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(CU Hockey #1) Power Plays & Straight A’s
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“Look out for Zach and don’t hit on him.”
My brother’s request sounds easy enough. Keep an eye out for his best friend on campus and keep my hands to myself.
Even if Zach is a quintessential nerd, who I’ve always thought was cute, I don’t have the time to think with my … stick.
There’s only one stick I should be focused on this year, and that’s my hockey stick. My goal once I graduate is to get an NHL contract.
The last thing I need is a distraction. On or off the ice.
Only, keeping to the rules is harder than I thought it would be.
People confuse me.
And no one more than Foster Grant.
I’ve barely spoken two words to him in the whole time I’ve known him, but the second I step foot on campus, he’s impossible to shake.
I can never anticipate his next move. And whenever we’re together, my next move is a total mystery as well.
I want to give in to him, but that might mean coming clean about something I’ve never been bothered about before.
I’m still carrying my V-card.
And I think it’s time to turn it in.
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As soon as I walk through the front door of my childhood home, I’m being yelled at. “It lives!”
I throw my brother a middle finger while I dump my bag of laundry on the ground next to the kitchen. “Some of us don’t get summer vacations.”
Seth stands from the couch in our parents’ living room, the floorboards creaking as he makes his way over to me while I pull orange juice out of the fridge and drink from the carton.
“Correction,” Seth says. “You could have a summer vacation, but you choose not to. Also, I drank out of that five seconds ago. You’re totally drinking my backwash.”
I practically choke and have to fight to keep juice from coming out my nose.
Seth laughs. “We shared a womb. A little spit won’t kill you.”
“And you wonder why I don’t come home more over the summer.”
I stayed on campus with half the team and helped our coaches run the Colchester University summer hockey camp to scout for promising high school players.
Since Colchester is a Division I school, the competition to get into the camp is fierce. Making sure the kids vying for next year’s spots don’t kill each other is a full-time job.
Plus, it’s an excuse to play hockey year-round, and what moron would pass that up?
Seth takes a seat on a stool at the kitchen counter. “I need a favor.”
I eye my brother. My twin. Supposedly. We’re not identical. And not only because I keep my hair short on the sides and meticulously styled up top while he has unruly hair that sits loose around his neck. Our bone structure is different. I have a square jaw, his is rounder. He has a cleft chin, and I don’t. His eyes are even a lighter shade of brown than mine. We’re the same height, but I have the physique of an athlete. Seth looks and dresses like a librarian.
People can tell we’re brothers, but they’re generally taken aback when we tell them we’re twins.
Seth blinks at me, waiting for me to say yes to this so-called favor, no questions asked.
“I’m not agreeing to anything before you tell me what it is. I’m not that dumb.” I lower my voice. “Anymore.”
Seth laughs. “So, you know Zach. My bestest friend in the whole world.”
The name catches my interest. “Where is your shadow? You two are usually joined at the hip.”
“He flew home for the last week of break to see his parents before he starts his grad program.”
I scoff. “Overachiever.”
Zach is our age, but he took so many extra courses over the last few semesters, he graduated an entire year early. He’s a little awkward and a lot cute. He has a major nerd vibe going on, which apparently my dick likes a lot. But Seth made it clear I wasn’t allowed any of those thoughts when they became roommates and friends freshman year at the University of Vermont. He called dibs—in the friendship sense. Sweet, little, two-minutes-older-than-me Seth is straight as an arrow.
Those two minutes are more important than people think.
Twins are born on the same day at the same time, but the oldest still has privileges the second born doesn’t. In our case, our mom and dad named us after their mutual friend who’d set them up. Meaning my brother scored the guy’s normal, everyday first name, and I got his last name. Foster. It’s Australian for beer. Wanna take a guess how many times I heard that growing up? Fucking countless.
Pair that with our last name Grant, and if it’s not beer jokes, I get Foster Grant sunglasses remarks. Our parents didn’t really think that one through.
“So, the favor …”
“Get to the point faster, Seth.”
“Well, the thing is, his grad program isn’t at the University of Vermont.”
“Where is it?”
Seth avoids eye contact. “Colchester.”
“My school? He thinks he’s got what it takes to be a mountain lion?”
Mom and Dad wanted Seth and me to go to the same college. The best we could do was rival colleges in the same town.
And when I say rival, I mean not even frenemies. The hate is strong between our campuses.
Colchester is newer and bigger. UVM is … stupid.
“Colchester offered him housing and tuition, and he doesn’t give a shit about sports, so it doesn’t matter if he’s a catamount or a mountain lion. Which, by the way, are both types of cougar. How original of your school to choose a mascot that’s basically the same.”
“Catamounts are extinct.” I mutter, “Like most of the professors on your campus.”
Seth sighs. He’s never been big on school spirit. “I was kind of hoping … I was hoping you’d keep an eye out for Zach on campus and, like, be his friend?”
Oh, how the tables have turned. “Sorry. Can’t. That goes against the stay away warning you gave me the first time I ever met him. I don’t know which rule to follow, Seth.”