Home > The Risk (Briar U #2)(11)

The Risk (Briar U #2)(11)
Author: Elle Kennedy

She laughs, easily sliding off his lap.

Coby shoots to his feet, too. “We should go dancing tonight,” he says eagerly.

I sigh. “Weak bastard.”

With a sigh of her own, Brenna gently touches my teammate’s arm. “Sorry, babes, but Connelly was right. I was playing you.”

He gawks at her. “For real?”

“For real. I was manipulating you, and I apologize for that. You were an unwitting pawn in this little chess game between me and your captain.”

Coby looks so disappointed I have to choke down laughter. I don’t feel sorry for him, though. I did warn him.

Brenna turns to me. “See how easy that was?” She shakes her head irritably. “The only reason I’m not crying over this McCarthy thing is because it was a temporary arrangement. But let this serve as a warning to you, Connelly. Stay out of my life. My love life, my sex life, my life in general. You have no right to force someone to break up with me. That’s just childish.”

“And what you did right now wasn’t childish?” I challenge.

“Oh, it was. I don’t deny that. I absolutely stooped to your level, because I was trying to prove a point. If you mess with my life, I’ll mess with yours. Keep accusing me of distracting your guys, and guess what, I’ll start doing it. And based on what I just saw, it won’t be difficult at all.” She pats Coby on the shoulder. “Again, I’m truly sorry for involving you. For what it’s worth, I think you’re wicked hot, and I have this friend—Audrey—who I kind of want to set you up with. You’re exactly her type.”

Coby’s expression brightens. “Really?”

Brenna holds up her phone. “Smile. I’ll text her a pic of you and see if she’s interested.”

I watch in total disbelief as Coby actually stands there and poses for a picture. He flexes his biceps, for fuck’s sake. And then, to add insult to injury, he says, “Thanks.”

The idiot is thanking her. Christ. My teammates are unbelievable.

Brenna slides her phone into her purse and seeks out my gaze. “Enjoy the rest of your night, Jakey.” She gives me a wink. “And don’t forget… If you mess with me, I mess right back.”



I find myself in the kitchen at three in the morning chugging a glass of water at the sink. I’m not sure what woke me up. Maybe the thunder? It started pouring when Brooks and I got home from the bar and hasn’t stopped since. Not even a lull.

Or maybe it’s guilt that jolted me out of my slumber. I’d never admit it to Brenna, but…I do feel bad about sticking my nose in her business. When she’d confessed to liking McCarthy earlier, I can’t deny I felt like a total jerk.

“Oh!” a female voice squeaks. “I didn’t realize anyone else was up.”

I lift my head in time to see a shapely figure skid to a stop about six feet away. Either the shadows are playing tricks on me, or she’s wearing nothing but a thong. She takes a few steps forward, a curtain of blonde hair swinging behind her. The kitchen light flicks on, and yup, she sure is topless. Her tits are on full display for me.

“I’m sorry,” she says. “I thought I’d be alone in here.”

Yet for all her protests, she doesn’t make an effort to cover up.

And since I’m a man, I can’t help but stare at her chest. She’s got nice boobs. They’re on the small side, but cute and perky, with pale-pink nipples that are currently puckered from being exposed to the air.

But the coy twinkle in her eyes puts me off. Although I hadn’t heard anyone come in, I assume Brooks invited her over. And since she’s practically naked, I assume she and Brooks aren’t exactly pulling an all-night study sesh in his bedroom. Which means she definitely shouldn’t be looking at me like that.

“You’re crashing with Brooks tonight?” I ask as I rinse out my glass.


I wrinkle my forehead. “When’d you get here?”

“Around midnight. And before you say it, yes, it was a booty call.”

I resist the urge to shake my head. Brooks Weston is something else. Making out with one chick all night, and then booty-calling another.

“Do you mind getting me a glass? I don’t know where anything is.” She licks her lips. “I’m thirsty.”

She’s thirsty, all right.

I open the cupboard, grab a drinking glass, and hold it out. Her fingertips brush my knuckles suggestively as she accepts it. “Thank you.”

“No prob.” I withdraw my hand. “You look cold,” I say with a pointed glance to her nipples.

“Actually, I’m feeling really hot right now.” She giggles. “And you’re looking it.”

“Looking what?”


I try not to raise my eyebrows. This chick is bold. Too bold, considering whom she came to see tonight. “Weren’t you just with my roommate?” I nod toward the corridor.

“Yeah? So?”

“So you probably shouldn’t be telling some other guy he’s hot.”

“Brooks already knows what I think about you.”

“Does he.” An itchy feeling crawls up my spine. I don’t like the idea of people discussing me. And I seriously hope I’m not part of whatever kinky games the two of them play behind closed doors.

She pours herself a glass of water from the filtered dispenser in the fridge. Then she stands there and drinks, topless, no care in the world. She’s got a gorgeous body, but something about her rubs me the wrong way. It’s not the brazen attitude. I like outspoken girls. Girls who bust my balls. Like Brenna Jensen—she’s the very definition of bold, and she doesn’t make me want to sprint out of the room.

This girl, on the other hand…

“What’s your name?” I ask warily. I don’t know where the distrust in my gut is coming from, but her presence is unnerving me.

“Kayla.” She takes another long sip, propping one hip against the granite counter. She’s completely unfazed by the fact that she’s wearing teeny panties and nothing else. “We met before,” she tells me.

“Did we?”

Visible displeasure darkens her eyes. Yeah, I don’t imagine this is a girl who likes being forgotten. But I genuinely have no recollection of meeting her, ever.

“Yes. At Nash Maynard’s party?”

“You go to Harvard?”

“No. We talked about that at the party, remember?” she says tightly. “I’m at Boston University?”

I draw a blank. There’s a black hole in my memory where this alleged interaction is supposed to be.

“Babe,” a sleepy voice drifts from the hallway. “Come back to bed. I’m horny.”

I give her a dry smile. “You’re being summoned.”

She grins back. “Your roomie’s insatiable.”

“I wouldn’t know,” I say with a shrug.

“No?” She finishes her water and places the glass in the sink. Curiosity gleams in her expression as she studies my face. “You and Brooks have never…?” She lets the question hang.

“Nah. I don’t swing that way.”

She tilts her head thoughtfully. “What if there’s a girl in the middle to act as a buffer?”

Annnd we’re done here. It’s too late and I’m too tired to be discussing threesomes with a strange girl in my kitchen. “I don’t do that either,” I mutter on my way past her.

“Pity,” she tells my retreating back.

I don’t turn around. “Good night, Kayla.”

“Good night, Jake.” A teasing lilt.

Jeez. So many invitations in one measly encounter. She would’ve let me bang her on the counter if I’d made a move. If I were into threesomes, she’d have me and Brooks banging her together.

But neither notion appeals to me.

I go back to bed and make sure to lock my door, just in case.

Early the next morning, I make the trek to see my folks. This requires a quick ride on the Red Line, followed by a not-so-quick one on the Newburyport/Rockport line, which takes me all the way to Gloucester. It’d be faster to borrow Weston’s car and drive up the coast, but I don’t mind taking the train. It’s cheaper than gassing up the Mercedes, and it provides me with quiet time to reflect and mentally prepare for today’s game.

Our entire season rides on this game.

If we lose…

You won’t lose.

I heed the self-assured voice in my head, tapping into the confidence I’ve been cultivating since I was a kid playing Pee Wee hockey. There’s no denying I was talented from an early age. But talent and potential mean nothing without discipline and failure. You need to fail in order for the win to mean something. I’ve lost games before, games that counted for rankings, trophies. Losing is not supposed to crush your confidence. It’s meant to build it.

But we won’t lose today. We’re the best team in our conference, maybe even the best in the entire country.

The train rolls into the station around nine o’clock, and since it’s actually not raining this morning I decide to walk home instead of Uber’ing it. I breathe in the crisp spring air, inhaling the familiar scent of salt and fish and seaweed. Gloucester is a fishing town, the country’s oldest seaport, which means you can’t walk five steps without seeing a lighthouse, a boat, or something nautical. I pass three consecutive houses with decorative anchors hanging over the front doors.

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