I Dare You (Truth And Dare Duet #2) by Lylah James

To Rebecca/Becky ~

Thank you for always believing in me.

You made this book possible.

Enemies to best friends to lovers

Maddox Coulter.

Was my enemy. Now my best friend.

You know him...

Popular jock, rich enough to buy a town and a modern-day Casanova with a dirty smirk.

He's every girl's wet dream. But he wants me.

Maddox needs me.

One night of untamed passion has us dangling over the edge of something dangerous and it could forever break us.

Our hearts are on the line.

Maddox is keeping secrets.

I vowed to never give up on him but I'm not sure he's the same man I fell in love with anymore.

I'm scared he'd leave my heart bleeding at his feet.

But worst, what if we go back to...

... hating each other?

I fucked up.

I knew I’d eventually mess up. I knew I’d end up destroying the one good thing in my entire life. Lila.

Because that was the only thing I was capable of.

Destroying lives.

Ruining her.

Wrecking us.

I tried to protect her, since the day I made that stupid goddamn pinky swear for the first time. Ruthless in my endeavor to make sure she was always happy, always taken care of, by eliminating anything that would cause her pain…but I forgot to protect her from myself.

My lungs seized in my chest, and my throat closed. A choked sound came from me as I held my head in my hands, feeling the burn in the back of my eyes.

“You’re the best unplanned thing that has ever happened to me, Maddox. And I can’t lose you. But you’re doing everything to push… me away from you,” she whispered, her sweet voice breaking at the end. “You’ve been telling lies and keeping secrets from me. Since when have you started lying to me, Maddox?”

My head snapped up at her words. I didn’t have an answer. I fucking wished I did.

Lies, no matter how big or small, was the quickest way to ruin something beautiful – us.

Lies and secrets…

Everything I’d ever done, every decision I made was to protect Lila.

But no band-aids would ever be enough to stop the open, festering wounds I’ve left behind.

“I’m sorry,” I choked.

The torment on her face decimated me. “Is that all you have to say?”

My vision blurred – fuck – I had to remind myself not to lose my shit. “I’m sorry.”

A lone tear slid down her cheek. “They said you were trouble. I didn’t listen. I took a chance on you. And now I regret it.”

“Don’t leave me.” My hoarse voice cracked.

Lila took a step back. My wounded heart lurched, and bile crawled up the back of my throat, bitter and acidic.

“Lila,” I breathed her name. “Please.”

She slowly shook her head, another silent tear leaving a wet trail on her cheek. “Maddox.” She looked pained, and her lips wobbled. “You broke your promises.”

And now she was breaking hers.

Her feet took her another step back.

“No,” I pleaded. “Lila, no.”

My voice caught in my throat as she turned and walked away, taking my bleeding heart in the palm of her hand and leaving me… empty.

I sunk to my knees, unable to stop myself, choking on the heavy taste of bitterness on my tongue. This couldn’t be the end… it couldn’t.

The door closed, even as I called out her name. Pathetically. Because for her… I was a fucking weak man.

Love made me weak.

Love destroyed lives.

Love ruined us.

She left.

My Lila left, as the pain piercing through my chest, became almost unbearable.

All my truths, all my lies collided together – my future with Lila now cracked open, bleeding and sending the broken fissures all over, as I knelt in the wreckage of it all.

Once again…alone.

Once again… lost.

She lied too.

She broke her promises, too.

You won’t lose me, ever.

Pinky promise?

Pinky promise.

Four months earlier

I couldn’t remember the exact moment I realized what I felt for Lila was more than friendship.

Maybe it was the first time when Lila wrapped her little pinky around mine outside of her grandparents’ grocery store.

Or maybe it was the time I woke up from a nightmare and found her sleeping beside me, the night she took care of me, pulling me out of the freezing tub, and didn’t leave my drunk ass behind – the same night I realized what it felt like not to be alone.