Crushed Page 15


But my crush is old enough to have its own driver’s license. As naïve as it sounds, I want to give Devon a chance to see that he’s with the wrong sister, because I believe in my heart that he is.

But unlike skeevy Beefcake, I’ll never make an actual move.

I promise myself that. The ball will always be in Devon’s court.

To punctuate that thought, I take a decisive swing at the next ball that comes my way, and for once I hit the ball squarely, only I hit it too hard and it sails toward the back fence instead of landing neatly within the lines.

“You want some pointers?”

Great. Just great.

Beefcake’s recognized me.

I tilt my head back toward the sky in exasperation, which is idiotic, because the next ball comes and thwacks me in the boobs.

“Son of a—”

I throw my arm across my chest, leaping out of the way, and very seriously considering launching my tennis racket at a laughing Michael St. Claire, only I’m pretty sure I’d miss and make him laugh harder.

Instead, I go to turn off the ball machine, rubbing my throbbing boob as I move past him, chin held high, although I’m not sure if the snub is embarrassment that he witnessed my mishap, or disappointment that he’s the latest in a long string of dudes to fall into my sister’s web.

“Hey, Chloe, come on!”

I keep walking.

I swear I’ve only walked five more steps when he jogs up beside me. “What’s up your tennis skirt?”

“Please. Like I’d wear that glorified version of underwear,” I say, stopping to face him, forcing myself not to continue rubbing my boob in his presence.

He sucks in his cheeks a little, and a lock of dark hair falls over his forehead. He’s sweaty, but not in the gross, midlife crisis way, but in the hot, active guy way. “Yeah, I noticed the, uh, shorts,” he says. “Are those men’s?”


I tuck a frizzy curl behind my ear, but it pops right back in my face. “You said I had two days off, right? You get to criticize me from seven to eight on weekdays, and that’s it. Today is off-limits.”

I hadn’t planned on coming anywhere near the club today, since it’s Saturday, but Kristin had announced to my parents that she “needed” to schedule an extra tennis lesson for weekends.

If you smell something fishy, it’s because Kristin doesn’t need once-a-week lessons, much less twice-a-week. She’s after something.

I’m pretty sure that something is Beefcake.

So what choice did I have, really, other than to follow along and go all Jason Bourne on their asses?

Something weird passes his face, and he crosses his arms. “Is that what you think I’m doing? Criticizing you?”

I stare at him, aghast. “Seriously? You don’t do anything but criticize. I mean, you were already trying to fix me within five minutes of meeting me.”

“That’s not—”

I wave a hand at him. “I know, I know. You’ve got to do something to keep yourself busy at this go-nowhere job for the summer, and it sure as hell isn’t going to be toning all of those housewives’ butts that have already seen two decades’ worth of Pilates. But just … save the lectures for when I’m passing out on the treadmill, okay?”

Michael stares at me for a minute, his jaw moving from side to side. “K.”

I throw my arms in the air. “K. Cool. See ya.”

I walk away, belatedly realizing I’m supposed to put the ball machine back in the little storage area, but I’m hoping Michael will take care of it for me. He owes me for being a jerk.

The locker rooms at Cambridge rival a five-star resort’s, but I sort of have this thing about showering in public spaces, so I just do a quick mirror check to ensure I’m not going to scare any small children (debatable) and then head toward my car, already dreaming of the long cool shower that awaits at home. I’m not even really sure why I put myself through the misery of heatstroke just so I could watch my sister and Beefcake, but it has so not been worth it.

I plop into the driver’s side and turn the AC on full blast, sighing in relief as it blows over my overheated skin. I turn on the radio, and it’s a great old George Strait classic. I sing along to the chorus while I check my texts.

There’s one from Mom saying she and Dad have a “thing” tonight and Kristin has a date with Devon so I’m on my own for dinner.

Yessssss. House to myself. Score.

Feeling my bad mood take a turn for the better, I start to put the car in reverse, launching into the key change of the last verse of “Amarillo by Morning,” when a soft tap on the driver’s-side window has me doing one of those girly type of screams.

Heart pounding, I punch the window button. “Seriously? Beefcake? Stalker much?”

“Says the girl who spent all afternoon spying on me.”

I give him a withering glare, and he leans into the car, resting his forearms on the open window. “Can I have a ride?”

I frown. “Don’t you have a car?”

“In the shop. Blake was supposed to give me a ride but I got some cryptic text about zombies, which I think translates to hungover.”

I narrow my eyes. “A ride to where?”

“A windowless bunker with chains on the wall,” he says, leaning farther into the car window.

I give him a look and he rolls his eyes. “I just need a ride home, Chloe. I rent an apartment off El Camino Drive. It’s only ten minutes from here.”

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