the game of love and war—especially the heartbreaks.
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“I wish you’d stop calling me Chick,” she snapped. “I hate it.”
“You want a new nickname, sweet cheeks? I can give you a new nickname, sweet cheeks.”
She shivered in disgust. Good. There was nothing I enjoyed more than getting on her nerves. “Not that either.”
“I’ll keep working on it.”
“Or you could just call me by my name.”
“Nah, Shay’s too ugly a name to leave my lips.”
“I hate you.”
“I hate you more.”
“Yeah, but I hate you the most.”
I snickered. “You really think you can get a guy like me to fall in love with you?”
“Yes. I’m positive, actually. People are the easiest to read, and that includes you.”
“You can’t read me, Shay.”
“I can, like an open book.”
“Okay.” I reached into my pocket, pulled out my cell phone, and turned on the flashlight, lighting up the small space. “Read me.”
She raised an eyebrow. “You sure you want me to do this? Reading people is kind of my gift, and you might not like what I have to say.”
“I never like what you have to say, so this time shouldn’t be any different. Go for it.”
She rolled her shoulders back and stretched out her arms as if she was about to deadlift me. “Okay. You’re fake, Landon.”
That was it? That was the big reveal? “What the hell do you mean I’m fake?”
“I mean exactly that. You. Are. Fake. F-A-K-E. Fake. There is nothing real about you. You’re a walking lie.”
I laughed. No joke, I actually laughed out loud, which didn’t happen often for me. It was a deep-rooted, belly laugh.
“What the hell are you talking about?” I questioned. “Everything about me is real. I’m the realist damn person you’ll come across in our town.”
“No,” she disagreed with a shake of her head. “You are the fakest. You’re even faker than the new boobs Carly Patrick got for her eighteenth birthday.”
“What?!” I breathed out, stunned by her words. “I’m not fake, Shay.”
“It’s not a big deal, Landon.” She shrugged her shoulders and went to picking at her nails. “People seem to love your fakeness.”
“I’m not fake,” I argued again, my blood boiling at this point. “Plus, I’ve seen Carly’s boobs up close and personal. Those are straight in-your-face, nips-don’t-flick fake. There is no way in this world I’m more fake than those silicone watermelons. I’m a lot of shitty things, but fake isn’t one of them.”
“Okay then, can you answer a question for me?”
“How many people know you’re sad?”
“The hell kind of question is that?” I barked.
“A very straightforward one,” she replied. She seemed so cool, calm, and collected—one of the many things I despised about her. It was as if her life was always so solid. I wished for that kind of stable structure, and seeing that she had it annoyed the living hell out of me.
“How long have you been sad, Landon?”
I glanced at my watch. “About a solid three minutes now, because being trapped inside this closet with you is complete hell.”
“Aren’t you the one who wanted to come in here with me?”
“Bad call. A lapse in judgment. I forgot how annoying you are.”
She smiled. She freaking smiled at me, pleased by my annoyance. “Are you going to answer me about your sadness?”
“Are you going to suck my dick?” I replied.
“Do you always do that?” she asked, tilting her head to the left as she studied my expressions. She was doing that thing she did—reading me. Taking note of my movements and the tightness of my jaw, taking in every inch of me.
Don’t let her read your pages, Landon. She couldn’t have even handled my prologue.
All my walls were up, and I wasn’t going to let her knock them down.
“Do what?” I questioned.
“Use sarcasm to shield your hurting.”
“There’s nothing hurting here. Look at this life. I have money, badass parties, and girls throwing themselves at me—why would I have anything to hurt about?”
“Maybe because money, girls, and parties don’t make a person happy. I see how miserable you are in your eyes.”
I grimaced and whisper-hissed, “You don’t know shit about me, Shay.”
“Then how am I able to get under your skin so easily? If that wasn’t true, if you weren’t sad, why would my saying that bother you so much?”
“You don’t,” I calmly replied.
She was pushing me, making me uncomfortable with the fact that she did seem able to see the parts of me no one else could. Anger was building in my chest, and I needed to defuse it before it became too big.
“Maybe it’s best if we shut up for the rest of the time,” I told her.
“For the second time in my life, I agree with you.”
Shay sat down on the floor of the closet, and I did the same, leaning back against some coats that were hanging. How did seven minutes feel like seventy? Was time moving at all? This was hell.
Then came the silence. The silence that brought out heavy thoughts. Shay could read my mind somehow, and so, when the silence became too much, I cleared my throat and tried to make small talk in hopes of shutting my own brain up. “A chicken and Satan walk into a closet—stop me if you’ve heard this one.”
She laughed a little.
It was quiet and low, and dammit, I’d never heard Shay laugh at anything I’d ever said before, so that was new. What was also new was the small part of me that enjoyed hearing her sound.
“Landon?” she whispered.
Wow! What an emotional rollercoaster!
This installment is great. Great character and storyline building. I dare anyone who reads this book not to absolutely fall in love with Landon and Shay.
And isn’t that the point of the whole story? Landon and Shay are sworn enemies. I don’t even think they know or realize how it all began, but everyone knows that the two do not get along. Their nicknames for each other say it all – Chicken and Satan.
Caught making a bet with the boys, the two enter an agreement to get the other to fall in love with them. Who ever falls first loses.
Brittainy’s true talent shines within this story. She is great at the meat of her characters. They are multi-dimensional and not flat. They have depth. Both Shay and Landon are more than meets the eye and the reader is gradually shown this through her prose and throughout the story.
Not a traditional cliffhanger, book two will be much anticipated if for nothing else than to be able to reconnect with these characters and to see where the storyline leads them.
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