Authors: Addison Moore
Edited by Paige Maroney Smith
Cover Design: Gaffey Media
Hollis Thatcher Press, Ltd.
Copyright © 2016 by Addison Moore
This novel is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to peoples either living or deceased is purely coincidental. Names, places, and characters are figments of the author’s imagination. The author holds all rights to this work. It is illegal to reproduce this novel without written expressed consent from the author herself.
All Rights Reserved.
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Copyright © 2016 by Addison Moore
able of Contents
3:AM Kisses (3:AM Kisses 1)
Winter Kisses (3:AM Kisses 2)
Sugar Kisses (3:AM Kisses 3)
Whiskey Kisses (3:AM Kisses 4)
Rock Candy Kisses (3:AM Kisses 5)
Velvet Kisses (3:AM Kisses 6)
Wild Kisses (3:AM Kisses 7)
Country Kisses (3:AM Kisses 8)
Forbidden Kisses (3:AM Kisses 9)
Dirty Kisses (3:AM Kisses 10)
Stolen Kisses (3:AM Kisses 11)
Lucky Kisses (3:AM Kisses 12)
Burning Through Gravity (Burning Through Gravity 1)
A Thousand Starry Nights (Burning Through Gravity 2)
Fire in an Amber Sky (Burning Through Gravity 3)
Beautiful Oblivion (Beautiful Oblivion 1)
Beautiful Illusions (Beautiful Oblivion 2)
Beautiful Elixir (Beautiful Oblivion 3)
The Solitude of Passion
Someone to Love (Someone to Love 1)
Someone Like You (Someone to Love 2)
Someone For Me (Someone to Love 3)
Young Adult Romance
Melt With You (A Totally ’80s Romance 1)
Tainted Love (A Totally ’80s Romance 2)
Hold Me Now (A Totally ’80s Romance 3)
(Celestra Book World in Order)
Ethereal (Celestra Series Book 1)
Tremble (Celestra Series Book 2)
Burn (Celestra Series Book 3)
Wicked (Celestra Series Book 4)
Vex (Celestra Series Book 5)
Expel (Celestra Series Book 6)
Toxic Part One (Celestra Series Book 7)
Toxic Part Two (Celestra Series Book 8)
Elysian (Celestra Series Book 9)
Perfect Love (A Celestra Novella)
Ethereal Knights (Celestra Knights)
Season of the Witch (A Celestra Companion)
Ephemeral (The Countenance Trilogy 1)
Evanescent (The Countenance Trilogy 2)
Entropy (The Countenance Trilogy 3)
Celestra Forever After (Celestra Forever After 1)
The Dragon and the Rose (Celestra Forever After 2)
The Serpentine Butterfly (Celestra Forever After 3)
Crown of Ashes (Celestra Forever After 4) Soon!
secrets have the ability to morph to life, turn into a hideous creature when you least suspect it, and clamp down on you with their jagged, knife-sharp teeth. Confession: I’ve kept a few secrets in my life, nothing too damning, nothing to alert the press over, just your run-of-the-mill parental forgeries to get me out of school early, or the time I told my mother I was spending the night at my best friend’s house after prom and spent the night with my slimy ex in a cheap hotel with a view of a neon six right outside our window. I’ve kept more than a few secrets from both my mother and my father, but that was practically mandatory what with the way they kept my chastity belt under lock and key. Fast-forward several years, and all of my secrets spill at my feet like some demonic piñata that burst open under the heavy blast of a camera flash. Yes, my secrets had become altogether damning, something very much to alert the press over. There is nothing simple about who I am, who I’ve accidentally become. Someone has lifted the lid and opened Pandora’s box filled with a primordial stew of both lies and the unforgivable truth, unleashing a hurricane of fresh hell into my world—and I can no longer think, or feel, or breathe.
But every rotten detail about my life is a fleeting ember now that I’m locked in a dark room with this tall, marble statue of a man covered in tats from head to toe. I’ve never seen so much art and beauty in one magnificently cocky individual. Jet Madden has an ego the size of that monster truck he drives.
He takes a step toward me with his head tipped back, those sleepy, lust-filled eyes. A crooked grin flickers on his lips, assuring me he’s a bastard through and through. Jet evicts the shirt from his body as if it were on fire, and even in this dim light I can make out the artwork stamped across his sturdy frame. My hand touches his chest, and I suck in a breath at the sizzling burn.
The room warbles a moment as Jet comes clearly back into focus. It’s just he and I behind these four walls. Nothing that happens between us ever has to see the light of day. I’d do anything to get my mind off the madness that’s taken over my existence. And I think I’m ready to
just about anything.
Yes, I’ve held a lot of secrets in my life, but the secret Jet and I are about to enter into might just be the most delicious of them all.
et Madden is notoriously
good in bed. It’s not a fact I can confirm through experience, but, according to the lust-driven grapevine at Whitney Briggs University, he’s a sexual force to be reckoned with—many, many times in a single, savory night. But those bulging biceps aren’t the main attraction on the freakishly fit, freakishly handsome jackass sitting at the next table with his buddies. Nope. The main attraction on Jet Madden’s body is most certainly his tats. Jet is covered from head to toe in a variety of intricately inked designs that drip eerily close to the ultimate attraction which keeps the girls coming back for more, quite literally. Not that I can personally verify this fact either, but rumors do persist. The only tattoos of his I’ve been privy to see are those on public display, and the ones that catch my eye, time and time again, are that serpent crawling along his neck and the endless tapestry of muted tones that peer from his shirtsleeves now and again.
I scowl at the sight of him as the music thumps through me like a heartbeat. The Black Bear is filled to capacity with every warm body in a twenty-mile radius congregating in the tiny bar. The Black Bear Saloon is a bar-slash-restaurant located conveniently, and most certainly appreciatively, across the street from Whitney Briggs University.
A blonde struts by with the words
scrawled over her tight little T-shirt, and I prolong my smirk to include the ridiculous philosophy as well.
is a saying I love to hate. I’ve always believed that life is something malleable you can work with and make to look like anything you wish so long as you have the proper means to do so, and I’ve never quite had the means to do so—until now. After a long drought of denial, my life is finally taking shape around me, falling into place with each twist and turn in a kaleidoscope of shapes and color. Mostly those shapes and colors come by way of Kate Spade handbags and a rainbow-worthy shoe collection. I happen to have an affinity for the aforementioned juicy little totes, which is rather unfortunate at the moment since every last square foot of my incredibly shrinking dorm room isn’t nearly the appropriate size to house them. My roommate, Scarlett, can testify to that.
I’ve spent the last fifteen minutes sharing a plate of heaping fries with Scarlett, Piper, and Cassidy as we laugh off a week’s worth of fall semester and let our hair down on what’s shaping up to be a rabid Friday night.
“Daisy!” Cassidy snaps her fingers in front of my face, pulling me out of my retrospective stupor. “You need to settle this for us.” Her sweet country twang envelops me like a sugary perfume. Cassidy is the sweet to her roommate, Piper’s, sour. And the two of them seem to compliment Scarlett and me nicely. The four of us have been fast friends ever since day one of last year. “
Night of the Living Dead-Heads
Captain Red, White, and Blue
I wrinkle my nose at the cinematic offerings. “Neither for me. I’m pulling a shift in an hour.”
“Call in.” Scarlett is insistent I play hooky. She’s not a fan of what she refers to as body whoring myself out for the night. I keep telling her that one day when we graduate from law school we’ll both be body whoring ourselves out, only we’ll have the scholastic backing to do it and charge a heck of a lot more an hour—not that I’m charging. I’m still at the working off tips phase of the pole dancing game.
In all honesty, I’d rather go to a movie with my best friends than dance another night in front of salivating strangers at a strip club, but it’s easy work, and the money is decent. The money would be ten times better if I actually decided to bare it all. I’ve seen the G-string haul my fellow stage mates procure from tossing their tits in the air for a few minutes straight. I don’t really know why I haven’t taken the nude plunge as of yet, but a part of me knows that’s something you just don’t come back from. I’ve justified my dancing ten ways to Sunday to myself, rehearsed the exact words I’ll say if God forbid my mother ever finds out. I seem to believe I have a pretty solid script handy should doomsday ever arrive. My strongest argument being that I never,
take off my clothes—at least not the ones that count. I’m simply a background dancer supporting the other girls. True story. A stage filler. Nothing too impressive, nothing too risqué—nothing too profit worthy. I don’t think my mother would bat an eye at the truth, especially if I outlined the fact it was putting food on the table—even if that table is currently located at the unofficial student bar. I’m pretty sure she wouldn’t want her baby girl to go hungry.
I fork a handful of fries into my mouth as if to prove a point.
“But it’s the early show,” Scarlett pleads with those large leafy eyes. Scarlett is a redheaded, green-eyed, Irish Barbie who has managed to attract the attention of her stepbrother. Yes. Stepbrother. It sounds far more salacious than it really is. She and Rex fit like Lego pieces that were destined to be fused together for life. In fact, everyone at this table foresaw their impending union far sooner than the two of them ever did. Taboo or not, I couldn’t be happier for them. Pretty much everyone at the table has an official plus one but me. Piper has Owen, Cassidy has Cade, and I have, well, Stilettos.
“I don’t need a man to define me.” I shake my head with a fierce defiance while the three of their jaws drop to their knees. “Oh, right.” I clear my throat. “I mean, you’re going with your boyfriends, right? That would make me the seventh wheel. That’s officially worse than being the fifth wheel, so I’m out. Besides, I’ve had to slow my schedule to a crawl just to work around my classes. I need all the Friday night stage action I can get my stilettos on. Pardon my pun.”
Piper shakes that dark head of hers at me. Piper is a black-haired, blue-eyed stunner. She’s Cade’s sister—the male Adonis who happens to be seeing Cassidy. I’ll admit, it does vex me that each of my besties has a personal penis to call their own. I may profess my fierce independence from the male species day in and day out, but it doesn’t mean that I’d mind a hot, hard, and perhaps slightly hammered body to cuddle up to at the end of the day.
My gaze drifts back toward Jet without meaning to. He’s seated with his friend, Owen, who just so happens to be Piper’s personal penis, an all-around great guy to boot. Two young girls sit across from them, and I quickly revert my attention back to my friends. It’s not my business what who does with whom. Precisely why I’m not in a relationship—too many bodies getting in the way, and before you know it, your high school boyfriend is breaking up with you in his mother’s minivan.
I shake off the memory while tossing another fry into my pie hole.
“The boys aren’t coming,” Piper grunts as if this offended her. “It’s a girls’ night out. Cade is finishing up his internship at the bar, and Owen is busy protecting his little sister from the boogie man.” She makes a face. “It’s her first Friday night of college life, and he wants to make sure she’s in bed by nine. Don’t say anything, but there was talk of staking out her dorm in the event she tries something funny.”
We break out into hysterics at the thought. It seems everyone but poor Owen is in on the fact that the quickest way to infusing someone with the right amount of wild is to try to tame them. He’ll learn—the hard way.
“I get it.” I take a quick swig from Scarlett’s soda. “My big brothers were forever harassing me about boys back when I was in high school. I swear, should I ever bring one home he’d better wear protective gear. They’ve been planning an assault for years.” I knock my elbow into Scarlett. “How about Sexy Rexy?” I pretend to swoon when I say the moniker. It’s a nickname Cassidy gifted him once it was apparent those two would end up together. It’s funny how every single one of us knew Scarlett and Rex had it bad for one another, and yet it took the two of them an entire year to get their coital act together. I can’t imagine hating someone as much as Scarlett hated Rex—then poof! Falling smack in love as if it were the natural next step in their vitriolic relationship. It just doesn’t seem natural. No way. Scarlett and Rex were just masters at hiding their true feelings.
My gaze slips over Piper’s shoulder to where Jet speaks rather sternly to the brunette seated across from him.
“What?” Piper follows my gaze. “Oh, that’s her! That’s Ava, Owen’s little sister, and her roommate, Lucky. Lucky is Jet’s sister, and judging by that I’m-never-letting-you-out-of-my-sight look on his face, she’s not so lucky after all.”
A collective groan emits from the table—two poor sisters and two very worried out of their minds brothers. It looks as if no one at that table is having a good time tonight or any night for the next four long years. Not that I care about Jet and the good time he is or isn’t having.
Jet clenches that strong, heavily carved jaw of his as if he were trying to contain his frustration, and that simple muscular flicker incites my thighs to quiver.
“I should meet Ava.” I nod into this as if it were a given. Piper mentioned a few weeks back that Ava was wary of her, and, seeing that Piper is an extension of Owen, I can’t blame her. “She’s never going to confide in you. She needs a real friend—a big sister who’s not bopping her big brother.” I dart my fry in her direction.
Cassidy checks her phone. “Oh, hon, I would love to play big sister with you, but I need to kiss my man before we take off. We’re going to miss our movie time, and the only
show I’m partaking in tonight is the one in Cade’s bedroom.”
Piper swats her as she takes off. “You’re disgusting.” Piper is fine with the fact Cassidy is dating Cade. Cade and Piper have an unusually close relationship for brother and sister. A part of me wishes I had yet a third brother, one closer to my age who I could be friends with like that.
Scarlett jumps to her feet. “I’d better kiss my man, too.” She gives a little wink before heading toward the entrance and cutting Rex’s next sentence off with her lips.
Piper leans in. “She means her brother.”
We share a quiet cackle on our best friend’s behalf. As much as we like to tease Scarlett relentlessly about it, we aren’t too worried about hurting her feelings. She and Rex are as solid as granite.
“So, who are
kissing these days?” Piper kicks me from under the table as she snaps another fry off her plate.
“Lots and lots of boys—Lincoln, Hamilton, Jefferson, Jackson, Grant, and on the off night Franklin, but mostly I’m kissing Washington.” I admire my pretty green manicure, the exact color of those
I’ve been raking off the stage lately.
“Franklin, huh?” Her eyes expand at the salacious promissory note details. “You still getting those huge tips?”
“Two hundred a pop.” It’s true. I’ve somehow garnered a mystery man who is willing to donate two hundred fat ones to my cavorting cause every now and again. For a while I thought they were from someone I knew, but each time I inquired about the big tipper, the waitress who delivered the funds rearranged her story to the point I’m not even sure this person is human anymore. Whoever it is has made damn sure their identity stays a two-hundred-dollar secret.
Piper’s eyes round out like lollipops. “That’s insanity. You’re probably going to have to get a restraining order.”
“For what? Keeping me in couture?” More like knockoff couture, but, hey, a coed’s gotta do what a coed’s gotta do. There’s a brand new shopping mall in the swanky side of Jepson, and they’ve just put a Barney’s in. Lord knows I’ve been squirreling away every pretty penny just to do a proper raid through that ritzy retail establishment.
“For keeping you in suspense,” she counters. “It’s creepy, and scary, and I don’t like it. Believe me, whoever’s doing this isn’t interested in what you’re wearing. They’re far more interested in what you’re not wearing. It’s probably some perv who wants to play with your vagina.”
I cinch my vintage Louis Vuitton bag over my shoulder as we both stand at the same time.
“Don’t you worry about me or my vagina. I’ve got both under control. See you later.” I lean in to hug her, and she grabs me by the shoulders.
“Oh no, you don’t.” Piper zips us toward the table behind us, and all I see are Jet Madden’s muscles jumping out at me, growing hulkishly bigger with every step in his direction. “If you’re going to be anyone’s big sister, I need to do a quick introduction.” We come upon their table, and all four pairs of eyes look up at once. Jet and Owen look slightly ticked as if their chaste plans for the evening aren’t going over well. The two girls don’t look so amused either. The brunette sitting across from Jet looks every bit a beauty queen version of the muscle man himself, and the girl sitting across from Owen, Ava, has a disparaging look on her face as if her life were just smashed to smithereens.
Piper pulls me in tight. “Ava, Lucky, this is Daisy Pembrooke. She’s a totally cool chick that I hardly ever speak to. In fact, she’s not even heading out to a movie with my
friends and me tonight.” Piper winks my way, and I try hard not to roll my eyes. These girls are smart. They didn’t just walk into Whitney Briggs without a clue as to how the world works. If I’m going to befriend them, it’ll have to be on their terms, not Piper’s questionable negotiations.
“Ignore her.” I take a safe step away from my well-meaning bestie. “Piper hit her head on Owen’s lips and hasn’t been the same since.”
Jet starts in on a laugh then stops abruptly as if catching himself in cahoots with me.
I offer both Ava and Lucky a friendly shake of the hand. Ava is every bit the beauty queen herself, and now I see what Jet and Owen are so suddenly insecure about. Every last boy at Whitney Briggs University is about to come running, and there’s not a damn thing these two balls of big brother muscle can do to stop it.
“So I’m off.” Piper gives a friendly wave, and Owen walks her to the door.
“Why, yes, I will take this seat,” I say, falling into the warm chair Owen heated with worry. The spiced scent of Jet’s cologne takes over my senses, and I swoon toward him without meaning to. I’ve always been a sucker for a well-scented man. But both of these boys need to learn how to loosen the reins a little, if you ask me.