The Devil She KnewBy: Talia Hunter
She drew herself up as tall as she could manage. “Harrison told me he didn’t want to go out with me because I’d offered to have sex with you if you’d write my term paper. He didn’t believe me when I denied it and the next thing I knew, everyone at school was talking about it. Where do you think he might have got an idea like that?” Her face was getting warm, and no doubt flushing bright red. “You lied about me, and everyone believed you.”
“It was payback.” His square jaw tightened. “That thug you used to go out with stole from my parents’ store. When I tried to stop him he broke my collarbone.”
Suzie’s greatest superpower was her ability to attract losers, and dating thugs was a particular specialty. But she knew which one Milhouse was talking about. It could only be Troy, the boy she’d broken up with before she’d gathered her courage to ask Harrison out.
She folded her arms defiantly. “You can’t blame me for what Troy did.”
Milhouse folded his arms as well, matching her stance. “He stole cigarettes.” His lip curled with disdain. “Menthol cigarettes. The brand you smoked.”
Suzie swallowed down a hard lump of guilt. Troy had given her several cartons, and she’d smoked them without asking where he’d got them. She’d been a blind, infatuated fool, but she’d never meant to hurt anyone. Besides, his ‘payback’ had made her life hell.
“So you took revenge on me instead of Troy?”
He shrugged. “I figured Captain Fingerpaint was on a collision course with a jail cell anyway. His IQ was so low, you’d have to dig for it.”
Great. Her boyfriend had been dumb, so what did that make her? She glared at Milhouse, but he ignored her rage, instead stepping forward so he could study the seating plan.
It brought him close, and she was suddenly all too aware of his body. His white shirt clung to his muscled frame, hinting that he’d somehow developed a delicious bad-boy physique. And what was with that too-delicious cologne?
Her blood pulsed harder, and her heart stuttered. But what she was feeling couldn’t be arousal. No, there had to be a breeze sending shivers over her skin. He might be sickeningly handsome now, but all the window dressing in the world couldn’t disguise the fact that he was still the despicable nerd she’d hated.
“You’re sitting there.” Milhouse pointed at the board. “And I’m sitting—” He broke off, his eyes narrowing.
Crap. It had taken him all of two seconds to work out the formula. Worse, he had to have known she wouldn’t be smart enough. Suzie flushed. She felt like she’d just failed high school all over again.
“Oh good!” The happy exclamation came from behind them, and Suzie glanced around at Laura, who was standing close, smiling at them both. “I’m glad you two are getting reacquainted. I’m sure you’ve already worked out where you’re sitting? You’re together, over there.” She pointed to a nearby table. “We’ll have some speeches first, then dinner, so go and make yourselves comfortable.”
Suzie clenched her teeth. Laura had seated her with Milhouse? Perfect. That probably meant he was the only single guy here and Suzie’s sister thought she was doing her a favor. Laura was a genius, except when it came to people. If she remembered that hateful rumor from their school days, she’d no doubt forgotten Milhouse had started it.
Laura was already turning away to talk to someone else. Suzie shot Milhouse one last look of hatred before she spun on her heel and headed for the bar. She needed another drink before she had to sit down and endure an entire dinner with him.
“I’ll have the strongest cocktail you have,” she told the bartender.
From the corner of her eye, she watched Milhouse stride to the table Laura had pointed them to and tug out a chair like he wanted to break it into kindling. Another shiver ran over her skin and with a shock she realized her nipples were hard. No, she hated him! She refused to let her body react to him. But he moved with such effortless, animal grace, she couldn’t stop herself from imagining what those hands might feel like if he put them on her.