Crushed Page 24

“Oh, come on,” I call after him. “I was just admiring you!”

He turns around with a semi-snarl, but at least he pauses. Although I suspect that’s mostly because he doesn’t know where we’re going.

“Someone needs to carry the snacks,” I say, ignoring my bag and going around to retrieve the food from the backseat.

“Of course,” he mutters, coming back toward me but keeping his distance. “Mustn’t forget the snacks.”

He puts my bag over his shoulder as I scoop up my grocery bag full of chips and other processed-food delights. He reaches out his free hand for the handle of the small cooler and I hand it to him.

With his hands all full like that, now’s my chance to check out that tattoo, but I manage to refrain.

Eventually he’ll take his shirt off to go swimming, and I’ll check it out then. Plus, a weird part of me sort of wants him to want to show me. Willingly.

What can I say? I’m a girl. We’re weird like that.

So instead of checking out his ink or fondling his biceps, I settle for linking my arm through his, mostly so he can’t run away once we get inside and my parents start asking parenty questions like, “Who are your people?” and “Are you enjoying the summer?”

“This will be fun,” I say, smiling up at him.

He doesn’t smile back. Just looks at me for a long moment with a don’t bullshit me expression.


I jerk my gaze away from Beefcake’s glower to see Devon standing in the driveway.

Devon’s wearing only swim trunks, flip-flops, and aviator glasses that make him look like one of the hotties in that Top Gun volleyball game, and for a minute all I can do is stare.

Maybe drool a little.

Beefcake clears his throat.

“Devon! Hey!”

But Devon’s attention is focused on Michael. “Hey, aren’t you Kristin’s tennis coach?”

“And my personal trainer,” I hasten to add.

I’m not sure either guy hears me. They’re doing the staring contest thing that dudes do.

“Devon, you remember Michael. You met him for about six seconds in between exploring Kristin’s molars.”

Devon’s attention comes back to me and he smiles, easy and agreeable as ever. “Right. Sure. Nice to see you again, man. Didn’t realize you and Chloe are friends.”

“Best,” I gush, before Michael can respond.

I can’t see Devon’s eyes behind the glasses, but it seems to me that he stares at Michael a few seconds longer than necessary, and I resist the urge to tell him that if he thinks Michael’s a threat now, just wait until he sees how his girlfriend turns into a Beefcake groupie.

“Can I help you carry anything?” Devon asks, coming toward us. “I was sent to fetch more beer for the cooler, but I can help you guys if you need it.”

“We’re good,” Michael says just as I start to say, “Sure.”

“Okay, well, come on around back when you get settled into your rooms,” Devon says with a last flash of white teeth before ducking into the garage, where my parents have a fridge for overflow booze.

“You caught that, right?” Michael asks as I lead him toward the front door.

“Caught what?” I use my hip to shove the door open.

“The way he emphasized rooms. Plural.”

I roll my eyes. “He did not.”

“He’s protective of you,” Beefcake says, taking in the foyer. It’s not fancy, but it’s huge. Most people look intimidated, or at least impressed. Michael looks neither.

“Well, of course he’s protective of me. We’re friends and you look like you collect virgins for a living. He’s probably worried.”

“About your virginity?” he asks.

I set the bag of food by the foot of the stairs and head up. I’ll put the food away later.

I’m up only two stairs when Michael’s hand wraps around my arm and pulls me back, his expression irritated.

“Are you?” he asks. “A virgin?”

“Not your business.”

His fingers tighten on my arm. “Chloe.”

“Okay, totally not your business,” I say, a little thrown off by the weird intensity on his face. “But because I’m not really the sweet, secretive type, no. I’m not.”

His eyes search my face as though looking for a lie, and my pride stings.

I jerk my hand away. “I know, hard to believe, right? Trust me, I get that I’m not exactly oozing sex appeal without jerks like you reminding me.”

He releases my arm, his gaze dark.

“I was just making sure,” he says gruffly.

“Making sure of what?”

“That you weren’t waiting because you were hung up on a guy who’s unavailable.”

“Well, good thing that’s not your problem to worry about,” I say sweetly before proceeding up the stairs. “But for the record, first choice would have been someone that I, you know, loved. But a girl can be curious and horny without needing to have her heart all tangled up in it.”

I can practically hear him shaking his head behind me. “You’re a weird little creature, Chloe.”

“Why, because I’m not opposed to having sex like a man?”

“Hey, don’t get huffy. I’m hardly one to judge about casual, meaningless sex.”

I spin around, surprised to realize that he has followed me so closely, and is now only one step below me.

Prev Next
Romance | Vampires | Fantasy | Billionaire | Werewolves | Zombies