Enemy Down - Cathryn Fox



“Hot, right?”

I glance to my left, to lane number four as fellow track star—and my very best friend—Kaitlyn Collins catches up to me. I lift my face to the sky to take in the late afternoon sun. It might be early fall, but it’s always hot in Southern California this time of year. I swipe beads of moisture from my forehead and concentrate on my breathing and my pace. Our big meet is next week, and I need to take first in my category or…well, I can’t think of the consequences.

“The sun is going down. It should cool off soon enough,” I say, but before I get a chance to turn my focus back to my own lane, I catch her mischievous grin, and the wagging of her eyebrows.

“You know that’s not what I’m talking about.”

“Then what are you talking about?” I ask, instantly regretting the words spilling from my mouth. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid. Honestly, I’d have to be a total idiot not to know she’s talking about the football team, and their…oh, how does she describe them in their tight pants? Sexy, hot football butts. If you ask me, they all look like overstuffed sausages ready to burst wide open. I never did have a taste for sausages, except those flat breakfast sandwiches ones from my favorite fast-food restaurant.

“You don’t want to tap dat ass?” she teases. I take a deep, fueling breath and focus straight ahead, putting an end to this conversation. I am not discussing butts with her, or any kind of sausage. But will she let it alone? Hell no. This is Kaitlyn we’re talking about. She might want to work her way through the entire football team—bed every Falcon—but she can leave me out of it. I have more important things to think about than tapping any man’s ass. Wait, is that even a thing?

“What about Christian?”

“What about him?” I grumble.

Her grin widens and yeah, I get it. She caught me staring at the quarterback as he called out the last play. I’d give just about anything to run track somewhere else, but no, Kingston had to efficiently build the track around the football field, forcing me to stare at cocky Christian Moore like it’s my damn job. When it comes right down to it, I don’t have to stare. I don’t even want to stare. I hate that guy with the power of a thousand burning suns, and honestly, that might not even be enough sun to accurately describe the extent of my loathing.

Then why the hell were you staring, Maize?

Isn’t that the question of the century. But there is one thing I know. It has nothing to do with his butt in those pants. Almost nothing, or maybe everything.

“Christian is looking even harder this year, don’t you think?” She lifts her arm and flexes her impressive bicep.

I put on my best bored expression. “I wouldn’t know.”

I pick up my pace, hoping to leave my bestie behind, but she’s not having any of that. I might be the school’s top middle-distance runner, but she’s the top long-distance girl, and there isn’t a hurdle she can’t jump. My stupid gaze slides to Christian again.

Speaking of jumping.

Come on, Maize!

Kaitlyn kicks out those long athletic legs of hers and catches up easily. Not that I really thought I could lose her. We’re both attending Kingston College on sport scholarships. Most students here are on their parents’ dime, but we’re star athletes from the wrong side of the tracks. We met at Sweetwater High, an uber rich high school in So Cal. We both had to take three different busses to get there each morning, since it was outside our school districts. That’s where I met Christian too. God, just thinking about him makes me want to hurl. The guy singlehandedly ruined my life in senior year.

I cast Kaitlyn a glance, and as if being pulled by some greater force, my gaze once again slides to Christian, only to find his eyes locked on me—like he could feel me staring, feel me thinking about him. Holy shit. I tear my gaze away fast and suck in air.

“We still on for the mall later?” I ask, trying not to sound winded. I could run for hours without losing my breath, but apparently, all it takes is one direct look from Christian to steal the air from my lungs.

Get it together, girl.

Her pace slows, as she finishes her run. “Yeah, but I can’t be long. I have a group project meeting