The Bad Boy Bargain(10)

By: Kendra C. Highley


The hour passed before she came to an answer, and she hurried to pack up her gear and pull shorts over her leotard as the noon tap class started to filter into the studio. Whatever she was going to do, it had to be big.

By the time she made it home, took a smoothie from Mom’s outstretched hand, and went upstairs to shower, six Snapchat notifications, all from different people, had popped up on her phone:

A sad-faced Skye: I’m so sorry about last night. I should’ve warned you. I feel awful.

An angry Piper: I’m at the mall and there’s some asinine shit coming out of Cameron’s mouth right now. Should I punch him?

A gossipy Fiona: Is it true that Cameron dumped you?

A sneering Mitchell: You as cold as Cam says?

A dumbfounded Katrina: Holly is telling everyone at the mall that she stole Cam from you because you don’t put out. Want me to dump a Slurpee in her hair?

A smirking Jackson: My car overheated. I heard you could cool it down for me. How about it, ice queen?

Tears of rage filled Faith’s eyes, especially when a new Snapchat chimed: Cameron, sending her a picture of Holly sitting in his lap at the party last night. The message read: Trading up.

She squeezed her phone in her hand. What was she going to do? She had half a mind to tell Kat to pour that Slurpee down Holly’s shirt and Piper to punch Cam in the throat. But that wouldn’t solve anything. Not at all.

No, she needed something bigger. Faith wandered to her window to stare outside and organize her thoughts. Except when she caught sight of the ripped, shirtless guy in her backyard, she forgot what she’d been thinking about.

“Who’s that?” she whispered, touching the glass.

His back and shoulders flexed under tanned skin. A black tattoo—was it a bird?—was on one of his shoulder blades. There was a bruise on his side, too, but she couldn’t make herself wonder about it. The guy’s dark hair was in his face as he tugged hard at a holly bush, yanking it from the ground.

Look at those arms. Faith stared, her mouth open. Who was he?

The holly bush gave way and he tipped back, dirt flying. Faint laughter drifted up through her window as he climbed to his feet with his prize, and she caught a look at his face.

She gasped. Holy crap, that was Kyle Sawyer. The stories she’d heard about him were numerous, and if a quarter were true, he was not the kind of guy she’d want to talk to. He shoplifted, vandalized buildings, drank, hung out with college students—girls. College girls. And rumor had it he ran illegal street races with his Charger.

So why did he look like he was having a blast ransacking her backyard? He had an awfully nice smile for such a bad boy.

A thought exploded in her brain—wait a minute…bad boy. Kyle was the one guy at Suttonville High who’d seen enough action to have his own lore. His exploits were darker than sin, and being with him was an instant reputation-killer for any girl at Suttonville.

This was it. Kyle would be her revenge.





Chapter Seven


Kyle

That holly tree hadn’t wanted to leave the ground, but he conquered it. Sure, it had gone down fighting, scratching his arm with one of its barbed leaves, and he still won. Grinning at the mess—his chest was speckled with dirt, and he probably had some in his hair, too—he broke down the branches and tossed it into his mulch pile.

He wiped a hand across his forehead and went to gulp down water from the thermos he brought from home. It was after noon from the position of the sun, and his stomach growled. He needed to clean up a little and go grab some lunch. He’d made a good start, though.

The back door banged shut and he turned, expecting Mrs. Gladwell to be checking on his progress. Instead, a tall, slender girl with huge brown eyes and brown hair up in a bun walked his way.

No, she didn’t walk. She glided. A dancer—her movements would’ve told him that, even if she hadn’t been wearing a black leotard with shorts pulled over it. And she was headed straight for him. Hurriedly, he brushed the dirt off his chest. It smeared with his sweat, leaving streaks of mud across his pecs. Great. Just awesome. Now he couldn’t even put on his shirt to cover it up without using a hose.

“You’re Kyle Sawyer,” she said, no trace of doubt in her voice.

Based on her wary expression, his reputation preceded him. “Yep. And you are?”

“Faith. Faith Gladwell.”

She frowned, but she couldn’t hide the quick glance at his chest. Was it the dirt that had her attention? Or was it him? He bit back a smile. Maybe he didn’t need the shirt after all.

She blushed when she noticed him watching her and pointedly looked around at the holes dotting the ground. “Why are you tearing up my backyard?”

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