Home > Van (Cold Fury Hockey #9)(9)

Van (Cold Fury Hockey #9)(9)
Author: Sawyer Bennett

The minute my knee rests on what I think is a solid purchase inside of the freezer and I start to pull myself up, the refrigerator door actually gets pried open. This is because my knee dips into the sealed groove above the door and the seal isn’t all that great.

The movement of the door opening causes a minor freak-out, including my other leg kicking out, causing the chair to skitter away. This causes the refrigerator door to open even more, and as I start to slip down, I instinctually—with very bad instincts, apparently—grasp on to the open freezer door to stop my fall. I’m not heavy by any means—just 125 pounds on my five-eight frame—but it’s apparently heavy enough to topple a fridge.

My instinct—which, yep, still fucking sucks—is to hold on tighter to the door. This does nothing to help me but certainly helps the fridge to lean forward.

Then it falls, with me underneath it.

I have visions of how my obituary would read.

Simone Fournier, age twenty-two, died when a mostly empty refrigerator/freezer combo crushed her to death as she foolishly tried to clean lasagna off the walls. She’s survived by the rest of her family, all of whom are inherently smarter than she is.

When I’m about three quarters of the way into the fall, the appliance coming at me fast, I manage to release the door and thud to the floor. I also manage to roll over, bringing my hands over my head as I prepare for death.

The resulting crash seems to shake the entire house, and the noise is so loud I’m sure someone will call 911 so they can remove my body before Lucas gets home.

But then I feel nothing, other than a sharp pain in my back where I think I landed on top of the cleaning spray bottle.

I hesitantly open my eyes and roll to look above me.

The refrigerator had apparently caught the kitchen table, which buckled under the crushing weight, collapsing two of the legs. The heavy wooden top caught the floor at an angle, and stopped the fridge inches from crushing me.

“What the ever-loving fuck?” I hear Van roar as he comes crashing into the kitchen.

My heart is still pounding madly from my near-death experience, but to prove the power of Van Turner and his magnificence, my brush with death is completely forgotten as I take him in.

I knew his body would be spectacular. Thickly muscled chest with a light dusting of hair that indicates he’s all man and not a boy. He’s breathing hard because I’m sure the crash scared the shit out of him, and that makes his abs contract inward as he exhales. I almost sigh at the ridges that are formed, but then I’m taking in the fact that his briefs are tight, and although he’s completely without any morning wood, he is still very well endowed in his natural state. My eyes even slip lower, taking in strong, powerful legs, and God…even his feet are hot.

My eyes move back up his body and there’s no doubt I woke him up from a sound sleep. His eyes are barely open, slightly glazed, and his hair is sticking up all over the place.

“Jesus Christ, Simone,” Van mutters as he drops to his knees to peer at me under the fridge lying atop the broken table. “Are you okay?”

“I think a spray bottle may have fractured my spine,” I groan as I try to roll over in the small space to get off it.

“Don’t fucking move,” he orders me, and I obey without question. “If you’ve got a spine injury—”

“I don’t,” I assure him as I start to wiggle.

“Stay the fuck still,” he bellows at me, his expression a mask of acute worry.

I go absolutely still, not because I have a broken back, but because as much as Van has yelled and cursed at me over the last few weeks, I’ve never heard him do so with a tinge of fear in his voice.

I watch mesmerized as every muscle in his body contracts and strains as he single-handedly pushes the refrigerator up and back into place. He immediately spins and drops back down beside me.

“Okay, do you hurt anywhere?” he asks as his eyes roam over me. I was so worried about Lucas this morning I didn’t even bother to wear something sexy. In fact, I’ve got a baggy Dartmouth T-shirt from a former boyfriend and a pair of sweatpants on.

“There’s a spray bottle under me,” I murmur. “Otherwise I’m completely fine.”

Van’s eyebrows draw inward. “A spray bottle?”

“I was trying to clean the top of the refrigerator and the wall behind it,” I explain, and because I know he’ll want the details, I continue. “I was trying to put my knee inside the freezer to haul myself up, and well…it’s a chain of events that led to me being down here on the floor.”

“Of all the fucking stupid idiotic things,” Van mutters under his breath as his arm slides under my shoulders to help me sit up.

“Your white knight skills suck,” I mutter back, not needing or appreciating the way in which he’s making me feel like shit.

“I’m not your white knight,” he says as he helps to pull me to my feet.

I wince as I straighten my back, knowing that there’s probably a bruise in the middle in the exact shape of a spray bottle.

“What’s wrong?” he says as he turns me around, and before I can even tell him, he’s pulling up the back of my T-shirt. He hisses slightly between his teeth and his fingers touch my skin ever so gently. “You’ve already got a bruise forming.”

My breath catches in my throat, not from the promise of a bruise, but just from that tiny touch of his fingertips to me. Feather light, but feeling like a wrecking ball, knocking the wind out of me.

I want more, and the part of Simone Fournier that is devious and plain trouble with a capital T says, “I think I might have cracked my ribs.”

“Where?” he asks with concern as he gently turns my body.

I have to keep the smile off my face as I pull my shirt up at the side and flat-out lie. “Here, on the side…and to the front. It hurts worse in the front.”

Van bends to peer at my ribs, his fingers tracing the skin there. I pull my shirt up higher in the front until the underside of my breast is exposed. I hold my breath as his fingers skim closer, but as I look down at him, his face is clinically worried as he looks for a broken rib or something.

He presses tentatively on my top rib just under my breast. “Does this hurt?”

Only between my legs, I think unabashedly.

I shake my head and whisper, “Maybe a little higher.”

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