Crushed Page 29

“Enlighten me.”

“God, you’re hopeless,” he mutters. “Okay, take notes or whatever, because I’m not going to chat for hours about this, but guys can be possessive.”

I lean forward, waiting for more, but he doesn’t continue, and I sigh. “Can you please just spell it out for me? In case you haven’t noticed, I’m not exactly beating off guys with my eyelashes, so any help is, well, necessary.”

He grunts, shoving me off the bed as he rises. I start to move away, figuring he’s lost all patience, but instead he grabs my hand and turns me to face him.

His eyes narrow as he looks me over, and for the first time I notice how thick his eyelashes are. Not long … because that would just be too unfair. But thick and dark and masculine.

“Knock if off,” he mutters, still studying me.

“Knock what off?”

“Checking me out.”

I use his momentarily distraction to squeeze his biceps, and he lets me. I think he even smiles.

Then, without warning, he sort of jerks my shoulders forward, tipping my head downward so my hair’s all flipped over toward the ground.

Just as quickly he pushes me back up again, flipping my hair so it poofs around my shoulders all crazy-like.

“Did you just manhandle me into a head-banging type of thing? What is it with you and fussing with my hair—”

I shriek in protest, because he plunges his hand roughly into my hair, his fingertips sort of rubbing against my scalp as if he’s inexplicably trying to make my hair bigger.

I open my mouth to howl, but his fingers start to slow and for one weird moment, his hands are cupping my head, and even though I know the touch isn’t the least bit sexual or romantic, his eyes accidentally clash with mine, and I feel … strange.


So sue me. For the first time in my life, I’m standing in my bedroom with a gorgeous guy holding my head, and it feels … nice.

No, not nice.

It feels hot.

Michael frowns.

He slowly removes his hands from my hair, his dark eyes unreadable as he looks at his handiwork.

“There,” he says gruffly.


He gives another of those infuriating shrugs. I’m really starting to hate those shrugs.

“You shouldn’t try to flatten it down all the time,” he clarifies. “It’s more sexy like this.”

My mouth goes dry. Sexy. Someone thinks I’m sexy.

This guy thinks I’m sexy.

No, not me. My hair.

Get a grip, Chloe.

“Aren’t you the one forever trying to shove it into a pony?”

He pinches the bridge of his nose. “At the gym, yes. This is a party. They’re different.”



Michael’s eyes are fiery now, and I have to resist the urge to take a step back at his outburst. I’m so used to him being sort of pent up and controlled, but clearly there’s this whole other side of Beefcake.

And despite the fact that he’s not my type—at all—I’m intrigued.

But he looks about ready to storm out of my room—maybe out of the house—so I rush to placate him. “Okay, okay, so I should make my hair go all wild and crazy. What else?”

“You need to flirt with this Scott guy.”

I grimace. “Oh, come on. The old make-the-guy-jealous routine? That barely even works in the movies.”

“It’ll work. Trust me.”

“Speaking from experience?” I ask.

His head jerks up. “Why do you ask that?”

Whoa. I hold my hands in a mollifying gesture. “Easy, tiger. Wasn’t trying to stick an emotional match under your fingernails.”

But now I’m dying to know. Who was Michael jealous of? Who’s the girl?


The thought sours my stomach, but I’m almost certain that’s not it. Lately he only looks at Kristin when he feels like he’s supposed to be looking at Kristin. She doesn’t consume him.

But the look on his face right now says that he was consumed by someone, sometime.

I feel something fierce and bitter in the back of my throat, and it takes me a second to recognize it: jealousy.

Or at least a relative of jealousy.

Maybe Beefcake’s onto something with this plan. I mean, it’s manipulative, but I’ll be honest: I’m so freaking tired of being the nobody in my own life.

“Tell me,” I say with a sigh. “Tell me how I get Devon to see me.”

“Devon already sees you,” Michael says. “He’s just not aware that he sees you.”

I snort. “As a sister, maybe.”

“Maybe. But he didn’t like that you showed up with me yesterday. And he didn’t like when you were cracking up at Scott Whatever’s lame jokes last night.”

I swallow away the hope. “That’s crap.”

He shrugs. “Maybe. Only one way to find out.”

“You want me to flirt with Scott? Lead him on, even though I’ve got no interest in him like that?”

He rolls his eyes. “It’s not like you’re trying to give him a fake engagement ring. Just do it in a way that makes the guy feel good but doesn’t let him think that you’re preparing your womb for Scotty Junior.”


“So, you good?” he asks, looking impatiently toward the door.

“No! That’s the extent of your advice? Flirt with Scott, and Devon will magically dump Kristin and profess his undying love? Your shitty advice is so not worth the bikini that’s riding up my ass right now.”

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