Lyla Wilder is done being the shy, chemistry nerd extraordinaire. While every other college student is out having fun, Lyla is studying. With her cat. Well, she's played it "safe" quite enough, thank you. So she creates a "College Bucket List" with item #7 being a night of uninhibited, mind-blowing sex...
But she needs some help from her best friend.
Hockey player Beck Davenport thought Lyla's transformation would be subtle. Man, was he wrong. With every item she ticks off, Beck finds himself growing seriously hot for his sweet, brainiac best friend. And if he's not careful, he'll end up risking their friendship in order to convince Lyla that he might just be her lucky #7...
Each book in the Taking Shots series is STANDALONE:
* Getting Lucky Number Seven
* Anatomy of a Player
* Crazy Pucking Love
* Confessions of a Former Puck Bunny
About the Author
Cindi Madsen is a USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romance and young adult novels. She sits at her computer every chance she gets, plotting, revising, and falling in love with her characters. Sometimes it makes her a crazy person. Without it, she'd be even crazier. She has way too many shoes, but can always find a reason to buy a pretty new pair, especially if they're sparkly, colorful, or super tall. She loves music and dancing and wishes summer lasted all year long. She lives in Colorado (where summer is most definitely NOT all year long) with her husband and three children.
You can visit Cindi at: www.cindimadsen.com, where you can sign up for her newsletter to get all the up-to-date information on her books.
Follow her on Twitter @cindimadsen.
Read an Excerpt
Getting Lucky Number Seven
By Cindi Madsen, Alycia Tornetta
Entangled Publishing, LLCCopyright © 2015 Cindi Madsen
All rights reserved.
Ever notice that drunk people are, like, the worst whisperers ever? The guys were in the kitchen, getting more drinks and discussing my roommate's nice ass in what I'm sure they thought were hushed tones, while she and her friend, Kristen, were in the hallway behind me, whispering about condoms.
And I was sitting in the middle of the couch, feeling like I totally didn't belong, as usual.
I wished Einstein wasn't a scaredy-cat who'd taken off for my bedroom at the knock on the door. At least then I could pull him onto my lap and keep my hands busy petting him, although I was pretty sure focusing on my adorable gray and white puffball wasn't the kind of thing I should do while on a first date.
When Whitney and Kristen had first burst into the apartment and told me we were going to have a group date tonight, I'd begged off. My research paper comparing generic and brand name drugs wasn't going to write itself. But then Whitney had made a compelling argument.
"Come on, Lyla, you haven't even been out, much less on a date, since your boyfriend dumped you two months ago. It's getting pathetic."
I'd wanted to say that, one, the breakup was mutual and amicable, and two, I'd been out lots of times. Not to parties, or clubs, or bars, or ... Okay, so the past several weeks had gotten away from me, but they'd been spent studying, either here, the coffee shop on campus — which was technically out, in my opinion — or the library. Also out. I wasn't pathetic, I had a full course load, and if I didn't get stellar grades, I'd lose my scholarship. But yeah, technically speaking, the dating side of my life was non-existent since Miles and I had broken up over Thanksgiving break, and I could see how that might be the tiniest bit pathetic.
"There are three of them, too," Kristen had added. "It'd be super weird if you weren't here. Don't worry, we'll watch a movie or something, and it'll be totally chill. Nothing to be afraid of."
Afraid — I really hated that word, mostly because it so often drove my decisions. Tried and true were highly preferable, but more and more, clinging to the familiar made me feel like I was stuck in a rut. Everyone had moved on and changed, including Miles, and I was still the same.
The three boys who showed up at our apartment were cute, although there didn't seem to be much going on between the ears or underneath the muscles. Then again, since my brain had frozen up every time I tried to say anything to Colin, the guy I was supposed to be on a date with, I couldn't really talk. Literally. I use the term "date" loosely, too, since so far there'd only been a lot of drinking with the other two couples cuddling and flirting and me doing the struggling-for-words thing. I had nodding down to a science, though.
Kristin and Whitney erupted in giggles as they stuffed their pockets with condoms they'd retrieved from the bathroom, and then I heard Colin say, "Why'd I get stuck with the fugly, boring one?"
The smile I had plastered on my face turned to glass and cracked. I gripped the cell phone I'd just been checking my assignment to-do list on, the hard case digging into my skin.
"Be nice," one of the guys whispered at a drunken decibel level of stealthiness. "Maybe she'll let you get to second base. Who knows what she's hiding underneath all those clothes? Sometimes the quiet ones are the kinkiest."
Everything inside of me shriveled up and died, and I stared at the coffee table where my notebook and research articles still were, Colin's awful words echoing through my brain. It wasn't the first time I'd been mocked about my clothes or called something less than flattering —"nerd" and "weirdo" had been faux-whispered under breaths as I was passed by in high school halls plenty of times. For some stupid reason, I thought college would be different. Wasn't this supposed to be where I met mature guys? Where people thought smart was sexy?
I nearly jumped when Colin sat next to me and offered me a cup. "Sure you don't want one?"
A lump rose in my throat, along with tears. Whitney and Kristen were already draped across their dates, tongue-action seconds from recommencing.
"No thanks." I looked down at my phone. "Oh, I'm getting a call. Guess I didn't realize it's on silent. I really should get it." I held it up to my ear. "What? You need me to come get you? Where are —"
My ringtone suddenly blared into my ear, and I dropped my phone. It tumbled slowly, catching in the scarf around my neck for a moment before sliding down my long skirt and clattering against the floor. It continued to vibrate against the hard wood, and I scrambled to pick it up. Hardly anyone called me. I lifted it and stared at the display.
Heat flooded my face, and Colin was looking at me with his eyebrows scrunched. Actually, everyone was looking at me with pretty much the same expression.
"I guess the call dropped, but I didn't realize, so ..." I lamely gestured at the phone. I couldn't answer and talk to my mom, and I couldn't stay here. "Anyway, I have to go. Sorry."
I grabbed my keys and rushed out the door. The icy Boston air slapped me in the face, reminding me I should've grabbed my coat, but it was too late for that now. As soon as I made it to the safety of my car, tears broke free. It was bad enough to be called fugly and boring, but I, Lyla Wilder, couldn't even make a smooth exit. No, I had to go and take awkward to the next level.
Times like these were when I really missed having a boyfriend who was also slightly awkward. Miles had made me feel normal, and when I was with him, it was easier to ignore insults and to keep from thinking about how few friends I had. I understood why it'd been time to break up — long-distance was just too hard, especially when he and I were both slaves to our studies. I thought about calling him now, just to have a friendly shoulder to cry on, but that'd only make missing him — and the way things used to be — worse.
I glanced at my apartment door on the second floor. Who knows how long they'll be up there? Knowing my roommate and her equally boy-crazy friend, it'd be a while. No way can I go back inside tonight.
Maybe not ever.
Ugh. I am pathetic.
More tears blurred my eyes as I fired up my car and cranked the heater to high. There was only one place I could think of going. I knew it was a long shot that he'd even be home on a Saturday night. And if he were, there was even less of a chance he was alone.
That was the downside of having a friend who also happened to be a hot, man-whore hockey player.CHAPTER 2
My lips hovered over Monica's as I debated my next move. I'd ignored my ringing phone, because, well, I had my hands full with Monica. The knock on the door wasn't quite as easy to ignore, especially when accompanied by Lyla's voice.
"Beck, are you home? I'm having a bit of an emergency."
As soon as I sat back on the couch, Monica's eyes flashed. "Are you kidding me?"
Was I? Shit, I was as revved up as she was, but what was I supposed to do? Leave Lyla out on my doorstep? When it came to her, "a bit of an emergency" could be that she'd gotten a B, there was a cat in need of saving, or a slasher was after her. She really only spoke in one level, and that was "quiet." "Give me just a sec."
Monica gripped my shirt and ran her tongue over my jaw, which I'm sure she thought was sexy, but left me feeling like I'd been licked by a Labrador. "Don't keep me waiting."
Much-needed cool air hit me as soon as I opened the door. Lyla stood on the walkway, arms wrapped around herself. She didn't have on a coat, just a long-sleeved shirt and one of her multi-colored scarves. "Hey, I'm kinda busy," I said. "Can we —"
I froze at the sight of her splotchy tear-streaked cheeks. "What happened? Did someone hurt you?"
She shook her head and blew out a white puff of air. "Not physically, anyway."
I glanced from her to Monica, who was draped across the couch, wearing only her bra and jeans. Damn, she was gonna be pissed.
Lyla glanced inside and her eyes went wide. "You're obviously busy — I knew you would be. It's nothing, really. I'll just see you tomorrow for movie night, 'kay?" She turned to go, and I reached out and caught her arm.
"Come on inside." There was no way I could focus now. Sure, it'd only take a few minutes to get back into things with Monica, but I'd worry about Lyla off and on all night. Somewhere along the way, I'd started to feel responsible for her, and if anyone hurt her, I'd personally hunt them down.
After I closed the door behind us, bringing this Saturday night to a three-way kind of sitch — and not the good kind — I ran a hand through my hair. "Uh, Monica, we're going to have to catch up another time."
The girl looked Lyla up and down with a disgusted scowl on her face that screamed You're choosing her over me? and it suddenly got that much easier to say good-bye.
"In your dreams, asshole," she spat at me as she walked past. So no love lost there. I still walked her out, even though my thighs burned from tonight's game, and it involved too many stairs, because I like to think I'm at least half a gentleman.
When I got back inside, Lyla looked up from her spot on the couch. "How'd the flavor of the week take it?"
I flopped next to her, flinching when I bumped the side where I'd been checked earlier tonight. Dude thought he was real tough, but I ended up with the puck and the score — it made any resulting bruises worth it. "Actually, I met her three weekends ago, thank-you-very-much."
"Ooh, a repeat offender. I'm impressed."
"I can hear you judging me. Pretty harsh after the cock blocking. Guess I'll just have to make do with you." I leaned toward her, mouth open as wide as I could get it, tongue out.
"Ew!" She laughed and shoved me away. Good. She was smiling now. The sad face was killing me. But all too soon, it was back. If it were anyone else, I would run as far as I could go to keep from discussing emotions or getting into whatever had made her cry.
But Lyla was my girl, and like I said, I felt responsible for her. Probably because hanging with her was always easy — the break from life I occasionally needed — and I didn't have many close friends who knew me as well as she did. I liked it that way, and honestly, I wasn't sure how she'd managed to get in so easily.
She ran her palms down her thighs, focusing on the motion. "I got set up on a date tonight. Or more like I was the sixth wheel pity-date option."
"Sixth wheel?" I asked.
She told me about the set-up, the drinking, and when she looked down and whispered the part about some asshole calling her fugly and boring, I clenched my fists, wanting to find the guy and use them on him. "I just don't think I can go back tonight." She wiped the tears from her cheeks. "Can I crash on your couch?"
"You know you can. Anytime." Over the past few months I'd forgotten how fragile she could be. She had no problem speaking her mind around me anymore, but it'd taken a while, and sometimes I worried people would take advantage of her. I'd never expected someone to go out of his way to be outright mean, though. "That guy was wrong, Lyla. He's clearly a giant douche."
She unwound the scarf from her neck and tossed it aside. Then she pulled her light brown waves into a messy bun, took a pencil off the side table, and shoved it through her hair to secure it in place. "I don't think I'm quite as bad as fugly, but I am plain. And I am boring. All I ever do is study. Just like I did in high school. I thought I'd go to college and live in a big city, and things would be different. Only everyone else is different, and I'm as awkward and nerdy as ever. That whole things-get-better-after-high-school is total crap."
I didn't even know where to start with that. Seemed like a lot of landmines that could explode if I said the wrong thing.
"I'm sick of it, Beck. I don't want to do the safe thing anymore just because I'm too afraid to try anything else." Resolve set into her features — it was the same look she got when we were solving difficult chemistry equations last semester, or when one of our labs didn't go quite right and we needed to figure out why. She got scary-focused sometimes. "It's time for a change. Time to let loose a little. I'm in my second semester of college, and I haven't done anything you're supposed to do. Like get so drunk you puke and don't remember the rest of the night."
"Overrated, I swear."
She looked at me, that deadly look on her face, and I held up my hands. "Fine. You wanna get drunk and puke, I'm not gonna stop you."
"But I want to do, like, more than just drinking." Her brow furrowed and I could practically see the wheels in her brain spinning. "I should make a list and outline a plan."
I was going to point out that list-making wasn't the best way to let loose, but I decided to let it go.
She leaned forward and glanced around. "Don't you have any other pens or pencils?" "I'm surprised I had the one you put in your hair. If you really need something to write with, I can grab a pen from the kitchen."
"And a piece of paper?"
As if she'd ever use just one — another thing I'd learned when we'd shared a class. So instead of the kitchen, I headed into my bedroom, grabbed a mostly blank notebook and pen, and handed them over. She tapped the pen to her lips. "I'm thinking I start with a new look — like one of those extreme makeovers. It'll get me in a new mind frame, so I can be a whole new me. What do you think? Would I look okay super blond? Or should I go dark? Or maybe streaky highlights?" Her eyebrows arched as she looked up from the blank paper.
Girls loved these kinds of trick questions, and I'd learned to tread carefully whenever they came up. "I think you look fine the way you are."
She tilted her head and sighed. "But what did you think when you first met me? You can be honest. I'm sure you were a little disappointed when you found out I was your assigned chem partner."
"Well, yeah," I said, "but that was because with how damn cute you were, I was sure you'd be stupid, and that meant I was going to end up doing all the work." She rolled her eyes, and I smiled, unable to keep from adding, "Then I caught your scent, and your blood smelled so good, I was afraid I'd kill you and eat you. That's why I was all broody and denting the table the first day."
Lyla laughed and shoved my arm. "You're stupid."
"I am. I let you talk me into that Twilight marathon last Sunday. Clearly a mistake."
"Hey, I watched that dumb prank movie with the gross bathroom humor. And we still have two Twilight movies to go. Now, be serious."
"Okay. Serious." I draped my arm behind the couch and met her gaze. "Changing your look because of what some asshole said is stupid." I wasn't lying when I said she was damn cute — she had a sweet, innocent look about her, and I'd always liked that she was unique. "And doesn't it go against your feminist values?"
Her lips turned into a pouty frown. "It's not against feminism to look my best. And I'm not changing it for him. I'm changing it for me." She put a hand over her heart. "I want to try new things. I spent high school playing things safe. Being the perfect girl with perfect grades that my parents wanted me to be so I could get into a great college. But here I finally am, and I don't want to be the nice girl anymore. I want to be the hot girl. I want to be bolder. Do something completely crazy. Dangerous, even."
The glint in her eyes was definitely dangerous, and there were alarm bells going off in my head. "I don't want to look back and have all these regrets," she said, her voice firm and louder than usual. "And if I don't do it this semester, before my classes get even more difficult and I'm totally set in my boring patterns, it'll be that much harder." She pulled one corner of her bottom lip between her teeth, looking vulnerable again. "But I'll admit I'm completely out of my league here. In order to do this, I need your help."
Excerpted from Getting Lucky Number Seven by Cindi Madsen, Alycia Tornetta. Copyright © 2015 Cindi Madsen. Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
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