All my life, I’ve said I will never date a hockey player. I know better because I’ve seen and lived it all. My father is a hockey god, my brother is the captain of the most successful NHL team in the world, and my brother-in-law also plays in the league. Their lives are complicated, so I went in the opposite direction.
I fell in love with a scholar. But instead of proposing marriage, he broke up with me.
Three months later, I saw his engagement picture on Instagram. I couldn’t let him get away with that. No, it didn’t matter what, I was going to make that man see that I did not need him.
I was in the running to pass my point record from last year, ready to claim the number one spot in the league. On top of my game, I was riding my career high wave.
Then, Hockey’s Princess, Zara Stone tweeted me. She wanted me to crash her ex’s wedding.
The worst that could happen? A PR nightmare. The best? A fun night with a beautiful woman.
It started out as a game—something I’m good at. Her crazy idea twisted into something I wasn’t looking for, something neither of us wanted.
When push comes to shove, one thing runs through my mind:
This is Crazy. Also, this is crazy right.
When you grow up surrounded by hockey players you know one thing for sure, I was never going to settle down with one.
Heck, I didn’t even know what icing was. I was too busy climbing the corporate ladder, becoming one of the most successful realtors in New York City.
I wasn’t interested in dating or anything that got in my way.
First, he was my client and then he became my friend.
My parents told me I skated before I walked.
When I was eighteen I was drafted into the N.H.L third overall, playing in Los Angeles—the city of dreams.
What more could I ask for? I played hard, but eventually, I partied even harder.
Five years later I was traded a week after I entered rehab.
There was no time for anything except my health and making sure I’d come out on top. I had to be better.
There wasn’t another option.
One of the rules of recovery was ‘don’t fall in love’ and I made it a top priority. She was off limits in every single way.
Until it was too late
One night, one decision, one act can derail everything.
When push comes to shove, I’m only certain that, This is Wild.
Never fall in love.
That was my motto, and I was sticking to it.
Having my heart broken once was enough, and I never wanted to do it again.
He was supposed to be a one-night stand, the only thing I do.
One rule shouldn’t be so hard to follow, but then I went back for seconds, then thirds.
After that, I lost count of the number of times I lost myself in his arms.
When I wasn’t paying attention, my guard slipped.
They call me Private Mark for a reason—my whole life is a secret.
For two years, we danced around each other until I got her right where I wanted her ... under me.
Now that I had her, I wasn't letting her go. I thought we were on the same page.
I thought we were building something great.
Boy, was I ever wrong.
I had no idea that while I was falling in love, she was trying to convince herself we were temporary.
She thought I’d walk away.
She was wrong.
Now it's time to convince her she wants us too and to show her that the crazy, wild thing we have ... This Is Love.
Becoming a teen mom at eighteen was not what I expected, but then again, neither was being a single parent. Still, I wouldn’t change my past because that boy is my world.
Hockey is the only thing my son seems to care about, so I work two jobs to make sure he can play. I’d do anything to make sure he doesn’t suffer because of the bad decisions his father made.
When he won a whole summer of hockey training, I knew in my heart he was going to have an amazing time.
What I wasn’t prepared for was meeting his new summer coach.
He was magnetic, powerful, and a player—in all forms of the word.
If my life had taught me anything up to this point, it was how to avoid making bad decisions, and Justin Stone was the definition of a bad decision.
I could never be a woman his family approved of. Even if I wished I could be.
Growing up as the son of a hockey God is one thing. Growing up as the brother of a second hockey God is another. I had big skates to fill, so it was a good thing I loved every second of it.
Summer was my off time, my time to let loose, but when they ask me to coach a hockey camp for underprivileged kids, I couldn’t say no.
But when she walked in holding a little boy’s hand, my heart stopped beating. Or maybe it started for the first time.
They were a package deal, and I knew this—wanted it more than I’ve ever wanted anything. It didn’t take long to realize that no matter what happened,
I would do anything to protect them.
She is the only one I want to be with.