The Boyfriend Deal
by Charity West
Evernight Teen Publishing, 97 pages
When Hadley’s ex-boyfriend becomes something of a stalker, she decides it’s time to take drastic measures – and kisses the first boy who walks past her locker. But she isn’t prepared for the kiss, not at all, or what happens afterward.
Tyler Robbins, the captain of the football team, is every girl’s dream guy. He has something of a reputation though for using girls and tossing them aside, not that it stops them from flocking his way. All of that changes the moment Hadley’s lips touch his.
When Tyler proposes that Hadley pretends to date him as a way to save them both – him from his mother and her from her ex-boyfriend – Hadley is reluctant to give it a try. In the end, she agrees, but she’s nowhere near prepared for the journey she’s about to embark on.
Seeing Hunter head my way, a determined, slightly psycho look in his eyes, made me panic. I did the only thing I could think to do. I grabbed the first boy I saw and kissed him like my life depended on it, but as my body pressed against my unsuspecting target and my lips crashed against his, three things became very apparent to me. One, the boy knew how to kiss; his lips were divine and the hands going around my waist weren’t so bad either. Two, I was slightly in over my head, as he pressed me back against my locker. And three … well, I was still reeling from one and two. Three would have to wait for later.
“If you wanted me to kiss you, Red, all you had to do was say so.”
My eyes popped open and I stared in open-mouthed shock at the boy who had just made me melt with his kiss. Tyler Robbins. The one boy I should avoid like the plague. The only boy who had the power to completely devastate me, rip out my heart and stomp on it, and do so without any true effort on his part. I’d had a major crush on him since pre-kindergarten. Perhaps crush was too tame a word. When you’ve obsessed over a boy since the age of four, it escalated things beyond crush level.
He winked at me and moved along down the hall, as if the earth hadn’t just moved, as if lightning hadn’t just struck, as if … well, you get the point. He was everything I’d ever wanted, and the one thing I’d never have. Tyler flitted from one girl to another. He didn’t have a flavor of the month; he had a flavor of the day. Or maybe it was a flavor of the hour. Except for Alicia Thompson. She was his on again off again girlfriend for the last two years, and she was a total witch. The last time they’d broken up, she’d egged the car of his next conquest.
It took me a moment to realize Hunter was standing beside me, looking both livid and hurt all at the same time, but really, the entire thing was his fault. If he hadn’t cheated on me, then turned stalker, my lips never would have touched Tyler’s. Then again, maybe I should be thanking him. Now I could cross off a major item on my wish list. I’d been dreaming of kissing Tyler Robbins since the first time I saw him, on my very first day of school. Of course, that was before he started crushing on the snotty girl in our class, then I just wanted to pelt him in the face with a mud pie at recess.
“Why are you doing this, Hadley? Tyler Robbins? Don’t you know he’s going to use you and toss you aside like yesterday’s garbage?”
“Yeah, because there’s no one around here who hasn’t already done that, right? In case you missed it, Hunter, we broke up. You have no say in who I do or do not kiss. If I want to make out with him in the janitor’s closet, that’s my business and not yours. And stop stalking me! I’m not taking you back. Not now, not ever.”
I snatched the books out of my locker, slammed it shut, and took off down the hall. I could feel his gaze boring into my back, and I wasn’t not going to lie, it seriously creeped me out. But what could I possibly do about Hunter? My own family thought I should give him another chance; every girl in school was praying I wouldn’t, and no matter what I said to the boy, he wouldn’t take no for an answer.
What I needed was a boyfriend. Someone who wouldn’t be intimidated by Hunter, who would stand up to him and tell him to back off and leave me the heck alone. What I needed was a jock, but no self-respecting jock was going to be seen with a band geek like me. And I wasn’t even in the marching band, the semi-cool band geeks because they kept the audience revved up during football games. I played the flute, but I wasn’t coordinated enough to walk and play at the same time. Not without landing on my face at any rate.
I sat through first period in kind of a daze, not really hearing anything the teacher said. I managed to write down my assignment and shuffled toward the door when the bell rang. It seemed I wasn’t the only one in a daze and ready to leave Mr. Bertram’s math class because everyone bottlenecked at the doorway. As I was squeezing my way through, someone grabbed my arm and I found myself plastered against Tyler for the second time that morning.
Startled, I looked up at him, wondering why his hands were on my waist, and more importantly, why was he looking at me like that? You know, in that you’re the only girl in the world kind of way. Not even Hunter had ever looked at me like that. He didn’t say anything, not at first. He just stood there smiling down at me. I took a moment to admire his perfectly gelled hair and—sniff—his heavenly scent. I had no idea what type of cologne he wore, but if I could wrap myself in that scent—preferably by way of his arms being around me—then I would die happy.
Charity West is a young adult romance author who has always had her head in the clouds. She had her first crush when she was four, and it lasted for six years. Then she quickly fell head over heels for another boy, until she had to move away and leave him behind. Jumping from one boy to another, she finally found a keeper when she was twenty, and she’s been married to him ever since.
By the time Charity was twelve, she was sneaking her mother’s Harlequin romances and reading them in secret when she was supposed to be asleep. Teased throughout middle school and high school for the bodice ripper covers on the books she openly read in class, she knew that one day she wanted to write her own happily-ever-afters.
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