The Cover Artis of this great piece of art is my friend and the very talented Ian Brown,
IB's Art Studio! Ian came up with the idea from reading the novel at a very rough stage and did magnificently. I couldn't have asked for more, Thank you very much, Ian!
Love of the Game is my third full length novel and also for me the most complicated book I've written because as usual there's always a hidden meaning or purpose for me to write it. It is just not another story and it especially isn't just another BDSM story.
Love of the Game is there to portray what I to me BDSM is about, and just to warn you there's not a single flogger, playroom, dungeon, or kneeling event that takes place and also it is just the beginning of a journey for all the characters introduced.
I hope you will like it spite its different on take on a very popular subject.
Johannes is starting his new life as a rookie in the best hockey league in the world, the NHL. His new home for the next four years is Montreal, Canada, and he's excited to get to his destination when a storm arrives, stranding him in Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris, France.
In the airport lounge, he tries to amuse himself the best he can. He's nursing a lukewarm beer, and about to head back to join his parents at their table, when the most gorgeous man he's ever seen, with piercing green eyes, buys him a drink. He swears he has never been so instantly turned on as he is in that moment. The man flirts openly with him, making no secret of what he wants from Johannes as he invites him to meet in private. Not being out only makes Johannes hesitate for a moment before accepting the beautiful stranger's come-on.
Charlie, a cocky and opinionated, ex-submissive and reporter is leaving Paris after being on vacation when the studly jock just happens to appear out of nowhere - served on a silver platter. Charlie sees no reason to deny himself a last rendezvous before he gets on his plane back to Canada.
What he doesn't expect is this stranger to see the real him. Charlie's normal plan of attack is to take charge. But when it backfires, and the studly stranger not only takes control but makes him want more, Charlie does the only thing he feel comfortable doing. He runs!
Johannes Alm was in Paris, not so much the city itself as stuck at the damn airport, which was not anywhere near as much fun as being able to enjoy the city of love firsthand. They—his parents and himself—had left Gothenburg that very morning, with the sun standing high, a blue sky floating calmly above them, no indication that thunderstorms were coming their way. Now, a few hours later, shortly after they’d arrived at the French airport, it had grown dark, and apart from the numerous flashes of lightning decorating the sky, there was no light to be seen. It was frustrating no end, and hell, he was bored, too. He was supposed be flying across the Atlantic, not being stuck at Charles de Gaulle.
He knew he was acting like a five-year-old child pouting over not getting a new toy, but Johannes couldn’t help but to let out an annoyed grunt. Usually, he had no problem hanging out with his parents, especially his dad; he’d done it a lot during the past twenty years. His dad was one of his best friends, but now, even that was a no-go. Pulling out his phone from the back pocket of his jeans, he called the one and only person he wanted to talk to when he felt like this: Adam.
Finding the number for his former lover, and still best friend, he hit the dial button, hoping to God Adam wasn’t busy. They’d officially called off their “relationship” a few months ago. It had been a mutual decision, and one that had just needed a confirmation out loud, because they hadn’t been sleeping together for a month, if not more, when they finally broke it off.
The reason: they’d never fallen in love. It had never been anything earth-shattering in that sense; it had always just been great friends having amazing sex, and the closer Johannes had gotten to the big day of moving overseas, the more his focus had been on hockey and his new life rather than getting off. But they were still friends, and that would never change.
“Stud muffin! What a surprise to hear from you. Did something happen?” Adam’s cheery voice boomed through the phone and into his ear. The simple sound of his voice, and the ridiculous nickname Adam had for him, soon had him grinning wide.
“You know, you’ll have to stop calling me that when you find yourself a real boyfriend. Actually, I’d suggest you stop calling me that so you can get yourself a real boyfriend.” He smiled into the phone, immediately feeling much more relaxed. That was what he loved the most about Adam. He had this way about him that just made everything seem better somehow. Nothing ever brought the guy down.
“Hush your mouth! Don’t use the B-word around me,” Adam scolded playfully. “He might hear you.”
Johannes quirked a brow. “You’re telling me you don’t want a boyfriend? You used to bitch and moan how you hated the fact there was nothing more between us than good sex.”
“Great sex, muffin. Great sex,” Adam corrected him, luring out another laugh.
“Fine, great sex.” Johannes rolled his eyes.
“Remember that, so when you meet all Mr. All-Canadian-Boy, you can tell him you learned all your best tricks from me. Oh, fuck it, just tell him I taught you everything you know.”
Johannes couldn’t help the laugh that bubbled out of him. It was in moments like this that he agreed with Adam. Too bad there wasn’t an inkling of chemistry between them beyond the “great sex.”
“Now, answer my boyfriend question,” Johannes prompted. He was like a bloodhound when he got a whiff of something. He seldom—OK, never—let anything slide, and he usually got his way. He knew Adam loved his more dominant side, and that was what had made what they’d shared between the sheets as good as it had been: Adam’s endless research on the internet and Johannes’ willingness to try it on Adam. The Train Station incident was just one of many scenes they’d played out, and the most public.
“If you answer my ‘what happened’ question,” Adam replied immediately.
“Storm happened. I’m stuck in fucking Paris. Mum and Dad are doing the wine-and-dine-yourself-to-a-coma, and I’m stuck here at some schmuck VIP lounge, looking out a damn window…”
“…wishing I was there,” Adam finished for him, causing him to crack up with laughter and making near bystanders turn to give him funny looks.
“Yeah, I sort of do. We could’ve done a repeat of the train station.” That had been hot as fuck and risky as hell, but damn, he could still rub one off thinking about their sexcapades at the train station, and it would make him come like a freight train without brakes every time.
“I’m not flying to Paris to fuck you,” Adam pointed out.
“Since when do you do me?”
“Oh, screw you. But I do ride well, don’t you think? Save-a-horse-ride-a-cowboy good,” Adam retorted.
Johannes cracked up again, a little less loudly, but still. It felt great to laugh. “You do. You’ll make a great permanent rider for some cowboy someday.” They were getting corny, and the conversation was getting out of hand. “Thank you for this,” he said, grinning from ear to ear.
“Anytime, stud muffin, anytime. You know that. Before you go, can I give you a piece of advice?”
“Johannes Alm, you’re in Paris, the city of love and mad sex, with nothing to do and time to waste. Go sit that fine ass down by the bar and let some Jean-Claude twink pick you up and ride you both into sunset.”
“You know you’re a complete and utter whacko, right?”
“Yes, well, my mother dropped me on my head one too many times as a child. Besides, you love me just the way I am, whacko and all.”
“I do, man, I really do.”
“See?” Johannes heard the grin that Adam was sporting at that admission. He’d made him smile, too. Rock on. “Now, bar, beer, twink, a good ride. Chop-chop!”
“All right, I’ll go for the bar and beer, at least. The rest? We’ll see.”
“Don’t be such a party pooper. Live a little.” Then Adam hung up, and Johannes was left with a dead phone pressed against his ear, not that it was that unusual when dealing with Adam, but at least he was in a much better mood than before.
Shaking his head and still smiling, Johannes turned back toward the bar.
With no Adam in sight, he’d have to make do with what he had, which was very-little-to-no sex games, a lukewarm half-drunk beer, and a bad French talk show. Maybe he just needed something stronger to drink and his current situation would start looking up.
But hey, it was all good. His life was changing for the better. He was going to Montreal; he was going pro in the NHL. Hell, his number one goal on his bucket list was finally coming true. If anything, he should be celebrating. At the age of twenty-three, it was finally happening. He knew he wasn’t old, but some of the guys he’d be playing with had already been in the NHL for at least two, maybe even three years. However, he’d made the choice, together with his dad, who was also his manager, a few years back to go easy and not rush overseas, to take his time and develop his technique in the SHL—the Swedish Hockey League—and give himself time to mature as a player.
Like a jack-in-a-box, the bartender suddenly appeared before him, all smiles and with a fresh beer that was put in front of him.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t order this…” The protest was more a formality than an actual objection. He was ready for a new one, but how could the bartender have known that?
“With courtesy from the gentleman at the other end of the bar.”
Johannes followed the direction of the bartender’s discreetly pointing finger, his breath catching in his throat the second his gaze locked with the most amazing green eyes he’d ever seen. A storm of butterflies erupted in his gut, making all of him tingle, and even if he wanted to, he couldn’t look away.
It wasn’t often that he was awestruck by a man’s looks, but this one was such a fine specimen it was impossible to not take an interest. The way those green eyes bore into his, the suggestiveness there, it was clear what was on the table, and that he wasn’t the only one looking.
The stranger’s eyes roamed down over his body like a hot touch, taking in every inch, it felt like. The soft-looking, full lips that were twirled into a cocky smirk rather than a smile made him want to reach over and grab the man by the front of his shirt and kiss that smirk away. The impulse to do just that surprised him.
Hannes, get a hold on yourself. It takes more than a pretty face to get you all ecstatic.
But there was no hiding it. He was excited by the guy and the open proposition on the table, maybe, or solely, because of what Adam had suggested on the phone just minutes ago.
“May I make a suggestion, sir?” the bartender said with a friendly smile.
He already knew what he was going to do. Adam’s words rang loudly in his mind, but to humor him, Johannes nodded.
“Perhaps you should flip the napkin around?”
Johannes made a face, doubt rushing through him. No way had this guy sent him a note on a napkin. What was this? Junior high? “I don’t—”
“Oh, just do it already!” the bartender interrupted, seeming more excited than he should be.
Quirking a brow at him, Johannes flipped the napkin over, and there, written in neat block letters, it said, Meet me by the men’s room. Don’t make me wait!
Johannes snorted out a laugh. Was this guy serious? He didn’t take orders, especially not from strangers in bars who obviously needed taking down a pin hole or two. But he was interested—his prick was surely taking notice—and he wanted to go see what this beautiful man wanted. The fact he’d sent a note instead of coming up to him proved, at least to Johannes, that he feared rejection.
Sure, it wouldn’t be his first time in a public situation, but really, his game of hide-and-seek with Adam at the train station didn’t count. It had been with Adam, who, at that point, had been his steady lover, not some random guy.
“You’re going, right?” the bartender urged.
Johannes lifted his glass to his lips and took a sip, giving himself a moment to ponder and to keep the nosy bartender on his toes. “No, I wasn’t planning to,” he lied.
The bartender laughed and then quickly covered it up with a fake cough. Johannes popped a brow, and gave him a mock glare. He wasn’t really upset, but at the same time, he didn’t like people telling him what to do.
“Isn’t it quite arrogant to assume I would? How do either of you even know I’m into men?” Johannes asked easily.
“I mean no offense, sir. The truth is, I don’t know what you’re into, and frankly, it really isn’t any of my business. But if you don’t mind me saying, the look on your face when you saw him pretty much said everything. No words needed.”
The grin on the bartender’s face made him look like one huge, smug bastard. But Johannes had to chuckle. He imagined he looked like a man who’d just walked in on another man in a shower, naked and on his knees, waiting for him to appear, because the attraction had been instant.
“And what was that, exactly?”
“That you wouldn’t mind getting a piece of that ass.” The bartender’s grin widened.
Johannes half-choked on his beer in a spit of laughter. “Really? You saw all that?” he managed to say between laughing and clearing his throat. “You’re one observant bartender.”
“Hey, it comes with the job.” He shrugged lightly. “What also comes with the job is, I see nothing, hear nothing, and tell nothing. But between you and me—” he put his arms on top of the bar, leaning in a little closer “—if there was ever one man out there worth taking a swing in the other direction for, that one would be it.” He winked with a nod in the direction of the restrooms.
“Do you always encourage your customers to have rendezvous in airport facilities, or should I feel special?” Johannes accused playfully.
The bartender’s grin turned sheepish as his shoulders rose and fell in a slight shrug. “You’re at an international airport where thousands of people pass through every day. No one will ever know anything about it. Besides, Mother Nature is not letting any of you leave anytime soon. Do you have something better to do with your time? You’re young. Live a little.” He waggled his eyebrows, making Johannes snort out yet another laugh.
It was the second time in less than an hour he’d been given the advice to go have sex. One-track minds, the lot of them, but who was he to say he didn’t like the idea?
If he was being honest, he wanted nothing but to kiss that overly confident smirk off Green Eyes’ lips, to go to him and take what he wanted, and Johannes would bet his best hockey stick that it was what Green Eyes wanted, too. To be taken and devoured.
It sort of surprised him how badly he wanted to do this, but the idea of seeing Green Eyes climax, to be the one to make him come so hard his legs turned to jelly, to be the only thing keeping the lovely man from falling to a heap on the floor… He liked that idea a lot. The guy would look even more beautiful without the smug look on his face and in ecstasy.
Taking a last taste of his beer, Johannes headed for the restrooms.
“S’amuser!” the bartender called after him.
Johannes didn’t reply, but understood enough French to know it meant “enjoy yourself.” And no doubt there, he would make sure that they both did, and were left very happy and satisfied.
Dreamer, Writer, Reader and Metal Head.