There’s a moment between sleeping and dreaming when you’re unsure which is which. Part of a dream always tries to follow you back to the real world. Nicole’s brain fired but her eyes didn’t open, clinging to the last foggy tendril of whatever she’d been thinking.
It took a moment to remember where she was, and why. And what was wrapped around her, seeping warmth into the full length of her back and legs. It was like a heat wrap at a spa that tried to pull Nicole right back into slumber. The heavy, drowsy weight in the soft, cozy confines of bed - it certainly felt like a dream to her.
Just like that, Nicole was awake. The tiny movement of his body and Nicole realized that Viktor was very aroused. His breathing caught slightly as the curve of her ass moved against his erection and he pulled her in closer. A quiet half-moan slipped from his lips as his hard on pressed tighter. She tried to be still, but like a bear waking from hibernation, Viktor was stirring. His hormones were awake first; his hips found they liked the idea of grinding against her very much. Twice, three times - she was wearing only thin cotton panties, dark pink with white lace trim. They wouldn’t last long at this rate.
His huge hand freed itself from underneath her side and glided down. As he reached a handful of her outer thigh, Viktor finally came to.
“Morning,” he mumbled in a gravelly voice. The immense strength of his lower body was already engaged; he couldn’t have stopped himself. Instead his fingers dented her leg, holding on, while he pushed the length of his hardening shaft against her again. Nicole’s body gave in all the right ways.
“Mmmmmm,” he managed. Viktor woke up horny a lot. There wasn’t often a sexy body to complete the picture. From the moment he’d asked her to be here, and the instant he’d seen her asleep between his sheets, Viktor knew he wouldn’t let another opportunity pass. Nicole’s stomach did a flip as his grip gathered under her panties, the back of his fingers grazing the bare skin of her ass.
“I missed you,” he said in that same rough sound. Viktor gently moved his hand between them, cupping her backside, tracing the arc of her form. The second stroke was lower still, and the third slipped his two longest fingers between her legs.
“Missed you too.” The words came out a whisper. Two thick fingertips pushed forward along her slit, over the thin cotton, then dragged slowly back. She was wet instantly, heart racing beneath the flimsy t-shirt that was her only other clothing. As she parted her thighs and his hand disappeared between, his throbbing erection nestled again into her soft body.
“Baby,” he said. The wisp of material was quickly soaked, moisture warm against his skin. Feeling her desire made his head swim. If she’d been thinking about him the way he’d been thinking about her, there was no stopping them.
Nicole nearly blacked out as Viktor worked her panties down. She wiggled free of the t-shirt and dropped it over the edge of the bed. The friction of his bare chest against her back only heightened all the other sensations. Viktor kissed her neck and rubbed his fingers over her bare slit.
“God,” she gasped. He pushed up, one long, thick finger penetrating her. On the next dip there were two.
Viktor groaned in anticipation - her hot, tight body was squeezing him. The idea of mining that shaft for real made his cock throb painfully. He twisted in the bed, never taking his hand from her body, and reached into the bedside drawer. Nicole lay still, letting him explore her.
“I want to....”
“Yes,” she said quickly.
He needed both hands but worked quickly to open the condom and unroll it, hissing at the pressure along his shaft. She stayed on her side, allowing Viktor to fit himself in behind her again. Only this time, she spread her legs and let his cock push along the groove. On the third stroke, Nicole tilted her hips so his tip caught her entrance, almost crossing the line before popping free at the last moment. It was a delicious tease.
Viktor turned her face back over her shoulder. He looked into her eyes for the first time in over two weeks as he pushed himself between her folds.
Nicole moaned and her head fell forward. Viktor lost focus too, every nerve ending firing with the delicious, debaucherous squeeze of her pussy. He gritted his teeth and screwed himself in up to the hilt.
“Nicole,” he said quietly.
“Mmmmmm,” was the best she could do. As wet as she’d been it was still like twisting a cork into a bottle. Her body needed a moment to adjust to being so thoroughly taken. She shifted along his length, barely, and let her body feel it out.
“Okay?” he kissed against her ear.
On his side, with one arm under her head, Viktor began rocking gently. It was more up and in than in and out from this angle, but it felt just as good. Her hot, swollen core took him again and again until he fastened a hand onto her hip and held her right where he wanted.
“You feel so good,” he told her bare shoulder.
Nicole was already seeing stars. It was greedy and selfish but he just felt so fucking incredible - she dragged his hand from her side toward her clit. Viktor saw the pass coming all the way. The same fingers that first entered her now circled gently over her little pearl.
“Fuck,” she didn’t even hear herself say.
Viktor felt her tighten like a screw with each hard swipe against her hot button. He timed the strokes to match his thrusts, pushing her up and down like a flag on a pole. It was quickly working for him as well. The flutter inside her stomach pulsed all the way down his shaft; he rubbed harder.
Viktor against her back was enough to make Nicole come. Sleeping his arms, his breath hot against her neck, the rise and fall of his massive chest - any of these things would have done it. Put them together, add his sweet, reassuring presence and let him have his way with her in bed - that seemed like a lovely, inescapable way to die. Which is what Nicole was doing.
She moaned. Viktor was making short strokes across her clit, responding to every flinch and gasp, while still forcing her body open on every swing of his hips. She turned her head. When his mouth drew down hot and needy against the pulse in her neck, Nicole came.
Like water through a drain, the bottom fell away. It broke between her hips and zipped through every vein, mapping her body. Her stomach fluttered and rolled, pushing more and more sparks into her system until finally the whole thing flared at once. She cried out and clamped down, then went weak.
Viktor almost made it to the end. The final clench of her pussy against his pounding cock ripped the orgasm right out of him. He pumped hard, what seemed to be a hot burst for every night he’d been gone, since he’d missed the chance to have this perfect body wipe him out before hockey could do it instead. Throbbing and grunting, Viktor finally emptied so hard that the last thrust hurt.
“I’m sorry I waited,” he panted. Nicole was beneath him, slumped over as he leaned across her back. Viktor moved one hand to cup her breast, feet her heart jump behind her ribs.
She giggled. Her whole body jostled slightly, still joined to his, and if Viktor had anything left he’d have been hard again already. Instead he just lay still.
Thank God, Viktor thought as he closed his eyes.
There was always a little fear. Anytime someone new came into his life, into his bed, Viktor wondered right up until the deed was done if he would feel it - that spark - with this girl. Then he’d been with Fiona, convinced that was the strongest connection of all, and it had failed spectacularly. A part of him worried that she hadn’t really shared the pleasure of their single night together. She seemed to, at the time. And she and Jon were right for each other. But nothing like getting turned down to rattle a guy’s confidence. Viktor pressed his lips to Nicole’s bare skin and sighed with relief. Nicole felt it too, he was sure.
They stayed in bed for a long time, at first just resting and then talking, laughing. Viktor told her about some of the pranks his teammates had pulled, Nicole told him a few embarrassing college stories. She was careful not to mention other guys - there was no way she was thinking about anyone other than him.
Laying beside Viktor was like standing in front of an open bank vault. There was just so much of... everything. Everywhere. Nowhere was safe to look. His eyes were sage green, almost gray, as they looked up from where he lay on his back, casually exhibiting the biggest bicep Nicole had ever seen in real life. She brushed a few long-ish pieces of hair back from his forehead. The Cupid’s Bow curve of his upper lip never disappeared, even when he smiled. Which he did when she traced her hand along his square jaw. Nicole couldn’t even think about the rest of him where it disappeared beneath the sheets.
In the middle of a story about trying to sneak a keg into the dorm, Viktor tipped his face up and kissed Nicole’s lips. One of her hands was pushed up into her stick-straight hair, making it poof at the top of her head. It was probably as bed head as she ever got, and he didn’t want to ruin it, but he couldn’t keep his hands from moving toward her neck and pulling her down to his mouth.
There was a lot of kissing that morning. Eventually what had woken them in the night wore away and they fell back to sleep, wrapped up together.
Sometime later, Viktor was surely still dreaming when he woke to the sensation of Nicole moving next to him... no, on top of him. Blinking his eyes open quickly proved him wrong. She was straddled across his lap, his cock pushed flat along his stomach and her groove dragging lightly against his skin as she slowly rolled her hips.
His instinct was to laugh at how unbelievable it was. Except he believed it.
Nicole reached for the drawer, almost falling off Viktor’s body in the process. He righted her and easily grabbed a condom, which Nicole snatched from his hand. She arched an eyebrow and gave him a sexy grin. Three seconds later, the smile was replaced by a ragged breath through parted lips. Nicole rolled her head back, hair spilling behind.
Viktor helped himself to her breasts, which bounced as she worked her way down his cock. When she was settled in his lap, Nicole looked at him.
“Were you going to wake me up?” he chuckled in disbelief. This was Maxim territory, waking a guy up by starting without out. Nicole shrugged and flicked her hips, giving him a swift tug. He gasped.
“Not necessarily,” she said coyly.
“I could still be dreaming,” he admitted.
Nicole moved her hips again, then in another way. It only took her a moment to find the angle she wanted. Before she could manage a comeback, she was riding him at a steady pace. Viktor squeezed his glutes and quads and lifted her, making her cry out. He waited a moment then did it again, tweaking her nipple at the same time.
“OhmyGod,” she purred.
Just like that, they were moving together. He gave as good as he got, Nicole made no secret of loving the sight of such a perfect physique between her legs. Viktor’s size was more manageable from on top and gave her more room to maneuver. His hands beneath her ass helped.
Viktor waited for the moment that Nicole leaned down for a kiss. His arms slipped around her back and he rolled quickly, pinning her to the mattress in a single movement.
“Oofoooooooh!” It started as a squeak and became a moan as Viktor bottomed out inside her deepest place.
He liked sex the good, old-fashioned way. Not that Viktor was boring, but he liked to look into a girl’s eyes and see her enjoying it as much as he was. He saw all her secrets that way.
“You’re staring,” she said quietly, knowing she was staring right back.
“I’m trying to learn you,” he admitted. Then he did that deep stroke he knew she liked.
“God in heaven,” she said jokingly and kissed him again.
When she came, shuddering in his arms, Viktor tried to memorize how it felt for her, so he’d know how to make it better. Then he showed her just how good it was for him. Finally they were tangled and spent.
“A-plus,” she mumbled, face smooshed against his shoulder.
Nicole couldn’t quite walk straight. She’d spent the better part of two days in Viktor’s bed and it wasn’t the laying down that had her feeling unsteady. It was a good thing she’d taken an extra day off from work. She held onto the dresser in her room as she pushed a foot into her sneaker. Then she checked her reflection - dark jeans, a red and white striped sweater for the occasion. A little makeup and a comb through her hair - ta da.
“As good as it gets,” she said.
“Gorgeous,” Viktor said from somewhere out of sight.
In fact he was in the living room, feet up on her coffee table and looking through a printed album of digital photos, the kind someone makes as a gift. It was Nicole in college. He saw scenes that would play out of the stories he’d heard during their little camp out.
“Ready,” she appeared at the arm of the couch. Viktor looked up and reconsidered ever leaving the house again. Nicole made a face. “Come on, I need a break!”
When they reached the restaurant, Viktor laced his hand into hers before pushing open the door.
They were among the last to arrive. People were mingling at the bar beneath red and white balloons, sipping daytime cocktails. Red paper hearts and accordion signs splayed “Happy Valentine’s Day” all over the dining area.
“Hey guys!” Abby detached herself from the more famous Sharp and greeted them with hugs. They were quickly swallowed into the crowd, Viktor introducing Nicole to the male half of every couple. The women she mostly knew already.
Nicole plastered a grin to her face and said hello to an endless stream of recognizable faces. It was a bit overwhelming - she sometimes forgot that Viktor was a member of her lifelong favorite hockey team. He just seemed so... normal. This though, this was a shooting gallery of names she’d cheered out loud. Turning left to say another canned pleasantry, Brent Seabrook grabbed her right out of Viktor’s reach and swung her around.
“Happy Valentine’s Day, Nicole!”
“Oof!” she bumped off his large, very sturdy chest as he tried to halt their movement. “What did you eat all the cupcakes already?”
He pushed a hand through that forest of hair and laughed. “You’re the sugar here, darlin’.”
Finally they reached the bar, having met everyone in the place, and Nicole ordered a Shirley Temple.
“That’s it?” Viktor asked.
She let her eyes roll slowly down his body. He wore a black v-neck sweater with jeans, and if he moved suddenly the seems would race to split. The color complemented his almost-olive skin tone and dark blond hair, making his eyelashes stand out even more impossibly than usual. To top it off, he was wearing some cologne that smelled like sex rolled in money. Nicole leaned a little closer.
“I don’t trust myself,” she whispered.
Viktor blushed. He dipped his chin, got all dimple-y and his hair flopped forward.
Great big teddy bear. She wrapped her arms around his waist and kissed his cheek.
“This place has a back room,” he breathed against her ear.
Nicole pretended to be scandalized. “How do you know?”
Viktor glanced around. “Kaner’s missing.”
Abby and a few of the women begged a moment of Nicole’s time to put the finishing touches of the desserts. She followed them into the kitchen and stopped dead in her tracks.
Food was everywhere. The restaurant staff were hard at work plating forty-plus first courses, which smelled like butter and seafood. It was like walking into a delicious wall. Abby took Nicole’s elbow.
“Wait till you see these guys eat. You’ll barely get a bite if you’re not quick.”
“You guys do this every year?”
Abby nodded. “If they’re home, we do it on Valentine’s Day. If they’re on the road, when they get back. These guys don’t do desks and calendars and stuff. If it’s not the All-Star Break, they have no idea what day it is. This way no one has to make Valentine’s Day plans, or can say they forgot.”
“Always in the afternoon?” Nicole glanced back at what was sure to be a full dinner served at 1 PM.
“Some guys don’t forget. Later is for alone time, another precious commodity.”
The prep kitchen was filled with desserts. Knock out the back wall and it could have been a profitable bakery. Nicole helped unpack cupcakes and arrange brownies on a platter - apparently the wives and girlfriends preferred to bring in their favorite deserts from elsewhere.
“If you’re going to binge, make it count,” Julia Bolland said.
Finished with their only duty for the day, the ladies returned to the dining room just in time for the last of the players to arrive. Not late, he was never late. Just exactly on time.
Nicole heard the voice and knew there was only one Blackhawk she hadn’t met yet. Then a softly accented voice followed.
Viktor’s arm slipped into Nicole’s side - he was behind her, chest to her shoulder. Strangely it felt as if he meant to protect her, which she found absurd. If anything she should be protecting him from the woman who hurt him, and the man she did it for.
“Nicole, so glad you’re here!” Fiona bustled up and gave Nicole a short, tight hug. Her hand brushed Viktor’s chest as she reached around and all three of them flinched slightly. Then Jon appeared.
“Hi Vik,” he said, but he was looking right at Nicole.
And she was glued to the floor. If her shoes had melted she could no more have moved than when Jonathan Toews leveled that hundred-ton, brown-as-black gaze at her. His face was all boy but his eyes were intense. Viktor squeeze gently above her hip like he felt it too.
“You must be Nicole.”
“Hi.” It scraped like glass in her throat. His hand was out and she had to take it - it burned her palm as his long fingers slipped all the way up inside her wrist.
“Fiona told me all about you.” Jonathan smiled genuinely - it didn’t help. She managed a weak one in return. It wasn’t till his grip dropped away that she could draw a whole breath. Her heart was pounding.
Then Viktor was there, back in her consciousness, strong as an anchor at her side. Instantly the air cleared. Nicole leaned slightly, settling her weight against him.
“Nice to meet you too,” she said with more conviction.
Someone called to Jon. He stepped away, apologizing, then turned and looked back at Nicole. Just for a second. But that was all it took to jolt her system again.
For all of the calm Viktor brought, even when he should have made her head spin, Nicole had the exact opposite reaction to Jonathan. He looked at her like a predator would, staring down from the top of the food chain. And if Nicole wasn’t mistaken, Jon thought she looked particularly tasty.