Kelly Harper is the author of erotica and erotic romances. She publishes her books at major online stores such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords. Check back regularly for her new sexy releases and please sign up for her newsletter to get updates on new titles.
Hey everyone! If you haven't heard yet, my next book "Following You" will be available on January 9th (less than a week!!). I recently published the boxed set of Ruined By You and Saved By You, and included Chapter 1 as a special sneak preview--now I'm going to include it here on my blog for free!
Stay tuned over the next few days to catch even more previews. Hope you enjoy!
Following You - Chapter 1
Available on January 9th!
A deep breath escaped her as her back arced even further. Huck's hips pressed even deeper between her legs. Every part of him was big, from his broad shoulders and thick arms down to what was digging into her. Sarah’s legs spread even wider as his hips pressed further in. His tongue lashed inside her mouth. Her arms wrapped even tighter around his body, pulling him close.
A tiny sensation rolled through her, making its home in the deepest places between her legs. The sensation was one that had been completely foreign not too long before, but was now becoming more familiar. The first time she'd felt it had been a startling event. It had scared her and her sudden reaction to it had scared Huck, too. But the two worked through it, and became more comfortable with it. Now it wasn't entirely scary, even though Sarah still wasn't as comfortable as she would let Huck think. She did her best to hide it.
Huck pressed even tighter into her body. Sarah's legs couldn't go any further apart. His breathing was hot and heavy on her neck as he kissed ever inch of her exposed flesh. The big muscles in his shoulders rippled as he sucked at her ear lobe, and her fingers dug in along the ripples in his back.
Everything was so quiet. Too quiet. Sarah wasn't used to being this alone with him--they were still kids, after all, and kids didn't get a whole lot of alone time in their small, country town.
"Maybe we should turn on some music, or something?" she said, between soft whimpers. Huck nodded into her shoulder, but his lips didn't stop their gentle touches. "Please Huck, maybe turn on a CD or something?"
"Alright, alright," Huck said. He pushed himself up and stumbled over to the dresser where they'd set up his stereo earlier that morning.
A smile spread across Sarah's lips. She knew she could be difficult, but Huck never complained. That was one of the things she loved about him--he was always willing to give her what she wanted. She watched with soft eyes as he fumbled to turn the stereo on, and jumped when it started playing an AC/DC song entirely too loud.
"Dammit," Huck said as he started pressed buttons on the stereo, trying to get it to stop. Sarah let out a laugh. Finally, Huck got the mood set just right, with Tim McGraw's voice playing at just the right volume.
"That's much better," Sarah said, as she pulled Huck back on top of her.
His grin was wolfish as their lips came together again, their tongues dancing and playing with one another. Soon, his full weight was on her, and their bodies were moving and pressing into one another. At first, the soft music helped keep all of Sarah's worries at bay. Her eyes rolled back as she pulled Huck's body even more tightly against her own.
His hand slipped down her side, sending tingles up and down spine. His touch was soft, too soft considering his strong hands. He was always so gentle with her, so attentive, so caring. Sarah bit her lips as she thought about everything they'd been through together. She couldn't stop her back from arching even more as his hands wrapped around to the front of her belly, his fingers gliding, soft and smooth.
Then they dipped even further along her belly, tracing their way along the edge of her denim shorts. A new tingling sensation went rifling up her spine as the tip of one of those fingers dipped beneath the shorts and found the edge of her panties.
“Did you hear something?” she asked, pulling her head away from his.
“It’s nothing,” he said. It was a nonresponse--he might as well have said nothing.
“Are you sure? I thought I heard something.”
"The door's locked. Don't worry."
Huck never pulled his head away from her, but instead continued kissing down her neck, but his fingers didn't dip any lower. Sarah glance back at the door, as though to make sure they were safe.
"What about your roommate? Won't he be back soon?" she said. He kissed down to her collarbone, but instead of it feeling good, it made her feel even more nervous. "Huck, please, I'm serious."
Huck blew out a sharp sigh and pushed himself off of her. The warmth of his body disappeared in an instant and the coolness settled over her. His eyes were fierce and hungry, but something else rose to the surface--annoyance?
"You heard him when he left--he said he wouldn't be back until tonight," Huck said.
"What if he forgot something?" Sarah said.
Huck studied her, his eyes darting between hers, and down to her lips, then his face softened.
"He left over an hour ago. If he was going to come back for something, he would have done it already."
"I know... But, what if?"
"You need to stop worrying about things. You're really killing the mood..."
Sarah closed her eyes and gave a soft shake of her head. Huck was right. He was being so sweet to her, and she was ruining everything.
"You're right, I'm sorry. My brain just does crazy things, sometimes." Sarah's lips stretched into the most alluring smile she could manage. "You should keep kissing me."
That wolfish grin returned to Huck's face, and Sarah's smile spread even wider, in turn. He dipped down and kissed her, their lips parting wide as their tongues met. She wrapped her arms around his neck and held him tight.
Huck was right, she knew that. There was no reason for her to be so nervous. It's not like they hadn't made out countless times before, it shouldn't feel like something so new and terrifying. She pulled him back on top of her while they kissed, feeling a sense of comfort as his weight pinned her to the bed. This was Huck, her boyfriend, the love of her life.
The only thing that had changed in the last few days was that they weren't back home in Green Falls. Their lives and their relationship was taking the next step. They weren't high school kids, anymore. They were adults, and they could make their own adult decisions.
But the whole adult thing was still too new to Sarah. Huck sunk into her, his hips pressing his hardness between her legs. His hand slipped to the front of her shorts, again--this time with even less hesitation. Her muscle tensed as his finger slipped below the shorts and found the edge of her panties, again. Her hips eased away from him, unconsciously, as his hand stretched and turned to sink even lower.
That was when something occurred to her--they were totally alone. There wasn't going to be anyone walking in on them, no parents coming home early to stop them.
The pressure of it all was almost too much to bear. As Huck's fingers sunk further and further beneath her shorts, beneath her panties, she knew she was about to panic. But she couldn't panic--she'd only be making more of a fool of herself. They'd been together for over a year--why couldn't she get over how scary sex was?
With an effort, Sarah scooted from underneath him. Huck rolled onto his back and looked as though he were waiting for her to climb on top of him, and she was too nervous to not follow through.
“You know what I like,” he said, his voice low.
She rocked back and forth, letting her weight rest on him. Being in control put her at ease, even if the feeling of the thing in his pants threatened to drive her wild with lust. She'd learned quickly that she liked being on top of him, she liked the way it felt, and she liked knowing that, no matter how much bigger than her he was, she could still take control.
“Like this?” she cooed, letting herself get more into it.
Sarah rested her palms on either side of his legs, leaning back to spread her legs even wider. A wild desire went through her when she saw him looking at her, looking between her legs as she spread them. She knew he could see her panties when she did that, and she knew it was driving him wild.
“Yeah, like that," he said, his voice even lower than before.
She swirled her hips in small circles, round and round, digging into him even harder. Her neck went limp as pleasure flittered through her. She was coming dangerously close to the brink, to that point where she knew she could lose control. Huck must have sensed something in her, something primal--he didn't hesitate to exploit her desire.
Huck's chest and abs rippled as he pushed himself up. His strong hands wrapped around her lower back, pulling and grinding her hips into his manhood even tighter. He pulled her in until their bodies were pressed fully into one another. His lips found the sensitive part of her neck, the part he knew would drive her wild. Hairs on her arm prickled with excitement as his tongue slid down to her collarbone.
They were all alone, and Sarah could feel her resolve slipping away from her. With every kiss on her neck, every gentle tug and pull at her back, every little thrust of his hips, Huck was wearing her down. But they were adults, and this is what adults were supposed to do--right? So just roll with it, go with the flow, it's not that bad.
Truthfully, it wasn't bad at all. Sarah loved having Huck that close to her, feeling his body tight against hers, feeling his desire to take her. But there was something that held her back, something that stopped her from going all the way.
Huck pulled away from her, his brow pinched tight. His crystal blue eyes studied her intently.
“Is something wrong?” he asked.
Sarah bit her lip, then shook her head.
“Everything’s fine,” she said.
His eyes fell along her, taking all of her in. She studied him, trying to read his thoughts, but his the look on his face was neutral. The unease in her chest didn’t settle, and when he pulled her closer, her stomach twisted into a tight ball.
But Huck didn't say anything. They sat on the bed, their arms and legs twisted and wrapped around one another, and just looked at each other. A minute passed. And then another. Slowly the tight ball in Sarah's gut began unravelling, and a smile even crept across her face.
It was moments like this that made her fall hopelessly in love with Huck. It was like they had some kind of connection that didn't need to be spoken--he could just read her every little movement, all of the subtle things she did that let him know she wasn't comfortable with something. He wasn't like most guys when it came to those things. He wasn't like most guys at all.
Huck rubbed her back, his hand sliding along the soft grooves of her spine. His fingers slipped under the back of her shirt, and her eyes closed as she let herself get carried away in his touch. A secret little part of her wanted him to keep going, wanted his fingers to keep exploring the rest of her body just the way he was doing. But it was that secret little part that she kept tucked away in a hidden place.
When his fingers reached the lining of her bra, she knew he would stop. Huck's fingers traced a small little line along the bottom edge, near the clasp, and Sarah let her head sink forward until it rested on his chest. She wrapped her arms around his muscular back, snuggled her nose into his neck. She just wanted him to hold her, to remind her that everything was going to be alright in this new mysterious place they found themselves.
But, Huck's fingers had something else in mind.
He slipped them under the clasp of the bra and began working it with two fingers. Huck had never been very good at getting the clasp off, and this time wasn't an exception. The ball of tension appeared in Sarah's stomach again when she realized what he was trying to do. He wasn't trying to cuddle with her, like she wanted, he was trying to take things another step. He'd seen her topless before, it wasn't a big deal, but she just wasn't in the mood for it right then.
“Wait,” she said.
Huck’s hands didn’t stop. They still fumbled with the clasp.
“Huck, wait,” she said, her tone more rushed.
He must not have heard her. Sarah was crushed into his chest when he reached around with his free hand. Now, he fumbled with the clasp with both hands, making no progress while Sarah squirmed in his grasp.
“Huck, stop,” she said.
She gave him a sharp shove, twisting away from him and crashing back onto the bed. They stared at one another for a long, tense moment. Huck’s chest rose and fell with each deep breath he took. His muscles twitched as he steadied himself. His eyes bounced back and forth along the bed before settling on her. There was confusion in his eyes, an uncertainty that mixed with frustration.
“Did I do something wrong?” he said.
Sarah shook her head.
"No. It's just that..."
What could she tell him? For some reason, the truth seemed to scary to mention. They'd been dating for over a year, and she still wasn't completely comfortable with the idea of being naked with him, of being too vulnerable with him. She wasn't supposed to feel that way after a whole year, was she?
"My parents are supposed to come by sometime this afternoon," she said. "I don't want Mom to get the wrong impression if she sees that I haven't unpacked anything."
It wasn't a lie, but it wasn't the real truth, either.
“Just tell them you've been helping me get situated. I'm sure they won't mind."
Sarah squirmed, despite herself.
"I'll feel better once everything's put away I'm all settled in," she said, and that part wasn't a lie. Everything in her life was changing so quickly, she just needed to get her arms around something and make take back some kind of control.
Huck’s lips pinched together and there was a flash of something in his face. It’s not like she was trying to annoy him, it's just that things had been moving so fast ever since they'd left Green Falls.
“We have all year to be together, there's no reason to rush anything,” she said.
"Promise?" he asked.
A smile spread across her own face, and she nodded.
Sarah smiled at him, and leaned forward to give him a kiss on the cheek. He nestled his chin against her as she did. She was so happy that she'd been able to go off to college with him--so happy that he hadn't ended up going to Brown like he'd planned. Things happen for a reason, is what her dad always said. Maybe that meant that she was supposed to be with Huck forever.
Forever was a long time, though, and she really wasn't in a rush to get there. Looking into his soft eyes, she was just happy she could be with him whenever she wanted, happy that he was all hers.
I'm super busy finishing up everything for Saved By You, and I thought I would post another teaser. I loved this scene as I was writing it a while back, and loved even more when I went back over it today :)
Remember, Saved By You will be available a week from tomorrow, on July 25th! Be sure to add it to your Goodreads list, and be sure to sign up for my newsletter to get an immediate notification when the book is available.
parking lot was nearly empty at this hour. Soon, the sun would begin to set,
and the parking lot would swell with diners. But, for now, we had our run of
the place. I glanced at the Starbucks sitting next door, and cringed as I
remembered walking past it with Haden, hand in hand. That moment had been one
of the best and worst times since I’d arrived in Green Falls, and now that I
was so close to it again, the memory was even more powerful.
rolled through me when I entered the restaurant. Memories of my childhood
summers surfaced - memories with my family in this very spot - memories with
Mom. Would she ever set foot in there again? Would she ever leave the hospital?
pushed the feelings down as best I could. I didn't want to think about that
right now - I couldn’t think about that right now. I couldn’t let
Haden see see that weakness. I had to let him know just how strong I was — that
I was capable of handling anything.
to let myself know just how strong I was — that I was
capable of handling anything.
young hostess greeted me and I told her I was there to meet someone. She
pointed me around the corner. Haden was sitting in the far booth, and he saw me
before I saw him. A huge smile spread across his face — it made me ache in ways
that it shouldn’t have.
glad you made it," he said as I slid into the booth across from him. I
gave him a puzzled look. “It took you a little while. I was beginning to think
you’d changed your mind.”
gave him a tight-lipped smile, not trusting myself to be too genuine. I
couldn't afford to let down my guard, not when it was just the two of us in
that secluded little corner. Haden wasn’t allowed inside. Not anymore.
sat for a long time, staring awkwardly at the menu without saying anything. I
wasn’t about to be the first one to say anything. This was his show. I tried my best to focus on the
food, but I didn’t even have a hint of an appetite. Breakfast had been big, and
I just wasn’t in the mood to eat.
haven't been here in forever," he said, finally. I nodded my head, slowly,
trying my hardest not to look up from the menu. "It doesn't look like it’s
changed much," he said with a tiny laugh.
awkward silence passed over us until our waitress finally appeared. She asked
what we’d like to drink.
please,” I said.
tea,” Haden said. “Hold the lemon.”
scooted off, and it was just us, again. The silence was even more oppressive
you going to say anything?" he asked. A hint of annoyance in his voice.
there something you wanted me to say?" I asked, my eyes still locked on
the appetizer section.
don't know.” His palms raised, dropping the menu. "Say anything."
blew out a long breath, and drummed his fingers on the table. Then, out of
nowhere, he reached forward and wrapped his hand around mine.
shudder ran from my fingertips all the way to my shoulder. Sparks flew, and my
eyes snapped up, locking onto his. Panic descended over me, screaming at every
muscle in my body to jerk away from him. But my body wasn’t listening.
sorry, Maggie," he said. "I'm sorry for everything."
heart was doing its best to melt with his every word. But I was working even
harder to keep it frozen -- protected.
should be," I said, curtly. My mouth tried
to say even more, but I kept it quiet. Anger rumbled in my stomach, and I knew
that nothing good would come of me running my mouth off.
can you be so upset with me?,” he asked. “I wanted to tell you everything that
night. I wanted to tell you all about who I was — about everything. We just
got… distracted.” He fixed me with another long look. I could see the pain
swelling in his eyes. “Maggie, I never meant to hurt you.”
stomach sunk to the floor. I didn't want to think about what had gone on that
night. All of the things that I had shared with him — all the parts of me
I’d shared with him. There was still an emptiness deep nestled deep inside me.
I didn’t think I’d ever be whole again.
all you came to do was apologize, you're wasting your breath,” I said. I tried
to keep my voice steady and even, but the anger sharpened each word.
winced, and I felt his hand twitch reflexively.
need you to hear me out,” he said, desperate. “You have to believe that I never
meant for this to happen.”
it did," I said.
words sank into him with a certain finality. He leaned back, but didn’t pull
his hand away. He regarded me for a long time, considering what he wanted to
I wasn't lying when I told you that I love you," he said. The lump in my
stomach turned over, rolling and tumbling inside of me. I swallowed, hard,
trying to settle myself. "I would do anything for you. Just tell me how to
make this right, and I'll do it."
could feel the heat rising to my cheeks, and the familiar wetness glazed over
How was it possible I still had any tears left?
pinched my eyes closed, blotting those tears away. Haden couldn’t see me cry. I
had to be strong.
gave you everything," I said. "I gave you everything that you wanted.
I shared all of myself, and you fed me lies." I bit down, swallowing hard.
When I opened my eyes, again, I could see the hurt in his face. "Were you
lying the whole time so you could get to me? Because, you did a damned good job
of it. You're a better actor than Hollywood gave you credit for."
shook his head, sharply.
didn't lie to you," he said. "It's complicated, and I didn't want to
get you mixed up in things until I was certain that you could handle it."
my book, keeping things from me is the same as lying,” I said. "What made
you think I wasn’t good enough to be included in your life? You said you liked
my strength. Was that a lie, too?”
squeezed my hand once. My arms were still frozen in place, unable to pull away
whole situation with Kyle, and the band — its complicated," he said.
"I didn't want you to think that I was just some player who was going to
run off after I got what I wanted."
that's exactly what's going to happen, isn't it?" I
said. "You're going to run off to your big tour, and you’re going to
forget about that little red-headed girl in that one little town." I shook
my head, my lips pinched flat. "I'm sorry, what did Kyle call it? That shit hole.”
gave me a hard look.
haven't run off, have I? I'm still here. Still with you." His eyes burned intensely, and he
gave my hand another soft squeeze. The tears were coming on even stronger than
before, but I fought viciously to hold them back. "I'm not leaving without
you. I can't."
head dipped, unable to take anymore. The look on Haden's face left no doubt
that he was telling the truth. He had no intention of leaving.
you expect me to just run away with you?” I said. “Is that what your game plan
shook his head. “I forgot every plan I had the moment I met you,” he said. “I
just want to be with you.”
shook my head, trying to force away the images that were surfacing. I would be
lying if I said I hadn’t thought about a life with Haden more than once since I
met him. But things happen, and fantasies don’t always happen the way you want.
of my mom began swirling in my head. Images of her in the car were flashing.
The way she looked after she had caught me with Haden was haunting me. She had
always been so strong — for the both of us. She had always been someone I could
lean on whenever I needed it.
I needed to lean on her right now. But she wasn’t around. Now it was my
turn to be strong.
not going anywhere," I said. "I can't leave my mom, and I can't leave
squeezed my hand, again.
I'm not going anywhere, either," he said.
looked up at him, and the tears began flooding down my cheeks. I couldn't hold
them back anymore. I didn’t want to hold them back anymore.
can't do this," I said. "Not like this. Not right now."
one final effort of my willpower, I jerked my hand away from him. His eyes went
wide, stunned and speechless.
have to go,” I said. “I can’t be here anymore.”
slid out of the booth, nearly toppling into the waitress carrying our drinks.
She sidestepped me, quickly, and I all but ran out of the restaurant, never
Hey everyone! Thanks for all of your support. Ruined By You will leave you on a doozy of a cliffhanger, so here's Chapter 1 of Saved By You to keep you held over until the 25th!
Don't read this if you intend on reading Ruined By You! ;)
“What’s wrong?” I said, urgently. Lightning crackled all around us. The storm raged in full force. “Where is she?”
Aunt Denise gave me a stern look.
“Green Falls General,” she said. “It’s only a few miles away. I’ll drive.”
Before I could respond, hands tugged at me and led me toward the Escalade parked under the car porch — the same one I’d nearly run the ‘Vette into. Sarah piled into the truck next to me, and Aunt Denise fired up the engine. I stared at my younger cousin, disbelievingly.
“What happened to her?” I said.
Sarah’s face pinched together, and she shook her head.
“I don’t know,” she said, shrugging.
I glanced at Aunt Denise for answers, but she was focused on the road. The rain was coming down in thick sheets outside, and everything was dark.
Thoughts raced through my head, filling me with an unease I’d never felt before. I wanted answers, but everything was happening so fast. I didn’t even know the questions that needed asking.
Why is she in the hospital?
Sarah wrapped her hands around mine, and scooted in close to me.
“Everything’s going to be alright,” she whispered, squeezing my hand.
How can she say that if she doesn’t even know what’s wrong?
We drove on in silence. The darkness outside was all consuming. The lights from Green Falls were drowned out by the thick, gray haze. Thunder blasted through the sky like I was in a scene from some scary movie.
This isn’t a movie, this is your life.
How could something be wrong with Mom? She’s the strong one — nothing goes wrong with her. She was the one that had to be there to protect me — to catch me when I made a mistake. My head sagged forward, and I stared at a spot on my lap. I’d made plenty of mistakes that night, and I had the feeling that things were only just beginning.
The truck bumped along until Aunt Denise pulled into a huge parking lot. A group of three large buildings all clung to each other, with a sign over the one in the middle that read “Great Falls General”. Arrows pointed us toward the visitor parking lot, but Aunt Denise pulled into a circular drop-off area and let Sarah and I out.
We huddled together while Aunt Denise parked the car, the silence only interrupted by the fierce pattering of the rain on the concrete. Wind whipped violently, bathing us in a cold mist. Sarah’s eyes searched me, and her mouth moved like she wanted to say something - but nothing came out.
What was there to say?
Aunt Denise led us through the lobby, and back into the hospital. It was like she knew exactly where she was going. There were few people around at that late hour, and a heavy silence loomed along the corridors. Flashes of a distant time came to me — the only other time I’d been in a hospital. I had been there to visit my mom that night, too. Hospitals creeped me out. There was too much quiet. It reminded me that there were people all around me who might not wake up in the morning — who might leave behind friends and family, all huddled around each other for protection from the horrors of life.
Would Mom be one of those people?
A fiery lump surfaced in my throat, again. It had made its home their all night, and there was no sign that it was going away anytime soon.
Aunt Denise led us up a flight of stairs, and around a few turns to a closed door. Without pausing, she tapped it lightly and poked her head in. There was a shuffling from within, and then Grandma emerged. Her eyes found me, and the steely resolve she was wearing slackened. Pain erupted in both our faces, and I felt the tears stream down my face.
She wrapped her arms around me, and pulled me in, tightly.
"Oh, dear, I'm so sorry," she said. "I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry."
I hugged her back, not knowing what to say.
"Can I see her?" I managed, when we finally pulled back. My voice came out pitched and shaky. I didn’t remember ever seeing Grandma cry before.
She regarded me for a moment, then nodded.
The room was dark; quiet. Something told me that I shouldn't make a peep. It was the kind of silence that shouldn’t be broken. I shuffled my feet along as quietly as possible, not wanting to disturb a thing. A privacy curtain cut the room in two, and I could see the edge of a bed just on the other side.
Are you ready for this?
I took a deep breath - gathering any strength that might be hidden inside of me - and pushed forward. As I walked past the privacy curtain, I saw her. My hand clutched my mouth, stifling a gasp. Her body was thin — thinner than I remembered it from earlier in the day. Machines surrounded the bed. Tubes snaked and tentacles out of them and hooked into her, like they were trying to hold her in place. Beeps and buzzing thrummed and made the air vibrate.
Oh, Mom. What have I done? Why wasn't I here for you?
Ruined By You has had a great weekend. Reviews are starting to come in, and it looks like everyone is really liking it! Yay!
I thought it would be nice to post up another teaser :).
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ “Party pooper,” Kyle said to him. He took a step away, before spinning back around. “You know, you should really watch the mouth on this one,” he said, pointing at me. He held his open palm up to the side of his mouth, pretending to tell Haden a secret, but he raised his voice, making sure I could still hear. “She may look like she an eighth grader, but she’s curses at a sophomore level.” He gave me one more wide-eyed, condescending look, then turned to Haden, again. “You’ve been warned.” My teeth clenched, together, and everything turned blood red. I reacted without thinking, without knowing what I was doing. I grabbed the martini glass he’d put in front of me, and launched myself forward. “ASSHOLE,” I screamed, as I flung the entire cocktail into his face. The alcohol splashed everywhere, and Haden bounced back to avoid it. Kyle’s face went wide with shock. My pulse raced, and I felt a nervous energy running through me. A nearby table of girls whooped and clapped for me. They started yelling insults at him in my support. I couldn’t help but laugh at the way he looked. His look of indignation was priceless. “Sorry,” I said. “I must only have table manners at a second grade level.” His eyes widened, and flashed dangerously. “You’ll regret that,” he said. He picked a napkin off the table and dabbed it at his face. He eyed Haden, hard. “Don’t wait up for me, honey. I might be out late.”
Scottie stood there and looked between the two of us. Something in his resolve had changed, and he looked even more hopeful than he had at first.
"If the two of you work together on this, I have no doubt that you'll have no problem," he said, a smile spreading across his face, again.
I looked back at Haden. His eyes were still fixed on me.
"So, what do you say?" he asked.
“I… I just don't know," I said. Everything was happening so fast, and there was no way I could keep up with it. I needed a job - and the kind of money that Scottie was offering to pay me would mean that I wouldn't even need to get a job during the school year. It was money that I needed. I would be a fool to turn down the offer - right?
Scottie studied me for a long moment, then he nodded his head again.
"Well, we don’t have to make a decision right now,” he said. "Take the weekend and think it over. Talk with your family about it and see what they think. Come back on Monday, and let me know what you've decided."
I nodded and felt some of the pressure lift from my shoulders. Time was exactly what I needed. It was a big decision; one that shouldn’t be made without serious thought. If I was able to pull it off, things might never be the same for me. But, even with Haden’s help, I wasn’t sure I could.
Scottie clapped his hands on the bar, twice. “Well, I’ve got to get ready for tonight,” he said, pushing himself away from the bar. He gave me another long look. “See you on Monday, then?”
I nodded. "I'll think it over," I said.
He nodded once, and disappared to the back of the bar, again.
My eyes locked on the empty doorway Scottie had disappeared through. I could feel Haden looking at me, studying me. I bit my lip, and turned back to him.
"What are you doing today?" he asked, suddenly. I frowned. The question caught me off guard.
"What?" I said, stupidly.
"Today," he repeated. "Do you have any plans?"
I shrugged. "I don't know," I said. "I'm hanging out with my cousin. We haven't seen each other in a long time." His eyes narrowed when I said it. I hoped he couldn't tell just how nervous he made me.
"Let's do something," he said.
I cocked my head to the side, cautious. “Like what?” I said.
He shrugged. "I don't know, we'll figure something out."
"But, I don't even know you," I said.
He grinned, and the dimples appeared, sending quivers through my legs. He really needs to stop doing that.
"That's kind of the point, isn’t it?” He grinned at me. “I mean, if we're going to be working together, we need to get to know each other."
"I haven't agreed to anything yet," I said.
"But, you're going to, right?" he said. "You'd be stupid to pass up an opportunity like this one."
That's it, he really does think you're stupid.
I broke my eyes away from him and looked at the door.
"I really do need to get going," I said, not wanting to confront him and make an even bigger fool of myself.
I slid down off the stool, and began heading toward the door before he could protest. I didn't want to chance looking at him again, for fear that I wouldn't be able to keep a level head anymore. I heard him hop off his stool, in quick pursuit. He stayed right behind me, following me out of the bar.
“I’m sorry,” he said. “I don’t think you’re stupid. I just want you to give this decision the attention it deserves.”
“I told Scottie I would talk it over with my family,” I said. “And I’m going to do just that.”
“You should talk it over with me, too,” he said. “Maybe we can come up with some kind of plan for how we can pull this thing off.”
“Oh yeah?” I said, still not breaking stride. “Do you know a bunch of bands around here that might want to play at the show?”
I pushed through the front door without slowing, and was instantly blinded by the high midday sun. I raised a hand to try and shade it away. I squinted, trying to find Sarah through the blinding haze.
“I just don’t want you to give up before you’ve really given it a shot,” Haden said.
I glanced over at him, and saw that he was shielding his own eyes in a similar way. Even standing there, out of the protection of the dimly lit bar, he somehow managed to look absolutely stunning. His hair fell in front of his eyes, and he pinched it back with a finger, keeping his eyes locked on me.
I felt myself swaying in place as he looked at me. An image of the two of us flashed in my mind. We were off somewhere, spending the summer together, chasing down bands across the huge state of Texas. There were worst ways to spend my summer vacation. Even if we didn’t find a band, at least I would be spending my days with Haden. That made it worth it - right?
“There you are,” Sarah called out.
Sarah’s voice came from somewhere off to my left. I glanced over and saw her walking toward us, her phone still in hand. She said a few things into it, and then clicked it off. “I was beginning to wonder if you had decided to stay and have a few drinks while you were here.” Her voice trailed off, and her eyes went wide when she realized that Haden was standing next to me. “Oh, I didn’t mean to…” she looked back and forth between us.
Haden’s eyes locked on her, and he thrust his hand out in front of her.
“Hi, I’m Haden,” he said.
Sarah beamed and took his hand. “Sarah,” she said.
I struggled to not groan out loud. This was no going in the direction that I wanted it to go.
“Ready to go?” I asked Sarah.
Haden did his best to speak over me. He still had her hand in his, and still managed to command her attention.
“Sarah, can you tell Maggie that she’s making a mistake,” he said.
Sarah cocked her head to the side, a smile still spread across her cheeks. “What do you mean?” she asked.
Haden tilted his head toward the bar.
“Scottie is offering her a once in a lifetime chance, and she’s trying her best to turn it down.”
Sarah’s eyebrows furrowed together and she leaned back a bit. She glanced over at me for confirmation.
“I don’t want to talk about it right now,” I said. I turned to Haden. “Thanks for your help in there, but we really need to get going.”
“It’s no rush…” Sarah started. I shot her the angriest stare I’d ever given to anyone. She fell silent while her lips kept moving.
Haden gave me a serious look, then snorted his disbelief.
“Are you going to spend your summer working at some classy place like McDonald’s, then?” he said. “This kind of thing doesn’t come up every day. I hope you realize how lucky you are.”
I sighed, again. “I don’t know!” I wanted to scream it so he would hear me, but he seemed determined to keep me on edge. “I’ll make my decision this weekend, and talk to Scottie about it on Monday.”
Haden let out a long sigh. Hopefully he had finally realized that he wasn’t going to get a solid answer out of me right there. I needed to get away from him - it was becoming clear that I couldn’t keep my senses with him around.
“We’re going to the bike track later, if you want to come join us,” Sarah said out of nowhere. I gave her a shocked look, and couldn’t help but notice the smile widening across Haden’s face.
“What are you talking about?” I said in a hushed voice, as though Haden somehow night not hear.
She nodded. “I was just talking to Huck. His motocross team is doing a little demonstration before the season gets under way. They’re trying to get a lot of people out there.”
“I’d love to go,” Haden said. “What time?”
“I don’t know…” I said, but the two were having a conversation to themselves. It was clear that I didn’t even need to be there.
“Six,” Sarah said.
Haden’s smile widened. “Great,” he said. Then he turned to me. “I’ll see you tonight.”
I stood there, stunned, as he disappeared back into the bar.
What the hell is going on? I asked myself, still reeling from everything happening so quickly.