The Best Friend Bargain Read online Crystal Kaswell

Categories Genre: Contemporary, Romance Tags Authors:
Total pages in book: 96
Estimated words: 101089 (not accurate)
Estimated Reading Time in minutes: 505(@200wpm)___ 404(@250wpm)___ 337(@300wpm)
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Read Online Books/Novels:

The Best Friend Bargain

Author/Writer of Book/Novel:

Crystal Kaswell

Language:
English
ISBN/ ASIN:
B0856QWFRS
Book Information:

I'm faking a relationship with my best friend. What could possibly go wrong?
Skye is my best friend. I trust her with my life. So when she asks me to play her boyfriend?
I say hell no. Love screws everything up. And I'm not about to lose the only person who gets me. But Skye is determined. She's bringing a fake boyfriend to her cousin’s wedding, with or without me.
No way am I letting some other guy hold her, touch her, kiss her. It has to be me.
It's strange, smiling like I'm madly in love. But it's easy, wrapping my arms around her curvy body. It's easy, dragging my lips over her soft neck. And when she kisses me?
It’s easy, realizing she's the only thing I need.
I have five weeks of faking it. Five weeks to convince my best friend our fake love is real.
The Best Friend Bargain is a standalone friends to lovers/pretend girlfriend romance featuring a brooding tattoo artist hero and the curvy heroine who brings him to his knees.
Books by Author:

Crystal Kaswell



Chapter One

Forest

Her eyelids flutter together.

Mine follow.

I pull her closer. Closer.

Until her crimson lips brush mine.

It's soft. So soft I can barely feel it.

But I feel fucking everything.

My first kiss in two years.

The first time I've wanted someone this close.

The first time I've wanted to offer someone everything.

I still don't know how to do that.

I don't know how to give her everything.

But I know how to make her come.

I'm going to make her come.

Now.

Chapter Two

Forest

Two weeks earlier

My phone sings with Gloria Gaynor's pained voice.

I Will Survive.

The breakup anthem to end all breakup anthems.

The song my little brother set for my ex-girlfriend.

The first line fades into the second.

The melody spreads through the empty room. It expands to fill the spaces in my head.

It pokes every single bruise.

Tears at every stitch in my heart.

This is nothing. A prank. My little brother fucking with me.

It's not Mack calling me.

That's not possible.

I suck a breath through my teeth. Turn off the faucet. Place the clean mug on the counter.

For a second, I Will Survive fills the silence. Then the call ends and the room goes quiet.

Nothing but my shaky exhale.

My strained inhale.

In. Out. Easy.

Then my phone lights up again and I lose track of my breath.

Gloria Gaynor repeats her refrain.

She's strong enough to get through this.

She still knows how to love.

She's going to be okay.

Whereas I—

Fuck, it's been two years. She doesn't have a place in my heart.

Not anymore.

I wipe my hands on my basketball shorts. They're too slick. Good for a scrimmage against my little brother. Shit at absorbing sweat.

The room is empty. The house is empty. My brother is no longer shooting hoops. My sister is no longer savoring a decaf chai. My family is no longer here to back me up.

It's five steps to the dinner table.

No more plates. No more lasagna dish. (My sister's favorite). No more mugs of tea and coffee.

Nothing but my cell.

Incoming Call From Mackenzie Davis.

Mack to her friends. To her enemies. To whatever the fuck I am.

I answer the call. "Hello."

"Forest." Her voice drips with surprise. "Hey."

My stomach churns. Her voice is familiar. It tugs at the stitches holding me together.

Which is ridiculous.

I'm fine.

Yeah, I'm not running into another woman's arms. I'm not ready to trust. Or kiss anyone. Or accept more from a woman than casual sex.

Not that I'm fucking anyone.

Or thinking about fucking anyone.

Only Skye. And that—

Not happening.

"Hey." I swallow the nausea that rises in my throat. Push away the images that flit through my head.

His hand in her red hair.

Her lips parting with a sigh.

Her groan bouncing around the room.

Okay, my love life is D.O.A. So what? I don't need love. Not the romantic kind.

"Is everything okay?" There's no reason for Mack to call me. We've barely spoken since I caught her with Mr. Valedictorian. Unless she's calling about—

Fuck.

"Is Skye okay?" I swallow hard. Mack isn't just my ex. She's also my best friend's cousin. And she—if something happened to Skye.

I pull my cell from my ear. Check the screen for missed texts. Something from her parents. Or her.

There's nothing. Just some teasing from earlier today.

"I don't know." Mack's voice is soft. Caring even. "I haven't talked to her. That's actually… why I'm calling."

My shoulders relax. "Oh."

"I guess I should tell you first." Her voice gets stronger. Surer.

My head screams hell no. Hang up. Call Skye right now. Make sure she had dinner. Insist on feeding her leftovers if she didn't.

Ask her to pick out a movie. One of those movies that's all talking. They're slow, but it's worth it to watch joy spread over her face.

"Yeah?" I ask.

"Diego and I are getting married."

My stomach drops.

"It's soon. A month. I, uh… I've already sent the invitations."

"Right."

"I'm not pregnant. If that's what you're wondering."

"No—" That's not what I'm wondering.

"I hate to ask you this, Forest. I know you've had a hard time moving on. And I… I don't want to make it harder." Her voice is soft. Sweet. Like she really does care.

Like she really does hate the idea of hurting me.

Is it true? Or a put on?

I can never tell with her. I could once. Or maybe I couldn't. Maybe that was why we didn't work.

"I'm fine." The words feel like a lie. But they aren't. I am fine. I don't need love. I'm surviving like this.

"It's amazing you and Skye have become such good friends. I never expected that."

"Yeah."

"She's just… so different from you, don't you think?"

There's the Mack I know. The girl who has to win every competition. Who sees everything as a competition. "What do you mean?"

"Nothing. Just a vibe," Mack says. "Well… there is her Instagram. Doesn't it bother you? How much she wants attention? You hated when I did that."

Maybe. Or maybe she's fucking with me. Either way, I'm not letting her insult Skye. "What is it you need to know?"

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