The second book in Ginger Scott’s Varsity Series is set to release July 23rd! This is a series of standalone YA sports romances! Reading order is: #1 Varsity Heartbreaker. #2 Varisty Tiebreaker. #3 Varsity Rulebreaker. Today we have an excerpt from Varsity Tiebreaker! Check it out.
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Abby Cortez POV
I push down on my handle to make the click as quiet as possible then slip inside, Tory just knowing that he should hurry. I close the door behind him and flip on the small purple lamp next to my bed. It paints my room in color. I don’t bother to kick away the clothes I’ve left on the ground or hide the makeup scattered around my vanity, and Tory doesn’t even seem to notice any of it’s there. He continues his trip through my life in pictures, now standing in front of the corkboard next to my closet door. It’s filled with pictures, most of them things I’ve printed out from my phone.
“Why is June always so grumpy?” He points to the one I took the night of his party a few months back, when June got locked in the garage with Lucas. I start laughing and pull my phone from my pocket to sort through and find more images of my friend.
“It’s sort of this thing I do with her. I take random pictures of her expressions, and I won’t lie, I love to catch her when she’s pissed off. It pushes her buttons, and maybe I like the negative reinforcement,” I laugh, handing him my phone.
He takes it, sliding through a few of them and wincing at the ones that are truly bad.
“I know,” I say, covering my face in fake shame. “But it’s not like I print all of them.”
“June knows you do this?” He turns the phone to show me the one where her cheeks are puffed out and her face is red. She was about to punch me in the shoulder for that one.
I smile and nod.
“She does. I give her first right of refusal to rip them off the board if she hates them. She knows they make me happy, though.”
Tory’s face scrunches and his brows lift as he shakes his head, not totally understanding my most important female relationship. He doesn’t have to. I’m sure he has weird traditions with Lucas or his brother, and I so don’t want to know about them.
He hands me back my phone, but on the exchange, my hand covers his, and we both jerk back quickly, like we touched a hot skillet mid-air. My phone tumbles on the floor, and I start to giggle with embarrassment while he apologizes profusely and we both bend down to retrieve it. We stop when our heads are an inch away from banging into one another, and I brace myself, grabbing onto his shoulders and falling forward to my knees.
“Woah,” he hums, steadying me with his hands on my hips.
My adrenaline-fueled smile mixes with a breathy laugh until I look up and we come face-to-face. Every molecule between us is palpable, the air has a taste to it, somewhere between sweetness and intoxicating liquor. My lips part with a breath and his eyes flit to my open mouth. We’re slow dancing without moving, facing each other on our knees, alone in my room, which I purposely cloaked in mood lighting. I can’t lie to myself anymore. I’m painfully attracted to Tory D’Angelo. I’m also regrettably committed to his brother.
We’re young, and relationships at our age are so fluid, and if it were anyone else, this would just be a life lesson, a moment of growth or an innocent mistake fanned by teenage hormones. But it’s Tory, and then Hayden.
I swallow hard. His gaze falls to my throat and back to my eyes.
“What happened at therapy?”
It’s the worst possible time for this question in his world, but it’s also probably the best. There are things going on between us that need time to sort themselves out, just as sure as I am that there are things happening in his head that need attention. I’m not sure if he realizes it or not, but Tory needs someone to listen.
“No judgement,” I continue.
We’re inches apart, a breath away from making dangerous decisions.
“Why are you with my brother?” His stare is unrelenting. My stomach is sick but at the same time my heart is pounding. I am the center of a tug-of-war, the part of the rope that is fraying. I don’t know how to keep it from splitting, but I do know that his question cuts to the very core of it all. He reaches forward and tucks a strand of hair behind my ear, and his hand never leaves, his thumb tracing the small inch of space along my temple then making a slow pass along the cut of my jaw toward my lips. I begin to turn into it and let my eyes close, waiting for the alarm to sound in my head that makes me stop.
“Don’t,” I say, getting up to my feet and shaking my head. “You’re just avoiding the question, and I know you’re struggling too. We can be friends, Tory. Just like June and you are friends.”
He falls back on his calves and positions himself like a catcher, arms resting on his knees, head cocked to one side and a faint yet intensely confident smile playing at his lips.
“Abby…you and I can’t be friends like that, and you know it.” He blinks once, slowly, and I’m tempted to push him off balance and watch him land on his ass.
“I told Hayden I’d call him. You should go,” I say.
A short breath flares his nostrils and his body shakes once with a short laugh. He gets to his feet, his eyes making a slow drag around my room as if he’s memorizing it to infiltrate the space at some later date. He begins to nod eventually and moves toward my door, stopping to look at my board of photos one more time. He tugs one loose and pinches it, holding it close to his face for a long second before tossing it on the floor between us.
“You tell me we look like friends in that photo,” he says, leaving me with a short, challenging glare. He pats his hand on the edge of my doorframe as he leaves my room.
“I’ll show myself out,” he says over his shoulder.
I remain frozen until I hear the click of the door downstairs. My space still smells like him, my skin still vibrates from the place his hand touched my skin, my heart is still pounding so hard that I can feel it in my throat.