Rival Page 93

My blood rushed through my body like running rapids, filling me with energy so fast I felt high.

Damn, it felt good to be back here.

I wouldn’t admit it to anyone, but I was a little apprehensive about the new crop of drivers coming in this school year. While college kids like Jared, Tate, and I came back once in a while, this was mostly a high school scene.

But getting out of the car, I already saw at least ten people I knew, so I was home. Jared and Tate were already in place up on the track and had a crowd of people around them, including K.C., who must’ve come back from her school in Arizona for the weekend.

Looking around, I also spotted her boyfriend, Liam, and some of Jared’s and my friends that had stayed close to home as well this year.

Jax hung back, sitting on the hood of his car with his headphones on and staring into the crowd. He never raced. Although he came to the events, I got the impression that it bored him, even though I suggested that actually racing was a hell of a lot more fun than watching. He said he was working on something new for the Loop, but he wouldn’t tell us what. Knowing him, I was afraid to ask.

Fallon climbed out of my GTO, and I took her hand, pulling her up onto the track. We made our way through the thick crowd, ignoring calls and congratulations on our marriage. I knew they were all laughing behind my back.

Madoc got married? Yeah, right.

I took a page from my father. Don’t give them attention, and they won’t give us attention. Only those close to Fallon and me understood, and we were not explaining ourselves to others. I’m sure most of them thought I’d gotten her pregnant.

“Hey, man,” I greeted Jared, who turned away from Sam, grinning. He had Disturbed’s “Inside the Fire” blasting out of his car stereo, and it felt like old times.

Fallon went and talked to Tate, who stood leaning against her car, talking to K.C.

“You’re smiling,” I observed flatly, eyeing Jared. “That’s weird.”

He stuck his hands into the front pocket of his black hoodie and shrugged. “Why wouldn’t I be smiling? Even if I lose—which is a huge if—Tate will stop with her antics, and I can stop sleeping alone. It’s her birthday tomorrow and our anniversary. I’ve got plans.”

I laughed to myself, shaking my head. “I really wanted to see you ballroom dance.” I narrowed my eyes, thinking. “In fact . . .”

I twisted my head to see Tate, Fallon, and K.C. chatting. “Tate!” I called. “Come here.”

She shot me an annoyed look and walked over, followed by the other two.

“I’m riding shotgun,” I told her.

“Whyyyy?” she drawled out.

“Just in case you need advice. I want you to win.”

I grinned at Jared, seeing his quirked eyebrow.

“I have raced before,” Tate said as if I thought she was inexperienced. Her hair danced in the light wind and kept blowing into her face.

I wrapped my arm around Fallon’s waist and brought her into my side. “You haven’t raced Jared,” I pointed out to Tate. “I’m coming with you. That’s the end of it. Will you come?” I looked to Fallon.

“Oh, no.” Jared jumped in. “You take my chick, I’m taking yours.” He hooked the collar of Fallon’s T-shirt and pulled her over to his side. “But not for help. She’s a hostage.”

“No way!” Fallon burst out. “Like I want to be killed or seriously injured in an illegal racing ring, protected by shady law enforcement and a crowd of drunk teenagers.”

“Yeah.” I brushed it off. “She’d be scared.”

Her green eyes stung like bullets. “Bite me,” she barked, folding her arms over her chest. “You’re going down.”

“Fallon!” Tate fumed. “You’re my friend!”

“No worries.” I looked down at Tate and took out my iPod from my coat pocket. “We’ve got MC Hammer,” I bragged to Jared and Fallon, motioning between Tate and me. “You can’t touch this.”

Tate immediately lost it. She doubled over, holding her stomach and laughing her ass off at my play on MC Hammer’s song. “You are not putting that shit in my stereo!” she choked out through her laughter.

“Oh, yeah,” I threatened.

But just then, we all straightened up. Zack the Racemaster came up between the two racers—or teams—and cleared his throat.

Putting his hands around his mouth to form a circle, he bellowed into the night air, “Let. The. Games. Begin!”

Fallon and I smiled at each other.

And let them never end.

• • •

A crack of thunder exploded through the midnight sky, and I opened my eyes as it bellowed over the house. As it slowly traveled away, I blinked against the flashes of lightning coming through the window.

Flipping my head to the side, I saw Fallon still sleeping peacefully in her green T-shirt and panties. She’d kicked her side of the blankets off, and that was one thing I’d noticed we had in common. We both overheated when we slept.

There were lots of quirks about her that I’d found out, and I hoped mine didn’t annoy her too much.

Her neck glowed with a thin layer of sweat, and her lips opened and closed barely enough to even notice. A slice of her stomach peeked out, and her innocent face looked absolutely beautiful.

Just looking at her, I felt myself harden with want. We’d already attacked each other after the race. In fact, Jared and Tate and Fallon and I all came straight here after the race, skipping the bonfire altogether. They went to their room, and we came to ours.

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