You know what they say...
All’s fair in the game of love and war—especially the heartbreaks.
Shay Gable hated my guts, and I hated hers, too.
We went out of our way to avoid one another at all times. When she came my direction, I went the other. When we locked eyes, she’d turn and walk away.
All of that changed the day I was presented with a challenge. It started out as a stupid bet: make Shay fall in love with me before I fell in love with her first.
That was an easy bet for me to win.
I didn’t love, I hardly liked.
Yet slowly the game started to shift. Shay made me crave things I never knew I wanted like love, happiness, and her.
The closer we grew, the more she challenged my darkness, and the parts I kept locked away.
The game between us became too real, our feelings intermixed, and the risks of hurting one another grew higher.
But you know what they say...
All’s fair in the game of love and war—especially the heartbreaks.
I have been looking forward to this title since I first met Landon and Shay in a previous title. Their story is one where you can tell that there's a lot there, a lot more going on than a couple of people who don't really like one another.
What I wasn't expecting was to get the opportunity to see how they met and their past, to really understand why there is something between them that is so deep you find yourself really wanting the story of characters that were secondary characters in another couple's story.
I was surprised at where this started. I wasn't expecting to get as much of their backstory as was in this one, and I can't lie, I was thrilled with getting to know them and I am really looking forward to the next one in this.
As this is a duet, I am not going to give details of the plot, of where it picks up in their story or where it ends, but I can say I enjoyed and recommend this title.
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Spin Seven was a mixture of spin the bottle and seven minutes in heaven. When it was my turn, I reached out to the bottle with no concern about whether or not it would land exactly where I wanted it to go. At fourteen years old, I’d learned how to perfect my spin-seven skills in order to kiss the girl I wanted.
Though, this time, I knew there wasn’t going to be a lot of kissing going on. More like yelling.
The bottle spun and spun, around and around. Shay’s eyes stayed glued to the glass beer bottle. The moment it started to slow down, I watched her lips part as she quietly muttered, “No, no, no,” before it stopped directly in front of her.
The circle began oohing and aahing at the idea that the two sworn enemies were on their way to the closet together for seven minutes straight. They were all here for that show, and I knew the moment we stepped into that closet, the door would be surrounded with people whispering and pressing their ear against it from the outside, trying to catch a snippet of what was going on behind closed doors.
I stood from the circle and gestured toward Shay. “Please,” I offered. “Chickens first.”
She grimaced, her thick, full eyebrows lowering a hair before she pushed herself up from the floor and headed toward the closet in haste. We both stepped inside and stood nose to nose.
“Okay, friends, you know the rules,” Eric said, grabbing the handle of the door. “Seven minutes in heaven—or, in your case, hell. Have fun!” He slammed the door shut, and the moment it happened, Shay whined with irritation.
“I can’t believe I’m locked in here with you for seven minutes. I could think of a million things I’d rather be doing,” she grumbled, probably with a pout.
“Oh, I don’t know…watching paint dry.”
“Well, since we’re here, we should probably spend our time wisely,” I joked, moving to unbuckle my jeans, knowing it would bother her. I wished I could see the annoyance on her face. I loved when I got under her skin enough to make her nostrils flare.
“Oh my gosh, remove that idea from your mind, Landon, and stop messing with your belt, because there’s no way in hell I’m touching you.”
“I’ve thought about it before,” I said, my voice low and tame.
“Thought about what?”
She huffed sarcastically. “I’m sure that’s not true.”
“You’re right, it’s not.”
It was true, though. It’d happened once—and only once—after Lance’s funeral. I had spent a lot of weeks being out of it, using alcohol to cope with the shitstorm raging inside my head, and I was a bit unstable. If my friends hadn’t been looking out for me, I would’ve probably gone overboard. I remembered walking into school one day and seeing Shay standing there at her locker with a few of her friends. She was laughing and tossing her head back in such a genuine way, and I couldn’t take my eyes off her.
I kept thinking about how she’d held me weeks prior and stayed with me during the lowest point of my life. She had been there—my enemy—taking care of my scars. And as I’d stared at her in the hallway, I’d thought about thanking her—walking over to her, parting my lips, and giving her my gratitude. I wasn’t used to people doing shit for me with no hope of anything in return, and Shay had done it without any expectations.
I remembered looking at her eyes, and then moving down to her slender nose, and then her cheeks, then those juicy lips.
I wondered how those lips would taste if I used mine against them to thank her. I wondered if she tasted like the candy she was always popping into her mouth. I wondered if she dripped of the angelic sin I always claimed her to be. I wondered for a split second…considered it for a blink in time…and then she slammed her locker, walked away, and I sobered up.
Still, I had considered it.
We both went quiet for a few moments before I cleared my throat again. I didn’t like silence. Silence and I didn’t get along too well. “Just one kiss, Chick. I can keep it a secret.”
“You keep secrets the same way you keep girls. AKA, you don’t—other than Monica.”
“Monica’s not mine.”
“That doesn’t change the fact that she thinks you’re hers.”
I smirked a little. “You jealous of her?”
“Jealous of her having to deal with a guy like you? Never in my life.”
“Whatever you say, Chick.”
“I wish you’d stop calling me Chick,” she snapped. “I hate it.”
“You want a new nickname, sweet cheeks? I can give you a new nickname, sweet cheeks.”
She shivered in disgust. Good. There was nothing I enjoyed more than getting on her nerves. “Not that either.”
“I’ll keep working on it.”
“Or you could just call me by my name.”
“Nah, Shay’s too ugly a name to leave my lips.”
“I hate you.”
“I hate you more.”
“Yeah, but I hate you the most.”
I snickered. “You really think you can get a guy like me to fall in love with you?”
“Yes. I’m positive, actually. People are the easiest to read, and that includes you.”
“You can’t read me, Shay.”
“I can, like an open book.”
“Okay.” I reached into my pocket, pulled out my cell phone, and turned on the flashlight, lighting up the small space. “Read me.”
She raised an eyebrow. “You sure you want me to do this? Reading people is kind of my gift, and you might not like what I have to say.”
“I never like what you have to say, so this time shouldn’t be any different. Go for it.”
She rolled her shoulders back and stretched out her arms as if she was about to deadlift me. “Okay. You’re fake, Landon.”
That was it? That was the big reveal? “What the hell do you mean I’m fake?”
“I mean exactly that. You. Are. Fake. F-A-K-E. Fake. There is nothing real about you. You’re a walking lie.”
I laughed. No joke, I actually laughed out loud, which didn’t happen often for me. It was a deep-rooted, belly laugh.
“What the hell are you talking about?” I questioned. “Everything about me is real. I’m the realist damn person you’ll come across in our town.”
“No,” she disagreed with a shake of her head. “You are the fakest. You’re even faker than the new boobs Carly Patrick got for her eighteenth birthday.”
“What?!” I breathed out, stunned by her words. “I’m not fake, Shay.”
“It’s not a big deal, Landon.” She shrugged her shoulders and went to picking at her nails. “People seem to love your fakeness.”
“I’m not fake,” I argued again, my blood boiling at this point. “Plus, I’ve seen Carly’s boobs up close and personal. Those are straight in-your-face, nips-don’t-flick fake. There is no way in this world I’m more fake than those silicone watermelons. I’m a lot of shitty things, but fake isn’t one of them.”
“Okay then, can you answer a question for me?”
“How many people know you’re sad?”
“The hell kind of question is that?” I barked.
“A very straightforward one,” she replied. She seemed so cool, calm, and collected—one of the many things I despised about her. It was as if her life was always so solid. I wished for that kind of stable structure, and seeing that she had it annoyed the living hell out of me.
“How long have you been sad, Landon?”
I glanced at my watch. “About a solid three minutes now, because being trapped inside this closet with you is complete hell.”
“Aren’t you the one who wanted to come in here with me?”
“Bad call. A lapse in judgment. I forgot how annoying you are.”
She smiled. She freaking smiled at me, pleased by my annoyance. “Are you going to answer me about your sadness?”
“Are you going to suck my dick?” I replied.
“Do you always do that?” she asked, tilting her head to the left as she studied my expressions. She was doing that thing she did—reading me. Taking note of my movements and the tightness of my jaw, taking in every inch of me.
Don’t let her read your pages, Landon. She couldn’t have even handled my prologue.
All my walls were up, and I wasn’t going to let her knock them down.
“Do what?” I questioned.
“Use sarcasm to shield your hurting.”
“There’s nothing hurting here. Look at this life. I have money, badass parties, and girls throwing themselves at me—why would I have anything to hurt about?”
“Maybe because money, girls, and parties don’t make a person happy. I see how miserable you are in your eyes.”
I grimaced and whisper-hissed, “You don’t know shit about me, Shay.”
“Then how am I able to get under your skin so easily? If that wasn’t true, if you weren’t sad, why would my saying that bother you so much?”
“You don’t,” I calmly replied.
She was pushing me, making me uncomfortable with the fact that she did seem able to see the parts of me no one else could. Anger was building in my chest, and I needed to defuse it before it became too big.
“Maybe it’s best if we shut up for the rest of the time,” I told her.
“For the second time in my life, I agree with you.”
Shay sat down on the floor of the closet, and I did the same, leaning back against some coats that were hanging. How did seven minutes feel like seventy? Was time moving at all? This was hell.
Then came the silence. The silence that brought out heavy thoughts. Shay could read my mind somehow, and so, when the silence became too much, I cleared my throat and tried to make small talk in hopes of shutting my own brain up. “A chicken and Satan walk into a closet—stop me if you’ve heard this one.”
She laughed a little.
It was quiet and low, and dammit, I’d never heard Shay laugh at anything I’d ever said before, so that was new. What was also new was the small part of me that enjoyed hearing her sound.
“Landon?” she whispered.
“Just shut up, all right?”
“One more minute, you horny hatebirds!” Eric called out.
We both stood, and I took a step closer toward her. “I get you not wanting to kiss. That’s intimate and personal, but if you want, this is your last chance to touch my cock while no one’s looking. I won’t stop you.”
“No thanks. I’m allergic to peanuts,” she said so effortlessly and loudly, causing the crowd on the other side of the door to burst into laughter.
Shay smirked again, feeling proud of her little dig at me. That beautiful, annoying smirk I loved to hate.
I wasn’t worried, though. The game was just getting started. She might’ve scored one point, but I wasn’t going to let it happen again. We were playing on my field, and Shay didn’t know what she was up against.
Author Brittainy C. Cherry is an Amazon #1 bestselling author.
She has been in love with words since the day she took her first breath. She graduated from Carroll University with a Bachelor Degree in Theatre Arts and a minor in Creative Writing.
Her novels have been published in 18+ countries around the world. Brittainy lives in Brookfield, Wisconsin with her fur babies.
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