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The Bad Boy Bargain(6)

By:LeAnn Ashers

He took a seat, curious, but careful to keep his expression neutral. He didn't need her thinking he was interested. That wasn't his style, or so he let everyone believe. "I'm listening."

"This is kind of weird … just hear me out, 'kay?"

"I like weird."

Faith laughed. "Yeah, I guessed that already. Anyway, my boyfriend and I broke up last night. Now he's telling everyone he dumped me because I'm … " She blinked fast, and her face flushed. "Because I'm a coldhearted bitch. Or so he says, because I wouldn't sleep with him. The truth is I caught him in bed with Holly Masterson."

"God, his taste is pathetic if he went after that girl." Kyle shook his head. Holly always looked at him like he was gum on her shoe, and in every class they'd shared, she had a tendency to play dumb, which he didn't find cute whatsoever. "She's not the nicest person in the world."

"You can say that again." Faith swallowed hard. "I need to make this right, though. The rumor is out, big-time. I'm hearing it from everyone."

"That sucks, but why do you care what they think?" he asked. "Sounds to me like you dodged a bullet if your dick ex is talking trash about you like that. By the way-who's the boyfriend?"

"Cameron Zimmerman."

Kyle leaned away from her, unable to keep from reacting no matter how much he wanted to look unaffected. Cameron? She dated that d-bag? He and his idiot football buddies were the main reason Kyle had turned himself into the scariest guy at Suttonville. If a guy thought you might pull a switchblade on him, he stopped trying to shove you inside a locker. Bulking up and making the baseball team had helped, too, but still …  "Damn."

"So you know him." Faith's voice was flat.

"Um … yeah."

"Then maybe my favor will make a little sense." She took a deep breath and smoothed a few hairs back into the tight bun she wore. "See, I need to prove him wrong, but telling people won't work. I have football players already texting and Snapchatting me the most vile things. I need to put him in his place in a way that will shut them all up. I need proof he's wrong about me."

Kyle couldn't stop the smile spreading across his face. Helping this girl get revenge on Cameron couldn't be a bad thing, no matter what she suggested. He had an ax to grind with that prick himself, and Faith seemed like a good way to do it. "Tell me about this plan of yours."

Chapter Eight


She couldn't believe it-he was smiling at her. She didn't think Kyle ever smiled-not that she'd heard of, anyway. It seemed like she wasn't the only one with a beef against Cameron. How lucky could she get? She'd thought he'd laugh at her, brush her off as one of those popular girls not worth his time.

But she wasn't that popular, and he definitely seemed to have time for a little revenge.

Hope-an angry, hard, shining thing-crashed around her chest. "Okay, so you have a … a … "

"Reputation?" Kyle said, his smile going to full-on grin. It was a little scary. "Like maybe I steal walkers from old ladies at the supermarket and use them to break church windows?"

Faith laughed-she couldn't help it. She also couldn't help staring at those blue, blue eyes of his. Goodness. "Yeah, something like that. But it's more that I've heard you've been with lots of girls. Older girls, mostly."         



His grin faded. "Yeah, so?"

"Well, what if everyone thought we were hooking up? You and me?" God, he was going to start laughing at her any second. She was in too deep to stop now, though. "Everyone would totally know Cameron's wrong. About me being frosty, if you know what I mean. If I'm dating a notorious bad boy, then they'll think I'm having the hottest sex of my life and that I don't give a damn about Cameron."

"And why would they think you're having the hottest sex of your life?" He sounded hesitant and amused. Not the best combination, but at least he wasn't blowing her off.

"Because you'll say so. You'll drop that information into circulation and let it run its course."

"So, you want me to pretend to be your boyfriend," he said, scratching his head. "And start a rumor that we're having scorching sex as often as possible?"

"Yes," she said. "I know it's a weird request, but he's out telling everyone that I'm … I'm … "

"A sexual glacier. You've said that already," Kyle said. "Are you? Or was it just Cameron?"

"No! I mean, yes. I mean … Jesus, why would you ask me that?"

His eyes were shining, totally teasing her. "It seems relevant."

Oh God. No wonder he had college girls all over him-that playful little smirk would work on a nun. This was such a bad idea, but his smile made her brain misfire, so her mouth went on without its assistance. "I just … I don't want to be with someone unless I love them, you know?"

Oh, why did I tell him that? Why? He's going to die laughing.

But he didn't. Instead, he shrugged, stowing the player and morphing back into the standoffish bad boy. "And you don't love Cameron?"

What was with this guy and his questions? "I thought I did," she said. "But I didn't. And he didn't love me. I don't think he even cared about me that much."

Kyle was quiet a moment, another one of those little smirks tugging at the corner of his mouth. She couldn't get a good read on him, but a bead of sweat ran down his chest and she had to force her eyes to meet his. Even under all that dirt, he was hotter than a July afternoon. Was this a good idea? Kyle was dangerous. He was trouble.

Except …  She studied him. Kyle looked anything but trouble right now, in dirty shorts with a stripe of mud across his forehead. He looked normal, like someone she could trust. Maybe even … nice.

And why the hell couldn't she keep her eyes on his face? Who cared if he was built like the statue of David? Then her eyes drifted to his arms. He played baseball, she remembered, and worked outside. From those muscles, she bet he could carry her and a load of firewood at the same time. Cameron had been more stringy-a running back, lean and quick. Kyle was lean, but packed with muscle. What would it be like to run a hand over those biceps?

Damn it. Focus.

Finally, he said, "Cameron and his friends treated me like shit in middle school, and he still treats some friends of mine that way. But I especially don't like assholes who treat girls badly. For all my … faults, I like girls." His smirk turned into a secretive smile. "Guys like Cameron should get hit on the nose every once in a while, just for existing and making people miserable."

She let out the breath she was holding. "Does that mean you'll do it?"

"Sure, why not?" he said. "I don't know why you'd pick me for this experiment, but I'm not seeing anyone right now, so I'm in. Anything to make Cameron look like an idiot."

Faith couldn't believe it. Could. Not. Believe. It. He was really going to do this. "Thank you! So … if we're really going to do this, we'll need to be seen together some. Both at school and other places. Is that okay?"

"Fine by me." He looked around her backyard. "And I'm going to be over here a lot, working. If you invite me inside when your parents aren't here, and you have nosy neighbors, that could get stories started." He paused. "Are you sure you really want to do this? I mean, no big deal to me, but are you sure you want to, uh, tarnish your reputation by hanging out with me?"

Determination welled up inside her. "Yes. As long as my parents don't get sucked in-they're pretty protective-I'm totally fine with this."

"Okay, then." He blew out a breath. "I better get back to work. We can talk more tomorrow."

She had to force herself to be still and not dance around the yard in triumph. "Tomorrow it is. And Kyle? Thank you. This is going to be the best trick ever pulled at Suttonville High."         



As she drifted inside, she thought she heard him say, "If you say so, princess."

Chapter Nine


After Faith went back inside-wearing this smile that would make an ax murderer run-Kyle started cleaning out the brush in the backyard, all thoughts of lunch forgotten. In fact, it kind of felt like a train wreck was in progress in his stomach. He'd tried to play it cool, to act like he was only kind of interested, no strings attached, but his rage against Cameron had almost gotten the better of him. The real problem, though, was Faith. How close would he have to let her get?

How far would he have to go to keep up the story? Would they have to be caught making out to spread the rumors faster?

Sweat beaded on his forehead, and it had nothing to do with the midafternoon heat. God, what had he gotten himself into? Was he really going to risk his peace at school by taking on Cameron and his friends? He'd finally found a comfortable place, free of those bastards, and now he was hitting them head-on by "seducing" Cameron's ex.

Just chill. It wasn't like he actually had to sleep with her. Convincing people wouldn't be hard, even without much evidence. Tell a few guys on the team when they had practice that he'd hooked up with Faith during the break, and it would be out. He wouldn't have to do anything much to keep it going.