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False Start: The Dallas Comets, #4

False Start: The Dallas Comets, #4

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False Start: The Dallas Comets, #4

Length:
180 pages
2 hours
Released:
Sep 28, 2017
ISBN:
9781386009351
Format:
Book

Description

Most hockey players learn to play through the pain, but what about a broken heart?

Christopher Lacey is on top of the world: at only eighteen years old, he's been drafted in the first round by the Dallas Comets, made it onto the roster during his first professional training camp, and has even been promoted to the team's top line. But his world crashes down around him when his beloved long-time girlfriend unceremoniously breaks up with him in a text message.

Can she learn to deal with emotional insecurity after an injury has healed?

Helene Michaels' world changed after a childhood mistake led to a severe burn that took years to heal and overcome. While she still has trouble looking at her scars in the mirror, she hasn't let that stop her from pursuing her goal of becoming a physical therapist and helping others deal with their own injuries. Helene gets a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to shadow a working physical therapist to learn more about the field before returning to school to pursue her career choice.

Two hurt souls meet.

At the Comets' annual Halloween party, Chris encounters a disguised Helene and feels his heart come alive for the first time since his breakup. Helene feels the attraction too, but she's worried that Chris might not like what's concealed behind her costume. Will she finally be brave enough to reveal what she's been hiding for years? Will he open himself up again to find out the difference between infatuation and true love? Or will their relationship get off to a false start and end before it can begin?

Released:
Sep 28, 2017
ISBN:
9781386009351
Format:
Book

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False Start - Jaymee Jacobs

FALSE START

a Dallas Comets novel by

Jaymee Jacobs

Table of Contents

Copyright

Also by Jaymee

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Acknowledgements

About the Author

Copyright © 2017 by Jaymee Jacobs

First Edition, September 2017

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means whatsoever without express written permission from the author, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.

Book cover designed by Deranged Doctor Design

This novel is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to any person, living or dead, places, or events is coincidental. Characters, names, organizations, businesses, locales, events, and incidences are either used fictitiously or are a product of the author’s imagination.

Other works by Jaymee Jacobs:

GAME ON

SHOTS ON NET

PLAY THE MAN

In the Dallas Comets series:

A VALUABLE TRADE

HOME ICE ADVANTAGE

BREAKOUT PLAY

FALSE START

DUMP AND CHASE

CHRISTMAS CROSSCHECK

*

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Join Jaymee’s Facebook reader group The Jay Birds

FALSE START

––––––––

The world came to crashing halt with a deafening screech. The planet stopped rotating on its axis and stopped revolving around the sun. Stars dimmed and died across the entire galaxy. The universe itself became undone.

His life was over at the exact moment he read those fateful words.

I think we should see other people.

Chris had only texted to ask Farrah if she was planning on coming down for the Halloween party. He needed to know if they were going to do a couple’s costume. He needed to make arrangements for her stay—he was going to book a hotel room for them, so they could have some privacy away from his roommate. This was supposed to be their first reunion since he’d moved to Dallas in September, after almost two months apart, and he’d been really excited for it.

But Farrah, obviously, had been feeling very differently.

He pressed the phone icon on the screen, hoping to talk to Farrah, to sort out whatever was wrong. Surely she didn’t mean what she’d typed.

She picked up and immediately said, Ceej—

No, don’t ‘Ceej’ me. Back home, everyone called him C.J., since there were so many Chrises around his age. After he moved to Dallas and was called by his first name, he realized he hated being called C.J. What the fuck, Farrah?

I don’t want to do this over the phone, she sighed.

But you wanna do it over text? His voice weakened. Farrah, baby, what’s going on? Everything was fine yesterday.

The two had a habit of talking all day long—via calls, texts, Facetime, Snapchat, and even Facebook Messenger. If something had been wrong, something wrong enough to make her want to break up with him, then it would have come up a lot sooner and a lot less suddenly.

I just, I can’t do it anymore.

Do what?

You’re so far away. I can’t do long distance.

But the Halloween party is next weekend—

But it’s been two months since I’ve seen you. I can’t do it. I don’t want to.

Those last four words cut Chris. He didn’t like the long-distance situation either, but he would have put up with it for as long as necessary in order to be with Farrah. But the fact that Farrah didn’t want to was what hurt him. It crushed him.

You could have at least Facetimed me to tell me. A text message?

Sorry, C.J. I just wanted to avoid all this. . . mess.

I love you, you know that. Of course it’s going to be messy. I don’t want to see other people.

But it’ll be easier for you, she reasoned. I’m sure there’re lots of girls down there who’d love to get with you.

But I don’t care about any other girls! In all his time spent in Dallas so far, he’d never even thought to look at another woman.

I don’t want to deal with this right now. Chris could tell that Farrah wanted to end the call and get off the phone. I’m sorry that you’re taking this so hard. But I gotta go.

Chris didn’t bother saying goodbye. He hung up the phone and flung it on his bed.

How could she be so cold and so calm about this? They never talked about having problems or if something was wrong. As far as he knew, everything had been fine. Sure, they didn’t talk as much now that he was in the NHL and living far away with a hectic schedule, but they knew that was going to happen. That wasn’t any reason to break up!

Farrah was the one he called when he needed someone to talk to. Now who was going to be there for him? There was no way he was going to call his mom and tell her the news. She’d never liked Farrah, and he didn’t need to hear an I told you so three minutes post-breakup.

His old teammates and friends from Juniors wouldn’t understand if he tried to talk to them; they all thought he was nuts for staying with Farrah after he was drafted in the first round. They told him he could get so much pussy down in Dallas—but he didn’t want that. He wanted Farrah.

He left his bedroom, not wanting to be alone. His roommate and landlord was sitting in the living room, lazing on the couch with his iPad in his lap and looking at the scores of the NHL games being played at that moment. Luke obviously had too much time on his hands.

Chris plopped down on the armchair and sighed, and Luke took the bait. What’s up, dude?

Farrah. She. . . dumped me.

Oh. Luke peered over his iPad. That sucks.

"In a text! Can you believe that? We dated for three years! Three years, and she ends it in a text. I had to call her."

Yeah, uh, that’s rough. Sorry, dude.

Chris didn’t think that Luke truly understood the magnitude of the situation. She never even told me anything was wrong! We knew it wouldn’t easy, her being home and me being here, but to give up two months in?

Maybe it’s better that it happens two months in and not, like, ten.

He couldn’t believe that it could happen at all. Chris wanted to cry or scream or lash out or do something. He was, after all, a hockey player. A centerman, specifically: a playmaker. So he wasn’t the type of person who sat around or waited to see how things would turn out. No, he took matters into his own hands. He always had a plan. But what could he do with Farrah thousands of miles away and unwilling to even talk to him on the phone about it?

And Luke’s bitterness over his own divorce was affecting any empathy that he could have otherwise mustered for a teammate and friend. If Luke’s wife left him, then of course Luke would assume that women would just up and leave like that. Chris wondered if Luke was really the best person to be talking to about his relationship, but he didn’t have much choice.

Still, he continued to talk out his feelings. We talked about it, we knew it would suck—

Kid, you are eighteen, Luke interrupted. He set his iPad down onto the cushion next to him and sat up to face Chris. You are the youngest player to make it onto the Comets’ roster in years. At least since I was made captain. You should be enjoying all this, not pining after some girl—

Cap, she’s not just ‘some girl.’ She’s Farrah. The love of my life, he thought but didn’t vocalize. No, Luke wouldn’t understand; misery loved company, his mother would have said, and this was one of those times when Luke—even if he didn’t want to admit it—may have been happier to have a kindred spirit nearby than to offer some sympathy.

* * * * *

Twenty-four hours later, Chris’s mood hadn’t changed. He was still in shock and desperate for some good advice on how to patch things up with his—he couldn’t say ex—girlfriend.

He’d gotten a couple of texts from his friends back home, telling him that they’d seen Farrah hanging out with Darren Vine, one of his old teammates on the Olympiques. Darren had been drafted too, but he’d been sent back down to their Juniors team for development a week into the regular season. He was the biggest star on the Olympiques now. Was that what Farrah wanted?

Of course that thought burrowed deeply into his thoughts, nagging him at all hours when his mind had nothing else to focus on. Chris didn’t want to believe that Farrah was kicking him to the curb for the team’s next best thing; she couldn’t be that shallow. They’d really cared about each other, and that kind of love couldn’t be replaced like that.

Yeah, he knew that she liked attention. That was part of why being apart would be so hard on her, because Chris wouldn’t be around to dote on Farrah like she wanted. But to dump him over something so superficial, when their love was so deep? How could she do that to him?

He thought that he meant something to her, that he was important to her—one of the most important people in her life. To all of a sudden feel so unimportant, so discarded, so unloved. . . it broke his heart.

Chris was thankful to have hockey to fall back on for something to demand his attention. Even though his pre-game routines were so rote that they had become muscle memory, he had the game to focus on. Hockey games were fluid and unpredictable; the puck was always moving, and there was no telling where players would be or the condition of the ice. He had to pay attention nonstop, whether he was on the ice or on the bench.

He kept to his routine, getting ready for the game as usual and heading out into the hallway, ready to get out on the ice and start the game. He could see through the gap in the stands and saw all the people finding their seats or gathering around the glass to watch warm-ups. Ready to watch him and his teammates for a little weeknight fun. They came to watch hockey to get a break from their lives; hockey was Chris’s life, and had been since he was three.

Chris scored the first goal of the game. That, in and of itself, was not enough to lead his team to victory. Despite his best efforts, Chris wasn’t playing up to his usual standards. In particular, he made a sloppy pass that ended up becoming a turnover. The Comets fell, 3-1, with Chris’s goal in the second period being the only Comets’ point in the game.

The coach promised them a hard practice in the morning as punishment for running out of gas during the game and getting outplayed. Chris didn’t pay much attention to Coach Millieux’s ravings; he was already so disappointed that any further scolding wouldn’t have an effect on him.

Chris didn’t really have too many worries when he played in Juniors. Hockey had always come easily to him: he could see the game well and seemed to be seconds ahead of the other players. He’d been praised as being leagues ahead of the competition as a teenager, and experts expected him to transition well into the NHL. And he had done well, so far, but Chris had been forced to admit that he didn’t come into training camp NHL-ready. The speed of the game was so much faster than in Juniors—and the defensemen were bigger and hit harder. The goalies were quicker, too. He was still adjusting to being in the Big League.

The professional aspect of his life was different, but so was the personal aspect. In Juniors, he was allowed to focus only on the sport. He didn’t take any advanced classes because he knew he wouldn’t need any of that junk clogging up his brain; he was tactical and strategic and had no need for math or science. But, best of all, his coaches recognized the innate talent he had and gave him access to the gym and rink pretty much whenever he wanted.

He knew that hockey was his life; if he couldn’t play, then he’d be in coaching or management somehow. Without hockey, he was nothing. But without Farrah, what was the point of it all?

Chris followed Luke

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