by Elle Kennedy
Book 3 in the Briar U series
What I learned after last year’s distractions cost my hockey team our entire season?
No more screwing up. No more screwing, period. As the new team captain, I need a new philosophy: hockey and school now, women later. Which means that I, Hunter Davenport, am officially going celibate…no matter how hard that makes things.
But there’s nothing in the rulebook that says I can’t be friends with a woman. And I won’t lie—my new classmate Demi Davis is one cool chick. Her smart mouth is hot as hell, and so is the rest of her, but the fact that she’s got a boyfriend eliminates the temptation to touch her.
Except three months into our friendship, Demi is single and looking for a rebound.
And she’s making a play for me.
Avoiding her is impossible. We’re paired up on a yearlong school project, but I’m confident I can resist her. We’d never work, anyway. Our backgrounds are too different, our goals aren’t aligned, and her parents hate my guts.
Hooking up is a very bad idea. Now I just have to convince my body—and my heart.
RATED: 18+ CATEGORY: MOOD:
Steamy New Adult Sweet & HOT
TRIGGER WARNING: Suicide attempt
The Play is the third book in the Briar U series by Elle Kennedy, and centers around new Briar Hockey Captain, Hunter Davenport, and pre-med student Demi Davis. After the disastrous conclusion to last years hockey season, Hunter has made himself a vow. He blames his distractions on the loss, and therefore, the best way to eliminate the distractions, is to abstain. From sex that is. With the puck bunnies surrounding him, it's hard. Which is why when he is paired up with the gorgeous Demi for their Psych project, he is thrilled that she is happily in love with her childhood sweetheart. Zero temptation. That is, until she is single. And looking for a rebound. With him. Can she make a play that will change Hunter's mind on his celibacy vow? And if she does, will their friendship be ruined?
I loved The Play. I FRIGGIN' LOVED IT. In the other books, its nice that all these playboys end up falling hard for a lucky lady, but sometimes you have to wonder what drew them in in the first place. What makes the heroine THE ONE. In this one there is no question - Hunter befriends her, with NO intentions on sleeping with her. In combination with his vow, the only other women in his life are his roommate, who are all dating his friends. So no distractions. Before the vow, Hunter wouldn't have put in the time he would need to to develop a relationship, but because these two were friends first - voila. It makes sense. Their chemistry is undeniable - even when they were just friends. Besides this, the book felt unique, and boy was it fun. The Egg especially was a humorous addition to the story.
If you love a friends to lovers trope, that has lots of steam and humor, you will love The Play. Honestly, Hunter and Demi have the best chemistry, and their friendship makes everything that happens between them so much better.
Brenna teasing Hunter
The egg. OMG the egg.
The guys interrupting Conor having sex so he can "feed" Pablo
Hunter admitting to Demi that he jerked off to a fantasy of her
Mike Hollis announcing his entry to the party
Demi smashing Nico's playstation
Pablo getting his own instagram account
The misunderstanding with the police officer
Hunter telling Demi he loves her
Demi telling her parents she is with Hunter AND about her career choice
Hunter leaving the game to help Demi however he can
Demi telling Hunter she loves him
Jake: "Let me see 'em, Hottie. Just a peek." Brenna: "What is one of your teammates walks in?" Jake: "Then they'll be jealous of me till the end of time because I'm dating the sexiest woman in the world." Brenna: "Fine, I'll play. But only if you show me your dick." Jake: "Deal. You first ... aw, fuck, baby ... wait, maybe you should put the girls away - what if Hunter walks in? You said he was home." Brenna: "Oh, it's a non-issue. Hunter's a monk now. My bare boobs won't make an impact." From the kitchen, I finally release the growl stuck in my throat. I thought I was coming downstairs to grab some dinner before my study date with Demi David. Instead, I just spent the past five minutes listening to the most nauseating Skype session in the world. Hunter: "Yeah, I'm a monk." I holler at the doorway. Hunter: "Not a motherfucking eunuch!" I march into the living room without giving Brenna time to cover herself up. She doesn't deserve it. As a reward for enduring Brenna and Jake Connelly's video sexing, I deserve to see some boobs outside of porn. But Brenna is already shoving her shirt over her chest, so all I get it a teasing glimpse of reddish brown nipples before they disappear from view. Hunter: "Move over, you evil devil woman. Hey Connelly. Nice cock."
Brenna: "What's the matter? You forget how to move?" I offer a self-deprecating smile. Hunter: "Trust me, you don't want me to move." Brenna: "Why's that...? Ohhh. Because you're out of commission. Are you scared that if our bodies touch, you'll get aroused?" Hunter: "I already am aroused. Everything gets me aroused, Bee. The feel of the wind on my face gets me aroused. Bumping into a table gets me aroused." She throws her head back and laughs Brenna: "Oh, you really are in a state, aren't you?" I groan Hunter: "The worst kind." Brenna: "You poor thing." She grabs my hands and plants them on her hips, then loops her arms around my neck. Hunter: "Fucking hell, Jensen, let's not do this. Please." Brenna: "Aw, come on. What's a boner between friends?"
Hunter: "Let's just dance." Brenna: "You sure?" I nod miserably. Hunter: "Yeah, why not. What's a boner between friends, right?"
Hunter: "Doesn't mami mean mother?" Demi: "Well, yeah, that's the literal translation, but it's also a term of endearment. Mami, papi - it's like babe or sweetheart or whatever." Hunter: "Huh. Okay. I give you permission to start calling me Big Daddy, then." Demi: "Gross. Never."
Demi: "How long has it been for you?" Hunter: "Since I fucked someone?" Demi: "No, since you climbed Everest." Hunter: "April. So ... what's that ... five months?" Demi: "You poor monk! That's an eternity!" Hunter: "I know. It's awful, Semi. I miss sex." Demi: "I had sex last night." Hunter: "That's a cruel thing to say."
I wasn't kidding when I told Demi I wish that someone had consulted me about the girls moving into the townhouse. I have nothing against them, but I'm in college, dammit. I want to hang out with the guys. I'm not in the market for a girlfriend this year and there's no reason why I should know so much about eucalyptus facemasks and what kind of tampons everyone in my house uses. Also, Rupi's and Brenna's cycles somehow synced up so now they get their periods at the same time. They're really mean when that happens.
Foster: "Okay. It's been twenty-one minutes. He's either balls deep right now or she's got her mouth full. Either way, the dick is in play. I repeat, the dick is in play." Hunter: "You jackasses are the worst. As team captain, I should stop this." They all wait expectedly. A slow grin stretches my mouth. On the other hand, Conor gets so much action his ego could probably use some coitus interruptus. Hunter: "But I won't. Go ahead. Do it." Foster and Alex sprint up the narrow staircase. A moment later their heavy footsteps thus on the ceiling. Incessant pounding reverberates thought the house as their fists attack Conor's bedroom door. It sounds like a SWAT team breaking into a crack den. Foster: "Pablo's hungry!" Alec: "Feed me!" On the other end of the sofa, Matt is shuddering from laughter. An even louder commotion ensues. Angry cursing rings in the air, followed by frantic footsteps of two huge hockey players racing down the stairs. Conor is on their tail, bare-chested, barefoot, with a pair of plaid boxers haphazardly sagging off one hip. His blond hair sticks up and his lips are a bit swollen. Conor: "You fucking assholes." Foster: "What? Our pig needs his lunch. We have a pet, bro. Pet comes before pussy." Matt: "Pet before pussy." Gavin: "The wise words of Thomas Jefferson." Conor: "I fed him this morning." Foster glares Foster: "He eats three meals a day, you selfish jackass. Look at him - he's starving." I glance at the egg and his stupid face, then bury my own face in my hands and quiver in silent laughter. Text: Hunter: Fuck, wait, I texted for a reason. We still holding our session at the gym today? Demi: Yep. After I'm done with dinner. So around 8? Oh, and make sure you're wearing tight spandex pants so I can objectify you. Hunter: Obvs.
Hunter: "I miss blowjobs." The forlorn assertion triggers a burst of laughter from me, which nearly results in me tripping on the treadmill. It's been a week since we've seen each other, and obviously his monk status is still solidly intact. Demi: "I'm sorry to hear that." Hunter: "Don't apologize to me, apologize to my dick." Snorting, I dip my gaze south. Not gonna lie - his package is kind of impressive beneath his black track pants. I make a magnanimous gesture at his crotch. Demi: "I'm sincerely sorry for your recent troubles, Hunter's dick." Hunter's dick's owner nods soberly. Hunter: "He appreciates the sentiment."
Hunter: "I have a confession to make, but you have to promise not to be mad." Demi: "I will never promise that. Ever." Hunter: "Seriously?" Demi: "Seriously. Tell me at your own peril." Hunter: "Fine. I jerked off the other night -" Demi: "Congratulations. Did your penis tingle when you came?" Hunter: "I wasn't finished." Demi: "So you didn't come?" Hunter: "I meant I wasn't finished speaking. I jerked off the other night ... fantasizing about you." My jaw drops. Um. What? Demi: "Oh. My. God. Why would you ever tell me that?" Hunter: "Because I felt guilty about it. Like I needed to go to church and confess."
Hollis: "I. HAVE. ARRIVED!"
Hollis: "Pablooooo! Hand 'im over, babe." Rupi: "Leave Pablo alone. You're too drunk to hold him." Hollis: "I am not! C'mon, pass 'im to me." Rupi: "No." Hollis: "Fine, then I'll just ... TAKE HIM FROM YOU!" Like a ninja, Hollis snatches the egg from his girlfriend. Only, she's right - he's too drunk to be holding small objects. His big paw fumbles with Pablo, who flies out of Hollis's grip and goes sailing. Directly into the pool. Bucky cries out in horror. Hell, even I'm momentarily stunned. We all stare at the little bundle bobbing in the water, which appears blue thanks to the lit-up pool tiles. Nobody moves. Foster: "Did we just kill him?" Rupi: "Can pigs swim?" Hunter: "No idea." Pablo is still floating in the pool. Bucky: "Quick, someone Google if pigs can swim." Rupi's already on her phone. Rupi: "Oh my gosh. They can! It says here that some pigs take naturally to water, like dogs. Others hate getting wet. You can train them to swim. If it was a real pig I don't think he'd be able to get out of the pool by himself, though. There's no steps in the shallow end." Foster: "Yeah, he ain't climbing that ladder." All eyes turn to me. Hunter: "What?" Bucky: "You're in charge of him tonight. You need to get him out." Hunter: "Pardon me? I'm not jumping in the pool, you fuckers." Bucky: "We never trained him to swim. Right now he's treading water. Soon he'll be dead." Hunter: "This has gone too far." Except, to my genuine shock, everyone stands their ground, even Foster. Bucky crosses his arms tightly Hunter: "Fuck's sake. You're seriously gonna make me do this?" I'm cursing up a blue streak as I strip out of my shirt. Shoes and cargo shorts come off too, because I'm not sitting soaking wet in an Uber on the way home. I step toward the edge of the deck. Hunter: "You assholes don't deserve me as a captain."
Hunter: "Relax. I'm not talking about Rupi. Are you insane? That girl would never cheat on you. She's obsessed with you, Hollis. She's your stalker. You're dating your stalker." Hollis: "That's the nicest thing anyone's ever said to me."
Demi: "There's no earning my trust back. We're done. I don't want to be with you anymore. I don't want to be with a liar and a cheater. I'm worth more than what you've given me."
Nico: "Don't you dare throw my PlayStation out the window, Demi!" If that ain't a challenge. She whirls around again, and this time she doesn't come back. Huh. Okay. Maybe she decided to spare the PlayStation. Nico seems to think so, because his entire body relaxes. He glumly walks forward and begins picking up the clothes on the lawn. He still hasn't noticed me, and I'm not about to make my presence known. It's be like approaching a lion with a thorn in it's paw. Just when I decide all is well - when the night is quiet and Nico's scattered items have been collected - the front door of the sorority house flies open and Demi emerges. Holding a tangle of cable, controllers, and a slender black PlayStation. Nico's head snaps up. Nico: "Thank you!" Looking relieved, he holds out his hands as if he truly believes he' getting the game console back unscathed. Demi: "Thank you? No, thank you. Thank you for wasting eight years of my life." She hurls one controller to the ground. Demi: "Thank you for lying to my face." The second controller smashes on the concrete walkway. Demi: "Thank you for disrespecting me." When she reaches the curb, the only item she's left holding is the PlayStation. Demi: "I never want to see you again. You've ruined this. You ruined our friendship, you ruined our relationship, you ruined everything." Crash!
Text: Demi: I know. I was basically joking. Hunter: Basically? Demi: 60/40 joking. Hunter: So 40% of you wants to get with this? Demi: Get with what? Hunter: With me. You want to get all up in my dick biz. Laughter sputters out of my mouth. Suddenly I don't feel so disappointed anymore.
Hunter: "Maybe we should add a few interests. Here, let me." He snatches the phone again, chortling as he types. When he passes it back, I can't stop a laugh. Fascinated by child psychopaths, unhealthy relationship with food, will break your PlayStation if you f*%k with me. Demi: "That makes me sound like a lunatic." Hunter: "Look me in the eye and tell me that none of those things are accurate." Demi: "I fucking hate you."
Officer: "I'm going to need some backup on Ninth Line and Highway Forty-eight. Suspects were pulled over for reckless driving and performing oral sex while in a moving vehicle and are now resisting arrest." Demi: "I'm not performing oral sex! Trust me, I would love to perform oral sex on him, but he's celibate." I'm sorry, what? Did she just say she would love to perform oral sex on me? Hunter: "Seriously, Demi? You're saying you actually want to bl - do that?" Demi: "I told you I want a rebound, and I wanted to have it with you."
Coach: "You all right? Did anybody manhandle you?" Hunter: "No. Nobody knocked us around at all, but thanks for worrying." Coach: "I'm not worried about you, you idiot. I'm worried about your fucking shooting hand. We have a game in four days."
Demi: "For the record, none of this would have happened if you'd agreed to rebound me." Hunter: "It still would've happened. Only difference is, you would've actually been blowing me." Demi: "No, we wouldn't have been anywhere near your car. We would've been warm and cozy in my bedroom, with no Tinder profiles and no distractions. Just you and me and a big comfy bed and my mouth on your penis. I want you to think about that!" Right. As if now I'll be able to think of anything but.
Demi: "I'm staring at you because I want to kiss you." Hunter: "You shouldn't do that." Demi: "I'm not going to, not unless you're into it. But that doesn't mean I'm not thinking about it. We're making out hardcore in my head right now. It's amazing, in case you're wondering. I urge you to reconsider."
Demi: "Booooo." Hunter: "Don't boo me." Demi: "Why not? You boo me all the time." Hunter: "Because I'm a child. Semi. You're far too mature for that nonsense. Have some respect for yourself."
Hollis: "Have you always been this smart or have I always been this stupid?" Hunter: "I choose not to answer that question."
Demi: "Who are you calling puffy?" Hunter: "You. You're a terrible crier, Semi. You don't look good crying." She punches me in the shoulder. Demi: "You're supposed to be acting romantic right now." Hunter: "I just told you I loved you! Trust me, I'm fucking romantic."
Hunter: "I know how much you love your daughter - I mean, you drove all the way from Boston to order me to stay away from her. Which I still don't understand, by the way, because I've done nothing but love that girl with all my heart. And because I love her, I have faith in her."
Demi: "Oh fuck. I forgot to tell you I love you!"
Hunter: "Oh my fucking God, Demi! Never touch my dick again." I let out a howl of laughter. Demi: "Hands are too cold?" Hunter: "Too cold is an understatement. Nope. Nope nope nope nope. You're not allowed to touch me tonight." Hunter pushes me onto my back, locks both my wrists with his left hand, and thrusts my arms over my head. Hunter: 'Don't move." Demi: "Or what?" Hunter: "Or I won't fuck you." I pout. Demi: "That's mean." Hunter: "No, what's mean was that war crime you just committed against my penis."
I grumble impatiently when he leaves the bed to get a condom.
Demi: "You should have done that first!"
He responds cheerfully.
Hunter: "Please don't lecture me when I'm about to give you an orgasm."
Check out the rest of the Briar U series