I glanced sideways at her. “You might want to make up a boyfriend. It’s the only thing my brother will respect unless you enjoy getting hit on every time you see him.”
“Yeah,” Logan said over Sam as she was herding him down the hallway. “Right there. I don’t mean to brag, but I’m kinda a big deal. I don’t usually have to hit on girls, but for you, any day. You want a pick-up line? Give me a call. Give me an order, and I’ll supply it real fast. I’m like a fast-food joint. Need a self-esteem boost? Give me a call. Want to get something rubbed?” He winked. “Give me a call. I don’t offer these services to just anyone.”
Sam had him by the stairs. “Stop hitting on my roommate. I swear, Logan. Stop.”
Logan turned his attention from the girl to Sam, and his stance changed. His shoulders tensed up. His eyes focused in attention, and the corners of his mouth tightened. The mischievous side of my brother was coming out. I shook my head, heading toward them.
“Hey, Sam.” Logan waited. His smirk was too much now.
“What?” She stepped back, instinctually coming toward me as I grew near.
“Wanna switch places? You can have my room, and I’ll have yours?” His gaze darted past her shoulder to the roommate.
I glanced back. The girl was watching us, but she wasn’t watching from fascination or interest. That wasn’t what I was sensing from her.
The chick was gorgeous. That was obvious, and I hadn’t been surprised when Sam let it slip that her roommate was a model. She had the height, but there was something different about her. While Logan was hitting on her, she’d seemed more interested in me, but I hadn’t gotten a sexual vibe from her. It was like she was just…interested?
Her eyes were on me, and she jerked backward into the room. Before she did, I caught the surge of color on her cheeks.
I frowned. “Is your roommate okay?” I asked.
Sam and Logan turned to me. The attitude from both of them changed instantly.
Logan’s eyebrows dropped together. “What do you mean? Like, in-the-head, okay?”
“Yeah,” Sam shared a concerned look with Logan before turning back to me. “What do you mean?”
Sam waved that off. “She’s an avid football fan. She was talking my ear off about your and Logan’s stats before you came back with the rest of my stuff.”
Logan’s mouth dropped. “I did all that work, and she knows my stats? What the hell? I even did the fast-food joke. Most girls drop their pants for that one.”
“She’s a model.”
“So? Models can like me, too.”
Sam added, “She’s probably used to guys hitting on her left and right.”
“That’s true.” Logan rubbed his chin. “My stats, huh? Football turns her on?” His eyes flickered to me, and he laughed. “Talk about awkward. You can never bone Sam in her dorm room. You don’t know her level of fandom. She could be daydreaming that you’re boning her or worse.” He shuddered. “My joke about the sex-tape equipment just took on a whole new meaning.”
I rolled my eyes but asked Sam, “She’s a fan? That’s it?”
She nodded. “I’m surprised she didn’t ask for your autograph. Her dad is friends with your coach or something. And she knows your dad, too.”
That got Logan’s attention again. “Our dad? James?”
“That’s what she said.”
I relaxed a little bit. “Find out her dad’s name, but that makes me feel better. You’ll be safe with her?”
“I think so. She didn’t come off as scary to me.”
“Scarily hot, you mean,” Logan shot in, grinning.
“Can you turn down your moods?” Sam frowned at him. “You go from pissy to being drunk. You’re hitting on my roommate to I don’t even know what, and now, you’re back to being sexually suggestive?”
“What? That’s what being Logan is all about. I’m like a ping-pong ball. I’m all over the place. Too fast for you to catch.”
Sam shook her head. “I’m going back to my room. I’m unpacking. I’m going to meet my floor advisor and maybe go get my textbooks with my roommate.” She glared at Logan. “I’m leaving. I’m going to try to be normal.”
She pressed a kiss to me before squeezing my hand.
“I’ll text you later.”
She nodded, waving to us before going through the crowd of girls and mothers who were still watching us.
Logan noticed them, too, and frowned. “Check it out. All the dudes are probably inside, putting the bunk beds together.” He gestured to himself and pretended to do a curtsy. “Logan Kade. You heard the name here first.” He threw to Sam, “Normal’s overrated, by the way.”
“Screw off, Logan.”
Some of the women broke out in laughter. One mother clapped, but Sam went back to her room. She was safe. That was all I was worried about. She had to be safe.
“Let’s go.” I headed for the stairs.
Logan waited until we were closer to the vehicle before he asked, “You didn’t see anything unusual up there?”
I knew what he was referring to. Climbing into my vehicle, I waited for him to get into the passenger side before I pulled out of the parking lot. “No. I checked every room. Did you?”
He nodded. “All chicks. I didn’t see anyone with a picture of Park Sebastian in their room.” He paused and then said, “Sam’s going to be pissed if she realizes we were up there, canvassing her floormates.”
I didn’t care. “We needed to make sure she would be safe.”
“The back door locks, so no one can get through that way.”
I nodded. “I asked around. A front-desk clerk is always on duty, so no one can sneak her in and out that way.”
“Sam might be safe there, maybe safer than if she lived with us. There are lots of witnesses, you know.”
“That’s my thinking.”
That was the entire reason for heading up with her to the room. Helping her move everything up was the other reason, but the main one was to scope everything out—her resident advisor, her neighbors. The place was an all-girls dorm, but I wouldn’t put it past Sebastian to get some girl to help spy on Sam.
Logan was right. Both of us had been in and out of the rooms. We took turns, one slipping in as the other distracted whoever was helping the girl move in or hurrying inside if a room was left empty for some reason. Everything we saw didn’t show any connections to Sebastian, but that didn’t mean there wouldn’t be any.
Logan sighed. “You should just hire security.”
“I already did.”
I gave him a look. “You’re not weirded out by that?”
“Fuck no. Sebastian’s crazy and an egomaniac. He’ll do anything to hurt Sam because that means hurting you. I’m glad you already got security on her.”
“He starts tomorrow.”
“Are you going to tell her?”
I gave him a look.
Logan grinned at me. “I idolize you and your deceitful, dark ways. Hey,” Logan tapped my arm, “pull into that parking lot. The bookstore’s over there.”
“The bookstore?” But I did as he’d asked, and as we got out of the Escalade and headed for the store, I said, “I’m not telling Sam to lie to her. I’m not telling her because she’d hate having a shadow.”
A group of students were standing in front of the doors. Some were smoking. Others had bags of their textbooks and were talking. A few more were standing there, looking through their books. Logan and I bypassed them, heading inside, but as we were going in, Nate was coming out.
“Hey!” A big grin came from him. We stepped back outside with him and he finished zipping up his backpack. Shrugging it on, he looked between Logan and me. “What are you guys doing here? Wait. The store. I got it.” He cringed. “Don’t roast me.”
Logan and I shared a look. I had no intention, I never did, but with Logan, one never knew. When he kept quiet, Nate and I shared a look instead. That
surprised both of us.
“What?” Logan must’ve noticed the look. “Sam just tore my ass in half. I’m not going to start pounding on someone else.”
A few of the girls closest to the door whipped around, watching us and Nate burst out laughing.
I frowned at Logan. “You had to use those specific words when you were talking about my girlfriend?”
Logan smirked. “She’s my future stepsister too, you know.”
All of the girls on the left side of the door looked over, hearing that last statement. Ignoring the attention, I asked, “You’re done getting your books?”
“Yeah.” Nate was waiting, watching me.
I rolled my eyes. I’d get Logan back later at the house.
“Let us get our books and head to the house. Is it too early to start partying?” Logan moved forward but stopped short.
Looking over his shoulder inside of the door, I saw the reason, and a chill filled the air. Park Sebastian and three of his friends were coming from the basement door that led into the bookstore. The tension dramatically went up. My jaw clenched. I wanted to go for him, but Nate saw Sebastian the same time I did. Nate’s hand clamped down on my shoulder, as if anchoring me in place. Logan was in front of me. I didn’t know if he was going to hold me back or lunge for the dickhead himself.
If this was going to happen, I glanced over my shoulders—there were witnesses here. I wanted it to be done where there were none so I went inside. Logan and Nate followed behind.
“Look who it is. The current stars for Fraternity Assholes: Where Are They Now?” Logan said.
I shared a look with Nate. I hadn’t realized how thankful I was for having my brother with us until that instant. As if sensing my thoughts, Logan moved to the side, and I stepped next to him. We were shoulder-to-shoulder, gazing down at Sebastian and three of his friends. Judging from the hostility on their faces, I figured they were fraternity exes as well.
My eyes roamed over him. He looked like the same preppy dick that he’d been last year. His hair was gelled and combed to the side. Polo shirt. Khaki cargo shorts. A bag of books in one hand and a flask in the other.
“Logan Kade.” Sebastian showed his perfect teeth. “And the big brother with his best friend. Well, this is lovely. All three of you together.” He met my eyes for a second. A sinister dark look passed there, and he craned his neck to look behind us. “Is that it? Just the three of you? No one else?”
My eyes narrowed. He was looking for Sam.
I started forward, but Logan beat me to it. He slapped a hand on the wall next to me. His arm blocked my advance as he drawled, “Who do you love, Sebastian?”
Sebastian tensed. “What do you mean?”
“Girlfriend? Sister?” Logan’s voice chilled.
He fights. I talk. That’s our thing. His old words filtered back to me, and I knew that was what he was doing. He was doing his job.
Nate moved around us, and Logan slid over, making room for him. When Nate stood in front of me, Logan took a step with him. Both of them were edging me backward just slightly. They were protecting me.
“Why are you asking?” Sebastian’s question was wary.
“I need to know who to target.” Logan grinned at him. “I’m very, very single this year, if you didn’t know, and since you enjoy threatening someone we care about, I figure it’s the least I could do. You target ours. I’ll target yours.”
“I think you’ve already taken enough from me.”
Logan touched his ear and leaned forward. “What was that? What did you say?”
Sebastian gritted his teeth. “You heard me.”
“No, no.” Logan pretended to clean his ear out and stepped forward again. “Seriously, I couldn’t hear you. What did you say?”
“I said,” a low growl emanated from Sebastian, “you’ve already taken enough from me.”
“What are you talking about? I think I have a wax problem.” Logan threw me a smirk over his shoulder. “Who knew a buildup of discharge could be such a problem?”
He was going to hit Sebastian. I saw the promise in Logan’s eyes and knew he was getting closer for a sucker punch. Sensing my tension, Nate glanced at me from the side of his eye. He knew something was going to happen.
I couldn’t fight.
Sebastian would use it against me.
That was what I was telling myself. Not here. Not now.
Logan edged forward one more step.
He was going to, no matter what. I looked up and around. If my little brother was going to hit Sebastian for me, I could help in some way. There was a camera in the corner of the doorway. It was rotating around the entrance and the other set of stairs that led to the top floor of the bookstore.
Logan and Sebastian were still talking, but I eased forward. Logan glanced at me, and I nodded to the camera.
He looked up and shifted backward an inch.
A sudden rush of air left Nate, and I knew he figured out what was going on.
He muttered under his breath, “We’re doing this?”
Sebastian couldn’t hear him. He was still fixated on Logan.
Nate added, “Okay. Tell me when.”
I threw him a side grin. He got it, grinning back at me.
This, right here, was what I’d been missing all last year—besides Sam, of course. She was the constant, but this camaraderie with Logan getting a person worked up and Nate ready to join in.
Sebastian got silent, looking between us.
Logan sent Nate and me a small glare. I flashed Logan a grin back. Relax. I moved forward and snuck a peek to the camera. It was rotating back, moving at a slow pace.
Logan caught the look and gazed up as well.
“I’m not sure if you’re aware of this threesome dynamic,” Logan started.
Sebastian’s eyes narrowed. Logan was too cocky, too sure of himself. Sebastian’s head lifted to the side as he kept skirting among all three of us.
I was next to my brother. They came from the basement section of the bookstore, so Sebastian was blocking his friends from us. His three friends were down a few steps, too far but close enough where they could catch Sebastian.
Logan continued, “But the three of us…” He gestured to all of us. “Well, technically, it’s the Fearsome Foursome with Sam, but she’s not here.” His tone lowered, growing more serious. “And she’s not a part of this, so I guess, right now, you can call us the Threesome Fearsome.”
Sebastian was almost ignoring my brother. He was solely focused on me. Fine. I let him see the threat in me and murmured, “My brother’s not kidding, you know.”
Logan quieted, edging back so that I was now in the front.
“About what?” His tone was clipped.
Sebastian knew. He was remembering Logan’s threat.
I reminded him. “Your sister. Your girlfriend.”
“I don’t have either one of those,” Sebastian shot back.
Logan piped in, “But there’s someone.”
I added, “There’s always someone.”
Sebastian grew silent, looking between the two of us.
Nate spoke up, “They’re talking about who’s vulnerable to you, Sebastian.”