The Chase:Briar U

By: Elle Kennedy

“No, I wanted to unpack and settle in and all that crap.”

“Well, it ain’t happening today, and tonight is New Year’s Eve, so you might as well come home and celebrate with me and Allie. A bunch of my old teammates are driving up too.”

“Like who?” I ask curiously.

“Garrett’s in the city for a game, so he’ll be here. And the current Briar brigade is coming. You know some of them—Mike Hollis, Hunter Davenport. Actually, Hunter went to Roselawn Prep, think he was a year behind you. Pierre and Corsen, but I don’t think you ever met them. Fitzy—”

My heartbeat stutters.

“I remember Fitzy,” I say as casually as I’m capable of—which is not casual at all. Even I can hear the excitement in my voice.

Who can blame me, though? Fitzy is short for Colin Fitzgerald, and he just happens to be THE UNICORN. The tall, sexy, tattooed, hockey-playing unicorn of a man who I might have a teeny-weeny itsy-bitsy crush on.

Okay, fine.

A big motherfucking crush on.

He’s so…magical. But he’s also out of reach. Dean’s hockey friends are usually all over me when they meet me, but not Fitz. I met him last year when I visited Dean at Briar, and the guy barely glanced my way. When I saw him again at a birthday party for Dean’s friend Logan, he said about ten words to me—and I’m pretty sure half those words were hello, how are you, and goodbye.

He’s exasperating. Not that I expect every male in my vicinity to fall at my feet, but I know he’s attracted to me. I’ve noticed the way his brown eyes smolder when he looks at me. They frigging smolder.

Unless I’m just seeing what I want to see.

My dad has this super-pompous saying: perception and reality are vastly disparate. The truth is usually found somewhere in between. Dad used that line in his closing arguments for a murder trial once, and now he busts it out any time it’s even remotely applicable to a situation.

If the truth lies somewhere between Colin Fitzgerald’s outward aloofness toward me (he hates me), and the heat I see in his eyes (his fiery passion for me), then… I guess split the difference and say he views me as a friend?

I purse my lips.

No. Absolutely not. I refuse to be friend-zoned before I’ve even made a move.

“It’ll be a good time,” Dean is saying. “Besides, it’s been ages since we were in the same place on New Year’s Eve. So get your butt to New York and text when you’re here. I’m at the drycleaner’s now. Gotta go. Love you.”

He hangs up, and I’m smiling so broadly it’s hard to imagine I was in tears five minutes ago. Dean might be a pain in the ass most of the time, but he’s a good big brother. He’s there for me when I need him, and that’s all that really matters.

And—praise the Lord!—now I have a party to go to. There’s nothing better than a party after a shitty day. I need this badly.

I check the time. It’s one p.m.

I quickly do some mental math. The Briar campus is about an hour away from Boston. From there it’s a three-and-a-half, four-hour drive to Manhattan. That means I won’t arrive in the city until the evening, which won’t leave me much time to get ready. If I’m seeing my unicorn tonight, I plan on dolling myself up from my head down to my toes.

That boy isn’t going to know what hit him.



“Dance with me?”

I want to say no.

But I also want to say yes.

I call this the Summer Dilemma—the frustrating, polar reactions this green-eyed, golden-haired goddess sparks in me.

Fuck yes and hell no.

Get naked with her. Run far, far away from her.

“Thanks, but I don’t like to dance.” I’m not lying. Dancing’s the worst.

Besides, when it comes to Summer Di Laurentis, my flight instinct always wins out.

“You’re no fun, Fitzy.” She makes a tsking noise, drawing my gaze to her lips. Full, pink, and glossy, with a tiny mole above the left side of her mouth.

It’s an extremely hot mouth.

Hell, everything about Summer is hot. She’s hands down the best-looking girl in the bar, and every dude in our vicinity is either staring enviously or glowering at me for being with her.

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