Authors: Ann Everett
TELL ME A SECRET
Copyright © 2014 Ann Everett
Ebook cover and interior design by Christina Jean Michaels
Cover image purchased by Ann Everett and used under license from www.istockphoto.com
All rights reserved.
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, and incidents are either products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
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TITLES BY ANN EVERETT
Tizzy/Ridge Series - Romantic Suspense/Mystery (with a kick of humor)
LAID OUT AND CANDLE LIT
YOU’RE BUSTING MY NUPTIALS
TIED WITH A BOW AND NO PLACE TO GO
New Adult Romance
TELL ME A SECRET
STRONG VERBS STRONG VOICE
Jace Sloan has it all. He's smoking hot, a college football star with a storybook family, and he's never met a woman he couldn't charm. He's also never met one who makes him want to be a better man...until he meets Maggie. Now, this self-proclaimed geek with wild red hair and the greenest eyes he's ever seen has him thinking all kinds of crazy thoughts. Like settling down and being a one-woman man.
Maggie Fielding is anything but Jace's type. For starters, her IQ is bigger than her chest size. But Jace is panty melting hot, and she's having a hard time remembering that he’s bad news. If only she could stop telling him her secrets, because her answers to his questions just might have both of them falling in love for the first time.
According to scientific studies, Maggie knew even good girls got aroused by bad boys. The personification of that research, Jace Sloan, strutted into the campus library with the confidence of a peacock, leaving a trail of pheromones to settle on every coed in the room. A wave of whispers circulated, each female mesmerized by his imaginary plumage.
She surveyed his approach. He appeared to shift into slow motion, his stride lyrical, as if shuffling to a soulful beat leaving no doubt as to why girls found him irresistible. He looked as if he could take you to hell, and you’d enjoy the trip. Leaner than the men in her fantasies, he had the same blue eyes and dark hair, and a small paper-thin scar on his chin made him just dangerous enough.
Drumming fingers in rhythm with her throbbing headache, she glanced at her watch. Thirty minutes late as expected. This wasn’t her first experience with a college jock. Sophomore year, she’d tutored Texas Tech’s star quarterback, and what a jerk he turned out to be. But this time, Dr. Adams assured her it would be different. Apparently, the professor made a mistake.
At least she was sitting in one of her favorite buildings, surrounded by the comforting scent of books. Technology was great, but holding a hardcover, the pages and words transporting her to places she dreamed about, made her happy.
A strand of unruly hair fell into her eyes and she puffed it away, then slid her glasses up on her nose and decided to look on the bright side. Given Jace’s reputation, he’d never stick with tutoring and she’d be off the hook. Besides, helping a self-centered pretty boy pass anatomy was the last thing she wanted to do.
“Maggie Fielding?” He looked sure of himself, and she felt uneasy. “I’m sorry I’m late. My truck had a flat.”
Motioning for him to take a seat, she checked the time again and frowned. “I understand, but I also have to study, so try to be on time.”
His grin disappeared. He grabbed the chair across from her, spun it around and straddled the seat like he was doing it a favor.
She got right to the point. “There’s a technique that may help you. Do you know what a mnemonic is?”
“I’m sure you do, just not the word for it. You use the initials of words to help memorize information. For instance, to name the cranial bones, we’d use, Old People From Texas Eat Spiders. Old would be occipital, People would be parietal, From would be frontal, and so on. Get it?”
“Yeah.” His answer came out warm enough to raise the temperature in the room. It elevated hers and she scolded herself.
“If you agree with the method, that’s what we’ll use.”
Before he answered, Maggie caught sight of a curvaceous blonde wearing a halter top slightly larger than a baby’s bib. When she reached Jace, Booby-babe leaned down, planted palms flat on the table and provided him a clear, full view. A necklace with the number ten-and-a-half escaped from between bulging breasts and dangled in mid-air. Maggie thought how horrifying it’d be if every girl wore a numeric rating, realizing hers would be a five, at best.
The girl handed him a note and whispered, “Are we still on for Friday night?”
“Well, here’s my number just in case you lost it.”
The bottle blonde retreated with long fluid steps, the sway of her hips enough to tempt any man. Maggie wished her own butt looked that good in jeans. Shaking the notion from her head, she gave attention back to her new student.
He stuffed the note in his shirt pocket as if nothing had happened. “Yeah, that’ll work.”
“Okay, here are some test cards.” She shoved them toward him. “I’ll quiz you on them next Monday.”
He shuffled through the deck, then arranged them in a neat stack with the same enthusiasm as the card with Blondie’s phone number.
Across the room, another young woman headed their way, boobs jiggling, bleached curls bouncing with each step. Maggie expected her to throw hands in the air and lead a cheer.
“Hey, Carla,” he said.
Miss Perky Perfect tossed her hair and beamed at him. “After the other night, I expected to hear from you.”
“Sorry, I’ve been busy. You know, practice, studying.” He gestured toward Maggie, then lowered his voice. “I promise I’ll call you later.”
She eyed Maggie with a what’s-he-doing-with-you glare and walked away.
God, what’s with all these blondes and their double-D-dumplings?
Maggie rounded her shoulders and tried to disappear into her B-cups. From the looks of both girls, Jace preferred cookie cutter Barbies.
Maggie sucked in a deep breath and frowned again. Gathering her books, she shoved them into her backpack and attempted to look unconcerned. An old familiar burn started in the pit of her stomach, rose to her chest and squeezed the air from her lungs. A sensation she’d not experienced since age sixteen while crushing over Daniel Radcliffe in a Harry Potter Marathon Movie weekend. She swallowed the knot in her throat. “We’re done for tonight. As I explained in the email, this was a meet and greet. I’m doing this as a favor to your professor, so if you can manage to be on time next Monday, we’ll have a regular session.”
Jace stood and leveled an incandescent gaze. “I’ll try not to let it happen again. You want me to walk you to your car?”
She tried to match his stare, but couldn’t pull it off, so as a diversion, she rummaged in her purse, produced a business card and snapped it toward him. “Well, in case you have another flat, here’s my number. I’d appreciate a call.” She slung her bag over her shoulder. “And no, I don’t need an escort.”
He accepted the card and stuffed it in his jeans pocket. “No problem.”
She walked away.
At nine fifteen, Maggie dropped her backpack onto the floor and strolled into the kitchen. Still upset about her new student, she grabbed a bottle of water from the fridge and downed half of it in one gulp. She’d watched him play football plenty of times but had never taken a close look until she’d googled him. Roommate Sarah Henderson interrupted her thoughts.
“So what’s your opinion of Jace?”
“I mean, I wasn’t surprised. He came in late and made an excuse, but I’d be willing to bet he was with a
.” Maggie slid the band from her ponytail and shook it loose. “I admit he’s gorgeous. As a matter of fact, he’s the most beautiful man I’ve ever seen.” She stared into space and spoke in a far off voice. “He’s like a box of candy—and every girl in the room wanted a piece.” She snapped from her trance. “It was pathetic.”
“Come on, Maggie, just because your mother sucked at the choices she made doesn’t mean every man in the world is a jerk. But in this case, Jace is a charmer, so you should be careful.”
Maggie walked past her into the living room, plopped onto the sofa and folded her feet under her hips. She took another swig of water, then held the bottle as if toasting. “He’s not my type.”
Sarah broke into a full laugh. “My God, you’ve been on three dates in your entire life. I’m not sure you know what your type is, or if you even have a type.”
Maggie grimaced. Sarah was right. She didn’t have any experience with men in the dating arena for sure and not many role models. “From the looks of fans who came over to talk, unless I have gargantuan breasts and big-bar hair, I should have said I’m not
Her friend crossed her legs Indian style and Maggie expected a lecture, but instead, Sarah said, “Sam tells me Jace has never had a long-term relationship. He sleeps with a girl a few times, and he’s done. That pretty much makes him a man-whore. Will the interruptions be a problem?”
“Not for long. While I waited, I made a decision.” She finished off the water, replaced the lid and picked at the label. Sarah’s warning wasn’t necessary. Maggie realized the moment she saw Jace, he’d be trouble. “I’ll meet with him a couple more times and call it quits. That should satisfy Dr. Adams. I agreed to try tutoring and made it clear if Mr. Football Superstar didn’t apply himself, I’d end it.” She wadded a piece of the label into a small ball and rolled it between her fingers. “For the record, I can already tell. Jace Sloan will be a total waste of my time.”