Jessie, with the same petite build, but Callie has this way of carrying herself when she’s pissed off that makes her seem more intimidating than an MFA wrestler.


She turns on her heel and storms off. I follow her because I can’t let this go. I haven’t been able to let it go since I got back to Silver Bay last month. And Callie’s right—when I’m sober I can convince myself I’m okay with the way things are. I use the anger in my heart to justify the choices I’ve made. It worked without a hiccup while I was living in Quebec, playing in my first NHL season. But since I’ve been back in Silver Bay for the summer, it’s been harder. I don’t know if it’s because there are so many memories here or because I see her sisters around town or what. But lately, after a few drinks…the anger starts to feel like longing. Longing for her.

Callie walks over to the servers’ station in the corner and starts to tap an order into the screen. I walk over and cover it with my hand. She swats it away and swears under her breath.

“Do it again and I will punch you.” I know that’s not an idle threat.

“If you don’t give me her number, I’ll tell the police to raid this place and you’ll get caught working here underage. Poor old Billy will get fined and you might even go to jail.”

She looks up and levels me with an icy stare. “You’re here underage too, jackass. And the NHL would just love for you to get busted for underage drinking.”

Fuck. She’s right. So much for that plan. I go back to my original idea—begging.

“Please. I just want to know how she’s doing,” When once again my pleas are met with a cold, impassive stare, I grab a pen off the servers’ station and grab Callie’s hand. She tries to pull away but my grip is firm. I flip her hand over and scrawl my number neatly on the skin of her wrist. “If you won’t give me her number, then please just give her mine. Because maybe she wants to know how I’m doing too.”

“She knows exactly how you’re doing.” Callie tugs her wrist out of my hand. “She’s got the Internet in Arizona, you know.”

“What the fuck does that mean?”

“There are hockey websites that report more than just stats,” she explains bitterly.

I feel defensive suddenly—and embarrassed. “She left me, Callie. What was I supposed to do?”

“Not fuck half of Canada,” she snaps.

“You? You’re going to judge my sexual history? Really?”

A flicker of pain ripples over her face, replacing the anger for just a moment and I feel like a sack of shit. Did I really just imply Callie’s a slut? What the fuck is wrong with me? “Callie. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it that way. I just—”

“She’s seeing someone else.”

“She’s what?” The music is pretty loud in here. And there are a ton of people chattering all around us. I must have misunderstood what Callie just said because it sounded like she said…

“Jessie is seeing someone,” Callie repeats slowly and clearly.

Callie turns and marches back to the tables she’s serving. I stand there for what feels like forever, just staring after her. My chest starts to feel tight, like my rib cage has shrunk, and my limbs feel cold, like my blood has stopped circulating. Jessie is seeing someone. Not casually dating again, not hooking up, not thinking about me. She’s seeing someone else. She doesn’t give a fuck if I’m thinking about her or missing her or regretting anything. She’s gone. It’s over.


“Hey!” Luc wanders over, one arm over each of the girls from the lake. “Emily and Lisa want to show us the hot tub at their place.”

I walk over numbly and join them. “I don’t have my suit.”

“Then I guess you’ll have to go without one.” The sultry brunette smiles at me and winks. “Don’t worry. I won’t wear one either so you’ll feel more comfortable.”

Her hand loops around my back. “I like the way you think, Lori.”

“It’s Lisa,” she corrects, like it matters.

“Sorry, honey. I’ll make it up to you,” I reply suggestively as we all head toward the exit. I catch Callie staring at me as I go and I turn away. Fuck her and fuck her sister. I’m done with giving a shit.

Chapter 1


Despite my better judgment, my eyes flutter open. I’m not at home. I think I knew that before I opened my eyes, but I’m not sure exactly where I am. I’m…on a bed. A big bed. Probably a king. But not my king. I would have nicer sheets.

I squint against the light, not that there is much of it, but it’s still more than I would like to have hit my pupils after what feels like only fifteen minutes’ sleep. There’s a desk in the corner and a flat screen on the wall and dark blue and white striped curtains. There is also a naked woman lying facedown beside me.

I shift onto my side, ignoring the mild throbbing in my foot and, as the sheets turn and twist around me, I realize that I’m naked too. I look down at her. All I can see is pale skin—like never-been-on-a-beach pale—and dyed blond hair. I’m thinking it’s enough to take care of my morning wood.

I run a hand down her bare back, over her ass and down the back of her thigh. She stretches and makes a little moaning sound as my hand makes it to the back of her knee.

“Round three?” she giggles into the pillow.

Three? I guess I was a busy boy last night. A drunk, busy boy. She rolls toward me.

“Such big blue eyes…” She leans closer and kisses me, her hands wandering under the sheets. “Such big everything.”

The night is slowly coming back to me. We won a home game. I sat and watched from the team box high above the ice, ridiculously frustrated. Afterward, I joined my teammates at a bar to celebrate. I wanted to drink away my frustration at not being able to play thanks to my stupid ankle.

Hours later, my teammate Alexandre invited a bunch of people back to his place. That’s when I had decided to screw my frustration away with one of the girls who tagged along because obviously drinking alone wasn’t going to improve my mood. It never does but I’ve yet to stop trying. Fucking random girls has never helped my problems either, but I keep doing it. I’ve never been one to learn from my mistakes, at least not quickly.

Her name was…Jenny? Julie? Jackie? It began with a fucking J, I know that because I avoid girls whose names begin with J. Normally that’s a deal breaker for me, especially when I’m drunk. But desperate times called for desperate measures, and I was so over being injured and unable to play hockey—the only thing I’ve ever done for a living—that I was desperate for a distraction. This J girl was it.

“You’re a freaking animal,” she coos, her hand moving from my ass to my hard-on. “I had no idea hockey players had so much stamina.”

I just grunt, gently turn her toward the mattress and move myself over her back. I nudge her legs open, kneel between them and then pull her backward by her hips so she’s on all fours.

I grab a condom off the bedside table where there is a pile of them in a bowl. I realize I’m still at Alexandre’s apartment because he’s the only one ballsy enough to leave condoms around his house in candy dishes.

I tear the condom wrapper with my teeth and start to put it on when my cell phone starts ringing. My head begins to pound in rhythm with the shrill ring. Great. I stop what I’m doing and extract it from the back pocket of my jeans, which for some unknown reason are draped over the lamp beside the bed.

I see my parents’ number on the call display and roll my eyes as my dick deflates.

“I have to take this,” I tell Julie-Jenny-Jackie.

She groans in dismay and I ignore her.

“Hi, Mom. It’s a little early to call,” I say into the phone as I yawn.

“Jordan, it’s one in the afternoon,” she lets me know tersely.

I blink. Shit. “Sorry, it was a late night.”

“Should you be having late nights when you’re still injured?” she asks pointedly.

I try not to be annoyed and remind myself she’s just doing her job. Moms are supposed to ride their sons’ asses.

“We won and went out to celebrate,” I defend myself. “It’s fine. I’m fine. The ankle is getting better every day.”

“Okay, then…” I can still hear the judgment in her voice, but we both ignore it.

“When do you leave for New York?” I ask, changing the subject. My parents were supposed to be going to Brooklyn this weekend to visit my older brother, Devin, his wife, Ashleigh, and their two-year-old son, Conner.

The girl beside me gets out of bed and gathers her clothes. “I have to go. Work,” she whispers, and disappears into the bathroom.

“Well, we were supposed to go tomorrow but we had to push back our flight to Monday. Honey…” She pauses and there’s something in her tone that makes my stomach clench uncomfortably. “Lily Caplan died.”

I feel a wave of relief to hear that my parents aren’t sick, but as the news settles in it instantly feels like a bomb has exploded in my chest. My heart skips a beat and my mouth goes dry. “Mrs. Caplan?”

The name conjures up images in my head of three beautiful, spirited but sad teenage girls, not the silver-haired shrew of a woman it belongs to.

“Yes. I guess it happened a couple days ago. I just found out this morning,” she says, and her tone is soothing. I know she knows this news makes me feel off-balance—like a hormonal, impetuous teenager, because that’s what I was the last time the Caplans were in my life. She also knows that because of my turbulent past with one Caplan in particular, this news hits me harder than the rest of my family. “It was sudden but not completely unexpected. She had those heart problems.”

“I know…” I swallow and ignore the dyed blonde with the J name as she leans in and kisses my cheek before heading for the bedroom door.

“Call me,” she whispers a little too loudly. I nod quickly at the blonde and she frowns as she leaves the room.

“Are they back?” I bark out the question gruffly because I don’t want to be asking it. I don’t want to care. I don’t want to know…only I do want to know. Badly.

“Rose arrived last night. Callie got here this morning,” my mother volunteers easily. “Jessie is supposed to be arriving this afternoon.”

She’s back. She said she would never go home again. Everyone swore she was gone forever. But Jessie is back. The vault in the recesses of my brain, the one where I crammed all the memories of her, suddenly bursts open, and my breath catches in my throat and I cough.

“The funeral is Saturday. We’re going, of course, but I thought it would be nice if you could come as well,” my mom goes on. “You boys were all so close to them, and Devin and Luc can’t make it because they’re playing. But since you’re not playing right now…”

“Isn’t Cole going to go?” I ask quickly, almost nervously. I fucking hate that I feel this out of sorts all of a sudden.

“Yes, but Cole wasn’t best friends with her,” she says simply. My mom has never been one to get too involved in our romantic lives. She doesn’t want to be that kind of overbearing woman. But clearly she feels strongly about this. “You should be here, Jordan.”

“I’ll see what I can do,” I mutter. “Thanks for telling me, Mom.”

“Do you want me to say anything to…them? From you specifically?” she asks quietly in a voice full of unspoken words.

“No.” My mother sighs her discontent so I clear my throat, roll my eyes and add, “Fine. Tell them I’m thinking of them and everything.”

“I will. I love you, Jordy,” she says in a voice that clearly says she approves of my message.

“Love you too,” I say, and hang up.

As I throw on my underwear, slide my injured foot into my aircast and dig around the room for the rest of my clothes, Alexandre appears in the doorway. He’s in nothing but Seattle Winterhawks track pants and he’s holding two coffee mugs. His dark blue eyes are twinkling and his dark brown hair is askew.

“You sure know how to make a girl scream,” he says with his heavy French Canadian accent and a wry smile. He hands me one of the mugs. “I’m surprised you didn’t set off car alarms last night.”

I smile, but it’s short-lived, and take a sip of the coffee before putting it down to pull my shirt over my head. “I have to go to the rink. I need to talk to Coach.”

“Why? Did she rebreak your ankle or break some new part of your body?” He laughs.

I make a face at his crappy joke and shake my head. “A friend of the family died.”

“Je suis désolé, mon ami,” he offers condolences in his native French.

“Yeah,” I reply because I don’t have time to explain to Alex that after the way Lily Caplan treated her grandkids, she wasn’t exactly my favorite person.

I grab the mug again and take a few more sips as I walk out into Alex’s main living area, which has floor-to-ceiling, south-facing windows and reclaimed barn board floors. A sultry-looking brunette in nothing but Alex’s plaid dress shirt from last night stands behind the kitchen island cooking eggs on the stovetop.

“Hey.” I give her an awkward wave.

“Jackie says to tell you to stop by Hooters any time and she’ll get you free wings,” the brunette tells me.

“Tell Jackie thanks,” I say, and try not to roll my eyes. Even after all these years as a NHL player, I’m still always shocked when the same girls who throw themselves at you the first night they meet you just because you’re a professional athlete expect a shot at girlfriend status. Of course, in their defense, I’m not turning them down.

“Why do you need to talk to Coach?” Alex wants to know.

“I need to go back home,” I explain, and try to tame my wild bedhead with my hands. “For the funeral. Just a couple of days.”

Alex shrugs and then gives me a hug. “Okay. Take care, eh?”

I nod and smile. “Thanks for the guest room.”

“Sure.” Alex smirks. “But next time remind me to buy earplugs for my neighbors.”

Outside I’m greeted with a crisp, sunny fall afternoon. It’s not raining, which in Seattle is always a plus. When I was traded to the Seattle Winterhawks last season, I wasn’t all that thrilled about living so far from home. At least when I played in Quebec City, it was only an eight-hour drive from my hometown in Maine. But Seattle is fun, my team has been great and the fans here are a small but passionate bunch. I’m happy now professionally. At least I was until I broke my left ankle. Hockey is the only thing I’ve ever wanted to do with my life. It’s the only thing I’ve ever been great at and the one thing I have never screwed up. This is the first injury in my professional career. It’s a big one, and I couldn’t be handling it worse if I tried.

As I drive to the rink I call my brother, Devin.

“Hey, Jordan,” he says easily, answering on the second ring. “What’s up?”

“Lily Caplan died.”

“I know.” Devin sounds stunned for a minute. “Mom told Ashleigh.”

“She wants me to go home for the funeral,” I respond as I pull my SUV off the I-5 and down the familiar downtown Seattle streets to the hockey arena.

“Makes sense,” he says.

“How does it make sense?” I demand. I was calling him for support—so he could help me brainstorm excuses for not showing up. “Mrs. Caplan hated me. She hated all of us. She thought we were—and I quote—‘derelict hockey punks.’”

“She’s dead,” Devin reminds me snarkily as I slow at a stop sign and lean my head against the leather headrest. “This isn’t about her. It’s about supporting your best friend.”

“Ex–best friend,” I retort. “We haven’t talked in years.”

“And whose fault is that?” Devin mutters almost under his breath—almost inaudibly—but I hear it and it pisses me off.

“She left town, remember? Why does everyone blame that on me?”

I wave my players’ pass at the security guard at the gate to player parking. He’s obviously a little surprised to see me on a day off, but he raises the gate without question. “I should be concentrating on getting my leg healed. My family should be supporting that.”

“Oh, I’m sorry,” Devin counters, and the sarcasm rings loud and clear through the Bluetooth. “Is your leg going to stop healing just because it’s in Maine instead of Seattle?”

“Go fuck yourself.”

“Love you too, bro.” He laughs, enjoying this way too much if you ask me. But when the laughter dies he grows serious. “Look, Jordy. I would be there if I could and so would Luc. The Caplan girls are family. We’ve all given you and Jessie enough time to figure out how to be grown-ups, yet you can’t seem to do it. So I’m telling you be a grown-up and go and support her.”

“Fine. I’ll go if the coach lets me.”

“He’ll let you.”

“Shut up.”

“Shutting up,” Devin promises, and then the line goes dead. I sigh loudly, get out of the car and slam the door. Hopefully Devin is wrong and Coach Sweetzer has some reason he needs me here. Because as painful and frustrating as it was to be here dealing with my injury and not being able to play hockey, seeing Jessie Caplan again would be worse—much worse.

Chapter 2


I walk through the Silver Bay Jetport, which looks more like something a child made with Legos than an actual airport. It’s a tiny, bleak, gray concrete block of a building with oblong single-pane windows and acid-green plastic chairs in the waiting areas. As I adjust my bag on the escalator step beside my feet, I look up and my eyes instantly land on my sisters. All the tension that has been building in my shoulders throughout the journey suddenly dissipates. No matter what happens now, having them with me makes it easier. It’s been that way my whole life, and even after a few years living in different states, it still rings true. Every time I see them, life just feels better.

They’re standing together at the bottom of the escalator, and they look exactly like I expect them to—beautiful and sad. Callie, who is a mere thirteen months younger than me, is wrapped in an oversized wool sweater with an Aztec pattern on it, tattered skinny jeans and tan Ugg boots. Her long hair is covering most of her face as she stares down at the iPhone in her hands. Rose, a mere twelve months and twenty-four days younger than Callie, is wearing black leggings, knee-high leather riding boots and a gray peacoat. Her long, pin-straight hair is pulled back in a low ponytail. Her dark eyes are staring back at me with empathy.

Grandma Lily used to say we were varying shades of the same person, inside and out. It was completely true, but I was shocked that she’d noticed. Callie, Rose and I share the same noses, lips and chins, but Rose is darkest in coloring and deepest in personality. She’s intuitive, shy and philosophical with almost-black hair and almost–coal colored eyes. Callie’s looks are the middle ground between Rose and me with chestnut brown hair and coffee-colored eyes. But she’s not in the middle when it comes to disposition. Callie is loud, assertive and wild. Although I have the most vibrant coloring—auburn hair, fairly bright green eyes with only the slightest specks of the brown my sisters got, my personality is squarely in the middle of them. I’m not as sensitive as Rose and not as wild as Callie. I tend to be thoughtful like Rose but have a temper that, when pushed, matches Callie’s. And, unfortunately, I share Callie’s attraction to the wrong type of men, but unlike Callie, I have Rose’s deep-seated longing for true love. The two traits don’t mix.

I beeline to them and we hug—one giant family hug—for a long moment. When I pull away, Rosie’s eyes are brimming with tears and Callie’s mocha-colored ones are as hard as nails. I would expect nothing less.

“Come on,” Callie insists, taking my suitcase from me. “It looks like it might snow, and I refuse to drive in that shit.”

Rosie and I both roll our eyes and follow the angry middle child as she storms through the tiny airport. I keep my eyes down and try not to make eye contact with anyone. Silver Bay, Maine, is a small place, and everyone here used to know exactly who we were. Chances are they still do. I’m in absolutely no mood to deal with small talk with anyone from my past—a past I have worked hard to stay as far away from as possible.

We pile into the massive Ford F-150 Callie leads us to. I glance at Rosie with a smirk because the truck is a bit over the top, and she smiles back with a shrug.

“Has it been that long since you’ve driven in winter conditions that you think you needed to rent this beast?” I joke to Callie.

Callie turns and gives me a strange stare, her eyes hiding something. “At least we’ll be able to leave the house in this puppy no matter what ridiculous weather this useless town throws at us.”

“Remember how we used to have to beg Dev or Jordy for lifts when there was even one flake of snow on the ground?” Rose has a fondness in her voice and a nostalgic smile on her full pink lips. “Our stupid Honda hatchback would only slide sideways in the winter.”

I swallow and take a deep breath but say nothing. I’ve been here maybe a minute and a half and there’s already a Garrison boy reference. I shouldn’t be shocked it happened so soon. The Garrison brothers, and their honorary brother, Luc, were a huge part of my life. They were part of every good memory I had of this town. The problem was, that one bad memory of them…of him…eclipsed the good.

The rest of the ride is silent as I stare out the window and take in the familiar sights. I feel my chest tighten when I can’t keep the memories from clouding my brain. We pass our old elementary school, the one Lily put us in when we first moved in with her after our mom died when I was eight. I can’t help but remember how Jordan used to split his lunches with me in fifth grade when he realized that Lily wasn’t supplying me with one.

We pass the high school. I remember a hot summer night, sitting on that football field with two six-packs we’d stolen from Mr. and Mrs. Garrison. Lying on the fifty-yard line, drinking and watching the sky for shooting stars as we laughed at stupid jokes; just our small tight group of “besties,” as I liked to call them. It was me, Jordy, Luc, Callie, Devin, Leah, Cole and Rose.


On Sale
Jun 2, 2015
Page Count
336 pages
Forever Yours

Victoria Denault

About the Author

Victoria Denault loves long walks on the beach, cinnamon dolce lattes and writing angst-filled romance. She lives in LA but grew up in Montreal, which is why she is fluent in English, French and hockey.

Learn more about this author