"I dare you..."
If anyone knew the truth about Beth Risk's home life, they'd send her mother to jail and seventeen-year-old Beth who knows where. So she protects her mom at all costs-until the day her uncle swoops in, and Beth finds herself starting over at a school where no one understands her. Except for the one guy who shouldn't get her, but does.
Ryan Stone is the town golden boy, a popular baseball star jock-with secrets he can't tell anyone. Not even the friends he shares everything with, including the constant dares to do crazy things. The craziest? Asking out the skater girl who couldn't be less interested in him.
But what begins as a dare becomes an intense attraction. Suddenly, the boy with the flawless image is risking everything for the girl he loves, and the girl who won't let anyone get too close is daring herself to want it all....
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I'm not interested in second place. Never have been. Never will be. It's not the style of anyone who wants to play in the majors. And because of my personal philosophy, this moment sucks. My best friend is seconds from scoring a phone number from the chick working the Taco Bell counter, placing him in the lead.
What started as a simple dare twisted into a night-long game. First, Chris dared me to ask the girl in line at the movies for her number. Then I dared him to ask the girl at the batting cages for her number. The more we succeeded, the more momentum the game gained. Too bad Chris owns a grin that melts the hearts of all girls, including the ones with boyfriends.
I hate losing.
Taco Bell Chick blushes when Chris winks at her. Come on. I chose her because she called us redneck losers when we ordered. Chris rests his arms on the counter, inching closer to the girl, as I sit at the table and watch the tragedy unfold. Shouldn't she be having an epiphany right about now? If not, can she find some self-respect and tell Chris to beat it?
Every single muscle on the back of my neck tenses as Taco Bell Chick giggles, writes something on a piece of paper, and slides it over to him. Dammit. The rest of our group howls with laughter and someone pats me on the back.
Tonight isn't about phone numbers or girls. It's about enjoying our last Friday night before school begins. I've tasted everything--the freedom of hot summer air in the Jeep with the panels down, the peace of dark country roads leading to the interstate, the exciting glow of city lights as we took the thirty-minute drive into Louisville, and, lastly, the mouthwatering taste of a greasy fast-food taco at midnight.
Chris raises the phone number like a referee holding up the glove of the prize champion. "It's on, Ryan."
"Bring it." There's no way I've gotten this far to have Chris outdo me.
He slouches in his seat, tosses the paper into the pile of numbers we've collected over the evening, and tugs his Bul-litt County High baseball cap over his brown hair. "Let's see. These things have to be thought through. The girl chosen carefully. Attractive enough so she won't fall for you. Not a dog because she'll be excited someone gave her a bone."
Mimicking him, I shift back in the chair, extend my legs, and fold my hands over my stomach. "Take your time. I've got forever."
But we don't. After this weekend, life changes--my life and Chris's. On Monday, Chris and I will be seniors starting our last fall baseball league. I only have a few more months to impress the professional baseball scouts or the dream I've been working toward my entire life will dissolve into ashes.
A shove at my foot brings me back to the here and now.
"Stop the serious shit," Logan whispers. The lone junior at the table and the best damn catcher in the state nods toward the rest of the group. He knows my facial expressions better than anyone. He should. We've been playing together since we were kids. Me pitching. Him catching.
For Logan's sake, I laugh at a joke Chris told even though I didn't hear the punch line.
"We close soon." Taco Bell Chick wipes a table near ours and gives Chris a smile. She almost looks pretty in the glow of the red neon Drive-Thru Open sign.
"I may call that one," says Chris.
I lift a brow. He worships his girlfriend. "No, you won't."
"I would if it weren't for Lacy." But he has Lacy, and loves her, so neither one of us continues that conversation.
"I have one more try." I make a show of glancing around...
Dare You To
By: Katie McGarry