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.
Badass, troublemaker, girl magnet—familiar words always followed Kyle from his locker to his senior English classroom. Or from the cafeteria to the parking lot. Or from the locker room to the baseball field. Anywhere he went, the whispers followed.
Today, it went something like, “Ooh, I know who we should vote most likely to drop out before graduation,” as he walked by. Or, “I heard he banged two girls at once at North Texas last weekend. College girls, man!” Or, “Dude, I heard MLB scouts are coming to the games to watch him play.”
He wished that last one were true.
Kyle zipped his hoodie up tighter, acting like he couldn’t hear a word. The dark red hoodie and a pair of headphones were pretty thin armor, even if he did encourage the stories…the lies. Suttonville High was a big enough maze of suck without letting the truth out.
And no way, no how, was he showing any sort of weakness ever again.
“Dude! Wait up!” a guy called.
For a second, Kyle stiffened. Old habits died hard. But he recognized the voice and let his shoulders relax. Cade Adams, unlike the hundreds of rich, snobby kids crowding the halls, was worth waiting for. He slowed his stride until Cade caught up, looking disheveled. For an amused moment, he wondered if Cade was running from a pack of zombified football players, then he noticed the pleading look on Cade’s face. The same one he’d ignored from a half dozen other guys.
He shook his head. “Nope, still not going.”
“It’s supposed to be a great party,” Cade said, running a hand over his hair to coerce it back into shape. It was a little too long, and curls kept springing up on his head. “First night of spring break, man. All the seniors are going.”
“Everyone except me,” Kyle said, quickening his pace.
“Come on,” Cade pleaded. “I need to be your wingman. Just once. Your leftovers would be a feast to us mere mortals.”
That’s what half the baseball team said, too. But if he let someone be his wingman, they’d find out really quick that he wasn’t what everyone assumed. “Sorry, not my scene.”
“Fine. Okay, I get it.” Cade’s crooked smile didn’t do much to hide his disappointment. “Just…think about it.”
He strode off, breezing through the hall filled with students in designer clothes as if his Iron Man T-shirt, wild hair, and faded jeans didn’t matter to him. And it didn’t—at some point last fall, Cade had become cool. Either that, or he’d stopped caring what any of them thought.
Kyle stalked to chemistry, praying he’d pass today’s test. Being dyslexic turned the periodic table into a medieval torture device, even if his teacher was good about giving him tutoring on the down low. He couldn’t let anyone know he actually cared about his grades, aside from passing to play baseball.
“I heard he’s going out with some girl at Texas Woman’s,” a girl whispered to another as he walked in, as if he couldn’t hear them.
“Wish I knew for sure if anyone here has a chance,” said the other girl, a pretty senior who had a reputation of being a man-eater. “Because I’d ride that pony all over town.”
Kyle’s ears flamed up. To hide his discomfort, he rolled his neck, getting a little satisfaction out of the wary stares after the vertebrae cracked. That’s right, the scary kid just cracked his back. You puny humans shouldn’t try that at home.
The bell rang and he sank into his desk, adopting his typical pose of “I’m only here because the truant officer made me show up today” with his legs stretched out in the aisle. Mrs. Moody, the chem teacher, rolled her eyes. She saw right through him. And if she could, how much longer would it be before everyone else did?
During the test—in which chemical compounds morphed into ancient Hebrew right before his eyes—he couldn’t shake the conversation with Cade. He felt bad about letting the guy down, especially since he hadn’t been much of a friend the last few years, but he hated those parties because of the baggage that rode on them. Namely, his reputation.
Because who at Suttonville would believe that the resident delinquent, skateboard-riding, drag-racing, smart-mouthed chick magnet Kyle Sawyer was actually none of those things?
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.
What is something unique/quirky about you?
Hmm, I think people who say there’s a lot of quirky to me. Probably my fashion sense—I love mashup T-shirts (At-Ats made to look like Eeyore, the Peanuts gang drawn as the Serenity crew, etc) and hoodies. At one point I had turquoise streaks in my hair. At work, I have to be very buttoned up, so at home I let my inner geek out to play.
What is something really interesting that's happened to you?
When I was in college, I marched with the Pride of Oklahoma marching band. One week, the game was televised nationally on ABC. I saw a cameraman and thought he was filming the girl behind me. Two hours after the game, my grandmother called me to say I was on national TV for ten full seconds. And I made it on the front page of the The Daily Oklahoman that season, too. What are some of your pet peeves?
When people use “your” for “you’re” is like nails on a chalkboard. People who aren’t polite. Co-workers who don’t refill the coffeepot when they use the last of it (and I don’t even drink coffee!). What are your top 10 favorite books?
I love that you let me list 10, instead of 5. Okay, here goes: Emma by Jane Austen Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor The Dream Thieves (and the entire Raven Cycle) by Maggie Stiefvater Six of Crows/Crooked Kingdom (I’m cheating) by Leigh Bardugo The Girl of Fire and Thorns (trilogy) by Rae Carson Golden Son by Pierce Brown (Really the whole series there, too) An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir The Final Formula by Becca Andre Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Swchab
What inspired you to write this book?
The inspiration actually came from my editor, Heath
er Howland. She heard the song “Please” by Sawyer Fredericks, and came up with the idea of a tough guy with a soft center who is supposedly a ladies’ man, but is actually terribly shy around girls. Thus, Kyle Sawyer (see what we did there? Heh.) was born. We spent some time plotting and the story formed from there.
Tell us what we can expect from you in the future!
I’m in edits with the second Suttonville Sentinels book (all three books feature a high school baseball player for the Sentinels), and have started primary writing on the third. I also plan to finish my Unstrung trilogy next year.