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"Genna, you're crazy. You don't have to do this."
"Of course I do. You dared me." Genna Reilly gave her best friend a wide-eyed look. The one she used whenever she wanted to appear extra sweet and innocent.
The sweet part was usually an act. The innocent part was pure truth, though. But fingers crossed, tonight was going to change that.
"I didn't dare you. Dina did. You could just take the truth instead. C'mon, I'll even ask a different question," Macy said, her desperate tone matching the intense worry in her eyes. She grabbed both of Genna's hands, hanging on tight as if her body weight could anchor her to this spot. Since Genna was a lean, mean five-ten and Macy topped out at five-two, as anchors went, the girl wasn't very effective.
"That's not how the game is played," Genna said, carefully extricating her hands, not wanting to hurt Macy but desperately wanting to be gone already.
She'd had no idea tonight's slumber party would turn wild. Oh, sure, the potential was there. That's why they always had sleepovers at Dina's, because her mom fell asleep by ten and didn't do spot breathalyzer inspections like Genna's dad. It was easy to sneak out and do fun things. Like play truth or dare.
She'd figured on a fun weekend with three of her best friends, one of the last leading up to graduation. But she'd had no idea it would be this fun.
She needed to do this. Now, while the anticipation was still zinging through her system, making her feel brave enough to take on the world. Or, in this case, to take down the sexiest bad boy of Bedford, California.
She wanted Brody Lane.
But he had practically made a career of ignoring her existence.
Time to end that.
Class vice president, squad cheer captain and the daughter of one of the most influential men in town, at seventeen Genna was no stranger to attention. Her exotic looks, long silky black hair and sky-blue eyes ensured that she got plenty of male attention, and not only in her high school classes. Nope, even though they were three years her senior, her brother's friends were always staring and flirting with her, too.
But she wasn't interested in any of them.
Not the boys in school.
Not the guys her brother ran with.
Not until he'd started hanging out with Brody last winter.
For the first time in her charmed life, Genna was smitten. Hooked. Hot
Over a guy who was deemed off-limits. Not only by her parents, who were ridiculously overprotective. But by the town itself, all of whom considered the Lanes just this side of the devil's minions, and Brody as a hell-raiser with an overdue ticket to prison. Heck, even her brother, Joe, had told her not to be stupid when he'd caught her checking out Brody's butt.
And Brody? He looked right through her as if she were made of cellophane. It wasn't as though she expected everyone in the world to adore her. But the guy could drool a little when he saw her in shorts, couldn't he? Or at least stare when he showed up to give Joe a ride and found Genna in a bikini, strategically washing her car.
But did he?
The guy acted as though she wasn't even there.
Genna wasn't the contrary sort. She'd never had to be. But no matter who told her or how many times, she couldn't get Brody Lane out of her head.
So tonight, thanks to Dina's dare, she was going to do something about it.
"Genna," Macy pleaded, as if she were peeking into her best friend's thoughts. "Don't do this."
"And be known as the girl who doesn't meet her dares?" She'd rather be known as an ax-murdering floozy who wore designer knockoffs and ugly shoes.
"Maybe Macy's right," Sylvie said quietly, always ready to jump in as the voice of reason. "This isn't like daring you to stand up in Mrs. Bellevue's class and sing 'The Star-Spangled Banner' while shaking your tail feathers. If your dad finds out, he'll kill you."
"He'll kill us," Macy intoned wisely, knowing full well that Sheriff Reilly was just as likely to punish any possible accomplices as he was the actual perpetrator.
"My dad's not going to find out," Genna said dismis-sively, the negligent wave of her hand stirring a tiny breeze in the sultry night air. Her father was too busy keeping the peace and freaking out over Joe's latest escapade to pay any attention to what his little angel did.
"I hear he's wild. He likes kinky stuff."
She assumed Dina was talking about Brody now and not her dad.
"What kind of kinky stuff?" Twisting her carefully streaked blond hair around one finger, Sylvie sounded somewhere between fascinated and terrified.
Genna wasn't between anything. She was smack-dab solid in determination. And feeling hot, of course.
"I dunno. But I'll bet Genna can tell us tomorrow." When Dina's loud giggle earned her three glares, she slapped both hands over her mouth. But she didn't stop laughing.
It was just nerves over being on the rougher side of town combined with a little too much hard lemonade. Or maybe she really thought it was funny that Genna was going to put all her virginal skills to use and seduce one of the bad-dest of the town's bad boys.
"I don't kiss and tell," Genna decided. That sounded mysterious, didn't it? And kinda sexy. Besides, she figured any kissing she did deserved to be savored. Which meant kept to herself, where the gossips and tattletales couldn't whisper it around.
"You mean you don't kiss or do anything else," Dina corrected, rolling her big blue eyes.
"Dina," Macy moaned, wringing her hands in a way that proved Genna's assertion that her friend took far too many drama classes. "Don't encourage her. She'll do something crazy."
"Oh, c'mon. It's not like she's really going to jump the guy," Dina retorted. As usual, she'd picked the scariest dare she could think of when they were playing. She'd had no idea it was also her friend's secret dream. "This is Genna. She's gonna go in there, because it's a dare and she can't resist those. She'll try to flirt, Luscious Lane will do his brick wall impersonation and it'll all be over."
"The dare was to kiss Brody Lane," Sylvie pointed out quietly, casting a nervous glance toward the golden glow emanating from the garage light twenty feet away. "Gen-na's not going in there unless she's gonna follow through. You know that."
Genna stood a little straighter, her chin a smidge higher at that character evaluation. She liked being known as a girl who followed through.
She looked toward the garage, the silhouette of a man working on a motorcycle. Since Brody's dad, Brian, was working behind the counter and probably three-quarters to drunk at the bar next door, that meant it could only be his son in there.
Time to put up or shut up.
"If I'm not back in ten minutes, head home," she instructed, fluffing her hair and slicking a coat of Racy Red on her lips, then tucking the tube into the back pocket of her jeans. "I'll call you in the morning."
Before they could launch into warnings, cautions or any more stupid arguments, Genna hurried off. Her sandals made slapping sounds all the way to the garage like some kind of early-warning seduction device. She shot a quick glance back at her nervously huddled friends, then figuring that warning Brody wouldn't serve her plans, she slipped off her shoes.
Barefoot, she tiptoed up the last few feet of sidewalk and carefully peeked around the open doorway.
And there he was. Brody Lane, in all his bare-chested glory. Black hair, as stick-straight as her own, fell across his eyes as he bent over the Harley. Facing away from her, she had the perfect view of his denim-clad butt. And oh, what a butt it was. She wanted to touch it. She wanted to run her hands down the hard planes of his back, glowing gold in the poor garage lighting. Then she wanted to curl her fingers over those biceps. Rock-hard arms were so sexy in a guy, she decided then and there.
Genna fanned herself. Because, oh, baby, he was sizzling.
She took a deep breath, hoping it did intriguing things to her form. When a girl wasn't blessed with a whole lot on top, she learned these little tricks.
Then she stepped through the doorway.
She knew it was impossible given the distance, but she swore she heard a chorus of gasps from her friends. Not looking back, she stepped over the threshold, leaning her shoulder against the door frame; she rested one hand on her hip in a seductive pose she'd seen in a magazine.
Genna rolled her eyes. Even when he didn't know she was there, he ignored her. This definitely had to change.
"Hey, Brody," she called out, relieved when her voice only shook a little. "How're you doing?"
His body went still; his head turned. His eyes, golden-brown like a cat's, narrowed.
Slowly, like a dream, he straightened away from the bike, the light glinting off that sleek golden skin. So, so much skin. Her gaze traveled from the broad stretch of his shoulders down his tapered waist to his jeans, slung low and loose on his hips.
Her mouth went dry. Oh, wow.
"Genna?" He cast a glance behind her, then back with an arched brow. "Joe isn't here."
She knew that. After the third screaming match with their father that week, her brother had torn off on his motorcycle before dinner, heading for the highway. To see one of his girls, Genna figured. Leaving the way clear for her to pay a visit to his best friend.
"I'm not here to see Joe."
Not the answer he'd been expecting, if his frown was anything to go by.
"Then what's up?" he asked, grabbing a rag and sliding the wrench through it before placing the tool in its spot in the big red toolbox. The area around him was as an oasis of tidy organization compared with the chaos of the rest of the garage. His space versus his dad's, Genna figured.
At her continued silence, he took a step closer, then stopped. She almost pouted. It was as if he'd heard a signal warning that she was there for something naughty.
"You have a problem with your BMW?" Frowning now, he gave her a quick once-over. Not in a sexy way, more as though he was worried she was hurt.
Genna's heart sighed. Wasn't he sweet?
"Nothing's wrong," she said, having to clear her throat after pushing the words through a mouth as dry as the Mojave. "So how're you doing? Is something wrong with your bike?"
It was all she could do not to wince at her own inanity. Seriously, Genna? That's the best you can come up with? She gave herself a mental slap upside the head as if it'd knock her back to normal. Normal Genna had no problem talking. And she'd spent the last three months practicing her flirting skills for an opportunity like this.
One where it was just her and Brody. Alone. Together.
Time to put all that practice to good use.
"You came to ask about my bike?"
"I came to visit with you," she corrected, taking another one of those deep breaths. His gaze didn't drop to her chest, though, so she let it out. No point hyperventilating. It wasn't going to make her breasts any bigger.
"Why not? You're a friend of my brother's. You're over at our place all the time." An exaggeration, since he'd been over maybe three times in the last year. Sheriff Reilly didn't care for troublemakers on his property. But that was beside the point. "You never visit with me, though. I figure it's because Joe's such an attention hog. My mom says he takes the title 'son' in the wrong way, figuring the whole universe revolves around him."
She grinned, waiting for him to join her. When he just stared, those gold eyes intent and cautious, she dimmed the smile a little. Obviously friendliness wasn't something he was overly familiar with. No point scaring him.
"And tonight I was out and about, and saw a light on." She gestured to the bulb swinging overhead with its halo of moths. "Since Joe's not around, I figured why not stop by and say hi."
"If Joe were here, you wouldn't have bothered?" He looked around, then spying the portable phone, grabbed it. To call her brother?
Genna's lips twitched. Wasn't he the gentleman? That's what was so fascinating about him, though. He didn't play the games boys her age did. From what she could tell, he didn't play games at all.
"Do you ever smile?" She wanted to see those lips turn upward and his gaze light up almost as much as she wanted to feel his mouth on hers and his eyes filled with desire.
He didn't respond. Just tucked his phone into his back pocket, crossed his arms over that sexy chest and stared.
"You gonna tell me why you're here? You lose a bet or something?"
Won a dare. But he didn't need to know that.
"I'll tell you as soon as you smile," she teased, stepping farther into the garage. She was hit with the scent of hot concrete, metal and oil she associated with car repair, and something else. Something earthy and appealing.
Soap. And man. Her belly quivered and her thighs trembled.
The sound of her name on his lips sent shivers through her, eliminating every niggling doubt or cautionary concern.
Leaving only excitement and desire.
"Actually, I'm here to seduce you," she blurted out. As if her words were gasoline on a fire, the already sultry air flared even hotter.
She was ready to get hot and wild. Shit.
Brody Lane had been in trouble plenty of times in his life. So many, it'd be easier to count the times he hadn't been in trouble.
But he'd never been as screwed as he was right now.
He was smart enough to know that.
What he wasn't was smart enough to know how to get himself out of it.
Sugar-sweet and wickedly exotic.
The popular, preppy princess who got good grades, cheered at games and helped old ladies across the street.
About as opposite Brody's type as an eighty-year-old nun.
And the star of four out of five of his sexual fantasies.
A problem considering that at the tender age of seventeen, she was pure jailbait.
And so off-limits, she should be wrapped in barbed wire and sporting an alarm button.
Nobody messed with Sheriff Reilly's little girl.
And nobody'd have to be a total dumbass to not only cross that line, but to mess with Joe Reilly's little sister. The sheriff was a mean son of a bitch, but Joe was meaner. He didn't believe in letting a silly thing like the law get in his way.
Joe's mean side rarely bothered Brody.
Unless he was facing the possibility of having all that mean aimed his way.
Smart thinking said shoo Genna right back out of his garage and out to the very edges of his life again. The edge where she only showed up on the opposite side of the street from time to time. And in his hot, sweaty dreams every night.
"Are you gonna offer me a beer?" she asked, tilting her head toward the six-pack minus one he'd left in the cooler. "You're underage."
Eyes rounded in amusement, she gestured to the one he'd cracked open an hour ago, then forgot about after one swig.
"Pot, meet kettle?"
Brody's lips twitched. Damn, she had a smart mouth.
A very sexy, pouty-lipped smart mouth.
One he spent way too much time fantasizing over.
One he'd worked damned hard to ignore.