Rival Page 26


I’d started to think my best friends looked for reasons to fight. Seriously. It always ended in makeup sex, after all.

“Leave me alone. I mean it, Jared!” she yelled over her shoulder, and I stood shocked and pretty damn amused when she took off her black flip-flop and threw it at him.

He threw up his hands, deflecting it from his head and scowling at her, his lips tight.

“I was going to tell you,” he barked. “But you’re overreacting as usual.”

“Ugh.” She halted in the middle of the parking lot, ripped off the other shoe, and whipped it at him, damn near flinging her whole body into the movement.

“What’s going on?” Fallon whispered.

I sighed, running my hand through my hair. “Foreplay.”

I slammed the trunk shut and started walking for the beach, leaving my friends to it.

“Should we help?” Fallon stumbled over some rocks, looking behind her to the lot where we could still hear Jared and Tate’s muffled shouting.

“Not if you want to be in the sandwich. They’ll be making out in ten minutes,” I promised. And that’s exactly what I wanted to be doing with her right now.

I loved Lucas, but I wished I’d known that Fallon was coming back. I’d have preferred to have her alone right now. To fight. To torment. To whatever.

Hell, I’d pick a damn fight if it meant getting her na**d again.

At least until I got her out of my system.

But I couldn’t change the plans for the day at this point, so I set the cooler down and laid out a blanket on the small beach. Kicking off my shoes, I followed Lucas with my eyes as he ran into the water.

“Wait, aren’t you going to make him wear a life jacket?” Fallon asked as she stopped to pull off her shirt.

I smiled, knowing exactly where she was coming from. There was always a pang of fear, watching him go and do things that could hurt him. Lakes were dangerous, and I had tried making him wear a life jacket the first time we came out here last summer. Yep, I tried the first time, and I never tried again. He fought me on it, and I soon found out that he knew what he was doing.

I pulled off my shirt. “His father was in the Coast Guard when they lived in Washington, and he made sure that Lucas knew how to swim. After he died, his mother brought them both back here to be near family, but he doesn’t really have a lot of men in his life or chances to keep practicing. He loves it. I try to bring him as much as possible during the warmer months.”

Her eyes narrowed, and she looked lost in thought as she stared out at the water.

“Come on,” I nudged, walking past her.

Trudging through the chilly water, I walked forward as it covered my feet, then my calves and my thighs, and then my stomach. Kicking my feet up, I shot up and dove back down headfirst into the cool depths.

I f**king hated the lake. It’s dirty and muddy. And cold! You’re swimming around not being able to see what’s happening underneath you.

Freaks. Me. Out.

But it’s one of the only things to do in this boring-as-hell town, and I’ve been here too many times with too many drinks and too many girls around. There was a time when that was fun. Hanging out, getting drunk—when you had nothing better to do.

But now I was only here for Lucas, and for some reason I had wanted Fallon along today. We were probably going to get in a fight in front of the poor kid. And with Jared and Tate doing their thing by—surprise, surprise—fighting again, there would be no buffer zone if Fallon brought out her claws.

I should’ve left her at home, I guess.

I popped my head up out of the water and looked to the beach, seeing her in her bathing suit.

Or maybe not.

Holy hell. Son of a bitch.

My dick jerked and instantly hardened—seriously?—even in the cold water.

Her white bikini was just that. A bikini. In every possible definition of the word, it was evil and temptation in its worst form.

The bottom piece covered all the important parts, but the top part had strings that tied in the front instead of the back. All you had to do was pull. Not reach around. Not fumble as you try to find the correct string blindly. Nope. You just had to pull and everything would come spilling out.

She let her hair down out of her ponytail, and all of a sudden my hands felt too empty.

A splash of water hit me in the back, and I winced.

“You little . . . ” But I caught myself and just splashed Lucas in return.

“You looked like you could use some cooling off.” He laughed, throwing his arm back and swimming away.

Cooling off? Did he even know what he was talking about? TV. That’s where kids got this shit.

Fallon still stood on the beach, hands on her h*ps and pacing the water’s edge, dipping her toes in every once in a while. She looked half ready to either throw herself into the water or turn around and run for the parking lot.

I jerked my chin up, shouting, “Stop giving the kid a lesson in female anatomy and get in the water already.”

Her gaze flashed to mine for a second, but I could feel the heat of her anger even in the chilly water. After teetering for another minute—just to piss me off—she stepped into the lake and waded out until she could dive in.

About an hour passed as we played and swam in the water. Lucas had fun, even if it took Fallon time to get over herself. At first she stayed back, floating on a raft, treading water, and keeping her distance. But when I got the raft and Lucas tipped her off of it, she’d finally loosened up.

Prev Next