Rebellious and Reckless by Michelle A. Valentine



There they go again, in all their sweaty man glory. Shirtless football players running around campus, causing all the girls to drool. Myself included. My eyes pass over their glistening muscles before scoping out the faces, and I'm disappointed. The guy on the team I've been lusting over is nowhere to be seen. It would've been great to have had a little Luke eye candy to start my shift at the college library off right.

It's true, I've had a crush on Luke Finnegan since freshman year, and sadly, he doesn't know I exist. Yet it doesn't stop me from thinking about him like a crazy stalker and tripping over myself every time I see him.

I take a deep breath and step through the automatic doors.

"Good afternoon, Sky," Mrs. Makenzie, the librarian, greets me while shoving her dark purple glasses up the bridge of her nose, before smoothing back her graying brown hair. "I'm so glad you're here. Can you manage the desk for me? I have a new shipment of books I need to take care of back at the loading dock."

"Absolutely." I set my messenger bag under the counter.

"Thank you," she tells me before scurrying off toward the back of the building.

I go straight to work checking in books and answering any questions the students or facility may have. Columbus University is crazy busy like this during the fall semester because a lot of new students are still trying to get their feet wet.

My eyes scan the stack of book-holds requests, and I stuff my pen into the rubber band of my low-set ponytail, ready to get to work when a deep voice instantly catches my attention.

"Hi" was all he said before my eyes met his, and my jaw drops.

Standing before me is none other than Luke Finnegan, the star of every late-night fantasy I've had for the past year. I should say something, but no words will come. Instead, I stand there gawking at him like a freakin' idiot.

He knows he's hot, and by the smirk on his face, he knows I think so too.

The thick dark hair on the top of his head is styled to perfection while his dazzling white teeth appear even whiter against his tan complexion. All that paired with the navy polo he's wearing--he could've stepped right out of a magazine. He's perfect.

"Um, hello?" He repeats his greeting again, and I realize I have to pull myself together and speak to him.

"Hi, uh, yes, Luke...what can I, um, do for you?" I stumble over my words and instantly want to die.

The grin on his face stretches farther. "Football fan?"

Knowing his name would be a lot easier to explain if the real answer to that question was yes, but I only obsess over the team because Luke is the starting quarterback. So naturally, instead of outing my obsession, I lie. "Yes. Huge fan. Like major."

"Awesome," he answers coolly. "Can you point me in the direction of the tutoring sign-up terminal? I need some help in biochemistry."

I point to the far east corner of the building. "If you head that way, you'll see a sign that says tutoring. The terminal to sign up is right outside the tutoring room."

He pushes himself back away from the counter. "Thanks...?"

"Sky, my name is Sky." I divulge quickly as a little thrill shoots through me.

"Awesome. It's always nice to meet a fan," he says, wearing an easy smile before heading the way I pointed.

As soon as he's out of earshot, I release a huge breath and lean against the desk for support. The high alert my body was on comes down, and my knees wobble as I clutch my chest and try to catch my breath.

"You're wasting your time," the guy sitting at the table in front of me says. He doesn't bother to glance up from the textbook he's reading, which makes me think he wasn't speaking to me even though no one else is around.

I take another big breath and still find myself smiling.

"You must be a glutton for punishment," he says again, jerking my attention to him.

He doesn't look like the kind of guy you'd find reading in the library. The tops of his arms are tatted, and he has muscles for days. He's all rebel without a cause looking, and he screams trouble. Undeniably hot trouble.

And definitely way out of my league.

He glances up from his book, and our eyes meet. His brown eyes watch me intently as if he's waiting on a response while he rakes a hand through his brown hair. When I don't say anything, he lifts one eyebrow in challenge.

My eyes narrow as it hits me that both of those snide sentences he spoke earlier were meant for me. "Excuse me?"

He sighs and shuts his book before pushing himself out of the chair. "Look, you seem like a sweet girl. Save yourself the heartache and forget it. You don't have a snowball's chance in hell with him."

"Rude, much?" I fire back, hating his comment.

He shrugs his large shoulders and strand of hair falls across his forehead. "Just honest. Move on, Sky. You're not a blip on his radar."

"And how would you know?"

"Because I do." He grabs his book. "He's my brother, and I know him better than anyone else."

My eyes widen as Mr. Tattoo turns and stalks out of the building. Shock quickly wears off and morphs into full-on embarrassment at the thought of Luke finding out the library chick has a crush on him.