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Read an excerpt from I'm Not in the Band by Amber Garza

I like Kassidy Milton. There, I said it. She’s funny, beautiful—even though she doesn’t know it—and my favorite kind of weird. But I can’t tell if she’s into me or just trying to get close to me for a chance with my famous twin brother instead. I mean, it has to be me. I am the better-looking one. 

But Kassidy has some demons, and she’s not good at letting people in. That happens when you’ve been hurt by someone close to you. I can relate. Trust is a funny thing; it’s hard to gain but easy to lose. I might just learn that the hard way.       

Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book includes a snarky heroine, a swoon-worthy hero, crazy best friends, your favorite music, and lots of feels.

Excerpt

“Hey.” He pushes off the van and takes a few steps toward me.

We’re so close I can smell traces of soap and mint toothpaste. “Hey,” I respond. Way to be original, Kass.

“You made it.” He rubs the back of his neck with his hand.

I laugh without meaning to. “Well, I didn’t really have a choice. It is the first day of school, and I do go here now…” The words trail off as I realize I’m being rude.

His cheeks redden. “Yeah, I guess that was a stupid thing to say. I just meant that you made it early…to meet me…” Shaking his head, he says, “Man, I’m usually so smooth.”

My head spins. I’m not the type of girl that makes guys nervous. Sophie and Kate make guys nervous. I make them comfortable. It’s why I get friend-zoned so early on. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve liked a guy, thinking they liked me, only to find out later that they had a crush on Kate or one of my other friends, and they were using me to get close to them because I was the approachable one.

“Hopefully you’re smoother than this when you spit,” I joke, remembering last night’s text. My pulse skitters beneath my flesh. I’m not usually flirty.

“Oh. Right.” He laughs, running a hand through his hair.

“You’re not chickening out, are you?” Raising an eyebrow, I cross my arms over my chest. What has gotten into me?

“Never. I just need a minute to prepare.” He rolls his shoulders, stretching his neck from side to side as if preparing for a race. “Okay. Okay. I think I got it.” Bouncing his head up and down, he starts. “Uh uh, yo. First day of school, chilling with Kassidy. If I was allergic to hot girls, then I would sneeze. My name is Archer, my rhymes are fire. We can go on a date, if you so desire.”

My face flames. Is he serious? His teasing smile makes it impossible to tell.

“Give me one more minute?” he asks. “I…um…have been kind of wanting to do something all night, and I’ve finally worked up the courage. And…um…I’m kinda worried if I don’t do it now, I won’t.” I swallow hard as he angles his face, moving it closer to mine. “Kassidy, is it okay if I kiss you?” Hot air fans over my lips, smelling like mint and soda. I’ve only been kissed two times before, and neither went well. But this will be different. This is Archer, and the closer his face comes to mine, the more my body hums with anticipation. Holding my breath, I nod.

His hands slide farther along my cheeks, his fingers slipping under my hair. Then his lips lightly brush mine. Once. Twice. Quickly, like a soft drumbeat. Reaching out, I grip him around the waist, afraid I might fall. Drawing back, he meets my gaze. My mouth feels dry, as if I’m eating a mouthful of cotton. My chest rises and falls with each breath, and I nervously lick my lips, anticipating his next move. When he brings his face toward mine again, I close my eyes and part my lips. This time his mouth presses down more firmly, his lips soft and warm.

At first I’m paying attention to every movement, trying to match it. But it doesn’t take long to lose myself. I’m weightless, no longer tethered to the ground. My toes skim the clouds, my fingertips brush the stars. The frigid air whisks over my skin, causing me to shiver. It’s a satisfying shiver, deep in my bones. When our lips detach, I blink repeatedly bringing myself back to earth.

I’ve never experienced a kiss like this before. It was amazing.

And I can’t wait to do it again.

“It’s not that big of a deal. Really.”

“Oh, I think it’s a really big deal.” He moves closer, his hand curving around my waist, his body sliding against mine.

“You do?” I get the feeling we’re not talking about the same thing.

“Our first date. Our first dance.” His lips hover mine. “Our first kiss. To me that’s a very big deal.”

Ah, yes. I prefer this topic of conversation. My lips burn with longing. Closing my eyes, I wait for his mouth to cover mine.

“Ross Devlin and Kassidy Milton are now friends! What?” Tiffany’s shrill voice rings out in the hallway. My chest tightens as Archer draws back. Tiffany stares down at the phone in her hand, her mouth gaping open. Then she stomps away from us angrily.

Archer’s brows are furrowed. “What was that about?”

My stomach sinks. He didn’t know. And now I have to be the one to tell him. “Um…your brother and I sorta became Facebook friends. But like I said, it’s not a big deal.”

“That’s what you were talking about?” His jaw tightens. “That’s why everyone keeps staring at us? I assumed it was because of the pictures I posted of our date.”

“That would make a lot more sense,” I mutter under my breath.

“Not really.” He frowns. “A date with me isn’t really news. Friending a celebrity is.”

“But isn’t half the school friends with him?”

“Yeah, but they knew him before he was famous.” He runs a hand through his hair. “And he’s selective with who he’ll friend on social media.”

The statement feels heavy, weighted, and my knees buckle under it. “Are you…” I work up the courage to finish the question. “Bothered by this?”

He doesn’t answer right away. I hold my breath.

Finally, he shrugs. “I just didn’t realize you wanted to be his friend.”

I exhale. “Of course, I am. I want to be friends with everyone who’s important to you.”

“So this is about me, not him?”

It feels like a trick question.

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About Amber Garza

Amber Garza currently lives in California with her amazing husband, and two hilarious children who provide her with enough material to keep her writing for years.

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