“Yeah?” “Yeah. I don’t think the team can afford to be down both of you for the rest of the season. Particularly given your dubious yet effective coaching methods.” He raises a skeptical eyebrow. “You’re back on. Both of you.” We turn to each other and she beams at me. It’s the sweetest moment since the time she kissed me at the side of the road. When we’re back outside, Ariel calls Tess to tell her the good news. While she’s busy I make a call of my own. Hit a speed-dial entry, not bothering with an introduction. “The guy who took Ariel. He said something before the police put him in the cruiser. I didn’t get it at the time.” “Yeah.” He said “ This isn’t over, Daniel .” Amos swears. “You think this wasn’t even about her.” I watch Ariel talk animatedly into the phone, a smile on her lips and her blond ponytail bobbing in the sun. “I think someone wanted to send a message, Amos. To me.”
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Piper Lawson is the author of the Travesty series (Schooled, Stripped). Piper loves reading and writing stories about sassy, sexy, smart women and the guys who fall hard for them.
Piper’s main household expenditures include books, shoes, and chocolate, not necessarily in that order. Coffee = life (and she’ll defend it accordingly). Piper has two degrees from a pretty good business school and has been fortunate to spend the last several years working at a really good business school.
Home is Canada plus occasional sunny winter escapes.
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“You’ve lost your mind! It’ll never work.” “It has to, Lex.” My best friend, Ava, set her beer down with a thunk on the table between our beach chairs. Mine was next to it, looking even emptier than hers. Ava and I were indulging in a tradition we’d started years ago. Before leaving for college, we’d lie out at night on the deck of her parents’ pool at least once a week and talk about anything and everything. Looking out over the expanse of water, tinted electric blue by the liner and the lighting, was oddly soothing. It was a weird tradition, but it was ours. “My mom would flip,” I stated. Ava shrugged a slim shoulder. “Well that’s just a bonus.” “You think we can sell our own clothes and make money at it?” “Come on. With my designs and your brain? We can’t fail.” As crazy as it was, the idea sounded eminently more exciting than a finance career. Ava and I had just finished our freshman year of college. She was in liberal arts but had been talking about transferring into fashion design. I was majoring in business, and the only time my mom bothered to talk to me was to see whether I’d read the investment banking internship pamphlets she kept sending. The mounting sense of feeling trapped plus our long-time love of fashion had combined in some kind of heady cloud to produce this evening’s idea. Beer might have been a contributing factor. The slamming of a car door interrupted our exchange. I sat up and glanced over the hedge that provided some privacy between the pool deck and the driveway beside the house. “You were lucky not to get arrested.” Ava’s father’s voice thundered through the night. Ava and I exchanged startled looks. While I didn’t know the “what,” I was pretty sure I knew the “who.” Dylan Cameron, Ava’s seventeen-year-old brother, was marching ahead of his father up the back walkway toward the