I angled away from them, hoping she wouldn’t see me, but I couldn’t stop myself from watching. One of the guys, a blond one with a bit too much muscle for my tastes, seemed to be in the lead. She flirted with him, brushing his shoulder as she talked. He sat down on an oversized planter that held a half-dead shrub, and drew her in closer to him. The other two guys started to make fun of the blond one.

A group of guys I definitely knew from school came out of the mall entrance. Four of them. Including Carlos.


Shit. I pulled my hair out of the bun and let it block my face. I didn’t have it in me to play off any visions, especially the kind that came from Carlos. Just dealing with the party was going to be enough for one day.

I shouldn’t have worried. They went straight for the girl.

“Stay away from Jess!” Carlos said. His hands were balled at his sides.

Holy crapola. Where was Axel? He was going to die when he found out he missed a fight. I quickly texted him.

“Carlos. I was just—” She stepped away from the golden boy.

Carlos shoved the guy with blond hair. “What do you think you’re doing talking to our kind?”

Blondie budged only enough to move off the planter, rising slowly.

I took another bite of my ice cream as the girl tried to stop the fight. Ice cream and a fight? Best mall trip ever.

Carlos’ face reddened, and then he looked at the ground, backing down.

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Lame. After all the visions he’d given me, seeing his ass get handed to him would’ve been nice.

One of the boys glanced toward the entrance. “We’re busted,” he said.

Dastien strode from the mall with two other guys dressed just like him—black T-shirt and black jeans.

“Retour sur le collége. Maintenant,” Dastien said.

I wondered what that meant. It sounded sexy.

Blondie’s fists clenched at his sides, but instead of saying anything, he started walking toward the parking lot.

Axel ran out the mall exit. “Did I miss it?”

My face heated as everyone turned to me. “Shut up.” I tried my best to ignore them, instead focusing on my brother. “No fight.”

Axel looked around at the crowd now dispersing into the parking lot. “Bummer.” He took my ice cream cone before I could stop him and took a big bite.

“What the hell? That was my breakfast.”

Axel snorted. “No. This was dessert.” He ripped off the paper covering the cone, and licked the length of it. “And now it’s mine.”

Licking a food item was the ultimate in claiming. “You’re a dick.”

He took another big bite. “Mom and Dad are waiting to have lunch with us.” He threw his arm over my shoulder. “We’ve got to do something about your eating habits before I go.”

I rolled my eyes. I ate plenty. Sometimes got distracted and forgot about it, but I wasn’t anorexic or anything. My curves were still visible as ever.

“Where’s your book?” He asked as we started toward the parking lot.

My face burned once again. Dastien was a few feet away by the mall entrance. I snuck a peek at him. Yup. He was waiting for me to answer, arms crossed and a slanted grin on his face.

He totally knew what he was doing to me. What a jerk.

The easiest thing to do would be to lie, but Axel knew the face I made when I lied. It wouldn’t work. I took a deep breath. “I got distracted.”

He looked back at Dastien and took a big bite of my cone. He chomped for a second, and I thought he’d dropped the subject.

“By what?” He asked as he turned to look at Dastien again in a totally obvious way. He took another bite, and I wanted to hit him.

I pulled my keys out of my purse. “None of your business.” I heard a chuckle and looked back again.

God. This was so embarrassing.

Axel snatched my keys out of my hand while I wasn’t looking. “That’s what you get when you hold the good stuff back.”

“Who said I was holding anything back?”

He made a show of shoving the last of my cone in his mouth.


He put his arm around me again and started half-dragging me towards the car. “Little sis, let’s talk about crushes,” he said way too loudly.

I shoved him away. Dastien’s laughter echoed through the parking lot.

Why, God? Why me! Why did you have to give me this jerk of a brother who was hell bent on humiliating me any chance he got?

I ignored Axel’s ramblings and looked one last time at Dastien. He was still standing by the entrance. One of his friends was saying something to him, but Dastien was watching me. I faced forward and waved as I stepped into the rows of parked cars.

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