The Chase:Briar U

By: 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.

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