Axel (Carolina Reapers 1) - Page 53

Listen Audio

His eyes narrowed slightly like he was unwilling to let go of the juicy little tidbit he was certain he’d discovered. “And what made you finally decide you were ready to leave Sweden? I know you’ve had multiple offers from the NHL over the last ten years. Can we at least thank the lovely Mrs. Nyström for getting you to Charleston?”

“Mrs. Pierce-Nyström,” I corrected him. God, I wished I could see her face, but she stood, staring out at the reporters as her job demanded. “If you know about the other offers, then you’ll also know that I’ve raised my younger brother since our parents died. The timing of the Reapers receiving the expansion bid coupled with my brother’s graduation from school and subsequent signing of his own SHL contract was fortuitous. But if you’re asking if it’s the people who drew me to the Reapers, then the answer is unequivocally yes.

“I came to Charleston for Archer Silas, who promised state-of-the-art safety equipment and a player-centered team. I came for Gage McPherson, whom I’ve known for a few years and who more than earned my respect as a player and now a coach. I came for my childhood best friend, Lukas Vestergaard, who needed his ego dropped a few notches because he’s entirely too pretty. Thankfully, we signed Logan Ward, too, so Lukas doesn’t have to hold that heavy title of most attractive.” Another rumble of laughter. “But the fact that the woman I’m in love with is also on the Reapers’ staff is absolutely what brought me here over any other city. Or have you never moved to be with a woman you’ve loved?”

The reporter blinked and flushed as more than a few others turned to look at him. Not all of their gazes were as kind as mine. He’d overstepped, and I had no issue putting him back in his damned place.

“Now, I’m not sure Langley got a good signing bonus on this contract, honestly.” I wiggled the finger that held my wedding ring. “You couldn’t pay me enough money to live with me. You know who else got the short end of that stick? Vestergaard’s wife, who has to deal with the two of us living next door to each other. We may as well be ten years old again.”

The press room rumbled again with laughter, and I quickly selected another reporter.

I answered another twenty minutes’ worth of questions before I left the dais with a wave. Usually Langley led the way, and I followed—which struck me now as indicative of the rest of our lives—but this time I took her soft hand in mine as we left the press room.

She paused at my side while I signed a few autographs in the large hallway, and then her hand was right back in mine as we walked to her office.

This was my favorite part after every home game. The score was recorded. Gear stored. Ice smoothed over for the next round. I’d showered off the sweat and left only the sweet taste of a win. Now we’d go home together and do something so utterly domestic I’d never believe an arena of twenty thousand fans had been screaming my name earlier.

Then I’d make Langley scream it for an audience of just me.

She closed her office door behind us and offered me a soft smile. “Inevitable versus certain?”

I shrugged and sat back against her desk, crossing my arms over my chest. “Guy was annoying me.”

She clicked the lock on her door and came toward me. “The other question?”

“The one about our marriage?” I asked as she stood between my outstretched legs and looped her arms around my neck.

“Yep. I’ve been afraid of that question since the moment I agreed to marry you.” She swallowed, looking up at me with so much emotion in her eyes that I felt my chest constrict.

I wrapped one hand around her waist and used the other to stroke the back of my fingers down the soft skin of her cheek. “You have?”

“I have. I’ve been terrified of watching my credibility slide down the drain. And you…” She shook her head as a slow smile spread across her beautiful face. “You took that question in stride like it was the least of your concerns.”

“It is.” I pressed my lips to her forehead. “Langley, I love you. Nothing I said in there was a lie. I’ve known you were mine from the day you walked into Lukas’s house. I left Sweden for you because for the first time since my parents died, I was allowed to ask myself what I wanted, not just what was best for Tage. He’s been my number one priority since I was sixteen. I’m twenty-nine years old and I’m just now able to think about what I see for my future. Who I see, and it’s you. Nothing I said in there was a lie. I’m never scared of a question that has such a truthful answer.”

Tags: Samantha Whiskey Carolina Reapers Romance