Up until that night, everything was perfect. I’d just finished my junior year, been named one of the best college football players in the country, and had a smokin’ hot girl on my lap in the back of my buddy’s SUV on our way to a party at the cabin.
Now I’m living in my own personal hell, reliving that night, my busted-up leg a constant reminder of what I’m trying to forget. Everyone in this damn town is holding their breath to see if I’ll play again, as if that even matters anymore. My future in the pros? The money? The media attention? I don’t give a shit about any of it anymore.
All I want is to be left alone so I’m pissed when my mom goes and hires some damn cleaning lady for the house I’ve been renting. I’m expecting some old lady and that’s who I get until one day she doesn’t show up. Instead I get a girl with a beautiful face, soulful eyes, and a body I can’t stop looking at.
Her name is Becca and she’s hot as hell but the girl asks a lot of damn questions. Questions I don’t want to answer. But when she’s gone, I miss her like you wouldn’t believe. Sometimes I’ll make the house extra messy just so she’ll stay longer. It’s pathetic, I know, but this is what I’ve become.
I’m Ethan Baxter. And I’m barely holding on.
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Here’s a short teaser from Lilly and Reed, written from Garret’s POV.
I glance back at the house and see my mom in the kitchen with Jade. They’re each holding one of the twins while the girls dance around.
“Please don’t do this,” I say to my dad. “Please don’t bring this back into our lives. I have a family. I have my mom back. I can’t risk something happening to them.”
“It won’t. I promise I will keep you and Jade and the children out of this.”
“How? I know they still want me to be part of it. Every damn day I worry they’ll come back for me.”
“They won’t. I’ll make sure of it. You just have to trust me.”
Lilly and Reed is written from the POVs of Pearce, Katherine, Lilly, and Garret, but most of the chapters are from Pearce, such as this one.
“What’s going on?” I hear Lilly’s voice behind me and turn to see her standing there. “Did something happen?”
“No,” Rachel answers, wiping her eyes.
“Then why are you crying?”
She smiles. “You know me. I cry all the time, sometimes for no reason at all.”
“Did you need something?” I ask Lilly.
“Yeah. I wondered if I could stay with Reed next weekend. There’s a concert we want to go to on Saturday and since it won’t end until late, I thought I could spent the night there.”
“Will his father be home?” Rachel asks.
“Um, no.” Lilly chews on her lip. “His dad’s going to be out of town but it’s not like—”
“No,” I tell her. “You can’t go there.”
“Why? Because his dad is gone? How is that any different than when I’m at college? Reed and I still—”
“It’s not about that, although that, too, is a concern. But no, I don’t want you going there.”
“Then can Reed come here?”
“No. I have to go to Connecticut on Friday so you and Rachel will be staying with Garret.”
“Dad, this isn’t fair! You never let me see him!”
“You see him plenty, and you will see him when you go back to school. But right now, there are bigger things to worry about than how much time you spend with your boyfriend.”
“Like what?” she yells, tears forming in her eyes. “What’s so important?”
“Lilly.” Rachel reaches out to her but she backs away, her anger focused on me.
“Dad, tell me! What’s so important that I can’t see Reed?” She’s crying now. “Why are you trying to keep him away from me?”
“I’m not. This isn’t about that.”
“Then what’s it about?”
I sigh. “This is one of those times when I don’t want you asking questions.”
She throws her hands up. “Seriously? You’re using that again? That no questions crap?”
“Lilly, I’ve told you there are people out there who are dangerous and I—”
“Don’t!” she yells, hiccuping through her tears. “Don’t even bother trying to explain. I know whatever you’re going to say is a lie. All you ever do is lie to me!” She storms off to her room.
This morning, Reed drove up to see me. He’s staying the weekend, but in the guest room. There’s no way my dad would let him stay in my room, even though I know for a fact that my dad let Jade stay in Garret’s room when they were dating.
His double standard makes me so mad. And the way he’s so overprotective? I can’t take it anymore. He barely lets me leave the house. I’m so fed up with him right now I’m about ready to stop talking to him.
He said he’s only acting this way to protect me. He claims he’s been getting threats from some guy trying to get our money, and that the guy could come after me to get to him. But I don’t buy it. I think he’s lying. My dad gets threatened all the time and has people he hires to take care of it. So why is this time any different?
“I think we should stay here,” Reed says, standing up to put his jeans on.
“There’s nothing to do here.”
“There are all kinds of things to do.” He yanks his t-shirt over his head. “We could watch a movie.”
“We do that all the time.”
“Yeah, but you guys have an actual theater room with a huge screen and surround sound.”
When Reed first saw our theater room, his jaw dropped. He’d never seen a home theater. He thought it was the coolest thing ever.
“It’s the middle of the day,” I say. “I don’t feel like watching a movie right now.”
“Then let’s go swimming. Or we could paint. You have your own studio in the back yard. You know how freaking cool that is?”
“Yeah, it’s awesome, but we can paint later.” I tug on his hand. “Let’s go out.”
“I’d rather stay here.”
“Because your dad told us not to go anywhere.”
I roll my eyes. “You’re seriously listening to my dad?”
“Your dad is huge. And a trained killer.”
I laugh. “He’s huge but not a trained killer.”
“You said he does all that martial arts training.”
“Yeah, to stay in shape, not to kill people.”
“He goes to the shooting range every week. And he showed me his gun.” Reed is totally scared of my dad, which makes me laugh.
“He was just kidding around. All dads try to scare off the boy who’s dating their daughter.”
“I’ve dated plenty of girls and not one of their fathers has brought out a gun.”
I shrug. “Maybe my dad thought you liked guns. Rachel has a gun too. She and my dad both go to the shooting range.”
“Okay, that’s just weird. Why are they both so into guns?”
“Because crazy people come after us. My parents just want to be able to protect themselves.”
“Do you have one?”
“No, but if I wanted one I’m sure my dad would get me one.”
“Has your dad ever shot anyone?”
“Not that I know of.”
And yet I keep having that dream. The one where my dad comes home late at night, covered in blood.
“Wouldn’t he tell you if he had?”
“I don’t know but I don’t like talking about this.” I stand in front of him. “Are we gonna go or what?”
He sits down on the bed. “Given that I value my life, I’m choosing to stay here.”
I sigh. “You’re seriously that worried about my dad?”
“It’s not just that. I’m trying to be respectful. He told us to stay here and I don’t want to disrespect his wishes.”
“You’re not disrespecting him.”
“Well, I disagree.” He pulls me down on his lap. “And given that I want to marry his daughter someday, I want him to like me. I want him to know I’m a good guy who’s respectful and mature and will make a good husband to his beautiful daughter.”
I smile. “You know that’s like at least ten years in the future. I’m not ready to get married. Live together, maybe. But not get married.”
“Your brother got married when he was 19.”
“Yeah, and that was crazy.”
“Why? He’s still happily married all these years later.”
I turn to face him. “Are you trying to talk me into getting married?”
“Not right away, but ten years seems like a really long time. I mean, ten years ago we were in grade school. A lot can happen in ten years.”
I kiss him. “I’ll still be in love with you in ten years, if that’s what you’re worried about.”
“How about five?” He’s not joking, his face completely serious. “Would you do it in five years?”
“You really want to get married five years from now?”
“I’d prefer three, but you wanted ten so I picked something in between.”
“Why three? What’s the rush?”
“Three years is hardly rushing it. By then, we’ll have dated for four years. And we’ll be done with school, so it’d be a good time.”
“I’ll give it some thought but I’m not making any promises.”
He kisses me. “But you promise to marry me, right? At some point?”
I smile. “You haven’t proposed yet so I’m keeping my answer to myself until you ask.”
He thinks a moment, his lips turning up. “Okay.”
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