Hard Luck (St. Louis Mavericks #4) Read Online Brenda Rothert

Categories Genre: Angst, Romance, Sports Tags Authors: Series: St. Louis Mavericks Series by Brenda Rothert

Total pages in book: 73
Estimated words: 70518 (not accurate)
Estimated Reading Time in minutes: 353(@200wpm)___ 282(@250wpm)___ 235(@300wpm)

I grew up bleeding to survive, so getting paid to play the game of hockey is a life richer than I ever dreamed possible. I’ve got it all, or so I thought until meeting Lucy Cain. My teammate’s sexy sister is a ray of sunshine in my otherwise gray world. Though fighting on the ice is second nature to me, in Lucy I’ve discovered something I’ve never had before—someone worth fighting for. But will she still want me when she sees the beast inside?

I’m leaving my life behind. As soon as I get my brother back on his feet, I’ll start over in a little seaside town to escape the dark secret I discovered about my ex. My plan hits a roadblock, though—a six-foot, inked up Russian one. My brother’s teammate Konstantin is more likely to throw a punch than crack a smile, but once I slip beneath his stoic, steely façade, I never want to let him go. As my past closes in, though, Kon and I aren’t just fighting for our future, but for our lives.

*************FULL BOOK START HERE*************



My first time traveling by bus was probably going to be my last. Not only was it hot, the woman across the aisle from me had taken her socks and shoes off and the man in the seat next to mine had just whipped a container of leftovers out of his backpack.

“Mmm, beef and noodles,” he said, scarfing down his first mouthful. “Doesn’t even need to be heated up…oh, shit.”

The bus had hit a bump, causing him to spill his second bite all over the front of his shirt. As he scooped the noodles up with a paper towel, wadding it up and throwing it to the floor where it landed on my shoe, I closed my eyes. I kept telling myself to just breathe.

The downside was having beef and noodles on one of my new flats, but I had to remember that the upside was much bigger than that.

I was officially more than twenty hours away from Spokane, and I was never going back. Traveling by bus wasn’t my first choice, but it was the most low-key way to get out of the hell I inadvertently walked into a couple of months ago.

My bag buzzed with a notification on my phone. When I pulled it out, I saw a message from my older brother.

Sawyer: Hey, my teammate Kon is picking you up at the bus station. Here’s his contact info in case you need to reach him.

My stomach sank. It seemed like my intuition about my brother was right. It had been six months since his wife Annie died, and he was struggling to move forward. He’d always been an upbeat person who went out of his way to help others. Most of the time he didn’t even answer my calls anymore, and it was unlike him to send someone else to pick me up.

Hopefully he wasn’t pissed at me. I hadn’t asked him if I could come stay with him for a while; I’d texted him a few days ago that I was coming. Before I started over in a new place, I wanted to make sure my brother was okay. He hadn’t just lost Annie; he’d had to watch as cancer destroyed her body and stole her from those who loved her.

Cancer had taken everything it could from my sister-in-law, but she’d never conceded a single shred of her spirit. To the end, she’d been grateful for every moment of life and every person around her. Annie and I had been close. I missed her every day, and even though she wasn’t here for me to talk to anymore, I usually knew what she would say if she were.

Go pull Sawyer back into the land of the living. I could almost hear her sweet voice saying the words. Don’t take no for an answeryou know how stubborn he is.

“Hey, you got a knife by chance?” the man next to me asked.

I shook my head.

“Not like a knife knife,” he said. “They searched our bags so I know no one’s got a real one. But like a butter knife? Just something that can cut this?”

He held up a thick slice of ham and I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. My seatmate was basically pulling a Thanksgiving spread out of his backpack.

“Sorry, I’ve got nothing,” I said.

With a shrug, he bit a chunk off the ham. I looked away, grateful that I was changing buses in Chicago. From there, it was just a few more hours to my final destination—St. Louis.

I was looking forward to seeing my brother and dreading it in equal measure. It would be the first time I’d seen him since Annie’s funeral.

The week I’d spent at Sawyer’s then had been the hardest of my life. It broke my heart to see him grieving for Annie. My strong brother had been brought to his knees and there was nothing I could do about it. When I’d left him to return to Spokane, I’d assumed he’d slowly get better.

Maybe I was wrong, and he was doing better than I thought. Nothing would make me happier.

What he didn’t know, and I wasn’t yet ready to tell him, was that this might be the last time we saw each other for a long time.

I’d closed out my bank account and sold everything I owned in Spokane, including my car. When I left St. Louis, I was starting over somewhere new. Somewhere quiet and out of the way. Somewhere I hoped I’d be safe.

“Have you been to the Lou before?” the guy next to me for the Chicago to St. Louis bus ride asked.

He seemed nice enough, and he wasn’t tossing food onto my shoes, so I smiled and responded.

“A few times. My brother lives there.”

“Cool. I was visiting a buddy at the University of Chicago and now I’m heading back to school. St. Louis University. I’m Sam.”