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Excerpt: Go With Me

Book 2: The With Me Series

Older brother's best friend

Chapter One

I’M IN MY bedroom with Hailey when my brother unknowingly drops a bombshell on me.

“Nick’s coming up here for New Year’s Eve.”

My grip slips on the nail polish brush, and I accidentally smear Hailey’s thumb with the nutmeg brown liquid. Ugh. I try not to show any other outward reaction and decide to pretend that I could care less about this news. And I don’t care—not at all. Nick Brady is only my brother’s best friend and one of his roommates in their off-campus house. I can’t stand Nick at all.

“Sorry, Hailey,” I say, reaching for the nail polish remover to clean up the mess.

“He is? Is he bringing Spartacus?” Hailey asks about Nick’s pet ferret.

“Not this time,” Caleb says.

Well, thank God for small favors. Nick’s ferret kept stealing my socks last time. Not the whole pair, just one of each. I told Nick he should’ve named his pet Dobby instead. Nick didn’t find my comment that amusing. He just needs a better sense of humor. Maybe he should try to find one and stop annoying me every chance he gets. I swear that Nick and I just fight all the time, our bickering never-ending.

“Is Jamie coming, too?” I ask. At least if Jamie comes up, I’ll have some fun. Jamie McAlister is another good friend of Caleb’s and lives in the house—along with Griff Sinclair.

“He should be,” Caleb says. “And Griff will be there as well.”

Hailey glances at her cell. “I should totally call Kate and invite her to come up. I bet if she left Boston now she could arrive in Burlington by five.”

“Hailey—” Caleb says.

“What?” she asks a shade too innocently. “Kate’s a friend. And she should come up here to have fun with us.”

“I know what you’re trying to do,” Caleb says. “Don’t set people up.”

“It’s not setting people up. It’s just putting two people who should be together in close proximity so that they wake up and see that they’re being idiots.” Hailey gives me a pointed look that Caleb doesn’t see.

I glare at her. “Kate isn’t interested.”

“Oh, she’s interested,” Hailey says. “She’s just being pigheaded.”

I resist the urge to kick her. “Griff doesn’t even know her.”

“Which is why I would invite her up and get them to meet. They’re perfect for each other. Her, all shy and dreamy. Him, all quiet and smoldery.”

“Smoldery?” Caleb pushes away from the doorjamb, laughter in his tone. He sits down next to Hailey on the floor, running his hand through her long dark brown hair. “Is that even a word?”

“Shut up, you,” she says affectionately, nudging his shoulder with her own.

“Careful.” I finish fixing the nail I smudged. “Don’t mess up her nails, Caleb.”

Caleb holds his hands up in a gesture of innocence. He’s a total goner where Hailey is concerned. It’s kind of cute and sweet when I don’t want to gag because he is my brother. Who wants to see their sibling kiss or fall in love? Certainly not me.

Every time I see Caleb with Hailey, all I can think is this is the same guy who kidnapped my Cabbage Patch doll when I was eight and held it for ransom. The ransom being, of course, my stash of Halloween candy. Too bad for him I’d already eaten half of it. The same brother who shrieked when a girl touched him because of cooties is now in love with Hailey.

And I’m best friends with her. Hailey Bloom, former superstar. She’s not just the girl next door; she’s the girl. She gave it all up for . . . this.

Kind of crazy. That’s what I’d thought when I’d first heard Hailey was attending Green College. Of all the colleges and universities out there in the world, she’d chosen a tiny, quiet, unheard-of college in Vermont. I hadn’t understood it at the time.

Why go here? Why Vermont? Why even leave Hollywood? It seemed like she had it made: beauty, intelligence, fame, and enough money to last the rest of her life—but appearances are deceiving.

I know this better than anyone.

“Earth to Daphne. Pay attention.” Hailey’s hand waves in front of my face. “Do you want to grab lunch or not?”

My stomach growls loud enough that they look at me. Oops. I’d missed breakfast, opting instead to sleep in. Really, why get up at the ass-crack of dawn when I could snuggle in my comforter and pillows? And it’s not like I’m a huge fan of breakfast food anyway. Eggs? Blergh.

“I guess that’s a yes,” Caleb says with a laugh.

He ducks his head just in time to avoid the pillow I throw at his head.