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Make Your Move by J. Bree


Make Your Move

by J. Bree

Self-Published

Book 2 in the Hannaford Prep Series


I’ve won over the queen of the school but now her brother hates me and he’s out for my blood.


He thinks I’m a spy, he thinks I’ve aligned myself with the sociopath drug addict who walks the halls with murder on his mind.


Every choice I make is being watched, there are more eyes on me than the privileged guys who want me gone.


If I survive the halls of Hannaford Prep I still have to face the Jackal.


The game is only just beginning and now I need to make my move.

Genre:

 

Make Your Move is the second book in the Hannaford Prep series, and while it definitely crosses over the line of slightly crazy, I enjoyed it. Despite the scoffing. J. Bree ... why did they scoff all the time? WHY?


So Make Your Move is even more entertaining than the first book, and not because Lips has three of the hottest boys in school head over heals for her (despite her not knowing it). No, its because Lips and Avery are not only best friends - they are the true soulmates in this equation. Gotta say, its refreshing to have such a positive friendship between two young women be embraced by an author, with no drama. They support one another and love one another unconditionally. I love it. Their friendship was the best part of the book, to be honest.


But this is a reverse harem, and I'm a romance blogger. Once again, J Bree treated the age of these characters, and the genre, with some great finesse. At 16 years old, I would not be comfortable with reading about their sex lives. You know, despite me personally being sexually active at 16, and knowing most of my peers were having sex at that age, I'm a mom of two sixteen year olds, and ... ick. lol. I'm not naïve. I just don't want to read about it.

I don't miss the humor over the fact that in this group of 5, Avery is the only one who hasn't killed anyone before, and I have no problem reading that.

What is wrong with me? haha

J. Bree definitely took this opportunity to build up Lips friendships with Harley, Blaise, and a reluctant Ash, and the increasing tension between them all. We get a make out session, and two kisses, which I'm cool with. By the end of the book, when Avery suggests Lips be with all of them, and the guys ultimately agree that they have no issues with sharing her with one another, I genuinely felt that they guys really felt that way. No jealousy. All of their relationships are intense in different ways, and they all balance out Lips's in different ways. It works.


Make Your Move might still be bordering on ridiculous, considering Lips's identity out of school, but J Bree manages to make you forget that. The banter between these characters are great, there is just enough drama to keep you entertained, and if that wasn't enough, the tension as it builds at each book is enough to keep you going. I might not love these books as much as I love her Bonds That Tie series, but there is no question that J Bree is a great author, and a new favorite of mine.





DeMarco: “Listen here, kid, we don’t let extra in after the open hour. Now you need to tell these little rich fucks to get on out of here—”

Lips: “DeMarco.”

I can actually hear the snap of his teeth slamming shut at the sound of my voice. I’m not ashamed to say I enjoy the hell out of the power I have in Mounts Bay.

Lips: “That car is here for me. Let them through and apologize to the little rich fucks.” Luca: “I’m going to miss that ass while you’re gone, princess,”

Luca calls as I load my bag into the car. Harley glares back at him but I laugh his words off.

Lips: “You get more ass than the average Mounty street girl on a Saturday night, Luca. I’m sure you'll survive without mine.” Harley: “Who was the guy with your bags?”

Lips: “Luca. He's… he works for the same guy your uncle does. We’ve known each other forever.”

Harley: “Have you fucked him?”

he asks. Sweet lord. Here we go.

Lips: “How is that any of your business?”

Blaise tips his head back and laughs. He changes gears smoothly but he takes corners way too fast considering I'm sharing a seat with no belt on.

Blaise: “How many of those Mounty guys have you fucked?”

Avery: “Why do either of you care?”

Avery says sweetly and they both finally shut up. That doesn’t appeal to me at all. I don’t want random hot guys. I want a mobster’s son with the face of an angel and the rap sheet of a street kid. I want the singer with a soft heart wrapped in barbs and trip wires of devastating wit to keep it safe. I want the billionaire’s unwanted son with eyes of ice and an endless love for his sister. Avery: “I think I’m going to start dating again. I think it’s time to wash away Rory and what he did to me.”

I exhale sharply.

Lips: “If you think the guys are protective of you, you have another thing coming. I’m vetting anyone that comes near you and they’re going to answer to me. I’m also going to teach you how to castrate a guy properly. I mean it, I’m going to teach you how to cut a dick off.”

Avery laughs all over again and the haunted look fades from her eyes. Rafe: “Mounty! What’s your poison? It’ll only cost you a quick fuck. Just lie back and think of the Queen.”

He’s pretty cocky with a table between us but I’m limber when I need to be and I could jump it to smack him out. Avery watches the plans form in my brain and laughs as she grabs a bottle of whiskey.

Avery: “Such a glowing review of your skills, Rafe, but rest assured, you couldn’t handle Mounty pussy.” Avery: “You saved Harley’s life and offered him protection even when we all hated you. You used those same connections to neutralize Joey without just killing him. If I know you at all then I also know you’re planning on using your status as the Wolf to take care of Senior and Joey. If anything, I trust you even more now than I did before. When we became friends, I told you that I’m an all or nothing person. You’re my family and nothing about this changes that.” Avery: “Tell me I’m your favorite,”

Avery says with an obnoxiously smug tone. I roll my eyes at her without looking up from the assignments I have spread over my bed. I’m only five weeks ahead and I’m getting twitchy because of it. Damn Blaise and all of his tutoring. He’s a damn distraction of the hottest kind.

Lips: “Of course you’re my favorite. You’re my favorite human on the planet, it’s not fucking hard to figure out.”

She perches on my bed delicately so she doesn’t disturb my work, bless her.

Avery: “Aw, you’re the best. I also rank you in my top four. It’s a constantly revolving list, you guys should really take more care to battle it out for my affection.” Again, I adore this girl so fiercely I wish I were a lesbian and I could lock this shit down. Alas, I like dick. Lips: “I don't accept bribes from rich playboys. Only favors.” I lean forward and whisper,

Lips: “You may have tied his hands but you haven’t tied mine. Push me and I’ll show you that being a Beaumont only gets you so far in this world.” Lips: Send me a video of Avery’s dance please. Let me know if you need anything.

I curse at myself under my breath. What would he need from me? He has two of his best friends with him and I’m barely a person in his life. The shower shuts off and I start to sweat. My phone pings again and I cringe before I look down at it. Avery has already threatened me if I don’t.

Blaise: Thanks. If you could send me bourbon and a blowjob that would be great.

I cackle as Harley comes out of the bathroom and raises an eyebrow at me.

Lips: “Morrison wants me to send him booze and sexual favors to help him get through the night with his parents. Should I send him a Mounty hooker?” Harley: “Who the fuck are you, Mounty?”

I grin and lift the bottle of whiskey to my lips,

Lips: “Maybe you should watch yourself until you know, Beaumont. I did warn you.” Lips: "He’s… fucking disgusting. He offered to double my money for Harley. Dickhead move, I could get at least five hundred grand for him in the right circles.”

Avery chokes on her coffee and fixes her watery eyes on me.

Avery: “Excuse me?”

I laugh.

Lips: “Aves, he’s hot. He’s built, pretty, tattooed, and he’s not at all lacking in the dick department. I’d get half a mil easy.”

Avery slams her cup back on the table and glares at me.

Avery: “Firstly, how the hell do you know what his dick length is if you didn’t have sex with him and, secondly, but most importantly, he is my cousin and I never, ever want to talk about his dick with you. Ever.”

I blush and fidget in my seat.

Lips: “We only kissed but I got close enough to him to know what he’s working with.”

Avery: “Ugh, hand me some fucking brain bleach,”

she snarls and picks up her phone.

Lips: “What the fuck are you doing?”

I hiss and try to snatch the phone out of her hands. She glares and turns away from me.

Avery: “I’m letting him know that you’re off limits. Jokes! I’m joking, I’m congratulating him on his dick.”

I could fucking die.

Lips: “Avery, we’re no longer friends. If you hit send, I’m leaving you.”

Avery: “Yeah right, I’m your favorite, remember?”

she says, cackling like the evil witch she is. Lips: "And the Wolf… is invisible. Collects things. Does things no one else wants to do and the stuff no one else can do. I’m good at not being seen.”

She squeezes my hand.

Avery: “I think you’re good at being underestimated. Joey’s proved that over and over again.” Lips: “Settle down, Beaumont, I’m just saying you’re a decent human being when you’re not being an asshole to me.”

He clears his throat and I swear there’s color on his cheeks that wasn’t there before.

Lips: “Are you blushing right now? What exactly has you swooning? The word asshole?”

He glares at me and rolls his eyes.

Ash: “Shut up, Mounty, I’m not fucking swooning. Avery: “He’s been obsessively texting me about who is threatening you. Face it, you guys are friends now and you have to support him. Plus, I know you think he’s hot and he’s going to be walking around in speedos, dripping wet for three hours. You’re welcome.”

I choke on my own tongue. Jesus fucking Christ. It's Christmas, we deserve some fucking sprinkles. Harley tries to sit at the counter but I push him into sitting on the floor in front of the TV instead. I put Nightmare Before Christmas on instead of the bullshit carols and then we argue for the entire movie. Let's just say one of us thinks the movie is a Christmas movie and the other person is wrong. The French toast is the best I've ever had. Avery narrows her eyes at him over the rim of her coffee cup.

Avery: “What would you know about choosing lingerie?”

Ash smirks back at her.

Ash: “More than you. You’ve bought it for one body, I’ve seen it on—“

Avery: “Do not give me a number right now Alexander Asher William Beaumont, I will smother you in your sleep. No sister wants to hear how many sluts her brother has gone through. Which reminds me, when were you last tested for STIs? Annabelle probably gave you herpes.” Lips: “Can you grab me the blanket you’re sitting on? My nipples can cut glass at this point and I’m not ruining my new bra.”

Avery giggles at me and Harley scoffs but he hands me the blanket. Ash watches him tuck it under my leg and then gives me a sly look.

Ash: “Which ones are you wearing today?”

I choke on my coffee.

Lips: “Uh no, my underwear choices are not going to be a daily conversation starter.”

Ash shrugs.

Ash: “Might help me like you.”

Lips: “Hard pass,”

I snipe back and I try to ignore the hard look Harley is giving me. Ash and his big, meddling mouth!

Ash: “They say women pick their colors according to their moods, so which is it Mounty? Red? Are you feeling feisty today?”

I throw a pillow at his head.

Lips: “Black, now fuck off.”

Ash: “Depressed or horny?”

Avery groans and buries her face in her hands. Harley: "His dad is going to fucking kill him.”

I stop scrubbing and cut him a look.

Lips: “As in be very angry or actual murder? Do I need to adopt him, too?” I let Blaise spend all of Thursday drunk because I’m a fucking saint like that. Friday he wakes up so unbelievably hungover that I hide every drop of alcohol in our room. When he breaks into Avery’s closet to find it while I’m in the toilet I call Harley to come pick it up. By Saturday, he’s climbing the walls and I consider killing him to get some peace.

Blaise: “Fuck this. Let’s go out,”

he snaps while I cook.

Lips: “No. Drink your coffee.”

Blaise: “Fuck coffee, haven’t you ever heard of the hair of the dog? I need tequila.”

I shake my head and Blaise flicks a pen at me like the spoilt brat he is. When the others get back from their extracurriculars I’m ready to throw Blaise out of the room and Ash smirks when he sees the look on my face.

Ash: “How is suicide watch going? Have you hidden the bed sheets from him yet? Why are you still using real forks? You should switch out to plastic until he’s come down from the ledge.”

Harley walks in with arms full of Blaise’s crap I’ve asked him to bring to try and keep him busy. He drops it on the rollout bed and then waves me over to him.

Avery: “He’s better. He spent all morning whining before I left so progress is being made,”

snipes Avery. Blaise rolls his eyes at them both and slumps back on the couch.

Blaise: “I wouldn’t be whining if you let me fucking drink. The Mounty is practically a fucking AA sponsor and she needs to lighten the hell up. Let’s go to the bar in Haven; they do the best cheese fries.”

I glare at him as Harley hands over the notes he’s made me for our classes. I rummage around in my bag and give him all of my assignments.

Lips: “Drinking is making it worse. Harley brought your guitar, write a song and chill the fuck out. Eat ice cream. Watch your shitty movies. Do homework. Do not drink and do not get high.”

Blaise kicks the coffee table and Avery cusses him out. He’ll be dead by dawn if he keeps it up. She marches over to him and jabs him in the chest sharply.

Avery: “Just so you know, you ungrateful little shit, I’ve had the posts taken down and I’ve contacted your agent to release a statement on your behalf claiming the entire thing was a slanderous hoax concocted by a jilted ex. He doesn’t give a shit about the photos and the press is lapping it up. You’ve even had a spike in sales! I’ve also burned the letters and sent your father a gift basket with a lovely note telling him to choke on the fucking pretzels. Ash and Harley will now be opening, reading, and destroying any correspondence from that man before you see it. So get up. Eat something substantial, have a shower, do your homework. No one fucking cares that your dear old daddy is scum. I don’t, Ash and Harley don’t, and, if she were honest, Lips would tell you to tuck your vagina back into your jeans and get over it.” I want to add his dad to the planner. I want to hunt that man down and say hi with my knife but the longing in Blaise’s voice is an echo of my own. It’s the echo of a little kid praying that someday their parents will love them enough to stop hurting them. My mom didn’t stop hurting me until she stopped breathing. I have a feeling his dad will be the same.

Lips: “Eat your fucking ice cream, Morrison. Do we need to hug? It’s not really my thing but I'll give it a go for you.” Lips: “Fuck today, fuck this school, and fuck every fucking knuckle-scraping, chest-beating, egotistical piece of shit guy in this fucking hellhole!”

I yell and slam the bathroom door. I tear the rest of my clothes off and get into the shower, screaming a little like the dramatic petal I am today. Fuck, maybe the dramatics are contagious and Blaise fucking infected me? What a dick. Ash: “You gonna share with the class whose fault it is you’re pissy or just attempt a diabetic coma?”

I shove a spoonful of ice cream in my mouth and flip him off. Ash snorts at me and I glare at him.

Lips: “Thanks for skipping, by the way. I had to deal with the little creep by myself,”

I say around my mouthful. Ash smirks at me.

Ash: “I didn’t realize you needed backup, I thought your knife was enough.”

I seethe. I seethe and eat ice cream, licking my spoon like it has the answers to this shit.

Harley: “Stop tongue fucking the spoon. Some of us are going through a dry spell.”

Harley grumbles and I flick a cherry at him, ignoring his little jab. Blaise opens another beer and points the bottle at me with a slow, dirty smirk.

Blaise: “I’ll beat the disrespectful little fuck for you.”

Harley scoffs.

Harley: “Only if you get to him first.”

Avery laughs and leans in to whisper to me,

Avery: “Better than roses, right?” Lips: “My life is now babysitting drunk, spoiled rich kids.” Ash: “Fuck, how can you even stand to look at me? I look just like that fucking monster. We're all the spitting fucking image of our father.”

He laughs but there’s no humor in his tone.

Ash: “Harley looks like my mom. He gets to look like the only good we ever had in our lives and I get to stare in the mirror at the demons who own us. Fuck, now I sound like Morrison. Someone get me another fucking drink before I start singing.” Ash: “Where the fuck did you come from?”

I snort and pat his leg the way Avery does when she thinks I’m being simple.

Lips: “A drug addict. Or a meth lab, depending on which specific you were looking for.” Ash: “Fuck, Avery, don’t look at them,”

snaps Ash as he tries to pry them out of her hands. She rolls her eyes and turns away from him.

Avery: “I’ve seen nudes before, Ash. I’m not happy about being forced to look at that little fuck’s dick but I’m the only person here that’s seen Lips naked besides Lips herself so I’m the best person to be looking.”

Blaise’s eyes flash and he purses his lips like he’s trying to seal them shut. Harley notices and punches him in the arm but he only shrugs with a wry grin.

Blaise: “I’m not even sorry; I can’t help it.”

Eh?

Lips: “Can’t help what?”

Avery answers as she holds one of the photos so close to her face that she must be searching it pixel by pixel for inaccuracy.

Avery: “He’s being gross about how I’ve seen you naked. Boys always are.”

Then she grins at Blaise and swipes her tongue over her bottom lip.

Avery: “I’ve seen her naked, dripping wet in the shower, in every piece of skimpy lace Ash picked out for her, and all sweaty and panting after a long, hard workout. Oh, I’ve also seen her in yoga poses that would make a monk weep.”

I swear I hear all three of them gulp. Huh. Lips: "Hannaford is a pit of snakes and no one gets laid here without the entire school hearing about it. Just not worth the risk.”

Avery chuckles under her breath.

Avery: “Besides, the majority of males at this school don’t know how to make it good for girls. Why risk torture and death if you’re not even going to come?”

I snort with unexpected laughter at her.

Lips: “Better off doing it myself, right?”

Avery cackles and I glance up again to find three sets of smoldering eyes glaring at me with a challenge. A blush starts creeping along my cheeks and I’m struck for the first time with the realization that I’ve kissed all three of them. Sweet lord. Not only that, each kiss had been so fucking hot I had no reason to doubt their… skills. I hold my hands up in a placating gesture.

Lips: “Woah, settle down. I’m sure you guys are… great or whatever. You must be if Annabelle is mourning your dicks like she’s missed out on the second coming of Christ.” I’m the fucking Wolf of Mounts Bay and I’m going to end him. Harley smirks at me when he sees the fire that’s been lit behind my eyes. He watches me the same as he did when I attacked Harlow, like he’s standing witness to the dark stain inside me and admiring it.

Lips: “Give me two days to sort my uterus out and then I’ll deal with him myself.” It's only in the black light that you can see the ink that covers me. The skeletal structure I've had tattooed to my skin, the jaw opening wide etched in my cheeks with vicious teeth. Every inch of my body is covered in the whorls and arches that imitate the pelt. The black light shows that underneath the human facade I wear the truth of who I am. The Wolf. Avery tucks her hand into mine and says,

Avery: “Those idiot boys have no idea how fiercely the Wolf of Mounts Bay guards them.” Harley doesn’t speak as we descend the stairs, his protective arm around me, and it’s not until I point to the black van on the curb out front that he raises an eyebrow at me.

Lips: “Boost it. We’ll drive him in and dump it at the hospital.”

I text Avery to get them moving down to us.

Harley: “And why do you think I know how to do that?”

I grin at him and wag my finger in his face.

Lips: “I was at your court hearing last year, remember? You’re quite proficient in the ol’ grand theft auto. Come on, impress me, Arbour.” I refuse to eat all day and instead drink eight cups of coffee until finally Harley notices the tremors in my hands and narks on me. Avery hides the coffee and stalks me so I can’t have any more. What a bunch of assholes. It's quiet for a second and then Blaise and Harley start bickering.

Blaise: “Move,”

Harley: “Fuck off. You've just decided to do something about it because she passed your little singing test?”

Blaise: “Don't be a jealous dick and move. I need to tell her-”

Harley: “You'd have to climb over my dead fucking body and we both know I could take you. Now shut up before you get us in the shit.” I take a deep breath and exit the bathroom. Harley and Ash are already eating the Seafood Carbonara Avery has made. Blaise is doing dishes and Avery is standing at the bench grinning at me like a maniac. Like the Joker and the Cheshire Cat had a secret love child and named her Avery fucking Beaumont.

Lips: “Why are you so happy? Did Annabelle choke on a dick or something?”

I ask and she gives me her best witchy cackle.

Avery: “Better. So much better. We’ll talk tomorrow, just eat some dinner and rest your leg for now.”

Harley: “We could talk about it now,“

Harley grumbles into his plate but Avery’s crazy grin shifts into a glare.

Avery: “Eat your damn pasta, Arbour.” Avery: “You know all three of them are bordering on obsessed with you, right? Ash is freaking the hell out because he can’t figure out when his loathing of you turned into admiration, affection, and lust. Blaise damn near died when he heard you sing because he’d been trying to put you in the little ‘do-not-touch’ box in his head because of Harley and then your voice burnt the box right down to the ground and, well, we all know how Harley feels. This is not about sex. Well, I’m sure they would be very interested in having sex with you but it’s more than that.”

Panic rises in my chest, bubbling and frothing until I think I might choke on it. My voice comes out thready as I say,

Lips: “No, I didn’t know. I know nothing. This is all very new information for me.”

Avery: “Jesus H. Christ, Lips. I thought you were refusing to start anything with any of them because you were pissed about last year and wanted to string them along a bit. I was kind of assuming the hot/cold thing you have with them all was foreplay!” Avery: “We’ll meet you guys down at the dining hall… no, we’re fine… Ash, I have cramps and I need a minute to get myself together and I’d rather not have you lot out there listening to me change out tampons… well, if you listened to me the first time I wouldn’t have to supply you with the details… no, Lips is still getting dressed… we’re girls, she isn’t worried about my period, she has her own to deal with. Bye!”

She closes the door and smirks at me.

Lips: “You’ve clearly scarred your brother for life,”

I choke out but I’m smiling, her joy is infectious.

Avery: “I had to go to great lengths to get them the hell out. Harley did not flinch, by the way, he was totally prepared to deal with a blood-soaked Armageddon to stay here and walk you down. The other two manhandled him out.”

I flip onto my back and groan. Avery: “Don’t start. Lips can’t eat when she’s stressed.”

Great. Now I feel pathetic. I cringe and nudge the plate away from me.

Blaise: “If Harley is bothering you—“

Avery cuts Blaise off.

Avery: “I said, don’t start,”

she hisses. I glance up just in time to see Harley elbow Blaise in the stomach while Ash watches me intently.

Lips: “I’m never going to eat again. Goodbye boobs, it was nice having you,”

I mutter and Avery cackles.

Avery: “That will shut them up! The boobs are in danger.”

Harley snorts and shoves the French toast back at me.

Harley: “Save the boobs, Mounty.” Then there’s the sound of keys and only Avery has those so I leave my eyes shut and keep stroking the soft sheets on my bed. Avery bought me these sheets. She’s so nice. I think about telling her that.

Blaise: “You’re not thinking anything, you’re speaking. How fucking high are you?”

My eyes pop open. That’s not Avery’s voice.

Blaise: “No shit. She’s still got exams so I came up to check that you’re okay. She told me to force the pills down your throat but it looks like you’ve got that under control.”

Nope. I squeeze my eyes shut again. I cannot have Blaise in this room while I’m off my tits. Bad idea. I can’t have him around until I’m back… on my tits. Or whatever the opposite of this is.

Blaise: “Stop saying tits. Look, I can’t leave you here like this. Fuck knows what you could end up doing to yourself. Stop stroking the sheets, it’s… kinda hot and I’m feeling like a perv watching you. Just get in the bed. In, Lips. Get in bed. Fucking hell, here.” Lips: “This is going to go very badly and then you’re never going to speak to me again. After all my work this year to get you guys to trust me and now I’ve fucked it.”

It takes a ton of focus to get the words out and my voice is still all weird and floaty. Floaty is a strange word.

Blaise: “Right, it is a strange word but let’s stay on topic.”

Shit, I’m saying stuff without realizing it again.

Blaise: “Yes, you are. You haven’t fucked anything. Harley wasn’t pissed this morning, he was impressed. Then he was awkward and embarrassed because he upset you.”

Huh. I try to file that away in my brain for later but I think I’ve lost the filing cabinet. I think the office is closed for maintenance. I hope they repaint.

Blaise: “Fuck, we need to get you stoned. I need to see you on THC.” Blaise huffs a laugh at me and I blush.

Blaise: “You must be feeling better, there’s color on your cheeks again.”

The flush on my cheeks gets worse and I clear my throat.

Lips: “Thank you for checking on me. And letting me word vomit for hours on end. Please leave me to die of shame with what little dignity I have left.”

Harley scoffs and pulls out his phone, bringing up a video and handing it over to me. There I am, sitting on Blaise’s lap, giggling like a mad woman and stroking his chest like I had spent hours doing to the sheets. I can see he’s filming us both and with the smug look on his face it’s clear he sent this to Harley to piss him off. I elbow him but it’s like elbowing a freaking wall.

Blaise: “Hey, they asked me why I called you adorable. I figured a video was better than any explanation I could come up with.”

Lips: “I am never taking those pills again. I’ll white knuckle it through the pain next time,”

I declare and they all, Avery included, laugh their asses off at me. Ash: “Why are the two of you whispering in the closet?”

I squeak and turn to find Ash standing in the doorway, rubbing his hair with one of Avery’s fluffy white towels. He has one of those damn tank tops on again and I refuse to look at his nipples.

Avery: “Secret girls’ business,”

says Avery in her most innocent voice. He rolls his eyes at her.

Ash: “With the two of you that could be anything from pairing the correct shoes with an outfit to plotting the murder of a filthy-rich senator for your own gain.”

I scoff at him and cross my arms but he makes a good point. Avery pats him on the chest and says,

Avery: “Lips is freaking out about where everyone is sleeping. The drugs have scrambled her brain and she’s woken up in her ideal fantasy orgy.”

Nope. I spin on my heel and charge toward the bathroom to lock myself away from his raucous laughter at Avery’s words. I’ve never heard him laugh like that before. He calls out to me as I pass him,

Ash: “You’ll have to pause those dirty thoughts, Mounty, Avery has already threatened our dicks if we so much as kiss your cheek in front of her.”

They all laugh and I close the door firmly, flicking the lock. I cannot survive this. Harley: “Fuck. I’m going to be late for training. I was supposed to be at the pool ten minutes ago,”

he says, scowling and staring at my lips. I lick them without thinking and he groans.

Avery: “That sound had better be an oh-I-hate-waking-up sort of sound and not a my-dick-is-so-hard kind of sound, Harley Éibhear Arbour,”

Avery snaps. I am mortified. The two idiots in my bed are not. Harley rolls out and when Avery screeches at him and throws a pillow at him he stalks to the bathroom laughing.

Harley: “I can’t help having morning wood, Aves. Better get used to it because me and my blue balls will be here all week.”

Avery levels Ash with a vicious glare and his face shifts into an innocent mask. I snort at his attempt to placate her.

Avery: “Don’t you dare get out of that bed until you have your dick under control or I will cut it the fuck off. I know how, Lips taught me,”

she hisses and then throws herself out of bed and stomps to the coffee machine.

Ash: “Good morning, my beloved sister, I hope you’ve slept well. I’d love a coffee, thank you for asking.”

Avery starts slamming cups onto the bench and cursing us all out. I choose to plead the fifth and keep my mouth shut. Harley emerges from the bathroom dressed in his sports gear and kisses Avery’s cheek with a grin. She cusses him out too but hands him one of her reusable takeaway cups to take down to the pool. He ducks back to the bed and pecks me on the cheek too, with a wink, and then he’s out the door. Lips: “I'm weird. I wear guys’ shirts and sweaters with booty shorts and skirts. I listen to the same three albums on repeat. I like French toast, coffee, and cherry anything. I don't function my birthday or Christmas. I can kill a grown man eight different ways with nothing but my bare hands. I’m never going to be normal.”

Ash grabs my chin and stares down at me, the blank mask gone and in its place a smoldering intensity. I can’t look away.

Ash: “If you're trying to warn us off, it's not going to work. We've never agreed to anything as quickly as when we agreed to share you. I'm not planning on wooing you, I'm planning on doing whatever I need to do to get to keep you.”

I swallow and he licks his lips.

Ash: “I want us to keep you. I don't want you all to myself, I want to share you with my best friends and I want you to love every fucking second of it.”

There isn't a lie in his eyes, only plain truth and desire. I nod and he eases up a little with a smirk.

Ash: “I won't get out of bed before the coffee machine is on. I hate blues music and listen to Vanth as religiously as you do. I run track because it makes me feel like I'm dying and sometimes I need to feel like that. I miss my mom and I hate my father. My brother is trying to kill me and my father is taking bets on how long it’ll take him to succeed. Finding Joey standing over Avery's lifeless body broke something in me that I don't think I'll ever be able to fix. I’m a bigger monster than you because I don't give a fuck who you've killed or why you did it. In fact, from here on out I’m helping you bury the bodies.”

It’s totally ridiculous but I fixate on probably the least important thing he’s said.

Lips: “I cannot believe you're a Vanth super fan and you've given me all that shit about it. You're a real piece of work, Beaumont.” Blaise: “Great view,”

Blaise says and then he grunts as someone hits him.

Blaise: “What? I'm allowed to appreciate my girl’s ass, especially in those shorts. What are you doing, Mounty?” I wriggle back out and drag the safe with me. Avery does her gimme hands at me and I chuckle.

Lips: “I'm not sure I can trust you with these, Beaumont.”

She bites her lips and stares at the metal box with lusty eyes.

Avery: “I solemnly swear I'm up to no good.”

Lips: “Nerd.”

But I open the safe and hand over the velvet box.

 

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