Could you give up the one thing you wanted most?

January 10, 2010 at 10:29 pm (Uncategorized)

Hi Everyone,

I just recently finished my latest book.  This is the third book in the Club X series. 

Here’s a little teaser:

Cal Rutledge never expected to see Emma Lake again after she walked away from him fifteen years ago.  As the daughter of his father’s worst adversary, getting involved with her had been a mistake, a mistake he couldn’t make again. But when she walks into Club X, a club he secretly owns, logic and reason seem to disappear.
Emma Lake has lived a lie for the past fifteen years.  Ever since she walked away from the only man she ever loved to marry another man.  But now the only thing she wants is to get her life back together. 
Fifteen years ago, they kept their affair a secret.
But someone else knows the truth.
Someone who is watching them.
Someone who will do anything to keep them apart.

Excerpt 13

With her father’s eyes boring into her the entire evening, Mallory did her best to keep up the façade that they were indeed a happy family.  But, deep down, all she could think about was Jackson.  What would he think when she didn’t show up tonight?  Would he hate her?  She wished that she could talk to him, that she could explain what happened, but her father had made sure that that was impossible. 

            After they finished dinner, Derrick turned to her.  “Why don’t we take a walk outside, Mallory?” Derrick suggested.

The look on her father’s face warned her not to say no.  “Okay,” she agreed.

            Once they were on the other side of the house, Derrick turned to face her.  “So, why did we ever break up, Mallory?” he inquired.

            She took a deep breath.  “We were never together, Derrick,” she explained, rolling her eyes.

            “True,” he conceded.  “But we could’ve been.”


            He held up his hands.  “Now, hear me out.  I’ll admit that I was a jerk before.  You just got me so worked up that I couldn’t control myself.  I’ve never been with anyone like you, Mallory,” he admitted.

            She stared into his eyes.  She couldn’t deny that she had given Derrick plenty of mixed signals.  Had she driven him to do the things he had done? 

“Maybe your right,” she conceded.

            He held out his hand to her in silent invitation.  “So, will you give me another chance to prove to you that I’m not such a bad guy?”

            The sincere look in his eyes made her relent.  “Okay,” she replied.

            To her surprise, Derrick was the perfect gentleman for the rest of the night.  They talked about school and music.  She couldn’t deny that they had a lot in common.  They hung out in the same circles, had the same friends.  Before he left, Derrick pulled her aside.  “David is having a pool party tomorrow.  Would you go with me?” 

            When she hesitated, her father answered for her. 

“I’m sure Mallory would love to go with you, Derrick,” he said, giving him a wink over her head. 

            Derrick’s eyebrows furrowed together in confusion, as he glanced back and forth between father and daughter.  “Well, great!  I guess I’ll pick you up at noon, then.”

            As the door closed behind them, her father turned to face her.  “For once, you made me proud, Mallory,” he said.  “Just don’t screw it up.”

            He disappeared into his study leaving her alone in the foyer.  How could this be happening?  She felt like everything was collapsing all around her.  She had become a prisoner in her own home.  Lying in bed that night, she prayed that sleep would claim her, but it didn’t.  Memories of Jackson clouded her mind.  What was he thinking right now?  Did he hate her?  She felt the tears slide down her cheeks to wet her pillow. 

The next day she went to the party hoping to see Leah.  When she spotted her across the patio, she quickly disengaged herself from Derrick’s arm. 

            “Hey, Mallory,” Leah exclaimed.  “Long time no see.  I was beginning to think you had fallen off the earth.”  Leah poured her a glass of punch, sliding it into her hand.

            Mallory took a sip.  “Almost,” she admitted, one eyebrow arching up.

            “Here with Derrick?” Leah inquired, motioning to him. 

At Mallory’s nod, she continued.  “Well, then, I guess the gossip was true.”

            Her eyes narrowed.  “What gossip?”

            “That you and Derrick are back together.  I mean, when Jackson Hart came over to me…” 

Before she could finish her statement, Mallory grabbed her by the arm. 

Leah choked for a minute on her drink, before regaining her composure.  “Hey, watch it!” she yelled, grimacing.

She pulled her over to the side, where no one would overhear.  “What did he say?” she demanded, her heart beating wildly.

“He asked me where you were.”

“And you said?” she asked, her eyes widening.

Leah tilted her head to the side.  “I told him that I heard you were having dinner with Derrick…which I see now was true.”

She squeezed her eyes shut as pain sliced through her chest.  Her grip on Leah’s arm tightened. “What did he say?”

Leah jerked her arm away, rubbing the skin on her forearm.  She pursed her lips together.  “Well, I wouldn’t say that he seemed happy about it.”

“Oh my God,” she murmured, falling into the lawn chair behind her.  Her hands covered her face.  He must hate her, but he didn’t know, didn’t understand.

“What’s the big deal, Mallory?  It’s true, isn’t it?  I mean, you’re here with Derrick,” she prodded.

“My father…” she began shakily, causing Leah to take a seat next to her.

Concern marred her features, as she put a reassuring arm around her shoulders.  “What is it, Mallory?  What happened?”


Before she could begin, Derrick came over to stand beside them.  “Ladies,” he greeted with a smile.  At their strained expressions, a frown creased his forehead.  “What’s wrong?”

Mallory put on her best fake smile as she looked up at him.  “Nothing, Derrick.”

After a moment of hesitation, he relented.  “Oh, well, good.  Hey, I think we are going to get a game of chicken going.   Are you in?” he inquired.

She nodded her head, ignoring Leah’s curious look, as she followed him over to the pool.  Jackson probably hated her after what Leah told him.  Still, it wasn’t Leah’s fault.  She had told him the truth.  The rest of the day went by in a blur.  Playing the part her father demanded ripped her soul apart, but she did it to perfection knowing that she had no other choice.  Even as she laughed at Derrick’s jokes and joined in the fun at the party, her heart was aching.  She wanted to go to him, to tell him what happened, but she couldn’t.  If her father found out that she defied him again, Jackson would pay the price. 

She couldn’t risk that. 

She wouldn’t.

The next day Curtis drove her to school.  She searched the halls in between each class, but there was no sign of Jackson.  Curtis watched her like a hawk, never leaving her side.  Finally, after fourth period, Derrick came up to join him.

“Hi Mallory,” he said, his face beaming.  He glanced over at Curtis.  “How’s it going, Curtis?”

“Not bad,” Curtis replied.

“Hey, do you mind if I talk to Mallory for a minute?”

Curtis scowled, his gaze shifting back and forth between them.  He leaned his head back.  “I guess it would be all right,” he agreed.  He gave her a pointed stare.  “I’ll see you after fifth period.”

She watched him disappear down the hall, ignoring Derrick’s curious look.  “What was that all about?” he inquired.

“Nothing,” she replied, shaking her head.  “What did you want to talk to me about?”

Suddenly, she spotted Jackson at the end of the hall.  His eyes met hers across the distance.  She could see everything he was feeling.  Pain.  Anger.  And the worst of all…betrayal.  He spun on his heel to walk out the side door.  Slamming the door to her locker, she turned to face Derrick.

“I’m not feeling too good, Derrick.  Would you excuse me?” she lied.

“Sure,” he answered, a look of surprise covering his face.

Rushing down the hall, she ran out the door in an attempt to catch up with him.  Finally, she spotted him walking toward the parking lot. 

Jackson, wait!” she exclaimed, her breath coming out in short pants.

Ignoring her cries, he continued over to his bike, throwing his leg over it to straddle the seat. 

“Jackson, please,” she begged as she finally caught up with him.

He put the key in the ignition, his eyes never meeting hers. 

Jackson, please talk to me.”

The bike roared to life, but she refused to let him go.  She grabbed his arm.  “Mallory, let go,” he commanded furiously.

“No, not until you listen to me!”

“We don’t have anything to talk about,” he bit out.

“Please just give me a chance to explain!  You don’t understand.”

His gaze pinned her.  “I understand perfectly,” he said, his voice harsher than she had ever heard it before.

Tears began to slide down her cheeks.  “Jackson, the least you can do is let me explain.  You owe me that much,” she demanded on a sob.

He leaned back in the seat for a moment, his eyes closing.  Suddenly, he scooted forward, his eyes meeting hers.  “Get on,” he instructed, with a gesture of his head. 

She climbed onto the seat behind him, her arms curving around his middle.  Pressing her face into his back, she inhaled the rich scent of him.  She knew that being with him was dangerous.  If her father found out, he might literally kill her.  And she didn’t even want to think about what he would do to Jackson.  But she had to make sure he didn’t hate her. 

She had to be with him.           

Even if it was for the last time.

Stay tuned for more of Choices…


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