Hooked by Love (Bellevue Bullies #3)(6)

By: Toni Aleo



But then Baylor holds up her hand. “If you want to base your play on anyone, it should be your awesome aunt who is the first girl in the NHL.”

Angie’s grin falters a bit before she glances up at me and I nod. “It’s okay. We all know I am the best. They are all haters.”

“Haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate,” she sings and I nod.

“Exactly.”

“I don’t hate. I know I’m better than you,” Jayden says. “Remember who’s in the NHL and who isn’t.”

I give him a deadpan look, pointing at Baylor. “Only because I was protecting your girl when you couldn’t, and I got hurt.”

“Whoa, don’t bring me into this.” Baylor’s hands go up. “But, thanks.”

“Anytime,” I add with a grin. “You watch. I’ll be there soon, kicking all y’all’s asses.”

“Bring it, bro.” Jude laughs as he sets down a plate of steaks.

“Yeah, I’m ready to put you in your place.” Jayden’s eyes are challenging as he sits down beside Baylor.

“Laugh it up, but I’m telling you, I’m gonna do some real damage.”

They both scoff as Lucy sits down beside me and cocks her head to me. “I got my money on the baby.”

“Traitor.”

“Suck-up, you’re just saying that ’cause you still need a babysitter.”

She laughs at Jayden’s accusation, but it doesn’t reach her eyes. I haven’t seen my sister really laugh or even smile in years unless it has something to do with Angie. She is my sister’s light. If it weren’t for her, I don’t know what my sister would do.

It’s kind of scary to think about.

Wrapping my arm around her small frame, I hug her tightly before kissing her cheek. “You will always be my favorite sister.”

She leans her head to mine and nods. “’Cause I’m your only.”

“Small details,” I tease and she smirks as she leans back, taking a steak and cutting it up for Angie.

When Mom comes into the dining room, she lays down three more platters before sitting at the head of the table. When the chair at the other end is pulled out, I glance over to see my coach and my brow rises. It shouldn’t surprise me that Baylor’s dad would come to dinner, but then again, it kind of does.

“Coach Moore?”

He raises his chin to me as he lowers himself into the chair. “Jace, I see you’re late all the time.”

That has Markus snickering as I glare. “It was Markus.”

“It’s fine. Shh,” Mom says before she reaches out and takes my hand. I reach for Lucy’s after she lays down the knife and fork she was using to cut up Angie’s food, and she squeezes my hand lovingly. After we bow our heads, my mom says grace and I can’t help but feel good. Sneaking a peek at my family, Markus, and Coach, who are all thanking the good Lord above for the blessings we have, I wish that this could happen every day.

Do I miss my dad? Sure, but this feels right, and I think it has a lot to do with the new additions: Claire, Baylor, and now Markus. Mom seems happy as she prays, her eyes squeezed tight as she holds Jude’s and my hands tightly. When Jude looks up, a grin pulling at his lips, I smile back. Guilt washes over me as Jude closes his eyes before bowing his head once more. Instead of wishing for things to be what they were, I should be thankful for what I have. A growing family and a support system that is there for me. That loves me.

We may be a broken family with issues, but at least we always have each other.

“Amen,” my mom says, but she doesn’t let go of my hand or even Jude’s. Instead, she looks up, tears in her eyes and a grin on her lips. “I’m so glad everyone is here.”

She is gazing across the table at Coach, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who catches the way she is looking at him. Glancing from my brothers to my sister, I notice they are looking at her funny too, while a grin pulls at Coach’s lips.

What the hell?

When Jude glances over at me, I shrug before looking over at Jayden, who appears as confused as we do.

“What the hell is he doing here?” I mouth and he shrugs. I then bump Lucy with my toe and she shrugs too. I nod my chin to Baylor, but Jayden shakes his head.

“Later,” he mouths but I want to know now.

So does Lucy, apparently. “So nice to have you over for dinner, Coach Moore.”

“Good to be here,” he says simply, but Lucy isn’t done.

With my fork in my hand, I watch as she stares him down. “You know, it’s kinda weird that Jayden and Baylor have been married, what, three months now, and this is the first time you’ve been to dinner?”

He looks up from his dish, and I notice that Jayden and Jude haven’t started eating either. They are waiting for an answer too. We must be the only ones worried about this, or thinking things about it, because everyone else is eating, not curious as to why our coach is here.

“Yeah, Autumn invited me after the parents’ meeting a couple weeks ago.”

Autumn? When the hell did he start calling my mom Autumn?

Her name is Mrs. Sinclair, and she is my mom!

And a couple weeks ago?

What? What the hell?

Glancing at my mom, she is grinning. Like, really grinning.

“I’ve always invited him, but he accepted this time.”

“Figured it was time,” he says then, sending her a grin. “I haven’t really gotten to know Jude and his wife yet, and Baylor’s been asking me to come. Plus, it’s hard to say no to such a beautiful woman.”

Beautiful woman?

What in the ever-loving fuck is going on?

His last comment has Baylor and Claire glancing up as my mouth drops open, and I swear we all look like dogs playing fetch, our heads going from my mom to Coach. They apparently hadn’t noticed we were scrutinizing them.

Finally though, my mom glances over at me and glares. “Eat your food, Jace Ryan.”

Unable to speak, I look down at my plate and consider what I am suspecting.

Is my mom hooking up with my coach?

Chancing a glance back at my mom—I mean, she is beautiful. She’s my mom, and she made four hot kids—I wonder if Coach thinks my mom is hot? Wait, she’s wearing makeup, and fuck, she is still staring at my coach.

Unable to keep my mouth shut, I ask, “Mom, are you wearing makeup?”

Her eyes throw daggers when she tears them away from Coach and on to me. “Yes, Jace, I wear makeup. I am a woman.”

“No, you don’t,” Lucy says.

“Like, ever,” Jayden adds, and his gaze cuts to Coach.

“This is weird.” Jude shakes his head.

“Agreed. I think I lost my appetite,” Lucy comments.

“What’s weird, and why?” Mom asks, glaring at all of us. “We are having dinner. As a family. Don’t be silly.”

“It is weird that you’re here, Dad,” Baylor says.

“I mean, did you want me to come or not?” he snaps back at her, and she glares.

“I want you here. But I’m just saying, I don’t think you are here for me,” she says. When he doesn’t say anything, everyone looks back at my mom.

“I mean, should I just say it?” Lucy asks, holding out her hands. But I don’t think any of us really wants this confirmed, because I’m already shaking my head along with Jude.

“No, just eat,” Jayden says, rubbing his temples as he starts to eat.

“Be adults, guys. Come on.” Claire shakes her head with a grin on her face.

“Shut up, Claire,” we four say at the same time.

“What in the world are you four talking about?” Mom asks, but I look away and start to eat.

The thought of my mom dating is gross.

And the fact that it could be my coach makes it even grosser.

Silence falls over the table as my stomach churns. I don’t know why, but somewhere deep inside of me, I thought maybe my parents would get back together one day. I know it’s probably insane to think. I mean, not only does my mom deserve someone a hell of a lot better than my cheating father, but also, my dad has moved on. I know my mom needs to do the same, but it’s weird.

I don’t want to watch my mom date.

Especially my coach.

Ew.





“Heels or no heels?”

Mekena looks over at me from where she is doing her makeup and she smiles. I bet I look goofy with one sky-high black heel and a Converse on the other foot, but this is really an important question. Either shoe could go with my rolled at the ankle, tight, skinny jeans and flowy black top that hangs off me in the sexiest way. The black bralette I have on underneath covers the parts that need to be covered, but it doesn’t cover a lot. And I know it shows just enough to get guys to notice.

Well, one guy.

Lame Line Larry.

Which, really…I don’t know why I care to get him to notice. But by the way he was checking me out and basically drooling, I doubt I’ll have to try hard. He wants me and that’s cool. I’m down. He is hot…but he is not part of the plan. My plan was to come here, then get an internship, do well in school, get some gigs, make some friends, and have fun. The end goal is to write a hit song and sing it for millions. That’s my plan. I guess I could put him in the fun category, but something about the way those green eyes of his held mine has me thinking he could be more than just fun.

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