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Dating Texas

Dating Texas

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How does the future NHL goaltender fall for his tech nerd roommate? 

The truth is, he decided not to fight it. 

Killian “Killer” James doesn’t fit into the elite world of Defiance Academy. There on a hockey scholarship, his Texas ranch hand ways are foreign to his wealthy classmates. 

And then there’s Diego, the kid who never looks up from the computer screen in their shared dorm room, the one whose genius is intimidating. 

Boys like them aren’t supposed to be friends, they aren’t supposed to share secret smiles or distract each other from the goals that have gotten them this far. 

So that question about the jock and the nerd… maybe distractions aren’t such a bad thing. Maybe it’s time for Killian to step out of his own lonely world and join Diego in his.

Main Tropes

  • Sweet M/M Romance
  • Forced Proximity
  • Opposites Attract


How does the future NHL goaltender fall for his tech nerd roommate? 

The truth is, he decided not to fight it. 

Killian “Killer” James doesn’t fit into the elite world of Defiance Academy. There on a hockey scholarship, his Texas ranch hand ways are foreign to his wealthy classmates. 

And then there’s Diego, the kid who never looks up from the computer screen in their shared dorm room, the one whose genius is intimidating. 

Boys like them aren’t supposed to be friends, they aren’t supposed to share secret smiles or distract each other from the goals that have gotten them this far. 

So that question about the jock and the nerd… maybe distractions aren’t such a bad thing. Maybe it’s time for Killian to step out of his own lonely world and join Diego in his.

Go all in with Killian and Diego in this opposites attract sweet romance about an adorable geek and his broody and intense hockey star roommate. 

Dating Texas is a standalone, clean MM novel in the complete Dating Him Series perfect for fans Love Simon, and What if it’s Us. (HEA guaranteed)


There was only one thing Killian “Killer” James wanted in his life, only one plan. Hockey. More specifically, stopping the next puck. That was as far as he let himself look into the future. Each puck coming for the enigmatic goaltender represented a new chance to be great, a new path toward his dreams.

He slid back closer to the crossbar, squaring his body up with the opposing shooter streaking through the neutral zone. His winger raced to catch up with him, but Killian saw how it would all play out. With the defense stuck chasing the play, it was only him and the centerman.

It happened in slow motion. The shooter drew his stick back, telegraphing his play, and Killian slowed his breathing. The sounds of the crowd no longer reached him as he tracked the puck. It flew toward the upper corner of the net, a perfect shot.

Killian barely moved as he stuck his glove out, plucking the puck out of the air. The impact reverberated up his arm, and the silence in his mind shattered, allowing in the excited chants from the stands.

“Killer, Killer” wound around the arena, but he didn’t acknowledge them.

“Nice save.” Kenny Montgomery slapped him on the back. 

Killian only grunted at his teammate. Defiance Academy had the best high school hockey team in the Midwest, but something felt off that night. The forwards bungled passes. The defensemen missed hits. It was the last game before winter break, and their minds were already on the three weeks off.

Kenny lined up to take the face-off, but the puck only glanced off his stick before careening toward the far corner.

Guys from both teams scraped along the boards, trying to push the puck free. It popped out of the melee, coming right to the stick of a defenseman standing near the open corner of the net.

Killian dropped his leg out, sliding into the splits as he shifted from post to post, taking away the shooter’s easy angle. The puck hit Killian’s leg before the opposing shooter tried to stuff in the rebound. Killian whirled around as three opposing players jammed the net.

He didn’t know how many saves he made in a matter of seconds, but by the time he managed to cover the puck, his name once again drifted toward the domed ceiling.

Lifting his eyes, he took note of the time. Four minutes left. A tie game. If his teammates couldn’t score, Killian could at least give them the tie.

After winning the face-off, Kenny took off down the ice, only to have his shot blocked by the opposing goaltender who steered his rebound to his own man. All ten skaters bore down on Killian. He made stop after stop and didn’t see it coming.

The hit.

As he lifted his blocker, a big body slammed into him, and the two collided with the goalpost, knocking the wind from Killian. A sharp pain speared through his shoulder, and he dropped to the ice as a whistle rang in his ears.

“Killer?” Kenny bent over him. “You okay, man?”

Killian looked back at the dislodged net. He didn’t know who’d hit him, but the douchebag just skated away.

“Yeah.” He grunted, trying to push away the pain. “I’m fine.” As he tried to push himself up, he gritted his teeth and fell back, agony spreading down his arm.

The trainer walked out onto the ice as every eye fell to Killian. Along with Kenny, he helped him to his feet. The crowd roared their approval.

“I can finish the game.” Killian met the trainer’s eye.

Coach Ryan joined them. “Where are you hurt?”

“Nowhere, I’m fine.”

“Don’t lie to me, James. We all saw the hit you just took.”

Killian clenched his jaw, refusing to tell his coach about the pain snaking along his shoulder. He was a hockey player; he’d played with worse. The team needed him. He glanced at the scoreboard. Two minutes. He could play through any kind of pain for two minutes.

“Let me play.”

Kenny gave him a nod of respect, but Coach didn’t look nearly as impressed. “No. If you’re hurt, you could make it worse. Go to the locker room. We’ll put Matthews in net.”

Matthews sucked, but Killian wasn’t about to say that out loud. The truth was, no one who made the Defiance Academy team sucked, but it had been Killian leading them in net for the last two years. He couldn’t stand the thought of someone else coming in now.

Coach Ryan pointed to the tunnel. “Go.”

Anger burned through Killian, fueling each step as he left the ice. He didn’t bother grabbing his skate guards before storming down the tunnel and into the locker room. Ripping his mask off, he hurled it at the concrete wall, wincing at the pain the movement caused.

He could have stayed in the game. His breath rasped in his throat, and his chest heaved. No one would ever claim Killian James was a calm guy when it came to hockey. To him, the game was life. He’d make it pro no matter what kind of pain he had to play through.

There was no way he’d return to Texas after high school when there was no future for him there. Hockey was his only way to a different kind of life.

Sitting in his stall, he started unlacing his skates and pulled them off just as the noise reached him from the hall. Moments later, the team burst into the locker room. They didn’t speak, but their sullen body language said it all.

Defiance Academy had lost. Killian tried not to blame the backup goalie, but he couldn’t help thinking if he was in net, they’d at least have tied the game.

Yeah, he was cocky but deservedly so.

The truth was, Killian shouldn’t have even been there right then. He should have been playing for Team USA in World Juniors, but he’d been passed over for that just like everything else in his life.

Never quite good enough.

Coach entered the room, his eyes scanning the faces surrounding him. “You boys played well.”

“We lost.” Kenny hung his head. “And if it hadn’t been for Killer, we’d have lost by a lot more than we did.”

Coach Ryan sighed. “Hit the showers, boys. You all leave for winter break soon. We will rest up and come back from the holodays with fresh memories. This loss is now in the past.”

Killian closed his eyes and leaned his head back against the wall. Coach Ryan’s favorite speeches revolved around having short memories, but you couldn’t erase a loss.

When he opened his eyes again, Coach stood in front of him. “How are you feeling?”

“I told you I was fine.” Killian tried to stand, but Coach put a hand up to stop him. “Take a shower, and then one of the trainers will drive you to the hospital.”


“Nonnegotiable, James. I saw how your shoulder hit the post, and I see how you’re holding your arm now. I want you to get an X-ray and an MRI. If it’s just me being an overprotective coach and nothing is wrong, at least we’ll know that. But I’ve seen guys struggle to come back from injuries, and I will not have the best goalie I have ever coached lose his bright hockey future because he was too stubborn.”

“Fine.” Killian bit back the words he wanted to say. Coach didn’t deserve to bear the brunt of Killian’s anger. “I’ll go.”

* * *

By the time Killian returned to campus, the halls were eerily silent. Defiance Academy had strict rules about things like curfew. All students had to be in their rooms by ten at night. They said it was for safety reasons. The academy was the kind of rich-kid school Killian never thought he’d set foot in. Children of politicians, CEOs, and celebrities attended because their parents were assured certain protections from the media.

And there was Killian James, poor nobody from San Antonio, Texas. The day they’d sent him a scholarship offer to play hockey changed his life. He went from ranch hand and casual hockey goalie to NHL hopeful within a few years’ time.

His rise had caught the attention of the Hockey News—they even wrote an article about him—but Killian never saw why they felt the need to talk about his humble upbringing. He might not have had much, but he had the best mom in the world.

A mom who’d called three times since seeing the game streamed online. She never missed one.

Killian stared down at his vibrating phone as he leaned against the wall next to his door. Bringing the phone to his ear, he sighed. “Hey, Ma.”

“Killian James! What is the matter with you, boy? I have to see my son get the sense knocked out of him and then wait hours for him to call his dear old ma to say he’s alive.”

A smile curved his lips. Even in his exhausted state, hearing his mom’s thick Southern voice made him wish she was there. “It’s nothing. I promise. They checked me out for a shoulder tear, but it’s just a sprain.”

The breath whooshed out of her. “You’re going to drive me to my grave, you know that?”

“I love you too, Ma.”

“Your sisters want to say hi to you. It’s late, and I tried to make them sleep, but they worry just as much as I do.”

He smiled at that. Being away from home was hard, and Defiance Academy wasn’t exactly the most welcoming place for scholarship kids.

“You’re a jerk.” That was Zoey, Killian’s thirteen-year-old—and every bit the age—sister.

“Hey, Zoe. Miss you too.”

“If you missed me, you wouldn’t make us think… He—” Her yell was cut off when another voice came on.

“Sorry, Zoe. Killy just wants to talk to me.”

He laughed at six-year-old Rory’s words. Even on such a crap night, his sisters could always make him feel better.

“Are you coming home for Christmas, Killian?”

He hated the words he had to say and hated even more that his mom hadn’t told Rory yet. “Rory… You’re going to have a great Christmas, but I won’t be there.”

She started crying. “Why not?”

How did he tell a six-year-old their mom couldn’t afford to fly him home for both winter and summer breaks so he had to choose? “I’m going to be home in the summertime.”

“But, Killian, Baby Girl needs you.” He smiled at that. Baby Girl was her name for the horse he’d taught her to ride. They didn’t own her, and her real name was Jasmine, but she belonged to the ranch their mom worked at. Their mom was a cook and housekeeper. During the summer, Killian mucked stalls and exercised horses.

“You’ll just have to explain it to her, Ror. Tell Baby Girl I love her and I wish I could be there with her, but sometimes, we don’t get what we want.”

Rory’s soft sobs came through the phone for a moment before another voice rang in his ears. “I’m so sorry, Killian.” His mom had always felt guilty for not being able to provide more for her kids after their dad left them. Killian didn’t blame her though. She did the best she could. The ache in his shoulder intensified, and all he wanted was go to sleep and forget this day ever happened.

“It’s okay. I’ve got to get some rest.”

“Okay, I love you, honey.”

He hesitated for a moment longer before hanging up. It was the second year in a row he’d miss being with his family for the holidays, and it didn’t get easier. No matter how busy he was, or how focused, he couldn’t stop missing them. On his tough days, he sometimes wished he could just go home and live a simple life.

But then he’d put on his hockey pads and remember he was never meant for simple.

Pushing into his room, he stopped when he caught sight of his roommate, Diego, hunched over his keyboard. Diego didn’t look up from his massive computer screen as Killian dumped his hockey bag near the foot of his bed.

Taking an ice pack out of their shared freezer, he placed it under his shirt over the compression bandage and sighed as the cold seeped into his skin.

Still, Diego didn’t notice him. His eyes darted back and forth across the screen. Code appeared as he typed it, but it wasn’t like Killian understood any of it.

After living with Diego all semester, the only thing Killian really knew about him was that he loved his computer more than people and was the son of some wealthy tech genius.

Pushing his glasses up into his dark hair, Diego rubbed his eyes and looked up, noticing Killian for the first time. His gaze darted from the ice pack to Killian’s face, but he didn’t ask if he was okay. That would have required him to speak.

The truth was, Killian was pretty sure he scared Diego. He was a big Texan hockey player at a school that worshiped hockey. When they’d first met, it amused him. But then Diego never snapped out of his wide-eyed fascination, and it started annoying Killian to the point he avoided his room.

After staring at each other for a moment longer, Killian lay down on his bed and turned away from Diego. “Don’t type on your computer all night. I need some sleep.”

Diego didn’t answer, but the typing never resumed.

* * *

Sharp pain woke Killian the next morning. He groaned as he turned over, realizing he’d shifted onto his sprained shoulder in his sleep.

As he opened his eyes, he jerked back. Diego stood over him, bent down so he looked straight into his face.

“What are you doing?” Killian breathed through the pain.

Diego straightened. “You…l-looked like you were in pain.”

“I was, but that doesn’t explain why you were standing over me.” This dude was weird.

Diego removed his glasses and cleaned them on his shirt. “I… You were in pain.” He cocked his head to the side as if that was reason enough to act like a creeper.

Sure, Killian might have woken up groaning, but he must have missed the part where he became friends with Diego. It wasn’t that he disliked the guy, but Diego had never made any effort, and Killian saw Defiance Academy as only a means to an end. He had little desire to get to know the privileged kids like Diego who had a career set up for them at their family companies before they were even born.

“It’s fine. I’m fine.”

Diego went to the freezer and retrieved an ice pack. Holding it out to Killian, he didn’t say a word.

Killian struggled out of his T-shirt and unwound the compression bandage before placing the ice pack directly on his skin.

All the doctor told him to do was rest and ice. He said if he did enough of both, Killian would probably be ready to go by their next game in three weeks.

His phone rang from where he’d left it on the desk. Diego snatched it before he could. “Someone named Zoey is calling you. Is that your girlfriend?”

“No.” He took the phone and shut it off without answering. Zoey would only be checking up on him for his mom. “What time is it?”

“Almost noon.”

No wonder his stomach growled. Reaching into the bin under his bed, he retrieved a protein bar. “Shouldn’t you be packed to go home?”


“Yeah, the place where people live when they’re not stuck in a shoebox room with another dude.”

“I’m not going home.” He sat in front of his computer, turning his attention away from Killian.

“What do you mean you’re not going home?” Killian got out of bed, realizing how sore his entire body was after that game.

Diego shrugged. “My father isn’t big on holidays, and I have things to accomplish here.”

He spoke more like a businessman than a teenager. The anger Killian was known for crept up, and he had to hold it back. His winter break wasn’t supposed to be spent sitting in a crowded room. The only thing he’d looked forward to was having space for the first time in months.

“You have things to accomplish?” Killian loomed over Diego’s shoulder.

Diego didn’t answer. He’d already disappeared into the lines of code streaking across the screen.

For a moment, Killian had forgotten about his shoulder, and all he wanted to do was convince Kenny to take practice shots on him so he too could lose himself.

But then the throbbing intensified. Gingerly pulling a shirt over his head, Killian walked to the door. “I’m going to the dining hall.”

Diego didn’t respond. Sometimes, Killian wondered if his roommate even lived in the real world.

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