Authors: Amarie Avant
COVET: Deceptive Desires #1
A Delacroix Family Saga
Storyline Editor: Elle Turner
Copy Line Editor: Avril Stepowski
Proof Reader: Judy Zweifel
Book Cover: Mayhem Cover Creations
**This Book is a re-release of Miss Nobody **
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Copyright © 2016 by Nicole Dunlap as Amarie Avant. All rights reserved
Copyright © 2012 ‘Miss Nobody’ by Nicole Dunlap
Publisher: Blu Savant Press
This is a work of fiction. All characters in this book, including those inspired by real people, are fake. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
. No portion of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means–electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, or any other–except for brief quotations in printed reviews, without the prior written permission of the publisher.
All rights reserved
I received a few requests on social media to return to my suspense roots. After FEAR—which I swear I will be writing another story for—I didn’t write suspense for a while. Though it is my ultimate favorite as far as genres go, I have to be in the mood for it. Let’s just say it’s my form of anger management, killing off ruthless characters or whatnot and making a reader fall for a quasi-psycho like Victor D’Ross. ;) On that note, one day I promise to resurrect my badass, Mary Jane.
Any who, back to suspense as it applies to the Delacroix Family Saga. There’s a certain excitement about writing this subject matter. The pacing as the storyline accelerates. The pulling at your heartstrings when you actually give a damn about the characters. Well, that’ll be much of how this series unfolds. Your anxiety will increase through each page, and double with each book. (You will not have to wait over a month for each subsequent story.) But I wanted to make you fall for the characters first so they are teens at the beginning. All right, get ready to meet Liam and Raven. Fall in love and then hold your breath as I break their hearts…
Raven grew up angry.
Liam was her river.
And then his laughter, his scent, everything about him which had the ability to pacify her faded away. They’d known each other since the tender age of two, making it hard for her to grasp the fact that he vanished at age fourteen. Not literally into thin air, but his mom sent him away without a word.
Raven was now seventeen. As a child she never
abandonment. Not the gut-wrenching side of loneliness. With the exception of her grandparents, everyone had disappeared like they'd mastered the magician's tric
Yeah, she'd been left by a faceless, nameless father. Charlene, her mother, she only knew from a stolen photograph from the attic and a journal she was too damn scared to finish reading.
Raven had mastered the art of appearing happy, and she tried to be in the moment while walking in the mall with her friend.
“None of these shoe stores have my stilettos,” Monica grumbled, shoving a hand through her micro braids.
“Well, you want that exact shade of hot pink…” Raven mentioned, which she felt was unnecessary since they both had full length gowns for Winter Formal.
Something caught Raven’s eye at the vendors lining the center of the mall. “I’ll catch up with you in a sec,” Raven said.
“’Kay.” Monica shrugged, starting into the next shoe store.
Raven turned toward the jewelry boutique, and chose a mermaid charm bracelet off the rack. “How much?” she asked the shop clerk.
“Seventy-five,” the Chinese man replied.
Why did I even ask? It might as well be a thousand bucks.
She was about to return the bracelet, when she heard an unfamiliar, masculine voice call her name.
Turning around, she looked up. With her five-foot-two stature, her gaze had to continue traveling upward in order for her brain to register the amount of sexy standing before her. He was tall as hell, possibly one of those Hollister models, with sun-kissed skin. A polo shirt tugged slightly at the broad plane of his chest, but not too much so that it made him seem self-indulged. His jeans curved just right. Raven knew he wasn’t one of those guys who devoted more attention to his upper half.
Instantly, she became mesmerized by warm, hazel eyes and a beautiful smile. A vague familiarity attempted to chisel at the normal numb feeling around her heart. But she had never been mesmerized before, and internally warned herself that this fluttery butterfly in the stomach feeling was new,
Her brow arched. “Yes?”
“You don’t know who I am.” Those honey eyes sparkled with a smile, though something in his tone made Raven feel as if she should know him.
The sexiness of his eyes began to show genuine hurt. Raven realized he sought an answer. Hell no, she had never met the sexy stalker. She blinked at him and shook her head.
“It’s me, Liam.”
“Oh my God, oh my God,” she whispered, afraid to move. Then the name she kept tucked away, the name she hadn't expected to utter ever again, brushed like a kiss across her lips. “Liam?” Her voice shook, eyes instantly watering.
She jumped into his arms. Surprised, she realized she was hugging a man with more muscles in his arms than she ever thought possible for her old best friend. She inhaled his citrus and cedar cologne. Tears stung her eyes as he held her with the same fervor.
Raven had only two constants in her life: Grandpa Otis, and Granny Annette. Until she was fourteen, she had three. Jonathan Liam Delacroix Lemaître Junior. They were once eye to eye, and though he had been sorely overweight, Raven bossed him around. Not to be mean, she wanted the best for him. He had always wanted the best for her. They just had two different routes to the same goal. Hers included fighting anyone who had something bad to say about a mother she didn’t know, and how awkwardly fat her friend was. His included keeping her
“Do you want the charm bracelet?” The cranky voice of the jeweler separated the reunion.
“Oh, I don’t have that much money. Sorry.” Cheeks warm, Raven handed back the bracelet that was still in her hand. There was no way in hell she had enough money for it, after all she’d spent on Winter Formal.
Liam pulled out his wallet. “We’ll call this an early birthday present.”
“You don’t have to.” Raven pulled his arm, but the jeweler was already taking the hundred-dollar bill.
After they caught up with friends and all ate at the food court, Monica followed Liam’s ’79 shiny black Chevy Chevelle with lime green flecks of paint. In the passenger seat, Liam's friend Shawn was just as charismatic and Southern. Monica jabbered about how cute Shawn was as they pulled into the parking lot of the dorm building at Brinton Boarding School. Raven held back her astonishment that he’d lived so close. And for how long?
Raven tuned in with, “We're just staying for a minute or so…”
Her friend gave a sappy grin before maneuvering into a parking space. Monica’s car stuck out in between Audis, BMWs, Mercedes, and other expensive vehicles. “Raven, don't worry about me. Catch up with Liam.”
Truth was, Raven didn't worry about Monica. She worried about the stupid shit people said
“Shawn is very cute, but…” Raven tried, but Monica was already getting out of the driver’s seat. Raven supposed the best advice to give came with a condom, but she didn’t have any rubbers, having never had sex.
As Monica and Shawn walked ahead, Raven dawdled.
“Has your mom seen this car?” Raven gave Liam a sarcastic smile. The image of Elise, heir to the Delacroix fortune, allowing her son to ride around in a muscle car with shiny black rims was farfetched at best. Import, yes. Muscle, no.
“Elise’s coming around to my way of thinking, seeing that I’m stuck at this school.” Liam gave her a tour around campus as Shawn and Monica, unable to keep their hands to themselves, disappeared into the dorm rooms.
“This place is as big as a university,” Raven said, as they walked along a pebbled path towards a mass of red mulberry trees. “Are you taking me into those woods,
? I don’t know if I’m that comfortable with you.” She smiled, using the nickname his friend had called him during lunch. “Haven’t seen you in almost four years. Can I trust you?”
“You don’t have to call me Jay, Raven. Nobody calls me Jonathan Junior. Jay is just something someone started calling me while playing high stakes poker. It stuck. And yes, I’m taking you beyond that wooded area. There’s something I want to show you. Do you trust me?”
“Not sure yet.”
“We will work on that,” Liam replied. They passed by large mulberry trees and they took a seat close to the creek, with its green mossy boulders half submerged in the clear water.
“Almost reminds me of where we used to play.” Raven thought about being in the meadow–their meadow–and daydreaming about him. She’d been there just a few days ago, lying in the grass, eyes closed, the soft wind from the willow trees and the smell of sweet grass reminding her of him. That sadness began to creep into her, until her eyes landed on his, which were warm pools of honey. Even without words, Liam seemed to know what she was thinking.
He was so close; Raven could taste his scent. It clung to her until she forced herself to look away. Damn, this almost felt like tapping out.
“I come here sometimes when I’m homesick.” Liam spoke as if understanding her fear of intimacy. Liam lay down next to her, scooting closer, and propped up his head onto his hand, looking at her intently.
Instantly, a rush of questions came to her, questions about him during the past three years. Instead of giving him the third degree about where he’d been, she listened.
“When I started at Brinton, I was angry and I wanted to come home. But Shawn became my friend, and you can just imagine how crazy he is, you saw him at the mall. He helped me get through the fact that my parents got rid of me... I’m the captain of the football team… My dad finally talks to me instead of just seeing me as my mother’s property. To one side of my family, I’ve always been a legacy-in-progress. To the other?” Liam shrugged. “Guess it’s nice to be acknowledged by my father. Not about law and stuff, but about football. Jonathan's even come to my games.”
“That’s great,” was all Raven could say as she tried to concentrate and be happy for him. She propped herself onto her arm, lying on her side, still ecstatic about being so close to him. She didn't understand what he meant by legacy, didn't need to. There was only one vital piece of information necessary.
But is he the same person?
Just like that, this became
meadow as they began to laugh, chatting about the time Raven got Liam to eat a mud pie at the age of five.
“Sorry,” Raven chuckled “but you craved chocolate, and your mom told Granny not to feed you any.”
Liam stifled his own laughter. “Man, why did everything bad always happen to me while I was with you?”
She could barely get the words out for laughter. “In my defense, you didn’t die.”
They started another round of “remember the time,” ending up with the story of when Raven thought he’d almost gotten a concussion while trying to do the same stunts as her. They’d stayed out in the marsh until late, with Raven making sure Liam didn’t go to sleep. Watching so many action-packed movies with her grandfather, she had been afraid he'd had a concussion. Even if he did, Liam was more afraid that Elise would notice the big gash on his forehead and forbid him from seeing his best friend
. Their stomachs growled so bad, that by sheer deduction, Liam claimed he hadn’t gotten a concussion anyway.
“How’s it going still, looking for your mom?” he asked out of the blue.
“It’s not going anywhere,” Raven admitted with a shrug. W
hy can’t I just say that I stopped searching for her the day you left?