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Chaos (Mayhem #3)
Author: Jamie Shaw


Nearly Six Years Earlier

“YOU’RE SURE YOU want to do this?” my twin brother, Kaleb, asks with his arms crossed firmly over his lanky chest. His bottom lip twists into a knot that he sucks between his teeth, and I roll my eyes.

“How many times are you going to ask me that?” One of my legs is already dangling out my second-story bedroom window, my weighted combat boot stretching my leg toward the grass. I’ve snuck out of my house a million times—to play flashlight tag, to spy on my brothers, to steal some desperately needed alone time—but never have I felt as nervous as I do tonight.

Or as desperate.

“How many times do I need to before you realize this is CRAZY?” Kaleb whisper-yells, casting a nervous glance over his shoulder. Our parents are sleeping, and for tonight to go as planned, I need to keep it that way. When he returns his gaze to me, he has the decency to look guilty for almost ratting me out.

“This is my last chance, Kale,” my quiet voice pleads, but my twin remains unfazed.

“Your last chance to what, Kit? What are you going to do? Confess your eternal love just so he can break your heart just like every other girl those guys ever come into contact with?”

I sigh and throw a second long leg over the windowsill, staring out at the clouds rolling over the crescent face of the moon. “Just . . . ” Another heavy sigh escapes me. “If Mom and Dad wake up, just cover for me, okay?”

When I look over my shoulder, Kale is shaking his head.


He meets me at the window. “No. If you’re going, I’m coming with you.”

“You don’t—”

“I’m coming with you or you’re not going.” My brother’s eyes mirror my own—dark and determined, a brown so dark they’re almost black. I know the look he’s wearing, and I know there’s no point in arguing with it. “Your call, Kit.”

“Party boy,” I tease, and before he can push me out the window, I jump.

“So what’s your plan?” he asks after hitting the ground after me and breaking into a sprint at my side.

“Bryce is going to take us.”

When Kale starts laughing, I flash him a smug smile, and we both hop into our parents’ SUV to begin our wait.

Adam Everest is throwing a party tonight bigger than he’s ever thrown. He and the rest of his band all graduated this morning, and rumor is they’re all moving away to Mayfield soon. My brother Bryce would have graduated too if he hadn’t gotten suspended for vandalizing the principal’s car as part of a senior prank. Our parents grounded him for life—or at least until he moves out—but if I know Bryce at all, that isn’t going to stop him from making an appearance at the party of the year.

“You sure he’s coming?” Kale asks. He taps nervous fingers on the passenger-side armrest, and I point my chin toward the front door. Our third-oldest brother steps onto the porch, sporting that midnight-black hair that all of us Larson kids are known for. He shuts the front door quietly behind him, shoots nervous glances both ways, and jogs toward our parents’ Durango, slowing when I give him a little wave from the driver’s seat.

“What the fuck, Kit?” he asks after swinging my door wide open, letting in a gust of late spring air. He shoots an angry glance at Kale, but Kale just shrugs a bony shoulder.

“We’re coming too,” I say.

Bryce’s head shakes sternly from side to side. He learned to give orders as star quarterback of our football team, but he’s apparently been hit in the skull one too many times to remember I don’t take them.

“No fucking way,” he says, but when I rest my hand on the horn, he tenses. I’m the baby of the family, but having grown up with Kale, Bryce, and two other older brothers, I know how to play dirty.

“Yes fucking way.”

“Is she kidding?” Bryce asks Kale, and Kale lifts an eyebrow.

“Does she look like she’s kidding?”

Bryce sneers at our brother before gluing his eyes back to my weaponized hand and asking me, “Why do you even want to come?”

“Because I do.”

Impatient as always, he throws his aggression back at Kale. “Why does she want to come?”

“Because she does,” Kale echoes, and Bryce bristles when he realizes we’re doing the twin thing. I could argue that the sky is neon pink right now, and Kale would have my back.

“You’re seriously going to make me take you?” Bryce complains. “You’re fucking freshmen. It’s embarrassing.”

Kale mutters something about us technically being sophomores now, but it’s lost under the snark in my voice. “Like we’d want to hang out with you anyway.”

In my frustration, I accidentally push too hard on the horn, and an impossibly short, impossibly loud beep silences the crickets around us. All three of us are frozen in place, with wide obsidian eyes, and hearts that are racing so fast, I’m surprised Bryce doesn’t piss his pants. Silence stretches in the space between our getaway car and our six-bedroom house, and when no lights come on, a collective sigh of relief fills the air.

“Sorry,” I offer, and Bryce laughs as he rakes his hand nervously over his short-cropped hair.

“You’re a pain in my fucking ass, Kit.” He offers me a hand and yanks me out of the car. “Get in the back. And don’t blame me if Mom and Dad ground you ’til you’re forty.”

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