Double dare, p.1
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       Double Dare, p.1

         Part #6 of Neighbor from Hell series by R. L. Mathewson
 



  Dedication Page

  I would like to say a special thank you to several people who have been there for me, supported me and who have always believed in me.

  To Lieve and Jen Emig for being there for me during one of the most difficult times in my life. Your kindness helped me more than I could ever say. You helped me pick myself up and dust myself off and keep going. For that you will forever have my gratitude.

  For Rhonda Valverdeand the wonderful ladies at VRB for giving me my start and taking a chance on me. Your support and kindness made me believe in myself and realize what I was capable of. Thank you

  Maryse Black for the incredible review and kindness you showed me. You have no idea what a difference you’ve made to me and my children. You will forever be in our thoughts.

  To the teachers, staff and volunteers at my children’s school, thank you for everything that you have done for Kayley and Shane. Your dedication and kindness over the last three years has made a world of difference to my children. You’ve helped them grow, smile and realize that there are wonderful people in this world.

  A special thank you to the readers and my Facebook buddies. Thank you so much for your support, your kind words, time and patience. There are no words to describe what you mean to us. Thank you so much for sticking by me.

  Dear Reader,

  Before we talk about this book, I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their support and kind emails, posts and reviews over the last few years. They’ve meant a great deal to me and my children.

  Now, onto to Double Dare….

  When the idea for this book first came to me, I never planned for it to coincide with The Game Plan. I’d planned on writing about two childhood best friends who lived to torment each other, but I realized early on that the books would have to coincide. I’d hoped to write this book so that it could be read and enjoyed as a stand-alone book even though it was part of a series. Unfortunately, no matter what I did I couldn’t get away from the fact that this book does in fact compliment The Game Plan.

  With that being said, even though this book does compliment The Game Plan, I refused to make this story into a different POV of The Game Plan. You will see a few shared scenes with The Game Plan, but those scenes were re-written with a different POV as well as a completely different focus so that you should be able to read them without the repetitiveness that sometimes comes with books with shared events.

  I also made the decision to end this book before Danny’s traumatic event from The Game Plan, because I didn’t think anyone would enjoy forty pages of repetitiveness and I didn’t want to switch the focus to Danny and Jodi since they’ve already had their story and Darrin and Marybeth deserved a story of their own.

  Thank you and I hope you enjoy Darrin and Marybeth’s story as much as I enjoyed writing it.

  R.L. Mathewson

  Double Dare: A Neighbor from Hell Novel

  Prologue

  1993

  Darrin and Marybeth, Age 7

  “Stop staring at me!”

  “No,” the little boy, who’d been staring at her ever since her mother had put her in time out twenty minutes ago, said with a careless shrug.

  With an annoyed sigh, she decided to ignore him, hoping that he would take the hint and go away so that she could sit there glaring at her brother in peace as he made a big show out of eating the ice cream that their mother had given him. Jake smiled as he took another big bite out of his ice cream sandwich. Marybeth narrowed her eyes on her older brother before she shifted her gaze away, refusing to give her brother the satisfaction of seeing her upset.

  “He had it coming,” the boy said, drawing her attention back up to find him still perched on the branch above her head.

  “I know,” she bit out with a glare.

  The boy looked thoughtful before he added, “He cries like a girl.”

  “I know that, too.”

  “Do you want me to beat him up for you?” he offered as he leaned back against the tree.

  For a minute she considered saying yes, but after a slight pause she shook her head with a sigh. “No, that’s okay,” she said, already knowing that she’d get her brother back later for telling on her.

  “You don’t look like your mom,” he pointed out with a curious smirk as he shifted his gaze to her mother who was still unpacking their car.

  She sighed heavily as she lay back on the overgrown grass and waited for the question that would probably have her reaching for the stick next to her and throwing it at his head. He’d want to know if she’d been adopted and when she told him no he’d probably argue with her like most kids did, pointing out the fact that her mother had pale skin, blonde hair and gray eyes while she had black hair, a dark tan and green eyes. She could tell him that she looked like her father, but she wouldn’t do that, because it would only lead to more questions, questions that she didn’t feel like answering.

  “You’re prettier,” he announced, making her realize that he was staring down at her once again.

  “You’re a bad liar,” she said, blindly reaching out and grabbing the stick so that she could focus on peeling bark off it instead of how much his words had pleased her.

  “Why do you think I’m lying?” he asked, sounding curious.

  With a sigh, she gestured towards her mother who was talking to the movers. “Because everyone says she’s beautiful.”

  “So?” he asked with a frown. “That doesn’t mean that she’s prettier than you.”

  “I’m not supposed to talk to you,” she admitted with a sigh, because she actually liked talking to him.

  “I know,” he said with a huge grin. “I heard your mother when she told you to stay away from us.”

  “Sorry about that,” she said with a shrug, not knowing what else to say.

  “The pizza delivery guy forgot my dad’s meatball sandwich,” he said, matching her shrug with one of his own as if that explained the terrifying scene that had met them when they’d pulled into the driveway a few hours ago. It probably wouldn’t have been so bad if the movers hadn’t been forced to intervene and the cops hadn’t showed up.

  “If you already know that I’m not allowed to talk to you then why are you here?” she asked, wondering how much longer it would be before her mother remembered that she was still in time out.

  Probably not for a while, she thought with a sigh.

  “Because I called dibs,” he said with a shrug as he shifted on the large branch until he was lying on his stomach on the branch above her.

  “Dibs? On what?”

  “On you,” he said around a loud yawn, confusing her a little bit.

  “Like a toy?” Marybeth found herself asking as she risked a glance to her right to make sure that her mother wasn’t looking. Since her mother was still talking to the movers and not looking at her, she assumed that her mother hadn’t seen him yet.

  “I’m going to marry you,” he announced, sounding bored as he drew her attention back to find him hanging upside down by his legs as he continued to watch her.

  “I can’t marry you,” she said, frowning even as she wondered if he’d be willing to teach her how to do that without falling on her head.

  “Why not?’ he asked with a frown of his own.

  “Because I don’t even know your name,” she pointed out even though it should have been more than obvious.

  He laughed at that. “I’m Darrin and you’re Marybeth,” he said before she could tell him.

  She considered asking him how he knew her name, but then realized that he’d probably heard her mother when she’d been yelling at her earlier. She glanced back over at her mother and brother before she looked back up at Darrin. She
worried her bottom lip, not sure if she should ask, but…….

  She had to know.

  “You didn’t call dibs on my mother?”

  He squished his face up in disgust. “No!”

  “What about your brothers?”

  He snorted at that. “No, but I had to give Reese my dessert so that I could keep you.”

  “Who’s Reese?”

  “My twin brother.”

  “Oh,” she said, because she’d never met anyone that had a twin before.

  “How old are you?”

  “Seven,” she said, returning her attention back to her stick.

  “I’m seven, too.”

  “You don’t look seven,” she said, not bothering to look up from her stick.

  “I know, but I am.”

  Pursing her lips up in thought, she looked up at him, trying to decide if he was lying or not. He said that he was seven, but he looked more like he was ten. He was too big to be seven, she decided as she considered him. She really liked his short black hair and the way that his green eyes twinkled when he smiled. He was also handsome, she decided, not really knowing why that mattered, but it did.

  “Are you sure?” she asked, returning her attention back to her stick.

  “That I’m seven?”

  “Yes,” she said, stripping a piece of bark off her stick and flicking it away.

  “Yeah, do you want to play tag?”

  “I can’t. Besides, I’m going to get in trouble if she catches me talking to you,” she explained, risking another glance to the right to see what her brother was doing. He was done with his ice cream and was now playing with his army soldiers on the front lawn.

  “Do you want to come over to my house and play?” he asked, drawing her attention back to the tree just as he started to climb down.

  “I can’t,” she said, sighing miserably.

  “Why not?”

  “Because I’ll get in trouble.”

  “You’re already in trouble,” he pointed out.

  He did have a point, but…

  “I just can’t.”

  He was quiet for a minute before he asked, “What if I dared you?”

  “Still can’t.”

  “Fine,” he said, smiling hugely. “What if I double dared you?”

  Glaring, she slowly got to her feet with a nod and accepted his hand when he held it out to her, because she didn’t have a choice.

  He’d double dared her after all.

  1996

  Age 10

  “There’s no way that I’m doing that,” Darrin said, shaking his head as he passed the baseball back to his twin brother Reese, who stood there, shooting nervous glances between the two of them.

  “You wouldn’t have a choice if I double dared you,” she pointed out, crossing her small arms over her chest as she glared up at her best friend, who was already bigger than all the boys at their school and most of the high school boys.

  “You could,” Darrin murmured thoughtfully as he held up his gloved hand to catch the ball when Reese tossed it back to him, “but I would make sure that you regretted it.”

  “It would be worth it,” she bit out, knowing that there was absolutely nothing that he could do to her that would make her regret this.

  Nothing.

  “Your mother would kill us,” Darrin pointed out, tossing the ball back to Reese so that he could swipe his soda off the hot, black pavement and finish it off before chucking the empty bottle into the trashcan marking their property line.

  “Mom and Dad probably wouldn’t be happy either,” Reese added, shooting her another nervous glance, taking in the frilly pink tutu and pink tights that her mother had wrestled her into before he shifted his gaze to the open back doors of their family’s van where a dozen bags were threatening to fall out.

  “Are you going to hide me?” she demanded, glaring up at her best friend and giving him the only chance that he was going to get before she was forced to do the unthinkable.

  Darrin’s smile was smug as he shook his head. “No.”

  “Are you sure?” she asked, deciding to give him one more chance only because he was her best friend after all.

  “I’m not hiding you so that you can get out of going to your recital, not after your mom promised to videotape it so that I wouldn’t miss your sad attempts at dancing,” he said, taking way too much pleasure in her impending public humiliation. “If you double dare me to hide you, I’ll make sure that you still make it on time to your recital.”

  Eyes narrowing to a dangerous degree, she decided that a change in plans was necessary. “Then it’s probably a good thing that I’m not going to double dare you into hiding me, now isn’t it?” she asked in a mocking tone, loving the way that his smug expression suddenly turned wary.

  “W-what do you mean?” he asked, swallowing nervously as he took a hasty step back, but it wouldn’t be enough to save him.

  Nothing would.

  He had this coming, she reminded herself, even though she had absolutely no problem with what she was about to do.

  “It means that I’ve changed my mind about daring you to hide me,” she said, mimicking that smug tone that she’d heard the rest of the men in his family use.

  “Don’t do anything that you’ll regret,” he warned, matching her glare as he tried to intimidate her.

  Clearly he’d forgotten who he was dealing with, because she never backed down from a challenge.

  Never.

  “I dare you to wear my recital costume for the next two weeks, starting now,” she said with satisfaction when she saw the look of horror on Darrin’s face as her words sank in.

  “You wouldn’t!” he snapped even as he broke out into a run, desperate to get away from her and the dare that would make him the target of all of his cousins and uncles for the next two weeks during their annual family reunion.

  If only he’d agreed to hide her, she thought with a sigh and a shake of her head as she opened her mouth and said the four words that would bring her such joy.

  “I double dare you.”

  2001

  Age 15

  “This is stupid,” Marybeth announced, trying not to cringe as Brian Fitzgerald sent her another wink.

  “Come on, please!” Brenda begged with a huge smile as she practically bounced with excitement on the dingy old loveseat next to her, sending a fresh wave of old dust into the air to mix with the scents of heavy perfume, cheap cologne and mildew.

  “No,” Marybeth said, wondering why she’d come here in the first place.

  “Pretty please!” Brenda pleaded with a high-pitched giggle that drew the attention of every teenage boy in the room.

  “Ladies, don’t forget to put your names in the jar,” Laurie, a girl that she’d seen around school a few times, said, shooting David Thompson a coy smile as she placed a large glass bowl on the
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