Authors: Anne Jolin
Copyright © 2014 Anne Jolin
Cover Design: MG Book Covers
Cover Photo: Cro Alen
Editors: Anna Coy / Mickey Reed
Formatting: Stacey Blake of
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. This book contains material protected under International and Federal Copyright Laws and Treaties. Any unauthorized reprint or use of this material is prohibited. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by an information and retrieval system without express written permission from the Author/Publisher.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
. “He’s having another stupid party,” I murmur under my breath as I pull into the driveway. I momentarily consider parking Clifford, my ’99 red Chevy truck, on the street so that he doesn’t end up with a bed full of beer cans, but it’s three thirty in the morning, and out of sheer laziness, I opt to leave him in the driveway.
I try to keep my tight, little hostess dress from riding up while I hop down from the truck. I teeter in my nude pumps on the cobblestone but manage to catch myself on the doorframe before I can execute an embarrassing bum drop in the driveway.
. I really should have changed at the restaurant. Maybe I can sneak into Jackson’s room to change before anyone sees me. I look a little too hoochy in my work uniform for my liking. I say the term ‘work uniform’ loosely because it’s less clothing than I’d ever normally be caught dead in. It’s a tight, black, too-short, tube top dress that hugs all my curves and makes my legs look longer than they are when paired with my ‘must wear’ high heels. Instead of chancing another round of ‘kiss the cobblestone,’ I slip off my pumps, grab my overnight bag from the backseat, and make my way towards the front door, sidestepping cigarette butts on my way.
Every light in the two-story box house is on and the music booming. My boyfriend, Jackson, and his roommates, Jayden and Jamison, have been renting the top floor of this house for the last eight months. You’d think I was making this shit up, right? Three guys, all with first names starting with a J, all tattooed, and all sharing a house... It’s a little much but true nonetheless. We all get a kick out of teasing them and have dubbed them the J’s. They hate it, which makes it all the more fun for the rest of us. I’m as surprised as anyone that they haven’t been kicked out yet. Lucky for them, their landlord is a sweet old lady who likes to smoke more than her fair share of Mary Jane and doesn’t seem to mind the endless partying.
I pull the handle of the front door, and in typical J’s fashion, it’s unlocked. Martha, Jamison’s black pit bull, is waiting for me on the other side wagging her tail like I'm her favorite person in the world.
"Hi, pretty girl," I say and give her a scratch behind the ear.
Martha is named after Martha Stewart. Jamison’s first love is making acoustic guitars, but his second love is cooking. The day he rescued her, she ate an entire slow-cooked pork roast. We all tried to tell him it was just a dog thing to do, but he was adamant it was because she had exquisite taste in food and thus named her Martha.
I finish saying goodbye to Martha and head for the stairs, taking them two at a time. Jackson’s room is the closest to the top of the stairs, and if I’m fast, I can get in there before any of the drunken party goers saw me. I hit the top step, make a sharp left turn, and scurry into Jackson’s room, slamming the door behind me.
I drop my bag on the floor and reach for the hem of my dress. I can’t wait to get out of this thing and into a pair of jeans. I’ve begun to inch my dress up when I hear his voice. I freeze as the smooth, deep baritone rolls over me and my knees involuntarily clench together.
Who the hell is behind me?
I spin slowly and nearly hit a fever pitch when I see him. He’s sitting on the edge of the bed, but even then I can tell he would tower over me. Beautiful tattoos start at both wrists and disappear underneath the sleeves of his black White Chapel T-shirt. It is impossible not to notice that his shirt does little to hide the muscular chest underneath it. I lick my lips. His dirty-blond hair is buzzed shorter than his five-o’clock shadow, and his eyes are the palest color of blue I’ve ever seen in my life.
Holy fucking shit! He looks just like Charlie Hunnam!
I blink just to make sure that I’m not hallucinating, but he is still here, smirking smugly at me from the bed.
“Hi,” he says for the second time, shooting me a panty-dropping grin.
Oh God. I could do without the grinning Mr. Hunnam. It feels like my skin is on fire. If he grins again, I’m going to spontaneously combust. What the hell is wrong with me?
“You’re not allowed to be in here,” I stutter, tripping over my own words.
Smooth. Really smooth. Wait, who cares if I am being smooth? I have a boyfriend.
“Jackson said I could borrow his computer.”
I look around the room, and to the left of him I see Jackson’s laptop lying on the bed, closed. “Well, it would seem as though you’re finished with it. So, do you think maybe you could get out now so I can change?”
He doesn’t answer me right away. Instead, I feel his eyes move up my bare legs and stop at the hem of my dress. I instantly curse myself for not pulling it back down before I turned around. I feel completely exposed. His eyes continue their lazy stroll up my body. My long auburn hair is falling in waves down my back, and he seems to appreciate the way my full chest is rapidly rising and falling. When his blue stare meets my green one, I feel like my entire body is buzzing with an electrical charge.
This is what it must feel like to be on drugs
, I thought.
He lets another slow, cocky grin spread across his face as he stands, engulfing the small room. “Sure thing, sweetheart.” He winks at me before closing the door behind him.
I stand against the wall, rooted in place as my chest continues to heave.
Mary, mother of God, what in the name of all things holy just happened?
My brain is working overtime trying to process the last few minutes when a loud laugh from the hallway startles me out of my daze and I quickly set about getting changed. Jackson will be wondering where I am by now, and I need to get my butt out there. I slide into a pair of old jeans and pull a white flowing tank top over my head.
This will have to do,
I think to myself and make my way out of the bedroom to find my boyfriend.
I round the corner to the kitchen and smile when I see Jackson. He is beautiful. Tall and lean with dark-brown hair just long enough to run your fingers through. He’s busy talking about the new Call of Duty with a group of guys I don’t recognize. He tosses me a goofy drunk grin as I get closer and pulls me to stand in front of him, wrapping his tattooed arms around my shoulders.