Home > The Chase (Briar U #1)(5)

The Chase (Briar U #1)(5)
Author: Elle Kennedy

“Uh-huh.” She reaches out and strokes my cheek above the heavy beard growth. “Right. Here.”

I gulp. My dick stirs again.

I hate how attracted I am to her.

“Fitzy,” she whispers in my ear, and my pulse goes careening. “I think we—”

“Happy fucking New Year!”

Saved by Hollis.

My friend lurches toward us and plants a sloppy peck on Summer’s cheek. They’d just met tonight, but she doesn’t seem offended by the kiss, only mildly amused.

“You’re about twenty minutes too early with that sentiment,” she informs him.

“And you don’t have a drink in your hand!” He fixes her with a disapproving glare. “Why doesn’t she have a drink in her hand? Someone get this beautiful woman a drink!”

“I’m not a big drinker,” Summer protests.

“Bullshit.” Dean cackles. He’s wandered over, his girlfriend Allie Hayes at his side. “You were off your face when you burned down the sorority house.”

“You burned down a sorority house?” asks a familiar voice.

Dean spins around. “G!” he crows. “Just under the wire!”

“Yeah, we almost didn’t make it,” Garrett Graham says as he strides up to the table. “There was a ten-car pileup on the bridge. Sat there for almost an hour before traffic started moving again.”

“Han-Han!” Allie says happily, throwing her arms around Hannah Wells. Hannah is Garrett’s girl, but she also happens to be Allie’s best friend. “I’m so glad you’re here!”

“Me too! Happy New Year’s Eve.”

“Garrett Eve,” her boyfriend corrects.

“Dude,” Hannah retorts, “give it up. I’m not calling it that.”

Summer snorts. “Garrett Eve?”

Dean rolls his eyes at our old team captain. “Pompous ass.” He glances at Summer. “His birthday is New Year’s Day.”

“Garrett Day,” G says automatically, before turning to greet me and Hollis and the other guys from the team who made the trek to Brooklyn. Summer gets a quick hug and a peck on the cheek. “Good to see you, Summertime. You torched a sorority house?”

“Oh my God. No. I didn’t torch anything!” She glowers at her brother.

“Bro, everyone’s staring at you,” Hollis suddenly says, grinning at Garrett.

Hollis is right—several heads have turned in our direction. Most of the people here are too hammered to pay much attention to their surroundings, but some of them have recognized Garrett. He’s in the middle of one of the most explosive rookie seasons in Bruins history, so I’m not surprised he’s attracting attention even outside of Boston.

“They’re probably gonna start heckling me soon,” he says glumly. “We lost to the Islanders last night. Final score was five-four.”

“Yeah, but you scored a hat trick,” Hannah counters. “Anyone who heckles a player with a hat trick is a stupid moron.”

“Can a moron be anything other than stupid?” Dean asks with a grin.

“Oh, shut it, Di Laurentis. You know what I mean.”

When a few more people start looking and pointing at Garrett, Allie teases, “How does it feel to be famous?”

“You tell me,” G jokes back.

“Ha. I’m so not famous,” says the person with a role on an HBO show.

Allie’s show is actually based on a book I really enjoyed, and although I’m happy that she’s a working actress, I secretly think the book was better.

The book is always better.

“Stop being so modest!” Summer slings an arm around Allie, who’s almost a head shorter than her. “Guys. I saw her sign four autographs tonight. She’s a star.”

“Only half the season has aired so far,” Allie protests. “We might not even get renewed.”

“Of course you will,” Dean says, as if it’s not even up for debate.

Summer releases Allie and returns to my side, laying a hand on my arm. It’s not a possessive grip by any means, but I don’t miss the way both Garrett and Hunter zoom in on it. Dean doesn’t notice, thank God, because Allie is dragging him away, saying she wants one more dance before the countdown.

Beside me, Hollis examines the room with a surprising degree of intensity for a drunk guy. “I gotta decide whose tongue I want in my mouth at midnight,” he announces.

“Classy,” Summer says.

He leers wolfishly. “You play your cards right, that tongue could be yours.”

Her response is to throw her head back and laugh.

Luckily, Hollis has an ego made of Kevlar. He shrugs and wanders off, which spurs most of the other guys to scatter. Pierre, our resident French-Canadian, and Matt Anderson, a junior defenseman, head for the bar. Only Garrett and Hannah remain. And Hunter, who’s got a beer in one hand and his phone in the other. He’s taking a video of the crowd for his Snapchat story.

“How about you?” Summer asks Hunter. “I saw you dancing with seven different girls tonight. Which one are you going to kiss?”

“None of them.” He lowers the phone, his blue eyes dead serious. “I don’t do New Year’s kisses. Chicks always try to find meaning in them that isn’t there.”

Summer rolls her eyes so hard I’m surprised she doesn’t pull a muscle. “Right, because all women start planning their weddings after one kiss.” She glances at a laughing Hannah. “Wanna hit the ladies’? I want to touch up my makeup before the countdown. My lip gloss needs to be perfect for when I kiss my future husband at midnight.” She directs another eye roll at Hunter.

He winks at her, unfazed. “Better hurry, Blondie. Only sixteen minutes left.” He nods at the huge digital clock hanging over the DJ station.

“Be right back.” Hannah gives Garrett a kiss and then follows Summer.

“I need a refill,” I tell Garrett. I gesture at his empty hands. “And you need a drink.”

He nods, and we leave Hunter at the table and make our way to the bar. We stop at the far end of it where it’s quieter, near the arched doorway leading to the restrooms.

I order two beers and hand over some cash. When I turn back, I find Garrett eyeing me.

“What?” I say awkwardly.

“What’s going on with you and Summer?”

“Nothing.” Fuck. Did I answer too fast?

“Liar. You answered way too fast.”

Goddammit.

His tone becomes cautious. “When she got handsy back there…you didn’t seem to mind.”

He’s right. I didn’t mind. The last time I saw Summer, I made a conscious effort to keep my distance. Tonight, I let her touch my arm. I shared a drink with her. Honestly, if I liked to dance, I probably would’ve let her drag me onto the floor.

“She’s… Well, she’s into me,” I say slowly.

Garrett snorts. “No shit, dude. That chick wants to ride your dick.”

“I know.” Guilt pricks my throat. I hope I haven’t been leading her on tonight. “Don’t worry,” I assure him. “I won’t go there.”

He looks startled. “Why would I be worried?” His eyebrows furrow. “Wait. You might be misunderstanding. I’m not warning you away from her. I think this is a good thing.”

A frown touches my lips. “You do?”

“Of course. I mean, one—you never hook up.”

I swallow a laugh. That’s not true at all. I get lots of action. I just don’t talk about it.

“Two—Summer’s cute. She’s fun. Easy to talk to.” He shrugs. “She could be exactly what you need. You’d have to run it by Dean first, though. He thinks she’s a brat, but he’s protective of her.”

Run it by Dean? As in, ask Dean for permission to bone down with his little sister? Garrett is frickin’ crazy if—

My thought process halts.

“You’re talking about more than a casual hook-up here,” I say.

“Well, yeah. She’s Dean’s sister. He’d kill you otherwise.”

“I’m not dating her, G.”

“Why not?” He reaches forward to grab our beers, passing one my way.

I twist off the top and take a deep gulp before answering. “Because she’s not my type. We’ve got nothing in common.”

“She likes hockey,” he points out. “That’s a start.”

“And I think it might end there,” I say dryly. “I design and review video games. I’m into art. I’m covered in ink and I binge-watch crime shows on Netflix. And she’s… I don’t even know.” I scan my brain. “She’s obsessed with shoes, according to Dean. And he insists she has a shopping problem.”

“Okay. So she’s into fashion. Some people consider that art.”

I snicker. “You’re reaching.”

“And you’re judging. She seems like a good girl, Fitz.”

“Dude, she got kicked out of Brown for partying too hard. She’s a party girl. She’s in a sorority.”

I’m on a roll now, because my dick is still semi-hard and I’m desperately grasping for reasons to not screw Summer.

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