Heartstrings & Hockey Pucks
Holidays in Lake Point Series
by Sarah Cass
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After a year abroad Penelope Giroux is set to chase after an old dream. She can’t resist making sure her first stop is to see her best friend, Cage Strawski. While they’d once had a ‘friends with benefits’ relationship, it had cooled before her departure for Europe.
The red-hot center of the Rochester Rebels hockey team, Cage has his sights set on an NHL spot. When Pen comes back into his life, his feelings for her resurface. Her protests of their disparate lives are nothing to his ears—but the fact she’s kept secrets from him bring his rush to claim her to a screeching halt.
When Cage learns what she’s been up to in Europe everything starts to change. Can Pen face the truth of how dreams can change? Or will the pair be forced to part ways once again under the guise of a false future?
The confusion that had left him with a sad puppy dog expression morphed into pale shock, and then red-faced anger. “I know you’re not blaming Chicago on me.”
“Breaking that off was your idea.”
“You sure as shit didn’t argue with me.”
“What was I supposed to do?”
“I don’t know.” She threw her hands up in the air. “Argue with me, maybe. Object. That is, if you had any objections at all.”
“Of course I did.” He moved closer, but stopped when she backed away for each step he took. “Shit, Pen. It about killed me to watch you walk away for your flight.”
Never in her life had the airline terminal been so long as when she’d walked away that day. She’d known he’d been on the other end, not budging as she made her way to the checkpoint. “But it didn’t. And it didn’t kill me, either. Obviously we made the right choice.”
“Then why does it still hurt?”
“It doesn’t.” Her lips twitched beyond her control at the lie and she spun around to hide the tear that slipped down. “You just think it does because you saw my song. Which you weren’t supposed to do. I asked you for one promise. It didn’t mean anything. It’s a stupid song.”
“Why hide it from me if it means nothing?” His hand closed around her upper arm.
“Because we still can’t do this. We still shouldn’t. This conversation can’t happen. Not now. Not two days before my audition.” She cupped her hands over her face in an effort to form blinders against him. “Please.”
“No. You wanted a damn argument, you’re getting one.”
“You know this would never work. Just drop it. Let me do my audition, argue later.”
“No.” He grasped both of her wrists and pulled her hands away from her face. “Not this time. We’re doing this now.”
“Then my arguments are all the exact same.” With each word her heart jumped and cracked more. “We can’t ever make it work.”
“Why the hell not?”
“You travel all the damn time. During hockey season you’re away more than you are home. If I get this I’ll be in Philly. You could get picked up by a team god knows here, maybe even Canada, or,” she shivered out her disgust, “California. Long distance doesn’t work, especially with how much and how hard we both work.”
“We stayed close when you went overseas. This could work. I’m not buying it.”
“You’re a distraction.”
“That’s the Wicked Witch talking.”
“The Wicked Witch has a point. You are a distraction.”
She backed up a step, but couldn’t get far because he still had her wrists. “Let me go.”
Without argument, he did as she asked. He shook his head. “You need a distraction. You can’t live, breathe, and eat work.”
“No. I go out. And I have you. You’re my distraction.”
“I can’t fail again. I have to do this, Cage. And I can’t do this with you.”
“Tell me it’s what you want. More than anything. More than the songs you’ve been writing. More than those videos.” He tucked a finger under her chin and stepped right up close to her. “More than me.”
“I’ve wanted it since I was eight.” Her voice squeaked, but she didn’t tear her gaze from his. Tears blurred her vision enough that she could lie about the last part of his demand. “I have to do this. I have to see what I can do with this. You’ve gotten your dream, or at least close enough to taste it. Let me have mine.”
His finger left her jaw fast as though he’d been burned. He went so far as to take a step back. “That’s unfair.”
“Maybe it is, but you’re thinking with your dick.”
“I object to that too. This isn’t about that.”
“It’s always about that. You’re a meathead hockey player.” She took the chance his distance of offense afforded her and scrambled around the bed. “We never should have complicated our friendship with sex. I thought I could handle it, but I couldn’t.”
Across the room next to her pink suitcase, he stood in silence for a few minutes. His hands clenched into fists while he hung his head. “So you do love me.”
“I have always loved you, idiot. You’re my best friend and…” She tried to say more, but all the words tangled in her throat refusing to leave. If she spoke them everything would get worse, so much worse. She couldn’t handle this now; she should make a break for the door again.
His head snapped up when her voice trailed off. “And?”
She shook her head so hard she got dizzy and had to lower her gaze to the floor. The words that had choked off her voice erupted in a gut-wrenching sob.
“Son of a bitch, screw this shit.” Before she could even catch her breath or try to speak again he was in front of her. His warm lips closed over hers as he caressed away tears with his thumbs.
Her mind railed against the move, telling her to push him away and leave, but her soul had a whole different idea. All the fears fell aside, and she opened up to him with one demanding swipe of his tongue.
She trembled against her own doubts, and then curved into his hard body eagerly. With a mind of their own, her hands danced up his chest until her fingers were able to bury into his thick curls and tug him close.
He backed her into the wall and hiked her legs around his waist. The last lingering stubborn doubt fled as the hard promise of his desire pressed into her heat and they both moaned.
Logic and doubts would have to wait until the morning.
What Others Are Saying
The story of Penelope and Cage is breathtaking. You will not only be wanting to laugh but you will feel their anxiety. The details are written well and leave nothing to the imagination. It is a very fast paced and easy read that will play through your head like a movie. This series will keep you interested and highly entertained. Each book is placed around a holiday. The title goes along with each holiday. This book Heartstrings and Hockey Pucks goes with Valentine's Day. Each book can be a stand alone and will not need to be read in order. ★★★★★ by Amanda Hamilton
Beautiful little story about how Penelope and Cage worked through their problems of his career, her dream career, her mother's interference and the issues of a long distance relationship to a happily ever after. Loved these two characters and the storyline. Just enough challenges to hold the interest and to help Pen grow a strong backbone and stand up for her own desires. ★★★★★ by Dee Archer
Heartstings and Hockey Pucks is one of my favorite in the Lake Point Series. One of the things that I Love about this series is how true to life it is. Outside forces can always color your opinion about things and the way Sarah portrays this is phenomenal. I won't give the plot away but the twits and turns these characters take felt real and genuine. Would definitely recommend! ★★★★★ by Jessi F
About the Author
An ADD tendency leaves her with a variety of interests that include singing, dancing, crafting, cooking, and being a photographer. She fights through the struggles of the day, knowing the battles are her crucible; she may emerge scarred, but always stronger. The rhythms to her activities drive her words forward, pushing her through the labyrinths of the heart and the nightmares of the mind, driving her to find resolutions to her characters' problems.
While busy creating worlds and characters as real to her as her own family, she leads an active online life with her blog, Redefining Perfect, which gives a real and sometimes raw glimpse into her life and art. You can most often find her popping out her 140 characters in Twitter speak, and on Facebook.