Page 19 of I Promise You

“Uh, Dillon…” he says, his eyes shifting from me back to his bedroom.

“What’s up?” I ask.

He exhales. “Don’t be upset. It just happened. Well, I mean…” He chews on his bottom lip. “She looked so hot, man, and a little lonely. You weren’t around.” His look turns defensive.

I stalk toward him, towering over his six-one frame. For some reason, my mind goes to Serena. “What are you talking about?”

His fists curl. “Don’t get pushy, man.”

I rear back. I’m the charmer, Sawyer’s the wisecracking manipulator, and Troy’s the quiet one—only right now, he looks pissed.

“Oh for the love of… He’s talking about me,” Chantal mutters as she stumbles out of his room, hopping around as she puts on one of her heels. Her blonde hair is mussed, mascara smudged, lips swollen. She darts her eyes at Troy then back to me. “Troy and I…” She blushes furiously and gives me an unsure look. “A girl has needs, Dillon. Are you terribly upset we hooked up?”

Hell no. She and I have never been a thing. “Winter Soldier, huh?”

She sighs heavily. “And tequila.”

Troy stiffens, his body turned to Chantal. “We didn’t just hook up.”

Chantal frowns. “Hang on, it was fun, but—”

He juts out his chin. “You followed me outside last night. You sat next to me. You played with my hair.”

She shrugs. “You’re pretty and I was drunk. It was nice. Thanks for the orgasm.”

I wince. Burn.

He gapes. “You used me?”

“Like that Chi-O last week meant something to you?” She tosses the strap of her purse over her shoulder. “You guys mess around with girls all the time. What’s good for you is good for me. Men don’t own the hook-up scenario. I can be with anyone I want, a different one each week if that’s what I decide. I do adore football players—”

He sputters. “If you want a football player in your life, you come to me, jersey chaser.”

“—but,” she says, crossing her arms, “the next person who refers to me as a ‘jersey chaser’ is getting a fist in their face. I’m pre-law, for God’s sake. I’m going to find a guy as smart as I am, maybe check out the Phi Beta Kappa honor society!”

“Hey now, ease up,” I say. “I’m a psych major with a French minor.” And decent grades. Not a 4.0, but considering how much time I spend on football, it’s freaking exemplary. During my freshman and sophomore years, when I first realized Ryker was always going to be the starter, I even considered getting serious with it, but I wanted to play football. A job behind a desk would never suit me.

She smirks at me. “You like numbers so much, maybe you should be a statistics major.”

Ahhh. “Good one.”

“Are you saying I’m a Neanderthal?” Troy asks.

“Your words,” she chirps. “All you alphas, sniffing around females like a, a—”

“Strange you should bring that up—Dillon is a wolf,” comes from an amused Sawyer.

She ignores him. “You think we’re just waiting to do your bidding, and I did. Last night, I followed Dillon around the grocery store like some love-starved kitten, and I’m done!”

I know when to keep my mouth shut.

Troy’s lips tighten, his eyes holding Chantal’s, a silent communication seeming to simmer between them. “Baby. Come on. This thing between us has been brewing since the contest started—”

“In your dreams,” she smarts back.

“Damn. Where’s the popcorn?” Sawyer says under his breath. “How did we miss this last night?”

I missed it because I ditched the party. I jump in to defuse the situation. “Hang on, Chantal. Obviously, you’ve changed your mind about the contest. I’m what you girls call high maintenance, and you made the right choice. You shouldn’t ever feel like you have to do anyone’s bidding. Be you. Be fierce, I say.” I toss an arm around her and give her a quick hug.

Chantal gives me a thoughtful look. “Honestly? Seeing how Serena didn’t fall under your spell like everyone else got to me. Being part of the contest is exciting, and I do love to win, especially beating Ashley”—her lips tighten—“but I don’t relish the idea of spending the next few weeks researching team stats just for the chance of a date with you.” She shrugs. “Besides, if I didn’t know better, I’d think you were trying to get rid of us.”

“What?” Sawyer says, eyes swiveling to me. “Is that true? Are you making the contest difficult? You know this is an important tradition.”

“If it’s so important, why didn’t you do it? You’re not dating anyone,” I mutter.

“Yet.”

Okay, not sure what that means… “I’ve done nothing but let the girls hang around, as asked!”

“Uh-huh,” Chantal replies.

The sorority never set any rules for the contest, so there is some gray area. Perhaps I took some liberties by asking the girls to come up with the statistical analysis, but I’m desperate. Since classes started, the three of them have been following me around, offering to pick up my books, cleaning my room, rubbing my shoulders. Yeah, normally that’s cool and girls have done this for me in the past with no expectation, but now, it’s like a gnat in my ear. They’re more vicious than a defensive player when it comes to competing, even sweet Bambi.


Tags: Ilsa Madden-Mills Romance
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