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Authors: Sheri Cobb South

Don't Bet On Love

BOOK: Don't Bet On Love
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Sheri Cobb South



My fair laddie…


To win a bet that sweet but klutzy Gary Hadley will take the most popular girl at Carson High to the prom, Molly McKenzie’s brother Mark asks her to try transforming Gary into a dashing ladies’ man.


Persuaded by a bit of brotherly blackmail, Molly reluctantly takes on the hopeless task. To her amazement, Gary turns into a first-class hunk. Will Mark win his bet, or will Molly spoil everything by falling for Gary herself?





y McKenzie, have I ever told you that you’re my fa
vorite sister?

Mark asked, fol
lowing me into the kitchen and grabbing me around the waist.

Maybe I have a naturally suspicious mind, but I had lived with my twin brother for seventeen whole years, and I recognized the symptoms. Mark was definitely up to no good.

I’m your

I pointed out, unimpressed.

If it’s money you want, I haven’t got any—you of all people should know that.

Considering the subject closed, I set
to work fixing myself an after-
school snack. Unfortunately, Mark wasn’t finished with me yet. As I poured a glass of milk, he leaned over the counter and snatched a cookie from my paper napkin.

What makes you think I want money?

he asked between bites.

All I’m asking for is one little favor.

I scowled at him.

That’s what I’m afraid of. Your ‘little favors’ usually turn out to be major headaches! Whatever it is, the answer is no.

Oh, come on, Moll! You could at least
, you know.

Okay, I’ll listen,

I said reluctantly, leaning against the refrigerator door and taking a sip of my milk.

But remember, I’m making no promises.

Okay. Today in the locker room after PE, some of
us—me, Eddie, Gary, and Steve—
were just talking. You know, guy stuff

I groaned.

Spare me the details, please! The more I hear of your ‘guy stuff,’ the less respect I have for guys.

You said you were going to listen,

Mark reminde
d me, snatching another cookie.

Anyway, we were talking about girls and who we’d like to take to the prom. Steve will be taking Li
z, of course, and Eddie’s think
ing of asking your friend Jan.

He paused.

y said he’d like to take

Colette Carroll.


The glass of milk nearly slipped out of my hand.

You’ve got to be kidding!

What’s wrong with that?

Well, nothing, I guess,

I said.

I mean, anybody can dream. But
Gary Hadley
? And

It wasn’t that I had anything against Gary. In fact, he was probably the least offensive of all my brother’s friends. But Colette was the reigning beauty of Carson High’s junior class, a tall, leggy brunette with a fantastic figure and a fashion-model smile.

Sure. Why not? Why shouldn’t Gary take her to the prom? He’s tall, he’s athletic, he’s—

He’s hopeless!

I interrupted.

Look, Mark, anybody who thinks Gary has a ghost of a chance with Colette has to be seriously out of touch with reality. He may be poetry in motion on the basketball court, and he’s a perfectly nice guy, but in case you haven’t noticed, Gar
y can’t walk down the hall with
out tripping over his own two feet!

So? If your feet wore size fourteen shoes, you’d probably trip over them every now and then, too,

Mark retorted.

Anyway, Eddie and Steve agree with you. They say Gary doesn’t st
and a chance with Colette, but—
well, to make a long story short, I’ve got twenty bucks that says my man goes to the prom with Colette Carroll.

You actually laid
on whether or not Colett
e would go out with Gary?

I ex

Mark, how
, you?

He grinned.

Easy. If Colette tells Gary to take a hike, I pay Eddie and Steve ten dollars each. If she goes to the prom with him, they each pay
ten. What’s the big deal?

That is despicable!

I fumed.

It doesn’t surprise me that you, Eddie, and Steve would do something so disgusting, but I simply can’t believe that Gary would go along with it. I thought he had more self-respect than that!

Oh, lighten up

my brother said, laughing.

He’s just a young boy in love.

Yeah, right. What’s

I’m just a young boy who stands to lose twenty bucks if Gary doesn’t take Colette to the prom.

Mark beamed at me.

And that’s where you come in, sister dear.

What do you mean?

I asked warily. I wasn’t at all sure that I wanted to know.

Well, Gary’s a good guy, but even I have to admit he’s no ladies’ man,

Mark began.

I snorted.

You can say

And you obviously agree that for Gary to get a date with Colette, he’s going to need a little help


I repeated.

That has to be the understatement of the year!

So I volunteered you,

Mark went on as though I hadn’t spoken.


I squawked.

Mark gave me his most appealing grin.

Come on, Moll, have a heart. Here’s poor Gary so nuts about Colette that he can’t even talk to her without getting tongue-tied, so I thought

Forget it!

I snapped.

problem, not mine. Besides, it seems to me that you’d be better off worrying about your own prom date. Have you asked anybody yet?

Nope, and I’m not going to. I’m going stag,

he said cheerfully.

I mean, why tie myself down to one girl for the whole evening?

What you
mean is that no self-respecting girl would go with you,

I re

Mark bristled.

Oh, yeah? It just so happens I could
have my pick of any girl at Car
son High if I wanted, but I
. And speaking of prom dates, has anybody asked

he added slyly.

No, and there’s nobody I’d particularly like to go with, either,

I told him. It was the truth. There wasn’t a single guy in the junior class I was interested in.

I probably won’t go at all.

Suit yourself,

Mark said with a shrug.

But just because you’re boycotting the prom doesn’t mean you can’t help poor Ga
y get his dream date.

No! I refuse to have anything to do with this tacky scheme of yours,

I said firmly.

will have to fend for himself.

But, Moll, I sort of promised him you’d do it.

I stared at him.

You had no right to promise any such thing! Anyway, I couldn’t help Gary get a date with Colette even if I wanted to. She’s in my algebra class, but I hardly
know her.

What difference does that make? You're a

Mark pointed out.

You know what girls like in a guy. You could tell
how to act so Colette would like him.

I won’t do it, Mark. No way, nohow!

I threw my paper napkin in the trash, put my dirty glass in the sink, and headed for the door. But b
efore I reached it, Mark said, “
You know, Moll, I was just thinking. It sure would be a shame if Mom and Dad found out about that speeding ticket you got last month—especially after you took such pains to pay the fine without
having to ask them for money

His words stopped me in my tracks. He wouldn’t tell on me—would he? I spun around
and looked at my brother suspi
ciously, b
ut Mark was the picture of inno
cence. Sapphire-blue eyes gazed at me from a cherubic face framed by curls the same golden-blond color as my own. Not for the first time, I wondered how such an angelic face could hide such a devious mind. But knowing him as well as I did, I wouldn’t put anything past him—including blackmail.

Look, Mark, I told you I’d pay you back as soon as I could,

I pleaded.

I’ve given you half my allowance every week, just like we agreed. If you’ll just be patient for a few more weeks, you’ll have the rest, I promise.

Mark shook his head sadly.

I don’t know, Moll. Sometimes I think I should have told Mom and Dad a long time ago. I worry about your safety,

he added in a voice filled with fake concern.

Oh, Mark, give it a rest!

I said, scowling.

I was going thirty-five in a twenty-mile-per-hour zone. You make it sound like I was drag-racing or something!

The law is the law,

Mark said piously.

Of course, if you’d ju
st agree to help Gary Hadley…”

I gave up.

Okay, you win.

I sighed.

What exactly do you want me to do?


The next day at lunch I asked Jan and Beth, my two best friends, what they thought of Gary Hadley.

Jan looked surprised.

Gary? I don’t know,

she said.

I never thought much about him at all, to tell the truth. He’s okay, I guess. Awfully klutzy, though.

Yeah, but klutzy in a cute sort of way,

said Beth
. She always tried to find some
thing nice to say about everybody.

Nobody ever accused him of being good-looking, that’s for sure,

Jan went on.

No, but he’s not really ugly, either,

Beth put in.

If he asked one of you to the prom, would you go?

I asked.

Frowning, Jan said,

Hmmm. That’s a tough call. It would depend on who my other prospects were. Actually, I’m sort of hoping Eddie will ask me.

Well, I’d go with Gary,

Beth said.

He may not be handsome from an objective standpoint, but I think he’s sweet.

Easy for you to say,

Jan added.

You’ve already got a date.

Beth beamed.

Yeah, Chris is coming home from college that weekend. He’s even going to rent a limo so we won’t have to ride in that run-down pickup of his! Isn’t that cool?

Don’t change the subject,

I ordered. Then, trying to sound casual, I asked,

Do you think
Colette Carroll would ever con
sider going to the prom with Gary?

There was a moment of stunned silence, and then Jan began to laugh.

Good gr
ief, Molly! What kind of a ques
tion is that?


I persisted.

Absolutely not,

Jan stated, tossing her long red hair for emphasis.

Colette Carroll wouldn’t be caught dead with Gary Hadley!

My sentiments exactly
. Turning to Beth, I asked,

What about you?

She twisted one light brown curl around her finger, ob
viously struggling to find some
thing positive to say.

Well—it’s not that I don’t think Gary is good enough for Colette, or anything. But she’s so pretty and popular that she’s sure to have dozens of offers, and—

We get the picture, Beth,

Jan interrupted.

Just answer the question yes or no.


Beth admitted.

BOOK: Don't Bet On Love
11.71Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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