(Twisted Pine Academy, #1)
Publication date: November 26th 2019
Genres: Adult, Romance
You don’t belong here.
That’s what they said when I showed up at Twisted Pine Academy.
As if I wanted to be there. I’d do anything to go back to my life in New York instead of living in California with my eogmaniac uncle and his spoiled-rotten sons.
The only good thing about being here is Jackson. Hot-as-hell and filthy rich, he ditched Twisted Pine to play football for Legion, the rival public school. Now everyone at Twisted Pine hates him, especially my cousin, Braden, which makes me want Jackson even more.
Braden rules Twisted Pine and everyone in it. If Braden finds out I’m with Jackson, he’ll use his power to ruin me.
Let him try.
My loyalty is with Jackson, and I won’t let anyone tear us apart. Together we’re going to take down Braden and his kingdom at Twisted Pine.
They think I don’t belong there? I don’t. But now that I’m here….watch out.
“Hey!” a guy yells.
I look over and see the guy walking toward me from his house. He’s big, like a football player. The guy has some serious muscles. He looks like he’s around my age or a year or two older.
“You can’t be here,” he says, stopping in front of me.
“Where? The beach?”
“It’s private property,” he says, putting his hands on his hips, making him look even larger.
“I live here,” I tell him as I stand up.
“Where?” he asks, like he doesn’t believe me.
“Down there,” I say, pointing to Brock’s house, although you can’t really see it with the bend in the shoreline.
“Then you need to stay there. On your own property. This is mine, and I don’t allow uninvited visitors.”
I roll my eyes. “Seriously? I can’t even walk on the beach?”
“Not on this part. It’s private property.”
“It’s a beach. I should be able to walk on it.”
“And I’m asking you not to. If you can’t follow that simple rule, then I’ll need to call the cops.”
I huff. “Are you kidding me?”
“Do I look like I’m kidding?” he asks, staring down at me.
As I look at his face, I feel like I’ve seen him before. Why does he look so familiar?
“Have we met before?” I ask.
“You slammed into me on the street,” the guy says, folding his arms over his chest. “So in addition to trespassing on my property, you also almost tripped me when I was running.”
“I didn’t do it on purpose,” I say, crossing my arms over my chest, mimicking his pose. “I went to pick up my phone and didn’t see you.”
“How can you not see someone coming right at you?”
“I was upset, okay?” I narrow my eyes at him. “Maybe you should give people a break, especially when you don’t know all the shit going on in their lives.”
“What shit are we talking about?” he asks, sounding curious.
“Nothing. Never mind.” I sigh. “Am I allowed to walk across your precious beach to get back?”
“Yes, but that’s the last time. I don’t want to see you back here.”
I look behind me at the long stretch of beach. “What if I want to keep going? Do I have to go in the ocean to avoid stepping on your beach?”
“That’s private property too.”
“The ocean is not private property. You can’t own the ocean.”
“Why is this so hard for you to understand? You shouldn’t be back here. Even if it wasn’t private, this isn’t a walking beach. It’s rocky and the waves are unpredictable. If you want to walk by the water, go to a real beach. A public beach.”
“Why would I do that when I have one right here? I don’t care if it’s rocky. I have shoes on.”
“Would you stop arguing with me and just go?” he says, raising his voice.
I glare at him. At those beautiful blue eyes. That chiseled face. If he wasn’t so mean I’d think he’s hot. I might even say he’s the hottest guy I’ve ever seen. But his attitude ruins it.
“Fine! I’m going!” I turn and run off toward the ocean.
“What are you doing?” he yells as I go in the water.
“You told me not to walk on your stupid beach!” I yell.
“You’re gonna drown!” he yells, running toward me.
“I’m not gonna—” I’m stopped by a wave slamming into me and shoving me to the ground. The water pulls me toward the shore, dragging me along the sharp rocks. I feel my shirt lifting up to my bra, the skin on my torso exposed, the icy water hitting it.
“Help!” I manage to yell as another wave hits me.
Strong hands lift me from the water, sweeping under my back and legs and carrying me back to shore.
“What the fuck is wrong with you?” the guy says.
I can’t answer, coughing up the water that went in my mouth.
Still carrying me, he walks toward the rocky ledge just below the back of his house. He gently sets me down on my feet but keeps his arm around me.
“No,” I say, shivering as the wind blows. “That water is really cold.”
He hesitates, looking up at his house, then back at me. “We need to get you inside.”
“Inside your house? You wouldn’t even let me on your beach, which is why I’m now freezing to death and bleeding.”
I point down to my knee which has blood running down it.
The guy keeps a hand on my back as he bends down to inspect my knee.
“Shit, you really got scraped up.” His eyes move over my body, then his hand goes to my abs, which is still exposed from my shirt riding up.
I suck in a breath as his thumb sweeps just below my bra. “What are you doing?”
“Wiping the seaweed off.” His hand swipes over my stomach, causing a ripple of pleasure through the area just below it. “You’re covered in sand.” He stands up. “We need to get this cleaned before it gets infected.”
“WE?” I glance down the beach. “Um, yeah, I’ll just head home and do it there.”
“You’ll never make it. You’re a mess. I’ll get you cleaned up, then take you home.”
He wants me to go in his house? I think I can trust him, but I’m not sure. I just met him.
“I’m just gonna head home.” I take a step and pain shoots from my knee, like there’s a rock stuck in the skin that’s scraping me every time I move.
“I really think you should come inside,” he says. “You might’ve damaged your knee.”
“It’s fine.” I take another step. More shooting pain. “Shit,” I mutter, biting my lip.
The guy comes in front of me. “What’s going on here?”
“Nothing,” I say, cringing from the pain. “I just need to go slow.”
“You can’t even walk. Let’s go inside.”
“No. Really. I’m fine.”
He cocks his head. “Are you afraid of me?”
“Afraid?” I nervously laugh. “Why would I be afraid of you?”
He puts his hand on my shoulder and looks in my eyes. “I’m trying to help you. I’m not going to hurt you.”
I stare back at him. “Said the killer before slaying the victim in his secret lair.”
He laughs. “Secret lair?” He points to his house. “Does that look like a secret lair?”
“The secret lair would be inside the house, like a hidden room.”
“There are no hidden rooms,” he says, holding back a smile in an attempt to be serious. “I promise.”
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