The Bad Boy Bargain
by Kendra C. Highley
Publication Date: November 14, 2016
Publisher: Entangled Teen Crush
Baseball player Kyle Sawyer has many labels: bad boy, delinquent, ladies’ man, fearless outfielder… Only one of them is actually true. But then sweet ballet dancer Faith Gladwell asks him to help wreck her reputation, and everything goes sideways.
Faith knows a thing or two about love, and what she had with her cheating jerk of an ex wasn’t it. When he starts spreading rumors about her being an Ice Queen, Faith decides it’s time to let a little bad into her life.
Lucky for her, Kyle Sawyer—dark, dangerous, totally swoonworthy Kyle Sawyer—is landscaping her backyard over Spring Break. Shirtless. And if she can convince him to play along, “dating” Kyle will silence the rumors.
But Faith’s plan threatens to expose Sawyer’s biggest secret of all…and that’s a risk he’s not willing to take.
Disclaimer: This book contains drop-the-book-and-fan-yourself kisses…and touches. Fall in love with a bad boy at your own risk.
“Faith Gladwell?” The school secretary’s voice was bored. “Your mother left you a package.”
Faith sighed in relief. She hadn’t meant to leave her ballet shoes at home, but she’d nearly been late for first period, and a tardy on her record was worse than the shame of calling for help.
She took her dance bag from the secretary and flashed her a big smile. “You made my morning.”
Like magic, the secretary smiled back. “Glad to help.”
That was thing most people missed about life—being nice actually worked. And with a name like Faith Gladwell, people expected nice. They wanted an angel with a sweet smile and bubbly attitude, and she was happy to oblige. Most of the time, anyway.
But it was getting harder. Wings were heavy and really hard to keep from dragging on the ground. Especially when you dated one of the most popular guys in school—and you weren’t sure you wanted to be with him anymore.
She hurried to the drama room, dodging past other students as if it were all a dance. Everything was a dance to her, especially now with her big break on the horizon. The musical was in two weeks, and they’d be starting dress rehearsals soon. After Mr. Fisk had learned she was classically trained in ballet, tap, jazz, and hip-hop, he’d insisted she try out for the lead in Oklahoma!
“You’re a triple threat, dear,” he said in his drawling theater voice. “We knew you could sing, and you can certainly act…but you can dance? Well, between all that and your girl-next-door demeanor, and you’re perfect for Laurey. I can just see you pirouetting in the dream sequence. Perfect!” He’d snapped his fingers and strode off, shouting for the costume designers to come take her measurements, not even waiting for tryouts to be finished.
The lead…she still couldn’t believe Mr. Fist had picked her. Mom was thrilled. Dad had taken to singing “The Surrey with the Fringe on Top” at random intervals. Even her older sisters had called home to say congrats.
Cameron, though, had frowned and asked how much time the rehearsals would take up. “Will I be able to see you?” he’d asked. “Or will the musical take up all your time?”
Some people would call that sweet. Faith called it “smothering slowly,” especially since she knew he wasn’t really missing her, but a warm body to coo at his football stories and let him stick his hand up her shirt. She’d almost told him, nicely, that he could keep himself perfectly good company, given what he really wanted out of her.
So much for nice.
She hummed as she skipped through the halls. Getting the lead in the school musical was one more box checked for her high school bucket list. Only two marks left:
Get accepted to NYU’s musical theater program.
Have sex with a guy she loved.
Her mother would need smelling salts if she ever peeked in Faith’s diary, but what she didn’t know wouldn’t give her a stroke. Dad? Well, he’d lock her up and go shopping for chastity belts.
Faith snorted. That image was way too easy to conjure up. Dad probably knew someone who made chastity belts. He hadn’t even let her get into a car with a boy alone until she was sixteen. S-E-X wasn’t spoken of.
Faith slowed in front of the drama room, feeling a little pang catch her heart. Her family loved her. They loved her dreams, her dramatic streak, and even her feet, ugly from years of dance. Still, she knew they worried about her. The baby. The one most likely to turn out wild.
And they hated Cameron.
Funny thing was, she was starting to see why. Every time they went out now, his hands got a little more aggressive, and he couldn’t understand why she was reluctant to go past second base after dating for six months.
She didn’t have the heart to tell him it was because she was waiting until she really fell in love…and that she didn’t love him.
God, that was going to be a horrific conversation, wasn’t it?
“Faith! Wait up, you long-legged gazelle!” Violet Moore dashed after her, cursing the fact—loudly—that she was five three and friends with a girl who was five nine. “George Washington on a pogo stick, you walk fast.”
She chuckled. Violet’s ponytail was coming lose from its elastic and her face was red. “How long have you been trying to catch me?”
“Since you left the office!” Her best friend paused to suck down air. “I wanted to make sure you can still meet after school to get ready for the party.”
“Yep. I’ll be there at three thirty.”
“Good, because I’m seeing my hair stylist at five.”
Faith’s eyes widened. “You’re really going to do it?”
Violet swung her ponytail. “Hell yassss. Tell your mom we’ll send her the hair for the foundation.”
“Sweet!” Faith grinned. “I can’t wait to see you with short hair. It’ll match your height.”
“Aw, shut up, Amazon.” But she smiled. The smile faded fast, though. “Great. Asshat at eleven o’clock.”
“Yeah. I’m going to blaze before I say something that’ll land me in jail.” Violet gave her arm a squeeze. “You need to turf him. And soon.”
“I know.” She sighed and turned. Cameron was muscling his way past a group of freshmen to get to her. “I’ll…I’ll do it after the party.”
“Good girl. Later!”
Violet left a vapor trail, racing away before Cameron reached Faith. “Why’d she run off?”
“Class.” Faith hid a cringe. “She was asking me to help set up for the party.”
“Getting the weekend started right!” he crowed, throwing a possessive arm across her shoulders and pulling her against his side. “You’ll be ready at eight, right?”
“Yeah.” Her heart sank. “I’ll be ready.”
Character Interview: Faith Gladwell
Q: Faith Gladwell, that’s an…interesting name. Any story there?
A: I’m the youngest of three sisters. My parents are somewhat religious, but also very optimistic. My sisters and I are named Joy, Hope, and Faith. Yeah, that gets some chuckles when we’re introduced all at once.
Q: So, word around town is that your boyfriend says you’re an “Ice Queen.” What’s that about?
A: *muttered cursing* Cameron is mad because I wouldn’t sleep with him, so he cheated on me. But that wasn’t enough, I guess, so now he’s talking trash about me. Thing is, I’m waiting for the right guy. I’m not an Ice Queen, I just want things to be special, and it became very clear it wouldn’t be right with Cam.
Q: Any thoughts on the “right guy?” What would he have to be like?
A: I want someone who loves me—not for what they can take, but what makes me special to him. I want to be cherished, and someone I can cherish back. He needs to make me laugh, give me goose bumps when he runs his fingers along my arms, and stop my heart when he comes into the room.
Q: Think you’ll ever find him?
A: *cagey smile* Mayyybee.
Q: You wouldn’t be talking about Kyle Sawyer, would you? I don’t see you with a guy like him.
A: What kind of “guy like him?”
Q: You know what I mean, but…he’s dangerous. Been around the block a few times, drives too fast, drinks, gets into trouble. Not exactly your kind of boyfriend material, don’t you think?
A: Actually, I think people have Kyle all wrong. And he might be my kind of boyfriend material after all.
Q: Interesting. What about your future…what’s next for you?
A: I’m waiting on a letter from NYU’s theater program. My dream is to study there, then head to Broadway.
Q: That’s exciting. I wish you the best of luck. I also hear you have a crazy best friend….Violet Moore. You must have an opposites attract gene between her and Kyle.
A: *Laughs* I like people who are a little unfiltered, that’s true. She’s a great friend, even if she does things differently than I—or most people—would.
Q: Thanks for stopping by today. Good luck with that Cameron situation. He sounds like a jerk.
A: Thanks, but I think I have plan to take care of Cameron…and it might just work out for me, too.
Kendra C. Highley lives in north Texas with her husband and two children. She also serves as staff to four self-important and high-powered cats. This, according to the cats, is her most important job. She believes in everyday magic, extraordinary love stories, and the restorative powers of dark chocolate.
$25 Amazon gift card, a paperback copy of Defying Gravity, and bookmarks from Finding Perfect, Defying Gravity, and The Bad Boy Bargain (US ONLY)