“Candice! You’re in cheer shorts and a bikini top! Did you even go to the pool today?”

“Uh, no. But anyway, it doesn’t matter if you want to meet them or not. We’re going out for dinner with both of them tonight.” She grabbed my hand and pulled me back to our living room, pushing back the curtain and peeking through the blinds at the unit directly across from ours. It looked the same as it always did. No activity.

“You might be going out for dinner. I’m not going anywhere. Besides, this way you have two guys all to yourself.” I stepped away from the window and headed toward my room, looking back over my shoulder at her as I said, “You might want to warn them that you aren’t a one-guy kind of girl, though.”

She flipped me off without taking her gaze from the window.

“Oh, you know I’m kidding . . . but for real, warn them.”

“So hateful.” She shook her head and dropped the blinds and curtains before walking past me toward her own room. “Whatever, I’ll be lucky if either is interested in me after they’ve seen you. I’m going to hop in the shower, and you should start getting ready soon. We’re leaving at seven.”

“I’m not going, Candice!” But it didn’t matter; she’d already shut her bedroom door.

With a sigh, I turned and went to my bathroom. Stripping out of my comfy clothes, I turned the shower on and waited until the room was filled with steam before stepping in.

And no, I still wasn’t going.

That’s what I continued to tell myself when I was doing my makeup almost forty-five minutes later and when I did large, loose curls throughout the bottom half of my long hair. Not going. Just getting ready to sit around the apartment looking pretty. When my hair was done, I checked my makeup one more time, making sure the smoky eyes were just enough to make my blue eyes pop but not so much that I looked like I was going clubbing. I flossed and brushed my teeth, told myself one more time I wasn’t going to go, then went to my closet to pick out something to wear.

Candice burst into my room thirty minutes later, and I was standing there in a bra and underwear, just staring at my closet.


“I can’t believe you’re not dressed yet! I told you to get ready! They’re going to be here in, like, five minutes!”

“I think this is a sign that I shouldn’t go.”

She huffed and pushed me out of my closet before walking in. “You can tell yourself all you want that you’re not going. But even if you’d stayed all skanked out like you were earlier, I would’ve still dragged you out the door with us.”

I wanted to sneer at her and ask why it was okay to stay skanked out with these guys and not Blake, but I kept my mouth shut. We hadn’t talked about the situation with Blake since Candice had come back to the dorm with food and ice cream that afternoon. It was just easier this way.

In less than two minutes, Candice was walking out of my closet and throwing my outfit onto the bed. “There. Get dressed.”

“Heels? Candice, are these guys even tall?” I’m five eight. And these were four-and-a-half-inch stilettos.

“Yeah, they’re ginormous, they’re going to be here any second, get dressed!”

“Gah, so pushy.” I dressed in my faded skinny jeans, black stilettos, and a loose black tank. The kind you have to wear a camisole underneath unless you feel like showing the entire world what Victoria’s Secret really is. As soon as I was done, Candice was in front of me, her lips pursed as she critiqued my outfit. “Well?”

She stamped her foot—yes, Candice still stamped her foot like a five-year-old—and her pursed lips turned into a pout. “This is so not fair! Can I have your boobs for just one night?”

“Yeah, sure . . . let me just take them off,” I said, deadpan. “Tell me, Candi, do I look all right?”

“Uh, yeah. I’d do you.”

I snorted, “You’re disgusting.”

“You love me.”

Rolling my eyes, I walked into my bathroom and put on some perfume. “It’s true.”

Just then there was a knock on the door. Candice squealed, did her little happy clap, and left my room. I took everything I would need out of my monster of a purse and threw it in the dark green clutch Candice had dropped on my bed as well. With one last breath and look in the mirror, I stepped out into the living room and tripped over myself when I saw them. My hand shot out to the wall to keep myself somewhat vertical, and both guys standing near the door with Candice took a step toward me with eyes wide and arms out. Like they could catch me from over twenty feet away.

This is not happening.

“Wow, smooth, Rach.” Candice sighed and shook her head.

When I righted myself, I tried to keep my eyes on the ground or anywhere but on him. But of course I found myself locked in his steely gaze. Recognition flashed in them and that stupid smirk crossed his face.

“Guys, this is my roommate and best friend, Rachel. Rachel, this is Mason and Logan.”

Swallowing the last of my pride, I walked over to them, this time without any incident, and reached out to shake their hands. They looked a lot alike. Both were tall—still a few inches taller than me even with those heels on—tan, and had dark just-got-out-of-bed hair. The one standing closest to Candice, who reintroduced himself as Mason, had arms so massive, I swear the sleeves of his shirt were about to tear from how much they were stretching against the bulging muscles. To be honest, they were kind of frightening. He had tribal tattoos coming down both arms, stopping halfway down; a killer smile; and dominating eyes. But then he picked me up in a big bear hug, and all freaky thoughts of him melted away. Massive teddy bear.

I laughed and pushed away from him when he set me back down, and I turned my narrowed eyes on the guy standing next to him. “I like the name Logan. You should stick with it. It sounds much better than Kash.”

Mason snorted and Candice groaned into her hand before gasping and pointing at me. “Wait! You know him?”

“Yeah, he tried to take my car door off this afternoon when I got back.”

Kash . . . Logan—whatever his name was—stopped sucking on his lip ring and I had the strangest urge to take over that lovely task for him. “You know, we could always turn that around and say you tried to ruin my bike.”

“You pulled into the spot way too fast, and I’d been opening my door!”

“Fast? Sweetheart, I promise I wasn’t going fast, and I’d already been turning in before you opened your door. It’s not my fault you threw your door open.”

“I did not throw my door open! And don’t call me sweetheart. You don’t know me.”

“Uh, Rach. You do kinda throw your door open.”

“Candice.” I turned to look at her and gave her a Whose side are you on? look. “So not helping right now!”

“So,” Mason said loudly, and clapped his hands, “I’m starving. We going?”

Just as I was about to say I was going to stay home, and actually mean it this time, Candice grabbed my hand and walked me toward the door. “Yep!”

I turned, waiting for Logan to exit the apartment so I could lock the door, and found him directly in front of me. I inhaled sharply, and his eyes slowly worked their way down my body and back up. When his liquid-steel eyes met mine, I swear I shivered and my skin was instantly covered with goose bumps. That stupid smirk came back and I narrowed my eyes at him as I tried to ignore the way my heart was pounding.

Calm down, Rachel. He’s annoying, and he’s not even cute. Those eyes do not put you in a daze, that smile does not pierce you to the floor. You do not want to bite down on that ring on the left side of his bottom lip. You do not want to rip his shirt off to see the muscles that fill it out perfectly. And you do not want to spend hours studying his tattoo sleeves. Not. At. All.

Candice couldn’t have been more obvious when she suggested we take my Jeep or that Logan ride in front with me. But there was no point in arguing. Candice always got her way. Obviously.

“So, let’s take the guys to the Oasis, Rach. That way they can see the lake.”

Thank God I hadn’t started driving yet, because I slammed on the brake even though I was still in park. “No!” Everyone in the car jerked back. “I mean, um . . . it’s just always so crowded there. And on a summer night, it’s gonna be crazy.” Anything that reminded me of Blake, I definitely wanted to avoid.

“Oh . . . kay. Well then.” Candice thought for a second before saying warily, “Are you going to freak out if I suggest Hula Hut?”

“No, I’m not. And I—I didn’t freak out.”

“Whatever, Rachel. Just drive.”

I glanced in the rearview mirror to see her give me a Cool it look before turning to whisper in Mason’s ear.

“Hey, are you gonna be okay to drive?” Logan asked softly in my ear. “You look sick all of a sudden.”

“Thanks,” I said through clenched teeth, and shot him a glare as I backed out of my space.

“I didn’t— Jesus,” he huffed, and sat back. “Forget it.”

I took a shaky breath in and held it for a few seconds before releasing it. I knew I was being rude. But it was like I couldn’t stop. “So why’d you tell me your name is Kash if it’s Logan? Are you a part of some motorcycle gang or something and you got stuck with the shitty nickname? Or do you just sing like Johnny Cash?” He definitely had a voice deep and smooth enough for that to be a possibility.

Logan made a noise between a scoff and a laugh and shook his head. “First off, they’re called motorcycle clubs, not gangs. And no, I’m not a part of one; I just love motorcycles. Second, you were wrong earlier, and you’re wrong now. Kash isn’t a nickname. It’s my middle name, and I’ve gone by Kash my entire life. It was my grandpa’s name.”

Oh sweet baby Jesus, someone please give me a time machine so I can restart today. “Um . . .” I tilted my head to the side and grimaced. “I’m just going to throw myself out of the car now.”

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