Razor:A Bad Boy Stepbrother Romance(9)

By: Lauren Landish


25 seconds…

My lungs felt like they were on fire! My calves and thighs were burning, and my sides were cramped so hard even a Midol wouldn’t fix it.

35 seconds…

Victory was in sight. I could see the pond and the large tree that towered over it. Just a few seconds longer and it would be . . .

I was nearly bowled over by a gust of wind as a blurry form whisked past me.

“I win!” Mason announced triumphantly, coming to a stop at the tree and turning about to face me, his powerful chest heaving.

Damn it!

I skidded to a halt and bent over, clutching at my sides and gasping for air.

“Damn, you’re a slowpoke. You cheated and you still lost,” Mason laughed.

I had no energy to give a response. Asshole.

“Need some help back to the house?

I slapped his hand away. “I don’t need your help!” I rasped.

My pride was wounded. I’d put everything I had into beating the cocky asshole, though I knew it futile from the beginning.

“You don’t have to be such a spoilsport,” Mason said. “I would’ve let you win if would’ve known you’d get so bent out of shape about it.”

Bullshit.

I straightened, my sides aching, but determined to put up a strong front. “See you at the house,” I declared, failing to keep the bitterness out of my voice.

Hands on my sides, I started walking back home. I’d be lucky to make it a few steps before collapsing.

“Wait,” Mason commanded. “I’m coming.”

Before I could respond, he scaled the large tree that overlooked the pound. Balancing himself, he walked out on the tree’s thick limb that stretched out over the middle of the pond.

He made it look so easy.

Mason crossed his muscular arms and looked down at me. Show off. “All you have to do is climb the tree and reach me and I’m all yours.”

“You must be out of your mind.” I hissed. “I’m not doing that.”

“Why not? It will be like old times. Don’t you remember when we were used to hang out in this tree all the time?”

“Yeah that was when I was too stupid to know that you were nothing but trouble.”

“Aw c’mon, you know you love me.”

I don’t know why Mason’s challenge was so damn tempting. After just losing so badly to him, I should have been returning home to lick my wounds.

But climbing the tree, something I’d done many times before, seemed easy compared to trying to beat him in a race.

“Just reach me and you win.”

Ugh. I hated giving into his little games.

“Alright,” I said. By now, I’d nearly recovered from my sprint and only my right side had a dull ache. “I’m coming up, but no funny business,” I warned.

“Of course.”

I should’ve known better.

I walked over to the tree and grabbed on to the bark. Suddenly, I was filled with nostalgic excitement from a time when everything in my life was more carefree.

I carefully began scaling the tree, and I eventually made it to the large branch with little issue.

Mason grinned at me as I slowly stood up and balanced myself on the limb.

“I must say, Carly, I didn’t think you had it in you.”

“Shut up,” I growled, carefully eyeing my footing. The limb was thick enough to walk on, but I had to be cautious.

Mason chuckled. “You really thought you were going to win that race, didn’t you?”

“Shut up!” I inched closer to him, thrusting my hands out to each side like I was an airplane to maintain my balance.

“Wanna know something? I even waited to forty seconds because I knew thirty wasn’t enough.”

Only a few more feet and I’d wipe that smirk off of his face.

“What? No comeback? You can’t walk and chew bubble gum at the same time?”

One more step. “You know what Mason?”

He grinned at me goofily, seemingly unaware of my treachery. “What?”

This would be oh so satisfying. “Maybe you should go for a little swim—”

I reached forward to shove him, but I clumsily slipped and lost my footing on the bark.

The world spun around me as a shocked scream tore from my throat and I plunged into the pond’s icy depths.

Cold, muddy darkness.

I couldn’t see anything and panic gripped me as I tried to blindly paddle myself to the surface.

Why wasn’t I surfacing? The pond wasn’t that deep. I started to panic when strong arms suddenly wrapped around me and began pulling me up.

“You little fool!” Mason gasped as we broke the surface. His hair was matted down to his forehead and an angry scowl plastered his face. “Why would you do something like that?”

Was he kidding? If I weren’t already gasping for air, I’d slap him.

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