Publication date: September 19th 2014
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
This full-length novel is Garret’s point of view from CHOOSING YOU (The Jade Series #1).
My life is nothing but rules. Rules for how I act. How I dress. Who I date. Who my friends are. I hate the rules and yet I keep following them. Until I met Jade. Being with her is forbidden. She’s not one of us. She’s not allowed in my world. But I don’t care. She’s different and I like her and I want her. And the fact that she wants nothing to do with me makes me want her even more.
But my father won’t allow it. Neither will the people around me. Being with Jade means making deals, blackmail, bribes–whatever it takes to keep my relationship with her a secret.
Jade has no idea what my life is like. She doesn’t know the rules. She doesn’t know about my family and what they’re involved in. And although I can’t tell her all my secrets, there’s one rule she must know: Never ask questions. It’s a rule that I live by. Because in my world, knowing the answers can get you killed.
As I approach the car, I’m disappointed when the ass I was admiring suddenly turns the opposite direction. I’m left with a view of the tan, athletic legs which are topped with an overstuffed black garbage bag. Small hands move up and down the front of the bag, trying to hold on to it as clothes seep out the bottom onto the ground.
A voice mumbles from behind the giant bag. “Shit, I knew I should’ve got—”
“Can I help?” I go over and pick up three black tank tops from the ground. I offer them to her. “Here, you take these and I’ll take the bag. It looks heavy.”
“I can handle heavy,” she says as she snatches the tank tops from me. She turns around, giving me another glimpse of that cute little ass.
The bag starts to teeter side to side. Despite what she said, she clearly can’t handle that bag. It’s practically twice her size and in about two seconds she’s going to drop it and everything inside it’s going to spill out onto the parking lot.
She knows I’m still there and says, “You can go now. We don’t need any help.”
A guy holding a large box appears next to her. Where the hell did he come from? I didn’t notice him when I walked over here. Is he her boyfriend? Must be, although he looks a few years older than her. He’s kind of got that hipster artist look going with wavy brown hair that hangs down by his chin. But his clothes are just basic khaki shorts and a navy t-shirt, which doesn’t at all fit the artsy types I know who try to make a statement by wearing bold colors or patterns, or t-shirts with the names of bands nobody’s ever heard of.
Artsy Guy notices me and clears his throat. “Um, Jade, why don’t you introduce yourself?”
Jade. That’s an interesting name. I’ve never met someone with that name.
The girl turns around, the bag still blocking her face, and all I can see is a small hand sticking out. “Hi, I’m Jade. Nice to meet you.”
I peer around the bag but it’s so big I can’t even see her face. “I think you’re in there somewhere. You sure you don’t want some help with that bag?”
She doesn’t answer as she struggles to keep hold of it.
This is so strange. What girl doesn’t let a guy hold shit for her? Every girl I’ve ever dated tries to make me hold her shit; her purse, her shopping bags, her sunglasses. I never do, because most girls never ask. They demand. And I don’t do demands.
I watch as the garbage bag sways to the side, the tear on the bottom splitting open even more. I reach under the bag and attempt to take it from her. She reluctantly lets me have it. It’s not that heavy and I’m almost a foot taller than her so I’m easily able to hold it in one arm as I extend my other arm and offer her my hand. “Hi. I’m Garret.”
Now that she’s not hidden by the bag, I can finally see the owner of those legs and that hot ass. And holy shit. She’s beautiful. Her features are small, delicate. I’m instantly drawn to her lips, which are full and the perfect shade of pink even though they’re free of any lipstick. She has dark brown hair that’s almost the exact same color as mine, and she has it in a ponytail with loose strands hanging down around her face and neck.
She’s wearing a white tank top and although I usually try to be more discreet, I can’t help but glance down at her breasts, which are larger than I would expect from someone as tiny as her. As she leans toward me to shake my hand I can see some cleavage and damn, she’s got nice breasts. Combine those with the legs and the ass and shit, she’s so freaking hot it’s causing movement where there shouldn’t be, at least not while standing in a parking lot in front of a girl I just met.
She looks up at me and as soon as I see her eyes, I’m lost. I love green eyes. I always have, but hers are the most gorgeous shade of green I’ve ever seen. They’re surrounded by thick black lashes that aren’t coated in that black clumpy shit girls put on their eyelashes. Her skin is flawless and I notice she’s not wearing any makeup. There’s nothing on her eyes, her lips, her cheeks. It’s not a look I’m used to. Most girls around here wear so much makeup I wouldn’t even recognize them without it. Personally I think girls look ten times better without makeup. This girl definitely looks good without it.
Damn, she’s hot. She’s more than hot. She’s gorgeous. And I don’t toss that word around easily.
The more I look at her, the more I want to keep looking at her. When it comes to girls I never thought I had a type, but I do now. This girl is definitely my type. I don’t know who she is but I have to find out.
“So you obviously have a thing for this girl,” Decker says.
I shake my head. “No, I just met her. I don’t know anything about her.”
“Yeah, but you want to. You want her for yourself. Otherwise you wouldn’t have yelled at me just now.”
Is it that obvious? I’m usually better at hiding this stuff.
“It’s not that. I just think you should leave her alone, Dek. She just got here and she needs time to adjust. She’s from Iowa, so this is a big change for her. I bet she’s never even been to Connecticut before today.”
He nudges me, smiling. “And you want to be the one to show her around, right?”
“Don’t be an ass. I was just being nice to her. That’s it.”
“If she’s from Iowa, what the hell is she doing going to Moorhurst?”
I hesitate, not sure if I want to tell him. But he figures it out.
“Wait. Is she the scholarship winner?”
I nod, then drink my beer.
“Did you tell her who you are?”
I glance at the door and see two hot blondes walking in. Long legs. Short skirts. Big breasts. I keep my eyes on them but that image of Jade remains in my head and the hot blondes aren’t looking so hot.
“Why didn’t you tell her?”
“Because she doesn’t need to know. She’d feel uncomfortable around me if she knew my dad was paying for her school.”
“Do you plan on seeing her again?”
“Yeah, we’re going out tomorrow. I’m taking her to the party.”
The hot blondes spot me from across the room and smile. I don’t smile back but they still start walking toward me.
“You have to tell her who you are, Garret. She’ll be pissed if she finds out later.”
“Yeah, well, I’m not ready to tell her. And besides, what difference does it make? I’m not the one paying for her school. My dad is. It has nothing to do with me.”
“You need to tell her, especially if you want to be friends with her. Or more than friends. Actually, you can’t be more than friends. You can’t date the scholarship winner.”
“Why the hell not?”
“Because your dad would kill you. And Katherine would kill you.”
“I don’t give a shit about Katherine. And my dad doesn’t need to know. I’m in college now. He needs to stay out of my business.”
Decker sighs. “Do not do this, Garret. You get in enough trouble with your dad. Just leave the girl alone.”
Speaking of girls, the hot blondes are now approaching me. They almost look like twins. I’ve never been with twins before.
“Hey.” The one girl steps in front of me. I’m still standing next to the keg and she reaches behind me to get a cup. Correction. She uses the cup as an excuse to grope me. Instead of going around me, she leans in and presses her entire body against mine. Her arm goes behind me as she slowly takes a cup from the stack.
“Excuse me.” She smiles at me, our bodies still pressed together. “I just needed a cup.”
My one hand is at my side, the other is holding my beer. Normally, I’d grab the girl’s ass and pull her aside and see if I want to take this somewhere. And given the way her twin is eyeing me, I’m seeing a threesome in my future. Never had one of those.
“I’m Kristy,” the girl fondling me says. She had her hand on my ass but now it’s snaking down my chest, heading for my belt. “And that’s Misty.” She nods back to the other blonde.
Kristy and Misty? Seriously? I feel like I just walked on the set of a porn film.
“Are you two twins?” Decker asks. His eyes are huge, his voice eager. He’s such a nerd sometimes. This is why he doesn’t get girls. He doesn’t know how to play it cool.
“Yeah, we’re twins,” Misty says, meeting up with her sister. Now they’ve both got their hands on my chest and I have nowhere to go. The table is behind me and I can’t move. I’m trapped with two hot blondes attached to me. Should be every guy’s dream.
But I’m not interested. Not tonight. I know that’s completely crazy. Any other guy would jump at this opportunity. Grab an open bedroom and go for it.
That’s exactly what Decker’s thinking. He’s got his jealous smile going and he says, “Garret, I’ll see you later.”
He’s being a friend, doing what he’s supposed to do. Getting out of the way so I can take part in whatever these girls have planned for me. But I’m just not feeling it.
“Dek, wait.” I peel the girls off me and walk past them toward Decker.
“Hey,” Kristy says. “Where are you going?”
“I have a girlfriend,” I say, glancing back at her.
I hear her huff, then say to her twin, “Since when does that matter?”
I don’t know why I said that. I don’t have a girlfriend. And I just turned down a threesome. What the hell is wrong with me?
I picture those jewel-toned eyes. That beautiful face. That sweet smile. That’s what’s wrong with me. I can’t stop thinking of Jade.
“Have a good run?” I walk over to her.
“It was all right. I don’t usually run on a track.”
“You should’ve come with me. I ran a couple miles around campus.”
She shakes her head. “That’s not far enough. I usually run 8 or 9 miles.”
I sit down next to her, so close we’re almost touching. I want to see if she’ll move away. She doesn’t, but she looks at me like I’m crazy for sitting this close.
“Eight or 9 miles? You must be a serious runner. I’m a swimmer. I only run to improve my cardio for the pool. I do a couple miles at a normal pace and then I do sprints on the track.”
She points to it. “Go ahead. It’s all yours.”
“Why don’t you do them with me?” I say, challenging her. “Let’s race.”
If she agrees to my challenge, I might just love this girl. The girls I’ve dated in the past would never race me. None of them were athletic and they’d never even consider doing something that might mess up their hair and make-up.
But Jade’s not wearing make-up and her hair’s already a mess. A sexy mess; long brown waves pulled back into a ponytail, wet around her hairline, a few strands hanging loose around her face.
“I’m a distance runner, not a sprinter,” she says. “But a distance runner can beat a swimmer any day. This should be easy.” She stands up and starts stretching her legs.
She actually agreed to race me? But wait. Did she just insult me? Nobody insults me. This might be the first time this has ever happened.
“You think you can beat me, huh?” I do some stretches even though I’m already warmed up from my run. “So what’s with the insults? You don’t like swimmers?”
She shrugs. “Swimmers are okay. I just don’t think they have to work that hard. I mean, the water makes you basically weightless. It’s easy to go fast when you don’t have to drag your body weight around. You don’t get that benefit with running.”
Did she seriously just insult me again? And now she’s picking on swimming? My favorite sport? The thing I love most in the world? What the hell? I don’t even know what to say to that, so I ask her to clarify.
“Are you shitting me? Did you just say swimmers don’t work hard?”
“Yeah, why?” I see a slight smile cross her face. She’s trying to get to me. She knows exactly what she’s doing. Pushing my competitive edge to the limit. And it’s totally turning me on.
“Game on, Iowa girl. Get your ass in position.”
I set myself up in lane one of the track.
She saunters over to lane two, yawning like I’m boring her. She stretches her arms behind her back. “Do you need a head start?”
“Damn, you’re annoying.” I smile, but it’s true. This girl’s annoying, but in a good way. In a way that challenges me and keeps me guessing. “We do one lap around. Ready? Three, two, one. Go!”
She takes off down the track and damn, she’s fast. I’m doing an all-out sprint and have a much longer stride and I can’t even come close to catching up. By the time I make it around the track one time, she’s already halfway around it for the second time.
“Stop! We’re done!” I yell it at her and she stops and runs back. I’m bent over with my hands on my knees, trying to catch my breath, sweat dripping off my face. “Okay, I admit it. You’re fast.”
“Fast? That was my normal pace.”
I’m assuming she’s kidding but she’s not that out of breath so maybe she’s serious.
I straighten up and wipe the sweat off my forehead. “Remind me never to do that again.” I walk over and get my water bottle. “You should sign up for cross country or track. You’re really fast.”
She meets me at the edge of the track. “Nah. I ran cross country in high school. Now I just run when I’m stressed.”
“What are you stressed about? School?”
“No. I didn’t mean that I only run when I’m stressed. I run for all kinds of reasons. Like today I ran because it’s nice outside and I’m bored.”
“You want some?” I offer her my water bottle because the girl’s been running for God knows how long in this scorching hot heat and has no water. She hesitates, like she doesn’t want to put her mouth where mine just was, but then snatches the bottle from me and takes a drink. “If you’re bored, let’s do something. I’ll show you around and we can grab lunch somewhere.”
“I can’t. I have stuff to do. I need to unpack and make my bed.”
Make her bed? That’s her excuse for why she can’t go out? How long could it take to make a bed?
As she takes another drink of water I check out her body again. Lean, with good muscle definition, but she still has feminine curves. Fucking hot. I try not to stare.
She hands me my water bottle and I take a drink, more than happy to put my mouth where hers just was. But no water comes out. Not even a drop. “You drank the whole thing! What did you do that for? I’m dying here.”
“You didn’t say how much I could have. You should really be clearer next time.”
I can’t figure this girl out. She seems to have no interest in impressing me, which is something I’m not used to. Last night I had two girls who didn’t even know my name offering me a threesome. And now I have Jade drinking all my water and not even caring that she’s standing here dripping sweat with no makeup on and messy hair. And she insulted me. Twice.
“Fine. Give it here.” She holds her hand out. “I’ll go fill it up for you.”
“Forget it. I’m heading back now anyway. I can’t do any more sprints after that.” I walk away, then turn back. “Aren’t you coming?”
Two can play at this game. She thinks she can get rid of me with her insults? And beating me on the track? And drinking all my water? Not a chance. When I want something, I go after it. And I’ve decided I want Jade.
I like this girl. She’s tough. Competitive. Doesn’t give a shit what people think. And there’s something about her that gets to me in a way no other girl has. I don’t know what it is, but it’s nagging at my insides, tugging at my chest, getting in my head.
“You go ahead,” she says. “I’ll stay here and stretch.”
“We’re having lunch.” I say it like she has no choice in the matter. “Come on. Let’s go.”
I walk up the hill toward the dorm and when I look back, Jade’s following me. I turn back and smile. Score one for Garret.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Allie Everhart writes books about dating, love, and romance. She’s also a freelance health writer for magazines and websites. She loves to read as much as she loves to write. And when she’s not reading or writing, she’s outside running, which is when she gets her best book ideas.