Home > Charming as Puck

Charming as Puck
Author: Pippa Grant

One

Nick Murphy (aka a hockey god on the verge of being demoted back to mortal status)

Kami stayed over. That’s weird. I must’ve drunk too much last night. Or she did.

Actually, is she still drunk?

She doesn’t usually lick my ear. Or sleep in my bed. We don’t do breakfast together unless it’s some god-awful early morning meeting demanded by my sister, in which case we pretend we’re just the same old friends who don’t bump uglies, because Felicity would fucking kill me.

However, risk of death aside, if Kami’s up for something this morning, I could get on board.

My dick’s already showing off.

My eyes are gritty. I definitely had too much to drink last night. I barely remember Kami showing up at all after the game. It was our season opener, at home, our first regular season game after winning the cup last year, and it was fucking brutal.

We won. Of course. But it was still brutal.

“Lower,” I tell Kami, my voice ragged in my throat, angling my head, because being licked is nice, but if she’s going to lick me, she could go for somewhere better than my ear.

“Mmmooooooooo,” she answers.

She licks my ear again, reaching the tip of her tongue right into my ear canal, and I lift a heavy arm to guide her face.

And then I freeze.

She’s…furry.

Like a smooth kind of furry, but still furry.

And I’m king of morning breath, but she smells worse than my sister after one of those vegan wheatgrass garlic avocado smoothies she likes to drink.

“Kami?” I rasp out.

“Mmmooooooo.”

I touch her lips, which are wet and sticky and thick.

My eyes fly open.

Kami has brown eyes.

The eyes staring back at me are brown.

Except these brown eyes are huge.

And set behind a thick fuzzy brown snout, beneath a rigid brow line, with ears sticking up where I expected to see morning bed head.

“Fuck!”

I trip over the tangled sheets while I leap up, my head swimming. The cow watches me with those calm brown orbs. “Mmmmoooooooo,” it says again in its baby cow voice.

Shit shit shit. “Ssshhhh,” I hiss at it.

I can’t decide what to think first. My head’s pounding. I’m going to fucking kill my brother-in-law, who is absolutely behind this, unless Kami’s a shapeshifting cow, which isn’t possible, even when I’m hung over.

Also, after the duck incident, if I get caught with another unapproved animal in my condo, I’ll get kicked out of the building.

I don’t have time to move. The season’s just starting. My parents would move me, but I’m thirty-one fucking years old. My parents aren’t going to move me.

Especially since if they did, they’d probably move me into their house, and that’s not happening.

I might be playing in my home city, but I will not move in with my parents.

I fumble in the dim light, looking for my phone. “Don’t shit in my bed,” I tell the cow. “I’ll get you out of here, just please don’t shit in my bed.”

My phone’s not where it belongs. It’s not by my bed. It’s not on my dresser. It’s not in the bathroom.

My pants.

Maybe it’s still in my pants.

Where are my—fuck.

My pants are under the cow. Which is still lying on my bed.

It moos at me again. I fist my hair and stare at it. “Get up,” I tell it.

It stares back.

It also doesn’t move.

Or moooooooove, I can hear my teammates saying.

This would be hilarious if it was anyone else’s apartment.

I grab one pant leg and pull. The cow sniffs at my dangling dick. I shift out of the way, because I’m not into getting my family jewels licked by a freaking baby farm animal.

I’d wonder where the fuck Ares found a baby cow, except I, too, know a thing or two about delivering unexpected livestock to apartment buildings.

And the fucker just one-upped me.

For a quiet dude, he’s fucking evil. He better never put a baby cow in Felicity’s bed or he’ll wake up strapped to the underside of an elephant halfway around the world.

I tug and pull on my pants, the cow gives an indignant baby moo, and finally, my jeans come free.

Without the phone in the pocket.

I press my palms into my eye sockets and think.

There was the game.

Vegas scored on me twice. We still won, because Ares and Frey and Lavoie were on fire, but I shouldn’t have let Vegas score. Not that second one anyway. The first—nobody could’ve stopped that biscuit. But the second was an easy shot to block, and I flubbed it.

I skipped Chester Green’s with the team afterward. Haven’t been in a mood to hang with the bunnies at the bar since charm school last season. Opened a bottle of Jack at home instead. Texted Kami because I shouldn’t drink alone.

She showed up with that wide, borderline innocent smile. I was buzzed. She teased me about it. Said she wouldn’t take advantage of me in my compromised state.

Turned on The Mighty Ducks.

I fucking love that movie.

I talked her out of her pants before the Ducks won their first game, and—and that’s where my phone is.

Next to the bottle of Jack I finished in the living room after Kami left.

The baby cow stares at me, those eyes bright and friendly and asking for love.

I trip into my jeans and head for the living room. The sun’s telling me I need to get my ass in gear and over to the rink for morning skate before long. I snag my phone off the end table by my leather sofa, and I don’t think twice as I dial a video call.

Kami’s soft brown eyes come into focus, along with that wide smile. Way smaller than the cow’s eyes. Sweeter too. She’s always sweet. “Morning, sunshine. You feeling okay today?”

“How do I get a cow out of my bed?”

She wrinkles her brows at me. She’s walking somewhere—the buildings behind her make me think she’s heading to her clinic—and her brown hair’s tied back in a ponytail that’s whipping in the wind. “A cow out of your bed?” she repeats.

I flip the camera on my phone so she can see forward and march into my bedroom, watching the screen while I center my bed and the cow for her. “Yeah. A fucking baby cow in my fucking bed.”

She nods thoughtfully. “Huh. That does appear to be a calf. Happy birthday to you too.”

“It’s not my fucking birthday. It’s a fucking prank. Can you take care of it?”

Her expression goes still. “Can I…what?”

“Get it out of my condo. It’s an animal. You’re an animal doctor.”

Silence.

Even her expression is silent, which is odd, because Kami’s expressions are always big and loud and…and expressive. Not because she’s loud. She just likes things.

She’s an optimist.

Yeah.

She’s an optimist. Cheery. She makes loud, happy faces.

Fuck, I need to quit drinking.

“I said, happy birthday to you too,” she says.

I squint at the phone. Since when does Kami talk in code? In the months we’ve been banging behind my sister’s back, the only code we’ve ever used is I’m calling it an early night.

Plus, this is hardly the first time she’s gotten a call to take care of an animal at my place. Hell, half the team has her on speed dial.

Which might be my fault.

“I get it,” I say. “I deserve this after the donkey thing, but I have to get to morning skate, and we’re hopping a plane to New York after the game tonight, and I don’t want to come home to a dead baby cow. I’ll pay whatever it takes. But it—”

“Fine. Whatever. I’ll take care of it.”

I freeze.

I know that tone.

That’s pissed off woman tone. And yeah, it’s probably rude of me to call her first thing in the morning like this, but we’re friends. I’d help her get a cow out of her place if I had time, but during the season, it’s hockey first. Always.

“Thanks, Kami. I owe you one.”

“No, Nick. You owe me nothing. In fact, you can consider this a goodbye present. Because this little arrangement we have? It’s over. I’m done.”

She disconnects, and I’m left staring at my official Copper Valley Thrusters photo on the background of my phone.

I don’t know what just happened, but I have a feeling it’s worse than waking up with a baby cow.

Two

Kami Oakley, aka a birthday girl on the edge

Anger and I aren’t friends. I hate anger. It’s ugly and it’s vicious and it makes me do awful things.

Things like stalking into Nick Murphy’s apartment with specially formulated calf grains and hay when I’m supposed to be giving Mrs. Okeson’s new kittens their first exam and checking on Mr. Wilder’s elderly boxer-lab with the failing kidneys.

I know, I know. Anger wouldn’t inspire most people to haul calf grains.

But anger has inspired the stalking. With extra-heavy pounding of my feet against the fancy carpet. And some flaring of my nostrils. And that thick wad of crumpled, frozen dreams clogging my chest.

I like to think I usually stride happily. With a bounce. And a smile.

Today, it’s all foot-slaps and scowls and what the hell have I been thinking?

And as I shove my key into his lock, I’m listening to my phone ring a number that anger has also inspired me to call.

Because I’m done.

Just so damn done.

“Muff Matchers, how can we match your muff today?” my cousin says cheerfully while I push into Nick’s condo.

“Muffy, it’s Kami. I need you to find me a husband.”

There’s silence, both on the phone and in the apartment, where a brown calf is blending in with the leather sofa across from the hockey-man-size television hanging on the wall over the gas fireplace.

And she is utterly, perfectly adorable.

“Kami as in Kami Oakley? My cousin Kami? The Kami who already told everyone to save the date for her wedding to Nick Murphy this Christmas?” Muffy asks.

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