Happy Sunday everyone!! I hope you all had a wonderful weekend.
For today, I will be giving a sample of my upcoming book, How Deep Is Your Love. This is the third chapter from the third book in The Love Chronicles series, as Andie experience a typical day at her internship. She also goes into dream mode about a happy moment with Dexter.
Remember, How Deep Is Your Love will be available on November 8th. Until then, enjoy this wonderful, unedited excerpt. 🙂
I stared at the ceiling, realizing another day has begun. It was also another day at the internship from hell.
My alarm continued to disturb me as the bright sunshine from the window made me even more irritated. I hit the alarm, causing more force than I expected, and it fell on the floor.
“Damn it,” I muttered.
I pulled the covers over my head, not wanting to get up when I felt someone yanking them from me.
“Must we go through this every morning? We both know you hate your job, but you still have to go, so wake up.”
I stared at my roommate and sighed. “I don’t want…”
“To go. You say that phrase every morning too. What happened to the Andie Williams that I used to know? Even though I couldn’t stand you then, you have really become very annoying.”
I slowly rose and looked ahead at the white wall. “That Andie is long gone.”
“Yeah, and whiny Andie took over. Get your ass up so we can make it to the office on time.”
She pulled me up and put her hands on my shoulders. I shook my head and sighed. “Thanks for the small pep talk, LaToya. You definitely know how to get my day going.”
She smiled. “Of course. Who else is going to tell it like it is to you?”
“I know a few people, but you’re the only one who’s available.”
She smirked and I smiled. I guess I should mention that LaToya, my ex-friend and Dexter’s ex, is also my roommate. I still couldn’t believe it. Although the two of us couldn’t stand each other, we helped each other out when we got this studio apartment. Rent in New York is not cheap, and with the salary I had, it was a no-brainer that I needed a roommate. Since LaToya also works at The Region as an entry-level accountant, we decided to get a place together. That, and because we didn’t know anyone else in the city.
I can admit that since the two of us are staying together, I have become acquainted with the LaToya that I used to know. We were good friends back in the day, until LaToya revealed her true feelings for Dexter. Now that is under the bridge, we sort of have something in common, which slowly made us rebuild our friendship. Although she gets on my nerves sometimes, it’s a lot better having her here than being lonely in an unfamiliar city.
“I already took my shower, so the bathroom is yours.”
I gathered up my outfit when LaToya started tapping her foot on the hardwood floor. I stared at her, wondering why she was doing that.
“Sorry; I was just trying to find something to do.”
“Try something else.”
“Ugh! Did you finally open that letter from Regina?”
I turned around and stared at her. She had a look mixed with sadness and anger as she tapped on her foot again.
“Can you please stop with the tapping.”
“I do this when I get nervous. So, did you? What was it? It looks like a wedding invitation. Is she and Damien getting married?”
I put my outfit down on the bed and walked to her. I sat beside her as I didn’t say a word. She looked at the wall and sighed.
“I guess that’s a yes.”
“Sorry I didn’t tell you last night. I tore up the invite anyway.”
“I’m happy for Damien. I hate how things ended between us, but if he’s happy, then I am too.”
“Are you going? I know you probably don’t want to because of Dexter.”
I sighed. LaToya pretty much know everything that happened between Dex and me. She was actually a great confidante during that time. It was a bit awkward at first talking to her about it, but she was there when I needed a shoulder to cry on. And there were a lot of nights when I needed one.
“I don’t know. I think it’s best if I don’t go.”
“Aren’t you and Regina friends, though?”
“We kind of fell out after what happened with Dexter.”
“She only got upset with you because of a certain person; it wasn’t because of your break-up with Dex.”
“All the same. That was a mistake anyway.”
“You wanted to see what else was out there. There’s nothing wrong with that.”
“Only because of what I did to Dexter. I felt things wouldn’t have been the same after I left. It doesn’t matter anyway. That relationship wasn’t going to work. Just like the relationship I had with Dexter.”
“You know you’re lying to yourself. You got scared and left.”
“I didn’t get scared.”
“Andie, you can say what you want, but you got scared when you felt your life wasn’t going according to your plan and you bailed. You thought you could handle it without being with him until you saw him that day. You reconnected, but got scared and left again. Do you see a pattern here?”
I rolled my eyes and sighed.
“You jumped into something thinking that it was really over between you and Dexter, but it didn’t work because you were still in love with him. You’re still in love with him now; that’s why you don’t want to go to Regina’s wedding.”
“I don’t want to go because it could be a set-up. I haven’t been back to Houston in four years. Do you really think everyone hasn’t gotten over what I’d done to Dexter? I’m pretty sure Aunt Tia will have some choice words to me about how I hurt her son.”
“Oh, she definitely will. She gave me a couple back in the day.”
“That’s because you cheated on him.”
“True, but I never had his heart like you did. That’s worst compared to what I did.”
She got up as I continued to stare at the wall. I really didn’t want to cry right now. It was too early to already be feeling sad.
LaToya gently tapped my shoulder and I suddenly turned to her. “There’s no time to daydream. You wasted enough time talking. Get ready for work.”
I really wanted to crawl back into my bed and sleep the day away, but there’s no point in moping around. That wasn’t going to solve anything. Besides, I had a job to do.
Once I was finally able to get ready, LaToya and I took the subway to The Region office. I still had my car, but I’m still not used to New York traffic, so I just ride the subway with LaToya. It’s actually pretty interesting to be around different people and have that experience to ride on one. You haven’t visited New York if you haven’t been on one.
Twenty minutes later and we both rushed inside the building, holding our badges to security and running to the stairs to the sixth floor.
“You want to go out tonight? Cecil was telling me there’s a great happy hour at Wilson’s.” LaToya asked.
I really didn’t want to, but I barely ventured out since I’ve been here. Maybe it’ll do me some good to be around other people.
“Cool. Meet you outside when we get off. And leave the depressed attitude behind, please. We don’t need that tonight.”
I rolled my eyes and LaToya smiled before going to the accounting department. I headed to the editorial side of the office and sat down at my desk.
I stared at my computer, thinking about what LaToya said earlier when I heard a thump. I looked up and saw the senior editor, Kelsey, giving me a smug look. I looked down and saw the stack of papers she placed on the desk and sighed.
“Seriously,” I mumbled.
“Good morning to you too, Andrea. Now that you’ll here, you can get started on these.”
“What are those?” I asked.
“They’re letters for our advice column, Ask Region. Since no one wants to do them, you finally can show your writing skills. Aren’t you glad about that?”
“Advice column? I didn’t know the paper had one.”
“Like I said, no one wants to write for it, so it goes unnoticed. We need it by tomorrow, so get to it.”
I sighed. I guess it’s better than walking her Shih Tzu and picking up poop everywhere.
I pulled out a letter from the top and read it. I had to shake my head at how ridiculous this person sounded. How am I going to give anyone relationship advice when my life is in ruins? Maybe I could ask Mashawn about some of these letters. She’s in love, so she would know.
I put the letter to the side and picked up another one. I started to read it, becoming interested in this person’s dilemma. It was a female contemplating on if she should follow her boyfriend to another state. He just accepted a job offer in Florida and have to leave by the end of the month. She didn’t want to leave her family and friends, but she loved him and knew that they’ll get married soon.
I stared at the letter, thinking about my own life and how happy Dex and I was when we arrived to our new place. That was when things weren’t so complicated…
“We’re here!” I exclaimed as Dexter and I entered our new place. It was a tiny one-bedroom with a closet for a bathroom and barely enough storage for our belongings, but it’s our home for the next three years.
“Yes, we’re here, so we should do it right.” Dexter said. He picked me up, causing me to shriek as we entered the apartment. We got to the couch when he put me down.
“You know that only happens when we’re married.”
“Who cares about traditions. Besides, we’re engaged, so it’s close enough.”
He pulled me to him and kissed me. I put my arms around him as he gave me a kiss on my neck.
“I can’t believe we spent four days on the road, so I’m happy to be spending a night in our own bed.”
“Me too. The trip was fun at first, but I felt like it was never ending.” I said and sat down. Lucky for us, the apartment we got was furnished, although Uncle Charles had to pay an additional deposit. Of course Dexter will have to pay him back, but it was worth it not to come into an empty apartment.
“I really don’t feel like getting our bags from the car.” Dexter whined. He sat down beside me and leaned his head on the back of the couch.
“Leave them out there for tonight. Besides, it’s not like we’ll need clothes anyway.” I said and gave him a sexy grin.
“Look at you; you’re trying to get me out of my clothes already, aren’t you?”
I laughed. “I’m not doing no such thing.”
“Please. But you don’t have to ask, because I’ll gladly do it. I’ll help you out of yours too.”
I blushed as he gave me another kiss.
“You do know our toothbrushes are in our suitcases.”
I smiled as I pulled out our travel bags from my tote. Dexter smiled. “Race you to the room,”
I quickly got up as he playfully tackled me. I started laughing as he turned me to face him. He held me as his lips grazed the side of my neck. His hand went underneath my shirt, causing me to moan.
“I thought we were going to race.” I whispered.
Dexter smiled. “I like this much better.”
His hands caress my back as he led me to our bedroom. I think I liked this better too…
“What!” I exclaimed.
I looked to see Kelsey giving me a nasty glance. “We need you to go to Starbucks and get a round of Caramel Frappuccinos asap. And stop daydreaming. That’s not part of your job,” she said and walked away.
I sighed. “Neither is being an errand girl.” I whispered.
I looked down at my desk and noticed she didn’t even leave any money for the drinks. I shook my head. I didn’t even complain as I got up and grabbed my crossbody bag. Since I’m paying, I might as well get me one too.
Hi everyone!! Since Into You will be released this Saturday, I wanted to share one more excerpt from the story. This edited excerpt is from Vanessa’s fourth day at Suds when a lot is going on between the customers and the employees.
The excerpt is from Vanessa’s POV.
When I arrived at work, it was already busy; there was a line was wrapped around the building and down street. I looked at the clock on my dash, seeing it was only 7:30. I hopped out of the car, went inside, and saw that it was completely packed. Simone was at the register ringing up customers when she glanced at me. She motioned for me to hurry and clock in.
“I told you not to be late,” Simone hissed when I came to the register. “While you were sexing Mark, I had a line of customers at seven!” She gave a receipt to a waiting customer who looked between us before leaving.
“It’s only 7:30! Technically, I’m not late.”
“With Avery, you’re on time at seven; 7:15 is partly on time, and at 7:30 you’re late. We open as soon as a customer drives up, no matter what time it is.”
I sighed, and looked outside and saw two employees almost about to fight. I looked at Simone, who took a deep breath.
“Don’t pay them any mind; its just Louis and Terry. Those two always trying to fight each other over tips. Probably either to get drunk, high, or buy a hooker.”
I was still staring, curious to see if they would actually fight, when a customer approached the counter. I glanced at Simone as she continued to ring up hers.
“And I wasn’t sexing Mark. We haven’t gotten to that stage yet,” I finally said.
“Well, you two were doing something. I heard your loud asses last night; I had to put my earphones on.”
“Excuse me, but do you think you should be talking about your personal business at work?” my customer asked, glaring at us.
“Sorry, ma’am,” I apologized and began her transaction. I already knew today was going to be a strange one.
And as the day went on, my theory rang true: Every customer I encountered was either crazy, angry, or just plain cranky. I received complaints ranging from the soap not being sprayed on their cars to the vacuuming to even one of the employees not saying ‘have a nice day.’ Even though I’d run the store by myself the other day, I was glad Simone was working with me, even though she’s not speaking to me.
Mark came into the lobby a few times, and each time, he was greeted with a nasty stare from Simone. I really had to find out what the hell her problem was after our shift.
When I began ringing up another customer, she tapped her fingers on the counter. I glanced at her and saw her wearing me an impatient expression.
“You know, I’ve been standing in line for the past five minutes, and you have been extremely slow. I have an important meeting to get to in 20 minutes, so I don’t have time for it right now.”
I was completely shocked by her attitude and glanced at Simone. She shrugged then turned back to work.
“I’m sorry if I’m moving too slowly, but I’m new and – ”
“Figures! Why would they schedule a new person on one of the store’s busiest days?! Where is Maya or the other girl that usually be here?”
“I wouldn’t know, ma’am. But in the time you’ve complained about me and my work ethic, I could have been done processing your transaction,” I retorted.
“V?!” Simone whispered loudly.
“Where is Avery?!” the customer yelled. “I’ve been coming to this store for too long to be talked to like this from some uneducated cashier!”
My blood pressure began rising, so I took several deep breaths. I wanted to reach over the counter and snatch that blonde hair of hers. Instead, I called the next customer. If she thought I was just some uneducated cashier, then someone else finish her transaction.
“Excuse me?! What are you doing?” she asked.
“I refuse to service you. It’s my right as an employee to do so, especially when the customer is bullying the cashier.”
“Says who?! Simone, get Avery in here, now!”
“Yes, Ms. Windsor,” Simone agreed and paged him.
“I hope he fires you,” she snarled.
“Have a nice day, ma’am. And please come back to Suds soon,” I replied with a smile.
I wasn’t going to let some rich bitch steal my joy. I already didn’t want to be here, but at the moment, I didn’t have a choice. I just had to find another job soon.
After Simone got Avery inside, he apologized to Ms. Windsor for my behavior and gave her a free car wash. Guess whose check it was coming out of?
Now I was in his office to discuss what had just happened. I looked at the cameras, upset that I was in there, leaving Simone by herself.
“You do know that if Rosario was here, she would have told you to clock out, right? But I’m not going to do that. Instead, you’ll learn from this incident and try not to be snarly with any other customer again, especially someone like Ms. Windsor. She has been coming here for years and knows Enrique personally. If he knew about this, he would be upset.”
“She started being rude to me when she first stepped in my line,” I argued. “She knew it was busy, so why would she come here, especially when she had a meeting to go to? She should think about managing her time better and choosing what’s more important: getting her car washed or being at her meeting on time.”
“That’s not your decision to make, Vanessa. Every customer who walks into this store expects to have the same service, and they should. I know this is only your fourth day here, but I’m extremely disappointed.”
I sighed and glanced at the cameras again. I saw Mark in the lobby speaking with Simone. She probably was explaining what had happened.
“We’ll just chalked this incident up to a learning experience and move on. Just don’t let it happen again, okay?”
“But you are doing a great job. You did really well running the lobby by yourself the other day. I was impressed, so don’t let this one incident ruin that.”
“I said it won’t happen again.”
“That’s good to hear,” he said as he came over to the other side of his desk. He tried to take my hand, but and I stepped back.
“Avery, we’ve talked about this. I said if you touch me again, I’m filing a complaint.”
“It was a small gesture,” he said, moving closer. He looked down at my breasts then back to my eyes .
“I have to admit, you are one beautiful woman,” he commented, slowly putting his hand on my thigh. He tried to spread my legs, but I pushed him away from me. He looked shocked; luckily, there was a knock at the door.
“I’m in the middle of a meeting!” Avery yelled.
“You need to come out here! Now! Dominic’s wife is at it again!” I heard Mark say. Avery looked at the cameras and groaned. A fight was happening out front; a woman, who I assumed was Dominic’s wife, threw one of the employees on the ground. I looked closely and noticed it was the girl Dominic had been talking to after my interview.
Avery rushed to the door; when he pulled it opened, Mark was standing in the doorway. Avery ran past him and went outside. Mark looked at me and mouthed, “What happened?” I gave him a look reading “I’ll explain later,” then we both went towards the door. We watched Dominic try to get his wife off of the girl, but his wife sucker punched then kicked her in the head. She was wearing stilettos, so I knew that had to hurt.
“That’s enough!” Dominic yelled, pulling his wife away from the employee. She turned around and started hitting him.
“I told your cheating ass if you do this again, I will come up here and kill her!” she exclaimed then started speaking Spanish. I looked at Mark, who began translating. It was things I didn’t need to know.
“You need to go before we press charges, Elena, Again! And Dominic, take the rest of the day off. I need to take Cecilia to the hospital,” Avery ordered. He helped Cecilia up, who was holding the side of her head.
Mark sighed as he looked at all the customers, employees, and even people from other businesses watching.
“I told Dominic to keep it in his pants,” He finally said. “The man doesn’t listen.”
“Well, that’s just your typical day at Suds. Something unexpected always happens,” Simone remarked.
Mark and I looked at her, and she shrugged.
Pre-order is still available! Purchase now for $0.99 before it goes to $2.99 on release day!
Happy Sunday, everyone! Here’s another preview from Into You, which is an extended excerpt of Vanessa and Mark’s date. 😀
The excerpt is unedited and from Vanessa’s POV.
I walked back to Mark’s truck, who had his head leaned back on the seat listening to music. I tapped on the window as he looked over. He gave me a huge grin before stepping out.
“Wow, you look beautiful, Vanessa.”
I became nervous again as he took a better look at me. He gave another smile while slowly taking my hand. “Extremely beautiful.”
“You didn’t have to dress up though; we were just going someplace causal.”
“I haven’t worn this dress yet, so don’t spoil it for me.”
He chuckled. “Okay, I won’t.”
He never let go of my hand as he walked me over to the passenger side and opened the door for me. He helped me in and closed the door. He hopped into the driver’s seat and glanced at me.
“I hope you don’t mind the music. I can change it if you want.”
“No, it’s cool.”
He nodded and started to back out of the driveway. During the drive, we talked about my first day at Suds, what we like to do for fun, and our favorite TV shows. I felt really comfortable around him which was making it even harder for me to uphold my promise.
As he continued to drive, I looked at my surroundings wondering where we were. He glanced over and smiled.
“Relax, we’re safe.”
“Where are we?”
“How long have you stayed in Houston?”
“All of my life.”
“And you have never been to the east end of town?”
“I never had a reason to.”
“Well, you do today. Besides, this is where my dad grew up. This is also where he met my mom.”
I noticed how his facial expression changed when he mentioned his mom. I had a feeling then that his mother was no longer living, so it must be hard for him to cope. I wanted to touch his hand to let him know it was okay, but I felt it was too soon for that.
He looked at me again and smiled. “We’re almost there.”
I nodded as I noticed a food truck in the distance. He slowly drove down a winding road and stopped in an empty parking lot.
I gave him a crazed look. “This is where you’re taking me?”
“I said it was causal.”
“A food truck? I don’t do food trucks.”
“You don’t or you never tried one?”
“I never tried one.”
“So, why you said you won’t eat anything from one if you never tried one?”
I rolled my eyes. “You probably think I’m acting like a diva right now.”
“Honestly, yes, but trust me, this place will definitely make you change your mind.”
I noticed the smile that was slowly forming and sighed. He better be right.
We got out and approached the food truck as one of the workers acknowledged Mark.
“Hola, Mark. Como esta?”
“Bien, y tu, Xavier?”
“Bien, bien. Quién es la mujer hermosa?”
“Ha, si, esta Vanessa. Vanessa, this is a good friend of mine, Xavier. He owns this food truck. He makes the best asopao de pollo in the entire city.”
“Oh please, my Puerto Rican stew doesn’t hold a candle to yours.”
“You cook?” I asked while staring at him.
He shrugged. “I can whip up a thing or two.”
“A thing or two? He’s lying to you. The man you’re standing next to can be a successful chef if he wants to. He can make anything for you.”
“I wouldn’t go that far.” Mark implied. He seemed slightly embarrassed as his face was turning bright red.
“Okay, well I’ll take your offer up on the stew, but only on one condition.”
“If you make it for me someday.”
He looked at Xavier, then back at me and sighed. “Fine. My place in two weeks.”
“It’s a date.”
We stared at each other as Xavier began to make our stew. Once he was done, we grabbed that and our drinks and went to a picnic area near the truck. I looked around, seeing a bunch of kids playing in the park while several teenagers were playing basketball nearby.
I took a spoonful of the stew and instantly moaned. It was really good.
Mark looked at me and gave a wicked grin. “If Xavier’s stew made you moan, I can only imagine how you’ll react to mine.”
I noticed the desire in his eyes as he began eating. He gave me another smile which made me melt. I think the promise I had for myself is null and void.
We sat in silence to eat when Mark stared at me. “So, Vanessa, why is a beautiful woman as yourself not attached? I’m sure there has to be some man out there that you’re dating.”
“Nope, not a single one.”
“Hmm, maybe that’ll change soon.”
“What makes you so sure?”
“Trust me, it will.”
“Aren’t you confident?”
“I’m sure that I could make you change your mind on a lot of things.”
I smiled. “I bet you can. I guess I should ask you the same question, or are you seeing someone? Maybe Maya, perhaps?”
Mark put down his drink and sighed. “We dated a few years back. I was in my junior year of college and she started at the boutique.”
“Did you two really date or just sleep together?”
“We dated, but yes, it was more sexual than a relationship.”
“I think someone wanted more from it.”
“She did, but that was something I wasn’t willing to do.”
“So why am I so different?”
Mark was surprised at my question as he reached for my hands. I glanced at him as his expression was serious.
“Because you’re someone I really could see having a relationship with.”
“You barely know me.”
“Which I hope will change someday.”
I smiled, completely smitten by him. I really need to control myself. I have only known him for two days, so I shouldn’t be feeling any type of feelings for him.
“If you’re nervous about us spending time together then don’t be. We’re adults, so it’s not a problem.”
“But we work together. Just because you’re the owner’s son doesn’t mean the rules doesn’t apply to you.”
“You’re right. The rules apply to me as well; but if I want to spend time with you, then I will. Not even my dad can stop that.”
His hands gently caressed mine as he stared into my eyes. He leaned forward to give me a kiss, which I was caught off guard with. I didn’t think he would kiss me again, but I’m glad he did. This one wasn’t as passionate as the one at Simone’s; it was sweet, as if he wanted to take things slow, which was fine by me.
He pulled away and touched my lips with his finger. “I do want to take things slow with you. I want us to see where things go between us.”
I nodded. “I do too.”
“Wow, I can’t even believe I’m saying that after two days of knowing you. You must really have an effect on me, Miss Hartwell.”
“I can say the same about you, Mr. Fernandez. Of course, we can’t be obvious about us seeing each other.”
“Of course not; but that’s something you don’t have to worry about too much. Practically everyone there is either dating or banging someone, so if you do see some crazy stuff happening, they won’t say anything if you won’t.”
“What if your dad comes by?”
“He does visit every now and then, but he’s been slowly stepping away from the business, so eventually, he won’t be a factor either.”
“Is he thinking about selling?”
“Sort of. He actually wants me to take over.”
I smiled. “Really? That’s great! But why does that sound like a bad thing?”
He sighed. “Because that’s not what I want. My dad only asked me because my brother and sister didn’t want the business. He only asked me to keep it in the family.”
“Why don’t you just tell him, then?”
“Because there’s a reason why. I’m planning on opening my own business with a friend of mine. It’s a Puerto Rican restaurant. He’ll be one of the chefs there, while I’ll be sort of the business manager. I figured I should put my business degree to use.”
“That explains the meeting at the bank. You were getting a loan?”
“Yes, which we were approved for.”
“Congratulations. That’s wonderful news! If you need help with the management aspect, I can definitely help you. That was my job until my company folded.”
Mark gave me a sympathetic glance and sighed.
“What’s wrong?” I asked.
“Nothing, it’s just that this is wonderful news for me, but for my dad, it probably won’t be.”
“Why do you say that?”
“Because he thinks I’ll probably fail at it. I’m sure he probably would think Suds would fail too, that’s why he didn’t ask me first, his first born.”
“Maybe you should prove him wrong and tell him about your business venture. I’m sure he’ll be proud of you.”
Mark gave a tiny smile and pushed his stew away from him. “Maybe. I disappointed him enough throughout the years. From rebelling against him to leaving Houston to do my own thing. I just got fed up with him and his ways. Maybe now it’s time for me to bury the hatchet and just be his son for once.”
“Aren’t you doing that by coming back to help out as a salesperson?”
“There’s a lot you don’t understand, Vanessa. I’m actually considering his offer, but only because of my mom.”
“I noticed your facial expression changed when you mentioned her earlier. What happened to her, Mark?”
“Simone never told you?”
I shook my head. “No.”
“She passed away ten years ago from a stroke; but she died long before she became sick.”
I gave a confused look as Mark sighed and got up from the bench. I got up as well, wondering what just happened.
“Is everything okay?”
“We probably should head back.”
“If there was anything I said that made you upset, then I apologize.”
Mark wrapped his arms around me to give me a hug. I closed my eyes, loving how his body felt against mine, but I could tell something was really bothering him.
“It’s nothing you said, Vanessa. The conversation is bringing back some memories that I don’t want to think about right now.”
I nodded. I could understand that he doesn’t want to talk about his mother’s passing. That would be difficult for anyone.
Hi everyone!! Here is an excerpt from SJAR2, which is the prologue and the first chapter. Enjoy!
I raced to the guest house to make sure Hayley was there. After what happened, I had to know if she was safe. I was trying not to panic, but a part of me feared the worse. How could I have not picked up on the signs? With all of the issues I had with everyone around me, I should have known something was up. I should have known someone near to me was a part of everything that was happening. They were involved with what happened to Craig and the problems I had faced since I’d been in Dallas. The one person I was unaware of that was causing all of these problems was the person I was close to and saw every single day. For that, not only was I pissed, but I was defeated because I let my guard down.
After cutting off three cars on the feeder, I was quickly approaching the house. I ran out of the car with the engine running and headed for the door. I forgot about my key, so I stepped back and after two attempts I was able to kick the door in. I would have to give some money to Uncle Rick to pay for the door later.
Whoever did this knew no one else would be here since Uncle Rick and Aunt Caroline went to Houston to pick up the motorcycle. This was the perfect opportunity for them to do something to Hayley. I was stupid enough to leave and told Steve and Carl not to follow her since she asked me to do this. For being so blinded by the truth, I should be the one punished, not Hayley.
I saw the blood stain on the carpet which made me panic. I had to find her.
“Hayley!” I yelled going around the guest house. I went into the bathroom, praying that she was in there, but she wasn’t.
I continued to walk around only to find she was gone. I stood in the middle of the house trying hard not to break down. My fears had come true, which was tearing me apart.
I went over to the counter, thinking about that night that Hayley and I shared. Anger began to rise in me as I threw everything on the floor. I was about to start destroying the china near the cabinets when I saw a recorder lying on the coffee table. I went over and picked it up. I pressed play and listened to the voice of the bastard that caused all of this shit.
“I told you I would come after you for what you did. Now, I have someone that you love. An eye for an eye, right? Now, let’s see what you will do.”
I threw the recorder at the wall and watched it fall to the floor.
I walked out of the guest house, preparing myself for another battle. He wanted to see what I’m capable of, well, get ready, because he hasn’t seen anything yet.
Three weeks earlier…
It’s been almost a month since Morgan and I arrived at his uncle’s house. He and Caroline had been nothing but nice as they helped us to settle in. They even allowed us to use their guest house so we would have our own space. Of course, that didn’t go well with Morgan’s cousin, Will. For some reason, I didn’t trust him. I had these feelings about him since I first arrived. He was just weird and tried too hard to be a certain way around Morgan. Honestly, it was a little embarrassing.
Since we had been here, all we did was stay in the guest house and entertain each other. We only went outside to go to the main house which was fine at first, but now, it was becoming annoying. I’m not used to wasting my time doing nothing. I was always on the go, so this was a huge adjustment. Since someone was after Morgan, it was understandable that we couldn’t go anywhere, but I would like to see something other than these gray walls for a couple of hours.
I picked up my phone and scrolled through my photos. Once I got settled in, I immediately changed my number which meant I couldn’t really talk to anyone. Not only did I miss Thanksgiving, but also Christmas, and this made me really emotional. I never missed a holiday with my family, so this was taking a toll on me. As for Lamar, I’m not sure how things are going with him. After what happened between him and Morgan, their friendship was practically over. I really hate that happened, but it had to be done. Now, Morgan and I didn’t need to hide our relationship. We could finally be together. Sure, we couldn’t show it now, but at least we didn’t have to sneak around once we return home. Well, if we did return home.
As for what happened before we arrived in Dallas, I still cannot stop thinking about that. The fact that I killed someone still bothers me. I have nightmares about it all the time when I think about pulling the trigger. Now I understood what Morgan has been going through all of these years with killing his stepfather. No matter how much you try to block it from your memory, it’s something that would never go away.
I looked over my shoulder at Morgan as he was lying on the bed. I stared at the window looking at how beautiful the night looked. It was perfect for going out to celebrate the New Year. Too bad we couldn’t.
Morgan stared at me and smiled. “What? That you and I will be here alone. I hardly find that a bad thing.”
I glanced at him with a huge smile. “Trust me, it’s not that. It’s just that it’s New Year’s Eve. We should be going out and having fun.”
Morgan got up from the bed and walked over to me. His clear blue eyes were giving me a piercing stare while his lips were curled into a sexy smile which instantly made me wet. This man definitely knew how to make most of my issues disappear with a smile and those damn eyes. I loved his eyes.
“I was hoping we could ring in the New Year another way,” he said.
“I’m sure you do.”
He pulled me into his arms and gently kissed my neck. He gave me a sincere look as he noticed the doubtful look on my face.
“I know you want to go out, but you know we can’t.”
“That’s my problem with this entire thing. We have been in Dallas for almost a month now, and we’ve barely been outside. I can’t deal with this. I’m so used to being outdoors that I feel like I’m being shut in.”
“Baby, I know this is an adjustment. Believe me, I’m feeling the same way, but we can’t risk being seen.”
I sighed and sat down on the bed. “Does Rick and Caroline even know why we’ve been hiding out?”
Morgan sighed and sat down beside me. “Not really. Aunt Caroline did ask why we’re always here.”
“Don’t you think you need to tell them?”
“Tell them what? That I killed my stepfather, and I’m possibly hiding from his damn family. Let’s not forget that my girlfriend killed someone for me in self-defense.”
“Hales, this is something we have to do right now. Eventually, things will get better.”
“I hope you’re right.”
“Things will change. Just trust me,” he said. He leaned over to me and slowly kissed my lips down to my shoulder. He moved up to my neck and sucked on my skin which made me moan.
“Keep doing that and I won’t care about going anywhere,” I whispered.
“That’s my plan,” he said.
He moved my face to his and kissed me. His hand was moving up my thigh as his tongue was grazing my earlobe. Before we could even go any further, the door opened, and Will walked in. We both looked up, wondering what the hell was going on.
“What the hell, Will!” Morgan yelled.
“Sorry, I didn’t think you two were about to…”
“We’re not now,” I whispered as I moved away from Morgan.
“You could have knocked,” Morgan continued.
“I know and I’m sorry. Anyway, a bunch of us are going to the Palace to ring in the New Year. You guys want to come?”
“I don’t think so,” Morgan said.
“Come on. Every time I have asked you to go out, you never do. You’re always here which I know can be a little boring.”
“Will, thanks, but no thanks. We’re cool.”
“Don’t you two think you should forget about whatever happened this year and bring in 2015 with a little fun? I know something must have happened back in Houston, and that’s why you’re here.”
Morgan looked at Will while I gave him an uneasy look. This conversation was moving in a different direction.
“Why would you think that?”
“I know you Morgan. You barely come to visit us and all of a sudden you’re here, and you haven’t left. If something is wrong, you can always tell me.”
I glanced at Morgan, who looked at me. He looked back at Will and gave him a confident smile.
“Nothing’s going on Will. We’re here because I hadn’t visited in a while. I know it has been a long time, that’s why I needed to visit.”
Will folded his arms across his chest and nodded. “Okay. I never got to ask, but how is your mom? I know things haven’t really been the same since Craig went missing.”
I tilted my head at Will wondering where he was getting at. We’ve been here for a while now, and he’s just now bringing this up. Something’s not right.
“My mom is fine. There was a period when things were sort of dark for her, but she’s doing better.”
“Why haven’t you contacted her since you been here?”
Something definitely wasn’t right.
“Uh, Will, I think we will take you up on that offer. Give us a few minutes while we get ready.”
“Hales…” Morgan interrupted.
“Trust me, we’ll have fun,” I said while giving him a cautious stare.
Will smiled and went to the door. “I’ll be back in an hour.”
I gave him a fake smile as he went outside. As soon as the door closed, Morgan gave me a heated glance.
“What are you doing? We can’t…”
“I know that, but I had to do something so he would leave.”
“Don’t you find it weird that he was asking all of those questions about your mom? It didn’t make sense.”
“He was just wondering.”
“He could have asked that when you first arrived, not when you’re alone with him. It was like he was fishing for details.”
“You’re being paranoid now.”
“Am I? Since everything we have been through, I think you need to put your guard up for everyone, including your family.”
Morgan shook his head while I sighed. “Baby, I’m not being suspicious, but I been having a strange vibe about him since we first arrived. There’s definitely something up with your cousin, and I really think you should watch what you say around him.”
“I understand that you have been through a lot with everything that has happened, but he’s my cousin. Yes, he can be a bit pushy sometimes, but I have never had to doubt him or his motives.”
“Okay, fine. I just wanted to give you my reasons. I didn’t want to keep that from you.”
“That’s fine, but I assure you that Will is good people. You can trust him.”
I gave him a doubtful look which I quickly replaced with a forced grin. “Well, if you trust him, then I will too.”
“Good. Now, I guess we should get ready to go out, even though, we shouldn’t. I think you said that so we actually could go.”
He smiled and kissed my cheek. “In that case, you better make it worth my while.”
“You know I will.”
He smacked my ass and smiled before going to the bathroom.
I looked over at the window and saw Will looking through the window as well. He gave me a sinful grin before going into the main house.
A shiver went through me as I turned around. I would never put any trust in him. He was too creepy. I guess I would have to keep my suspicions to myself for now.