Home > The Chase (Briar U #1)(8)

The Chase (Briar U #1)(8)
Author: Elle Kennedy

Having an interest in fashion and being part of a sorority doesn’t make me surface level.

Forget him.

I click the key fob to unlock the car door. But I don’t get into the driver’s seat. Something keeps my boots planted to the asphalt.

I believe that something is called: oh sweet baby Jesus, I don’t want to go home and see the guy who thinks I’m fluff.

It’s hard to believe that two weeks ago I was excited about seeing Fitzy.

Now I’m dreading it. My unicorn is no longer a unicorn. He’s a judgmental donkey.

I press the lock button. Screw it. Maybe I’ll grab a coffee from the Coffee Hut first. I’m not ready to see him yet.


I quickly unlock the car. I’m not a coward. I’m Summer Heyward-Di Laurentis and I don’t give a flying hoot what Colin Fitzgerald thinks about me.

I lock the car.

Because clearly I do care what he thinks.

I unlock the car.

Because I shouldn’t care.





“Okay! This looks like fun!” exclaims a highly amused voice. “Let me guess—your ex’s car?”

I jump in surprise. I was so focused on the stupid key fob that I didn’t even notice the girl approach me. “What? No. It’s mine.”

A pair of dark eyebrows furrow at me. “Really? What’s with the maniacal clicking, then?”

I’m equally confused. “Why would it be my ex’s car? What did you think I was doing to it?”

“Draining the key battery so he wouldn’t be able to unlock it later. I figured you stole his keys and were looking for a way to screw him.”

“Are you kidding? That sounds like the most exhausting payback scheme ever. I’d have to stand out here for hours to drain this thing. If I wanted revenge, I’d just slash a tire or two. Fast and effective.”

“Tire slashing? That’s insane and I love it.” She nods in approval, causing her thick chestnut-brown hair to fall over one shoulder. “Anyway. Enjoy whatever the hell it is you’re doing, crazy girl. Later.”

The brunette starts to walk off.

“Hey,” I call after her. “You need a ride somewhere?”

Awesome. I’m offering rides to complete strangers now? The level of dread Fitzy has instilled in me is off the charts.

She turns with a laugh. “Thanks, but I’m going to Hastings,” she says, referring to the nearest town. It’s a short drive from campus and also happens to be my destination.

“I’m going there too,” I blurt out. It’s a sign—I’m not supposed to go home yet. The universe wants me to give this chick a ride first.

She slowly walks back to me, shrewd brown eyes studying me from head to toe. I’m fairly sure I couldn’t appear any more harmless. My hair is thrown up in a messy bun, and I’m wearing a cream-colored pea coat, dark-blue skinny jeans, and brown leather riding boots. I look like I stepped off the pages of a Gap catalogue.

“I won’t murder you,” I say helpfully. “If anything, I should be worried about my own safety. Those heels look lethal.”

Actually, she looks lethal. She’s got black leggings on, a black coat, and black boots with those deadly four-inch heels. A red knit hat covers her head, with her dark hair streaming out from under it, and she’s wearing bright red lipstick even though it’s only noon.

She’s such a badass, and I think I love her.

“I’m Summer,” I add. “I transferred here from Brown, and I just moved into a townhouse in Hastings.”

She purses her lips for a moment before answering. “I’m Brenna. I live in town too.” She shrugs and marches to the passenger’s side door. “Unlock it for real this time, crazy girl. I’ll take that ride.”



“So, not that I’m complaining—trust me, I’m happy not to pay for an Uber or campus taxi—but do you always pick up random chicks in parking lots?” Brenna asks cheerfully.

I snort. “No. And FYI, this isn’t a pick-up. I mean, you’re gorgeous, but I like men.”

“Ha. I like men too. And even if I did like women, you wouldn’t be my type, Malibu Barbie.”

“You’ve got the wrong coast—I’m from Greenwich, Connecticut,” I shoot back, but I’m smiling because I heard the humor in her tone. “And no, I don’t usually invite stranger danger into my life.” I decide to be honest. “I’m doing everything in my power not to go home.”

“Oooh. Intriguing. Why’s that?” Brenna shifts in the passenger seat, angling her black-clad body so she’s better able to study me. I can feel her eyes boring into the side of my head.

I keep my gaze on the road. It’s two very narrow lanes, and there’s a dusting of snow on the ground, so I’m driving carefully. I already have two fender benders on my record, both of which happened while driving in winter weather, when I didn’t give myself enough room to stop.

“I moved in a few days ago,” I tell her. “My roommates have been out of town—they went on a ski trip to Vermont or something. So I’ve had the place to myself. But they texted this morning to say they’re on their way back.” I suppress a nervous shiver. “They might even be there now.”

“So? What do we have against the roomies? Are they assholes?”

One of them is.

“It’s a long story.”

Brenna laughs. “We’re strangers who just committed to a car ride together. What else are we going to talk about, the weather? Tell me why you don’t like these chicks.”

“Dicks,” I correct.


“My roommates are guys. Three guys.”

“Oh hell yes. Tell me more. Are they hot?”

I can’t help but laugh. “Very hot. But it’s a messed-up situation. I made out with one of them on New Year’s Eve.”

“And? I don’t see the problem.”

“It was a mistake.” I bite my lip. “I had a crush on one of the other two, but I overheard him talking shit about me, and I was upset, so…”

“So you revenge-kissed his roomie. Gotcha.”

There’s no judgment in her tone, but I still feel defensive. “It wasn’t a revenge kiss. It was…” I make an aggravated noise. “It was actually a very good kiss.”

“But you wouldn’t have done it if you weren’t mad at the other one.”

“Probably not,” I admit, slowing down as we approach an intersection with a red light.

“What kind of shit was he saying?” she asks curiously.

My foot shakes on the brake pedal as I relive the hurt and embarrassment of walking out of the restroom and overhearing Fitzy’s conversation with Garrett at the bar. It wasn’t being called “fluff” that upset me, so much as the fact that he was standing there listing all the reasons why he would never, ever date someone like me.

“He told his friend that I’m surface level.” My face heats up. “He thinks I’ve got zero substance, and that I’m a party girl, and he said he’d never go out with me.”

“What the fuck.” Brenna smacks her palm on her thigh. “Screw. Him.”


“Oh my God, and now you have to live with the creep?” Genuine sympathy rings in her voice. “That’s the worst. I’m so sorry.”

“Yeah, it sucks. I’m…” Frustration jams in my throat like a wad of gum. “I’m mad, obviously. But I’m also super disappointed in him.”

“Jesus, you sound like my father.” She deepens her voice and mimics her dad. “I’m not mad at you, Brenna. I’m just…disappointed. Ugh. I hate that.”

“Sorry.” I giggle. “It’s true, though. I am disappointed. I thought he was a nice guy, and I liked him. I was convinced he was going to make a move on me—he was sending out vibes, you know? And I totally would’ve done more than make out with him.” I glance over sheepishly. “That’s huge for me. I don’t ever sleep with someone before I’ve been on a date with them. And even then, it’s usually several dates before I put out.”

“Prude,” she cracks.

“Hey, I might burn down sorority houses, but I’m an old-fashioned girl at heart.”

Brenna hoots in delight. “Okay—we will be circling back to that sorority-house comment, oh trust me, we fucking will. But let’s stay on the topic at hand. So you don’t typically give your flower to a boy until he proves that he’s a prince, but you would’ve gladly offered this jerk your entire lady garden. Except then he revealed his true colors and you hooked up with his friend instead.”

“Pretty much.” I flash back to the moment Hunter Davenport stopped me from leaving the bar. I’d been making my way through the crowd toward the exit. Fitzy’s comments to Garrett had been so hurtful, I was actually going to bail on New Year’s Eve. But then I bumped into Hunter, and he said something to make me laugh. I don’t even remember what it was. The next thing I knew, the countdown reached the last second, and Hunter pulled me into his arms and kissed me.

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