Home > The Chase (Briar U #1)(12)

The Chase (Briar U #1)(12)
Author: Elle Kennedy

When he notices me noticing, he coughs and angles his body slightly.

A sigh flutters out of my throat. “You’re not going to make this weird, are you?”

Two ridiculously adorable dimples cut into his chiseled cheeks. “Define weird.”

“I don’t know. Be awkward? Tiptoe around me?”

He takes another step toward me. “Does it look like I’m tiptoeing?” he drawls.

My heart beats faster. Damn, he’s smooth. “Okay. Then are you going to get all lovesick? Write poetry about me and cook me breakfast?”

“Poetry isn’t my style. And I can’t cook for shit.” He edges closer, until our faces are inches apart. “I’m happy to make you coffee in the morning, though.”

“I don’t drink coffee,” I say smugly.

His answering chuckle brings out his dimples again. “I can already tell you’re going to make this hard for me, eh?”

“This?” I echo warily. “And what exactly is this?”

He slants his head, contemplating for a beat. “I don’t know yet,” he admits. His breath tickles my ear as he leans in to murmur into it. “But I’m kind of excited to find out.”

Hunter’s fingertips lightly graze my bare arm. Then, before I can blink, he’s sliding out the door.

My new neighborhood is a vow-of-silence convent compared to the Kappa house at Brown. At one in the morning, the only sound beyond my bedroom window is the occasional cricket. No car engines, no music, no shrieky drunken sorority girls or loud-mouthed frat boys egging each other on during a rowdy game of beer pong.

I have to admit, I find it unsettling. Silence is not my friend. Silence forces you to examine your own mind. To face the thoughts you pushed aside during the day or the worries you hoped would go away, the secrets you tried to keep.

I’m not a fan of my own thoughts. They tend to be a jumble of insecurity, mixed with self-doubt, a splash of inner critic, and a sprinkling of misplaced over-confidence. It’s a fucked-up place, my mind.

I roll over and groan into my pillow. The muffled noise is like a blast of gunfire in the eerily quiet room. I can’t sleep. I’ve been tossing and turning since eleven thirty and it’s really starting to tick me off. I slept just fine when the guys were in Vermont. I don’t get why their presence ought to change that.

Trying to force sleep is pointless, so I kick the comforter off and stumble out of bed. Screw it. I’m getting something to eat. Maybe it’ll send me into a food coma afterward.

Since I sleep in nothing but panties, I grab the first item of clothing I find. It happens to be a thin white T-shirt that shows the outline of my nipples and barely covers my thighs. I slip it on anyway, because I doubt my roomies will be awake to see it. Hunter said they have a six a.m. practice.

But I’m wrong. One roomie is very much awake.

Fitzy and I both release startled noises when our gazes collide in the kitchen.

“Shit,” I curse. “You scared me.”

“Sorry. And ditto.” He’s sitting at the table, long legs resting on the chair beside him, a sketchpad in his lap.

Oh, and he’s shirtless.

As in, not wearing a shirt.

I can’t even.

I wrestle my gaze off his bare chest, but it’s too late. Every detail has already been branded in my brain. The full-sleeve tats covering his arms. The black swirl of ink that stretches along his collarbone and stops just above his heavy pecs. His abs are so chiseled it looks like someone drew them on with a contouring brush. Like Hunter, he’s all muscle and no fat, but while Hunter’s chest triggered appreciation and some tingles, Fitz unleashes a flurry of shivers and a tight clench of need.

I want to put my mouth on him. I want to trace every line and curve of his tats with my tongue. I want to grab his sketchpad and whip it aside so I could be the one in his lap. Preferably with my lips glued to his and my hand wrapped around his dick.

God help me.

I don’t get it. He’s not my usual type at all. I’ve been surrounded by prep school boys my whole life, and that’s what I’m typically drawn to—polo shirts, clean-shaven faces, and million-dollar smiles. Not tattoos and scruff.

“Can’t sleep?” he says lightly.

“No,” I admit. I open the fridge and scan the contents for something appetizing. “How about you?”

“I should’ve turned in about an hour ago, but I wanted to finish this sketch before bed ‘cause I won’t have time to do it tomorrow.”

I settle on some yogurt and granola, glancing over at Fitz as I prepare a bowl. “What are you drawing?”

“Just something for a video game I’m working on.” He snaps the sketchbook closed, even though I wasn’t trying to sneak a peek at it.

“Right. Dean mentioned you’re a gamer. I thought you just reviewed games, though. You design them too?”

“Only one so far. Working on a second one now,” he says vaguely.

He obviously doesn’t want to discuss it, so I shrug and say, “Cool. Sounds interesting.” I perch against the counter and swallow a spoonful of yogurt.

Silence falls over the kitchen. I watch him as I eat, and he watches me eat. It’s both painfully uncomfortable and strangely comfortable. Figure that one out.

So many questions bite at my tongue, most of them relating to New Year’s Eve.

Were you really not into me that night? Did I just imagine the interested vibes? Do you truly believe all those shitty things you said about me?

I don’t voice a single one. I refuse to reveal even a hint of vulnerability to this guy. He’s not allowed to know how much his judgmental words hurt me.

Instead, I put him in the hot seat for something else.

“You weren’t supposed to be skiing.”

He blows out a quick breath. “No, we weren’t.”

“So why did you?”

“Because we’re idiots.”

I smile, then get mad at myself for smiling at something he said.

“Coach would freak if he found out. The other guys too, if I’m being honest. It was a real dick move on our parts,” he says roughly. “So let’s keep the ski trip between us, okay?”


I give him a sheepish look. “Too late.”

“What do you mean?” His tone has sharpened.

“I accidentally became best friends with your coach’s daughter earlier today. And I accidentally told her you guys went skiing.”

He gapes at me. “Fucking hell, Summer.”

I’m quick to defend myself. “Hey, Hollis didn’t say it was a secret when we spoke on the phone.”

Fitz shakes his head a few times. “How do you accidentally become friends with someone?” he sputters. “And why would our ski trip even be a topic of discussion? Did Brenna say if she was going to tell Coach?”

“She promised she wouldn’t.”

He curses under his breath. “That’s no guarantee. Brenna’s dangerous when she loses her temper. Never know what’ll come out of her mouth.”

“She won’t tell,” I assure him. “Like I said, we’re best friends now.”

His lips twitch as if he’s trying not to laugh.

“I’m going to your Harvard game with her tomorrow,” I add.


“Uh-huh.” I finish my yogurt and walk to the sink to wash the bowl. “She’s cool. We got along really well.”

I hear him sigh. Loudly.

I glance over my shoulder. “What was that for?”

“It’s in anticipation of all the trouble I envision you and Brenna getting into. I predict you two are gonna be terrible influences on each other.”

I can’t help but laugh. “That is a possibility.”

He sighs again. “An eventuality. I can already see it.”

Grinning, I turn off the faucet and set the clean bowl in the drying rack. My heart somersaults when Fitzy’s footsteps come up behind me.

“‘Scuse me, just grabbing a glass,” he murmurs. One long arm stretches out toward the cupboard, inches from my cheek.

His scent tickles my nostrils. Woodsy with a hint of citrus. He smells so good.

I wipe my hands on a dishtowel and turn to face him. His breath hitches slightly, dark eyes flicking toward my chest before hastily dropping to the glass in his hand.

Oh right. My T-shirt is see-through. And my nipples are hard little buds thanks to the cold water my hands were submerged in a minute ago. Well, that’s why they were hard. Now they’re poking through my shirt for another reason.

A reason named Colin Fitzgerald, whose bare chest is so close I can touch it. Or lick it.

I think I might be in trouble. I’m still attracted to him. Too attracted to him. I’m not allowed to lust over someone who harbors such negative thoughts about me.

I breathe through my mouth to avoid his masculine scent, and dart away from the counter. My gaze seeks out a distraction, something to focus on that isn’t Fitz’s big, muscly, amazing chest. It lands on the fat paperback novel sitting next to the drawing pencils he left on the table.

“Oh!” My voice sounds overly loud. I quickly lower it before I wake Hunter and Hollis. “I love this series.” I pick up the book and flip it over to skim the blurb. “Are you just starting to read it or doing a reread?”

Hot Series
» Unfinished Hero series
» Colorado Mountain series
» Chaos series
» The Young Elites series
» Billionaires and Bridesmaids series
» Just One Day series
» Sinners on Tour series
» Manwhore series
» This Man series
» One Night series
Most Popular
» The Chase (Briar U #1)
» Say You Won't Let Go (Return to Me #3.5)
» Say I'm Yours (Return to Me #3)
» The Girl He Used to Know
» Vengeful (Villains #2)
» Vicious (Villains #1)
» No Tomorrow
» Loving Storm (Ashes & Embers #5)