The Chase:Briar U

By: Elle Kennedy


She gives an enthusiastic nod. “I am!”

“Are you going to miss Providence?” I know she spent her freshman and sophomore years at Brown, plus one semester of junior year, which makes up half her college career. If it were me, I’d hate starting over at a new school.

But Summer shakes her head. “Not really. I wasn’t a fan of the town, or the school. I only went there because my parents wanted me to attend an Ivy League and I didn’t get into Harvard or Yale, their alma maters.” She shrugs. “Did you want to go to Briar?”

“Definitely. I heard phenomenal things about the Fine Arts program. And, obviously, the hockey program is stellar. They offered me a full ride to play, and I get to study something I’m really into, so…” I offer a shrug in return.

“That’s so important. Doing what you love, I mean. A lot of people don’t have that opportunity.”

Curiosity flickers through me. “What do you love to do?”

Her answering grin is self-deprecating. “I’ll let you know when I figure it out.”

“Come on, there’s got to be something you’re passionate about.”

“Well, I’ve been passionate about stuff—interior design, psychology, ballet, swimming. The problem is, it never sticks. I lose interest quickly. I haven’t found a long-term passion yet, I suppose.”

Her candidness surprises me a bit. She seems way more down-to-earth tonight compared to our previous encounters.

“I’m thirsty,” she announces.

I suppress the urge to roll my eyes, since I’m sure that’s code for go buy me a drink. Only, it’s not. With a naughty smile, she swipes my beer from my hand.

Our fingers brush briefly, and I pretend not to notice the spark of heat that races up my arm. I watch as she wraps her fingers around the Bud Light bottle and takes a long sip.

She’s got small hands, delicate fingers. It’d be a challenge to draw them, to capture the intriguing combination of fragility and surety. Her fingernails are short, rounded and have those white French tips or whatever you call ‘em, a style that seems way too plain for someone like Summer. I’d expect extra-long talons painted pink or some other pastel.

“You’re doing it again.” There’s accusation in her tone. A bit of aggravation too.

“Doing what?”

“Zoning me out. Curmudgeoning.”

“That’s not a word.”

“Says who?” She takes another sip of beer.

My gaze instantly fixes on her lips.

Dammit, I gotta stop this. She’s not my type. The first time I met her, everything about her screamed sorority girl. The designer clothes, the waves and waves of blonde hair, a face that could stop traffic.

There’s no way I’m her type, either. I have no idea why she’s spending New Year’s Eve talking to a scruffy, tatted-up goon like me.

“Sorry. I’m not very chatty. Don’t take it personally, okay?” I steal my bottle back.

“Okay, I won’t. But if you don’t feel like talking, at least entertain me in other ways.” She plants her hands on her hips. “I propose we make out.”





3





Fitz





Once again, I choke mid-sip.

Oh, sweet Jesus. Did she seriously just say that?

I glance over, and she’s got one perfect eyebrow arched, awaiting my response. Yup. She said it.

“Uh…you want to, um…” I cough again.

“Oh relax!” Summer laughs. “It was a joke.”

I narrow my eyes at her. “A joke,” I echo. “So you have zero interest in making out with me?” Hell, why am I challenging her? My dick twitches against my zipper, a warning that I shouldn’t be entertaining the idea of kissing Summer.

“I mean, it wouldn’t be the end of the world if we did,” she says with a wink. “And it’s always nice to have someone to kiss at midnight. I was mostly joking, though. I just like making you blush.”

“I don’t blush,” I object, because I’m a dude, and dudes don’t go around declaring they’re blushers.

Summer hoots. “Yes, you do! You’re blushing now.”

“Oh really? You can see this supposed blush right through my beard, huh?” I rub my face defiantly.

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