It's almost ready. Like we're talking days almost ready. To celebrate CLASH's upcoming release, I wanted to post an early teaser to get you all as excited as I am. Enjoy!
A fire crackled at my feet, the stars blinked above me, Jude’s arms held me tight against him, and the sound of an entire college football team belching their way through “Hey Jude” serenaded me.
“I can’t believe this big night I thought you’d planned for us also involved more than fifty football players,” I said, tilting my head back against Jude’s chest so he could see my expression.
“Sorry, baby,” he said, kissing the lines of my forehead. “I thought we’d have a couple hours to ourselves before these animals showed up.”
A couple hours? I would have settled for, oh, about fifteen minutes.
The belching chorus came to an inconclusive ending, the temporary silence only to be interrupted by a chorus of flatulence. I groaned, closing my eyes and pinching my nose.
“Man, that was lame, Ryder.” Tony’s, Jude’s number one wide receiver, unmistakable voice hollered across the campfire. “If I was trying to win a girl back, there’s no way I’d go through the whole effort of bribing her roommate to get her to some mixer so I could have the DJ serenade her with some suckass oldies song why I professed my undying love to her.”
I opened my eyes so I could deliver a glare through the fire at Tony. I loved the guy, his infectious character was impossible not to, most days. This wasn’t one of those days.
“I’d just go up to her and be like, ‘Hey, baby. How’s it going?’ You know, something real suave like that?” Tony smiled like the devil at me.
“Tony,” Jude spoke up, curling his chin over my shoulder, “when was the last time you got one of your old girlfriends to take your sorry ass back?”
Tony’s face scrunched up in contemplation. Shrugging, he answered, “Never.”
“Exactly,” Jude said, lifting his middle finger at him.
My arms were tucked tight into the blanket Jude had wrapped me in earlier, so when he lowered his finger, I nudged him. “One more for me.”
Tony got the bird from Jude again, this one compliments of Lucy Larson.
“Come on, Lucy,” Tony said as the rest of the players rocked in laughter, a few showering him in marshmallows. “You know I think you’re the shit. I’m just jealous because you’re about five times too good for Ryder and I want to get in on that five-times-too-good-for-me benefit too.”
“Maybe if you stopped dropping the ball and started getting it into the end zone, you could manage to find a girl who wanted to do more than run her hands all over those twenty inch biceps,” I said, cocking my head.
Jude stifled his laughter into the blanket. The rest of the team, not so much.
Popping his brows at me, Tony slid the sleeve of his t-shirt up, kissing his grotesquely large bicep, then repeated on the other one. “Stop hating on me, Lucy. Jude’s going to catch onto us if you don’t stop being so obvious,” he said, ducking his head as Jude’s mostly full sports drink bottle sailed past him. “And no need to worry about the end zone tomorrow, baby. I’m making that end zone my bitch.”
“I won’t hold my breath,” I replied, no longer able to contain my smile with Tony’s continued theatrics. At any given time, he was like watching a one man three-ring circus. And, all jesting aside, Tony was one hell of a wide receiver. Together, he and Jude had been setting records that would likely never be challenged.
“Here’s what I don’t get,” Tony said, nudging the guy next to him. The team’s number one kicker. I think his name was Kurt. Or maybe it was Kirk. Or Kent. Okay, K something. “In the appearance department, Ryder’s a seven, maybe an eight,” he said, narrowing his eyes as he inspected Jude. Kurt or Kirk appraised Jude, rubbing his chin.
“Then you’re a negative two, Tony,” I muttered, really cursing the fates that I was stuck bantering with a couple of Jude’s teammates while the rest talked about and performed every male thing that should never be known to women.
“His personality gets a suck’s ass,” Tony continued, nudging the K named kicker. “So why, in all things unfair and unholy, does he get all the good ones lining up outside his door?”
Jude leaned forward. “I can give you an eight inch explanation, Rufello.”
Tony and the kicker stared at Jude, then each other, right before their heads tipped back and they exploded with laughter.
Jude joined in about halfway through.
But something Tony said needed a little clearing up. “What good ones are lining up outside Jude’s door?” I asked, trying to keep my voice even.
Tony’s laughter trailed off, his dark eyes shifting away as soon as they landed on me. Jude’s body stiffened just enough around me to cue me to something being off.
“You,” Tony said, thrusting his hands my direction. “You’re the ‘good ones’ lining up outside his door.”
Nope, I wasn’t buying it. I’d seen Tony close to tears the night his senior year high school VIP trophy got snapped in half when a guy used it as a baseball bat at one of the legendary parties at their house, and even then his smile was almost present. There wasn’t a trace of it now, which meant Tony was working to cover something up.
“You,” he repeated again, when I continued to hold him prisoner with my glare.
“And Adriana Vix,” another one of Jude’s teammates added behind us, sounding like he would be content to make love with the name alone.