Forbidden Fruit is always the sweetest…

November 29, 2009 at 11:54 pm (Uncategorized)

Hi Everyone,

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. It’s great to spend time with family that live far away.

I also, hope that you are enjoying my blog book, Choices.

Chapter 9

“I don’t want you seeing that boy any more.”

            Harlan Westfall’s white hair glinted in the sunlight pouring in from the picture window behind him.  Book cases lined the walls filled with leather bound books.  His cherry desk was massive and littered with several stacks of files.  She had always hated this room.  It was the room where her father hid from his family.   

Her eyebrows furrowed together, her hands perched on her hips.  “I’ll date who I want,” she replied indignantly.

“The hell you will,” he yelled.  “I’ll not have my daughter parading around town with trash!”

She leaned over, her palms falling flat on his desk.  “Jackson Hart is not trash!”

He flew out of his chair, his bloodshot eyes meeting hers.  A blood vessel pounded at his temple, his face red with anger.  “That boy is the very definition of it, and you would be wise to remember my words.  Just because your mother died, it doesn’t mean you can run around town doing whatever you want.  Despite your best attempts to ruin yourself and this family, you will do as I say or you will be sorry.”

She spun on her heel, throwing the door open with such force it flew into the wall with an audible slam.  Running up the staircase, she did her best to hold in the tears that threatened to fall.  She hated him!  Every bit of compassion he ever possessed had died the day her mother was placed in the ground.  He was a machine, relentlessly tossing out orders without any concern for the people he crushed in his path.  As she rounded the corner, she collided with Curtis.  His hands came up to steady her, but she brushed them away in disgust. 

“You really did it, didn’t you?” she bit out angrily.

“What the hell are you talking about?” he barked.

“You told Daddy about the barbeque,” she accused.

He laughed, as he shook his head in aggravation.  “You really are stupid.  Did you think you could broadcast your little fling all over town and Daddy wouldn’t find out?”  He glanced up at the ceiling.  “God, sometimes I wonder how we could be related.”

“Get out of my way, Curtis.” 

She shoved past him to run into her room, slamming the door behind her.   She hated him.  Why she had been cursed with such a horrible brother, she would never know?  Ever since her mother died, everything had fallen apart.  Both her Daddy and Curtis thought they could tell her what to do.  Without her mother’s calm intervention, she was left alone to fight them by herself.  Still, she would not let them tell her who she could spend her time with.  It was her right to make that decision.  She threw herself across the bed, reaching for the phone on the nightstand.  If her Daddy thought that he could keep her away from Jackson, he was wrong. 

And she knew just how to get around his ridiculous request.

 

“I don’t know about this,” Leah balked, as she eased the car through the gate to turn onto the highway.

“I’m telling you it will be fine,” Mallory chided.

“If your daddy finds out that I took you to see Jackson Hart, it won’t be,” she warned, her eyes focused on the road ahead.

“He’ll never find out, Leah,” she assured, as she pulled the visor down to reapply her makeup in the mirror.

Leah shook her head.  “Well, we had better enjoy this little moment, because if your daddy tells my parents, I’ll be grounded for the next month.”

A quick glance let her know that the barn was coming into view over the hill.  She quickly dabbed her lips with lip gloss, as Leah pulled the car around to the back so they wouldn’t be seen.  Jackson’s motorcycle was already there, alerting her to the fact that he was waiting inside.  Her entire body hummed with excitement.  When Mallory grabbed the door handle, Leah put a restraining hand on her arm.

“Just answer this for me,” she prodded.

“What?”

“Is he really worth all of this?”

Mallory’s gaze traveled to the barn, before returning to meet her friend’s concerned stare.  “Yes.”

Leah gave her a quick nod.  “Okay, then I’ll be back in two hours.”

She watched Leah pull away.  Taking a deep breath, she stepped into the barn.  Jackson leaned against the side of a stall, a billow of smoke forming a cloud over his head, his cigarette dangling from his lips. 

“Hi,” she said nervously.  “I wasn’t sure you would come.”

Jackson tossed his cigarette to the ground, stamping it out with his foot.  “I probably shouldn’t have,” he admitted ruefully.

She crossed the distance, needing to feel close to him.  “Why?” she asked.

He shook his head, the corners of his mouth tilting up.  “I’m not sure about your motives.”

Taking a step closer to him, her gaze met his.  “I don’t have any motives.”

He chuckled.  “Oh, I think you do.  I just wish I knew what they were.”

“I just wanted to see you.  Can’t it be that simple?” she inquired softly.

“I wish it was that simple,” he murmured, his hand coming up to trace the side of her cheek.

She leaned into him, pressing her body against his.  In all of the times she had spent with fumbling boys, she had never felt anything like the way she felt when she was with Jackson.  When her hands traced the muscles of his chest, his finger tilted her chin up to face him. 

“You know that this isn’t a good idea…for either of us,” he warned, his voice almost a whisper.

“I just want to be with you,” she vowed earnestly.

“I almost believe you.”

Before she could question the meaning of his words, he led her into a stall.  He grabbed an old blanket from the side, shaking it out before spreading it across the floor.  Excitement flared through her body.  Still, she couldn’t help but feel a moment of indecision.  She had heard enough stories to know that Jackson Hart knew what he was doing when it came to women. 

Would he expect her to be more experienced?

Would he be disappointed in her?

All questions vanished when his body covered hers and his mouth moved over hers.  Her fingers blazed trails through his hair.  When he held her like this, she could block out the world.  His tongue demanded entrance into her mouth, and she answered the request.  Their tongues touched playfully, before tangling with each other.  Soon, kissing was not enough.  She wanted to feel him everywhere.  Her fingers nervously pulled at the buttons on his shirt.  Pushing the fabric over his shoulders, her hands burned as it touched his bare skin. 

His mouth traveled to her neck, reaching higher to taste the sensitive hollow of her ear.  A delicious shiver raced up her spine.  Still, she wanted more.  Her hands traced the bunched muscles of his shoulders, the hard planes of his chest, the sensitive skin of his stomach.  He rose up on one elbow, pulling at the buttons of her shirt until it fell open.  Sliding the straps of her bra to her forearms, his mouth blazed a trail of fire across her collarbone.  When his head dipped lower, she thought she would surely go insane. 

“Jackson,” she murmured softly, unable to find the words to voice her request.

But he understood what she wanted all too well.  He also knew that he was slowly losing control.  When he began this, he had only thought he would kiss her a little bit.  But they were past kissing now, and he couldn’t find the strength to stop.  He wanted to taste her, wanted to feel her body against his without the barrier of clothing.  Pushing her bra up, his tongue slid over her nipple.  Sweet heaven…that’s what she tasted like.  Nothing had ever tasted so sweet, or would again he feared.  At her moan, he pushed the bra to her waist baring her to his view.  He took full advantage of the moment, gazing upon her bare breasts.  Her eyelids fluttered open at his hesitancy.

“You’re so beautiful,” he whispered, his tongue circling her nipple before sucking it into his mouth.

She clutched his head to her breast, holding him in place.  His lower body pressed against her.  He knew she could feel his arousal.  He wanted her to know just how much he wanted her.  His hand reached down to stroke her leg, causing her knee to rise up in silent acknowledgement.  His hand traced the delicate skin of her inner thigh before sliding lower, his mouth never leaving hers.  When his hand cupped her, she moaned.  Her hips moved of their own volition against his hand, practically begging for more. 

When his hand slid beneath the elastic barrier of her panties, she clutched him tightly.  One finger parted her folds, before slipping inside.  She gasped softly.  He withdrew his finger only to drive it inside again.  He angled his body higher, his mouth closing over hers as his hand continued it maddening rhythm.  His tongue delved into her mouth at the same time that his finger entered her body.

Jackson could feel her body tighten around him.  She was so tight and wet.  He wanted nothing more than to drive himself inside of her right now.  But it was too soon.  The feel of her body clutching his finger made him squeeze his eyes tightly shut.  God, he wanted her.  He wanted her more than he had ever wanted any other girl.  He could spend all day in this barn inside her body.  Her deep breaths alerted him that she was close.  She cried out his name into the stillness of the barn, as her climax ran down his hand.   Listening as she caught her breath, he kissed her tenderly.  Rising  up on his elbows, he watched the emotions pass through her eyes. 

She stared up at him, her eyes wide.  “I never knew…”

“Shhh,” he whispered, kissing the line of her jaw.  He righted her skirt and blouse, removing temptation from his sight. 

“But you didn’t…we didn’t…” she trailed off, unable to find the words.

“Another time,” he assured. 

And he knew there would be. 

Despite his best attempts to stop them both from making a huge mistake, this was going to happen.  One taste had only served to give him a raging appetite, and it was an appetite that would have to be fulfilled. 

One way or another, he would have Mallory Westfall.

And God help them all when he did.

Stay Tuned for more of Choices…

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She’s about to invade his world…

November 15, 2009 at 8:12 pm (Uncategorized)

Hi Everyone,

I just got fantastic news! The Pleasure of Sin is a finalist in the EPPIE Awards 🙂 I’m so excited I could burst!

I’m also in the process of finishing the third book in the Club X series. This will be Cal’s story. I know a lot of you have been waiting to hear about him, and trust me he has a lot to say 🙂

I hope you are enjoying Choices! Mallory is about to invade Jackson’s world…

Excerpt 8

Jackson walked through the living room to the kitchen, tossing his keys across the counter top.  “I still don’t feel good about leaving my bike,” he observed.

“I’m sure it will be fine,” she assured evenly.

 Slowly, she trailed behind him, closing the screen door behind her.  Looking around, she couldn’t help but note how different Jackson‘s house was from her own.  This was a real home.  It was comfortable, lived in.  It let people know that they could come in and settle for the night.  Her house was cold, like her family since her mother’s death.  Taking a few steps forward, she spotted a small antique wood-burning fireplace.  She inhaled deeply, wanting to savor the feeling.  It felt good to be here in a real home, not some plastic-wrapped version of it. 

“Want something to drink?” he asked, one arm draped over the open refrigerator door. 

“Sure,” she answered.

“You have a wide selection of iced tea, milk or tap water to choose from.”

Her laughter filled the silence between them.  “Tea is fine.”

While Jackson busied himself making the drinks, she looked around the room taking in the small details of his life.  Family photos were strategically placed on the walls.  She smiled at a picture of Jackson when he was just a boy.  He held a fish that looked almost as tall as he was.  A wide grin on his face revealed two missing front teeth.  As her gaze traveled around the room, she spotted a piano in the back by the windows.  Walking over to it, she noticed the stacks of unopened mail that cluttered the top.  It had been a long time since this piano had been given time to stretch.  She allowed her fingers to trail along the dusty keyboard.  Closing her eyes, she envisioned sitting here, playing a melody as she watched the trees sway. 

“It’s my mom’s,” Jackson remarked, startling her with his nearness.  He handed her a mason jar filled with iced tea.

“You don’t play?” she asked, taking a sip.

He shook his head.  “No, she tried.  Even gave me lessons, but music just wasn’t my thing.  I guess that means I’ll never be in a band, huh?” he joked.

“How is your side?” she inquired.

He shrugged his shoulders.  “I’ll live.”

“I still can’t believe Curtis,” she admitted.

“He’s entitled.  You’re his sister.”

She sighed deeply, rolling her eyes.  “He’s a jerk.”

His grin took her breath away.  “I can’t say I don’t agree with that.”

Mallory took another sip, as she gathered her resolve.  If she wanted answers, it was now or never.  “So, do you really like Cherie Brightwater?”

He looked out the window.  “She’s okay,” he hedged.

“No, she’s not.  She’s easy,” she bit back, her temper rising.

“Maybe that’s what I like,” he challenged noncommittally.

“Do you?”

Taking a deep breath, he knew that he couldn’t tell her the truth, the real truth.  He didn’t give a damn about Cherie Brightwater, but telling Mallory that would only encourage her more.  And, if he was smart, that was something he knew he shouldn’t do.  Her mouth fell open, inviting him to take what he wanted. 

And he did want it. 

No matter how much he lied to himself.   

He set his glass on top of the piano, taking a step toward her.  Hell, he was already being blamed for it. The whole town already thought there was something going on.

 So, what was stopping him? 

Honor? 

He had never had much of that anyway.  Even if he did, this town would never see it. 

Why not give them what they wanted and take what he needed?

His hands slid around her waist, and he pulled her against him taking her mouth. Her lips met his, opening automatically at his touch.  His tongue played with hers, teasing her.  She let out an impatient moan, as her hands tangled in his hair.  His hand crept up to close around her breast, causing her to gasp in his mouth. 

He felt her nipple harden beneath his skilled hand, her body’s instinctive way of crying out for more.  Her hands moved over his chest, sliding over his stomach as if she couldn’t get enough.  Unsatisfied, her hands slid under his shirt causing a low growl to escape his mouth. 

The faint sound of a car in the distance should’ve alerted them, but they didn’t hear anything but the sounds of their own hearts beating.  He couldn’t get enough of her.  His hand slid under her shirt to travel over the skin of her stomach.  It was the smoothest skin he had ever felt.  When he reached the underside of her bra, footsteps on the porch jolted them apart.

Jackson,” his mother called out.

He ran a hand through his hair, as he tried to keep his racing heart in the confines of his chest.  “In here, mom,” he returned, his voice still husky.

The screen door opened, and Myrna Hart’s eyes widened.  “I didn’t know that you were bringing company home,” she stuttered.

“Neither did I.  Mom, this is Mallory Westfall.  Mallory, my mom, Myrna Hart.”

His mother’s mouth fell open at the introduction.  It wasn’t every day that Myrna Hart had a Westfall in her home.  Jackson could tell by his mother’s shocked expression that she too was questioning his sanity. 

After what just happened, he didn’t blame her. 

“Westfall,” she mouthed.

Mallory crossed the room to hold out her hand.  “It’s nice to meet you, Mrs. Hart,” she said.

Recovering from her shock, he watched his mother take Mallory’s hand in hers, offering her a warm smile.  “It’s nice to meet you too, Mallory.”  She put her purse down on the couch.  “I’m sorry if I seem surprised, but Jackson rarely has anyone over.  Would you like to stay for dinner?” 

“I’d love to.”

All throughout dinner, his mother watched him.  He knew what she was thinking.  She was thinking that he was crazy, and right now he was thinking the same thing.

After dinner, he walked Mallory out to her car. 

“Thank you, Mrs. Hart,” she called out over her shoulder. 

“Any time, dear.”

Jackson followed behind her, his hands in his pockets.  This was getting out of hand.  If he didn’t stop this soon, he would be in all the way.  Hell, maybe it was already too late to back out.  Watching her with his mother had created an odd tightening in his chest that he wasn’t too eager to explore.  He supposed it was fitting that the one girl that created these strange feelings was the one girl he wasn’t supposed to have.

She turned to face him when she reached the car.  “I had fun tonight.”

He nodded.  “Mom puts on a pretty good spread.”

“Well, I guess I should get home,” she said, clearly stalling.

She closed the distance between them, obviously done waiting for him to make the first move.  Standing on her tiptoes, she placed her lips against his, one hand on his chest to steady her.  He tried to remain still, tried to remain unaffected by her, but he could feel his body tighten and shift.  When her tongue snaked out to trail along his upper lip, he groaned pulling her against him as he angled his head to deepen the kiss.  Her arms entwined around his neck as she pressed herself firmly against him.  His tongue mated with hers, causing her to moan softly.  When he pulled away, she frowned. 

“This isn’t a good idea,” he explained, his forehead resting against hers.

“I don’t care what people think,” she replied indignantly.

“You should.”

“I just want to be with you, Jackson.  Don’t you want to be with me?”

He did.

That was the hell of it. 

He sighed heavily.  He knew what he should say, but the words just wouldn’t come out.  A part of him had already committed to this, and turning back now wasn’t going to solve his problems. 

He wanted her, and she wanted him.

 And that was all he needed right now.

Stay Tuned for more of Choices…

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It’s time to fight fire with fire!

November 8, 2009 at 2:31 pm (Uncategorized)

Hi Everyone,

I had a fantastic time at the signing yesterday at Altamonte Mall. I was so excited to see so many familiar faces 🙂

Now, it’s back to work on the third book in the Club X series. You’ll be happy to hear that this will be Cal’s book 🙂 Cal has a pretty big secret and it is about to come back to haunt him.

I hope you are enjoying Choices. Have a great week!

Excerpt 7

The next day at school, Mallory couldn’t help but look for him everywhere she went.  At lunch, she finally spotted him across the cafeteria.  To her dismay, he was sitting with Cherie Brightwater.  She paused for a minute, her tray in hand, as she watched Cherie lean across the table to put her hand on Jackson’s arm. 

“Mallory, did you forget where we normally sit?” Leah asked sarcastically, coming up behind her.

She followed Leah to the table, barely seeing anything as she took a seat across from her.  What could he possibly see in Cherie Brightwater?  She wasn’t even that pretty!  Sure, she had a reputation for going all the way, but he saw through that.  Didn’t he? Leah continued to chat animatedly about her latest science experiment debacle, but all she could do was steal glances at the pair across the room.  She felt like a fool.  After last weekend, she thought…well, she didn’t know what she thought. 

But she certainly didn’t expect this! 

“So, Mr. Keller tells me that if one more thing blows up in his classroom, he’s going to fail me.  And, I’m like I never said I was a science genius!”  Leah paused to take a bite of her hamburger.  When she looked up, she asked, “Have you even heard anything I said?”

Her head snapped around.  “What?  Of course, I did.  Mr. Keller is a jerk.  No big news there.  No one likes him.”

Leah’s gaze drifted to the couple on the other side of the room.  “Isn’t that your date?”

Mallory glanced over nonchalantly.  “He was just my date for the barbeque.  It was nothing serious,” she refuted.

Leah’s eyebrows rose, as she shook her head.  “Well, it looks like it might be serious with Cherie Brightwater.  How long do you give her before she climbs over the table and sits on his lap?”

She turned her head to see Cherie Brightwater lean across the table to kiss Jackson.  On the mouth!  Her temper began to boil, and even though she told herself she had no claim on him, she could barely stop herself from running over and slapping the other girl. 

Why was he doing this? 

“I hadn’t noticed,” she dismissed.

Leah let out a sarcastic laugh.  “Yeah right!  And I actually like science! Why don’t you give him a dose of his own medicine?”

Giving Leah a quick nod, she stood up.  “You’re right.”

Walking over to Derrick, she wrapped her arms around his neck from behind and leaned into him.  “I’ve missed you,” she whispered seductively into his ear.

His surprise was evident.  “You have?”

She leaned in closer, her mouth next to his ear.  “You know I miss you when you’re gone.”

His hands came up to imprison hers around him.  “Well, I guess we will have to fix that.  Do you want to get together after school?”

“I can’t wait,” she said, turning to place a lingering kiss on his cheek.

“I’ll give you a ride home.  Meet me in the parking lot,” he instructed firmly.

“Sounds good,” she replied, leaning in to press another kiss on his cheek.  To her surprise, he turned giving her his mouth as his hand held her head.  His friends began to hoot and holler as he prolonged the kiss.  Finally, he let her go giving the other occupants of the table a satisfied grin.

Stumbling back to the table, she tried to ignore Leah’s amused look. 

“That certainly went a little farther than planned,” Leah observed, shaking her head.

She couldn’t bring herself to look around the room after what had just happened.  “Did he even see us?”

Her friend offered her a sad smile.  “Oh, he saw all right.”

“And?”

Her lips formed a grim line.  “And then, he left.”

Mallory’s head whipped around to see Cherie Brightwater sitting with her friends.  Jackson was nowhere in sight.  “Where did he go?”

“Out the back door,” Leah offered, taking another bite of her sandwich.

She grabbed her purse and books.  “I need to run to my locker before class.  I’ll see you later.”

She walked out the back door following the sidewalk that led to the area most of the kids called “the smoker’s wall.”  There he was.  A thin veil of smoke hovered over him as he leaned against the building.  When he saw her coming, he quickly looked the other way.  She squared her shoulders, as she began to walk past him.  Realizing that he had no intention of stopping her, she spun on her heel to confront him.

“You know, you could do better than Cherie Brightwater.”

One side of his mouth quirked up, as he took a long drag of his cigarette.  “Thanks, I’ll take that under advisement.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” she retorted.

He pushed off the wall, dropping his cigarette on the ground.  “It means I don’t need advice from you on who to date, considering…”

Her eyes narrowed.  “Considering?”

 “Considering your current tastes,” he explained.

“Is that why you left?  Because you didn’t want to see me with Derrick,” she prodded.

“It didn’t look like you needed a bigger audience,” he bit back trying to push past her, but she grabbed his arm. 

“Why are you doing this, Jackson?”

His eyebrows rose.  “Doing what?”

Her gaze lowered.  “I thought that we…”

He looked down at the hand that restrained him.  “Look Mallory, I don’t know what you think happened this weekend, but whatever it was, it’s over.”

His words were cruel, meant to cut.  And they did.  She felt like her heart was being ripped out of her chest.  Why was he acting this way?  What had she done wrong?  She wanted to scream at him, hit him, but none of those things would make her feel better and she knew it.  Had she been wrong about him?  Had she completely misjudged him? 

A single tear slid down her cheek, making him feel like the biggest ass in the world.  All day he told himself that he had to do this, even if he didn’t want to.  The die was cast.  It wouldn’t do any good to start something they couldn’t finish.  Still, as he looked into her wounded eyes, he wanted to pull her against him.  Seeing her with Lange made him crazy.  If he hadn’t left when he did, he would’ve made an even bigger mess by beating the other boy to a pulp.  

He reached out to wipe the tear away, causing her to look up.  Her mouth fell open inviting him to break every promise he had made to himself this weekend. 

God, he wanted to. 

His head began to descend toward hers. 

“Hey Hart, you want to take your hands off my sister!” Curtis yelled, as he and his friends walked over to the pair.

Jackson turned to face him as several of the boys crowded around him pushing Mallory to the side.  Before he could get to her, one of them grabbed him from behind pinning his arms behind his back. 

“Get your hands off her!” he bit out, as Mallory struggled against one of the boys.

Curtis stood in front of him, his brown hair slightly ruffled.  “She’s my sister, Hart.  I’ll say who touches her and who doesn’t,” he added with a sneer.

Wrestling one of his arms free, he tried to turn, but another boy grabbed him.  He tried to move, but with two of them holding him, he didn’t make much progress.  His gaze flew to Mallory, who was fighting against the boy holding her. 

“Curtis, make him let me go!  You can’t tell me what to do.  You’re not Daddy!”

Curtis glanced over at her shaking his head.  “It’s a good thing Daddy isn’t here to see this or you would be in bigger trouble than you already are.  Did you think I wouldn’t find out about the Buchman’s party? What the hell were you thinking?”

“It’s none of your business,” she retorted.

“I think it is when my sister decides to take up with the town scum,” he bit back.  “Hold her, and shut her up!”

At his instruction, the other boy covered Mallory’s mouth.  Curtis turned his attention back to Jackson.  “I’m going to enjoy this.”

Jackson saw the fear in her eyes and knew he had to do something…quick.  “Why don’t you fight me like a real man?  Or is this the only way you can win?”

Curtis’s eyes narrowed.  “Shut up, Hart!” 

He threw the first punch.  It connected with Jackson’s abdomen, and he winced as pain shot through his stomach.

“Real men don’t need two guys to hold me back!  A real man would take me on himself!”

Another punch landed on his chin snapping his head to the side and causing his jaw to throb painfully. 

“Chicken shit!” Jackson muttered, despite the pleading he saw in Mallory’s eyes for him to stop.

The next punch landed in his ribs.  His head fell forward at the intensity of the pain.  The other two boys were supporting most of his weight now. 

Curtis snorted.  “Let him go,” he instructed.

When they released him, he barreled into Curtis, both of them falling to the ground.  They wrestled.  Jackson threw several punches making Curtis grunt in pain.  Several of the boys pulled Jackson off him, throwing him to the ground as they kicked him in his already-injured side.  He was able to grab the legs of several of the boys making them stumble and fall, but there were too many.  Then, as quickly as it started, it was over, and Jackson was left on the grass alone.

Mallory ran over to him, her hands caressing him.  “Jackson, are you okay?”

He slowly got to his feet trying not to show the pain that sliced through his entire body.  “I’m fine,” he mustered.

“I’m so sorry,” she said gently, a worried look marring her perfect face.

Stumbling over to the wall, he placed a hand on it for support.  “Sorry that I got hurt?  Or sorry that he is your brother?”

“Both,” she admitted sincerely.

At that, he smiled.  “It’s okay.  We can’t pick our family.”

“If I could, I would return him,” she confessed ruefully.

He laughed, the motion making him grimace at the slice of pain it caused.  “Don’t worry, Mal.  I’ll live,” he assured.

Her hand came out to stroke his arm.  “At least let me give you a ride home.”

He gripped his side, as he tried to ignore the tenderness he found there.  Before he knew what she was doing, she grabbed his arm sliding it around her shoulders to help him shift his weight.  When he started to protest, she looked up at him to shake her head. 

“You can’t be a tough guy all the time,” she chided.

Unable to fight any longer, he allowed her to help him into her car.  Somehow, his plan had gotten way off track today.  As he watched her navigate through the city streets, he realized that he would not be able to discard her as easily as he thought.  Pushing someone like Mallory Westfall away was not a task he would accomplish without effort.  When she made up her mind about something, she didn’t give up. 

“I can’t believe Curtis did that,” she muttered, her fingers gripping the steering wheel.

“I can,” he replied.

“I hate him.  He is such a jerk.”

“No arguments there, but he’s still your brother,” he reasoned.  “Turn right up ahead.”

Pulling onto the small dirt road, they drove past a small abandoned fruit stand to the right.  Despite the advertisements of watermelon and cantaloupe, it was bare today.  “You’re going to turn left at that entrance between the trees,” he explained, pointing to a small opening.

Mallory followed the road around a curve.  Corn fields flanked the path.  When they rounded the bend, the cabins came into view.  “Ours is the one with the blue shutters just up ahead,” he instructed, his expression blank. 

Pulling her car over to the side, she shifted into park.  He quickly climbed out leaving her to trail behind him as he climbed the steps.  He could only imagine what she was thinking.  The cabin was a far cry from the Westfall estate. 

“Well, thanks,” he said, in an effort to dismiss her.

“Aren’t you going to invite me in?” she asked expectantly.

He let out a long sigh.  He didn’t want to invite her in, didn’t want to spend any more time with her, when he knew what the ultimate outcome would be.  Still, his mother had not raised him to be rude. 

“Yeah, sure,” he mumbled, as he pulled open the door.       

Mallory Westfall was about to invade his world, and there was nothing he could do about it.

Stay Tuned for more of Choices…

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Will the past repeat itself?

November 1, 2009 at 5:08 pm (Uncategorized)

Hi Everyone,

I hope you all had a wonderful Halloween!  It was fun to see all of the spooky costumes.

If you are in the area next week, please make sure to stop by and see me.  I will be at the Altamonte Mall in Altamonte Springs signing copies of Den of Desire and The Pleasure of Sin on Saturday November 7th, from 2-5.  I would love to see you there!

Have a great week,

Shauna

www.shaunahart.com

Excerpt 7

The next day at school, Mallory couldn’t help but look for him everywhere she went.  At lunch, she finally spotted him across the cafeteria.  To her dismay, he was sitting with Cherie Brightwater.  She paused for a minute, her tray in hand, as she watched Cherie lean across the table to put her hand on Jackson’s arm.   

“Mallory, did you forget where we normally sit?” Leah asked sarcastically, coming up behind her.

She followed Leah to the table, barely seeing anything as she took a seat across from her.  What could he possibly see in Cherie Brightwater?  She wasn’t even that pretty!  Sure, she had a reputation for going all the way, but he saw through that.  Didn’t he? Leah continued to chat animatedly about her latest science experiment debacle, but all she could do was steal glances at the pair across the room.  She felt like a fool.  After last weekend, she thought…well, she didn’t know what she thought. 

But she certainly didn’t expect this! 

“So, Mr. Keller tells me that if one more thing blows up in his classroom, he’s going to fail me.  And, I’m like I never said I was a science genius!”  Leah paused to take a bite of her hamburger.  When she looked up, she asked, “Have you even heard anything I said?”

Her head snapped around.  “What?  Of course, I did.  Mr. Keller is a jerk.  No big news there.  No one likes him.”

Leah’s gaze drifted to the couple on the other side of the room.  “Isn’t that your date?”

Mallory glanced over nonchalantly.  “He was just my date for the barbeque.  It was nothing serious,” she refuted.

Leah’s eyebrows rose, as she shook her head.  “Well, it looks like it might be serious with Cherie Brightwater.  How long do you give her before she climbs over the table and sits on his lap?”

She turned her head to see Cherie Brightwater lean across the table to kiss Jackson.  On the mouth!  Her temper began to boil, and even though she told herself she had no claim on him, she could barely stop herself from running over and slapping the other girl. 

Why was he doing this? 

“I hadn’t noticed,” she dismissed.

Leah let out a sarcastic laugh.  “Yeah right!  And I actually like science! Why don’t you give him a dose of his own medicine?”

Giving Leah a quick nod, she stood up.  “You’re right.”

Walking over to Derrick, she wrapped her arms around his neck from behind and leaned into him.  “I’ve missed you,” she whispered seductively into his ear.

His surprise was evident.  “You have?”

She leaned in closer, her mouth next to his ear.  “You know I miss you when you’re gone.”

His hands came up to imprison hers around him.  “Well, I guess we will have to fix that.  Do you want to get together after school?”

“I can’t wait,” she said, turning to place a lingering kiss on his cheek.

“I’ll give you a ride home.  Meet me in the parking lot,” he instructed firmly.

“Sounds good,” she replied, leaning in to press another kiss on his cheek.  To her surprise, he turned giving her his mouth as his hand held her head.  His friends began to hoot and holler as he prolonged the kiss.  Finally, he let her go giving the other occupants of the table a satisfied grin.

Stumbling back to the table, she tried to ignore Leah’s amused look. 

“That certainly went a little farther than planned,” Leah observed, shaking her head.

She couldn’t bring herself to look around the room after what had just happened.  “Did he even see us?”

Her friend offered her a sad smile.  “Oh, he saw all right.”

“And?”

Her lips formed a grim line.  “And then, he left.”

Mallory’s head whipped around to see Cherie Brightwater sitting with her friends.  Jackson was nowhere in sight.  “Where did he go?”

“Out the back door,” Leah offered, taking another bite of her sandwich.

She grabbed her purse and books.  “I need to run to my locker before class.  I’ll see you later.”

She walked out the back door following the sidewalk that led to the area most of the kids called “the smoker’s wall.”  There he was.  A thin veil of smoke hovered over him as he leaned against the building.  When he saw her coming, he quickly looked the other way.  She squared her shoulders, as she began to walk past him.  Realizing that he had no intention of stopping her, she spun on her heel to confront him.

“You know, you could do better than Cherie Brightwater.”

One side of his mouth quirked up, as he took a long drag of his cigarette.  “Thanks, I’ll take that under advisement.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” she retorted.

He pushed off the wall, dropping his cigarette on the ground.  “It means I don’t need advice from you on who to date, considering…”

Her eyes narrowed.  “Considering?”

 “Considering your current tastes,” he explained.

“Is that why you left?  Because you didn’t want to see me with Derrick,” she prodded.

“It didn’t look like you needed a bigger audience,” he bit back trying to push past her, but she grabbed his arm. 

“Why are you doing this, Jackson?”

His eyebrows rose.  “Doing what?”

Her gaze lowered.  “I thought that we…”

He looked down at the hand that restrained him.  “Look Mallory, I don’t know what you think happened this weekend, but whatever it was, it’s over.”

His words were cruel, meant to cut.  And they did.  She felt like her heart was being ripped out of her chest.  Why was he acting this way?  What had she done wrong?  She wanted to scream at him, hit him, but none of those things would make her feel better and she knew it.  Had she been wrong about him?  Had she completely misjudged him? 

A single tear slid down her cheek, making him feel like the biggest ass in the world.  All day he told himself that he had to do this, even if he didn’t want to.  The die was cast.  It wouldn’t do any good to start something they couldn’t finish.  Still, as he looked into her wounded eyes, he wanted to pull her against him.  Seeing her with Lange made him crazy.  If he hadn’t left when he did, he would’ve made an even bigger mess by beating the other boy to a pulp.  

He reached out to wipe the tear away, causing her to look up.  Her mouth fell open inviting him to break every promise he had made to himself this weekend. 

God, he wanted to. 

His head began to descend toward hers. 

“Hey Hart, you want to take your hands off my sister!” Curtis yelled, as he and his friends walked over to the pair.

Jackson turned to face him as several of the boys crowded around him pushing Mallory to the side.  Before he could get to her, one of them grabbed him from behind pinning his arms behind his back. 

“Get your hands off her!” he bit out, as Mallory struggled against one of the boys.

Curtis stood in front of him, his brown hair slightly ruffled.  “She’s my sister, Hart.  I’ll say who touches her and who doesn’t,” he added with a sneer.

Wrestling one of his arms free, he tried to turn, but another boy grabbed him.  He tried to move, but with two of them holding him, he didn’t make much progress.  His gaze flew to Mallory, who was fighting against the boy holding her. 

“Curtis, make him let me go!  You can’t tell me what to do.  You’re not Daddy!”

Curtis glanced over at her shaking his head.  “It’s a good thing Daddy isn’t here to see this or you would be in bigger trouble than you already are.  Did you think I wouldn’t find out about the Buchman’s party? What the hell were you thinking?”

“It’s none of your business,” she retorted.

“I think it is when my sister decides to take up with the town scum,” he bit back.  “Hold her, and shut her up!”

At his instruction, the other boy covered Mallory’s mouth.  Curtis turned his attention back to Jackson.  “I’m going to enjoy this.”

Jackson saw the fear in her eyes and knew he had to do something…quick.  “Why don’t you fight me like a real man?  Or is this the only way you can win?”

Curtis’s eyes narrowed.  “Shut up, Hart!” 

He threw the first punch.  It connected with Jackson’s abdomen, and he winced as pain shot through his stomach.

“Real men don’t need two guys to hold me back!  A real man would take me on himself!”

Another punch landed on his chin snapping his head to the side and causing his jaw to throb painfully. 

“Chicken shit!” Jackson muttered, despite the pleading he saw in Mallory’s eyes for him to stop.

The next punch landed in his ribs.  His head fell forward at the intensity of the pain.  The other two boys were supporting most of his weight now. 

Curtis snorted.  “Let him go,” he instructed.

When they released him, he barreled into Curtis, both of them falling to the ground.  They wrestled.  Jackson threw several punches making Curtis grunt in pain.  Several of the boys pulled Jackson off him, throwing him to the ground as they kicked him in his already-injured side.  He was able to grab the legs of several of the boys making them stumble and fall, but there were too many.  Then, as quickly as it started, it was over, and Jackson was left on the grass alone.

Mallory ran over to him, her hands caressing him.  “Jackson, are you okay?”

He slowly got to his feet trying not to show the pain that sliced through his entire body.  “I’m fine,” he mustered.

“I’m so sorry,” she said gently, a worried look marring her perfect face.

Stumbling over to the wall, he placed a hand on it for support.  “Sorry that I got hurt?  Or sorry that he is your brother?”

“Both,” she admitted sincerely.

At that, he smiled.  “It’s okay.  We can’t pick our family.”

“If I could, I would return him,” she confessed ruefully.

He laughed, the motion making him grimace at the slice of pain it caused.  “Don’t worry, Mal.  I’ll live,” he assured.

Her hand came out to stroke his arm.  “At least let me give you a ride home.”

He gripped his side, as he tried to ignore the tenderness he found there.  Before he knew what she was doing, she grabbed his arm sliding it around her shoulders to help him shift his weight.  When he started to protest, she looked up at him to shake her head. 

“You can’t be a tough guy all the time,” she chided.

Unable to fight any longer, he allowed her to help him into her car.  Somehow, his plan had gotten way off track today.  As he watched her navigate through the city streets, he realized that he would not be able to discard her as easily as he thought.  Pushing someone like Mallory Westfall away was not a task he would accomplish without effort.  When she made up her mind about something, she didn’t give up. 

“I can’t believe Curtis did that,” she muttered, her fingers gripping the steering wheel.

“I can,” he replied.

“I hate him.  He is such a jerk.”

“No arguments there, but he’s still your brother,” he reasoned.  “Turn right up ahead.”

Pulling onto the small dirt road, they drove past a small abandoned fruit stand to the right.  Despite the advertisements of watermelon and cantaloupe, it was bare today.  “You’re going to turn left at that entrance between the trees,” he explained, pointing to a small opening.

Mallory followed the road around a curve.  Corn fields flanked the path.  When they rounded the bend, the cabins came into view.  “Ours is the one with the blue shutters just up ahead,” he instructed, his expression blank. 

Pulling her car over to the side, she shifted into park.  He quickly climbed out leaving her to trail behind him as he climbed the steps.  He could only imagine what she was thinking.  The cabin was a far cry from the Westfall estate. 

“Well, thanks,” he said, in an effort to dismiss her.

“Aren’t you going to invite me in?” she asked expectantly.

He let out a long sigh.  He didn’t want to invite her in, didn’t want to spend any more time with her, when he knew what the ultimate outcome would be.  Still, his mother had not raised him to be rude. 

“Yeah, sure,” he mumbled, as he pulled open the door.       

Mallory Westfall was about to invade his world, and there was nothing he could do about it.

 

Stay tuned for more of Choices…

 

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