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What happens to childhood promises when you grow up?
Growing up, Devaney Diamond and Chase Mackenzie promised to go to college together. But it’s been three years since the summer that changed everything between them, and their friendship hasn’t recovered.
Now, Dani is faced with all the challenges of her freshman year of college—navigating rush week, making new friends, and living on her own—which is both exhilarating and intimidating. In high school, Dani was homecoming queen and head cheerleader. She should be able to handle the pressure, but college has been more overwhelming than she expected.
Chase, on the other hand, is living the dream. It’s his senior year of high school, his football team is hoping to go undefeated, and he’s being heavily recruited.
When Dani returns home for a weekend, she realizes why college feels so overwhelming—she doesn’t have Chase to share it with. In hopes of salvaging their friendship, she repeats an old tradition—sneaking over to his room with pizza after his game. But instead of fixing their friendship, they end up sleeping together.
Chase is thrilled that Dani is back in his life, but being friends with benefits when feelings are involved is more complicated than Chase imagined.
Will Chase and Dani work through their feelings for one another, or will their childhood promise be shattered when Chase announces what college he will commit to?
My phone rings.
A glance at the screen tells me who is calling, and I answer the phone with a firm, “No.”
“You didn’t even hear what I have to say,” Vale says, her voice always as silky smooth as I know her lips to be.
“Don’t need to. The answer is no.”
“Carter, please, I’m desperate.”
“How desperate?” I ask, squinting my eyes as my dick springs to attention.
“My little sister is getting married, and I’m calling to ask you to go home with me desperate.”
“Compared to being in jail, foodless, homeless, or injured, I’d say that isn’t very high on the desperation chain.”
“Fine. I’m literally outside your door, on my knees, begging desperate.”
“On your knees desperate?” Interesting. I set down the smoothie I just made, walk to my front door, and open it—surprised to find her there and actually on her knees. I can’t help but smirk. “Not that long ago, I would have found this exciting. But you do look desperate.”
“Our flight leaves in three hours desperate.”
“Three hours? How long have you known about the wedding?”
“January? It’s April. And you, of all people, haven’t been able to find a date?”
“Carter, I can explain. And I will. I promise. But right now, I need you to go pack.”
“I’m not going anywhere with you.” Because I am not. I can’t. Like, I’d do it for anyone but her.
The last time we spoke was when she called and asked how my new year was going. She had that accusatory tone in her voice. The kind women use when they say one thing but really mean another. She thought I hadn’t shown up for her party and was trying to call me on it. Needless to say, I wasn’t having any of that. And when she asked if we could get together the following week when she was back in town, I was still hurting from what had really happened and let her have it. Told her, no, we couldn’t get together. And then I told her that on New Year’s Eve, as the clock struck midnight, I realized that she was not the girl for me. I gave her the easy way out—plus, I didn’t want to hear her excuses. I couldn’t handle it. I was a broken mess. We haven’t spoken since.
She gets tears in her eyes. “You have no idea what it’s like to be a disappointment to your family.”
“You’re a supermodel who travels the world,” I scoff.
“Which is the opposite of what they wanted.” She gets to her feet. “Please, Carter.”
She looks down and whispers, “Because there is no one else.”
“No one else? You run out of boy toys?”
“I liked you, Carter. A lot. What you said on the phone the last time we talked really hurt.”
“I’ll say,” I mutter. Even though it’s been almost four months, I’m still not over her. I honestly don’t think I’ll ever be over her.
“I’m just saying that I understand you aren’t the least bit interested in me, but if you aren’t dating anyone, could you possibly find it in your heart to pretend for just one weekend that you still find me irresistible? We always had so much fun together.”
I wouldn’t have to pretend, I think.
“What’s in it for me? I have plans this weekend,” I lie.
“Fine. You want to negotiate, Carter Crawford? Let’s do it.”
The determined look in her eye when she wants something is one of the sexiest things about her. Sure, she’s a supermodel, and she has a beautiful body, but I was always most attracted to her drive. Her passion for life. She is one of the few people who can go toe-to-toe with me in an argument and not back down.
I have to bite my lip to keep from smiling and thinking about how she could practically wrap me around her little finger. How the second she used to call and say she was in town, it would convince me to drop everything and spend time with her.
“The top-rated offensive lineman in the country, AJ Barnett, will be at the wedding. He’s projected to go high in the upcoming draft. And happens to be the groom.”
“Yeah, that’s not much of an enticement,” I say, still trying to play it cool, but when she’s near me, I feel anything but. “I’ve already spoken to him. His family decided to go in a different direction.”
“I know for a fact that he hasn’t signed a representation contract yet.”
“Are you telling me that with the draft less than two weeks away, he is agentless?” My eyes go wide.
“Yes. You’d be doing me a favor and have the chance to earn some major coin. The kid is a specimen, and I happen to know that offensive guards are some of the highest-paid players in the league because it’s their job to protect the quarterback’s blindside. Please, Carter,” she says, folding her hands in prayer. “I need you.”
The way she says she needs me cuts through me.
“Fine,” I agree.
Her big, beautiful eyes fill with tears, and she looks up at me and says, “Thank you.”