Jesse Boone is a self-proclaimed bad boy and doesnât march to the beat of anyoneâs drum but his own. Growing up in less than desirable circumstances has made him no stranger to the hard knock life but his determination to leave it behind is fervent. He sees an opportunity to snag a college football scholarship when heâs transferred to East Franklin High School but Forbes Henderson has other plans. The player Jesse intends to replace doesnât plan on giving up his spot as starting quarterback so a rivalry is born. Jesse is determined to show his nemesis that heâs not only going to take his position as first string quarterback, heâs going to take his girl, too.
Claire Deveraux is perfection at its best. Sheâs beautiful, intelligent, and unaware she just became Jesse Booneâs conquest to settle a score with her boyfriend. Like her flawless performance as the perfect daughter and student, Claireâs production of being the perfect girlfriend has everyone fooled, except Jesse Boone. She fears this tattooed bad boy will see her secret desire to explore his crude threats and promises of rocking her perfect world. If she decides to give in to one uninhibited moment with Jesse, will she learn too late that it was all an act of vengeance or will Jesse learn that the taste of first love is sweeter than that of revenge?
Claire Deverauxâs POV
Once weâre started on the assignment, I catch Jesse staring at me. Suddenly self-conscious, I run my palms down each of my cheeks. âWhat are you looking at? Do I have something on my face?â
âYou do.â He reaches out, grazing the back of his fingers against my cheek. âYouâve got a little beautiful right there.â
The heat rises because Iâm not used to such direct compliments. Forbes doesnât do romantic. Heâs too busy planning how heâll get what he wants from me.
âYou want to kiss me, donât you?â God, do I ever.
Heâs daringâand I love itâso I decide to return the boldness. âYou have no idea how much.â
He isnât going to back down. I see his determination but as I recall, he warned me about that. âI bet I have a pretty good idea since I probably want to kiss you just as much. Maybe more.â
Weâre aloneâmost likely safe from being seenâbut not guaranteed so it makes it so much more exciting. The thrill of being caught by someone makes my heart pump faster. I look into his pale blue eyes, willing him to lean forward and take the kiss Iâm prepared to give him.
âIâll do it,â he threatens.
âThen stop talking about it.â I know the sure-fire way to seal the deal. âI dare you.â
Bingo. I see it in his eyes. Heâs in full-on badass mode. âI warned you I donât back down.â
âThatâs what Iâm counting on.â
I imagine him leaning forward to steal a quick kiss but he doesnât. He takes my hand and leads me across the library. He looks in every direction before opening a door and pulling me into a storage room I didnât know existed. He shuts the door behind us and locks it.
Oh God. Whatâs he going to do?
He places his hands around my waist and pulls me close, our faces almost touching. âBelieve me yet?â
âNo. I need more proof.â
âI was hoping youâd say that.â
He places sweet, soft kisses on my lips and my legs threaten to crumble beneath me. His mouth migrates to my neck and up to my ear where he sucks my lobe. I let him because I know the door is locked.
Nick Hawke wants his car fast and his girls faster. He blows through them quicker than his muscle car races down the drag strip in Collinsville and he wouldnât have it any other way. Heâs determined to avoid the devastation he has watched his father endure in the aftermath of his motherâs abandonment. He believes there is no room in his life or his heart for a relationship lasting more than one night. He seeks happiness in things that wonât let him downââfast cars, adrenaline highs, and one night stands. All of that changes when he unexpectedly runs into an old friend and is introduced to Payton Archer, the first girl he ever wanted for more than a night. Thereâs only one catchââsheâs completely immune to him and his smooth talking ways.
Payton Archer is looking for loveââthe true, mad, deep kind. Sheâs given up on finding it, at least until she leaves for college because sheâs certain that is where sheâll find the ideal guy to fit into her perfect world. Her summer plans include nothing more than three uneventful months of fun but it turns out to be anything but ordinary when Payton meets Nick Hawke, one of Jesseâs old Collinsville friends. Sheâs shocked by her immediate and intense attraction for âHawkeâ because nothing about him is on her checklist for the perfect love. Sure, heâs hot and sexy but he comes from Collinsville and that is definitely not on her list of prerequisites. Everything about him makes Paytonâs heart speed. Heâs exciting and dangerous but his fast car and chance taking aren't what scares Payton the most. Itâs the way Nick Hawke makes her feel every time he looks at her. Can Payton find the courage to leave the safe, shallow end of love and risk going under completely?
Nick Hawkeâs POV
I lick my lips as I look at her shiny gloss, imagining how soft and slick her mouth would be against mine. Iâve never wanted to lean in for a kiss so badly in all my life. Being at the top of this Ferris wheel with her couldnât be more perfect but I canât do it. Iâm too scared.
Iâm Nick Hawkeâa sexpert and fearless daredevilâbut that doesnât matter. Iâm too chickenshit to kiss this girl because sheâs wonderful and perfect and differentâeverything I never knew I wantedâso I donât want to blow it by pushing too hard, too fast.
The wheel stops to load another couple. âIâm sorry I didnât say this already, but thank you for taking care of my drunk ass last night. I didnât think Iâd get wasted after two drinks. Guess I drank them too fast.â
I reach for her hand and give it a squeeze. âI didnât mind. It was my pleasureâpuke and all.â
She shakes her head while looking down. âLiar.â She laughs. âThe whole thing with Cooper was stupid. I guess I tried to make him be my version of Jesse. I know thatâs a weird thing to say. Iâm sort of messed up that way.â She looks up at me. âIâm sorry. I donât know why I told you that.â
Claireâs right. Sheâs seeing her relationship with Cooper for what it is.
All the carriages are loaded so we rise and fall as the wheel rotates. A gust of wind picks up as we soar to the top. A wild strand of hair blows into her face, sticking in her lip gloss. I canât resist the excuse to touch her so I reach forward to set it free.
All I can taste and breathe is this moment with her. Our time together will be over soon and I donât want to go home without telling her I have to see her again.
I twirl the wild strand around my fingers before tucking it behind her ear. âYou told me you wouldnât go out with me because you were looking for something different, but youâre here with me now.â
A painful expression crosses her face. âYouâve been really sweet to me and Iâve had a wonderful time with you tonightâas a friendâbut we can never be more than that. Youâve gone through too many girls.â
âI used protection every time without fail. I swear I havenât caught anything, if thatâs what youâre worried about.â
Sheâs blushing. Shit. I think Iâve embarrassed her. âIâm glad to hear that you had the good sense to practice safe sex but thatâs not what I mean. Iâm looking for something lasting and youâre looking for your next romp.â
She has this all wrong. âI know thatâs what you think, but Iâm not.â
âYou are, and Iâm a quest. I wonât flip on to my back for you and itâs driving you crazy because itâs new territory.â
âThatâs not true.â
âItâs only a matter of time before you grow tired of me and move on to the next chase. If we leave well enough alone, weâll walk away from this unscathed. We might even be friends.â
I want to be so much more than friends. I want Payton Archer for reasons other than sex.
I am being honest with myself about what I really want for the first time in a long time.
âYouâre wrong, but itâs going to take a while for you to see that. In the meantime, Iâll take your friendship.â