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Hating You, Loving You
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I hate him. I want him. I can’t stop thinking about him.
Hating You, Loving You is a standalone enemies to lovers romance featuring a cocky alpha hero and the strong, sassy heroine who brings him to his knees. Come see why readers say “no one writes broken bad boys like Crystal Kaswell.”
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Why do people drink?
This stuff tastes awful.
I force myself to swallow another mouthful of orange juice and vodka.
My throat burns.
My head spins.
I reach for something to hold onto. Find the white banister. It’s smooth, ornate, pure money.
This entire house is pure money. Pristine carpet. Glass tables. Three-thousand-dollar leather upholstery.
Six-dollar Trader Joe’s vodka.
The cheap booze ruins the aesthetic. It clashes with the skylights, the sliding glass doors, the glowing aqua pool.
Not that anyone notices. My classmates are used to expensive furniture and two-million-dollar mansions.
But cheap vodka and an empty upstairs?
That thrills them.
I’ve heard enough rumors to know the drill. Rich kids. Nice house. Cheap booze. Parents out of town. I heard Dean fucked Judy…
Not that it’s always Dean.
It’s just those are the only rumors I pay attention to.
A giggle cuts through the big, white room. It bounces off the high ceilings. It bounces right into my ears.
There’s Judy, all blond hair and long limbs, standing at the table, running her red nails over Dean’s forearm.
His smile lights up his blue eyes. They’re bright. Full of energy and life and lust for torturing me.
He raises a brow. Runs his strong hand through his shaggy dirty blond hair.
Shrugs his broad shoulders. Those are swimmer’s shoulders. He has a swimmer’s everything. I’ve seen him in a Speedo enough times to know—the guys practice a few lanes over.
He’s more than a hot body too. He’s handsome. Charming. Funny.
My head knows better. My head despises the cocky playboy. For calling me sunshine. For taking nothing seriously. For throwing people away.
But my heart?
It’s impossible to get over a guy you see shirtless five times a week. That’s a scientific fact.
He laughs at Judy’s joke. Shoots her that trademarked Dean million-dollar smile as he blows her a kiss.
She paws at his chest.
He shrugs maybe, maybe not.
He’s indifferent. Effortless. Aloof.
He has so much female attention he could give or take a knockout in fuck me heels.
That doesn’t give a nobody in combat boots much of a chance.
I force myself to look away.
Watch Alan—this is his place—pound his red solo cup. He finishes. Crushes the cup. Watches it fall onto the pristine white carpet.
Drops of brown liquor catch on the fibers.
He shrugs like he doesn’t care, but the worry in his eyes betrays him. The jocks around him laugh. Pound their drinks. Whisper some secret.
There are a dozen people here. Half in that circle. The rest on the couch or in the airy, stainless steel kitchen.
Everyone here is casual. Comfortable. Used to parties. To money. To cheap booze in plastic cups.
This is way out of my comfort zone.
My gaze shifts back to Dean.
His eyes lock with mine. He raises his glass. Smiles.
My combat boots tap together. My hands go to my tank top. I play with its edge. Try to figure out what the hell that means.
Dean and I have shared two classes a day, every day, for the last three years.
He spends most of his free time teasing me.
Calling me sunshine.
Mocking how seriously I take art, math, and science.
Mocking my all black clothes, my thermos of tea, my tendency to gush about cartoons.
He turns to Alan. Whispers something.
Dean nods hell yeah. “Everybody come here.” His playful voice bounces around the room.
Everyone turns his way.
Looks at him.
Hangs on his words.
Dean commands attention, friendship, respect. All he does is smile and a dozen girls fall over themselves trying to claim him.
A dozen guys want to be his friend.
The world is his oyster.
“Why should I listen to anything you say, Maddox?” Alan teases back.
Dean’s shrug is effortless. Why should I bother exerting a single ounce of energy on anything? “If you don’t want me to blow your mind, go ahead. Leave.”
“Maddox, I don’t want you blowing anything.” Alan laughs.
I roll my eyes. How original.
Dean’s eyes catch mine. He shakes his head not great, huh?
I fight my smile.
Every day this year, he turned our art class from my happy place to my deal with Dean’s constant teasing place.
He doesn’t get a smile now.
Even if my body is buzzing with nervous energy.
Even if my limbs are light and airy.
Even if my sex is aching.
I must be blushing, because he’s smiling wider. Knowingly. Like he’s sure I’m eating out of the palm of his hand.
He turns back to the group. “Truth or dare.”
“I’m not fourteen,” someone says.
“Sounds like you’re chicken.” Dean turns to me. “What do you think, Chloe? Are you chicken?”
“No.” My heart thuds against my chest.
My head fills with ideas. Every dirty dare he could offer me.
His hands in my hair.
His groan in my ears.
His lips against mine.
God, those soft lips.
I want to slap them for all the stupid shit he says. For not giving a fuck about the classes his parents pay a fortune for. For calling me sunshine every three seconds.
But he’s calling me Chloe.
My heart pounds so hard I’m sure it’s going to break out of my chest.