Jersey Girl (Sticks & Hearts #1)(7) by Rhonda James

"Nah. She probably doesn't want to hear about that," he replies all too quietly.

"Oh, I don't know about that. I think I'd enjoy hearing more about your moves." I give him a quick wink as I move to step in front of him. It may be just my imagination, but I swear I hear a noise when I get close. He swallows hard, and I watch as his Adam's apple bobs nervously up and down.

"Holy shit, Cass, what are you wearing? Put some clothes on and I'll take you out to breakfast." Scotty steps in front of me, trying to prevent Brantley from seeing me, and I almost laugh. I'm beginning to get a clearer picture of what it's going to be like having my big brother nearby.

"Get a grip, Scotty. I'm dressed perfectly fine." I flip my hair over my shoulder and give him a challenging stare.

"Please, your ass is practically hanging out of your shorts, and I can see right through your shirt. And if I can see it, I know Cage can see it too." At this, Brantley's eyes fall to my chest and he snickers. Scotty snaps his head around. "You got something to say, Cage?"

Brantley's lip curls between his teeth as his eyes dart between me and my angry brother. "Not at all. I'll just step out, so you can get dressed. It was a pleasure meeting you, Cassie." His tone is far too serious when he says this. A few minutes ago, we were flirting and about to have sex. Now, we've been reduced to casual formalities all because of some 'friend code.' Screw that. I like where we were headed better than where we've ended up.

"Trust me, the pleasure was all mine." I'm trying to sound flirty, but it comes out sounding breathy and full of sexual undertones. Brantley visibly slows, clutching the doorframe before he walks out without looking back.

"Stop that," Scotty growls. "I know what you're doing and it's not going to work."

"Yeah? And what is that?"

"You're flirting with him just to push my buttons. Well, knock it off. These guys aren't just my roommates. They're my teammates, and we don't need any shit between us. We need to be a unified team. I don't need to be worrying about one of them trying to screw my kid sister behind my back."

I grind the heels of my hands over my eyes as I shake my head at him. "Scotty, I'm not a little girl anymore. I'm a woman now. And I have needs, just like you do. I can't have you scaring off all of my prospects. It's not fair."

"Cass, as much as it pains me to say this, it's not the other guys I'm worried about. I just need you to stay away from my friends. Okay? They're not your prospects. You can hang around us and shit, but don't go acting all girly and dressing like this around them." He waves his hand in front of my shirt.

"They're called breasts, Scotty. I have them. Ashley has them. All women have them. I'm not going to hide them under a sack just to make you feel better. I can't help that I have them, nor can I help it that your friends can't stop looking at them. They're pretty spectacular." I glance down at my chest and rotate my shoulders back and forth.

"You did not just shake your tits at me. That was so uncalled for. I can never un-see that. That was so wrong." He throws up his hands, muttering as he walks out the door. "Be downstairs in twenty minutes and I'll take you to Angelo's."

***

After waiting in a very long line, we are finally seated at a small table in the center of the room. One by one, heaping plates of food are delivered to surrounding tables. The first thing I notice are the thick slices of homemade bread topped with powdered sugar and served with a side of warm maple syrup. My mouth practically salivates when a plate of it is placed on the table next to ours. I love French toast. Allow me to rephrase that. I am addicted to French toast. But this restaurant takes it to a whole new level by deep-frying it. By the time our waitress comes to take our order, I'm already speaking before she has a chance to ask what I want. When my breakfast is placed in front of me, and I take my first bite, it's clear it has been worth the wait.

Scotty watches with great interest as I enjoy my food. With each bite I savor, his smile grows deeper before turning into full-on laughter once I start moaning my appreciation.

"I've missed this," he says, moving his fork between us. "It's going to be great having you close by. We have a lot to catch up on."

"I'm looking forward to that. Things were never the same at the house after you left for school, then last year at Minnesota was a joke."

"Yeah? I was going to ask you about that. Did something happen between you and Justin? I mean, I know you followed him there," he asks, pausing to take another bite of his omelette. "Why the sudden need for change?"