Read Avra's God Online

Authors: Ann Lee Miller

Tags: #romance, #forgiveness, #beach, #florida, #college, #jealousy, #rock band, #sexual temptation

Avra's God

BOOK: Avra's God
11.72Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads
Endorsements

 

My favorite thing about Ann Lee Miller's
books is her characters because they're relatable and real. She
knows what's going on with college kids and twenty-somethings, and
I couldn't get enough of her stories. Action, romantic tension,
characters who breathe--what more could you ask for?

 

Katie Marie Stout, 22, One
Page Reviews, Atlanta GA

 

Ann writes a story that will
pull the reader in and take them for an emotional ride. Her stories
don’t pretty up life but instead paint a story that has truth in
it.

 

Judy DeVries, Just Judy’s
Jumbles Reviews, Phoenix AZ

 

I love how Avra’s God
introduces the characters that we met in Kicking Eternity. And it
has the feel of New Smyrna–I can see the streets and houses and all
the areas that you mention.  Even if I didn’t live here, I
would “get” it; I love the town!  And I loved the characters
for themselves.

 

Jackie Jessup, Proofreader,
New Smyrna Beach FL

 

Ann writes
hard-to-put-down-once-you-start books!

 

Loretta Owen, Reader,
McDonough GA

 

Avra’s God MADE ME CRY! What a great story!
Miller’s writing has gotten tighter and even more descriptive with
each book. She reminds me of Robin Jones Gunn. Miller captures the
twenties and their desires to a tee, much like Gunn captured teens
and their angst.

 

Roberta Hegland, Reader,
Portland OR

 

Avra’s God

By

Ann Lee Miller

 

This is a work of fiction. The events and
characters described herein are imaginary and are not intended to
refer to specific places or living persons. The author has
represented and warranted full ownership and/or legal right to
publish all the materials in this book.

 

Avra’s God, All Rights Reserved, 2012

 

Copyright © 2012 Ann Lee Miller

 

Published by Flawed People Press

Gilbert, Arizona

Smashwords Edition

 

Produced in the United States of America

 

Cover Art by Robin Roberts at Red Red
Design

RedRedDesign.com

Ashland, Ohio

 

Edited by C.S. Lakin

LiveWrite.Thrive.com

Boulder Creek, California

 

Proofread by Jackie Jessup

New Smyrna Beach, Florida

 

Thank you for downloading this ebook. It
remains the copyrighted property of the owner and may not be
reproduced, transmitted, or stored in whole or in part by any
means, including graphic, electronic, or mechanical, without the
express written consent of the publisher except in the case of
brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews. If you
enjoyed this book, please encourage your friends to download their
own copy at Smashwords.com. Thank you for your support.

 

To learn more about Ann’s books and what is
coming next from this talented author visit AnnLeeMiller.com. You
can follow Ann on Twitter (@AnnLeeMiller) or .like her Facebook
Author Page: Facebook.com/AnnLeeMillerAuthor

 

 

 

For my daughter, Annie Kathleen Miller

Who, at age two, blurted out the word
feelings—a word seldom uttered by me or her father, and never by
her three older brothers.

For twenty-two years and counting, thank you
for spurring me to laugh, cry, and feel. I love you,
sweetheart!

 

 

Chapter 1

 

A hot blast of pepperoni-laden air rolled
over Avra as Stavro’s Pizza kitchen door swung shut. She inched
ahead in line for a table with her family.

“Yep, me and the idiot sisters are eatin’
fine tonight.”

She swiveled. That voice.

The guy from Humanities 301 thumbed through
change he pulled from the pocket of his cutoffs. Cisco. And she
didn’t shower and change after soccer practice—why?

Her brother’s elbow knocked into her. “It’s
gotta be meat lovers,” Drew’s stuck-in-puberty voice rasped.

Cisco glanced in her direction. Her gaze
skittered back to her brother.
Please, God, tell me Cisco didn’t
just catch me staring at him!

Her attention drifted to Cisco’s corkscrew
curls that brushed the shoulders of his ancient
Whitey’s Bait
& Tackle—Size Counts
T-shirt. The girl behind the register
tracked Cisco from under dark lashes as if she were having a
conversation with the back of his head.

“I want ham and pineapple.” Her brother,
Kurt, shot an I’m-slumming-in-Stavro’s-with-my-family look at a
couple of girls behind them.

“Veggie,” Avra said, distracted by Cisco’s
gaze on her. “Let’s get three.”

Cisco’s forehead crinkled like he was trying
to remember where he’d seen her.

Avra feigned fascination with the
Best
Pizza in New Smyrna Beach, Florida,
plaques on the wall. She
frowned at the reflection in the window of her droopy ponytail and
unisex soccer uniform. Beside her reflection in the glass, the
counter girl wore her Stavro’s polo as a second skin. What was the
use? Avra turned toward her family.

Mom eyed them. “We’re celebrating Kurt’s
first day of college, the beginning of Avra’s junior year, not
graduation—”

Drew huffed. “What about my senior year of
high school?”

Mom dropped her gaze from the illuminated
menu on the wall. “We’ll get two large pepperonis.”

The girl bit a hangnail and watched Cisco.
The gummy corners of “Isabel” curled off her red plastic badge.
Overhead, a cardboard pizza twirled in the draft from the air
conditioning vent. Isabel blinked at her customer and scrawled the
order on a guest check.

Dad threaded an arm around Mom’s waist. “And
spicy cheddar cheese poppers.” He batted his eyes through his
glasses at Mom and made her laugh. They melted against each other
and glided toward the empty bench talking in quiet voices.

I want a guy who will love me like
that―forever.

She looked at her brothers. “When I’m
married, my kids will have whatever kind of pizza they want. And
I’ll bake cookies―”

Drew’s blue eyes brightened in his
freckle-spattered face. “Make some chocolate chips tonight.”

Kurt shot her an evil grin. “Who’d marry you,
Avra? Morgan?”

“Puleeese.” Avra made a gagging noise. She
caught Cisco’s smirk out of the corner of her eye and stopped,
mid-gag. Warmth crept into her face.
Oh, great.
Cisco and
everyone in Stavro’s was going to see her face go apple-red under
the track lights.

Cisco’s smirk widened into a smile. “I can’t
remember the last time I had really good entertainment in the pizza
line.”

Metal scraped across metal in the kitchen,
and she looked toward the swinging stainless steel doors. Isabel
gave her the L.O.D., as Kurt called it. The look of death.

She narrowed her eyes at Isabel.
Trust me,
sister, humiliating yourself in public is not the kind of attention
a girl wants. Look at me. Look at you. Which one of us is likely to
get the guy? It’s not rocket science.

“Hey, what about baking cookies tonight?”
Drew croaked.

Cisco pushed off the partition separating the
counter area from the dining room and joined them. “That’s what I’m
talking about! My half-price-plus-a-buck specials sounded pretty
good till I heard you guys discussing homemade cookies.”

The corners of Avra’s mouth turned up. Dark
hair curled on Cisco’s bare ankles above the loose laces of his
tennis shoes. Her stomach quivered as it did when a soccer ball
hurtled toward her. She opened her mouth to say something,
anything, and turned away with a flutter of her hand. She shrank
into herself—the result of being too tall for too many years. Just
disappear. That’s what she was good at.

Cisco nudged her shoulder with his. “Thanks
again for the show.”

She eyed his shoulder, even with hers. “Sure,
Cisco, anytime.”

Cisco jutted his chin at her. “The lady knows
my name.”

Heat swept back to her face. Isabel’s L.O.D.
burned into her.

Cisco winked. “See you in Humanities
Wednesday—Avra.” He pushed out the door, pizza boxes balanced in
one hand over his shoulder. A two liter Orange Crush dangled from
between two fingers.

Breathe, Avra
. It was just a
wink
.
But he knew her name.

Isabel’s gaze raked over her as though she
were a palmetto bug. She tossed a boxed pizza onto the counter in
front of a man in a rumpled three-piece-suit. Isabel must have been
all of five-three, but in some weird way, she made Avra feel
small.

Avra trailed Kurt’s faded
Ron Jon Surf
Shop
T-shirt toward the corner table where her parents sat. She
would be translucent again by Wednesday, a blur guys look through
but never see. This was what she prayed for when she hit
five-eleven in the fifth grade.

She scooted across the vinyl bench after
Kurt, shooting a glance at the door where Cisco had disappeared.
Her hand touched the shoulder Cisco had bumped—as if anything would
ever come of it.

 

Cisco swung the Orange Crush beside him. His
sisters would get into a brawl about the soda. How was he supposed
to remember who liked what? If tuition wasn’t killing him, he’d be
out of there.

A sea breeze rustled the moss-draped oaks
overhead. The pizza warmed the palm of his hand through its box. He
breathed in the pepperoni scent and thought about Avra’s family in
Stavro’s who could have stepped out of Charity De Meer’s
Photography window. Their banter had splashed over him, making him
thirsty for more.

Families intrigued him—not his, with Mamá
cleaning schools, three to eleven, Pop living on
Freedom’s
Call
tied up behind the city marina. His kid sisters screeched
at each other all day like it mattered. No, happy families
interested Cisco.

He cracked open the pizza boxes in the
twilight to make sure Isabel got the order right.

His mind swerved away from Isabel to this
morning’s class. Avra had smirked into her Humanities book without
looking up when Mr. Smythe-Rollings called him “Mr. Carter” instead
of “Cisco.” His lips curled into a smile at the memory. She was the
kind of girl who blended in on campus. But when you really looked
at her, she was a treat—a sloppy-soft ponytail the color of
caramels; ocean blue eyes; and long, toned legs beneath the soccer
shorts.

He cut across the dirt yard to his front door
thinking about homemade cookies, a house with two parents, and
siblings that didn’t cuss each other in two languages.

He tripped on the jagged front step. What was
he going to do about Isabel?

 

 

Jesse stood in the asphalt lot behind Daytona
State College and locked the door of his Dodge Neon. He fanned his
shirt away from his body in the muggy morning.

Someone laid on a horn.

His head popped up.

Cisco darted around the grass islands on the
far side of the lot in his Geo Prism as if they were florescent
cones.

Jesse shook his head. Only Cisco could make
that piece of junk look cool.

Cisco cut his engine and coasted to a stop
facing the cemetery where grass grew in fits and starts along Welch
Drive. Sand grated under Cisco’s feet when he hopped out in front
of him.

Jesse grinned. “Hey, Bro.”

Cisco bumped knuckles with him. “Bud. Where
you been all summer?” Through the open window, Cisco snatched his
backpack from the passenger seat, and they headed for campus.

“I’ve been nowhere at all—the whole stinking
summer. You?”

Cisco thumped his chest. “At the beach all
day, every day!” He stretched lazily. “It’s the life!”

Jesse widened his grin. “Still changing oil
at Walmart, huh?”

Cisco grimaced. “Old man lock you up in the
church all summer?”

“Yeah, that’s pretty much it—mowing,
clipping, swabbing down the decks—cold cash for college.” Just once
he’d like to hit the beach. Dad would go ballistic, spewing fire
like a dragon—a sermon and a half on the sins of the flesh—gaining
steam as he went. “Tunes, man. Wrote tunes all summer.”

As they walked toward the library a Votran
bus pulled up to the curb.

Cisco nudged him. “You know that girl, the
one on the left?”

“Sure, like forever. Avra Martin—I got a pack
of ‘A’s from working on group projects with her. Why?”

Cisco headed toward the gym. “Saw her in
Stavro’s last night.”

“And—”

“That’s all.”

He narrowed his eyes at Cisco. “Yeah, right.”
He tossed his backpack onto the sun-warmed bricks on Echo Plaza,
and planted a foot on a bench.

The undergrad girls headed toward them, their
soft roundness barely camouflaged in store-starched clothes. He
rapped on Cisco’s chest with his knuckles. “Look alive!”

BOOK: Avra's God
11.72Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

17 First Kisses by Allen, Rachael
The Awakening by Marley Gibson
Mischief Night by Paul Melniczek
Dark Briggate Blues by Chris Nickson
A Drowned Maiden's Hair by Laura Amy Schlitz
Black Sparkle Romance by AMARA NICOLE OKOLO
Frameshift by Robert J Sawyer
Cat Haus - The Complete Story by Carrie Lane, Cat Johnson
All the Time in the World by Caroline Angell