Book Spotlight: '90s Playlist by Various Authors

'90s Playlist 
(Romance Rewind #1)
by Amy Jo Cousins, Audra North, Brighton Walsh, Jennifer Blackwood, Lorelie Brown, and Rebecca Grace Allen 
Publication Date: October 13th 2015
Genres: New Adult, Romance

About '90s Playlist
Six stories of sex, love, and being young in the ‘90s, inspired by songs of the decade…

My Strongest Weakness by Brighton Walsh
It was supposed to be a one-time thing. No one would find out; no one would have to know. And then once turned into twice, and twice turned into several times a week, and now pierced, punk-loving, rebellious Tia Lanning is banging Mason Brooks, the big man on campus and Mr. All American. But banging him isn’t the problem. Falling for him is. Especially when he’s content to let her remain his dirty little secret.

Worthwhile by Audra North
Jill didn’t expect her semester in Leeds to start with getting dumped by her boyfriend. Especially since she only came to England to be with him. Two weeks in, all she wants to do is go home. Finding love with someone new is definitely not an option. But when she literally stumbles into grad student Stuart’s arms, her experience abroad becomes a lot more worthwhile.

Creep by Lorelie Brown
Roni lives for the raves in Oakland’s warehouse district. Dancing till dawn in white gloves under black lights breathes life into her soul. Nothing will get her kicked out of her underground world faster than turning over Skittles, her dealer. She refuses to provide info about the underage runaway to his big brother Tom. But Tom is going to find Skittles with or without Roni’s cooperation. But Tom is special. He’s rich, handsome and bold. Roni wishes she was special. And like the rave scene she loves, nothing lasts forever.

Smells Like Teen Spirit by Rebecca Grace Allen
Rory Stone’s days of grunge and poetry are behind her, her reality now in bags of Arabian brew, and counting the change in the tip jar. Can indie singer James Griffith rock her muse back into the present?

The Belle vs. the BDOC by Amy Jo Cousins
Shelby Summerfield is a gold star lesbian, even if she doesn’t look like one. Florence Truong is the only other dyke at Carlisle College in 1993 not wearing plaid flannel, and Shelby sets her sights on seduction. But instead of a delightful tumble in the sheets, Florence calls her out for being a straight girl. With seduction off the table, Shelby settles for revenge for her humiliation. But if all she wants is to show up her campus rival, how come Shelby can’t stop herself from saving Florence instead of annihilating her?

Little Red Thong by Jennifer Blackwood
Emily Jones is ready to embark on the most epic spring break trip of her college career with her bestie, twin brother, and her brother’s best friend, Chase. Chase has been in love with Emily since the eighth grade when she kicked his ass in laser tag. He’s not going to piss away his last chance to tell her how he feels. When the group decides to play a game of Spring Break BINGO that involves body shots, a red thong, and secret hookups, this is the perfect catalyst to get him out of the friend zone. But as things get heated, they have to decide if twenty years of friendship is worth putting in jeopardy because of a game, and what will happen when they hit dry land.

Read my 4.5-starred review of '90s Playlist.

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Excerpts from '90s Playlist
My Strongest Weakness by Brighton Walsh
This is so not my scene. It’s not that I hate parties…just these parties. Snooty sorority girls with their Heathers cliques, whispering and pointing at anyone who looks different from them. Jocks who are obnoxious and irritating, doing keg stands or groping chicks in the corners or on the couches. I’d rather be just about anywhere. But when Stacy, my roommate from Freshman year, cornered me in the quad after my foreign film class and begged me to come along, saying all her other friends bailed on her and the guy she was trying to catch the eye of was going to be here, I figured why the hell not? 

Plus, I thought it would be a good opportunity to fuck with him.

Him being Mason Brooks. Starting quarterback, a legacy and vice president of Zeta Alpha Tau, and Mister All-American. He’s perfection personified. Perfect hair, perfect body…straight white teeth anchoring the perfect smile. Perfect clothes. Perfect life. His parents, both lawyers, are still married. They attend every football game, or so I’ve heard, and live about an hour upstate in a suburb I can’t even afford to drive through, let alone live in. Perfect.

We’re like water and oil, never mixing well. As different as night and day. I hate him on principle alone.

A game of Quarters is going on in the corner, and he’s there, standing almost a head taller than everyone else he’s with. He looks stupid in his backward baseball cap, No Fear shirt, and jeans, just a lemming talking to his lemmings. Everything about him should turn me off, from his neatly cropped hair, to his cocky stance, to his booming voice, to all those muscles hidden beneath his clothes. 

Sadly, it doesn’t, which is what got me into this situation in the first place. 

He’s talking with some guys I’ve seen him with around campus. Two girls hang off each of his arms—one of whom I overheard in the dining hall say she was going to hook up with him tonight. Since overhearing that, there’s been a fissure of…something…that started low in my belly and worked its way up, and now it’s nearly overwhelming. Must be anticipation. Excitement at the shit that’s about to hit the fan. Mason hasn’t noticed me yet, and I’m kind of looking forward to when he does. The Fourth of July will have nothing on the fireworks between us when he sees I’ve broken our code and shown up on his home turf.

There aren’t a lot of rules between us. In fact, there are only three: No interacting in public, no unscheduled hookups, and no home turf invasions. 

I’m planning to break all three tonight, just for the hell of it.

“Tia!” Stacy grabs my arm and spins me around, pointing toward the far end of the house. “I see Brad over there, so I’m gonna try and catch his eye. You okay?”

“Yeah, yeah,” I say, waving her off. “I’ll find you when I want to leave.”

“Okay, an hour, tops!”

Without another word, she takes off in that direction, her long hair flying behind her, and I’m left without a buffer. There’s no denying Stacy fits in here with the rest of the crowd in the house. She’s everything I’m not. Styled blonde hair and trendy clothes, bubble gum personality to my black licorice. When we were assigned the same dorm Freshman year, I thought it’d be a disaster. Turned out we clicked despite our differences and managed to keep in touch even when we moved on to other living arrangements. 

Head held high, I ignore the thinly veiled looks of judgment tossed in my direction as I make my way through the crowd. God forbid I not be here in a schoolgirl skirt and a baby tee clinging to my tits, all my goodies on display for everyone to see. The chains of my necklace jangle as I walk through the party, not really sure where I’m going. But moving is better than standing still, waiting for the vultures to strike. 

Even though I’m on my third year here, I’ve managed to make it my entire college career thus far having yet to actually step foot into a frat house. Until tonight. It’s bigger than I thought it would be. Cleaner, too, even with all the people around. I was picturing a slum, basically. Bug infested, maybe, with garbage lying all over the place, beer-stained carpets and cigarette burns on the couches. How could it not be, with a horde of guys living under the same roof and multiple parties here every week? They must have someone in to clean, because there’s no way any males from the ages of eighteen to twenty-two could keep this shit up.

There’s a wall to my right showcasing dozens and dozens of photographs. I don’t know a lot about fraternities, but I know enough to realize they’re pictures of members of Zeta Alpha Tau, going back several years. Mason is in those photos, somewhere, though I don’t allow myself to stop and look. 

I’m on a mission, and reminding Mason our agreement is tenuous is priority number one.
Worthwhile by Audra North
How could he?

I couldn’t stop thinking those words, over and over, as I ran down the stairs, face hot with humiliation and anger and the effect of too many alcopops. I didn’t care that I could barely see through my tears. I was too desperate to get away from what I’d just seen. So I kept one hand on the wall as I stumbled my way downward, trying hard to ignore how the curving descent wasn’t helping my stomach much. After a week of barely eating, all the alcohol I’d had in the past two hours was already burning in my gut, and the winding staircase only added to the roiling discontent.

Not to mention that the high collar of my jacket was already soggy. Ugh. My face must be a mess. A watery, crumpled, heartbroken mess. I just had to get out of here. Out into the cool night air, and then I’d be fine. Shae would probably figure out that I’d left at some point, especially if she saw what I’d just seen. 

Who was I kidding? The whole party had probably seen it already.

I didn’t want to stop running until I was back at my dorm. Then I could call my parents to let them know that I wanted to come home. Which was going to suck, because I’d begged them to let me do this program in the first place, and I hadn’t even managed to last two weeks in my semester abroad. 

The humiliation of it only made me cry harder, and I stumbled with the force of my sobbing, missing the last step. I pitched forward, my platform sneakers making it impossible for me to find any traction, and all I could do was brace myself for a rough, embarrassing, terrible—

“Oof!” I made impact, the breath whooshing out of me. Strange. That was surprisingly less painful than I’d expected. What did British folks build their floors out of? This one was rather warm and muscular…

No, wait. Damn it. I hadn’t hit the floor. I was in someone’s arms. Someone strong and masculine-feeling. My face was turned to the side, my cheek pressed against his chest—it seemed that whoever this poor guy was had caught me when I’d fallen, but I was too tear-blinded and drunk on vodka and sorrow to even realize it immediately.

“You all right?” Something vibrated against my ear. His chest, probably.

I dragged a limp hand over my face, rubbing at my eyes with the heel of my palm, and nodded. I felt my cheek rub over his shirt. Mmm, soft. Felt like a nice flannel.

Another swipe over my eyes and my vision finally cleared. I was hanging like a rag doll, both legs still on the bottom step of the winding staircase, the top of my body propped up by a purple-plaid-clad chest. 

A muscular chest, from the feel of it. 

Not that I was in the mood to notice something like that, really. Not when I’d just witnessed my very-recently-ex-boyfriend sucking face with and practically humping some random girl out in the hallway at our mutual friend’s party.

But something about the comforting way this stranger was holding me was helping keep the tears at bay. I nuzzled deeper into his shirt.

“Right. Uh, well…perhaps—might you be able to stand on your own?” His voice was somewhere between a tenor and a bass, and the tentative way he was speaking made it sound like he was singing me a lullaby. It felt so good. With the emotional upheaval and the drinks and the lack of food this past week while I mourned the unexpected, brutal end of a two-year relationship, I was suddenly very, very sleepy.

I wanted to reply and tell him that I’d rather stay where I was, but I couldn’t even muster the energy to do that. In a good way, though. It felt like a good kind of enervation. 

Oh, you magical, flannel-clad, rumbling lullaby chest.

Sleep. I needed sleep, desperately, and for some reason, this chest was making me feel like it might be okay to go ahead and succumb.

The last thing I heard before I surrendered to total exhaustion was that deep voice, sighing and saying, “I suppose that answers my question.”
Creep by Lorelie Brown
I narrow my eyes at him. “Are you sure you’re his brother? Skittles doesn’t have an accent at all, and you’re…what? English?” 

“Good ear, Miss…” 

“Roni. Short for Veronica. And you can lay off the miss shit.” He makes me feel defensive. He’s too…Jesus, too much. I step back, but run into the CD rack behind me. It clatters. 

“I assure you I’m his brother.” Tom inclines his head toward me and his dark hair falls across his forehead in a way I bet he doesn’t like. That’s what comes of pulling off his sunglasses and scraping his fingers through the waviness in frustration. It looks like both a familiar and awkward gesture. His shirt and slacks are still pin-slick-ironed though. “Half-brother, and I’m older by ten years. We haven’t been as close as I’d like. Which is why it’s come to my attention only recently that Corey is in trouble.” 

“Seems fine when I see him.” I shrug and turn away toward the rack of Prince. I wipe my cloth over the sign, reaching up on my tiptoes to get the vinyl on the higher, less-accessed shelf, and I hope I don’t shake. Skittles doesn’t seem so great lately.

My stomach gives an entirely different kind of twist than it had a minute ago, the not-nice kind. 

“He hasn’t accessed his trust fund in over three months.” 

“His what?” I squawk and back to face Tom. 

His eyebrows lift, wrinkling his brow. “He doesn’t make it known?” 

“No.” I can’t help a laugh. “Not really.” 

Tom leans in. I swear I can smell crisp cologne. I want to put my nose against the soft spot behind his jaw to find out. “Do you know where he’s been staying?” 

“See, that’s the thing.” 

Closer. He comes even closer. My gaze flicks away toward the front counter, but I can’t see Cindy. I don’t want to. I want something really filthy to happen. I want this man to touch me. Not just a hand on my waist, but I want him to touch me intimately. Molesting kinds of level. Hand straight up my shirt. It’s high cut enough, showing off my midriff above low-slung jeans. I’m not going to stop him. 

But he has completely different things on his mind. His jaw tightens in a way that says he’ll chew me up and spit me out if I give him half a chance. “Where does he stay?” 

“Nowhere. He’s one of the kids…” I gulp. “He’s one of the kids who crashes. Here and there. If you’re lucky, you might be able to find him up and down Telegraph Avenue.” 

Tom is furious. Burning with something like rage. I want to touch him. I want to burn myself on him. But he has a force field around him. 

Finding it exciting probably cements my fucked-in-the-headedness. 

“And if I don’t find him there? Do you know how I can get ahold of him?” 

“Sort of.” I have a beeper number I use for him, but I don’t think he’d be happy with me if I give it to Tom. Just a hunch. 

“Care to elucidate?” 
“My, my, isn’t that a ten dollar word.” I bite the inside of my lip. He is…remarkable. 

“Not in the circles I run in.” 

“I have no doubt of that.” My fingertips creep toward my bare waist. I want his eyes there. I want him to notice me. 

I have a tendency to act out inappropriately. 

“How do I find him, Roni?” 

I like that he remembers my name, at least. I head for the front window. The sill is six inches deep and stacked with flyers. Colorful ones in dye-cut shapes, black-and-white ones that had been run off on a Xerox machine. A tiny stack of a really wicked poetry ‘Zine that I’ve left there beyond the six-week cutoff because more people could use poetry in their life, even if it tends toward a little overly pretentious. The flyer I need is bright-as-hell yellow, in the shape of a happy face. On the other side are barely intelligible details for a huge ass party. There are no directions, just a phone number that you should call on Friday, the day of the event. There’d be a voicemail recording with the location. “He’ll be here.”

“A rave.” Tom turns the flyer over and over. Disdain crawls out of his pores. His eyes are a cool blue, his cheekbones high in a way I’m not used to. Most people I know with cheekbones that sharp have heroin problems. Not this guy. He’s too…well bred. “How do you know Corey will be there?” 

“Skittles is my dealer.” 
Smells Like Teen Spirit by Rebecca Grace Allen
One hand gripping the rag, Rory turned to watch James sing. Thick forearms flexed as his hands roamed across the frets and strings. He seemed so serene, the music flowing effortlessly from him, one foot tapping a beat against the floor as he sang and played. And good lord, that voice. He’d sounded sexy when he’d merely said a few words, but hearing him sing was a whole new fucking ball game. Whisper-soft in the verses. Powerful in the choruses. Rory stood there, transfixed, until the song ended in a crescendo of louder notes as he jammed through the last few chords.

James Griffith was no open mic newbie. This guy was a full-fledged musician. The stage seemed smaller with him taking residence on it too, like he was already a star bound for bigger places than Hammond Falls, New York.

He smiled at the applause the tiny crowd gave him, and Rory was suddenly flustered by his grin. It was childlike, big and honest. It woke up a sleeping part of her that wanted to see if she could catch his attention again. But he was definitely younger than her—someone who could smile like that obviously hadn’t been kicked in the teeth by life yet—and Rory didn’t do Pearce kids.

Not anymore, anyway.

Focusing back on getting ready for closing, Rory moved through the cafe, lifting the wooden chairs, placing them upside down on each table in a way that made it clear closing time was soon.

Last call, kids. Everybody out of the pool.

Blondie led her crew toward the front door, pausing to give Rory a not-so-covert once-over.

“How long did it take you to do your hair like that?” she asked.

Rory fingered one of the bleached blond tendrils hanging down from her haphazard up-do. It was a rare moment of self-consciousness, and irritation boiled in her gut. Her lip curled up in the beginnings of a snarl, but Rory quickly stopped herself. This was work. She needed to behave.

“Probably as long as it took you to get so good at singing that song.”

Her tone was bright and bubbly enough that Blondie missed her sarcasm. James, however did not. Standing a few paces behind them with his guitar case, he snorted and covered his mouth.

A grin eased out of her. A real one. One that reminded her of the old Rory. It felt…weird.

The girls exited, and James took an uncertain step toward her.

“I’m really sorry to ask this, since I can tell you’re closing and all, but could I trouble you for a glass of water?”

Could I trouble you? What was this guy, a grandpa disguised as a guitar-playing college student? She stood there dumbly for a moment, half expecting him to pull a Scooby-Doo-esque mask off his face. The hot guy you’re staring at is actually an alien!

 “Uh, sure. Yeah. No problem.” Rory went behind the counter. “You want tap or bottled?”

“Tap would be fine,” he said, voice raspy. She glanced over her shoulder in time to catch his wince. He was obviously in pain. And that voice was too beautiful to let suffer.

“I can make you some tea,” she said. “If you want.”

She wasn’t saying it so he’d stay here a little longer. She was being a Good Samaritan. Helping out the needy. Although if he was a Pearce kid like she suspected, she knew which one of them would take the lead in a ‘who-was-needier-than-who’ competition.

“That would be amazing. Thank you.” The relief on his face was palpable. James reached for his wallet, but Rory shook her head.

“You put on a good show. It was a nice change of pace compared with the crap I’m usually forced to endure. Consider it on the house.”

He tipped his head in a move that said Yeah? Rory gave him a shrug in reply. It was half a nice gesture and half not wanting to have to balance the till again. She nodded toward one of the chairs she hadn’t turned over yet.

“You can sit, if you want.”

His smile was too bright, lighting up the room again. She turned away to fill a ceramic mug with hot water. Retrieving the box that housed the cafe’s different types of teas, she hesitated before stepping out from behind the counter, then kicked her apprehension to the curb. She still remembered how to have a conversation, despite how much time she’d spent cloistered away over the last few years.

She strode toward the table, and placed the box and mug on top of it. “Drink up.”

“Oh, wow. This is great.” James opened a package of Peachberry Jasmine and submerged it in water. “Thank you again.”

“No biggie. I loved your Nirvana cover, by the way.”

The sudden honesty was a surprise. Rory blamed the song. Grunge had always moved her in a way no other music did, the sound so raw and intense, with lyrics about loneliness, isolation and yearning.

She had to stifle a laugh. Liking that music must’ve been fate. A cruel foreshadowing of what her life was going to be like.

“Thanks. I’ve been working on it for a while,” James said. “Nevermind was the album that made me want to learn how to play guitar.”

A performer who shared her taste in music. It plucked at her heartstrings. Or gut-strings. Or a-few-inches-lower-than-that strings.

He stretched his hand across the table. “I’m James, by the way. It’s nice to meet you.”

Rory’s brows skyrocketed. Again with the manners? The guy must’ve grown up in a functional household something.

“Dude, I know your name. I introduced you, remember?”

He laughed and retracted his hand. “Duh. Of course. I forgot.”

“You forgot?”

He nodded, and his cheeks went even redder. His blush made her want to say twisted and depraved things to him. To unearth the old Rory and see how deep she could get that crimson to go.

She reached her hand out toward him, a peace offering. “I’m Rory.”
The Belle and the BDOC by Amy Jo Cousins
Getting busted in the back of a bar with your hand on a penis was not the way to go about picking up the hottest lesbian on campus. 

“Oh my gravy,” Shelby Summerfield murmured into the ear of the boy who was panting into her breasts and tugging her hand toward the bulge behind his belt. Davis was full as a tick, if the tick had been downing shots of Wild Turkey all night, and Shelby was trying to break it to him gently that she was a pussy-only sort of girl. Of course, if she hadn’t known he’d just been publicly dumped by his girlfriend in humiliating fashion, she’d have applied her knee to Davis’s private parts, but allowances could be made for heartbreak among study buddies.

“Excuse me.”

Oh, fudge.

“Um, hey,” Shelby managed to squeeze out over Davis’s shoulder.

“Don’t let me interrupt,” Florence Truong drawled over the Gin Blossoms singing about jealousy. Someone in the bar—Shelby suspected Davis—had pumped a truckload of quarters into the jukebox and put the song on repeat.

“No, he’s not—” But the woman Shelby had come here to find just shook her head and rolled her eyes, striding off toward the front of the bar with a swing of her hips that called attention to her pipecleaner-skinny grey trousers and forest green velvet blazer with cuffed sleeves.

“Damn.” Shelby let herself curse, because really, if a situation called for it, this one did. “Double damn. Oh, get off me.”

She pushed Davis’s dead weight off her shoulder, where he seemed to have passed out sometime after begging for his first hand job and before the spectacular exit of Ms. Florence Truong. Halfway through his slow slide down the wall to the floor, Shelby gave in and hauled him upright again.

“Good thing you don’t weigh much more than a sack of wet mice, Davis Crawley,” she ground out as she wedged a shoulder under his armpit and hauled him toward the front of the bar. If she were lucky, she could prop him up on one of the bar stools with a high wooden back long enough for him to sober up. No sense trying to send him home when the boy probably couldn’t remember his own name, much less where he lived. Pouring him into one of the few town taxicabs was a waste of the money she’d no doubt have to pay the driver in advance.

Besides, one drunk poli sci study partner—who was almost certainly going to remember none of this in the morning—was not about to put Shelby Summerfield off her game plan. She’d come to this stupid bar tonight, on trivia night, because she’s heard Florence showed up every Wednesday.

Shelby was tired of drooling over the woman from afar.

She was going to track Florence down like a bloodhound if she had to, because Shelby didn’t believe in settling for anything less than exactly what she wanted.

And if that meant slipping the bartender ten bucks to let Davis sleep it off at far end of the bar, she certainly wouldn’t consider that a waste of the allowance her parents mailed her every two weeks from Dallas.

The bartender, a cranky man whose belly, nose, and enunciation made it clear he was used to drinking as much behind the bar as Davis had poured down his throat in front of it barked at her when she deposited Davis on a vacant chair.

“He pukes, you clean it up.”

“If he pukes, I’ll kill him myself,” she muttered, as worried about the state of her campaign to seduce Florence Truong as she was about the state of the floors at Egon’s.

The impression that she’d been giving Davis a handjob in the back of the bar could surely be overcome. Mopping up puke on her hands and knees in front of the coolest dykes on campus? Not even Scarlett O’Hara could have come back from that kind of blow.

“Just…let him sober up a little. I’ll check on him. I promise,” she swore, and then grabbed her longneck and wriggled through the crowd toward the table where Florence sat with a half dozen girls, all of whom howling the words to a 4 Non Blondes hit. Throwing her shoulders back and pasting a big smile on her face, she waited until the song trailed off, strategically, and then made her approach.

Someone at the table was wearing too much patchouli—although Shelby really thought that any patchouli was too much, and stuck to her Clinique Happy, because even the name had a good attitude—and no one even looked at her, which was how she knew they were ignoring her on purpose, because her boobs were spilling out of this sundress like nobody’s business.

Her cup runneth’d the heck over.
Little Red Thong by Jennifer Blackwood
“Lame, ladies.” Chase fisted his shirt and pulled it over his head in one fluid motion, putting his muscled chest on full display.  

Sweet mother of pearl. 

I clapped my hand over my mouth to hide a very audible gasp. I coughed and tried to play it off like I had something in my throat, because nothing could be more awkward than Chase knowing that I was gawking at his ripped muscles. That thought didn’t even feel right, because when did the words Chase and muscles go together? He’d been cute in a gawky, lanky way, which tended to happen when a gamer’s main form of a workout was making Mario run through the Mushroom Kingdom. And that bulk could not be achieved through the use of a controller.  

Melissa tapped me on the shoulder, her brows furrowed, and I realized I was still coughing and sputtering. “You okay? Need water?”

I nodded and Melissa pulled a bottle of water out of her bag and handed it to me. 

I twisted off the lid and took a few sips, trying to look anywhere but at Chase. But as a certain law of the universe goes, the more you tell yourself not to do something, the more you want to do it.  I shifted my gaze to him as he stepped into the pool, the water slowly moving its way up his legs, flowing over the print of his shorts, teasing at the waistband that gave way to abs

Holy crap. There was a six-pack…attached to Chase. And were those biceps or dinner rolls? Shit, when did he get so ripped? I rubbed my lips together and reached into the pocket of my cover-up for my Chapstick, to alleviate my suddenly parched lips. 

Drew hopped up from his chair and sprinted toward the pool closest to us, executing a perfect cannonball. Chase swam after him, the muscles in his back and his calves flexing with each movement and I shook my head, trying to force myself to look away. 

I hadn’t really looked closely at him until now, because Chase was always…well, he was Chase. My next door neighbor since I was born, my brother’s best friend. He was just always there, kind of like an art piece that hung above the top of our family’s mantel—something you know is there but you stop noticing after a while. 

Well, I was noticing now. 

Now he was…hot. Like Freddie Prinze, Jr. hot. 

Whoa. Those thoughts needed to sink back down to the depths from which they’d sprouted. This was Chase we were talking about. The same guy who used to flick spit wads into my hair on the bus in middle school and gave me noogies up until senior year of high school.  

After the guys swam farther away, Melissa laid her Cosmo over her stomach and turned to me. “You never told me about your brother’s hot friend.”

“Um. Yeah. Recent change.” As in, last time I saw him was junior year Christmas, during winter break, he definitely wasn’t sporting a football player physique. He’d transformed from Screech to Slater status in less time than it took the earth to orbit the sun. 

She pulled her neon green sunglasses down her nose and raised a brow suggestively. “You gonna hit that?” 

“Seriously, M, who talks that way?”

“Me and Coolio? Maybe Dre?”

I shook my head and giggled. “Good to know you’re getting down with your rapper roots. Should I call you DJ Gold?” On a scale of gangster cred, Melissa Gold ranked somewhere along the same line as Weird Al Yankovic. I mean, the girl once put gum wrappers over her teeth to pretend she had a platinum grill, but that was about as hood as it was going to get. 

She threw out a fake gang sign. “Fo-shizzle.”

I playfully pushed at her hands. “Put those away before you hurt yourself.”

“It’s hard spending my life in a gangster’s paradise.”

“Go back to your Cosmo before you get us shot.”

She turned back to me, more serious this time. “For real, though, are you calling dibs on that Chase dude?”

He was the pain in the ass next door. So why would it be a big deal if Melissa went for him?

But somehow that rational thought process didn’t help the unease that had settled in the pit of my stomach. Really, I had zero say over who he hooked up with—not that I cared. But a twinge of possessiveness zinged up my spine, nonetheless. Chase was a nice guy, not someone who should be used as a consolation prize for a twisted game of spring break bingo.  “I thought you were into Drew.”

“Yeah.” She turned to me, her lips curving into a mischievous smile. “You think they’d be into the three-way kiss?”

I snorted. “Um. No.”

“Damn. Oh well, I’m sure there’s someone willing to do that on this boat.”

“Mmhmm.” 

She opened her Cosmo back up and pointed out something in an article, but I zoned out as Chase commandeered a pool noodle and laid out in the water, everything but his chest and tops of his legs submerged. The sun glinted off each droplet on his chest, and Chase’s swimsuit had molded against his, ahem, package, and it was definitely hard not to stare. He laughed at something my brother said and two dimples appeared on either side of his face. 

I shifted restlessly in the chair, crossing and uncrossing my legs, focusing back on Melissa, who was reading out loud from the Most Embarrassing Moments column. Something about a bikini falling off and a big wave. But I couldn’t concentrate on the story. All I could focus on was Chase’s abs and bulge. Jesus, it’d been a while since my last boyfriend, but I’d never felt this type of need before, one that pulled low in my belly. Obviously this was the aftermath from notgettinganyitus. Maybe it should come with a warning label with a list of side-effects, like the ones for prescription medication on television.

Warning: prolonged abstinence may be associated with sudden onset of lusty feelings for your brother’s best friend. 

I swallowed hard and licked my parched lips. This was going to be a very long four days.

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