The Magnum Model - Page 4

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I scribble the address of my townhouse and write ten o’clock on the bottom.

“I’ll take care of everything,” she says as she slips the paper into her bra. “And you enjoy your meal.”

“Thanks again,” I say as I take the magazine and open it with an excited grin on my face.

“My pleasure. Oh, and this season’s coats are on page one hundred and nineteen.”

My mouth drops as I turn to her, just in time to see her strutting through the restaurant with her shoulders back and with her chin in the air.

I frown as I flip over to the new coats and take a look.

I gotta be in style with Mr. Kielbasa coming to my studio tomorrow.

CHAPTER THREE

Cole

* * *

This fucker has no idea what’s about to hit him. He’s skating along the boards with the puck and I’m flying at him like a Mack truck.

I lower my shoulder, grit my teeth, and slam him into the boards with a grunt. He collapses to the ice and I keep going, snatching up the puck as I pick up speed.

Most of the guys in this league are in their twenties. The mix of raging testosterone with the intense frustration at not having made it in the NHL is a powerful driver that most of these boys have. I’m thirty-two and can still skate circles around them all. I had no desire to make it into the NHL but I have other frustrations that keep me going.

I deke around number twelve easily, but he’s been slow all night. Probably hungover.

The blades of my skates slice up the ice as I pump my legs forward, breaking away from the group. The defenders skate backward toward the goalie as I plan my move.

I fake to the left, which fools them both, and then spin around with the puck and go to the right.

The goalie’s left arm is too low. He’s about to regret that in a second.

I pull back my stick and slam it forward with a nasty grunt. It hits the puck with a devastating slapshot that sinks into the top left-hand corner of the net.

My teammates cheer as I skate over to the bench with a grin on my face.

The guy I bodychecked is holding his ribs as he stumbles over to his bench.

“Another hat trick!” my buddy Malcolm says with a slap on my shoulder.

I laugh, thinking I need to join a better league. If I can score three times in a game, then something is wrong here.

“Hey, Cole,” he says as we take a seat on the bench and let the other guys have a turn playing. They jump over the boards and skate onto the ice as I squeeze my water bottle into my mouth. “I need a favor from you.”

I give him the side-eye.

“You know I’m in love with Candice, right?”

“The girl with three boyfriends?” I ask with a shake of my head. “Or is it four?”

“It’s three,” he says in a sharp voice. “But she’s close to dumping one of them.”

I roll my eyes.

It doesn’t deter him at all. “I think if you do this favor then she’s going to pick me as her one and only.”

I look at him like he’s lost his damn mind, because in my view he has.

I guess I’m old-fashioned or something because I believe in one woman, one man. No deviations. No dating around. If you want to be with me, then be with me. That’s it. And if I want to be with you, then you can be damn sure I don’t want to be with anyone else. Ever.

“What, do you need me to help her move or something?” I ask between blasts of water.

“Not exactly,” he says nervously. “She needs you to model for a friend of hers. You’ll get paid for it!”

“Model?! Wow, now I really wish you would have asked me to help her move.”

“It will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” he says, his voice racing in his lawyer tone. “This woman is one of the top up-and-coming painters of our generation. And she wants to paint you! Do you know what this means?”

“Yeah, hours and hours of standing there bored out of my mind.”

“No! You might be in a museum one day.”

“Cole in a museum?” Ricardo says, eavesdropping. “Never going to happen. His dumb ass wouldn’t even be allowed inside to buy a ticket.”

“Shut up, Ricardo,” I mutter before turning back to my insane friend. “Why the hell would I want my portrait to be in a museum?”

“To be immortalized forever,” Malcolm says. “To be part of art, culture, the shared human experience expressed through art.”

“You’re going to have to do better than that.”

“You have nothing to do for the next three weeks,” he says. “You said it yourself! Your office is closed for renovations. Go in, model, and you’ll make some good money.”


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