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The Final Move
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This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around December 8, 2015. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.
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Sexy, rich, and one of the biggest stars in the NHL, Devin Garrison has always been the one who had it all. That is until his marriage falls apart and he realizes he has to start over. If he’s honest, there has only been one woman who ever really excited him-Callie Caplan. They shared a night that was hotter than the late-summer sun, but in an instant-Callie was gone, pretending it never happened.
Callie Caplan isn’t the wild child people think she is. It’s true she’s avoided relationships, but only because she’s seen how crazy love can be. And her messy, imperfect life is crazy enough without opening her heart to a man-even one as picture perfect as Devin. But when fate brings them back together-just as they need each other most-Devin is determined to convince Callie that what she’s feeling is real. And this final play may be their chance at forever . . .
Digital Galley Edition
This is uncorrected advance content collected for your reviewing convenience. Please check with publisher or refer to the finished product whenever you are excerpting or quoting in a review.
Thank you to my agent, Kimberly Brower. I wouldn’t be on this path without you. You’re amazing and your advice on when to delete kissing scenes is spot-on. Nothing makes me giddier than happy faces from my editor in the margin of a manuscript, so thank you, Dana Hamilton, for giving me lots on this one. You’ve been so brilliant to work with on the whole series and I was so excited that you loved Callie as much as I did. Thank you, Leah, Marissa, and every part of the Hachette / Forever Yours team that touched this book—and the series—through editing, PR, and more. You’ve been invaluable to me.
I’m grateful to my mom, Luce, my mother-in-law, Celine, and all my relatives who read my books and support them even if the content isn’t meant for your “demographic.” And thank you, Dad, for not reading it and blindly supporting me anyway. To Jack, thank you for being my rock. Thanks to all the fellow authors, like Lex Martin, S. M. Freedman, Ray Mouton, Peter Milligan, and DeAnna C. Zankich, who welcomed me to the club with advice and support.
And to you—yes, you—the person who is reading this book and read the other Hometown Players books before it: thank you for letting the characters from my head into yours. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it.
Five years ago
I walk toward the barn eager to steal a little solitude for a few minutes. The day has been a whirlwind. I’m happy—and I’m happy that everyone who loves me is happy for me and here to show it. Everyone wants to talk to me, shake my hand, hug me or—in the case of all the local girls—flirt with me. I guess signing a seven-million-dollar contract and winning the Stanley Cup in the same year will do that. I’m grateful for the attention—from all of them—but it’s exhausting. Especially the girls, which I know sounds crazy. I swear to God every girl in Silver Bay showed up to this barbecue—even ones who never gave me the time of day in high school. Seven of them have already given me their phone numbers and four more have subtly offered to “show me a good time” while I’m home this summer. I really wasn’t interested in that, which Jordan loved to point out made me insane.
I was only twenty-one and most normal guys my age weren’t looking for serious relationships yet. But I wasn’t a normal guy. I was a guy who had worked with insane focus to reach all my goals since I was a toddler—and I always reached them. I wanted to be in the NHL, and I was drafted in the first round. I wanted to win a Stanley Cup, and I won one. I wanted a big contract, and this week I signed one with the Brooklyn Barons. I got what I wanted—and now I wanted a serious relationship. Something with hope of a future—like a family of my own. It was weird, maybe, but I loved my large, tight-knit family, and being away from all of them for nine months of the year, I realized how badly I wanted one of my own. The way I saw it was my parents married in their early twenties and they were still madly in love. I could have that too if I worked hard enough at finding the right person to have it with.
As I reach the barn door I realize it’s half open. As I slide inside, I hear a giggle. I know it’s Callie. After years of her family mixing with mine for holidays and meals and everything else, I know her laugh as well as I know my mom’s or Jordan’s.
It’s still bright outside but in the barn the light is so low it seems like dusk. Still, I find her form quickly—she’s up against the wall in the far corner of the barn near the apple-red vintage tractor my dad uses during farming season. I take a few more steps and realize she isn’t up against the wall, she’s up against Owen Kaminski, one of my buddies from my junior hockey team. He’s a big guy, almost as tall as me but much heavier, and he’s all over her like a fat kid on the last piece of cake.
I clear my throat loudly. He jumps and turns. When he sees me, he looks instantly guilty. I give him a stern look and then give Callie a disappointed one. As Owen starts to walk away, she rolls her eyes.
“See you back at the party,” I say to Owen firmly.
“See ya there.” He nods and disappears, closing the door behind him.
Callie doesn’t move from her position leaning against the far wall. Annoyed, she has her arms crossed over her chest.
“Are you drunk?” I can’t help but wonder aloud.
“I tried to sneak a beer—twice,” Callie explains unhappily. “Both times Wyatt caught me and took them away. He said if it happens again, he’s going to lock me in Cole’s room until the party is over.”
I laugh and walk toward her. “Thank God for you Caplan girls. You make it a lot easier for us boys.”
“How do you figure?”
“Well, with you sneaking alcohol—and boys,” I tell her and raise my eyebrows judgmentally, “and Jessie running away, my dad is probably more grateful than ever he has boys.”
“Jessie didn’t run away,” Callie replies in a sad but stern voice. “We know exactly where she is. She’s just…never coming back. Thanks to Jordan.”
I don’t say anything to that because there is nothing to say. I was in Brooklyn when most of the drama unfolded between my younger brother and her older sister and I still don’t have all the details. No one seems to want to talk about it. Jordan is miserable this summer—his first summer back from playing hockey in Quebec—and Jessie isn’t coming back to Silver Bay for the summer. Rumor has it she’ll never come back here again.
I get back to the subject at hand. “Kaminski, Callie? Really?”
She shrugs and smiles a little self-consciously. It’s a rare moment to catch Callie Caplan insecure about something and it makes her more pretty than she normally is—which is very.
“He’s had a crush on me for years,” she tells me and shrugs again, letting her arms fall to her sides. “And he has no hope of being a professional hockey player now. Just a regular boob like the rest of us.”
“Is that a requirement for you?” I question as she pushes off the wall and walks closer to the tractor. “That they’re hockey failures? What are you, some kind of consolation prize?”
“Ha. Ha,” she says sarcastically before she climbs the giant piece of machinery. She doesn’t sit but leans forward, hands on the steering wheel as she stands in front of the seat. “I just wouldn’t want to deal with the drama of dating a pro hockey player. All the away games, and cheating, and puck bunnies, and egos.”
I laugh and decide to climb up on the tractor with her. It’s weird to have to look up at her. “It’s not nearly as salacious as you think.”
She gives me a disbelieving stare and swipes my half-empty beer bottle from my hand, taking a swig. “Okay,” I admit. “It can be like that…but it doesn’t have to be like that. I’m not like that.”
I slip past her and drop down into the driver’s seat. She turns to face me and sits on the engine casing. She’s essentially straddling the engine, her bare legs dangling on either side. Her sundress is bunched up around the top of her thighs. She looks like a naughty girl from a country music video. It’s beyond hot.
“You’ve never banged a puck bunny? Not once in the two years you’ve been pro?” Callie asks me skeptically.
“Every girl I’ve slept with, I’ve gone on actual dates with. No random hookups,” I explain with a shrug. “I want something real. Something that leads to something more than sex.”
“Oh my God, you’re such a chick.”
I smile lightly at that. “And you’re such a dude.”
She puts her hands on the metal engine casing in front of her and leans forward on them, her brown eyes staring right into mine. “You’re a catch, Devin Garrison. It’s such a shame you’re going to deny the world that.”
“What makes me a catch, my big paycheck?” I say, feeling sorry for myself.
Callie gives me a look like I’m an idiot. “I’m not going to lie—that’s a bonus to some girls because most twenty-one-year-old guys can’t afford a used car, let alone much else. But screw the money. You’re good-looking. You come from a loving family. You’re built like a fucking Greek god and you’re a sweetheart when you aren’t so focused on overachieving…or cock-blocking my hookups.”
I laugh out loud at that. It echoes off the barn walls. She’s grinning widely. “What were you going to do, Callie? Bang him right here on the tractor?”
“No, but there’s nothing wrong with a little harmless groping on the tractor, is there?”
I smile despite myself and shake my head.
“Not all girls have to be about romance and soul mates and all that crap,” she contends, pulling her legs together to dangle off the front of the engine casing.
“How old are you again?”
“How many guys have you been with already?”
Her big brown eyes flare in shock at that question and then she looks at the floor of the tractor, embarrassed. I instantly feel like shit. “Contrary to popular belief, I’ve only had actual sex with one guy. Sure, I like to make out a lot, and maybe fool around, but there are tons of ways to get a guy off without actual sex.”
There is something very wrong, yet very accurate, about that statement. A hundred things run through my head—blow jobs and hand jobs being at the top of the list. And as I think about Callie doing those things, I feel my shorts getting tight. I have always thought she was hot as hell.
“I’m sorry, Callie,” I say and I mean it. “It’s not that I think you’re easy or anything. I just…you’re wild. And I guess I just don’t want you to get hurt or anything.”
She looks at me now with a confused expression, and I lean forward and grab her hand as if to prove how sincere I am. “You worry about me?”
“Yeah. Of course,” I reply and tug on her hand. She slips off the engine casing and stands in front of me once again. It’s weird to have her looming above me, so I stand up too.
“See, the cool part about being wild, as you call it,” Callie says, tilting her head to look up at me, “is that I never get all emotional over some stupid guy, so I don’t get hurt.”
“How do you not get emotional? How do you not fall for someone?” I can’t help but ask because every girl I’ve hooked up with I’ve dated. I don’t just screw for the sake of screwing. It’s never been something I’ve tried.
“Just never go for the ones you know you could really like,” she explains with a small smile.
“So you hook up with people you hate?”
She laughs and squeezes my hand, which I just realize is still holding hers. I also realize it feels good. “No, you don’t hate them, dumbass. You’re just in lust with them instead of in like with them.”
I don’t know if I get it. It seems ridiculous. My face must reflect my confusion because she continues to try to explain it. “Devin, have you ever seen a girl and just thought, man, she’s fucking hot?”
I nod. “Yeah.”
I think about it. There’s obviously been more than one hot girl I’ve admired in my life, so I’m trying to narrow it down. And then I decide to do something really dumb and also very honest. “You.”
She blinks and her mouth drops open the slightest bit. She turns her hand around in mine so now we’re full-on holding hands. “So have there been times when you just thought, man, I would love to bang Callie?”
Holy fuckballs, she did not just say that!
“No, seriously,” she insists without any embarrassment visible on her pretty face. “Hypothetically. Have I ever come over in, like, a short dress, or a tight pair of jeans, and you’ve just wanted to give it to me, hard?”
I swallow but there’s barely any saliva in my mouth suddenly. I use my free hand—the one she isn’t holding—to take back the remainder of my beer and finish it off in one gulp.
“Yeah. Of course.” There. I finally answered. She smiles.
“So if you were like me, Devin, you just go for it. You just do it,” she explains like she’s giving me the recipe for a peanut butter sandwich or something equally mind-numbingly simple.
“Just…have sex with you?” I never blush—ever—but I’m blushing now.
She giggles. “Well, I’d start with something simple, like a kiss.”
It takes me about thirty seconds to absorb what she said and then realize that I should act on her words. Or rather, enact them. I bend my head and kiss her. I’ve thought about doing it on and off for years. Callie is gorgeous and sexy and wild—everything I am not. Not the type of person I ever thought would be attracted to me, but the kind I’d always kind of secretly wanted to attract. Still, I knew we had nothing in common and that she didn’t want anything I wanted in life, so pursuing something seemed futile.
But now that I’m kissing her…I can’t believe how fucking hot it is. Within seconds of our lips connecting, the kiss intensifies. She slides her tongue out to tease my bottom lip. I open my mouth and her tongue finds mine and I grab the back of her head, tangling my long fingers in her silky hair.
“Fuck,” she gasps when we finally pull apart.
“Yeah,” I breathe back and kiss her again.
This time she moves her hands down my chest to the front of my shorts and I know she can feel my dick hardening. Instead of giving in to embarrassment, I put a hand on her ass and push her into me. I don’t know what the fuck I’m doing, but I don’t want to stop doing it.
“Who’s the wild one now?” she whispers against my ear before she kisses the sensitive spot right under it.
“Just following your lead,” I remind her, biting her earlobe gently.
She shudders and pushes me down into the seat of the tractor. Before I can do anything, she’s straddling me and kissing me blind again. My hard-on is at full mast now and aching.
Callie holds my face in her hands and grinds herself against my crotch. My hands grip her thighs as I fight the urge to come in my pants. Her sundress is bunched up around the top of her thighs; my fingers slide under it and I feel the elastic edge of her panties.
Her tongue dances with mine. I feel disoriented. I don’t know how we got here. What the fuck am I doing? A few minutes ago—or was it seconds ago?—I was thinking about wanting a wife and a family and Callie was ready to jump Owen. And now we’re making out and dry-humping each other on my dad’s farming equipment.
I may be disoriented and confused, but I am also horny and needy. Callie Caplan may not be wife material, because she always says she’d rather die than be someone’s wife, but she was fantasy material and I had fantasized about her, a lot. So I don’t stop her as she undoes the button and zipper on my shorts and slides her hand inside.
“Holy fuck, Devin, you’re big,” she murmurs in shock, and I fight a smile.
I kiss her hard again and slip my tongue back into her mouth. My hands slide up her taut little body and cup her breasts through the top of her dress. I’m never this forward. Never. But then again I’ve also never slept with a girl I wasn’t dating, either. This is a whole different world on every level. She pulls my cock right out of my underwear, shocking me. Her hand wraps around the base and she rubs me—long, firm, perfect strokes.
I wish I were the type of NHL player she talked about earlier. Then I would have had way more experience with girls’ hands on my dick and I wouldn’t be so close to blowing a load right now. Fuck.
“Is this what you do, Callie?” I ask, softly kissing a trail down her neck. “You like to jerk a guy off?”
“Yes,” she replies breathily as I fondle her breasts. “You like getting jerked off, Devin?”
“You like sex more, though, don’t you?” She breathes against my ear as her hand continues to pump me. “You like to fuck?”
“Yeah,” I all but grunt at her. Holy fuck, this is as close as I’ve come to dirty talk in my entire life and it’s making me hot and crazy.
“If you had a condom, Devin, I would let you fuck me,” she promises as her hand trails up my dick and her thumb glides over the tip.
She freezes. Her hand stops moving. Her lips stop kissing. Her mouth stops speaking. I open my eyes and she’s looking at me. It’s hard to focus and gauge her reaction because she’s so close.
“I have a condom in my back pocket,” I repeat quietly. I always carry one—ever since high school. Because as much as I want a serious relationship and a family, I don’t want one accidentally.
I pull back and can finally focus on her face. I think I may see panic or even fear in it. I can’t be sure, because I’ve never seen those emotions before on Callie. Before I can figure it out, or decide what to do next, she’s in control again. She pulls herself off me. Now I’m just sitting there, the cool air swirling around my exposed dick, and she’s staring down at me with her big chocolate brown eyes.
“Take it out,” she tells me softly.
“It’s okay if you don’t…there’s a bunch of people just outside and…”
“Take it out,” she repeats firmly as her hands drift under the hem of her tiny sundress.
A second later I watch a pair of tiny white panties with red and pink hearts drop to her ankles. She steps out of them. I hurry to pull the condom from my back pocket. As soon as it’s out, she tells me to put it on, so I do. And then she’s standing with one leg on either side of my lap and she bends over and kisses me hard and wet. Our tongues meet and it’s a full-on battle for dominance. My hands drift up her thighs and over her bare ass. Boldly, I move my fingers to the inside of her thigh and let three of them brush her slit, one after the other. Her breath audibly catches and then she kisses me even harder and starts to drop lower. I use one hand to hold my cock out, in the right place for her descent. She buries her face in my shoulder as I feel my tip enter her.
“Don’t move,” I command and grip her hip tightly.
She freezes, and with my other hand firmly on my base, I slowly drag the head of my dick across her opening once and then twice.
“I need your wetness,” I tell her softly and kiss her cheek. “It’ll be easier.”
I glide across her once more and she shudders and then pushes down again. It’s so warm but so tight. I swear to God she’s almost too small. It almost hurts, but not quite. I know she feels it too because she sucks in her breath and doesn’t exhale.
“If it hurts, you can stop,” I promise her but I really want to keep going. “It’s okay. Just stop.”
“No,” she pants in my ear, her hands gripping the back of my neck as she leans back a bit and continues her descent.
I push up the hem of her dress. I want to see her take me in. I still can’t believe we’re doing this. But we are, and a few seconds later I’m completely inside her. Our eyes meet as she sits perfectly still. My dick is throbbing inside her wet, hot walls.
“I can’t believe you fit,” she confesses shyly. “I didn’t think you would.”
“Are you okay?” I ask tentatively.
She nods and, as if to prove her point, pulls herself up a tiny bit and then back down. The friction is the most intense feeling I have ever felt in my life. She does it again, moving higher so more of me is exposed, and then slides back down more quickly.
“I like this,” she sighs and does it again.
I kiss her shoulder and then bite down on it lightly as her next movement is faster and harder than the last. And then I hear Jordan’s voice.
“I’ll check the barn, Dad!”
The sunshine slices across the room as the heavy barn door is flung open. Callie flies off my lap. I’m too stunned to react right away but Jordan isn’t.
“Oh crap!” he bellows and turns away from us, shielding his eyes with his forearm.
I shove my condom-covered cock back into my shorts and half jump, half trip off the tractor, zipping myself up as soon as I land on the ground. Callie is just standing there with her hands over her face. Thankfully, her dress conceals her lack of panties from Jordan. He obviously knows what’s going on and probably saw my dick hanging out of my pants, but she wasn’t exposed, and for that I’m thankful.
“Dad was wondering where you went,” Jordan mumbles, still hiding his face. “And I don’t want to tell him now. Can you just go out there? Please.”
I glance back at Callie and she nods emphatically and makes a shooing motion with her hands. I grab Jordan’s arm and drag him out of the barn, sliding the door closed behind us to give Callie privacy.
“Dude!” Jordan says with wide, horrified eyes. “You’re sleeping with Callie?!”
“I saw your dick, Devin.”
“Lucky you,” I snark, because I don’t know what else to do.
I start walking back toward the house and the party. Jordan grabs my arm and stops me. “So what the hell?”
“Look, we’ve been drinking. We were just messing around. Not a big deal.”
“It’s…she’s like family. It’s a big deal!” Jordan argues and I give him a hard, pointed stare.
“Unlike you, Jordan, I’m not going to cause a Caplan sister to leave town with a broken heart,” I snap at him harshly and turn away, but not before seeing the hurt pass through his eyes. I ignore the guilt that drops like a stone into my gut and leave him standing in the middle of the lawn. My dad calls me over to pose for a picture with my cousin, his wife and their newborn. It’s going to be an awkward picture because my smile is strained. All I can think about is getting the condom out of my underwear.
I excuse myself, head into the bathroom and clean up. When I get back outside a few minutes later, guilt gets the better of me and I look around for Jordan so I can apologize. But instead of finding him, once again someone is waving me over. Kayleigh Ratford, whom I’ve known since elementary school, is smiling broadly at me. She introduces me to her sister Ashleigh, whom I don’t ever remember meeting before, even though Silver Bay is so small I must have.
We walk over to the picnic table filled with food, and I watch them fill their plates and I suggest things for them to try, like my mom’s bacon and blue cheese potato salad and my dad’s ribs. I chat with them as they eat but can’t stop glancing around trying to spot Callie.
- On Sale
- Dec 8, 2015
- Page Count
- 384 pages
- Forever Yours