Home > The Chase (Briar U #1)(4)

The Chase (Briar U #1)(4)
Author: Elle Kennedy

“Hipsters still exist? I thought we were done with that nonsense.”

“God, no. And don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.” She mock shudders. “This whole area is still teeming with them.”

She says “them” as if they’re carriers for a gruesome, incurable disease. She might have a point, though—a thorough examination of the crowd reveals a large amount of vintage attire, painfully skinny jeans on men, retro accessories paired with shiny new tech, and lots and lots of beards.

I rub my own beard, wondering if it places me in the hipster camp. I’ve been rocking the scruff all winter, mostly because it’s good insulation from the bitter weather we’ve been experiencing. Last week we got hit by one of the worst Nor’easters I’ve ever seen. I almost froze my balls off.

“They’re so…” She searches for the right word. “Douchey.”

I have to laugh. “Not all of them.”

“Most of them,” she says. “Like, see that girl over there? With the braids and the bangs? That’s a thousand-dollar Prada cardigan she has on—and she’s paired it with a five-dollar tank she probably got at the Salvation Army, and those weird tasseled shoes they sell in Chinatown. She’s a total fraud.”

I furrow my brow. “How do you know the cardigan cost a grand?”

“Because I have the same one in gray. Besides, I can pick Prada out of any lineup.”

I don’t doubt that. She was probably deposited into a designer onesie the moment she popped out of her mother’s womb. Summer and Dean come from a filthy-rich family. Their parents are successful lawyers who were independently wealthy before they got hitched, so now they’re like a mega-rich super-duo who could probably buy a small country without even making a dent in their bank account. I stayed at their Manhattan penthouse a couple times, and it was goddamn unreal. They also have a mansion in Greenwich, a beach house, and a bunch of other properties around the globe.

Me, I can barely make the rent on the townhouse I share with two other dudes. We’re still on the hunt for a fourth roommate, though, so my share will go down once we fill that empty room.

I’m not gonna lie—the fact that Summer lives in penthouses and owns clothes that cost thousands of dollars is slightly unsettling.

“Anyway, hipsters suck, Fitzy. No thank you. I’d way rather—oooh! I love this song! I had backstage passes to her show at The Garden last June and it was amazing.”

The ADHD is strong with this one, my friend.

I hide a smile as Summer completely drops her death-to-all-hipsters tirade and starts bobbing her head to a Beyoncé song. Her high ponytail swishes wildly.

“Are you sure you don’t want to dance?” she pleads.


“You’re the worst. I’ll be right back.”

I blink, and she’s no longer beside me. Blink again, and I spot her on the dance floor, arms thrust in the air, ponytail flipping, hips moving to the beat.

I’m not the only one watching her. A sea of covetous eyes ripples in the direction of the beautiful girl in the white dress. Summer either doesn’t notice or doesn’t care. She dances alone, without an ounce of self-consciousness. She is completely comfortable in her own skin.

“Jesus,” Hunter Davenport rasps, coming up to the table. Like most of the men around us, he’s staring at Summer with an expression that could only be described as pure hunger.

“Guess she hasn’t forgotten any of those old cheerleading moves.” Hunter slants another appreciative look in Summer’s direction. When he notices my quizzical face, he adds, “She was a cheerleader in high school. Member of the dance team too.”

When did he and Summer engage in a conversation long enough for him to learn these tidbits?

The uncomfortable prickling sensation returns, this time traveling up my spine.

It’s not jealousy, though.

“Cheerleading and dance, huh?” I ask lightly. “She tell you that?”

“We went to the same prep school,” he reveals.

“No shit.”

“Yeah. I was a year behind her, but trust me, every hetero guy with a working dick was familiar with Summer Di Laurentis’s cheer routines.”

I’ll bet.

He claps me on the shoulder. “Gonna hit the head and then grab another drink. Want anything?”

“I’m good.”

Not sure why, but I’m relieved that Hunter’s not around when Summer returns to the table, her cheeks flushed from exertion.

Despite the frigid temperatures outside, she chose not to wear tights or pantyhose, and, as my old man would say, she’s got legs for days. Long, smooth, gorgeous legs that would probably look so hot wrapped around my waist. And the white dress sets off her deep, golden tan, giving her a glowing, healthy vibe that’s almost hypnotizing.

“So, you’re…” I clear my throat. “You’re coming to Briar this semester, huh?” I ask, trying to distract myself from her smokin’ body.

She gives an enthusiastic nod. “I am!”

“Are you going to miss Providence?” I know she spent her freshman and sophomore years at Brown, plus one semester of junior year, which makes up half her college career. If it were me, I’d hate starting over at a new school.

But Summer shakes her head. “Not really. I wasn’t a fan of the town, or the school. I only went there because my parents wanted me to attend an Ivy League and I didn’t get into Harvard or Yale, their alma maters.” She shrugs. “Did you want to go to Briar?”

“Definitely. I heard phenomenal things about the Fine Arts program. And, obviously, the hockey program is stellar. They offered me a full ride to play, and I get to study something I’m really into, so…” I offer a shrug in return.

“That’s so important. Doing what you love, I mean. A lot of people don’t have that opportunity.”

Curiosity flickers through me. “What do you love to do?”

Her answering grin is self-deprecating. “I’ll let you know when I figure it out.”

“Come on, there’s got to be something you’re passionate about.”

“Well, I’ve been passionate about stuff—interior design, psychology, ballet, swimming. The problem is, it never sticks. I lose interest quickly. I haven’t found a long-term passion yet, I suppose.”

Her candidness surprises me a bit. She seems way more down-to-earth tonight compared to our previous encounters.

“I’m thirsty,” she announces.

I suppress the urge to roll my eyes, since I’m sure that’s code for go buy me a drink. Only, it’s not. With a naughty smile, she swipes my beer from my hand.

Our fingers brush briefly, and I pretend not to notice the spark of heat that races up my arm. I watch as she wraps her fingers around the Bud Light bottle and takes a long sip.

She’s got small hands, delicate fingers. It’d be a challenge to draw them, to capture the intriguing combination of fragility and surety. Her fingernails are short, rounded and have those white French tips or whatever you call ‘em, a style that seems way too plain for someone like Summer. I’d expect extra-long talons painted pink or some other pastel.

“You’re doing it again.” There’s accusation in her tone. A bit of aggravation too.

“Doing what?”

“Zoning me out. Curmudgeoning.”

“That’s not a word.”

“Says who?” She takes another sip of beer.

My gaze instantly fixes on her lips.

Dammit, I gotta stop this. She’s not my type. The first time I met her, everything about her screamed sorority girl. The designer clothes, the waves and waves of blonde hair, a face that could stop traffic.

There’s no way I’m her type, either. I have no idea why she’s spending New Year’s Eve talking to a scruffy, tatted-up goon like me.

“Sorry. I’m not very chatty. Don’t take it personally, okay?” I steal my bottle back.

“Okay, I won’t. But if you don’t feel like talking, at least entertain me in other ways.” She plants her hands on her hips. “I propose we make out.”



Once again, I choke mid-sip.

Oh, sweet Jesus. Did she seriously just say that?

I glance over, and she’s got one perfect eyebrow arched, awaiting my response. Yup. She said it.

“Uh…you want to, um…” I cough again.

“Oh relax!” Summer laughs. “It was a joke.”

I narrow my eyes at her. “A joke,” I echo. “So you have zero interest in making out with me?” Hell, why am I challenging her? My dick twitches against my zipper, a warning that I shouldn’t be entertaining the idea of kissing Summer.

“I mean, it wouldn’t be the end of the world if we did,” she says with a wink. “And it’s always nice to have someone to kiss at midnight. I was mostly joking, though. I just like making you blush.”

“I don’t blush,” I object, because I’m a dude, and dudes don’t go around declaring they’re blushers.

Summer hoots. “Yes, you do! You’re blushing now.”

“Oh really? You can see this supposed blush right through my beard, huh?” I rub my face defiantly.

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