I groan under my breath and grind my teeth. Damn it!
I have to spin around and head to the porch, calling after him as everyone drifts across the lawn. “Did you tell Mom that women were high-maintenance bitches that needed to be walked more than once a day?”
Everyone suddenly stops and Jared freezes. I hear a few gasps, and I think there’s a snort from Kade.
I see the muscles in Jared’s back tighten through his T-shirt, everyone is absolutely silent, and I’m tempted to smile.
Yeaaaaaah. I have your attention now, don’t I?
I’d read a few more chapters while I was at Jax’s, and things between Jared and our mom only got worse over the next year. He said some really interesting things as the arguments escalated, too.
Slowly, everyone turns around to face me, and Jared stares at me, looking stunned, while Tate gives him a horrified look.
“Jared, you didn’t,” she says.
But he can do nothing but rush to his own defense. “I was like sixteen!” he bursts out, breathing heavily. “Jesus Christ, I was probably drunk!”
He charges over and takes the book away from me, opening it to a random page and scanning.
I hold out my hand. “Give it back.”
“Like hell!” he barks.
“I can tell Tate what you called her behind her back when you were fifteen,” I say loudly. “Now give it back.”
He shoots his worried eyes over to Tate, who simply cocks her head to the side and puts her hands on her hips, looking a little pissed. He then glances at Dylan, who looks half-amused and half-embarrassed. Knowing the man Jared is now, it’s hard to believe he was ever cruel—or ended up winning Tate when he treated her like crap back then—but Dylan rolls with things better than anyone I know. It is kind of entertaining to realize your parents aren’t perfect. And hey, even better to have that pointed out in front of everyone.
He scowls and hands the book back. “Quinn,” he starts, trying to explain. “I was a huge asshole in high school, okay?”
“Yeah, no duh.”
And then Jared twists his head to the side and glares at Juliet. “Did you do this?”
She snorts, and I realize he’s thinking the same thing I was.
“Oh, yeah,” she says, playing with him. “I totally wrote it. You know you had it coming, right? All the years you guys spent disrespecting women”—she flashes a look at Madoc—“never dreaming that someday you’d have a daughter, a sister, and a niece, whom you adore. It was totally me. Payback is slow but sure. Mwahahahaha!”
Tate and Fallon laugh at her side, and Jared focuses back on me. “Quinn . . .”
But I just roll my eyes and shake my head, walking around him. “Forget it. It’s fine.”
Nothing has changed in how much I love my brothers, and I know he went through a lot growing up, but damn . . . what a little asshole!
The Shelburne Falls Racetrack takes up several acres in the middle of the countryside, run by Jax and heavily invested in by Jared, Madoc, and Tate. They all raced here years ago, and as the Trents and Carutherses slowly took over management and expansion, it had grown far beyond its original single dirt course circling a dinky little pond.
Back in the day, it was called the Loop, and all you needed was a car. Races were informal, and usually consisted of unsupervised teens hanging out to have a little fun.
Now, instead of the original one loop, there’s two. The new one isn’t completely square like the original. It features twists and turns, as well as being much longer than the original. The tracks are paved, there are contracts and rules, and there are managers in place to keep everything running smoothly. While some balk at how much the Loop has changed, Jax knows what he’s doing. To keep people interested, you have to keep introducing something new. And since attendance has grown to twenty times what it was when it first started, procedures had to be put in place to keep everyone safe.
But still, it’s completely free to attend just like it’s always been. The track makes its money from sponsors, concessions, and merchandise.
Following the rest of my family, I slip my bag strap over my head, tossing it in the backseat of Fallon’s car. I’ll most likely get a ride from her on the way home. She and Madoc live so close to me, after all.
As I walk over the grassy area, I notice a couple of guys I went to school with turn and nod a “hi.”
I tip my chin back up and resist the urge to chew on my lip. Juliet’s leather skinny pants fit like a glove, and the off-the-shoulder white T-shirt I’d borrowed flows down past my ass but left my bare shoulder exposed. She’d slapped some red lipstick on me and messed up my hair. Thankfully, Jared and Madoc had seemed too rushed to notice yet.
“I want to race the Boss!” I can hear Dylan as I head over to where she stands on the track.
Jared climbs out of the car she’s standing next to and hands her the keys, probably having just pulled it into position for her.
“Enough,” he bites out. “We’re not changing the plan this late in the game.”
“I’ve been asking you for months. I’m better in that car!” she argues.
Jared closes his eyes, pinching the bridge of his nose and looking exasperated. “Okay, let’s try something new.” He opens his eyes back up and looks straight at me, not Dylan. “Quinn,” he says. “Dylan can’t drive the Boss, because she wants to race the Big Loop. The Big Loop has tight twists and turns, and she needs a lighter-weight vehicle if she wants to have any chance of handling that track.” His tone is sarcastic, and I can feel Dylan tense next to me as I fight not to laugh.