Wicked Lies (Wicked Bay Book 3)

By: L A Cotton


To my children.

I hope you always feel able to come to me with anything.

Chapter 1


“This is the life,” Laurie sighed beside me.

I leaned up on my elbows, swiping my sunglasses down to sneak a peek at her laid out on the sun lounger. Inches upon inches of bronzed skin covered only by tiny scraps of pale blue material. Shit, I needed to send Victoria's Secret a thank you note or something because my girl... well, my girl looked hot. Smoking. Then someone cleared their throat, and I remembered where we were; in my girlfriend’s yard with her parents, and her father, Mr. Davison, was shooting me a death stare.

“Beautiful day, Mr. D.” I flashed him my trademark parent-worthy smile before wrapping an arm behind my head and leaning back. Laurie shuffled onto her front and reached for my hand as it dangled over the edge of the bed.

“Hey, are you okay?” she whispered.

“Yeah, I’m good.”

“Because if you want to get out of here...” The suggestion hung in the air between us, and while I’d rather be anywhere but here, I threaded our fingers together, smiled, and said, “It’s cool. We can hang out with Lo and Rick later.”

“Okay.” Laurie sighed softly. I knew she wanted to bail, but her parents were in town and they wanted to ‘bond’. I was sure Mr. Davison had ulterior motives, like keeping his beady eye on me and making sure I didn’t corrupt his only daughter.

“So, Kyle.” The man in question cleared his throat again. The guy needed to invest in some slippery-elm lozenges. “Laurie tells us you decided on a school.”

Knowing this was one conversation I couldn’t escape, I swung my legs over the lounger and sat up. “Yes, Sir. It’s looking like USC.”

“Looking like?” His brow quirked up, and I felt his judgment brushing up against me.

“I’m attending their summer camp next month and then they’ll want their scouts to come out and see a couple more games in the fall, but it’s looking good, Sir.” I dragged a hand down my face, the weight of my girlfriend’s father’s stare too intense for a Monday morning.

“USC is a good school, Mike.” Mrs. Davison’s saccharine sweet contribution to the conversation did little to ease the tension building in my chest.

“But it’s not Berkeley,” he replied.

“Dad,” Laurie sat up and pulled on her kaftan. “We’ve been through this. I still haven’t decided. I’m not even sure I want to take pre-law.” Her voice trailed off when my eyes snapped to hers, but it was too late. The damage was done.

Because I’d asked her to come to USC with me.

And she still hadn’t decided.

“I’m going for a swim,” I announced, throwing my Ray-Bans on the lounger.

“Kyle, wait...” her voice rolled off my back as I approached the pool, leaving her with the circling piranhas.

Truth was, Laurie was free to choose her own path. Her own school. Her future. And it stung like a mother because there had been a time when all my future held was football... and her. She was in my plan. My future included her by my side: supporting me, cheering me on in the bleachers as I kicked ass for the USC Trojans. But a lot had changed in the last few months. There was a distance between us. And I didn’t know how to fix it.

I saw the doubt in her eyes every time she looked at me, the truths she’d yet to tell me.

Laurie had secrets. But that wasn’t the only problem.

Because so did I.

“I’M SORRY ABOUT MY dad.” Laurie glanced over at me as I pulled the Jeep—AKA my baby—into the driveway.

“It’s not your fault he’s an asshat.”

“Kyle,” she gasped, but I saw the hint of amusement in her eyes.

“It’s true. The guy just can’t leave it. I play football. I was born to play football. I don’t know why that isn’t good enough for him.”

“He just...” she hesitated, and I cut the engine, raking a brisk hand over my hair, hating the dark cloud hanging over us lately.

“Just what?” I twisted around to her and searched her face. She loved me, I knew that. It was right there, written all over her face and in the way her body gravitated to me. But shit, something had changed.