The Play (Briar U, #3)

Bucky sets Pablo on the table so he can pour himself a beer. When Summer reaches for the egg, he swiftly smacks her hand away. “Pablo isn’t a toy,” he scolds.

“It’s just an egg.”

“Just an egg?” Conor drawls, approaching the booth to catch the end of Summer’s amused response. “That’s our fucking mascot, Di Laurentis. Show some respect.”

“Oh, I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to insult your egg.”

He grins, and even Summer can’t deny him a response. Her cheeks pinken, and Con’s grin widens. Dude’s well aware of what his smile does to women. He’s probably been harnessing that power since grade school, like one of the X-Men.

But although Summer isn’t entirely unaffected, she’s still very much unavailable. “Stop smiling at me like that or I’ll tell Fitz.” She sticks out her tongue. “Then he’ll show up at practice and kick your ass.”

“I’m not allowed to smile at you? All right, then. How ’bout dancing? Can we dance?”

Summer ponders that. “Sure, that’s allowed. But only because I like this song.” It’s some Taylor Swift track I don’t know too well.

She hops up and drags Conor toward the cluster of people gathered near the small stage that’s hardly ever used. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a live band grace the stage at Malone’s, but the tiny space in front of it is the closest to a dance floor that the bar has.

Brenna’s eyes track Conor’s easy gait. And his ass. “Geez, that boy is attractive.”

“Don’t you have a boyfriend?” Matt reminds her.

“So? I’m not allowed to acknowledge someone else is attractive? Come on. Look at him.”

Matt, Bucky and I turn to scrutinize our teammate. He’s got one hand on Summer’s slim waist, the other holding his beer as they dance. When he leans in to whisper something in her ear, his gray eyes twinkle devilishly.

I mean, I’m not going to lie. Edwards is hot. We all know it.

“Ugh. Now I feel left out,” Brenna whines, and the next thing I know she’s shoving me out of the booth and tugging me to my feet. “Come on, hot stuff, dance with me.”

Before I can blink, we’re across the room and Brenna is squished up against me. And her body is so fire that I forget how to breathe. Skintight jeans are plastered to her long, shapely legs, her dark hair is thick and glossy, and her top is even more indecent than Summer’s. So tight it looks like her full tits are trying to escape.

I don’t want to touch her. I’m scared that if I do, that if my hands connect with a hint of bare skin or the slightest female curve, I might embarrass myself.

“What’s the matter?” Brenna says. “You forget how to move?”

I offer a self-deprecating smile. “Trust me, you don’t want me to move.”

“Why’s that…?” Understanding suddenly dawns. “Ohhh. Because you’re out of commission.” She purses her lips. “Are you scared that if our bodies touch, you’ll get aroused?”

“I already am aroused,” I grumble. “Everything gets me aroused, Bee. The feel of the wind on my face gets me aroused. Bumping into a table gets me aroused.”

She throws her head back and laughs. “Oh, you really are in a state, aren’t you?”

I groan. “The worst kind.”

“You poor thing.” She grabs my hands and plants them on her hips, then loops her arms around my neck.

And yup, my dick cannot distinguish between a girl with a boyfriend and one without. It promptly thickens behind my zipper.

“Fucking hell, Jensen, let’s not do this. Please.”

“Aw, come on. What’s a boner between friends?” She starts moving to the upbeat T-Swift song, except three seconds later it ends and is replaced with that old T.I. track—“Whatever You Like.” The one that’s all about fucking, with a sultry beat that is way too dangerous for my aching nether regions.

“My boner doesn’t understand that you’re off-limits,” I mutter.

“Can I tell you a secret?” Brenna says, and I almost pass out when she brings her red lips to my ear and seductively whispers in it. “Jake and I have an open relationship.”

Immediately, my throat goes dry. “W-what?” I stammer hoarsely.

“I’m just saying…” Her hips sway. “If you ever want to break your vow…”

A bolt of heat shoots up my spine. “What the hell are you saying?”

“You know exactly what I’m saying.”

She draws tiny circles on my nape with her fingernails. Meanwhile, T.I. is singing about things being wet and hot and tight and I’m in big trouble.

“Why don’t we go home?” she suggests, wrapping her arms tighter around my neck. Our bodies are almost flush now. Her sexy voice is still tickling my ear. “We’ll be really, really quiet. Rupi won’t hear a thing.”

My mouth is sawdust. From the corner of my eye, I catch Summer giving us an odd look. I’ve given up on dancing because my dick is way too hard. “Are you serious right now?” I demand. Because I don’t buy it.

And I’m right not to.

“Oh my God, Hunter. Of course I’m not serious.” Mischief gleams in her expression.

“So you and Connelly don’t have an open relationship?”

“No!”

I stare at her. “What if I’d said yes? What if I’d kissed you?”

“Then Jake would catch the next redeye from Edmonton and your body would probably never be found.”

“You’re such a bitch,” I sigh.

“Sorry.” She’s still laughing, but she has the decency to sound somewhat repentant. “I couldn’t help myself. This celibacy thing of yours is fascinating. But…dude, if you’re so hard up that you were actually considering hooking up with me? Then I don’t know how you’re ever gonna survive this.”

Me neither.

“Whatever, c’mere,” I grumble, tugging her against me. “Let’s just dance.”

“You sure?”

I nod miserably. “Yeah, why not. What’s a boner between friends, right?”





7





Demi





I follow Nico into the busy bar. We’re meeting some friends at Malone’s, which is the only bar in Hastings.

Nico and I don’t come here often; if we’re hanging out in town, we usually invite people to Nico’s apartment and chill there. But my boyfriend was in the mood to go out tonight, and I wasn’t about to complain. Malone’s makes the best nachos in town. And the best chicken wings. The best burgers. The best—ugh, okay, the entire menu is stellar.

“Do you see Pippa?” I stand on my tiptoes and scan the crowded main room. “She texted that they’re in a booth near the—oh, there she is.”

Nico follows my gaze. “Who’s she with?”

“Looks like Corinne and Darius and—oh wow, TJ actually showed up.” I invited him to join us, but I hadn’t expected him to come, because TJ’s not particularly social. When we go for lunch or to the movies, it tends to be just the two of us. He’s not big on crowds or groups.

Nico makes a face at the mention of TJ.

“Be nice,” I chide.

“He’s a pendejo, Demi.” My boyfriend always reverts to Spanish when he’s dissing someone.

“He is not. He’s my friend.”

“Friend? C’mon, babe, he’s in love with you.”

It’s not the first time Nico’s voiced that sentiment, but I don’t believe it to be true. “He’s not in love with me.”

“Oh really? Then why’s he always staring at you with moon eyes?”

“You’re imagining it.” I shrug. “And even if he is in love with me—so what? We both know who I’m in love with.”

“Damn right we do.” Nico curls a hand over the back of my head and pulls me in for a kiss.

To my surprise, he slips me some tongue and the next thing I know we’re engaged in a mini make-out session in the middle of the bar. It draws catcalls from a group of guys in hockey jerseys, and I’m blushing as I pull back.

“What was that for?” I smile at my boyfriend.

“Just for being you.” Nico takes my hand and brings it up to his lips. Like the Latin heartthrob he is, he brushes a kiss over my knuckles.

He’s being extra sweet tonight, and in all honesty I love it. He turned down my sex advances last weekend because he was too tired, and then he bailed on me this week because of his car. I deserve to be spoiled a bit.

“Go join the group. I’ll grab us some drinks,” Nico offers before heading for the ridiculously long line at the bar.

As I walk toward my friends’ booth, I glimpse a familiar face through the doorway that separates the main room with the adjoining one.

Hunter Davenport is dancing with a stunning brunette in a tight tank and blood-red lipstick. He’s whispering in her ear. When he lifts his head to look at her, I don’t miss the ruddy flush of his cheekbones and his heavy-lidded eyes. Uh-huh. Someone’s getting laid tonight.

I wonder how his lunch girl feels about that…

The idea of dating multiple people sounds like a nightmare to me. Although, what sounds even worse is being the girl who is dating the guy who’s dating multiple people. I’m a possessive bitch, thank you very much. My man’s not allowed to see other women when he’s with me. And if I ever do wind up having to date again, I’d stake my claim immediately and make sure to have the exclusivity talk before the dude is even allowed to hold my hand.

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