Authors: J.L. Beck
A Bittersweet Novella Book Four
By: J.L. Beck
More by J.L. Beck
The Bittersweet Series:
(New Adult Contemporary)
Copyright 2014 by Josi Beck
Cover design by Sprinkles on Top Studio LLC
Cover photo by Shutterstock
Editing by Tina Donaldson
Formatting by (Bad Ass Bitch) Angela Shockley
All rights reserved.
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means- except in the case of brief quotations embodied in articles or reviews- without written permission from its publisher.
The characters and events portrayed in this book are fictitious. Any similarities to real persons, living or dead is purely coincidental and not intended by the author.
If you pirate my book I will find you and hope that crabs bite at you for the rest of your life. Moral of story pay for the book don’t be an asshole.
Copyright 2014 by Josi Beck
All rights reserved.
To my fans. Without you, I would be nothing. Thank you. Xoxo.
Table of Contents
One year earlier
“Why can’t we be together Kennedy?” Sam asked, his voice just above a whisper. How I had allowed myself to be trapped in a corner by him yet again was starting to make me second guess my choices.
“Because I don’t like you like that,” I retorted, smashing my lips together and giving him a dirty look. His hands pushed into my shoulder blades, forcing my back against the brick wall. A fury was igniting within me. Why do I allow myself to be treated like this?
“But you do. The proof is in your panties,” he said, growling in my ear as his hands headed south. He was fast, but I was faster. I pushed his hands away with a strength I wasn’t aware I possessed.
“There is no proof in my panties; you’re disgusting,” I spat at him. My eyes met his, and I was startled by the anger that reflected back at me. It sent a zing to my brain warning me that this could get ugly really fast.
In an instant, his hand reached up, his fingers threading deeply into my hair. There was a pulsating pain at my scalp as he pulled harshly. Gritting my teeth, I pulled away; pieces of my precious hair fell from my head into his hand.
A cruel smile showed on his face as he examined the blonde strands in his hand. He was sinister and evil. There was a special place in hell for someone like him.
“You think telling me to stop will… stop me? You think telling me no will end this? If so, you’re wrong… so wrong…” His finger trailed over my cheek, and the need to reach out and bite it off was strong.
“See, your little tirade of saying no just makes me want you more. You pushing me away and telling me to stop makes me push harder. You might not want me now, but someday you will. When that time comes, you’ll beg and plead to be mine.”
The light in his eyes evaporated, leaving the shell of a person I had known my whole life. We used to be best friends; we used to hang out every summer and go swimming and camping together. That all changed once we hit our sophomore year of high school, and he admitted to having feelings for me.
That’s when it all went to shit: when I had to tell him I didn’t love him like he did me. Since then, I had lost touch with who Sam was.
“I will never want you. You’re dark and evil, and if you keep down this track, no one will ever want you.” It was a low blow, and even though I knew better than to say such harsh things to him, it was true.
How telling someone the truth could result in not only losing your best friend, but being bullied and harassed, was beyond me. I was lost, lost at how being honest could cause a roller coaster of emotions to occur.
His fingers dug into my cheek, and I cried out in pain. My eyes were begging to see something, anything, in his when it happened: a flash. I couldn’t tell if it was anger, sadness, or guilt, but it was there, and then it was gone.
“Kennedy, I promise you that one day, when you realize no one wants your pitiful ass, I will be there to pick you up and be the man you need.” And just like that, he released his hold and turned away from me.
Even if I had tried, I couldn’t stop myself from responding. “What did I ever do to you? What made you such a dark, horrible person?” I could feel tears streaming down my face. I didn’t even care that I was showing that I cared; I didn’t care if he could see how much it hurt me to go through this with him. I was done.
His footsteps faltered as he turned around, staring at me. His face didn’t have an ounce of emotion on it. Right then and there I knew- I knew there was no saving him. There was no saving someone who didn’t want to be saved.
“It’s not about what you did, Kennedy, but more about what you didn’t do.” My head was spinning with how many different directions that could go in.
Then he let out a laugh, a dark, quiet laugh. It sent shivers down my spine, and made my heart beat faster.
“What’s meant to be will be… I’ll make sure of it.” He walked away from me, leaving me with my heart in my hands. Anger raged through me, far more than it ever had. Someone like him couldn’t hurt or hate me for something that I didn’t do. He was wrong, and I was certain of it. I would never bow to him. Ever. I would never bow to anyone. I walked down the front steps of the school, knowing there was no going back from what just happened.
You know what I hate more than being late for class? Assholes who make me late for class. Sam Wickes knows he is an asshole; he is the epitome of assholes. Once upon a time, he had been my best friend; now, he is the biggest mistake in my life. Simply saying I know him at all bothers me.
I push my glasses up the bridge of my nose, willing myself not to lose my shit. Literally and figuratively. My pens and papers are sprawled across the floor in what seems to be a mile radius. Yup. Late. That’s what I am going to be because of him.
I glare up at Sam who is obviously still a bully. I never would have thought that in college, people can still be so immature and self-centered that they feel the need to hurt others. Turns out some people never grow up; sometimes they let their black hearts swallow them whole.
“Looks like you made a rather large mess here, Kennedy.” Sam’s voice is menacing, like nails on a chalkboard. All I can do is talk myself through this as I cautiously pick up my stuff.
I follow the strategic rules that I always have in place to avoid drawing attention to myself. Sam plucks one of my pens up off the floor and examines it.
“These are rather nice pens. Where did you ever get the money to buy such a nice pen?” I almost roll my eyes, almost. For someone like him to get accepted to Berkeley and not use it to his full abilities just doesn’t make sense to me. Hell, I don’t even understand how he got accepted. He is about as dumb as dumb got.
All he has going for him is that his family has money, and he is halfway decent looking. However, to me, he just looks like a sad excuse of a human being. Looks will only get you so far, so when you are an asshole over and over again… Yeah, that is a major turn off.
“They’re just pens. I need them for school so give them back.” I’m not above begging. I do what I can to get by. In the end, I will be far more advanced in life if I do so. It doesn’t matter what you do in life or where you go; there are people like Sam everywhere. Grin and bear it.
“Are you already giving into me?” He chuckles as he advances toward me. His shiny, new shoes are directly in front of my face in a passing second. I reach out to grab the remainder of my belongings. Just as my fingers circle around the point of a pen, Sam’s foot comes down hard on my fingers. I stifle a cry of pain by biting my lip, willing myself to not give into his shitty behavior.
He isn’t above physically hurting me; he isn’t above doing it to anyone, male or female. He probably kicks dogs in his free time just for fun.
Here I am, on my knees, in the middle of the hall, and Sam steps on my hand. “Now, now, Kennedy,” he says, gripping my chin in his hand. I look at him with so much disgust that as he registers the look on my face, his smile grows larger and his foot presses harder onto my hand. Tears prick at the back of my eyes, and I blink them away, praying they won’t spill over. I refuse to allow him to see the hurt and emotion he invokes in me.
Pain shoots up my arm, and I let out a tiny whimper attempting to alleviate some of the pain, but it does me no good.
“Don’t be a baby, Kennedy. I know you like it rough. I know you dream about me.” If I could bite Sam, I would; if I could puke all over his stupid brand new shoes, I would. His eyes scan the halls, looking for someone I’m sure. His foot eases off my hand as he notices someone coming down the hall. I hear laughter and know my day is about to get fifty times worse.
“Pick up your shit and get the fuck out of my way!” Sam yells at me, annoyance heavily lacing his words. I wiggle my fingers back and forth as the laughter grows closer. College is no different than high school, and I am dumb to think that I could get away from people like him. They are everywhere, lurking in all the deep corners of the world.
“Well, well, what do we have here?” A voice that sings to my blood, that has me feeling things I shouldn’t, sounds behind me. I tuck some loose strands of my blonde hair behind my ear and shuffle my papers back into their folder, ignoring the conversation that is about to take place.
“Just another girl throwing herself onto her knees for me,” Sam says smugly. As the fuck if. Never, ever, will you find me on my knees giving him a blow job; and if you do, I won’t be giving him a blow job, I will be biting his dick off and feeding it to the sharks.
“I can see that. At least this one is pretty.” I turn around to take in the sight of the man whose voice I know that belonged to: Ryder Winchester. He is Berkeley’s most profound player and manwhore. He can have you out of your panties and panting with need faster than you can say “Give it to me hard!” because that’s all he knows. Less than six months here and he has become the king of pussy. Men want to be him, and girls want to be with him.
His eyes are a brilliant green, almost like the forest. His hair is a dismantled mess, but he always has this calm, cool, and collected attitude. He is intense and scary and way out of my league, but I still want to lick his jaw line that is so clenched sometimes, I wonder if the touch of my tongue would loosen some tension.
I stand, fixing my sweatshirt. I’m not anything to look at, so when I turn to walk in the direction Ryder just came from, I freeze. His eyes assault mine as he looks over every inch of my body. For a second, for one tiny little second, I think I can see him putting the puzzle pieces together as he looks between Sam and me.
“If I need anything from you, I’ll come find you,” Sam says, his voice filling my mind. Don’t go there, Kennedy, he’s probably a user and abuser.
I’m still not moving; my body needs to catch up with my mind quickly because I can feel the anger radiating out of Sam. Just as I’m about to take my first step away from him, I feel a hard push on my lower back. Shock courses through me. Did he just push me?
I turn around, glaring at him. I put every ounce of hate into my stare.
“Get moving. You’re no longer needed here.” My mind fills with so much irritation, I am surprised I can form a coherent word.
“Do not touch me,” I ground out. I never had the balls or time to reply to anything he said to me before. But this pushing thing, if I allow it to slide, he will just turn around and do something worse.
“Whoa, dude, you don’t push women. I don’t care how shitty the blow job was,” Ryder jokes. He sends me a panty dropping smile. His teeth are a brilliant white, and I can’t tell if his smile is to comfort me or not.
“She likes it rough, dude. Plus, if I tell her to do something, she should be fucking doing it.” Sam is pissed, more than pissed. His eyes are black, and I know that I have just made a horrible mistake.
Ryder takes a step and another and then another until he is in between us, facing Sam. Ryder stands a good two inches taller than Sam and a good foot above me.
“I know when ladies like it rough, dude. I’m not one to step in to this kind of shit, but if you push her again, I will bury you ten feet in the fucking ground. Understand?” He sounds calm, too calm. But as I peek around them, I can tell he is anything but. They stare at one another, and I have known Sam long enough to see him contemplating his next move.
“Yeah,” he says hesitantly as he watches me over Ryder’s shoulder. His eyes hold a look that tells me I should be running and hiding. I never needed a knight and shining armor before, and I sure as hell don’t need one now either.
I am still rooted to my spot when Sam turns around and walks away. I’m in awe of Ryder. No one has ever stood up to Sam like that.
“Does he do that often?” Ryder asks curiously as he turns around. I don’t realize how close we are to one another until I feel the fabric of his shirt rubbing against my nose, his delicious smell surrounding me.
“Huh?” I ask, completely out of it. I would love to say that he doesn’t have an effect on me, but he does. Anyone with a vagina within fifty feet of him is affected, I’m sure.
A smooth smile creeps onto his face, and the tension in his jaw slips away. He is beautiful, magnificent. He is every girl’s dream and most definitely will be in mine for days to come.
“You’re kind of cute,” he replies teasingly. His finger traces the edge of my glasses as he pushes them back up the bridge of my nose. I need new glasses…or maybe not. Maybe I could get him to push my glasses onto my face more often or… Wait, did he just say I am cute?
“I’m not kind of cute. I’m damn cute. I’m way out of your league cute.” What possesses me to say those words to him I have no clue. Guess it just seemed like a good idea at the time.
“And sassy. Cute and sassy,” he mumbles, as if to say it to himself. Sassy, yes, I sadly am. Not many people get to see that side of me though. I hide many things from people. It is easier to be undetached when it seems like everyone is willing to throw you under the bus to get where they need to be.
“Don’t think I owe you something because you stuck up for me against Sam. He will be back with a vengeance, I’m sure,” I fire back.
Ryder looks at me sideways as his smile grows wider. I back up but am stopped as his hand snakes around my back. He pulls me closer into his body, and I refuse to allow myself to be his next victim. He’s like a spider who builds its web, hiding and waiting for you to come to him. Once you step in to see if the web will hold you, you think it’s safe to sneak in and claim him. I mean, come on, without a spider in sight, you’re safe, right? Suddenly you get too comfortable with where you’re at, and out of nowhere, the spider strikes, leaving you paralyzed as he injects his venom into you.
Ryder is a spider and no way in hell do I want to get caught up in his web.
“Let go of me. I’m sure I have had enough assaulting for one day.” A sadness seeps onto his face, and I watch as he goes through a wave of emotions.
“You think I would fuck with you like that dick did?” he asks, his voice rough. But it’s also like honey as it warms me makes me want to melt.
“Not really, but who’s to say you’re any better than him? I know guys like you, Ryder. Sam might be a gigantic ass, but he would never swoop in and give me love and a false sense of hope just get himself into my panties.”
In the next moment, he releases me like I am a disease, a look of disgust evident on his face. I didn’t say what I said to piss him off. It is the honest to God truth, and I am making it clear that I don’t blur lines with him. When, and if, I ever look for love, I want the happily ever after kind, the kind that keeps you coming back for more. I want it to be raw and consume me. Ryder doesn’t offer happily ever afters, and I can tell that just by the way he looks
“I’m sorry, I must’ve mistaken you for a real lady, my bad. Now that we have made it clear, are you ready to drop your panties so I can fuck you against the wall and give you that false sense of hope? I can show you love for all of ten minutes while I’m pumping in and out of you, while you’re screaming my name when you climax. That what you want, Blondie? Because clearly that’s all I’m good for,” he seethes as he mocks me. I feel my face growing red as I take small steps backward. He advances toward me, and in all of thirty minutes, I have been bullied and assaulted twice.
My back hits the wall and I shy away from him, turning my face away. I won’t look at him as if he’s a god anymore. I will look at him the same way I look at Sam: like the asshole he is.
“That what you want, Blondie? You want me to bury myself balls deep in you?” He is so crude, and it disgusts me even more. I’m not particularly afraid of him, but I am nervous about what he’s capable of.
“No. I want you and every guy like you to leave me alone. I’m sorry if I assumed something about you that you don’t think is true, but it is, and ninety nine percent of the female student body would tell you that. You don’t do love, and we all know that.” My matter of fact tone must push him over the edge because he turns around and stalks away from me. I can practically see the steam rolling off of him.
For the first time, I am left utterly speechless. I have not one, but two Sam’s to contend with this year. Fantastic.