GAME ON, the latest book in Westland University series, is now available.
I had so much fun writing Olivia and Devon's story. The characters are dear to my heart.
While GAME ON is the second book in the series, it's a standalone novel.
I hope you enjoy.
Here's a sneak peak:
Gamma house was filled with bodies sweating out the gallons of beer and vodka consumed over the last hour. The mood wasn’t jovial. In the last week, the baseball team had lost two of their players to a steroid scandal.
The stench filled my nose, making me want to simultaneously vomit and run. Neither of which I could do. I glanced at the red cup in my hand. The level of beer hadn’t changed since Paige shoved it at me before getting distracted by her boyfriend, Jayce. I was only at this stupid party because of a bet we made last semester. Talk about feeling totally out of place. My fingers tightened around the plastic, spilling warm beer over the rim. She’d brought me to the one frat on campus I hated being around.
Rumors were running rampant that one of the baseball players had been arrested, another rushed to the hospital. I didn’t pay much attention to rumors—or the baseball team, for that matter. And my mood soured more than usual after someone spilled red wine on my new cream shirt less than ten minutes after I’d entered the house. The wine spread like blood across my chest, highlighting my average bust-size even more.
“Wow, be still my heart. The great Olivia Dawson has blessed us with her presence.” Devon Miller glanced into my still-full beer and shook his head. “Seriously, Liv, you need to live a little.”
“Fuck off, Devon.” I shoved the cup toward him. Bet or no bet, I wasn’t staying in this dump any longer.
“Wait,” Devon called behind me during a break in the too loud music. He caught up to me when my hand hit the doorknob. “Just wait. I didn’t mean to piss you off.”
I dropped my head. Pissing me off was one of Devon’s specialties, one he’d been perfecting since freshman year. The last thing I wanted was to spend time with Devon Miller. Two and a half years of having almost every class together was more than enough. That, and the way we met. Despite our mutual indiscretion, I still shuddered at that memory.
“This year hasn’t started off great, and I need to blow off some steam. I seem to recall you had a certain skill at beer pong. But that was a few years ago. I’m sure a freshman could kick your ass now.”
I turned around to stare into his dark hazel eyes. Those same eyes I’d lost myself in once before. The first time I met him at a freshman mixer, I fell for his easy charm and into his bed. Stupid tequila.
“Come on, Olivia. Play one game. What’ve you got to lose?”
“To you? Nothing,” I snapped.
“Losing to me seems to be one of your best skills.”
I huffed and turned away from him.
“You can’t still be pissed at me,” he said before I could step away.
I spun back around. “I should’ve introduced Maggie Fielder for her lecture, not you.”
“Why? Am I not good enough?”
“She’s one of the top female engineers in the country. It should’ve been a woman who introduced her.” Of course I was still pissed. We’d both pitched our reasons for introducing Dr. Fielder, and for some dumbass reason the head of our department, also a man, picked Devon.
“And you beat me out for the Donnell scholarship. I’m not angry about that.”
My arms fell to my sides. He had a valid point. We’d volleyed wins back and forth over the last few years. Still, there was more to it than that.
“So don’t play against me this time. Team up with me so I can finally beat Chuck and Barry. They’ve been wiping the floor with everyone tonight.”
“What’s in it for me?” I asked. Beer pong did sound like fun, and I didn’t want to ring in the new semester studying in my room.
“Besides the pleasure of my company?”
“Try again.” I turned completely around and crossed my arms over my chest. Since our first engineering class together, he’d made it perfectly clear what he thought of me: that I was in the wrong field. It probably didn’t help that I answered the prof’s questions before he could and I got them right. Our first class became a back and forth battle of knowledge. I won. I never thought the word “arch-nemesis” would apply to anyone in my world…
Until I met Devon.
“Fine, the pleasure of taking Chuck and Barry down.” He leaned in closer. Beer wafted off his breath. “And I’ll put in a good word with Dad.”
My breath caught in my throat. It was no secret that I wanted to interview at JenCar Aerospace for an internship. I’d applied at the beginning of the fall semester, but I didn’t even get a call. Paige and I reworked my resume for two months, and I’d sent it in right before the holiday break. They would be calling potential candidates in the next week or so. I had to be one of them—and Devon’s father was a top engineer at JenCar. A word from him would at least get me in the door. But was it worth selling my soul?
No, I’d get there on my own. I didn’t need Devon’s help. I’d do it on my own, like always.
“Not necessary,” I said. “What else do you have?”
He raised his eyebrows. “Fine.” His gaze drifted toward the ceiling until a smile erupted over his lips. “You’re taking Lit with Dorchester, right?”
I nodded. Dorchester was a notorious hard-ass who didn’t care what your major was and expected every student to be fluent in old English. I’d avoided filling the requirement for as long as possible.
“I took it last fall. And I still have my notes. I’ll give them to you. Deal?”
That was too good to pass up. Dorchester didn’t use the same syllabus, but the notes would be invaluable. I couldn’t afford my GPA to drop even half a point. “You know I hate you, right?” I said for good measure.
“You’ve made that clear. Although I still don’t know why. I’m pretty lovable.” He offered his hand. “What do you say? Partners?”
I slid my fingers across his and squeezed hard. “Partners. But only for this one game.”
Devon laced our fingers together, tugging me behind him as we maneuvered the obstacle course of bodies. I didn’t want to think about his skin against mine. Or how letting myself go for one night had almost ruined me, but the rush of the memory my freshman year filled my head. The challenge, the alcohol, the feeling of his lips against mine, our bodies pressed together. I shook my head, wanting nothing more than to erase that miscalculation. It almost cost me Henry, even if I did lose him in the long run. I wasn’t about to make the same mistake.
I should’ve said no to the game. But the lure of his notes was too much. Besides, Paige was right. I spent too much time on my own. It wasn’t that I didn’t like people; it was just easier to stay focused on my goals without any distractions. I talked to people in my classes, but I didn’t hang out with them outside of class. Not that I had a lot of time. If I wasn’t in class or studying, I was at my job. Paige was the only person I hung out with who had nothing to do with engineering or serving steaks.
Devon let go of my hand as we stepped into the old Victorian’s dining room, where the ping pong table was center stage. Chuck and Barry stood at one end. Two of the guys from the basketball team were at the other. Judging by the empty cups and the way the basketball players swayed, they were losing badly.
“We got next game,” Devon shouted. He leaned down and whispered in my ear. “Chuck and Barry are stone cold sober. Let’s change that.”
I nodded. Why was I doing this? I hated Devon. But taking down Chuck Mathis and Barry Acklin was worth dusting off my beer pong skills. Besides, I’d promised myself more fun, and beer pong definitely qualified. Live a little was my motto for the new semester. I watched and waited, wishing the woo-girl behind me would tone it down a notch—or five. Every single time someone made a shot, she screamed at the top of her lungs.
The game ended with Chuck and Barry on top and only two of their cups drained. Devon and I stepped to the table, and I went into rules mode. I moved around to the end Barry and Chuck had no doubt occupied since the party started.
“Challenger’s choice. We get this end.” I smiled. Unseating them meant getting inside their heads.
Chuck bowed with a grin. “Of course. We don’t need to be on this side to win.”
“Or to lose.” I glanced over my shoulder at Devon.
Chuck slapped Barry on the shoulder and laughed. “Devon, where’d you get this girl?”
“Not a girl, hotshot,” I said, stepping up to him. Why men were never called boys but women were still girls irritated me. One prof learned that the hard way after calling me “little girl” in front of the class. The dean and I had a nice discussion about it, too. “Haven’t been a ‘girl’ for a very long time.”
“Watch it, man. She’ll eat you up and spit you out.” Devon put his arm around my shoulders. It took every ounce of my strength not to shake it off.
“Oh, she’s a ringer?” Barry asked.
Devon squeezed me closer. That was enough to push me over the edge. I elbowed him in the ribs. Chuck and Barry started laughing as they moved toward the other end of the table.
“Don’t do that again,” I whispered at my partner with my back to our opponents. “Keep your hands to yourself and your focus on the game.”
“Like when I’m on the mound,” he said with his hands in the air.
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