The dreaded friend-zone...
The last place I ever want to be with college basketball God, Jake LaShae.
I am losing my mind trying to figure out what this gorgeous and confident man wants from me. I need to break through his walls. What is it about me that makes him not go there? What am I lacking?
When a mind-blowing betrayal knocks the wind out of me, and I think I can't feel any lower...Brody stumbles into my path—barefoot no less, and sexy as hell. His direct and mouth-watering swagger is a breath of fresh air. The feelings this man gives me are like nothing I've ever experienced.
But Brody has a past.
A past that makes it nearly impossible for him to trust me and let us become us in whatever capacity that may be.
Just when Brody and I truly connect, just when I think that finding my soul-mate in college isn't a total joke, Jake comes back into my life…and messes things up…possibly for good.
“Mind telling me what the hell that was about?” I ask, loudly enough to have the people in the kitchen stop and look at me. I don’t even give a shit. I’m drunk, and that was embarrassing as hell being scolded in front of my friends and having a door slammed in my face. So screw it, let’s add more humiliating drama to the night.
Emmet and a couple of his teammates are standing around the keg, looking into their cups awkwardly. Jake shakes his head, obviously refusing to reply. My eyes rove down his body and take quick inventory of his appearance. Sexy-ass torn jeans and a blue button-down. Dammit, why does he have to look so damn irresistible? And why is he scowling at me right now? We should be laughing and having a great time—not shooting daggers at each other! It’s after midnight and he just now shows up and he’s acting like a dick. Oh, hell no!
“Come on, Jake! What? Nothing to say? You get all pissy and slam a door in my face, but you got nothing?”
He turns his dark eyes on me and I swear they darken even further. “Smoking is disgusting,” he says flatly, and takes another long drink from his cup.
I glare at him in response. I agree that smoking is disgusting. But shit! I’m in college for goodness’ sake. I’m not a regular smoker—I just wanted to do something rebellious. I was in a mood and it seemed like a good idea at the time.
I bite my lip, hard, relishing in the scrape of my teeth on my tender skin. This friend-zone bullshit has my mind reeling. He’s been jerking me around for weeks now, and suddenly he’s going to show up to a party and play the role of protective, disgruntled boyfriend. Fuck that. I haven’t felt relaxed since Jake and I started hanging out. I’ve had enough.
“What’s it to you anyway?” I ask him dramatically, swiveling my head on my neck with attitude. I cross my arms across my chest and tap my foot provocatively, waiting for an answer.
“You’re better than that, Finley,” he says, and his eyes glance quickly down my body and lock on my eyes.
God, this could make me laugh! I’m better than that? I’m good enough to not smoke but not good enough for him to ask out on an official date? That’s rich.
“You don’t know what I am, Jake. You don’t know everything about me. And moreover, I’m not your concern.” I purse my lips and shake my head back and forth, attempting to control the anger and emotion quickly knotting in my throat. He just humiliated me outside and I’m already feeling fragile from his lack of interest in me.
“We’re nothing, right? You’re not my boyfriend. I’m not your girlfriend. I’m just a girl. A girl you want to be good ol’ buddies with, right?” I reach over and playfully punch his shoulder like I’ve seen his teammates do time and time again. This is so not how I wanted to admit my feelings for him. I played out this night in my head so many different ways. But he had to go and be five hours late and yell at me in front of a crowd of people.
He looks at his shoulder where I hit him and sneers with disgust. His eyes look up and glare down into mine. I thought he looked angry before, but he really looks angry now.
He doesn’t reply.
“Nothing to say, huh, Jake? Got nothing? Okay then!” I shove past him to the liquor counter. “Excuse me, bud!” I tap his shoulder until he moves. I then nod for Emmet to get out of the way. I quickly pour myself a shot and down it, savoring the burn down my throat.
“Stop acting like this, Finley. You’re being fucking stupid,” Jake says, coming to stand beside me as I pour another shot. I grip the bottle tightly, shivering as his hot breath beats down my neck. My heartbeat picks up with his close proximity. I look back at him, and his dark chocolate eyes are narrowed on me. He grabs the bottle out of my hand and pins me with a death stare. “I’m not kidding.”
I laugh incredulously, turning to face him. “Don’t you get it, Jake? You have no authority here,” I say, gesturing wildly at myself. “We’re friends. That’s it. But you know what? I don’t have any other friends that would freak out on me the way you just did.” My wide eyes flicker back and forth between his eyes and his mouth. “God, I’m tired,” I say, with a huff of laughter. I grab a different bottle of liquor and turn to leave. I see Angela standing in the doorway of the kitchen, next to Olivia, watching the scene unfold. Emmet and the guys quickly clear a path to let me through. They appear quiet and solemn, clearly uncomfortable with the spectacle Jake and I are putting on. If I wasn’t so drunk right now, I’d be mortified.
For good measure, I flip Jake the bird over my shoulder without even looking back. It’s immature and juvenile, but damn it all to hell—it feels good. With the bottle of vodka in one hand, I wrap my free hand around Angela’s arm and pull her toward the front door with me.
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Amy Daws Bio
Amy Daws lives in South Dakota with her husband, Kevin, and their daughter, Lorelei. The long-awaited birth of Lorelei is what inspired Amy’s passion for writing. On most nights, you can find Amy and her family dancing to Strawberry Shortcake’s theme song or stuffing themselves inside children’s-sized playhouses because there is nothing they wouldn’t do for their little miracle. For more of Amy’s work, visit: www.amydawsauthor.com
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