They can be amazing…beautiful… Precious.
I willingly accepted those consequences and wrote a new plan for my life. But that plan didn’t include Cameron Argent – the sexy-as-sin tattooed playboy who got under my skin the moment I laid eyes on him. I was headed down a dark and dangerous road where he was concerned and in the end, our relationship was inevitable. Despite our dark secrets, our feelings for each other burned brighter than a thousand stars and left us both naked, vulnerable.
But when my past came rolling back into my life like a Summer storm, I wasn’t sure if his love for me was enough.
Was he prepared to deal with the consequences of a past I couldn’t regret or would he walk away with my beating heart in his hands?
(This is a New Adult Contemporary Romance novel & contains language & adult situations. Not recommended for readers younger than 17)
the stairs. Of course, I know this, but try explaining the concept of time to a
two year old. Ari wriggles in my grasp, trying to crawl away from me while I
pull a little pink sundress over her head.
heart flip. “What’s so funny, monkey pants?” I ask teasingly. “You like giving
me a hard time, don’t you?” Her brown eyes brighten at the sound of my voice
and she giggles again, waving her little fingers in the air. Until five minutes
ago, I was nervous about today, but somehow Ari and her silliness have managed
to ease my anxiety. It’s the first day I’ll be without her since she was born
and as much as I’m dreading it, I know it’s time for me to restart the future I
put on hold when I found out I was pregnant. Most girls my age would’ve given
their baby up for adoption, knowing they’re not ready to be a mother at the
tender age of seventeen. But I’m not one of those girls. Despite the
circumstances surrounding the untimely conception of my daughter, I made the
choice to live with the consequences of my actions and refused to regret a
single moment of my life. Looking at the little face that so closely resembles mine;
I find it impossible to wish that my situation was any different.
Ari’s feet. “Let’s get going before mommy’s late for school.” I stand up,
lifting Ari onto my hip and grab her bag. I make sure she has everything she’ll
need before heading downstairs and into the kitchen.
and her eyes wrinkle at the sides. If I didn’t know any better I’d think she
was a normal old lady, but underneath that facade is whole lot of batshit
crazy. Not that I mind. My grandmother has been my rock, my best friend and the
only support I’ve had over the last two years. Without her, I have no idea
where Ari and I would be.
coos. She closes the distance between us, reaching for Ari, and I let her go.
“Gama,” Ari squeals delightfully. She mumbles something incoherently and I
stifle a laugh when my grandmother responds as if they’re having a normal
conversation. I leave the kitchen to grab my school bag, stopping in the
hallway when I see a framed picture of my parents hanging on the wall. My
father looks younger, happier, and my mother has the same sour expression on
her face that I got used to seeing. Part of me misses them, but I push those
feelings away quicker than they surface. They have no place in my life,
especially after how I left things when I moved away in my senior year of high
school. I shake my head, as if it will clear the past from my mind, and take my
school bag from the bottom of the stairs. It’s my first day of college but I’m
more nervous about Ari’s first day of daycare.
for school,” my grandmother chides behind me. Ari slips past her and comes
running down the hallway, jumping straight into my arms.
look. If we’re not careful, Ari repeats everything we say, including the
occasional cuss word my grandmother lets slip when she’s mad.
brown curls and inhale her sweet scent. It’s one of the most comforting things
about this little miracle, the way she smells and the way she fits into my arms
so perfectly. We say goodbye to my grandmother and as soon as I start the quick
drive to Ari’s new daycare center, she starts singing in the backseat. I watch
her in the mirror as her little voice fills the car. Her happiness is
infectious, and when her face lights up with hope and love, it’s easy to forget
how she got here. But I will never forget. It’s a night that changed my life
forever and a night I’m not sure I can bring myself to regret…
December 2011, Senior year ~
feel out of place. There are people filling every open area I can see. Some
stand around talking, their blue cups filled with cheap beer, while others
gyrate against each other to the rhythm of the music. I can feel the vibration
of the music in my chest as it travels through the crowd in waves. I shouldn’t
be here, and my mind won’t stop telling me to leave. But I can’t. I push my way
through the mob of hot, sweaty bodies until I’m standing in the living room.
Heads bob up and down as a new, faster song starts to play through the
speakers. Looking around, I notice how the guys in the room eye my body with
appreciation, no doubt after hearing the rumors that have surfaced at school.
The girls on the other hand look at me with disgust, muttering the word ‘slut’
and ‘whore’ under their breaths. They’re half right. But I don’t owe them an
explanation for my lewd behavior. I don’t owe anyone anything
really; least of all insight into my sad, black hole of a life. I’m about to make
my way back towards the front door, with every intention of leaving, when a
familiar voice stops me.
behind me. I turn around and come face-to-face with Kyle Henderson. The
playboy. The football captain. And the boy I’ve been crushing on since I was
twelve. He’s only a year older than I am, but his chiseled jaw, high cheekbones
and light blonde stubble make him look far more mature than any other boy his
age. And I use the term ‘boy’ loosely; referring only to the parts of him that,
in fact, make him a boy. Kyle is a man, albeit a walking cliché with his
perfect blonde hair, Adonis-like physique and roguish charm. He’s also trouble.
And I happen to be in the mood for trouble.
reply. A strange feeling washes over me, resembling something close to shyness.
It’s unfamiliar. I don’t do shy, least of all with guys. But Kyle makes me feel
it, however unwelcome it is.
didn’t peg you for someone who does what she’s told, Hayls.” His lips curve
into a smirk and it’s easy to see why the girls at school fall over themselves
when they’re in his presence. His confident persona is disarming. I lift my
chin, hoping that he can’t see the cracks in my superficial confidence. “I
he stares into my eyes. “I’m glad you came,” he says. “Can I get you a drink?”
here. I’ll be right back.”
disappears into the swell of people, I feel eyes burning a hole in the side of
my head. I turn slightly, only to catch Kimber Allen glaring at me. I can’t
help the smile that slips onto my face. I know she was watching my exchange
with Kyle and judging by her expression, she isn’t happy about it. Good. Maybe
now she’ll shut those botox lips of hers and stop spreading rumors about me. Or
just stop spreading the false ones, at least. It’s no secret that she hates me,
or that she has made the most of my self-destructive behavior and used it to
her benefit. But I can’t blame her. I’ve brought all of it on myself,
willingly, in an attempt to ease the numbness that has consumed me and feel something, even if it’s just physical.
time to see Kyle walking back towards me, drink in hand. My eyes travel the
length of him. His blue polo shirt fits him well and shows off some of his best
assets. Broad shoulders, defined chest, strong arms. The designer jeans he’s
wearing hugs his legs and I’m sure if he had to turn around, it would show off
another one of his ass-ets. I snicker at my inside joke.
asks, amused. Realizing he heard me makes me blush, but I manage to keep it
cool. “Your ex-girlfriend.” I reply, taking the blue cup from his grasp. I
bring it up to my lips, tasting the harsh liquid and feeling it burn all the
way down my throat. It’s disgusting. But after the third or fourth cup I won’t
taste it anymore.
didn’t even know Kimber was here,” he lies easily. Of course he knows. Kimber
would have made sure of it.
cup back to my lips, I watch Kyle over the rim as I take another gulp, and
another, until it’s finished. Kyle’s eyes never leave mine and when he licks
his lips I have to stop myself from mimicking him.
one?” he asks, taking our empty cups and placing them on a nearby table.
Instead of answering, I step closer, liquid courage coursing through my veins,
and take his hand.
say softly. His hand tightens around mine and he leads us onto the makeshift
dance floor in the middle of the giant living room. Eyes fall on us and I
tense. The attention I’m used to getting is usually the kind that takes place
behind closed doors, or in the backseat of a car, not in public. I feel Kyle’s
chest pressed firmly against my back.
against my neck. “Let go.”
hips and the way his fingertips press into my skin makes me shiver. Our bodies
start moving, our hips bumping and grinding to the beat of the music. I push my
ass into Kyle’s crotch and rub it back and forth over his growing hard on. He
sucks in a breath, and I stifle a moan. This is what I want. I crave the
physical connection like lungs crave air. One song bleeds into another and we
keep dancing until the room gets hot and my skin is damp. Brushing my dark hair
to the side, Kyle lowers his head until his lips brush against my ear.
he whispers. My head is swimming, from both, the alcohol I’ve had and my need
to get lost in this carnal connection.
“I want you, Hayley,” he breathes into my ear. “I’ve wanted you for so
him. His eyes are dark, determined. I’m fairly certain he just said that to get
into my pants but I can’t judge him for that. I’m planning on using him for the
same thing. “Okay,” I say. I ignore the pang in my chest. I always feel that
and starts pulling me through the mass of people, which seems to have doubled
since I arrived. The clock on the wall reads 11pm but I doubt the party will
abate any time soon. Guys stop to talk to Kyle but he brushes them off, the
same way he does to the girls who throw themselves at him. He leads me up the
marble staircase and only lets my hand go when we reach his bedroom door. He
ushers me into his room, his hand on the small of my back, and closes the door.
With every step he takes towards me I feel the sexual tension intensify. For a
brief second Kyle hesitates, and I can see the indecision in his eyes and on
his face. He seems to recover from whatever conflict he felt a second ago
because he closes the gap between us in one stride. The silence between us
stretches and I think we both know words are not necessary. Talking would only
make it awkward, forcing us to pretend that this is more than a simple
exchange. He only asked me to come to this party for one reason, why make it
something it isn’t?
down until his soft lips brush against mine. His tongue leaves a blazing trail
on my bottom lip and I open up, welcoming him. Our lips move against each
other, our tongues twisting as we taste each other. I taste the beer on his
breath but the anticipation of feeling with only my body overshadows it. His
hands grab my hips roughly as he pushes me onto his bed. He climbs over me, his
lips crashing into mine again. I claw at his clothes, our hands removing every
piece of fabric, every barrier, until we’re both naked. Like all the times
before this, I push all emotions away, focusing on nothing but the physical.
harshly. “I don’t think I have a condom.”
a minute. I’ve never had sex without one but I’ve often wondered what it felt
like. I’m on the pill, so we should be fine. A voice pops up in my head telling
me what a bad idea this is but I reason with it, arguing that, with graduation
around the corner, this gets to be one last hooray. After tonight, I will get
to start over and pretend that the last year of my life hasn’t been filled with
parties and meaningless sex. I never have to see Kyle or anyone else from this
wretched, soul sucking place ever again. So why not go out with a bang. Literally.
without one,” he contends.
eye. “Neither have I. But I’m on the pill, so we’re good.”
of his cock tease my entrance. “Tell me you want this,” Kyle breathes heavily
with gritted teeth. “Tell me you want me to do this to you.”
bite my lip and close my eyes when I feel him push in. I wrap my legs around
him and he lowers himself onto me. I welcome the weighty feeling, and the
fullness. Kyle doesn’t look at me as he thrusts deeper and deeper. He tucks his
face into my neck and I find that I don’t mind it. This is all I wanted. It
helps me forget about the parents who don’t love me and only use me as a pawn
when they see fit. I can’t even say I’m a trophy daughter anymore, because I
made sure to ruin that image good and proper. Maybe I am a slut, or a whore,
but when it’s nothing but my body connecting with another, everything else
fades away. I’ve managed to replace emotional things like affection and love
with the feeling of sexual and physical gratification. It’s fucked up. But it
works for me.
pace, his hot breath fanning the inside of my neck. His muscles tense and I
know he’s close. Lifting his weight slightly, I take the chance to slip my hand
between our bodies and start rubbing my clit. The quicker Kyle moves his hips,
the quicker my hand moves, and it’s not long before we both moan our release.
sighs, rolling off me and catching his breath. “I wasn’t expecting it to be
him. “What? You didn’t ask your buddies how it is before you invited me here?”
I sit up quickly and grab the nearest item of clothing to cover myself up.
“No, Hayls. Do you think that’s why I invited you? So that I could just have
sex with you?”
honestly. Kyle looks away from me and I know I’ve caught him.
put my hand up, interrupting him mid-sentence.
the drill. I used you just as much as you used me and now it’s over.”
and start gathering my clothes. Kyle doesn’t move from the bed while I dress,
but when I look up again he’s standing in front of me, wearing only his jeans.
pleads. His expression is one of guilt. But guilt over what exactly? Having sex
with me or admitting that it’s all he wanted me for?
flit across his features but it’s gone before I can determine what it is. Our
eyes meet for the last time and I do something I’ve never done with anyone else
before. I touch his cheek. And then his lips. “Goodbye, Kyle.” I whisper. I’m
not sure why I say it, or why I touch his face that way, but for the first time
ever I feel something else, something new.
in front of me is green but I was too distracted to notice. I ease forward into
the traffic, ignoring the swearwords being thrown in my direction by other
drivers. I check my rearview mirror
again, to make sure Ari is okay, and find her staring out the window, still
singing her song. I’m silently grateful that the only reminder I have of her
father is her brown eyes and that her dark curls and fair skin come from me.
Not that it would’ve mattered. The day she was born I knew I would love her
forever, regardless of who she looks like.
deep breath to steel my nerves. I
don’t want Ari to see how terrified I am. I want her to see that I’m brave,
even if that’s the last thing I feel. I climb out and open Ari’s door. She
looks up at me and smiles, all her new teeth on full display. “You ready to
make some new friends, monkey?” I ask her while unbuckling her car seat.
You’re a monkey!” she squeals, giggling.
proclaims. I take her bag from the back seat and pull her onto my hip.
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