Rival Page 70

“Fallon!” Madoc barked, his forearms flexed, showing the powerful cords in his arms as he jerked the steering wheel to get the car straight. “Damn it.”

I smiled to myself and reclined the seat all the way back. Madoc’s windows weren’t tinted, and since we were still in town, anyone could see me in my bra.

“What’s wrong?” I whispered, blinking innocently.

He barely unclenched his teeth. “We’re not going to be home for another ten minutes. Are you seriously doing this to me right now?”

I gazed up at him with my hand behind my head and my eyes hooded. Dancing my tongue just outside of my lips, I caught the little silver ball between my teeth and watched the fire flash in his eyes.

My skin was probably flushed pink everywhere, but I didn’t care. Nothing felt better than seeing his hands fumbling with the wheel as he tried to keep up on the road or the way his eyes glided down my body.

“Madoc?” I murmured, turning on my side and propping my head on my hand. “I want you to f**k me in your car.”

His eyes flared, and his body went still as if the car was now driving itself. He gripped the wheel, yanking the stick shift into sixth gear, and sped out of town.

Before I knew it, the sky was dim, the rain poured hard, and we were parked on a silent gravel road for the next hour.



All through high school, I followed people. Followed my dad. Followed Jared. Followed the norm.

When you follow, you forget to grow. Days pass, years roll over you, and you’re left with little to show for your life. My father was proof of that. He worked and hid, loving a woman he didn’t have the courage to claim, and for what? So he could have a city full of people at his funeral and a hefty estate to leave his estranged son?

My father had nothing. Not yet, anyway.

I knew he loved me, and in that respect I was a lot luckier than Jared and Jax, but I didn’t aspire to be like my dad. There were some good memories, but I honestly wasn’t sure how I’d react if he were suddenly gone.

That’s the thought that snapped me awake in my bed. Heat drifted down my neck and back, and I didn’t have to touch my skin to know that I was sweating.

My father knew what he wanted, but he never took it. I didn’t want those regrets.

I looked over, seeing Fallon curled into a ball and fast asleep at my side. She was dressed in a tank top and sleep shorts, and the blankets rested at her waist. With her hands tucked under her cheek and her hair draping over the pillow above her head, she looked so tiny and helpless.

My mouth turned up with a smile at the thought, because Fallon was anything but helpless.

I still liked enjoying this view of her, though. My heartbeat slowed, watching her steady breathing.

Grabbing my phone off the nightstand, I checked the time, seeing that it was only nine p.m. After skating this afternoon and our little detour, our bodies had been dragging. We crashed in my room, not even caring to eat the roast Addie had left in the oven for us.

My phone buzzed, and I held it above me, opening up the text from Jax.

Can you come over? Alone?

Alone? He must’ve found something on Fallon’s mom, but why did I have to come alone?

Be there in twenty.

Turning on my side, I nudged Fallon awake. “Babe?” I whispered, kissing a trail from her cheek to her ear. “I’m going to run out for an hour. Be back soon.”

She moaned, pursing her lips. “Okay,” she sighed. “Can you bring me a Snapple when you get back?”

And then she was passed out again, and I was laughing.

• • •

I arrived at Jax’s house about fifteen minutes later. The rain was still falling outside, but it was lighter, and I was happy to see light pouring out of his windows.

Katherine was home.

His “mom”—I wasn’t sure what to call her—still spent a lot of time with my dad, but I heard she insisted on him staying at her house more so she could be home for Jax. I wondered how my dad felt about gaining two stepsons. He had a hard enough time with me.

The kitchen and living room lights glowed with warmth as I knocked on the front door and then immediately turned the handle.

I’d stopped waiting to be let in years ago, and we still lived in a town where you really didn’t worry about keeping the doors locked at all times.

Waving at Katherine, who’d poked her head out of the kitchen, I sprinted up to Jax’s “computer room” and walked in, closing the door behind me.

I jerked my chin at him as he cruised the monitor wall, touching different screens. “Hey, what have you got?” I asked.

“Hey, man. Sorry to drag you over here, but I thought you should see this in person.”

Walking back over to his printer, he picked out a couple of papers, reading them over.

“What is it?” I asked, whipping off my button-down and wearing only my dark gray T-shirt.

“Well, I’m really not finding much on your stepmom.” He shot me an apologetic look. “Sorry, but she’s pretty one-dimensional. I accessed her social calendar, and personally, I find C-SPAN more entertaining.”

My shoulders sank a little, and I sighed.

He let out a bitter laugh. “Aside from the dirty dippings into male prostitution—she has a standing reservation at the Four Seasons every Thursday night for that—she’s actually pretty clean.”

“So why am I here?”

His eyes fell, and he hesitated.


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