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Authors: Kelly Hogan

Fall From Grace

BOOK: Fall From Grace
3.39Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub


Chapter 1 - Here We Go

Chapter 2 - Work Sucks

Chapter 3 - Hot Ski Pants Are Not For the Faint Of Heart

Chapter 4 - Hangovers Are The Real Demons

Chapter 5 - Enter The Guy

Chapter 6 - Back To School

Chapter 7 - Intuition

Chapter 8 - Nasty Flu Bug

Chapter 9 - The Art Of Folding A T-Shirt

Chapter 10 - The Past

Chapter 11 - Parlez Vous Francais

Chapter 12 - Seduction 101... Well Not Really

Chapter 13 - The Rules

Chapter 14 - Intervention

Chapter 15 - Date Night

Chapter 16 - Dick Head

Chapter 17 - Take Two

Chapter 18 - Anti-Normal is the new black

Chapter 19 - 20...Wait. More like 200 questions.

Chapter 20 - A Little Bit Bad

Chapter 21 - Dad's Going to Lose his Sh*t

Chapter 22 - When life gives you lemons, have a pity party

Chapter 23 - Picnics Blow

Chapter 24 - The Dark Side

Chapter 25 - Stranger Danger

Chapter 26 - The Devils Pit, Part deux

Chapter 27 - Forgive? Yes, but never forget

Chapter 28 - Hunted

Chapter 29 - The Wrath of Dad

Chapter 30 - And now the wrath of Gabs

Chapter 31 - Home Sweet Base camp

Chapter 32 - D-Day

Chapter 33 - Plan B

Chapter 34 - The Big Bad

Chapter 35 - Recovery's a Bitch

For Troy. For putting up with my whims.

Chapter 1
Here We Go

We all have secrets. Dirty little dark secrets that we wished could stay locked in the proverbial closet forever. I never thought little old me would have one of those giant shit storm secrets but there you go. Life is never simple and has a lovely way of kicking you in the arse on the way down.

I should preface that I 'might' have wished for a secret like this just a few short months ago. A revelation that would have changed everything I knew to be true. Something that brought me to the reality I always fantasized about, but now desperately want to escape. I hear the old cliché 'be careful what you wish for' repetitively screaming in my ear drums while I pace the damp, cold woods, awaiting a most certain and icky death, palms sweaty and a full on panic attack coursing through every fiber of my being - yup, this secret I could do without.

I can still feel the soft cotton fabric of his shirt under my fingertips, the heat radiating through it from his skin. The cool mottled stone wall pressing into my back through my black satin slip dress. A soft yellow glow spilling out from a small window above us is our only illumination. The pressure from his body leaning into mine as a flush of heat courses through my veins, pulling him so close, we appear to be attached to each other from our lips to our toes. An electricity is flowing between us, I can almost see the charged glow surrounding our entwined bodies.

I can't see his face, unrecognizable and cloaked in shadows, his lips trailing heated kisses down my cheeks to my throat, down my neck and... ahem better stop there. I WILL say that if that wall could blush it would.

The air is humid; dark and damp. Not a breath of a cool breeze reaching us down that deserted alley in Paris or Rome or Spain, I never reach the point of knowing where I am or who this guy is with me, but it's always the same. You'd think after having this dream a zillion times, I would perhaps clue in to the outcome during our epic make-out session, but I never do. There is no Ding! Ding! Ding! You're going to kick it Stella! Nope. Every time it happens I am left in utter shock and paralyzed with terror. In a word, I'm screwed.

My hand snakes down his front, finding the hem of his shirt, pulling it up and reaching under to his lean torso. That is when it happens; when it
happens. A searing pain slicing across my mid-section as liquid crimson pours out of my stomach in pints. I see the pool start to form as it slides down my legs and all over my glossy red pumps; unable to tell where the shoe stops and my blood begins. I am transfixed, unable to move, a morbid fascination as I watch my life bleed out of me. It is then that I am jolted upright, gasping for breath in a revolting sweat.

The panic attack that follows is the worst. It consumes me in a way I could never truly translate to someone who's never had one. The feeling is indescribable. My shrink has wrapped it in a neat little present and explained it to my Dad as a feeling of helplessness, like you are trapped in a room with a starving lion, unable to escape. Paralyzed with fear, I want to run, scream, yak up a lung... it supremely SUCKS.

Dr. O'Leary has given me this
book that is going to 'control this fear - mind over matter!' I am to visualize my 'happy place', check in for a visit, and hang out until I feel peachy. Um, yeah, sorry to disappoint you doc, but it always eff's me up royally and I think my apartment is condemned.

About 10 minutes later, I am better but exhausted - it always drains me out. Flopping back down onto my pillow I smack my head on something flat and hard. The latest
Kelley Armstrong
novel is still sharing my pillow as I dozed off mid paragraph; that's going to leave a mark. I couldn't seem to settle last night, tossing and turning before I finally succumbed to reading one of my favourite horror series authors. It always seems to calm me down and relieve the busy brain.

Clearing my head, I can now smell the sensory alarm clock wafting up from the kitchen. It makes me smile when my stomach unexpectedly yowls in anticipation. Dad must have gotten back late last night. I wasn't expecting him until later today, but sometimes he comes home early so he can do an impromptu bed check. Perish the thought that I decide to be a big whore and bring some random guy home with me. I mean has he seen my senior class? I know he feels like he isn't really 'there' for me all the time as he job is very frequent flyerish, so I don't mind the parental intrusions every now and then. He gives me lots of freedom and I'm actually not a big whore (I know, big plot surprise right?), so it's a win win situation for both.

This has been our Saturday ritual for quite some time now; a standing breakfast date to re-cap the misadventures of the week. I regale him of my simple high school dramas with Gabs, and he goes into nerd speak about some seismic activity him and his University colleagues are researching that is SO interesting. We drown ourselves in caffeine, and fry up the best cholesterol problems money can buy. Grilled bacon perched on top of cinnamon raisin French Toast, butter, and a gigantic dollop of real maple syrup, none of this fake crap. We call it the 'lard ass', and it kicks, yup you guessed it, ass.

Prying myself out of bed, I check the time and book it to the bathroom; I'll be late for work if I don't hustle. Quickly I whip off my tank and jammy bottoms and jump in the shower. The draw of fried meat is just too great to resist, I make record time getting ready. I sort of get the whole vegan thing, but c'mon the pig is a wonder meat. It's a magical being. Period.

I glance out my large sun filled windows as I decide on my wardrobe choices. It looks promising outside, spring has sprung so they say, so I pull on a pair of slim three quarter length cigarette pants in black, paired with a stripped black and white deep V neck tunic. We're allowed to wear whatever shoes we want so gratefully, for my feet, I pull on my black converses. I am sad to see my favourite rider boots hit the winter storage bins, but it feels amazing to go sock-less after all these long frigid months.

I pile on a few long necklaces and simple stud earrings and pull my brown locks into a messy high pony/bun, leaving my long bangs down around on my face. I slap on some basic lip-gloss and blush and I'm good to go. Well good enough for me but Gabs is always chewing me out for my lack of interest in cosmetics. I just can't seem to get past the basics for my day to day use.

As I make my way downstairs, through the front living room and back to the kitchen, the aroma calls to me like a beacon. Who says nothing is better than sex? I mean I wouldn't know personally, but this has to be ranked right up there right?

"My, my, look at what the cat dragged in. Thank God I made those big hulking football players go home last night after I let them steal my virtue," flickering my eyelashes, I grin broadly, hands on my hips.

Dad was smirking but still leaning over the funnies. He tries to be the heavy, but I know he greatly enjoys my facetiousness. Who wouldn't?

"Too bad really as I came home early with this overwhelming urge for teenage blood lust. I'm sorely disappointed Stella," he looks up at me, pretending to cock a rifle.

I head to the breakfast bar and grab his shoulders for little mini hug. We're not much for cuddles, a little arm squeeze is about all we can muster without embarrassment.

"How was Phoenix? Or was it Boston? Were they wowed by your super human smartness and geeky anecdotes?" I say as I pour a large mug for myself.

"It was Houston actually and it was pretty great thank you very much. In fact, they offered me the position of master of the universe just because I am both incredibly smart AND astonishingly good looking."

I smile, pulling the mug to my lips to take a large haul on the liquid gold even though I know it's still too hot. Sometimes you need to endure some pain for pleasure.

"So should I start calling you He-man and pick up some Princess of Power shit kickin' boots?"

"Touché Stells, and watch your language," he says with a parental frown that he doesn't quite pull off. Gulping from his own mug he carries on. "Houston was good. My lecture was on this new early detection earthquake sensor that I'm pushing to get backers for. It could really mean the life or death difference in some volatile areas," he rambles on about the science behind the technology as I zone out and make up our plates. I love that my Dad is smart and genuinely cares for people. Sometimes I don't know what the frig he's saying, but really nodding and ohhing and ahhing are all he really needs from me. He starts tidying away the paper as he switches back to regular non-nerdy geologist speak.

"I actually met up with an old college mate of mine – Peter Kim. You might remember him from a few years back when we saw him and his wife at
Comic Con

I know what you're thinking - super nerds - but it's a closet passion we have, Dad and I. We LOVE this 4 day nerd fest; people dress up like aliens, we get to geek out over classic horror celebs, and who doesn't love seeing Storm Troopers and slutty fairies ordering double mocha-chinos from

I try to think back to this meet and greet, teenage memory is a slippery slope, barely recalling yesterday let alone two years ago. I slather my three-story breakfast with syrup, dripping it all over the counter. Why did I choose tight pants today, hmmm maybe an empire waist dress would be a better choice, ohhh or leggings! See how distracted I am already? Slippery slope.

Aha! The memory bell finally goes off; it's a good one too. We were standing in line for an autograph from
Christopher Moore
when we saw them. Dad called over to Peter and his wife, Lita (I think that was her name). Or was it Pita? No wait that's a sandwich. Definitely Lita. Yeah so anyways after the intro, Dad and Pete start into some borrr-innnng work stuff and Lita made friends with some huge Family Guy fanatics behind us in line. Obviously a mega-fan herself she referenced about 14 one-liners in 4 seconds sending the group in hysterics and making me realize I don't watch the show nearly as much as I thought. I tried to infiltrate the conversation to give a semblance of interest making some comment about never quite getting whether the family can hear the dog talk, or was it just Stewie? Or whether the baby is really talking or does it sound like baby gurgling to the adults? And why can the dog understand him? That show is just way over my head. Annoyed at my lack of Peter Griffin devotion, she attempted to explain, but I just didn't get it and continued on peppering her. I think she thought my sarcasm was a little demeaning and maybe it was. I mean we're talking about a bumbling cartoon show with a talking baby who wants to murder their mother. Loads of sarcasm needed right? Some people are too intense for their own good. So as you can probably tell, we didn't part on excellent terms.

Balancing our full plates over to the breakfast bar, I sidle up beside Dad, "Uh, yeah, sure I remember them. Fun couple. I also remember you yelling at me for an hour for not respecting my elders. Good times."

BOOK: Fall From Grace
3.39Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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