Either she thought I was rejecting her, or she had already convinced herself that it would be a mistake. I couldn’t be sure.

When we climbed on my bike, I secured her hands around my waist and she became a sweet warmth wrapped around my body.

Time to take my girl home.

And to take back what was mine.

INDY—Aged 17


Grass tickled the back of my arms as I lay with my face tilted toward the sun. It was an unusually hot day for February. The sky was clear and the sun was shining brightly. The smell of freshly cut grass drifted across the football field on a warm breeze. Spring was coming.

“You’re lying!” Mallory Massey’s husky voice broke into my sun-lulled daydream.

“I swear to God it’s true,” Abby protested. “He slid his arm around my neck and said, ‘Come here, beautiful.’ And then slobbered his kiss all over my mouth. It was like making out with a slug.”

The three of us were lying on the grass embankment overlooking the field where a group of kids from our high school played a game of football. It was an informal game. Most of them didn’t even have shirts on. Abby was filling Mallory in on her date with Jamie Brown, captain of the debate team at school. She liked his ability to argue, but apparently his make-out skills were less than satisfactory.

Mallory giggled again. “Slug kissing is the worst!” She sighed and then made a noise like she was devouring a big chocolate brownie that was the most delicious thing she’d ever tasted. “Now there is someone who wouldn’t slug kiss you. I imagine his lips and tongue would kiss you all the way into nirvana,” she said and then sighed again.

“Who?” Abby asked.

“Cade,” Mallory replied.

I opened my eyes and sat up at the mention of Cade’s name.

“You want to kiss, Cade?” I asked.

“Oh, finally, she’s awake,” Abby said. “Welcome back.”

I poked my tongue out at her and then continued to question Mallory. “As in Cade Calley?”

“Of course, Cade Calley, silly.” Mallory shivered as if the mere mention of his name was enough to excite her. “That boy has muscles in all the right places.”

I followed her gaze to the football game on the field. Cade had hold of the ball and was running for the imaginary line. He wore jeans but no shirt or shoes, and sweat gleamed on a well-developed torso packed with muscle and power. When had Cade gotten so big? I had lived next to him nearly my whole life and I couldn’t remember him transitioning from a boy to . . . to that.

“You’re ogling my cousin like you’re going to eat him,” Abby said to Mallory, pulling a face. “That is so gross.”

“He’s so fine. I know you can’t agree with me—”

“I don’t agree with you. Don’t. Not can’t. Don’t.”

“—but what about you, Indy? Don’t you think he is just as fine as spun gold?”

I watched as Cade powered across the field, his muscles pulling and flexing as he ran. When he touched down, he thrust two muscled arms above his head and something inside me began to tingle.

I looked at Mallory. I guess you could call her the more-experienced girl in school. She wore tight clothes, lots of makeup, bright jewelry—including big hoop earrings she never took out, and lots of bangles. She also chewed a lot of gum, which she was doing now. I watched as she blew a big pink bubble and then smacked it against her bright red lips.

The idea of those red lips brushing against Cade’s suddenly irritated me.

“I don’t even know what that means,” I said, annoyed. I wasn’t sure what annoyed me most. Mallory and her stupid metaphors. Or the idea of her putting her red lips all over him.

If Mallory sensed my irritation, then she didn’t show it.

“I’m going to ask him out,” she said, eating him with her eyes. She turned to me, “I think he likes me. Do you think he’ll go out with me?”

Jealousy coiled in the pit of my stomach. “How would I know?”

“Because you guys are like the biggest BFFs,” Mallory said with a dramatic eye roll.

“We’re not as close as we used to be,” I said softly. And it was true. Lately, something had changed between us. He was a little distant. Moody. Busy. Sometimes I just didn’t understand him. It was almost as if I irritated him.

“Well, I’m going to ask him out,” she continued. “And I’m going to kiss him.”

That sealed it. The idea of Mallory devouring him with those experienced, scarlet lips made me want to punch her in the mouth.

I looked away and picked at the grass.

“Hey, girls,” came a familiar, baritone voice.

I looked up. Cade was walking off the field, looking too delicious for words as he approached us. Sitting cross-legged, I shifted uneasily.

Tags: Penny Dee Kings of Mayhem MC Romance
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