Title: Open Lanes
Series: Mooseheads Hockey #1
Author: Mary Morano
Genre: Contemporary Sports Romance
Release Date: July 1, 2021
My dream has always been to go pro, but in that dream, she’s standing beside me. I messed up my chance once before but now I have a second chance. Just like on the ice, I will do anything I can to win. This time I’m playing for keeps.
He tortured me through High School, followed me across the country to college, and now I am stuck in a car with him for five long days. All I want to do is get home and go back to pretending he doesn’t exist. If only my stupid hormones would get on board with the plan.
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For the first time, the precarious situation that I found myself in really hit home. I was a 20-year-old female, walking down the side of an empty highway with no help in sight—talk about the beginning of every serial killer movie ever made. I couldn’t even alert anyone to where I was, or the fact I wasn’t on my flight back home as planned. It would be hours before anyone even knew I was missing. Whoever was in this car heading toward me could rape, kill, and chop me up into little pieces to feed to the bears in the woods before anyone even knew something was amiss. I started walking a little faster, knowing there was no way I was going to outrun this car, and there was nowhere to run to anyway. There wasn’t even anywhere to hide. I was in the middle of nowhere on a highway surrounded by nothing but flat open land for miles in either direction. I felt my anxiety starting to ramp back up. Taking slow deliberate breaths, I counted down backwards from twenty, allowing my body to calm itself down enough that I was able to find some semblance of control. I couldn’t panic right now because that would leave me no chance for survival.
In an effort to distract myself, I focused on the fact that if I did disappear, they will blame Señor Prick, since he was the last person anyone saw me with. Then he would have to spend the rest of his life in jail thinking about how he could have saved my life. That was the least he deserved if I died right now. I’d be dead and eaten, what did I care if he was wrongly accused? I’m not bitter or anything.
The sounds of the car grew closer, and I heard the beat of the music playing from inside. I started walking faster, not paying attention to the fact that my suitcase was like a big yellow flag screaming ‘look at me.’ I heard the car tires hit the gravel behind me, as it pulled to the side and slowed down. It was close—too close for comfort if I had to be honest. This wasn’t looking good. I hope they at least put a good picture of me on the missing person posters, not my god-awful high school graduation picture like they tended to use on those things. The profile picture on my Instagram would be my first choice, I hope someone suggests that to them. I heard the car stop, and the window squeak as it rolled down, before a deep voice called out.
“Hey, do you need some help?”
I kept walking, not wanting to make it easier than it would already be for him to kill me. I really hoped he wasn’t a sadist, choosing to prolong my death by torturing me and hope he just kills me quickly. I really didn’t think I could survive torture, even papercuts made me cry. I kept walking, picking up the pace once more so I was practically running away. Behind me I heard the dinging sound a car makes when the door is opened, and the car is still running. Great, he was getting out. Now he was going to chase me. Yes, I kept myself in shape, but to be honest, the only running I ever did was when I was late for class, and that usually ended with me being bent over wheezing. My situation was quickly going from bad to worse.
“Hey, I know you can hear me. I won’t hurt you; I just don’t feel comfortable leaving a female on the side of the road. Can I give you a ride somewhere?” The voice behind me asked. I snorted at his statement before yelling back over my shoulder.
“I’m pretty sure all serial killers want you to believe they won’t hurt you. Then they chop you up and leave you in the mountains for bears to eat. No, thank you, I don’t plan on being bear food today!”
Suddenly, a deep laugh rang out behind me. I stopped, was he laughing at me? What kind of serial killer did that? Isn’t he supposed to be chasing me? Maybe he doesn’t want to exert the energy yet to chase me? Or maybe this is all part of his sick twisted game. His laughter continued behind me as my annoyance ticked up a notch. What. The. Hell. Hands on my hips, I spun around to tell him off, only to stare into a very familiar, and very unwelcome face.
Casually standing in front of me, with his thumbs hooked in his jean pockets as he relaxed back against the hood of his black SUV was none other than Brayden Montgomery. Fucking Brayden.
Releasing October 1
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Mary is a single mom who decided to take her own advice and follow her dreams of being an author. She’s a New York Islanders Fan and can be often found driving her kids to one of their many sports activities. She enjoys reading, and watching Harry Potter, Avengers Movies, and SVU. You can find her on social media, and she would love to hear from you!
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