by Helena Hunting
Book 6 in the Pucked series
As an NHL player, relationships haven’t been my thing.
Shrouded in secrecy and speculation, they never last very long. But then that’s what happens when you require an NDA before the first date.
Until Charlene. She’s like a firefly. She’s elusive, and if you catch her she’ll burn bright, but keeping her trapped dulls her fire and dims her beauty.
I caught her. And as much as I might want to keep her, I’ll never put the lid on her jar. Not at the risk of losing her. So I've let her set the rules in our relationship.
But as long hidden secrets expose us both, I discover exactly how fragile Charlene is, and how much I need her.
We’re all broken. We’re all messed up. Some more than others. Me more than most.
Pucked Love is the sixth and final book in Helena Hunting's Pucked series. It's star couple is Charlene and Darren. For two years, Darren and Charlene have been together - but not. In fear of scaring her off, Darren has let Charlene take the lead in their relationship. But as long hidden secrets are exposed on both sides, and many questions are answered, can Darren hold onto a fearful Charlene?
FINALLY! After all the teasing Helena has done in regards to this couple, we finally get answers. I should have known she was intentionally misleading her readers into thinking their relationship was one thing, when really, it was much more interesting than that. For several books now, we are led to believe that their relationship is one entailing BDSM. Which would be different from the other books, but not so unusual. Instead Helena writes something totally different, and I liked it. It was definitely one of the more unique romances I have read. And while Charlene and Darren's chemistry isn't as hot as Randy and Lily's (which I think they are the pinnacle of this series), theirs is a comfortable chemistry. Not intense, but not inexistent. In the end, all the weirdness around their relationship makes sense, and their slow burning desire for more, surrounded by their paired off friends, felt real.
I think Pucked Love is a good ending to this series. All the couples have been paired up. All questions have been answered. Everyone is happy. And while this series has some lows for me, I do think if you are looking for a fun, romantic read, and love sports romances, Pucked is a great series to dive into.
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He appears in the doorway, expression unreadable as he tosses my phone on the bed and then climbs up after it.
Darren: “You have a thousand messages from Violet. She’d like to know if you’re being kept in my lair and if so, do you have a cage, or are you allowed to sleep in my bed.”
He straddles me, eyes dark as he leans down, fingers sliding into my hair at the nape of my neck. His lips ghost over mine.
Darren: “Feel free to answer that however you like.” Violet: “Okay. Who needs a drink before the sex-quisition?”
Sunny: “The what?”
Violet: “The sex-quisition. The sex inquisition. I’m sure everyone has questions for Charlene after last night. I figured nothing goes better with uncomfortable questions about our sex lives than booze! Violet: “It should be themed! We can all wear leather chaps!”
Charlene: “Could you be any more cliché?”
I roll my eyes.
Charlene: “Just to be clear, Darren doesn’t own chaps.”
Violet: “Just a ball gag and a mask with no eye holes, according to Alex.”
Sunny: “Wouldn’t a mask with no eyeholes be dangerous? You wouldn’t be able to see where you’re going.”
Her eyes widen, and she looks around the room.
Sunny: “And what’s a ball gag?”
Violet: “Yeah, Char, wouldn’t a mask with no eyeholes be dangerous?”
Violet props her fist on her chin and smiles.
Violet: “And please, do explain what a ball gag is.” Sunny: “Anyway, back to Miller’s thing.”
Sunny wiggles around excitedly in her chair.
Sunny: “So Miller paints my toenails for me.”
Violet: “Miller’s thing is painting your toenails?”
Sunny: “Yes. Well, no. I think he likes my toes.”
Her fingers go to her lips, and she looks around the room, her cheeks flushing.
Violet: “Say what now?”
Sunny: ”Sometimes he kisses them.”
She covers her mouth with her palm and says something unintelligible. Violet sits forward in her chair.
Violet: “Hold on a second, does Buck have a foot fetish?”
Sunny: “Um, I don’t know.”
Sunny looks worried now.
Sunny: “Is that weird? Is it, like, mask with no eyeholes kind of weird?” Sunny: “Wouldn’t it be hard to talk?”
Lily: “I think that’s kind of the point.”
Sunny looks from the phone to me and back to the phone.
Sunny: “But . . . why?”
Violet: “So no one can hear her scream.”
Violet’s grin is evil. Sometimes the most broken souls find each other, as if their missing pieces exist in another person. Alex: “You don’t have to get all yellow flowers.”
Alex: “The flowers—when you buy them for Charlene, they don’t all have to be yellow. And, stay away from yellow roses. They mean friendship.”
Darren: “How do you know this?”
Darren: “Maybe you should come with me.”
Alex claps me on the shoulder.
Alex: “You can buy flowers for your girlfriend, Darren. Just tell the sales girl what you’re looking for, and she’ll be able to help you out.”
Darren: “So tell her my girlfriend’s favorite color is yellow?”
Alex: “And that you want to convey you like her for more than her ability to be a jizz depository.”
I’m not sure what my expression must be, but he tacks on.
Alex: “Don’t say that last part to the sales girl.”
Darren: “I’m relationship-stunted, not a social idiot.” Alex: "I’m just saying, as long as it’s consensual and everyone’s enjoying themselves, I don’t give a shit what you two do. But if you want to take this relationship to the next level, and I’m pretty sure you do, then you need to make it clear it’s not limited to orgasms. So let Charlene initiate.”
Darren: “She only does that when she’s wearing leather.”
Alex blows out a breath.
Alex: “I did not need that information. I’m getting out of the car. Go buy your girlfriend some flowers and chocolate.” Would I marry Charlene? The institution as a whole doesn’t mean much to me. It’s one’s actions that dictate devotion. Words mean nothing if there’s no conviction behind them. Mask Guy: “So that’s your mom, huh?”
He inclines his head in her direction. She’s using eyelash glue to attach a mask to her face. All it covers is the area around her eyes, so it’s not particularly great at concealing her identity. I’d like to point this detail out to her, but there are currently too many people here.
I bring my mug to my lips and blow. Later I’m drinking wine, or shots. Right now I’m trying to calm myself with chamomile.
Mask Guy: “Do you ever tag team?”
I choke on a mouthful of hot tea and cough, trying to clear my airway. I set my mug on the counter as Mask Guy slaps me on the back. But when I keep coughing, he starts the Heimlich on me, and several flashes go off.
Charlene: “Stop! Please don’t touch me,”
I yell at both the photographer and the mask guy as I smack at his hands. He releases me and drops to all fours.
Mask Guy: “I’m prepared to accept my punishment, mistress daughter.”
I flail around.
Charlene: “Mom! Can you come deal with this?”
This is way more than any daughter should have to handle when her mom comes for a visit. Sunny raises her hand as soon as she’s gone.
Sunny: “Um, what does your mom do for a living?”
Usually I say she’s in the entertainment business, which is kind of true.
Charlene: “She’s a Dominatrix.”
Sunny: “So what does she do, exactly?”
Sunny wraps her hair around her finger.
Charlene: “Basically she bosses men around until they have an orgasm.”
That’s not totally accurate, but for the sake of simplicity, it works.
Charlene: “I’m going to have a glass of wine. Anyone else feel like a glass of wine? Or some shots? We could do shots.” Miller: “Run, beige ladies! You’re free! Run while you can!” The nickname makes me want to cry because I finally understand what it means. I’m his firefly. The one he wants to catch and keep, but can’t. Darren: “I waited my entire adult life for you to come along and make sense of my world. I’m prepared to wait as long as I need to for you to accept that.” Darren: “The money doesn’t mean anything, Charlene. Nothing means anything without you. I want you however you come—broken, messed up, in leather, lace, satin, cotton pajamas . . . However you are, it’s just you I want.” Darren: “For all the years you spent with no doors or privacy, I spent the same amount of time locked away from the world. Love and dependency were imprisonment.”
She lifts her gaze.
Charlene: “I’m afraid to be trapped again.”
Darren: “I’ll never put the lid on your jar.”