Shawn blanches, and Mike twirls a drumstick between his fingers. “She’s not wrong.”
“She’s right,” Joel interjects before anyone can defend him. He unstraps the Fender from around his neck and sets it on a stand at the side of the garage.
“You’re fine,” Shawn assures him, turning those laser-cut emerald eyes on me again. “Don’t lash out at him just because you can’t do your job.”
“Whoa,” Adam says, but I’m already throwing my guitar pick at Shawn like it’s a ninja throwing star and storming out of Mike’s garage. I push the door open so hard that when it slams against the side of Mike’s house, I’m surprised the tiny thing doesn’t go toppling over.
I don’t know why I ever thought joining Shawn’s band would be a good idea. He was an asshole back in high school, he’s an asshole now, and if the house did fucking topple over, I’m not sure I’d waste my energy digging him out.
I ignore his stupid voice and continue walking, each stomp of my combat boots pulverizing the gravel of Mike’s driveway into dust. The wind blows my hair back, transforming me into one very pissed off avenging angel who isn’t going to waste her time avenging a goddamn thing. After two weeks of not being able to sleep because I was so anxious, of not being able to eat because I was so nervous, Shawn has made it a point to make me feel even smaller than the fifteen-year-old girl I was the first time I talked to him. And I am not that fucking small.
I lay my guitar in the back of my Jeep, climb into the driver’s seat, and slam my key into the ignition.
Fuck going back to get my guitar case. I’d rather buy a new one.
When Shawn launches onto the running board beside me and clings to the roll bars above my head, I refuse to let him crowd me. I have a Taser in my glove compartment, and he has ten seconds before we both learn how it works.
Ten . . . nine . . .
“I’m sorry,” he pants. “I didn’t mean . . . to be so . . . ”
“Such an ass?” I snap, forgoing the Taser when he offers his agreement.
I narrow my eyes into pinprick black holes. “Too late.”
The afternoon sun casts a blinding halo all around him as I squint up at his stupidly gorgeous face. “I don’t accept your apology. Now get the hell off my Jeep.”
When he doesn’t budge, I spin in my seat, lean back, and plant my combat boot firmly against his irritatingly flat chest. I give him a quick push with all intentions of knocking him on his ass, but Shawn reaches out for balance just as he begins to fall. His long fingers wrap tightly around my calf—around my barely there skull-print leggings and the suddenly burning-hot skin beneath.
And then I’m just there, leaning back in the driver’s seat, with my trembling leg captured in Shawn Scarlett’s hand. His green eyes crawl slowly up the length of my thigh, the flat of my stomach, the curve of my neck.
“What am I supposed to do with this?” he questions, his eyes full of fire that’s giving me seriously bad ideas. Every part of my body is begging him to prop the leg he’s holding onto his shoulder, and then take the other and do the same. And when his grip slides up to my ankle, it’s like his hand is reading my mind.
My toes curl in my boots. My lungs stop working.
“You’re supposed to get the fuck off my Jeep,” I manage to growl, startling him with a forceful kick that knocks him the rest of the way to the ground.
When I spin around, I’m livid—and I’m not even sure which I’m angrier about: the fact that he’s being an asshole, or the fact that he didn’t throw himself on top of me instead of falling off my Jeep. Six fucking years, and it still only took one touch from him—one look, one tiny graze of his fingers—to make my entire body feel like it was ready to melt at his command.
I twist my key in the ignition, the hum of my engine drowning out the heartbeat drumming in my ears. But it’s too late for an escape, because Shawn is already sprinting around my Jeep and launching himself into my passenger seat.
“What do you think you’re doing?” I growl as he shifts on the worn leather to face me.
“Can you just hear me out?”
“I think I heard you plenty in there.” I nod toward Mike’s garage and tighten my fingers around the steering wheel. All fucking day, he hasn’t had a single decent thing to say. Kit, you missed your mark. Kit, are you even listening? Kit, it’s no wonder I never called you after I took your virginity, because you can’t do a damn thing right.
Okay . . . he didn’t really say that last bit. But he didn’t need to, because I heard it every time he looked at me like I was some amateur imposter who had never played a guitar in her life.
“You made it pretty damn clear you think I’m terrible,” I snap, and Shawn opens his mouth to reply, but I’m far from finished. “Actually, no, you know what? You made it pretty damn clear you didn’t want me in this band from day one. So whatever, you got your fucking wish. I don’t need this shit. I’m out. You—”
“You’re amazing,” Shawn blurts, and every word I’d planned to heave at him gets stuck in the back of my throat. His green eyes are sincere when he says, “You’re amazing, okay?”
Six years ago, I might have fallen for a line as simple as that. Now? I shift toward him to show him just how unfazed I am. “Then why do you keep giving me so much shit?”