Home > My Favorite Mistake (Paradise Bay Billionaire Brothers #4)

My Favorite Mistake (Paradise Bay Billionaire Brothers #4)
Author: Claudia Burgoa

 

Chapter One

 

 

Caspian


I sealed my future the first time I put on a pair of ice skates.

I was three.

It wasn’t until the age of five that I began playing organized hockey. My favorite thing in the world was when my father would take me to watch the San Jose Sharks. We had season tickets. Being one of eight children made it hard to have one-on-one time with him. His favorite sport was hockey, and lucky for me, I was the one out of all his kids who picked up the sport.

That was the way we bonded—until he died. Since then, I dedicated most of my free time to practice because I wanted to make him proud. I wanted to be a professional hockey player. When I’m on the ice, I feel him next to me.

Joel Spearman was a savvy businessman, a winemaker, but most of all, he was an extraordinary father. I was fifteen years old when he died. Each one of us coped differently.

Mom went into a deep depression.

My oldest brothers, who were twenty at the time, quit college and came home to take care of us. Aslan, Gatsby, and Lysander became our surrogate parents.

Fern, my older sister, became Mom’s caregiver—and at times, she was our mother too. She was just sixteen.

Heathcliff, who was thirteen, spent more and more time between the pages of his books. I don’t know what to call a guy who makes introverted people look like the life of the party. He’s not dull. He’s just…Heath.

Huxley and Cordelia, the youngest of the family, were eleven, and we all tried our best to ensure they didn’t feel like the world was ending.

I was fifteen and spent most of the time on the ice or studying because my goal was to become the best professional hockey player. I wanted to make my father proud.

We survived, became a strong family, but we’re all a little damaged on the inside.

I suppose this is how I became who I am today.

A hockey player, wine aficionado, cynic playboy—at least, that’s the concept everyone has about me. It was a consequence of the perfect storm. Loss of a loved one, moving to another state and leaving my family behind, being drafted by one of the best hockey teams in the league. I had to pretend to be someone I was not.

At eighteen, I moved to Boston for college. I’ve been playing for the Vancouver Orcas for the past six years. I dedicate my life to making my father proud and staying close to him. Hockey was our thing, and I still share it with him.

I could say that I answer to no one, except Dawn Spearman—my mother. Once she learned to live with the grief of losing my father, she became what we like to call Helicopter Dawn. I adore the lady, but when she gets overbearing I can’t handle her.

We try to remain close to each other but for me it’s almost impossible.

During my off-season, I live in Paradise Bay and spend my time helping my brother Lysander in the vineyard. And no, I don’t live with my mother. She has a lovely home with eight bedrooms and plenty of room to stay away from each other—in theory. Dawn is always on my case. I adore my mother, but I’m too old to be micromanaged by her.

I’m supposed to take a break and rest. Instead, I’m working in the wine tasting room, repairing things around the vineyard, or being Lysander’s bitch. That’s what my brother calls me. It’s a pain in the ass to have three older brothers who think they rule us all.

“We need to replace the fence on the west side,” Lysander announces as he enters the tasting room.

“You don’t expect me to do that, do you?”

He smirks.

The fucker smirks.

“Listen, I’ll pay for any repairs. Vacation time is almost over, and you know what happens after that?”

“Your chariot turns back into a pumpkin, and your peasant clothes become a hockey jersey?”

I roll my eyes.

He makes some sound as if I’m annoying him. “Where is your sense of humor?”

“I lost it a couple of weeks ago when I almost broke my leg,” I growl.

“It’s not my fault you don’t know how to climb a ladder.”

“On Monday, I’ll hire a company to build you a new fence, cheapskate.”

“Hey, don’t call me names. I’m trying to find things for you to do around the vineyard. This is me doing you a favor. We have plenty of money to pay for that.”

I glare at him. “Stop”—I draw air quotes—“doing me any favors. I can manage without your help.”

“You’re in a mood. Do you know what you need?”

“Scotch, cognac…who knows?”

He shakes his head. “You need to get laid. When was the last time you did it?” He rubs his neck, pretending that he’s thinking. “Once you were in the playoffs, you stopped having sex. If we add the few weeks you’ve been here and count that time when Cory cockblocked you because you tried to sleep with her friend…six months?”

“Are you keeping track of my dating life?”

He scoffs, quirking an eyebrow. “Do you date?”

I cock my head. An unapologetic smile spreads across my face. “I like to call it that, even if it doesn’t last long.”

He shakes his head. “You’re full of shit.”

That I am. Everyone swears that hockey players get tail all the time. Puck bunnies are easy to score. I let everyone believe that I sleep around with randos every night. I don’t. When I find a woman intriguing enough to share a meal with, I might take her to my room or follow her to her apartment. But it doesn’t happen often.

It’s hard to find a woman interested in getting to know me. They all want to sleep with Caspian “Cassie” Spearman. The best forward in the conference. In college, I couldn’t get enough of the attention, but as I grew older, the novelty disappeared.

Maybe that’s why I choose to stick around in the vineyard during the off-season instead of joining my teammates. They’re traveling around the world, partying with their girlfriends—or meeting a different chick every single night.

“So other than having to build a new fence, what else do you have for me?”

“When are you leaving?”

“You have one week left to have fun with me. Next Monday I have to be in Vancouver. We get to learn the fate of the club.” My smile doesn’t drop, but my hands get clammy just thinking about the meaning of that last sentence.

Last year, Mills Aldridge bought the team. We don’t know if he did it to spite the owners who released him from his contract or…well, there hasn’t been an explanation. Since then, everyone has been talking about the future of the team. We might move to the East Coast before the season starts or…who knows.

There are two things I’m afraid of. One is that he might move the team so far it would be impossible to visit my family as often as I do. The second is that they’ll trade me to another team. It’s bound to happen, but I don’t like the idea of leaving the people I’ve been with since my career started.

Mills Aldridge and I used to get along, but since they cut him from the team, I lost track of him, and well…it’d be strange to call and ask about my future on the team. The next week is going to be agonizing. My throat grows tight as the day I have to be back in Vancouver comes closer.

I should find a distraction. Maybe Lysander is onto something. I should get laid. It’s been a long time. Too long.

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