Home > Block Shot (Hoops #2)(9)

Block Shot (Hoops #2)(9)
Kennedy Ryan

“Jared,” I giggle and shake my head.

“At least promise I’ll see you tomorrow. We don’t have much time before you leave for New York.”

“Why is that so significant to you?” I ask, frowning even though he can’t see my face. “I mean, I admit that was . . . the sex was amazing, but this is all kind of sudden.”

“Not to me.” He clears his throat and brushes my hair back, cupping the back of my head. “I’ve been wanting this all semester, Ban.”

I snort, unable to keep my earlier disbelief completely at bay.

“You honestly expect me to believe you’ve been dating Cindy all year, who I’m pretty sure is Miss Iowa, and you’ve been secretly longing to be with me?”

“Miss Idaho,” he corrects. “But, yeah, pretty much.”

He runs a hand over my leg and wraps me around him again. Now all I can think of is how thick my thighs are. How my stomach probably feels all soft and squishy under that sheet of muscled abs. Self-consciousness rushes back in, and I shove a little harder, dislodging him enough to slide off the couch.

“Like I said, I need to go.” I feel around on the floor, searching for my sweatshirt. I’m determined to at least put that on before I turn on the lights. The sex was off the charts. Cloaked in darkness, I fooled myself that I was a sensual creature who was Jared’s match. A small voice inside protests it wasn’t the dark that made me feel beautiful. It was Jared.

What does that voice know?

I’ve found my sweatshirt and am about to put it on when the door bangs open and the lights come on.

In my shock, I don’t move for a second, and I’m standing completely naked in front of not only Jared, who has the wide-angle view of my ass from behind, but William Prescott, Benton Carter, and several other guys I don’t know but vaguely recognize from campus. All their eyes crawl over the roll around my middle, the dimples in my thighs, the tiny tufts under my arms because I skip shaves in winter, and the dark triangle of hair I keep neatly trimmed between my legs.

“Oh my God.” I squint against the sudden brightness of light after being in the dark for so long and instinctively fold my arms across my breasts.

“What the hell!” Jared yells from behind me.

His voice galvanizes me, and I grab the panties tangled up with my tennis shoes and fumble to get the sweatshirt on. I can’t find the holes for the arms, though, and it’s turned inside out. I’m turned inside out. My thoughts are so scrambled I can’t even run for cover. My hands are shaking too badly to execute even this basic motor function.

Jared takes the sweatshirt from my trembling fingers and jerks it over my head, pushing my arms through. He turns me so his broad shoulders block out the rest of the room, a brick wall between me and all those greedy, curious eyes. He presses his forehead to mine, his fingers gripping the nape of my neck through layers of hair. I look at him for the first time since he turned off the lights. I’ve never seen this look on his face. Desperate, almost afraid.

“Ban,” he says urgently, still clutching my neck. “You have to let me explain.”

“Explain what?” I ask, confounded by him, by them, by tonight. I’m on another planet, floating because the Law of Gravity doesn’t apply here.

“You actually did it,” Prescott says.

I peer around Jared to meet the mocking malice of William Prescott. Why is he here? How are they here?

“I didn’t think you had the balls, Foster,” he says, running his eyes over my bare legs disparagingly. “Or the stomach for it. But you did it. You’ve earned it. You’re in.”

Jared wheels around, fist raised and lunges for Prescott, but Bent steps between them.

“You don’t want to do that, Foster,” Bent says, his voice pitched low but still reaching my ears. “I know this is fucked-up. I’m only here to keep you both out of jail.”

“You son of a bitch,” Jared growls over Bent’s shoulder, straining against his hold. “I’ll kill you for this.”

“Now, is that any way to speak to your new brother?” Prescott asks, a wide grin spreading over his face. “I told you to fuck the fat girl and you did, so you’re in. I’ll excuse all this drama. I understand you trying to protect her feelings. I wouldn’t have come and made this awkward, but you understand we had to verify you completed the last rite of passage.”

Fuck the fat girl.

Rite of passage.

The words sledgehammer my head, muddling my thoughts. But one thing is clear. Jared’s in? He had to fuck the fat girl, me, to get into the stupid fraternity he’s been chasing all semester? I press one hand to my swimming head and one to my heaving stomach.

“I’m gonna be . . .” I focus on swallowing my nausea and not further humiliating myself.

“You’re gonna be sick?” Prescott asks, his glance falling over the length of my body. “Maybe it was something you ate.”

The cruel barb punctures the balloon of humiliation and shame that has been swelling inside ever since they barged in. And with a pop, my fury explodes.

All the high pressure and hot air whooshes from my mouth in one gush. I’ve had about enough of these animals who think they’re better than I am because they have dicks and I don’t. My mother may not have known what to do with a little girl asking about the Theory of Relativity or been able to teach me Russian, but one thing she did instill in me was her take-no-crap fight, and it claws its way past my embarrassment. My advisor wants killer instinct? Well here the hell you go.

I’m standing in a roomful of frat boys, wearing a sweatshirt that barely clears the tops of my thighs. They might see my panties and my knees are shaking. My palms practically drip sweat. Every doubt and insecurity about my body crowds in on me, but I force those aside. I shove past Jared and my humiliation and fear until I’m standing directly in front of Prescott. He’s several inches taller, and I have to look up at him. I’m at eye level with his huge Adam’s apple that threatens to poke through his skinny neck with one big gulp.

“This is about the internship, right?” I demand, stepping so close I smell his repugnant after shave. “You’re pissed that I beat you out for the Bagley? Well tough luck, you sorry, entitled, Ichabod Crane looking motherfucker. I beat you with something you wouldn’t recognize if it hit you. Hard work. If it wasn’t for your daddy’s generous donations, you wouldn’t even be on this campus.”

I poke his chest, and he stumbles back a step, disconcerted that the wounded animal is fighting back.

“So you told the hottest guy on campus to fuck me for your little fraternity or whatever you boys have created to compensate for the fact that you’ll barely make it in the real world.” I force a laugh that’s the absolute opposite of how my heart is banging and breaking. “That’s your revenge? You repay me in orgasms? Feel free to take your resentment out on me anytime, Prescott.”

I step another inch closer and go up on my toes until we are practically nose to nose, until I can fire-breathe the words over his lips.

“As you know, I’ll be off campus in New York next semester for our department’s most coveted internship, but for the last few days I have left here, stay out of my way,” I grit out, shaking my hair back and widening my eyes for good measure like the crazy Latina shrew he probably stereotyped me as. “Where I’m from, we eat little boys like you for breakfast, and I have no doubt, if pressed, I can kick your narrow ass.”

I curl my lip and glare.

“Despite your daddy’s money, and all your connections and this little post pubescent posse at your back, when it comes down to it, you’re just a pathetic boy with nothing to show for himself.”

I grab my jeans from the pile with my shoes and socks. In complete awkward silence, I pull my jeans on, looking each one of those cowards in the eye while I do it. Even when I have to strain and wiggle to get my jeans over my hips and buttoned. I don’t know how much longer my bravado will hold. It’s straining and about to break. I rush past them all to leave the back room, determined to get out of here before the dam bursts and tears give away just how shattered I am. I’m scooping up my backpack and on my way out the door when a gentle hand stops me. I look over my shoulder, and cannot believe the audacity of Jared Foster.

“Banner, wait.” That desperation brightens his eyes to azure. It looks like desperation. But he’s really good at making things look like what they’re not. He made me think he liked me, that he wanted me. Mama didn’t raise no fool, but tonight that’s exactly what he made me. And over what? A sculpted body, blond hair, and blue eyes. I did it again, fell for a man’s lies and the flattery of his touch. Am I that desperate? That pathetic?

“You better let me go right now,” I snarl, my eyes tracing a jagged line from his grip on my arm to that damn handsome face.

“No, you will listen.” Frustration sketches lines around his mouth and between his brows.

My hand flies up and slams into his cheek. I’ve never slapped anyone before. Despite my hubris with Prescott, I abhor violence of any kind, but I don’t regret the bright red handprint blooming over his cheekbone. Anger flares in the stare we hold, his bouncing off mine.

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