Rival Page 65

“Your mom’s trying to take the house. I want to go talk to Jax and see if he can help.”

“How would he be able to help?” I walked toward him, and he swung his towel off of his neck and around my towel-clad body, pulling me in closer.

“He’s good with computers,” he explained. “He can find things on the Internet others can’t. I just want to see if we can find anything on her.”

He wasn’t going to. My father’s man had already been all over it, and other than frequenting male prostitutes, my mother’s life consisted only of shopping, dining, and socializing. Madoc’s dad had the info that he refused to use.

I didn’t tell Madoc that, though. He knew my role in our parents’ divorce, and I wasn’t going to remind him.

“Jared, just give it a chance!”

Madoc and I both jerked our heads toward his bedroom door at the shouting outside.

“Woman, you are high!” Jared barked. “No way.”

“Oh, you’re such a pu**y! It’s just ballroom dancing,” Tate yelled.

Madoc and I both looked at each other wide-eyed before running to his door and yanking it open together.

Jared and Tate had just rounded the corner and were heading down the hall in the opposite direction toward the other side of the house. To their room, presumably.

Jared turned around, walking backward. “Absolutely not.”

Madoc slung an arm around my shoulder and called out. “What is she trying to get you to do now?”

Tate swung around, hands on her hips, while Jared stopped retreating.

“Ballroom dancing lessons,” he gritted out. “I don’t know where she got the idea.”

Tate looked down. “I just thought it could be a new experience, Jared,” she said with her back to him. “I can’t expect Madoc to dance with me at every occasion, can I?”

I narrowed my eyes, studying her. Every occasion?

And then it hit me.

A wedding.

That’s what she was thinking, only Jared’s severe arched brow and Madoc’s snort told me they didn’t get it.

She was in love with Jared, and even I could see that he had every intention of marrying her someday. She’d want him to dance with her at their wedding, of course. And Jared didn’t dance.

He might not need the skill for a few years, but she was just thinking ahead. Chewing on the side of her mouth, she looked angry, but she had too much pride to say why she really wanted him to learn.

“I’ve got an idea,” I spoke up, holding the towel securely around me and peeking around the door frame.

“A race,” I suggested. “She wins, and you have to take lessons until you can waltz like a pro. You win, and you don’t have to.”

He looked away with a bored expression. “I don’t have to right now. What’s really in it for me?”

Tate pinched up her lips, looking about ready to beat the shit out of him.

“All right, dickhead.” She spun around and addressed her boyfriend. “You win, and I’ll do that thing you’ve been wanting me to do.”

His eyes perked up, flashing with mischief, and I’d imagine that’s what Jared Trent looked like on Christmas morning.

“Do you have a deal?” Madoc asked.

Jared strolled up to Tate, pinching her chin between his fingers. “Next Saturday night. I’ll call Zack and set it up.” And he walked to their room, digging his phone out of his pocket on the way.

“What does he want you to do?” I could hear the smile in Madoc’s voice. “Anal? I would’ve thought you two had been there by now.”

Tate’s hair swayed across her back as she shook her head. “It doesn’t matter. He’ll lose.”

She sounded more confident than sure.

Madoc laughed. “Yeah, okay. The last time Jared lost a race was . . . hmm, never.”

He’s right.

I think I’d just had a really stupid idea, and Tate was in for it now.

CHAPTER 25

MADOC

After another hilarious argument, Jared and Tate finally left town to go back to Chicago and school. He was trying to convince her to leave her car in Shelburne Falls—since they’d be back in five days anyway—and she decided it was best they drive separately and not see each other all week. He had an outburst, and she mumbled something about sexual frustration weakening his normally sharp skills on the track next weekend.

I wasn’t in a hurry to rush my time with Fallon this week, but I couldn’t stop smiling at the idea of going to the Loop again. I’d missed my friends more that I’d admitted to myself.

Fallon decided to stay an extra day or two, so we dressed and jumped in my car. After seeing Jax, Fallon and I were going by Lucas’s house.

“Jax!” I called out, opening the unlocked front door. “You awake?” I heard steady footfalls on the floor above and waited until he began descending the stairs.

He was shirtless as usual around the house and wore black Adidas track pants with no shoes or socks. His hair was pulled back in its normal ponytail, but stray hairs stuck out of it as if he’d just woken up. And he was sporting a bruise on the side of his lip. He looked tired as hell, but in a good mood.

“Hey, man.” I gave him our slap-fist-bump combo. “Put on a shirt, would you?”

It was kind of a joke. Kind of. I was hotter than him. No doubt. But I grabbed Fallon’s hand, reminding her that she could look but not touch.

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