My eyes narrowed. “Yeah. What’s wrong with that?”

“This thing could double as a weapon. You could hit me over the head with this thing, kill me and then end up on one of those shows you watch on Investigation Discovery.”

I rolled my eyes. “That’s a bit excessive.”

“Whatever.” He tossed the book to the other side of the bed. “Were you getting ready for bed?”

“I was getting ready to read before I was rudely interrupted,” I joked. Forcing myself away from the door, I slowly dragged my way over to where he was now stretched out on his side, lying there like it was his bed, cheek resting on his fist. “But someone, no names mentioned, is now here.”

His lips kicked up at the sides. “Want me to leave?”


“Didn’t think so.” He patted the spot next to him. “Come talk with me. Tell me everything I’ve missed.”

Ordering myself not to act like a complete dork, I sat on the bed, which wasn’t easy because of the shirt. I so did not want to flash him. Or maybe I did want to flash him. But he probably didn’t want that.

“You haven’t missed much,” I said, glancing at my bedroom door. Thank God I’d closed it already. “Keith’s thrown a couple of parties—”

“You went to them without me?” He pressed his hand to his chest. “My heart. It hurts.”


I grinned at him as I stretched my legs out, crossing them at the ankles. “I went with the girls. I didn’t go by myself. And so what if I did?”

The grin went up a notch. “Did he have any down by the lake?”

Shaking my head, I tugged on the hem of my shirt as I wiggled my toes. “No. Just at his place.”

“Cool.” When I looked over at him, his lashes were lowered. His free hand rested on the bed between us. His fingers were long and slender, skin tan from being outside all the time. “You do anything else? Go out with anyone?”

I stopped moving my toes, and my head swung back toward him. That was a random question. “Not really.”

An eyebrow rose as his gaze lifted to mine.

I quickly changed the subject. “By the way, guess who stopped in at Joanna’s tonight, asking about you?”

“Who wouldn’t stop by asking about me?”

I shot him a bland look.

He grinned. “Who?”

“Skylar. Apparently she’s been messaging you and you’ve been ignoring her.”

“I haven’t been ignoring her.” He reached up, knocking the flop of hair off his forehead. “I just haven’t been responding.”

A frown turned down the corners of my lips. “Isn’t that the same thing?”

“What did she want?” he asked instead of answering.

“To talk to you.” I leaned back against the headboard and grabbed the pillow, thrusting it into my lap. “She said... She asked me to tell you that she was asking for you.”

“Well, look at you, doing as you’re told.” He paused, his grin increasing. “For once.”

I chose to ignore that comment. “She also said she thought breaking up with you was a mistake.”

His head jerked back and that grin faded. “She said that?”

My heart started pounding in my chest. He sounded surprised. Was that a happy surprise or bad one? Did he still care about her? “Yeah.”

Sebastian didn’t move for a second and then shook his head. “Whatever.” His hand moved lightning fast, snatching the pillow out of my lap. He shoved it under his head.

“Help yourself,” I muttered, tugging the shirt back up my shoulder.

“Just did.” He smiled up at me. “You have another freckle.”

“What?” I turned my head to him. Since I could remember, my face looked like it got hit with a freckle cannon. “There is no way you can tell if I have another freckle.”

“I can tell. Lean over. I can even show you where.”

I hesitated, eyeing him.

“Come on,” he coaxed, hooking his finger at me.

Inhaling a shallow breath, I leaned toward him. Hair slipped over my shoulder as he lifted his hand.

That grin was back, playing over his lips. “Right there...” He pressed the tip of his finger to the center of my chin. I sucked in air. His lashes swept down. “That’s a new one.”

For a moment, I couldn’t move. All I could do was sit there, leaning toward him with his finger touching my chin. It was crazy and stupid, because it was just the softest touch, but I felt it in every cell of my body.

He lowered his hand to the space between us again.

I exhaled a shaky breath. “You are... You are so stupid.”

“You love me,” he said.


Madly. Deeply. Irrevocably. I could come up with five more adverbs. I’d been in love with Sebastian since, jeez, since he was seven and brought over the black snake he’d found in his yard as a gift. I don’t know why he thought I wanted it, but he’d carried it over and plopped it down in front of me like a cat bringing back a dead bird to its owner.

A really, truly weird gift—the type of gift one dude would give another dude—and that pretty much summed up our relationship right there. I was in love with him, painfully and embarrassingly so, and he mostly treated me like one of his guy friends. Had since the beginning and always would.

“I barely tolerate you,” I said.

Rolling onto his back, he stretched his arms out above his head, clasping his hands together as he laughed. His shirt rose, revealing his flat lower stomach and those two muscles on either side of his hips. I had no idea how he got them.

“Keep lying to yourself,” he said. “Maybe one day you’ll believe it.”

He had no idea how close to the truth he was.

When it came to Sebastian and how I felt about him, all I did was lie.

Lying was another thing Dad had left me.

It was something he’d also been so, so good at.


It was too early for this crap.

Standing behind Megan, I was hoping I could just blend into the wall and be forgotten. Then I could lie down and take a nap. Sebastian had stayed till three in the morning, and I was way too tired to do anything remotely physical.

Coach Rogers, also known as Sergeant Rogers or Lieutenant First Class Jerk Face, crossed his arms. His face held a permanent scowl. I’d never seen him smile. Not even when we made it to the playoffs last year.

He was also the ROTC drill instructor, so he treated us like we were in boot camp. Today was going to be no different.

“Hit the bleachers,” he ordered. “Ten sets.”

Sighing, I reached up and tugged on the tail of my hair, tightening the ponytail as Megan bounced around, facing me. “Whoever finishes last has to buy the other a smoothie after practice.”

The corners of my lips turned down. “That’s not fair. You’re going to finish first.”

“I know.” Giggling, she tore off toward the indoor bleachers.

Reaching down, I tugged on my black practice shorts and then resigned myself to death by bleacher.

The team hit the metal seats. Sneakers pounded as we worked our way up. At the top row, I smacked the wall as expected. If we didn’t do it, we’d be starting all over. Back down I went, gaze focused on the rows in front of me as my knees and arms pumped. By the fifth round, the muscles in my legs burned, along with my lungs.

I almost died.

More than once.

Once it was over, my legs felt like jelly as I joined Megan on the court. “I’d like a strawberry banana smoothie,” she said, her face flushed pink. “Thank you.”

“Shut up,” I muttered breathlessly as I glanced over to the bleachers. At least I wasn’t last. I twisted back to her. “I’m getting McDonald’s.”

Megan snorted as she fixed her shorts. “Of course you are.”

“At least I’m eating eggs,” I reasoned. I’d probably have a hell of a lot toner legs and stomach if I got that smoothie after practice instead of the Egg McMuffin and hash brown I was planning to do bad, bad things to.

She wrinkled her nose. “I don’t think those kind of eggs count.”