Christmas Puck
A BTU Alumni Short Story

**Jake and Jordan in 1st POV for the 1st time**

Chapter 1

Jordan

 

“Anyone with the last name Donnelly better make sure his dong is put away,” I call out as I pull open the door to the locker room inside the BTU hockey arena.

 

I’m not a prude or anything. I like a good-looking peen as much as the next girl—except if it’s an unsolicited dick pic; no one wants that—but having to come eye to eye with my brothers’ one-eyed trouser snakes is not a life achievement I need unlocked.

 

“Ugh, JD,” Ryan, my older brother, complains. “What the hell are you doing in here?”

 

I glance over my shoulder and meet his blue gaze with a wink, happy to note I waited long enough that he’s had time to dress his lower half. Next to Ryan, Jase, our other brother and my twin, snorts as I continue walking past the rest of their teammates dressing without further comment.

 

I don’t see why Ryan is so scandalized. It’s not the first time I’ve been in one of their locker rooms.

 

A crack rips through the air a second before I feel a towel smack my right butt cheek. I smooth a palm over the now stinging skin and level my best death glare at Tucker Hayes, my boyfriend’s best friend and my self-proclaimed third big brother, or BB3 for short.

 

There’s another burst of snorting laughter from Jase, and I flip him the bird behind my back as I continue down the row to the puck head I came here for.

 

A smile that feels like it’s going to split my face in two breaks free when I find him, sitting on the bench inside his locker space, bent over to pull on a pair of classic white Nike Uptowns…shirtless. *le sigh* The broad, muscled torso that helped earn him the nickname—and text handle—The Brick Wall is bared, and I oh-so-shamelessly take in every dip, valley, and bulge.

 

The sinews of his thick forearms twist, biceps popping, and the curved balls of his shoulders flex as he pulls the sneakers over his heels. His chest expands and his washboard stomach ripples as he straightens up and stretches.

 

For as delicious—and yes I mean that in the literal sense too because I’ve licked them—as his muscles are, the effect they have on my girly bits is nothing compared to the way his look-fake-they-are-such-a-bright-emerald eyes light up when he sees me walking his way.

 

Fuck me! He had to bust out the dimples too. My poor brothers never stood a chance of me keeping my promise not to date another one of their teammates, because Jake Donovan is not the type of guy a girl doesn’t fall for.

 

And fall I did—hard.

 

Not that they can really complain because, outside of dear sweet Captain Ryan—at least according to my bestie Maddey (his girlfriend)—you won’t find a man swoony-er than my boyfriend.

 

“Hey, baby.” Jake reaches for me as soon as I’m in touching distance, one of his large hands cupping me at the nape and tugging me down to cover my mouth with his.

 

Without breaking the kiss, I shuffle forward, Jake’s knees spreading wider for me to step between them, my arms falling to drape loosely over his shoulders. My hands rise to thread into his dark brown still-wet-from-the-shower hair.

 

“Get a room,” Tucker bellows seconds before a damp towel hits me in the back of the head and falls open to cover half my face.

 

Reluctantly, I pull back, but Jake refuses to let me go far and pulls me in until my butt is firmly planted on his thick, hard, goalie-earned thigh. One of his arms loops around my back and I do the same with one of mine, scrunching my nose at his cockblocking best friend.

 

“Truth,” Jase says, covering his eyes. “A wombmate does not need to be seeing these things.”

 

“Agreed.” Ryan nods, and I narrow my eyes into a glare that typically has them shaking in their hockey skates.

 

“Hypocrites,” I say before getting distracted by the way Jake’s abs contract as he laughs. Like a moth to a flame, my fingers find their way into the grooves of his six-pack.

 

“Lies,” the three idiots cry in unison.

 

I swear these boys never learn.

 

Soft lips brush along the side of my neck, warm breath tickling me as Jake buries his face against me to whisper, “Get ’em babe.” I love that he knows me so well.

 

Dropping a quick kiss to Jake’s smooth cheek, I bring my attention back to the Three Stooges. I lift an arm and, moving from right to left, point to Ryan, Jase, then Tucker. “Dating my best friend (Maddey), adopted your girlfriend into the fold (Rocky), was fuck buddies with my oldest bestie (Skye).” I arch a brow, resting my case and daring them to challenge me.

 

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t care that they date—or in Tucker’s case, bang—my friends. That would make me the same hypocrite I accused them of being, because when one of their closest friends isn’t playing between the pipes protecting the net, he’s laying his pipe into me. No, all I’m doing is reminding them that I know far more details about their own sex lives than any sister should.

 

The heavy sighs expelled by my brothers tell me I hit my mark and am free to move on without having to concoct one of the revenge plots I’m famous for.

 

“Did we have plans I forgot about?” A furrow forms between Jake’s dark brows, and I use my thumb to smooth it away. Oh this sweet, sweet boy.

 

“Nope.” With a peck of a kiss, I push off him to stand so he can finish getting dressed. “I needed to meet with the trainers and decided to swing by to see you since I was nearby.”

 

I don’t even bother to hide the fact that my attention stays on him as he pulls a shirt on, but at least I manage to smother down the sound of disappointment when he does.

 

What? Don’t judge me. Honestly, it should be illegal for him to wear clothes.

 

Chapter 2

Jake

 

I should probably feel guilty for breaking the cardinal rule of Never sleep with a teammate’s sister, but the moment I laid eyes on Jordan at Rookies, the sports bar the team frequents, I was a goner. In my defense, I didn’t know then that she was Ryan and Jase’s sister.

 

Hell, that night I thought it was Jase’s twin brother—you know, the one who doesn’t exist but who he led us to believe did—we were meeting.

 

Good times.

 

But as I watch my girlfriend crouch down to strategize and come up with the best plan of attack for the snowball fight that’s about to commence with my six-year-old sister Carlee, I can’t find a single part of me that feels at all bad about it.

 

I want to say choosing to love her was the smartest decision I ever made, but there was no choice in the matter. She was meant to be mine so I made it so.

 

“Why do I get the impression we shouldn’t have agreed to boys versus girls?” Tucker chances a glance over at where the five girls—and Sammy (the honorary member of the girl gang) to even out the numbers—are huddled together.

 

“Seriously, bruh…” Vince, the only guy here besides Sammy who isn’t on the hockey team, works to pack another snowball for our arsenal, keeping an eye on Skye and his sister Rocky as he does.

 

“You would think you’d be used to losing to my sister by now,” Sean, the youngest Donnelly, remarks.

 

“Ooo, burned by a six-year-old, Tuck.” Jase holds up a gloved hand for his younger brother to high-five. Sean does, jumping up and hitting his palm with a flourish.

 

As a group of guys in which the majority of us are used to studying plays in a playbook, I want to say we come up with a brilliant one to ensure our team’s victory in this. Sadly, we don’t. Not even our faithful captain can come up with a plan.

 

When the battle cry rings out it's pandemonium, snowballs fly, some hitting their intended target, most not even close.

 

Navy, my girlfriend’s black Labrador, enters the fray halfway through, jumping to swipe as many snowballs as he can from the air.

 

“Navy! You’re a boy—you’re supposed to be helping us,” Ryan shouts as the canine protects Maddey from a face full of snow.

 

“TRAITOR!” Jase bellows. “No more Milk-Bones for you.”

 

Musical giggling sounds and more than one set of eyes roll at his baseless threat. Jordan spoils the dog enough for three people, and that’s not counting what the dog gets from the kindergarten set with us.

 

We play until we’re breathless, the yards in front of both my and the Donnellys’ home nearly unrecognizable, the smooth snow-covered expanse now riddled with the evidence of battle.

 

Crouched behind Jordan’s white Corvette parked in the driveway, I’m thankful the snow is that perfect combination of fluffy and solid to make packing one last snowball easy. Left then right, I cup my hands until I have the perfect baseball-sized sphere.

 

The years I’ve spent in the crease make holding this half-squat position easy as I push up a little to peer over the car’s hood. Just behind the inflatable minion wearing a Santa hat, I see the blue pom of my girlfriend’s hat.

 

With all the stealth I can muster, I make sure to step in places where the snow has already been packed down from other footsteps, and I head in her direction.

 

The hot pink blob hiding next to Jordan should make me rethink my attack, but my sister will just have to be collateral damage. Besides, Carlee loves me; she’ll be quick to forgive.

 

A small gasp leaves Jordan’s lips as I hook an arm around her middle, spinning her to face me. They purse into a tempting O that brings to mind how perfectly they feel wrapped around my dick.

 

When I crash my snowball down on her head, her hazel eyes flare, golden fire flying my way as the frozen water rains down around her shoulders.

 

My own laughter swirls around us, and I loop my other arm over the curve of her hip until she’s cradled against me as close as our puffy snowsuits allow. I may end up paying for getting the best of her, especially given her affinity for revenge plots, but I can’t find it in me to regret it when she looks so damn cute.

 

Snowflakes cling to the ends of her mascara-coated lashes, and the tip of her nose has turned pink from the cold. I place a gentle kiss on it.

 

Her teeth pull the corner of her bottom lip between them, the sight of white digging into the plump pink flesh driving me as wild now as it did that first day I realized we were about to become neighbors.

 

However, unlike like that day, I’m free to claim them and give in to the urge to do so.

 

Watermelon-flavored pillowy-soft lips meet mine and yield to my ardent assault, the automatic hum of approval that always greets my kisses singing in the back of her throat and through my bloodstream.

 

Everything else fades away—the cold, the shouts of our friends, the occasional bark from Navy. Even the kissy noises Carlee makes are nothing but static.

 

I stroke my tongue along hers, the sweet taste of chocolate lingering from the marshmallow-laden drink she had before we decided to play outside.

 

Stroke for stroke.

 

Teeth nip for teeth nip.

 

I grind my hips into her stomach, both grateful and cursing the thick insultation of my snow gear when—

 

Sonofabitch! That’s fucking cold.

 

I jump back, stumbling and hopping around like I have ants in my pants, or…you know, snow, because I must have missed the snowball in Jordan’s hand when I pulled her to me. When I was getting lost in our kiss, my sadistic girlfriend acted like a sleeper agent and got me when I was least expecting it.

 

I wiggle around, shaking my ass like I’m doing some demented version of the chicken dance to rid my body of the last of the freezing stuff clinging to it. At least she went down the back of my pants and not the front. I may live my life out on the ice, but I don’t need to be getting frostbite on my junk.

 

My gaze falls on Jordan, one arm banded across her middle, the other draped around Carlee, the two of them falling to the snow in a fit of giggles. Fuck me. There’s no way for me to be mad when something as simple as a juvenile prank can make her that happy.

 

Still…

 

She’s lucky she’s so damn cute.

 

Chapter 3

Jordan

 

Pocketing my phone, I find a pair of Uggs and slip them on before padding my way downstairs. The chorus of Christmas carols and rambunctious laughter greets me, alerting me to the reason behind Jake’s text.

 

Navy is in doggie heaven—not in the All Dogs Go to Heaven sense, thankfully, but in the snuggled between two six-year-olds who keep sneaking him the popcorn they should be stringing for garland sort of way.

 

Stopping at the edge of the living room, I wait until Mom meets my gaze then I gesture with a chin jerk so she knows I’m heading next door to the Donovans’.

 

Though my typical route is out the back door and through the backyard, I use the front door instead to avoid alerting my pint-sized shadows. I love Sean and Carlee something fierce, but sometimes a girl just needs alone time with her boyfriend.

 

After the epic snowball showdown the other day, most of the powdery white stuff has since melted, but there’s enough of it for tomorrow to still be considered a white Christmas.

 

The hinge on the vinyl gate squeaks louder thanks to the chilly temperatures, and I hunch deeper into my hoodie, my hands both going back inside the front pouch as soon possible.

 

A few paces in and my steps come to a stop at the breathtaking sight in front of me. The entire backyard has been transformed into a winter wonderland. White twinkle lights are strung along the lattice of the patio’s overhang, the evergreens around the perimeter are now decorated with lights, and small colorful paper lanterns are scattered amongst the bare branches of the tall red oaks.

 

Jack Frost nipping at my nose breaks me from my stupor, and when I step onto the shoveled stone patio, I see the hammock Jake and I spent the summer and fall lounging in is back in its place, two tall stand heaters now bookending it.

 

My breath catches in my lungs, not because it’s cold enough that I can see it with each exhale, but from the sight of my sinfully sexy boyfriend. It’s probably a good thing the temperature is low enough to freeze liquid; otherwise Jake would be able to see the drool I have to work to swallow down.

 

If only the BTU Titans put out a calendar for their hockey team, because they would sell out in minutes if this is a preview of what December would look like: Santa hat sitting jauntily to the left, black skintight ColdGear Under Armour shirt, the material molding to every bump and ridge of his muscles and doing nothing to hide them before coming to a stop above the wide band of his low-slung gray sweatpants.

 

Guess I was a good girl this year if I’m being treated to gray sweatpants.

 

“Hey, baby.” Jake’s green eyes sparkle, his dimples flashing.

 

“What’s all this?” I wave a hand around the yard while my feet take me to him of their own accord. I did mention his dimples are out, right? Damn magnets, I swear.

 

“Figured we’d take advantage of this little pocket of downtime to revisit our roots.” He reaches for me as soon as I’m close enough, pulling me into him until I’m pressed against his hard chest.

 

With both of us being Division 1 athletes—hockey for him, swimming for me—free time, especially some that coincides with the other’s, is complicated to coordinate.

 

“Is this your way of telling me you want to stuff my stocking, Jakey?” I loop my arms around his neck, pushing up onto my toes, and twirl a finger around the short hairs at the base of his skull.

 

“Jesus.” He snorts, leaning down until his forehead rests on mine. “I don’t know what to address first…” His minty-fresh breath blows across my skin as he speaks, helping to chase away some of the chill. Against my back, I feel his fingers unfurl and stretch down to cup my butt.

 

“What do you mean?” I snuggle into him harder to take advantage of the could-serve-as-a-third-patio-heater warmth radiating off of him.

 

“Well, there’s the fact that you called me Jakey when you’ve never once done so.” This is true. The puck bunnies love to cheer the cringe-worthy nickname during their desperate attempts to garner his attention. I straight-up refuse to use it. “And then there’s that terrible pun you dropped.”

 

I shrug. That one is not my fault. I can put the blame for that fully on Maddey’s shoulders with all the rom-coms she’s been having us read lately.

 

He guides us over to the hammock and we kick off our boots before climbing onto the thin mattress top. Jake stretches out, tucking his socked feet under the thick puffy white down comforter and tugging me down to cuddle against his side.

 

One of his arms slips into the space under my neck, curling around to hold me at the ribs, his other bending to prop up his head.

 

My head finds that sweet spot made for me where his arm and shoulder connect to his chest as I drape my arm around his middle, my leg hooking over one of his thighs and my knee resting in the space between his legs.

 

Other than soft sounds of contentment, neither of us say a word, though the night isn’t silent. There’s that soft quiet you only get to experience when it’s about to snow again, the easy, almost living-in-a-snow-globe type magic that hangs in the air. It’s enough to still feel it over the Christmas carols playing low.

 

Soap and ice fill my senses as I simply breathe him in, the tip of my nose brushing along the curve of his neck.

 

“Oh, shit.” Jake does a little wiggle-jerk. “Your nose is cold, babe.”

 

“Sorry.” I smile and place a kiss on the vein that’s now pulsing faster.

 

His hold on me tightens, fingertips kneading their way down the length of my back, a hand cupping and squeezing a butt cheek before slipping under the hem of my sweatshirt. It’s my turn to wiggle-jerk at an icy touch, but I settle back as the calloused skin of Jake’s fingers sets off a round of tingles when he traces a figure-eight pattern on my hipbone.

 

One of my favorite things about our relationship is how we can just be, that there’s no pressure to be on or live up to whatever “it” couple most people assume we should be.

 

“Fuck I can’t wait for summer.” Jake pulls the comforter up high enough that I would look like a floating head to anyone with an aerial view of us. “It’s a lot easier to hang like this when I don’t have to worry about my balls freezing off.”

 

I giggle and slip a hand inside his pants, cupping his junk—which is already at half-mast—to double-check that something that dramatic didn’t happen. It didn’t.

 

“Jordan,” he growls. Ooo, he must be serious if he’s calling me by my name.

 

Gently, I fondle him, rolling his sack inside my hand and pulling a chorus of groans and curses from deep in his throat. He’s now fully hard, his tip leaking precum, leaving a trail of it on my forearm as I rotate my wrist.

 

I grip him at the base, but before I get a chance to travel up his length, I’m shifted, my back flat to the mattress, a forearm braced next to my face as Jake moves to hover over me. A curtain of fluffy white falls around us, shutting out the world and keeping the heat we’re generating trapped.

 

I never stop the movement of my hand in his pants, doing my best to wrap my fingers around him but, as always, never quite getting them to touch as I work him from root to tip.

 

The wicked sparkle that enters Jake’s bright green gaze is my only warning that the tables are about to turn.

 

From one blink to the next, his hand is under my hoodie and shirt, the flat of his calloused palm pressed to the skin below my navel then disappearing under the band of my BTU sweatpants and Joe Boxer candy cane boy shorts.

 

His long middle finger slides right into my slit, the wetness already there making it easy for him to glide across my clit in sure circles.

 

My back arches, shoulders blades pressing into the hammock, causing it to sway more, the muscles of my core straining as I try to follow his confident touch.

 

There’s no tease. He continues his southern trajectory, two fingers plunging inside me and scissoring, the heel of his palm pressing down on my clit.

 

Spiky hair tickles my cheek as Jake buries his face into the crook of my neck, lips placing a trail of kisses down the length.

 

“Jake.” I spear my hands into his dark hair and tug as my body undulates, my knees bending, feet braced until I’m in a full bridge pose, the clips of the hammock clink-clinking with each swing from left to right.

 

“How fast do you think I can make you come, baby?” he whispers against my skin.

 

My eyes fall closed, whether from the dirty promise or how close he already is to fulfilling it, I don’t know. Releasing him, I work my way under the tight compression of his shirt and rake my nails across his back as the first spark of pleasure blooms low in my core.

 

I bite my lip to hold in a moan. Our families may be entertaining themselves at my house, but with the way sound easily travels without any leaves on the trees, I’m not going to risk one of them overhearing should someone step outside.

 

His fingers move.

 

In.

 

Out.

 

Curling forward.

 

My eyes roll to the back of my skull as he does this thing with his wrist that has earned him the best glove save percentage in the whole NCAA, and I see stars that have nothing to do with the ones in the clear black sky above.

 

His mouth covers mine, swallowing down the pleasure spreading through my bloodstream like an electric current.

 

I collapse, boneless from both the intensity of my orgasm and the swiftness with which it came on.

 

Sure strokes of Jake’s tongue against mine ease me down until he sucks my bottom lip into his mouth, his teeth biting down, and I wrap my arms around his shoulders until his full weight settles on top of mine.

 

In the gap between my sweats, I feel his hard hot length, more precum leaking out onto my skin. For as insistently as his hockey stick is digging into my stomach, our kisses remain lazy.

 

We kiss.

 

And kiss some more.

 

The night is far from over.

 

Chapter 4

Jake

 

There is no sexier sight on earth than watching Jordan come undone in my arms. She doesn’t hold anything back. Has been that way since she decided to give in to us as…well, an us.

 

My dick is painfully hard, and whereas earlier I was afraid it might break off from the cold, now it very well might if it doesn’t bury itself inside Jordan’s tight body.

 

I could lie and say I didn’t think this would be a possibility when I invited her over tonight (I’m a twenty-one-year-old man—sex is always on my mind), but I just didn’t expect we would try to get jiggy with it at the risk of some of our favorite parts getting frostbite.

 

Okay…I can admit that’s a little dramatic. It’s barely under freezing, and the heaters I set out and the thick comforter covering us are more than enough to make sure we can comfortably spend a few hours in the place where we first fell in love.

 

Still…

 

A hammock isn’t the spot for any type of athletic nookie, not without risk of the whole thing folding in like a taco with us as the filling.

 

Swinging my hips back to make room for my erection that just won’t quit, I drop down to my side, hooking an arm around Jordan’s middle and maneuvering her until she’s spooned against me.

 

Her long blonde hair is down, and I nose it out of the way to kiss the back of her neck, knowing how much she loves when I do. On cue, she pops her hips back, the curve of her gorgeous ass grinding against my hard-on, and I groan, the sound echoing in the night.

 

Her head tips back, granting me better access. I inhale deeply, catching that hint of chlorine she can never get rid of lingering beneath the sweetness of her skin as I follow the delicate curve of her neck.

 

With an elbow, I adjust our covers until we’re fully cocooned again, more than happy to disappear with my favorite girl.

 

“Jake,” Jordan murmurs on a sigh.

 

“Yeah, baby?” I flatten a palm over her stomach, my hand spanning the width of her torso, accentuating our size difference.

 

“Stuff my stocking already.” She punctuates the ridiculous statement with a roll of her hips.

 

Fuck me I love this woman more than words can say.

 

Bending my wrist, I slip underneath the elastic of her underwear, pushing them over the curve of her hip and the bubble of her butt until they rest at the top of her thighs, her warm wet center facing me without restriction.

 

Her skin is soft as silk from all the lotion she uses to combat the amount of time she spends in the pool, and I can’t touch it enough. Her muscles quiver under my fingers, and I press a kiss to the soft spot behind her ear, breathing in vanilla and coconut while I line myself up with her entrance.

 

With shallow thrusts, I do my best to work my way inside her body. The evidence from her earlier orgasm eases my way slightly, but with her legs in a stacked position and the general smallness of her stature, it takes some time until I’m seated to the hilt.

 

I bend the elbow of the arm trapped beneath Jordan and work it under the layers of her shirts, pushing the stretchy band of her sports bra up until her breast fills my palm.

 

I thumb and pluck at her erect nipple and use my other hand on her clit again. It’s swollen and pulses under my ministrations.

 

Using the momentum of the hammock, I rock my hips back and forth. We whisper words of encouragement, of pleasure.

 

We give and we take.

 

We simply love…in every way possible.

 

Our lovemaking is slow, so slow it’s almost lazy, but it’s nothing less than intense.

 

Pleasure shoots up my spine, and I increase the pressure and speed on Jordan’s bundle of nerves, alternating which finger works her.

 

Left then right.

 

Push. Push.

 

The walls of her pussy start to ripple. “I love you, baby,” I whisper in her ear before pulling her lobe into my mouth. As my teeth bite down around the small stud pierced through it, she falls apart, her pussy tightening like a vice around my dick and milking my own release from me.

 

“Jake.” She sighs my name while I keep my arms banded around her, our bodies remaining connected in the most intimate way.

 

“I know, baby.” She doesn’t need to say the words for me to know what she’s thinking.

 

Eventually I slip from her heat, adjusting her clothes first then my own, before repositioning us to snuggle the way we were when we first climbed into the hammock.

 

“We can’t fall asleep,” Jordan mumbles, the words coming out slow and heavy, sounding like she’s already halfway there despite her declaration.

 

I laugh and kiss the top of her head, thinking back to the first time we ever did so. “We do have quite the track record.”

 

She yawns, that adorable squeak she always does punctuating the action. “Yes, but it’s not kindergarteners I’m worried about…it’s hypothermia.”

 

“Let’s go inside.” I give her a nudge, sitting up and swinging my legs off the side of the hammock then reaching for our boots. “I wanna give you your Christmas present now anyway.”

 

Her golden eyes flash and she jackknifes up, every ounce of languid satiation gone and replaced by girlish excitement.

 

I brace my feet on the ground to help minimize the swaying and make it easier for Jordan to slip her Uggs on, but she still manages to fall backward from rushing not once, but twice.

 

Once done, she barrel-rolls off the hammock, bouncing on the balls of her feet as she tells me to “Hurry up.”

 

Because I can, and because the little frustrated growl she does in the back of her throat whenever she gets impatient is the cutest thing ever, I make sure to turn off the heaters before making my way to her.

 

The narrowing of her hazel eyes as I link my hand with hers tells me what she thinks of my delay, but I’m one of the few people who can get away with pushing her buttons without consequence—well, without much of one anyway.

 

Both the gas fireplace and the Christmas tree are lit up when we enter the living room; this was all part of my plans for the evening.

 

Choosing a spot on the side of the tree closest to the fireplace, I lower myself down and sit cross-legged on the floor, pulling Jordan down to sit in the cradle of my legs, her back resting against my front.

 

With a kiss on her temple, I stretch forward and grab the long skinny box wrapped in Transformers paper. Again her eyes light up upon seeing I used one of our private jokes.

 

“Bumblebee, not Optimus?” Her lips kick up in a smirk at the mention of the leader of the famous franchise.

 

“I consider all the Autobots my wingmen since one of the first things we bonded over was our mutual love of alien robots.” It was random, but I shamelessly used the fact that she has an Autobot emblem on her Corvette and my goalie mask is painted to look like Optimus Prime as evidence that we were meant to be together.

 

Thank God I don’t know how to quit, because my girl was stubborn as hell about handing me her heart.

 

“I didn’t bring your present with me.” She hesitates, her thumbnail under the edge of the wrapping.

 

“Doesn’t matter.” I cup her elbow and jiggle her arm. “Now stop stalling and open it.”

 

With one last glance over her shoulder, she rips off the paper. I hold my breath, the sound of the lid snapping open amplified by the nerves jumping in my gut.

 

There’s a gasp, and then Jordan is spinning around, her knees falling to either side of my hips as she shifts to straddle me, open jewelry box in one hand.

 

“Jake”—her eyes flit to the box then back to me—“this is…”

 

I watch her throat work with a swallow. It’s so rare to see her struggle to find words, and this reaction alone tells me how well I did with my gift.

 

I look down at the duel braided black leather bands: one with a rhinestone-encrusted #30, the other with a set of crossed sterling silver hockey sticks bookended by jeweled hearts. It’s simple yet classic with a hint of edge—perfect for Jordan.

 

“I know, baby.” I lift the bracelet out of the crushed velvet it’s resting on and pull the strings to tighten it around her wrist. I love the way she looks wearing my number, even in this girly manner.

 

“I love it.” Her beautiful face is lit up like the lights inside the Titans' arena.

 

“And I love you.” Her body melts into me, her arms looping around my neck, mouth covering mine.

 

“Merry Christmas, hotshot,” she says, never breaking the kiss.

 

“Merry Christmas, babe.”