In One Little Word, Luke needs to use Ryan to get out of trouble. Ryan wants to get Luke back for an old grudge. And then they fall in love? Maybe, but there’s a bunch of other stops along the way. Here’s an excerpt from the book:
I almost got suspended yesterday. Today wasn’t shaping up to be any better. I grudgingly convinced Ryan to sit with my friends at lunch today, now I hoped my friends would be okay with it. I had to tell two of them the whole story so they could help me with the other guys. Zach and Joey looked at me like I was a pod person when I said Ryan Miller would be hanging around us. Then they laughed their asses off.
“No wait, let me get this straight,” Zach said, eyes dancing with mirth as we walked through the halls to the cafeteria.
“You mean let me get this gay,” Joey corrected.
“You know what? I’ll accept that,” Zach decided, offering his fist for Joey to bump. “Good one, Joey.” Why were these two my closest friends? Assholes.
“Oh, come on,” I begged.
“No, you come on,” Zach responded. “Your plan is to fake date Ryan, but secretly, so no one finds out.”
I nodded. “Right.” What was so weird about that? Alright, a lot, but still. It could work.
“But you want the administration to find out somehow.” Zach looked at me like I was a moron, but he did that a lot, so it didn’t really mean anything.
“This is so gay,” Joey interjected.
“No, it’s secretly gay,” Zach quipped.
I sighed. “Come on, guys.”
“Sounds like you want to spend time with this guy,” Joey muttered.
“No, I barely know him.” And Ryan seemed pretty unpleasant. That was probably being unfair as I was asking a lot of him, but I didn’t think there’d be much chance of us becoming “besties,” or whatever words my little sister would use to describe true friendship.
“You want to get to know him?” Joey questioned.
“I want him to help with this, and you two to help me with the other guys,” I explained.
“What’s in it for us?” Joey asked and Zach nodded. “I’ll do it for 20 bucks.”
“I don’t need money,” Zach said quickly, “But I would take a date with your cousin Ashley.”
I stared them both down. “I guess we’re playing hard ball then.”
It took a little more convincing, but I got them to come around to my side of things. They were especially supportive once I threatened them with a few secrets they wouldn’t want out. They weren’t exactly helping though once we met up with the other guys.
“Why did you invite that loser to sit with us?” Joey asked. He actually knew why, so I stared at him, dumbfounded. Maybe he forgot. Zach smirked at me like what did you expect? Joey wasn’t too bright, but he wasn’t the only one to complain at the news.
Lunch would be the first time Ryan and I were around each other in public. I was nervous about it all day. Almost like butterflies in my stomach before a date. Oh god, this was terrible. I wasn’t some asshole. I didn’t hate gay people, but I didn’t like the idea of being thought of as one.
“He’s not that bad,” I said, trying to glare Joey into submission. His dull eyes just stared unhelpfully back at me.
“What if he tries something with one of us?” That was Zach, the other one who knew. The curly headed brunette smirked as he asked the question. Unlike Joey, Zach was just having fun with this. His smirk turned into a grin when the other guys nodded along with him.
“He won’t,” I said with force, staring Zach down.
“Well, you can handle him if he does,” Zach said smoothly while we entered the cafeteria. Eyes turned to us. We were the best looking, big shots, only outshined by the seniors, so people normally watched us. Plus, I made captain as a junior, that was a big deal. I normally liked the attention, but I didn’t want an audience for any of this.
“Ew, no I’m straight.” Was that something I even needed to say? Shouldn’t that be obvious?
Zach laughed. “I meant you can menace him with your big muscles.” He raised an eyebrow, silently saying interesting where your mind went.
We went to our table, but I grabbed Zach to whisper, “You don’t want your parents to find out that it wasn’t your brother who put a dent in the car, right? Because it sounds like you want me to tell them.”
Zach grinned, that shit-eating, lazy smile that got him girls. “I was just teasing.” To everyone else, he said, “We all know who you really have eyes for and she is smoking hot today.”
Our eyes all went to where Lydia Smith entered the cafeteria. She had black hair, like Megan Fox, and could eat lesser guys for breakfast. She was stacked and glamorous and gorgeous, not like a lot of girls in this town. The rumor was that she was also very skilled with her mouth. Unlike most girls I’ve been with, she was playing hard to get. I hated it and loved it.
I was too caught up in staring at her that I didn’t notice Ryan until he was at our table. What. The. Hell.
“Hey boys.” He flounced over, shaking his hips and doing some queer motion with his hand. He was never that out there usually. He was doing this to mess with me. It was working. Half our table was uncomfortable and looking anywhere but at him while the other half was staring at him in horror, mouths open, unable to look away.
I was surprised the school didn’t make him go home and chance for wearing shorts that short. They were obscene, the material clinging to his thighs. Ryan was a tall guy with surprisingly toned calves, currently showing off miles of long legs, so I looked away. I didn’t need that visual seared into my brain. He had a pink top on with the word “fabulous” in rainbow letters.
If I murdered him, would it be a hate crime? I hated him alright. Not because he was gay, though, because this was humiliating. “What are you doing?” I hissed at him.
“Eating lunch with you cuties,” he grinned. “You invited me silly, remember?” The guys gave him a wide berth while he sat, and we watched him start eating his lunch, unconcerned. The table was silent, except for Zach, who was doing a terrible job of disguising his laughter as a coughing fit.