“We promise not to be weird at the game tomorrow.”
That was right. I remembered. We were all going to the game together, and it was the team’s first football game at home. The whole campus was buzzing. We were playing Grant West University, another Division One league team a few hours away. We were slated to win. Our football team was ranked high this year, and I knew Mason was part of the reason. Drew was another reason. Both of them were considered for The Heisman this year, but Mason declined. Drew was the front-runner now, and together, the two were dynamic to watch. I’d gone with Logan and Nate to the other two away games, but the first home one was always on another level.
The fans were more hyped.
The team was more hyped.
And the pressure was even more.
“Okay.” I laughed. “Thanks for letting me know.”
She was talking about Logan and when he’d find us at the game.
“And tell your boyfriend good luck,” she said in a rush.
“I will. Thanks, Kitty.”
Nina poked her head around her roommate. “Tell him good luck from me, too.”
“I will.” I laughed again. “Thanks, guys.” I went inside my room.
Summer was gaping at me from her desk, holding a pen. As I shut the door, she let it drop dramatically along with her mouth. “Did my ears just play a trick on me?”
“Kitty and Nina are acting normal?”
“Oh.” My chest was tight. I went to my desk, hoping she’d keep talking about Kitty and Nina. She couldn’t notice that I was still upset about Sebastian. “Yeah. They must’ve realized that Logan doesn’t come around anymore. Put two and two together maybe?”
Before she could reply, a soft knock sounded on our door.
I opened it and experienced a slight flash of panic.
Mason was standing there, his arms crossed, his eyes concerned. He looked so damn delicious that I didn’t know if I should confess about my run-in with Sebastian right there or drag Mason to bed after I kicked Summer out. He looked freshly showered, so that meant he’d come from the locker room. He was wearing a Cain University shirt, and the irony was not lost on me that Sebastian wore the same one today. But with Mason’s broad shoulders, cut form, and trim waist, he made my mouth salivate. I glanced at Summer, saw a drop of drool at the corner of her mouth, and knew I wasn’t the only one.
“Hey.” I cringed. That came out like a nervous squeak.
His eyes narrowed a little bit, and the corner of his mouth dipped down, but he shook his head, and an easy grin appeared next. “Hey back. What are you doing?” He saw the package in my hands. “From Malinda?”
“Oh.” I looked at it. My hands were clutching it to me like it was my life raft. “Yeah. I guess this is what normal moms do?”
Summer murmured behind me, “Da fuck?”
She didn’t know about Analise. I shared some things about my family with her, but I hadn’t explained all the craziness or the reason for all the craziness.
Mason noticed my tension, and he gestured to the room. “Can I come in?”
“Yes. Yes.” I shuffled to the side and closed the door behind him.
He paused and lifted his head. A low, “Roommate,” came from him. That was his greeting to Summer.
She did the same, grunting out, “Boyfriend.”
I rolled my eyes. “You guys can use each other’s names. I live with her, Mason.”
He lifted a shoulder, sitting down on my bed. “Roommate.”
A soft growl came from Summer, but she stood and let out a big sigh. “All right, you two lovebirds, I’m off to my last class for the week.” Grabbing her bag, purse, and keys, she halted right before leaving. She asked me, “Are you going to be around tonight?”
“Oh.” I glanced at Mason. He gave me a blank look back, so I replied, “I’m not sure. I’ll let you know.”
“Sounds good.” She waved before leaving. “Toodles, Sam…and her superhot boyfriend.”
Mason scowled, but it lacked any heat. “She shouldn’t talk to me like that.”
Putting the package on the desk, I went and curled up in his lap. “She’s a fan. She’s getting over it.”
“Still weird to me.” He studied me for a second, his hand went to my mouth.
I caught it and drew one of his fingers into my mouth. My tongue wrapped around it. I wanted to forget about my afternoon and how I was going to handle that situation. I wanted to get lost in his arms.
Seeing what I wanted, Mason tipped us both back, cradling me on his chest as he lay down. I was securely in his arms, and he rolled me over, so he was looming above me. His eyes darkened, holding my gaze before dropping to my lips where a small smile showed, and I let go of his finger. The ache for him already started inside me.
A knowing grin formed on his face, and without saying a word, he slipped from the bed to lock the door and flip the lights off. My heart started pounding. The need for him was rising between my legs, and I licked my lips, watching as he took his shirt off. He was all muscle. I could make out every single one of them as he came back to me. The flames were growing hotter and hotter. I wanted to slide my hands over every inch of him. I wanted to feel his weight on top of me. I wanted to feel him inside me.
I wanted him to break the fucking bed for me.
I was going to lie to him. Even now, watching him coming back to me, I knew what I was going to do. Park Sebastian’s name would take this from us. I wouldn’t allow it. Mason would be upset, if he ever found out, but I’d stand by my decision. This lie between us was for us. It was for him. He protected me from so much.
I had no choice.
I loved him, but I was lying to him.
Guilt rose up in me, threatening to choke me, but I envisioned Sebastian winning. I envisioned the hurt on Mason’s face. I envisioned what he would do to Sebastian. Then I envisioned the consequences afterward; Mason could get kicked out school. He could get kicked off the football team. That meant no football career, no fulfilling his dream; but worse—he’d be hurt because of me.
That. Could. Not. Happen.
I was wrong in what I was doing, but it was my turn to protect him. My turn.
He paused above me, leaning down so that his lips were just above mine, and he whispered, “We’re going to the house after this.”
I closed my eyes, feeling his hands under my shirt.
He added, taking my shirt off, “I want to do this all night with you.”
Hell to the yes.
I weaved around a group of people. The girls looked good. The guys looked lazy. The redhead caught my eye, and normally, I’d stop, share a few jokes, and wait and see how the guys reacted to me. If they were pro-Logan, I’d stay and end up taking one of the girls back to the car for privacy. If the guys were anti-Logan, I’d keep going. The girls would find me later.
That was how it usually ended but not this time. The party was in the backyard of someone’s house. It was on the outskirts of town, but my information was good. This was one of Park Sebastian’s parties, and I only had so much time. Nate hurried to catch up, and he was casting nervous looks to the side, watching the groups of guys who were observing us.
Yes, bitches. A motherfucking Kade was in their presence.
The news would reach Sebastian before I could, so I hurried even faster. I wanted to get there first. I didn’t want him to have time to strategize and round up his assholes. This was his territory, but I had the element of surprise…for the next few minutes.
“Logan.” Nate veered close, dropping his voice so that only I could hear him. “Are you sure about this?”
I wasn’t surer about anything else. “Yes.” I gave him a dark look. “Don’t turn chickenshit now. We’re doing this.”
“I know. And I’m not. I’m just,” he kept going, “saying that we need to make sure we have everything worked out ahead of time. I mean, this is one of their parties.”
I scowled. ?
?You’re turning into a chickenshit.”
“I’m not, but why aren’t we doing this with Mason?”
“Two reasons. One, my brother is making sweet, sweet love to his woman tonight, and two, because he can’t do shit. He’s on the football team. It’s on us to do something.”
“Mason has a plan.”
I shot back, “Yeah, well, I love my big bro, but he’s dragging his feet with this one. Sebastian needs to be dealt with. I’m tired of sitting on my hands. You backing out?”
“Shut it, Logan!”
“You are.” I glimpsed his face.
He’d gotten worked over by them a few weeks ago. His bruises finally faded. I paused. Maybe I should send him back. But no, I needed backup just in case.
“Kade?” The guy came over with a beer in each hand. His hair was sticking straight up in the air, and he looked like a rejected has-been fraternity brother.
Recognition hit, and I flashed a grin. “You’re Blazer. You’re the Toga Kid.”
“Uh, close.” He held out the beer to me.
I held up a hand, rejecting it.
He handed it to Nate, saying, “I’m Blaze. I had that party at the beginning of the year. You were there with your brother’s girlfriend, who lives on my friend’s floor. She’s Sam’s RA.”
Nate glanced at me.
The pudgy Toga Kid called her Sam. He didn’t get to call her anything, except his friend’s floormate, but since he was there, and I was remembering other conversations from that night, I held my tongue. I skimmed him over. He didn’t look too drunk. He was happily sloshed. His smile was lazy. He wasn’t teetering on his feet, but his shirt was unbuttoned, and the T-shirt underneath had a few stains from the night—ketchup, mustard, but mostly spilled beer.
He was drunk enough, and after he opened the second beer and was lifting it to his mouth, I took it.
A quick smile to smooth things over, I told him, “I changed my mind.”
“Oh.” His shoulders went up and down. “Sounds good to me. I can get more, but, uh…” He noticed the looks as well. “You do know where you’re at, right?”
We were gaining more and more attention. The small frame of surprise was gone.
I nudged Nate with my elbow. “Maybe you want to bring the car around?”
“The car.” I shot a meaningful look at the fence beside us.
“Oh.” He frowned. “But…”
He gave me another look, and I knew what he was thinking. I smiled back at him. I took his beer and gave it to the other kid, Blazer—no, Blaze.
The guy blinked in surprise and started to smile.
Oh, no, we weren’t friends. I was going to use this son of a bitch who thought he could use Sam’s name like he mattered.
Throwing an arm around his shoulder, I patted him on the chest and said to Nate, “Blazer will help me out.”
I patted him again. “That’s the least of your problems.”
Nate was shaking his head. “No, Logan. No, no, no.”
Blaze was frowning. “What problems?”
I pointed to the street. “Get the car. I’ll need it.”
Nate let out an unhappy sigh. “I’m not okay with this.”
I didn’t care, and I jerked Blaze around with me. “Say, Toga Kid, where are all your friends?”
They’d claimed to hate Sebastian. It was their day to show their balls or let ’em shrink back up into vaginas. I had a feeling they were going to shrink, but either way, we were going to have some fun.
“Uh…” He wasn’t fighting me. He was just confused as he replied, glancing across the crowd, “They’re by the fence. Why?”
“Let’s go say hello.”
Too late. I was almost dragging the kid to his buddies.
Mason was the mastermind in our family, but I wasn’t a complete idiot. Sebastian knew I was there, and he’d know in two seconds that I was alone. These guys, as they’d proclaimed, weren’t Sebastian supporters. The standoff needed to happen with them at my backside, not Sebastian’s fraternity rejects.
We got to Blaze’s group of pals when a sudden hush went over the group.
He was there.
I didn’t know why I enjoyed these moments.
I had no support—or little support. The odds were stacked against me. Most people would run the other way, not seek it out. As the crowd parted and Sebastian stepped through with his A-holes behind him, I was feeling the tingle in me. It was low and spreading fast, but as it rose, it was becoming overpowering. It was the need to fight. Mason didn’t have to fight. He didn’t enjoy fighting, but I did. I loved it. I thrived on it. And right now, I was damn near climaxing.
I was so fucked up, but all I could do was smile at Sebastian, who looked way too cocky and self-assured for his own good.
“Logan Kade,” he greeted, smirking, with a hint of laughter in his voice. “Are you lost?”
I could punch him now. One shot, and he’d go down, but his buddies would be on me, and that was not what we did. We fought, but we won.
“Patience.” I could hear Mason’s voice in my head.
He’d go slowly. He’d make sure all the checkpoints were in place, and he would start the conversation, but he didn’t like to strike first. I did. Mason liked to hit back once someone hit him. It was something that drove me crazy about him. Maybe I just didn’t have the patience in me that he did.
I forced myself not to respond. Not yet.
Nate needed time to get to the car.
Sebastian moved closer, cocking his head to the side. “Or are you just deaf? You didn’t hear me? Should I repeat myself?”
I still waited. If I started now, I didn’t know how long I could stall. Better to hold off before fully engaging. Again. Mason would be so damn proud.
“Hello.” He lifted his hand. He started to snap his fingers.
My patience just ran out.
I caught his hand right before he could snap his fingers once more, and I narrowed my eyes. “Think twice before raising your hand to me.”
His eyes went wide. He was startled by how fast I moved, and so were his buddies. I had one second before they got over it, so I shoved his hand back, hard enough that he stumbled back a couple of steps, too. I changed, my entire demeanor forming the same old cocky Logan Kade.
I grinned, winking at him. “Careful, Sebastian. I’ll snap back if you’re going to roll that way.”
My warning was filled with violence. He reacted to the threat of it, but my tone was light and almost flirting. The douche had no clue who the fuck I was. He was off balance. I could go in, sweep him back up, and could control the conversation instead.
I did as I said, “You’ve come to welcome me. Thank you.” I glanced around the growing crowd. “You’re one kind motherfucker if you’ve personally welcomed everyone here.”
Sebastian’s face went from confused to scowling. His eyebrows locked together. “What are you doing here, Kade?” He made a point of looking around. “Is your bitch hiding in the shadows?”
I shook my head, tsking him. “Come on, Sebastian. You left the gate wide open with that one. I have so many comebacks. ‘Don’t talk about your mama like that.’ ‘Oh, but she’s not my bitch. She’s yours. Thanks for loaning her to me.’ Or even the typical, ‘I know