A Very Merry Hockey Holiday

Page 10


“I love your no-filter ass.”
She smacked him playfully as they pulled into the arena. Shutting the car off, he got out and helped her out before slamming her door, pulling her into the crook of his arm.
“You look hot tonight,” he told her, giving her an exaggerated wink. “I think I need you to put out when we get home.”
She giggled, wrapping her arms around his waist. “With your mom and dad at the house? Please.”
“We’ve done it before.”
Her face turned red, and he knew it wasn’t from the cold. “Maybe.”
“No maybe about it,” he decided. “I’m going to do you against their door.”
She gasped. “You wouldn’t dare!”
“You wouldn’t stop me,” he challenged back.
Her grin told him everything he needed to know. She wouldn’t. And when she said that, his body went hot. His wife was still too hot to trot and drove him absolutely mad with lust. It was hard to stay off her most of the time, but she did have a job. And he did have to play hockey. Also, both of them had to be parents. He was pretty sure that Dimitri and Katarina wouldn’t want to see Mommy and Daddy having sex every five seconds. No matter how badly they wanted each other.
Kissing her temple, he closed his eyes and took in her scent. When he held her like this, cherishing her, he couldn’t help but think how he’d almost pushed her away. How he almost didn’t have everything he hadn’t known he needed, and when he thought about that, he hated himself. But then she would look up at him, her crystal blue eyes shining, her lips curved in such a sinful way, and he knew that she loved him. With her whole soul. And he loved her just as much, if not more.
“I love you, Piper.”
She grinned, moving her fingers through the hair on his jaw. “I love you too. Come on, it’s cold as hell.”
He chuckled as he reached for the door and headed inside. Once inside, the many kids greeted them and the festivities started. They had catered some BBQ, and Audrey had supplied the cupcakes along with a huge cake shaped like a hockey stick. When it was time for all the kids to get new equipment, Erik was swallowing back his tears. Moms were crying, kids were bursting at the seams with excitement, and wrapping paper was flying everywhere. He always cherished it when someone told him thank you or when they made a huge deal about something they’d gotten them.
He didn’t have it easy growing up. It was hard, especially after his brother, Jakob, left home. Instead of presents, he got his ass beat. Instead of a big holiday dinner, he usually ate Spam and crackers. It was hell, but he knew because of it, he was the man he was now. A good man who loved his wife and kids more than anything in the world and made sure they all knew that. But he would have time to spoil his family on Christmas.
It was time to spoil his hockey kiddos now.
When they all started opening the gifts that he and Piper had picked out, their faces were priceless and something he would always hold near to his heart.
Knowing that he brought some light to a kid’s Christmas when their home life wasn’t good was really the true meaning of the holiday.
With Dimitri and Katarina in their stroller, Erik pushed the kids through the Green Hills mall in search of Tiffany’s. He hated shopping, but they had to get something for Piper for Christmas. He was leaving in a few days for a short road trip before Christmas, and he wanted to make sure the kids got to help him pick something out. Getting rid of Piper and his parents was a feat, but he managed it. Now if Dimitri could stop throwing his sippy cup out of the stroller and Katarina could stop crying, life would be grand.
Stopping in front of a glass case, he could see that the girl behind the desk couldn’t agree more.
“Sir, can I help you?”
Erik nodded. “Yeah, I need a mom ring,” he barked as he hauled Katarina up into his arms. The wiggly one-year-old didn’t want to be held though and promptly smacked him in the head. “No, that’s not nice.”
“Not nice!” Dimitri yelled and Erik rolled his eyes. The kid was his own personal parrot. He copied anything and everything Erik said, and usually that got him in trouble.
Katarina’s little lip quivered, and then she wailed at the top of her lungs. Trying to soothe her, he looked back at the salesgirl and said, “Mom ring, August birthday and a July birthday.”
“Platinum, white gold, or gold?”
“Platinum, big stones, diamonds, and the prettiest you got.”
“Prettiest you got,” Dimitri said.
“Price limit?”
“There isn’t one,” he said, and when she smiled, he shot her one back.
Then Dimitri added, “There isn’t one.”
The girl gave Dimitri a sweet smile before walking away and Erik shook his head.
“You need to cut that out.”
“Cut it out.”
“No, you cut it out.”
“No, you cut it out.”
“You’re copying me.”
“You’re copying me!” he cheered before grinning extra big. Erik shook his head in disbelief just as Katarina dumped her drink down the front of his jacket.
“Lovely, my love.”
“My love!” was Dimitri’s comment, while Erik’s sweet baby shot him a little grin.
Chuckling, he decided it was lovely. She was his princess and Dimitri was his little dude. They both drove him insane, but they were his. Just as Piper was his too. Erik kissed Katarina’s cheek, and she cuddled into his neck as the girl brought back a few rings.