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Authors: Emma Hart

The Love Game (7 page)

BOOK: The Love Game
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“A chance? At what?”

“A chance to be more than your friend.”

Her eyes flick across my face, checking my sincerity. Luckily I'm good at holding a mask in place.

“And?” she asks.

“And what?”

“And what if you mess up? What then?” Maddie looks down.

“Then I give you full permission to set Kay on my ass,” I say quietly, tilting her face up. “I promise. I'm not perfect, Maddie, I'm nothing like perfect, and I'm the first to admit it. But, if you'll let me, I'll try and be perfect for you. So you can have that closeness you want.”

I'm a prick.

“Fine,” she says after a moment. “One chance, Braden. That's all.”

I smile slowly at her and rest my forehead against hers. My breath fans across her mouth, and she closes her eyes. Kiss her, and I've sealed the deal.

I lower my lips to hers, and my fucking phone rings. I sigh and step away from her, putting it to my ear.

“What?” I snap.

“Oho, did I interrupt something?” Ryan snickers.

“You have the worst timing ever.” I glance at Maddie, and she blushes a little, looking away.

“Do I now?”

“Yep. What do you want, asshole?”

“Are you coming back here? Lila wants to know how your date went. She's having fuckin' kittens here, man.”

I cover the bottom of my phone with my hand and look at Maddie. “Wanna head back to the house? The girls are there already.”

“Sure.” She smiles up at me.

“We're on our way,” I say into the phone. “See you in a few.” I hang up and shove it back into my pocket. “Asshole.”

Maddie chews the inside of her lip to control her laughter.

“Hey.” I nudge her and take her hand in mine again. “Don't laugh.”

“Sorry.” Her eyes glimmer with amusement.

“No you're not.”

“You're right. I'm not.” She shrugs and grins, tugging me along. “Come on. I bet Kay already has my shots lined up, and she'll drink them if I don't!”

I look upwards and shake my head, following her back to my car.

I have a girlfriend. A fake girlfriend, but still a girlfriend.

Who the fuck would have thought?

 

Chapter Eleven - Maddie

 

We enter the house, and music pounds against us. Braden reaches for my hand, linking his fingers through mine. I let him, squeezing his hand lightly, and he pulls me through the packed house. We surface in the kitchen where Kay, Megan, and Lila are sitting by the bar.

“I'm gonna go find Ryan.” He leans down and whispers in my ear. “Wait for me by the bar?”

I nod and step forward, releasing his hand. I smile at him over my shoulder, and he winks. Jesus. It's been twenty minutes and already, I'm tired of pretending I give a shit about any of it. Although, I am questioning why I opened up to him earlier. Maybe it's because I don't care and I know it's vital to him falling for me. Pity, right? Poor little Maddie. I scoff at myself.

Megan slides her arm through mine the second I reach her. “Well?”

“Game on,” I whisper, smirking at Lila and Kay.

“Whooooooop!” Kay yells and waves to Kyle. “Eight shots, two each, one two bam!”

“You got it!” Kyle winks at me. I smile politely at him. As far as the University of California, Berkeley is concerned, I'm in a relationship with Braden Carter. Not that Kyle will understand that.

“Good night?” he asks as he slides the glasses to us.

“I'd say it was,” Lila giggles, holding up a shot. We all grab a glass and throw it back, followed by the second one.

“And why's that?” He leans forward, moving his face towards mine.

“Because she has a boyfriend.” Megan smirks and turns.

“You're kidding,” Kyle deadpans.

“Um, or not.” I shrug a shoulder.

“You're with Braden?”

“She is,” Braden says, coming up behind me. “Problem, Kyle?”

Kyle looks up, and rage is written all over his face. “Yeah, actually. Yeah, there is.”

“Then please, share why you're so much better than I am.”

Kyle glances at me, and I step to the side.

“Animals,” I mutter. Lila nods her agreement.

“No, Maddie.” Braden looks at me. “I wanna know what he thinks
he
can give you that
I
can't.”

“Bray
...” Megan warns.

“What I can give her that you can't? Maybe a secure relationship full of trust, where she won't be worried if you're gonna run off and fuck one of your whores.” Kyle looks at him in disgust. “And the rest. There just isn't enough time in a day to describe how much of a prick you are to girls.”

“Hey!” Megan protests, slapping her hands on the counter. “Out of order, Kyle.”

“He asked.”

“Yeah, and now
I'm
telling you that's enough!”

“No, Meggy, let him carry on.” Braden's face is like stone.

“Aren't you gonna step in?” Kay whispers.

“What's the point?” I shrug. “They'll still have this pissing contest. Besides, it'll get what we want.”

“What's that?”

“Attention on our relationship.”

She slaps my shoulder. “Smart girl.”

“Braden, we all know you're not gonna hang around for her. You just wanna fuck her and move on. You aren't worth shit on someone's shoe. Why not let her have someone who'll treat her right and not like one of your sluts?” Kyle says loudly.

Braden launches himself over the bar, kicking a bottle of vodka over and sending it smashing to the ground. He grabs Kyle's shirt and pins him to the wall.

“You wanna fuckin' repeat that, Kyle?” Braden hisses through clenched teeth.

“Oh, sake.” Megan sighs, shaking her head.

“I would, but I think you heard me the first time,” Kyle replies. “Besides, not exactly showing your girl how much of a decent boyfriend you are, are you?”

“Yeah, Kyle, that's right.
My
girl. Maddie is
mine
, and don't you forget that.” Braden lets him go and glares at him. “Try anything with her and a bottle won't be the only thing getting fuckin' broken.”

“Okay.” Ryan slips in. “Shows over, boys. Kiss and make up or get the fuck away from each other.”

“Oh, better late than never,” Lila mutters. “He'd be late to his own damn funeral.”

I snort and cover my mouth with my hand. Not the time. I drop it and look back towards Braden.

Megan says something to him, and he turns to look at me, a hint of regret in his blue eyes. I hold my stance, keeping his eye contact. Megan says something else, and he nods, moving forward. He takes my hand silently and leads me from the room.

“Party on, guys. Nothing to see!” Ryan yells as we head upstairs.

Braden leads me up two flights of stairs and unlocks a door. His room.

It's spotless. For some reason, I'm surprised, and I glance at him quickly. The dark covers on the bed stand out against the standard white walls, and a desk piled up with books sits in the corner. The only way you can tell it's a teenage boys room is by the large screen TV attached to the wall above an Xbox. Naturally.

“Maddie?” He shuts the door and raises a hand to my face. “I'm sorry, Angel. I didn't mean for that to happen.”

“You seem to do a lot of things you don't mean, Braden,” I reply.

“I know. Always around you.” He smiles wryly. I shrug one shoulder. “I don't want you to think any differently of me because of that.”

Play the game, Maddie.

“Because of what?”

He quirks a brow and smiles. “The fact I nearly punched him in the face.”

“Why would I think any differently? Isn't that what you're supposed to do?” My eyes flicker to our clasped hands and back up to him.

“I think so.”

I laugh. “Wow, you really don't date.”

“Didn't, I didn't. I don't know if you noticed, but half the people downstairs just saw me go all protective over you.”

“Ah, yes. The caveman performance. Me, Braden. Maddie, mine. That?”

He chuckles. “Yes, that.”

“Well I doubt anyone's gonna try and take me now,” I say. “I think it's kinda obvious who thinks I belong to them.”

“Who thinks?” He steps closer.

“Yes, thinks.” I narrow my eyes slowly. “I don't belong to anyone but myself. My body and my life are mine to control, and being someone's girlfriend isn't gonna change that.”

“Usually, at this point, I'd admit how turned on I am but I think I'll just go for this: Maddie, you're mine. Like it or not, you are.” He cups my cheek.

“Your girlfriend. That's it. I still don't belong to you.”

“Why are you turning this into an argument?” he growls.

“I'm not!” I protest. “I just don't do that caveman thing, okay?”

“You are!”

“Now who's arguing?”

“Maddie.”

“Braden.”

“Do you ever shut up?”

“No. I don't.”

“Fantastic. I had to pick the girl who always talks.”

“Then I'll go and talk to someone who'll listen that isn't stuck in the Stone Ages!” I snatch my hand from his and spin towards the door.

“No you won't!” He growls again and pins me to the door.

“Stopping me already?” He's infuriating. Why am I doing this stupid challenge again?

“No, I'm just wondering if you're better at kissing than you are at talking.” His eyes fix on my lips, and my tongue flicks out, wetting them.

“Maybe I am, but if
you
keep talking you'll never find out, will you?”

He drops his head and softly presses his lips against mine. One of his hands slide around my waist, pulling me against him, and the other slides through my hair. I gasp as he gently sucks my bottom lip, and he takes his chance, slipping his tongue into my mouth. My hands grip his arms, slide across his shoulders, and link behind his neck.

He's soft yet probing as he kisses me, and I can't help the sprint my heart has entered. I simultaneously hate him and want him, and those feelings collide inside me, mixing into something indiscernible.

Heat spreads through my body, and Braden pulls me even closer to him. I'm flush against him, feeling every curve and definition of muscle on his torso. I unlink my hands and slip them upwards into his hair, wrapping my fingers around it.

“Maddie,” he whispers against my mouth, pulling back slightly. “We have to stop, or I won't be able to.”

Stop? Stop what? The kissing? Oh. Really?

“Okay,” I reply.

“Angel, it's only because I know you're not like most girls. We'll go further when you're ready, okay?”

I nod, and he kisses me again, a lingering touch on my swollen lips.

He slides his hand down so they're both on my back and dips his head into my neck. He buries his face in my hair, and I turn my head into him, letting him hold me.

In this second, I'm not thinking about the challenge. I'm not thinking about Brooklyn, or why I hate Braden. All I'm thinking is that kiss was the best damn kiss I've ever had.

And that could be a problem.

 

Chapter Twelve - Braden

 

I wake up and shake my head at myself. Yesterday runs through my mind on fast-forward, and I remember – I have a girlfriend. Fuck. That's weird.

And then there was Kyle. The guy has a real stick up his ass about me being with Maddie – and not that I blame him, if I was him, I probably would too. I know what half the people at the party last night were thinking. They were wondering why Maddie is so different from the others and what's so special about her. The girls were cursing her for taking what they wanted, and the guys were slinking back into their dark corners, their chances at seducing her shot to hell.

Well, fuck them all.

“Well?” Ryan opens my door.

“Don't bother knocking,” I say sarcastically, putting my phone down. “I love it when assholes barge in on me.”

“Uh, yeah.” He raises an eyebrow and shuts the door, sitting on my desk chair. “What was that shit about?”

“I was about to kiss her. Seal the deal on this challenge then you fuckin' called me.”

“Shit, man. Sorry. If I'd have known-”

“You'd be damn psychic.” I laugh and sit up in bed. “Doesn't matter.”

“You sealed it then?”

“Last night after my caveman performance.”

“Caveman performance?” He snickers.

“Her words, man, her words.” I smirk and grab my phone, waving it in his direction. “Do you mind? I have to text my girlfriend.”

Ryan lets out a loud laugh and slaps his leg. “Fuck me, that's a good one. Did you just say girlfriend?”

“You deaf? Course I did.”

BOOK: The Love Game
12.1Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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