Ruck Me (Dublin Rugby #2) Sneak Peek

CHAPTER ONE—Eoin

Over the years I’d called Aoife O’Shaughnessy a number of things, but dumb was never one of them. When she’d jumped into the freezing ocean in her deb dress instead of changing into a bathing suit like every other girl had, I’d called her mad. When last year she shaved off the left side of her hair two weeks after the term ended, I’d thought she’d lost her mind. When three months later, she cut the rest of it off and dyed the little that remained a bright, bubblegum pink, I’d told her she’d just made the biggest mistake of her life. Of course Aoife being Aoife, she’d laughed and said I didn’t understand the first thing about women or fashion and that she felt sorry for me. We’d been trading insults ever since.

And yet through all of the insane things Aoife has done over the years—all the trouble she’s gotten herself into—I’d never once thought she was actually stupid. That was, until now. Because I’d just overheard that fucking eejit tell Tanya O’Reilly she was going to ask the vilest human being I knew to punch her v-card.

My first thought? How in the fuck is Aoife still a virgin? The second? Over my dead body

I really shouldn’t have gotten involved, but if I didn’t say something to squash this stupid idea and Declan found out I’d known about his sister’s plans, he’d tear my balls off and feed them to me for breakfast. What I should have done was call the asshole and tell him to get down here to take care of his bat shit crazy sister, but he’d been under a lot of stress lately and was starting to act weird (case in point: he’d skipped celebratory drinks with the team in favor of going home and sleeping—alone). With three important matches coming up, Declan needed to get out of whatever funk he was in and focus on winning and him dealing with Aoife would only be a distraction he didn’t need. So, being the nice guy that I was, I crossed my fingers and hoped I could talk her out of this latest mad scheme.

“Ladies,” I said, shoving my chair between Aoife and Tanya, interrupting their whispered conversation. “Nice night for a pint, wouldn’t you say?”

Tanya being Tanya, the older wan let her eyes roam over my broad, muscled chest and roped biceps before returning the greeting. “Evening Eoin. You’re looking fine. Good match tonight.”

I smiled and winked because that’s what Tanya liked. Everyone said she was a bit of a whore but the truth was, in the year I’d been playing on the senior team, I’d never actually seen her leave the pub with any of the guys, save Aidan. And since he seemed to like her well enough, I figured she was alright by me. 

“I was just telling Aoife she needs to come out more,” Tanya remarked, gesturing around the packed pub appreciatively. “She can’t hide away in Ballycurra forever.”

Aoife’s eyes narrowed and her lips pursed as if she was trying to send Tanya some sort of telepathic message. When Tanya ignored the not-so-subtle hint, Aoife tried to switch the subject without being too obvious about it. 
Given what I’d just overheard though, I wasn’t about to let the topic go. “Yeah, Aoife. You really need to get out of Ballycurra. I can’t believe you haven’t left already. Or are you too afraid to leave your mammy?”

Honestly, I didn’t care where Aoife lived, but if she stayed in Ballycurra she’d have ample opportunity to approach that weasel Kevin Dempsey, who would happily take her up on her offer. Which meant I either needed to convince her to move out of her mam’s or help her find someone else to pop her cherry. I didn’t know how I would be able to convince her who Kevin really was without revealing what I knew since I’d promised never to tell anyone what had happened. The problem was, for as big of a gobshite as he was, he could turn on the charm readily enough when it suited him. If he thought for even a moment that Aoife was into him, she’d be powerless to stop him. For whatever reason, girls turned into idiots around him, a fact he exploited often and without shame. I was surprised some of the fathers of Ballycurra hadn’t run him out of town already with pitchforks and boiling oil. 

“Shut the feck up arsehole,” she responded tersely. “It’s not like you live in some palace.”

She was right, of course. I shared a shit hole two-bedroom with three other guys and, thinking about it now, I wasn’t sure the bathroom had been cleaned in over a month. And yes, I might not have my own room, but if I ever wanted to bring a girl back to my place—something that happened quite frequently, if I was being honest—I had a system that worked because the other guys respected it. You had to if you wanted to avoid awkward situations. Awkward for the girls, of course. I couldn’t care less if Tadgh, Donal, or Fergus walked in on me fucking some bird. It might even teach them a thing or two about how to do it properly.

“No,” I agreed. “But at least I live on my own. When are you going to get out from old Colleen’s thumb? You know I love your mam, but it’s gotta be shit living with her still.”

“Yeah, well, we can’t all have someone else picking up the tab for our apartments, even if they should be condemned.”

“I hate to break it to you,” I responded, ignoring her jibe about the state of my living situation since she was probably right, “but your brother is loaded. I’m fairly certain he could get you a place if you really wanted to move out.”

“It’s not that simple, alright?” she answered back testily. “Let’s just say Declan isn’t exactly convinced I’d be fine on my own.”

I chuckled under my breath because the man had a point. Like I said before, Aoife wasn’t dumb, but she had a habit of doing things that other people didn’t … or wouldn’t. She was more than a bit unconventional, which was one of the things I liked most about being around her. With as much time as I spent training—especially this past year since making the jump from U20s to the senior team—I didn’t have a lot of time for relaxing or goofing off. Add studying for my engineering degree to the mix and blowing off steam was practically impossible. I got a lot of mileage out of living vicariously through Aoife’s exploits.

“You think he wouldn’t help you out, even if you found somewhere with roommates?” I asked.

She shrugged glumly. “Maybe. I dunno. I’d have to ask.”

“Why haven’t you?”

Aoife twisted in her chair so that she was facing me straight on. “Can I be honest?” Her eyes searched mine, her gaze probing. 

I shifted in my own seat, breaking her stare. I didn’t like it when Aoife looked it at me that way. Mad, daft, and as insane as she could be, she was also observant as fuck and I had a hard time holding up under her scrutiny. The ability to keep a secret was one of the things I was best at, but where this girl was concerned, I’d say almost anything. If I’d learned anything over the years, it was that he longer Aoife stared, the more forthcoming I became. In fact, back in primary school I’d ratted out my best friend to the teacher when he’d taken the class hamster home the night before all because Aoife had told me I needed to do that right thing and then proceeded to stare me down until I actually did. Since I was currently trying to steer her away from a very big secret while also trying to steer her in the right direction, I needed to keep her focused on the topic of moving from her mom’s place in Ballycurra, far, far away from that prick Kevin. I just had to make her think it was her own idea since Aoife also hated being told what to do.

“Absolutely. You know you can tell me anything.”

She sighed and I watched as she ran her hand back and forth through her short locks. “I feel bad asking Declan to foot the bill for me to move out. He already pays for too much as it is.”

I wasn’t sure exactly how much Declan made but I knew it was more than anyone else on our team. When he’d signed his new, three-year contract last year, the press had speculated it was to the tune of €400,000 a year, up from the €300,000 in total he’d made before, but he also had a ton of endorsement deals that paid handsomely. Having grown up in the same town as he it was hard not to hear the gossip—especially with my own mam putting notions in my head about the type of payday I could someday score if I just kept my head down and played rugby like my life depended on it—so I was pretty sure he could afford whatever Aoife would need to move out.

“If you’re worried about asking him for the money, maybe you could move into his place?” I asked, hoping no one had overheard me lest it get back to Declan. I was pretty sure his little sister moving in was the last thing he’d want. Still, desperate times called for desperate measures, so I kept going. “I don’t know what a single guy needs a big old house like that for anyway.”

“Oh god no!” she responded. “It’s bad enough I had to grow up across the hall from Declan. No way do I want to live with him now. You know what he’s like.” She shuddered dramatically and turned away, her brow furrowed. 

The thing was, I knew exactly what Declan was like. And since Aoife was disgusted by her brother, I probably shouldn’t tell her I practically worshipped the lad. Not only was he the best rugby player in Dublin, but he also started every game for the Irish national team too. But it wasn’t just about sport. Declan was a legend. If I ever managed to pull even half the pussy he did, I could die a very happy man. Hell, a quarter of that and I’d be satisfied. Because if there was one thing I loved nearly as much as playing rugby, it was girls. Any color, age, shape, or size … kissing them, licking them, fucking them. Basically, I had two happy places: the field and between a woman’s legs. So yeah, I wanted to be just like Declan O’Shaughnessy when I grew up. Which his sister absolutely did not need to know.

“Okay, so you can’t live with Declan and you won’t ask him for money to get a place of your own. And you don’t want roommates. I hate to break it to you Aoife, but that basically has you living at home with Colleen until you’re old and gray.”

“I know, alright. Trust me, I know.” She dropped her head forward and stared at her hands, defeat resting heavily on her slumped shoulders. 

As much as I wanted to prevent Aoife from making a mistake with Kevin, I didn’t like that my attempt at heading keeping her out of his clutches made her feel bad otherwise. I nudged her knee with my own. “Ahh … Aoife, I’m sorry for giving out to you. I’m sure it’s not that bad living at home.”

She raised her head and stared at me for a beat before answering. “I love my mam, really I do. But you’re right, I have to get out of there. Between living all the way out in Ballycurra and having Declan for a brother, I …” Her eyes widened and she trailed off. “Never mind. Forget I said anything.”

I scooted my chair closer. It wasn’t like anyone was paying attention to our conversation, what with Tanya sitting on Aidan’s lap and Liam getting a neck massage from some girl I didn’t recognize, but it was obvious Aoife had been about to say something she didn’t want anyone to know and now I was intrigued.

“What is it? You can tell me.”

“I don’t think I can,” she whispered, her eyes flicking between mine.

“C’mon sprite. We’ve known each other since we were both in nappies. You’ve seen my dick, for chrissakes!”
At the mention of us playing naked together down by the ocean when we’d been babies, she brightened and a light chuckle escaped her lips. “And to think, I was the first.”

Come to think of it, she had been the first to get a look at my cock which, by the way it just twitched in my jeans, wasn’t as repulsive an idea as it’d been the first time we’d teased each other about those days. 

Huh. Funny that. 

I placed my hand on her knee and squeezed. “You can tell me anything. I promise to keep it a secret. After all, you’ve never told anyone about my one-inch willy,” I joked. 

There I went again with my secret keeping. At some point I’d have to stop promising pretty girls they could confide in me. 

“I’m sure it’s grown since then,” she answered, picking up the trail of our conversation. “You’ve got to be at least two inches by now.”

“Fuck you,” I said laughing. “I can assure you, I’ve grown much bigger.

“Maybe,” she shrugged. “Or maybe not.”

As much as it pained me to admit it, all this talk of my dick and how big it’d grown since we were babies had it growing right this second. And once I came to that realization, my mind decided to play very dirty tricks on me by wondering what Aoife would do if she saw my cock now. By her own startling admission, she was somehow still a virgin, but maybe she didn’t need to stay that way for long. If she was willing to throw something like that away on a tosser like Kevin Dempsey, maybe she’d consider a different idea—a different someone. After all, it wasn’t like I’d fuck her and forget her the way Kevin would. Aoife and I were friends and I thought if we did this right, we could even stay friends afterward. 

I’d never thought of Aoife like this before, but as I took in the girl in front of me, I suddenly wondered if I’d been a fool not to. Objectively speaking, she was a pretty anyone’s standards, but when you factored in everything about her, she wasn’t just pretty … she was different. In a sea of same, she stood out. She made you remember her, whether you wanted to or not. 

I picked up my beer and swallowed a few deep gulps, feeling very uncomfortable with the direction my thoughts had just taken. This was Aoife O’Shaughnessy, for fuck’s sake. I’d known her literally my whole life. Her brother was my team captain, and as sure as I knew anything, I knew sisters and ex-girlfriends of my mates were off limits. And yet I was about 10 seconds away from doing something I shouldn’t. Five seconds until I changed everything between us, forever. One second away from opening a door I would never be able to close.

I leaned close, my half-full beer bottle resting between my spread knees. Dropping my voice, I said, “Don’t do it Aoife.”

Startled, she sucked in a quick, tiny breath. “Do what?” she asked, her eyes darting to and fro like she knew exactly what I was talking about.

Still, I had to say it. “I overheard what you said to Tanya.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” she responded, scooting her chair away a few inches. 

Undeterred, I placed my beer on the table and brought my chair closer. Close enough that I could lay both my hands on her knees. Close enough that if I leaned in any further, I’d be near enough to kiss her. Close enough that she couldn’t get away.

“You do know what I’m talking about, and I’m asking you to reconsider. Anyone but him, Aoife.”

“Why?” she whispered. “Why not Kevin?”

“That’s not my secret to share, but trust me when I tell you you’ll regret it.”

“What do you know about regret, Eoin?” she whispered back angrily. “You’ve had a ton of sex.”

“I have,” I answered honestly since lying would have been stupid since Aoife was friends with my first girlfriend, the one I’d lost my virginity to the night of the debutante ball. The same night Aoife had jumped into the ocean in her gown. “Which is why I know you don’t want your first time to be with someone like him.”

“Everyone I know is terrified of Declan, but not him. He couldn’t give a rat’s ass who my brother is. So if not Kevin, then who?”

The noise in the pub fell away until it was just the two of us, our breaths mingling. My eyes met hers and held them for three long seconds before I said the thing I shouldn’t have said. The thing that changed our friendship forever.
 
“What about me?

(Note: this content is subject to change before publication date.)