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Chapter 2


After school, I followed Harper back to her place as I parked in my normal spot along the curb.

“Do you want to swim before dinner?” Harper asked as she unlocked the front door.

It was a surprisingly hot day for Portland today and I could use a cool down after another run-in with Asher. He’d be home later and God only knew what he’d do to piss me off again. A cool down was just what I needed.

“Yes, definitely.”

We went up to Harper’s room and changed into our bikinis. I basically had my own dresser of clothes here and she had a dresser at my place too. We were inseparable and always together, so it only made sense that we had our own spot for clothes at each other’s houses.

The house was still quiet when we left her room and headed for the pool outback. I was glad that Asher wasn’t home yet and prayed like hell that he wouldn’t show up until later. I seriously didn’t want to have another run-in with him so soon after the first one.

Harper threw on some upbeat music and then we jumped in. The cool water felt amazing against my skin as I floated on my back and waded in the pool.

Then I heard laughter coming from inside the house as my eyes whipped open. My gaze turned toward the direction of the sound, and that’s when I saw Asher and his buddies walk in. They didn’t seem to notice us out in the pool and I silently begged for him to keep walking. Don’t come out here. Please.

Asher looked through the patio doors and saw us in the pool as a wicked grin spread across his face. I did not like that look one bit. He was up to something. I could feel it.

He walked in our direction and I panicked.

No, no, no! Why can’t he just leave us be?

“Hey, girls,” Jake rasped as he looked down at us. He was one of Asher’s best friends and not bad looking himself. Then he looked at me. “Hey, Layla.”

Why did I cringe when he said my name that way? Jake was hot and most girls would kill to be with him, so why didn’t I?

“Go away! We’re having girl time,” Harper whined as she tried to splash them away.

Asher snorted and shook his head. “You two are always having girl time. You know this is my pool too, right?”

No. He was not going to join us! I will get out if he does.

Asher kicked off his shoes and pulled his shirt over his head, and I gawked like an idiot. He was so gloriously sexy and I couldn’t stop staring. His muscles rippled in the sunlight and a perfect V stretched into his jeans before it disappeared. My mouth watered at the thought of what was in those jeans of his. His dirty blond hair was a mess on top of his head, but oh what I wouldn’t give to run my hands through it. I was completely mesmerized by the sight of him. Nobody should be allowed to be that attractive. Nobody.

Why does the guy I hate so much have to be this hot? Why does the guy I hate so much fill my dreams at night? And, why does the guy I hate have to be my best friend’s brother?

He kicked off his jeans and ran toward the pool as he jumped in and made a huge splash. I wiped away the pool water and saw Jake and their other buddy, Tate, jump in as well.

“Well, there’s my cue…” I pouted as I swam toward the edge of the pool.

I jumped when I felt someone’s arms wrap around my waist and hold me tightly against their chest. I looked over and saw Asher holding me, and for a split second, I was excited. He was holding onto me and it felt amazing. His arm felt so good around me as I felt a sizzle run up my spine. But then I remembered that I hated him.

I smacked his arm. “Let go of me, Asher!”

“Asher! Don’t be a dick,” Harper scolded.

Her assistance was adverted when Tate swam toward her. He began to playfully splash water at her and I knew I was doomed. Harper had a huge crush on Tate and had for years. Anytime Tate showered her with any kind of attention, I became nonexistent.

“Asher, please!” I stopped squirming when I knew I was losing the battle.

He lowered his face into my neck and whispered, “I can’t wait to hear you beg my name when I’m doing something else to you.”

Holy shit. Did he just say what I think he just said? I felt goosebumps cascade across my skin and straight down between my legs. This was not how my body should be reacting to him. I wanted him to touch me elsewhere to make this ache disappear, and somehow I let a moan escape my lips. I quickly slapped my hand over my mouth and cringed when his arms tightened.

Then he released me as I swam away, but I turned back to look at him and gulped. He looked at me with surprise and I cursed. I had worked so hard to make him think I couldn’t stand him and then I let out a moan?! What the hell is wrong with me?!

Jake swam over toward me and wrapped his arms around me next.

“Jake! No!” I cried as I latched onto his arms. I couldn’t help but look over at Asher and noticed the scowl on his face. What the hell was that? Jealous? Anger?

“Hey, relax,” Jake rasped as he lowered his face to my neck and bit me. I squirmed but he held me tight before he sucked on my neck next. His free hand slid over my body beneath the water and I held my breath in fear.

“Jake, let me go,” I hissed. I tried to get away again as I twisted and bucked in his arms. “Get off!”

“That’s what I’m trying to do,” he laughed as his arm tightened around me. I could feel his half erection on my backside and I froze.

There was zero desire that ran through my body. Jake was always doing shit like this to me. Always. It was as if he felt like he could do whatever he wanted to me and get away with it.

“Jake,” Asher warned as his eyes turned dark and menacing, “let her go.”

“What?!” Jake protested as he bit my neck again and tried to grab my breast.

I cried out and dug my nails into his arm. I felt totally violated and right there in front of him.

“I said let her go!” Asher barked as he swam toward us. Jake immediately released me, but not before his arm got stuck in my bikini top and tore it.

It fell down and my breasts were fully exposed. I screamed and held my hands over them as I slowly made my way toward the edge of the pool once more.

“Jeez, dude! You said you didn’t want her!” Jake protested as I cringed again.

I knew they had this thing with girls, but I tried not to believe it. They could mess around with any of them, just so long as one of them wasn’t already interested in her. They took turns with their girls and it was disgusting.

“You okay?” Asher’s voice was low as his eyes traveled down to my chest when I adjusted myself.

My bikini top was ruined and I was just manhandled by Jake. No, I wasn’t okay. I ignored his question and held my top so that it covered my nips as I climbed out of the pool. But there was something different in Asher’s eyes that made me confused. He had never looked at me like that before.

Harper and Tate were still flirting up a storm and she didn’t even seem to notice the commotion between me and the boys. I rolled my eyes and ignored all of them as I stormed inside and straight up to Harper’s bedroom.

I tossed my ruined top in the small garbage can next to her bed and slid my bottoms down.

“Are you okay?”

I screamed at the sound of Asher’s voice as I tried to cover my naked body.

“Do you mind?!” I was literally completely naked and he just stood there like it was no big deal.

“Not at all.” He grinned.

“Ugh! You are such a pig! Why do girls throw themselves at you?” I grabbed the blanket at the end of Harper’s bed and wrapped it around myself.

He shrugged. “Must be my rugged good looks.”

I rolled my eyes. “Oh, don’t flatter yourself, Asher. Now can you please get out?”

He didn’t say a word as he stared at me. Then his eyes wandered over my body and my cheeks blushed.

“Oh, not in this lifetime, buddy!” I walked toward him and shoved at his chest.

But he grabbed my hands and smirked down at me. “Relax, Stanford. You’re not my type. I was just checking to see if you’re okay.”

Ouch. Not his type? I hated him even more now; despised him. So, why did it feel like he sucker punched me in the gut with that comment? I didn’t care, did I?

He released my hands and left Harper’s bedroom without another word. I stood there completely out of breath with a heavy feeling in my chest as my ego just took a major hit. I never pegged myself to be this super hot chick, but I wasn’t that bad looking either. My naturally light blonde hair from my mother and my bright blue eyes from my dad always seemed to give me compliments. Yet, I wasn’t Asher’s type? Thank God for the rule because I wasn’t even going to attempt to pursue him anyway. Jerk.

We finally sat down for dinner with the Creeds and I couldn’t stop thinking about Asher’s words from earlier. I hated that they stuck with me, but they actually did hurt me.

“How was school today, guys?” Harper’s mom asked as she passed the rolls to her husband. They were like a second family to me and I wouldn’t change this for the world. They looked out for me whenever my parents were out of town, which meant I was here all the time.

I shrugged and noticed that Asher shrugged too, but it was Harper who replied, “It was just another day, Mom. Nothing exciting.”

Small talk continued throughout the meal and I kept finding myself looking over at Asher across the table. He was minding his own business, but I couldn’t stop thinking about how he had seen me naked earlier. I would never be able to look at him the same way ever again. It didn’t seem to be phasing him one bit. Why would it, though? Asher was a man-whore. He was probably used to seeing a naked chick on a daily basis, so why would my body be any different? Why did it matter anyway? I groaned and pulled my gaze from his.

Once dinner was done, all three of us cleared the table while their parents went into the living room to watch TV. Harper’s phone rang and she left me stranded with her brother without a single word.

Neither of us said a word to each other until we were in the kitchen. We were completely alone when Asher finally turned to me and grinned.

“Like what you saw at the table, Stanford?”

A blush crept into my cheeks as I turned my gaze away from him. “What are you talking about?” I played coy.

He stepped dangerously close to me. “I saw you staring at me. You can’t deny it.”

I laughed nervously and tucked a loose strand of hair behind my ear. Butterflies filled my stomach as goosebumps ran up my arms. I couldn’t stop the excited emotions that ran through me.

“I definitely liked what I saw earlier.” He rasped as his breath swept over my bare skin. I shivered at the sensation and closed my eyes.

This was my best friend’s brother! I can’t feel this way! There was one rule!

“A-Asher,” I stuttered as I stepped away from him, “don’t you have someplace to be right now?”

He grinned as he stepped right back up to me. “Yeah, between your legs.”

An instant ache throbbed between my legs before I reacted without thinking. I turned and slapped him across the face. He froze as he stared down at me. Shit. By the sheer annoyed look on his face, I knew I shouldn’t have done that.

Instead of what I expected him to do, he grinned again and shook his head. “Maybe we’re not there yet.” He reached up and ran his thumb across my bottom lip before he slid his fingers down my throat and across my collarbone. Then he completely stepped away and left the kitchen altogether.

I was a sweaty, hot, horny mess and he was the one who did this to me. The one guy I couldn’t ever have. Damn you, Asher! Damn you, rule! Damn you, hormones!

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