Below is just a sample of my upcoming romance novel. I hope you like it!
It was finally the first day of summer, officially. I couldn’t wait for the dang school bell to ring yesterday. Everyone in my Chemistry class must have been staring at the large black and white clock at the front of the classroom. As the second hand made its way to the twelve, I gently grabbed my bag off the floor and wrapped it around my shoulder.
The halls were crowded as my peers ran around like maniacs. Papers were flying around in the air, like kids had just tossed them as they exited the halls. It was funny how on the last day of school the halls became empty within seconds. I however, lingered through them, knowing I wouldn’t be returning. I had doubled up on classes and spent the last two summers enrolled with the misfit kids who couldn’t pass during the normal school year, just to be able to graduate a year earlier. My birthday was late in the year causing me to have to be a year behind all of my friends.
It wasn’t that I loved school, because I hated it, in fact all I wanted was to never have a homework assignment again. What pushed me to the decision was my parents. They used to have such a great relationship, but two years ago my father decided to start banging his secretary. Shortly after, he decided that even she wasn’t enough for him. Now the bastard was entertaining the notion of remarrying again. The woman was just five years older than me, and to make matters worse, he didn’t see that there was anything wrong with his actions.
When my parents first separated, my father moved all the way to Pennsylvania, to start over. He left my mother with a steep mortgage she couldn’t afford and eventually we had to move in with my grandparents. According to my mother, which was usually not a good source of information, he hadn’t even paid child support for nearly a year now.
My dad had worked in Real Estate and always seemed to move somewhere new when the market went dry. To my astonishment he called me last month to inform me that he and Buffy, were moving back to Virginia. I never realized how much I missed having my father around until he called to say he was moving home. My mother wasn’t thrilled, but even through her animosity toward him, she seemed happy he wanted to make another go at having a relationship with me. All of my friends had dads that did everything with them, while I was the girl whose dad abandoned her for women close to her own age.
I looked around my room and wondered what I would wear to go see my father after nearly a year of him being absent in my life. Would he care what I wore? Did I need to make a good impression around his new girl-toy? I was overwhelmed with anxiety over this morning’s brunch with him. Finally, after a few hours, and an empty closet, I decided on a light blue sun dress. It made my olive skin pop and my blue eyes shine. I was going to curl my entire head, but noticed the clock and settled to throw my light brown hair up in a subtle pony tail with a blue bow that matched my dress. I had to smile when I took one final look in the mirror. For someone that had a diploma, I’d managed to make myself look about twelve years old.
My mother reluctantly handed me the directions to my father’s new house. She gave me a million eye rolls before kissing me goodbye. I could tell she hated the idea of him being happy, and I had to admit I hated it too.
When I pulled into the community I noticed how large the houses had gotten. Long private driveways separated every yard. I took a double take when I looked at the address my mother had written down. When I saw the matching numbers on a stone pillar leading down a matching stone driveway I figured it had to be wrong. My little Volkswagen Jetta putted its way down the driveway until I came to a stop behind a Land Rover SUV. The house had a stone front and ivy was growing up either of its sides. The windows and doors were trimmed in large white wood with black shutters.
I stepped out of the car and made sure the wind wasn’t blowing my dress up above my ass, before making my way toward the door. It unexpectantly flew open and a young girl who resembled a plastic Barbie doll came walking toward me. She was wearing a form fitting dress that could have been made from only spandex. It was bright pink with giant yellow flowers scattered over it. Her platinum blonde hair was curled as if she were going to model in the next issue of playboy, in fact, she kinda looked like Kendra, one of the ex-playmate girlfriends of Hugh Hefner himself.
“Ohhh yay! I’m so glad you’re here.” The Barbie doll squeaked. “Come here, let me get a good look at you.”
Oh my God this was a bad idea!
I stood like a statue while this large breasted bimbo tugged and pinched every part of me that I had assumed was a private place. When I finally thought she was finished, I started to move forward. That is when she reached over and grabbed both of my breasts.
“Oh my, what the?” I said shocked.
“Your breasts are so perky and natural. I told the doctor that is how I wanted mine, but he must have misunderstood.” She admitted.
“Um, I don’t know what to say to that.”
“Oh sweetie you should know I am just joking. Come on in. Your father is going to be so happy you are finally here. He has been talking about you non-stop.” Before I could say yes, or even Hell no, she grabbed me by the arm and pulled me into the house.
She never let go of my arm as she pulled me through the large foyer and into a family room. My father was sitting in a leather recliner watching a golf match on television. He never even turned in our direction, even with the volume level of his Barbie up higher than my radio played. “Baby, look who I found outside.” She said as she let go of me and bounced herself onto his lap. Before he could even turn in my direction, she was slapping him with a kiss that may or may not of contained her entire tongue.
I cringed at the sight, but quickly gained my composure as my father pushed her aside and got up to head in my direction.
“Well look at my little girl, all grown up.” He took my hands into his and gave me a once over. “You look very pretty honey. It has been so long.” He leaned over to kiss me on the forehead. “I see you have met Buffy already? Isn’t she is keeper?” He said while gazing back at her.
I put on a casual smile, but in the back of my mind all I could think of was belting out that song from the eighties “Angel is a Centerfold”.
“We met outside Dad.” Was all I could manage to say.
“Why don’t you come on in and make yourself at home. We haven’t had time to furnish the whole house yet, but the kitchen is stocked and Buffy has made a nice spread for us to munch on.” He announced.
Buffy grabbed my arm and pulled me through the house again. She took me upstairs and showed me the four large bedrooms, which each housed their own bathroom. Two of the upstairs bedrooms looked out into the backyard. I saw the pool and fell in love instantly with it, before Buffy pulled me along to show off more of she and my father’s house.
When we finally had made it down to the kitchen, the food was ready to eat. “We have to take a break from the tour for a bit so we can eat before all of this food gets cold. Do you like fresh tea?” She asked.
“Great. Here, you sit yourself down over there and we will join you.” Buffy pointed in the direction of the morning room. It faced the pool, which I couldn’t take my eyes off of.
My grandparent’s house was small, to say the least. They never expected to have my mom and I move in when my mom lost the house. A small den had been converted into a bedroom for me, but it didn’t even have a real closet. I had to use one we bought at a store that took up half the room.
Brunch tasted fantastic, but my father barely spoke. He left the conversation up to his new squeeze. She tried to talk to me about fashion, music and finally television, claiming her favorite show was that horrible show on MTV called Teen Mom. She made a point to mention how young my mother had been when she got pregnant with me. I thought I was going to choke on a piece of French toast as she confessed to that. My father seemed mesmerized with everything that came out of her mouth.
I wasn’t sure if it was an instantaneous decision, but I was fully aware that I had lost my appetite.
“So tell me Hope, what is there to do is this town. Your father and I need to get out there and meet some people. We have this big house and nobody to entertain.” Buffy stated.
I cleared my throat and looked directly at my father, hoping in some way he could read my mind and snap out of whatever spell he was in. “Do you know of any bars or clubs that Buff and I could go dancing?” He asked.
Was this a bad dream?
“I don’t really know of any clubs or bars Dad. They really aren’t my thing, and besides I am only seventeen. I am not even allowed to enter into any of those type of establishments until I am twenty one.” I confessed.
“Well I guess things have changed a lot since I was a teenager.” Was all he said
I caught my father watching Buffy as she leaned over to clear his plate from the table. The bile began to surface in my mouth and I needed some air. “Do you mind if I check out the back yard?” I asked.
“Sure, make yourself at home.” My father said.
My father remained seated, as I got up and walked toward the French doors leading to the pool yard. When I shut the door behind me, I couldn’t help but close my eyes and take a deep breath, thankful I made it through the meal without killing my father, or his bimbo girlfriend.
The pool yard was landscaped with tall grasses and lots of unique rocks. Several lounge chairs sat around the pool, and the entire vicinity was privacy fenced in. Attached to the far end of the pool was a building. Since my father had given me the go-ahead to look around, I took it upon myself to venture inside. Assuming that it was just a pool house, I barged in the door.
I was wrong.
The most handsome piece of man I had ever seen was bent over, pulling off a pair of swimming trunks. As the door shut behind me, he turned around, shocked!
It was hard for me to believe that in the last year I had ruined my life and possibly my future. My full ride to Penn State University had been revoked. If my mother were still alive she would be kicking my ass, still after six months. What happened was a horrible tragedy and the dean of schools did what he had to do. In one night I had managed to destroy everything I had worked so hard for.
Now I lived with my sister, in a pool house in her back yard at that. We were always close and she never questioned me when I had confessed what happened that night. I couldn’t lie about something like that, but making someone believe me wasn’t that easy. Not when it was on every television station and in every newspaper.
So my sister set me up with a place to live, and a job that would last me at least a year. Her new sugar daddy had bought an old fixer upper and they had big plans for what they wanted the house to become, inside and out.
I hadn’t held a hammer since high school, but thankfully it ended up being like riding a bike. After a few days work, I got the hang of things. Plus working by myself gave me a lot of time to think about the mistakes I had made to get me to this very predicament I was in.
My friends had all but disowned me, insisting that they couldn’t be friends with someone like me. Someone that could do such heinous things and get away with it for so long. It hurt so much. In the long run, I guess they were never really my friends. If they were, then they would have known I wasn’t capable of those things.
Even my girlfriend, who I had dated since my freshman year at college dumped me, claiming the pressure of being involved with me was too much and yada yada. The truth was that her parents forbid her from having anything to do with me. They had the nerve to call me a street thug, and a common criminal on several attempts I had made to contact her at their place of residence. She had finally written me a letter asking me to never contact her again, or they would be forced to get a restraining order against me. Her father had warned about the same plan that day as well.
For the first few months after the trial, I secluded myself in my sister’s apartment. It was over top of the bar that she danced at, so after work she would bring bottles of liquor to bury the pain with. It was the only real time I was able to sleep while still living in Pennsylvania.
After she met Mark Ryan things changed. She stopped working at the bar, and soon spent all of her time with him. Within six months they were shacked up and planning on the big move to Virginia. Because of them, I was given a fresh start here in a new state. Eventually, maybe I could make new friends and have a future that my mother would have been proud of, instead of the one that had put her in an early grave.
For the past two weeks I had been working on the inside of the house. It had been vacant for almost a year and Mr. Ryan got it as a foreclosure. He said it was a steal, but I just took his word for it. Anything over five grand was too expensive for me. I had blown my mother’s entire life insurance on lawyers, trying to keep myself out of jail. I hated that. The fact that my mother had worked so hard for us to be independent and successful and never hurt for anything, made me feel like such a failure.
But, I was trying to make things work. I got the most important rooms in a livable shape, and even got the cabinets installed in the kitchen before the granite countertops were delivered. There was still so much to do, but I didn’t have a deadline, which was good since most of what I was doing was foreign to me. I found myself looking up how-to sites before I started a new project. It was a good thing that the internet had evolved into a place where you could learn how to do anything.
I had planned on fixing some shingles that were missing on the roof today, but my sister and Mr. Ryan asked me to take the day off. They claimed that they had someone “very special” coming over and that they didn’t want to be disturbed with the sound of the hammer slamming against the roof. It was fine. I never really relaxed on the weekends. Sitting in the small pool house just made me think of what my life could have been. On most nights I would drink myself to a drunken stupor and eventually pass out. My sister feared that one night I was going to get so drunk I would fall in the pool and die.
Even though I had the day off, I still woke up at the crack of dawn. I weeded the front garden next to the driveway and painted the mailbox. While I had the can of paint out, I decided to touch up the white parts of the fence around the pool. The sun was hot, even early this morning, and I found myself sweating profusely as I finished touching up the fence. I sat myself down on a lounge chair and soaked up the rays, telling myself it was too early to crack open a beer. I had to wait until twelve at least that is what everyone says.
When I felt like my balls were literally sticking to the side of my legs, I decided to grab a pair of swimming trunks and jump in the pool. Even if the company was already here, I wouldn’t be bothering them. I avoided jumping in and causing big splash sounds. Instead, I just floated around the pool for a while in pure silence.
When my hands started to prune up, I climbed out of the pool. Realizing all of the towels were in the pool house, or main house, I hurried to get inside. The morning breeze was still cool, even with the sun shining down. I made it into the pool shed within seconds and immediately started to strip out of my wet bathing suit.
When I heard the door at first, I thought it was just my sister, but as I turned around I realized I couldn’t have been more wrong.
“What the Hell? Who are you and what are you doing in here?” I yelled while trying to cover myself in the front, but it was obvious she had already seen everything I had.
She threw her hands over her face. “Oh my God, I am so sorry! I didn’t know somebody was in here. My father said I could look whenever I wanted. Seriously I had no idea.”
She turned her entire body around even though her hands were already covering her face. I grabbed a dry pair of boxers off the couch and slipped them on. “You can turn around now, I’m decent.”
I was still slipping on a pair of basketball shorts, but at least I was covered. “So who is your dad?”
She cocked her eyebrow. “Why? Who the Hell are you?” She asked defensively.
“I’m Chance, Chance Avery.”
“And why are you in my father’s pool house? Does he know you are in here or do I need to call the cops?” She threatened.
The last thing I needed was trouble with the law my first month here. “No, no! I am Buffy’s brother. I am doing work for Mr. Ryan. I didn’t know he had a daughter.”
She sighed and looked down to the ground. “Figures. Considering he hasn’t been a part of my life for a while now.”
I was ready to tell her to get out, but there was something about her that made me feel sorry for her. “Why don’t you come sit down for a minute. I’m sure after seeing my bare ass you could use a drink. So what will it be?”
“What do you have?” She asked.
“Bourbon and coke.”
“Wow that is some variety. Surprise me!”
I gave her a half smile and headed to the tiny kitchen area. I was pretty sure that the people who lived here before rented out this pool house. It had one bedroom, a kitchen, a small bathroom and a living room, but it was perfect for me. It wasn’t like I entertained, or even had friends at all.
I decided to get her a bottle of water I found in the door of the fridge. My sister had bought them insisting that if I drank soda all day in the sun I would get heat exhaustion.
When I returned to the living room, I sat on the chair facing her.
“Hope.” She said.
“My name is Hope, Hope Ryan.” She said as she took the bottle of water. “Thanks for this. I didn’t know if I could handle the bourbon after the breakfast I just had.”
“That bad huh?”
“No offense, but your sister isn’t much older than me. I guess I just wasn’t prepared ya know?” She said as she opened the bottle of water and drank half of it down.
I had managed to pour myself half a glass of bourbon and had already taken two sips. The ice clattered in the bottom of the glass, and I swiveled it around with my hand. “Nah, it’s cool. My sister can be hard to understand at first. She has a good heart though.”
She smirked but said nothing. “What?” I couldn’t help but asking.
“Nothing! Well I was going to say something, but you will just get mad probably.”
“Didn’t anyone ever tell you it wasn’t nice to start something and not finish it.” She looked up at me. Her eyes were like crystals and they glowed against her dark complexion. Summer had just started, but she was already tan. Her hair had streaks of different browns, but it didn’t look like it came from a box, it appeared to be natural highlights. She was strikingly beautiful.
“Fine, I was going to say that she really likes the color pink. No, not likes, LOVES the color pink.” She blurted out.
I wanted to defend my sister, but something about this girl made me feel like she was just trying to break the ice. I hadn’t had a friend in so long that I couldn’t be an asshole; I needed this. “I never noticed. She likes lots of colors. So, what colors do you like?”
Did I really just ask that?
“Not pink. Anything but pink.” She declared without even thinking about it.
“Okay. Are you always like this?”
“Like what?” She asked innocently.
“I don’t know. Flip. Sarcastic.”
“How would you feel if you hadn’t seen your father in a year, or talked to him? How would you act if he invited you over and ignored you because he was busy staring at his new eye candy’s fake tits?”
I was halfway into a large gulp of bourbon when the word “tits” came out of her pretty little mouth. The liquor went flying everywhere. Once I stopped gagging from the utter shock, I turned back to face her. She had stood up from the couch and had her hands on her hips. “Look, I am really sorry that I barged in on you getting changed. Had I been told that someone was living out here I never would have bothered you. It was nice meeting you Chance. Have a nice life.” She said as she walked out of the pool house.
I got up and walked to the window, watching her head back toward the house, while I finished my drink. I was pretty sure I would need a couple more after our unexpected meeting just now, but first I needed to talk to my sister.
After I had come barging back into the main house from my unexpected meeting with Chance, all I wanted to do was go home. My father was back in his recliner watching golf again, while Buffy filed her nails with her feet draped over the end of the couch. I had to laugh at that. My father and mother used to yell at me over and over for sitting like that on a couch. How could he have changed so much? And why hadn’t he come looking for me after brunch was cleaned up?
I didn’t hesitate as I made my way into the family room and announced I was leaving.
My father turned and gave me a smile, while Buffy came racing over, planting a big hug on me. I patted her a few times on the back and pulled out of her embrace. “Thanks for brunch. It was nice meeting you.”
As soon as I made it out of the driveway I began to cry. I couldn’t have held back the tears even if I wanted to. At one point I had to pull over to the side of the road, because I couldn’t see through the tears that had filled my eyes.
I couldn’t understand why he had even moved back here. Was I just dreaming or had that really been the catastrophe that I saw it as? While I sat on the side of the road I felt my stomach knotting up. In just enough time, I managed to unbuckle my seat belt, get out and run to the side of the road, where I vomited all of the food I had eaten. I leaned against my car, trying to gain some composure and make sure I was completely finished vomiting.
All of the time I had wished I had my father back into my life, and when I got him it was nothing like I pictured it would be. I wanted to crawl into a hole and die. There was no way I could drive home like this and explain what happened to my mother. She hated the guy. She would go out and buy a gun and then later be on the news for murdering him. I had to get myself calmed down first. It was my only option.
While still trying to feel better, I noticed a truck pulling to the side of the road. A male driver got out and began to approach me. I always carried pepper spray on my key ring, but it was still stuck in the ignition of the car. My heart started to beat faster and I could feel myself beginning to panic. I wasn’t on a heavy driven road, in fact while I was puking there had been no cars that passed going in either direction.
The man’s voice startled me, signaling he had approached me at a faster rate than I expected. “Are you okay miss? Do you need some help?”
He wore a baseball cap that covered his face, but I noticed the long scar across his cheek. I’m not usually one to stereotype, but he gave me the creeps like he was straight out of a horror movie. He got about a foot away from me and reached for my arm. “Did you hear me miss? I can take you wherever you want to go. Why don’t you come get in my truck?” He suggested.
He had a hold of my arm and I froze. I couldn’t speak and I surely couldn’t scream, not that anyone would even be able to hear me in this area of the highway anyway.
The man had managed to pull me about four feet away from my car before a motorcycle came driving down the road toward us. At first I feared they would keep going, but the driver skidded in between our cars and immediately got his bike into a sitting position. The strange man had released his hold on me as the next person approached.
“Are you okay?’ He asked while still wearing his helmet.
I couldn’t answer. I just shook my head, NO!
He came to stand in front of me, shielding me from the weird guy. “I think you need to leave sir.”
The man backed away from him, assuming he must have known me. When the creepy man finally pulled away I realized I was on the side of the road alone with yet another stranger. I finally came to my senses and began to make a dash for my car, until he grabbed the back of my dress and pulled me close to him. I couldn’t see his face, and after losing all of the fluids in my body, I found myself lightheaded from the fear and anxiety. Then I felt myself fall.
After my encounter with Mr. Ryan’s daughter, I needed a pack of cigarettes. I decided to hop on my bike and head to the nearest convenience store. When I got about three miles from the house I spotted two vehicles pulled over on the side of the road, and one of the cars happened to be the same one that had been in my driveway just a half hour ago. As I got closer I noticed that a man had his hands on her and I didn’t even think. My bike came to a halt and I immediately approached Hope and the stranger. When the stranger left without incident I knew I had come at just the right moment. He was probably wanted for some type of crime and didn’t want to get involved with the police. I knew how that felt.
When Hope collapsed in my arms I thought about taking her back to her father’s, but when I carried her to the passenger side of the car, I noticed the vomit in the grass. When she darted out of the pool house I assumed she was frustrated and upset, but seeing that she was sick to her stomach confirmed she was having a difficult time with things. I managed to get her reclined in the passenger seat and decided to wait it out in the driver’s seat. There was no way I was leaving her here all alone on this strip of the highway, and I wasn’t about to leave my bike either. It was the only thing I had in my name.
I found a good station on the radio and turned the air on to blow on Hope’s skin. I couldn’t believe I had gotten myself into this situation. My head found a semi comfortable position on the steering wheel as I stared at the girl beside me. Her arms were covered in goose bumps from the cool air, and her hair was blowing in small strands across her face. Her breathing had calmed and her cleavage protruded from the low cut sundress.
I hadn’t been this close to another girl other than my sister in a very long time, and it made me feel uncomfortable. I was an adult and I had no idea how old this girl was sitting next to me. I assumed she was close to my sister’s age, but the bow in her hair made her look like a teenager. The last thing I needed was for someone to get the wrong idea about why we were in this car alone on the side of the road.
As much as I didn’t want to do it, I leaned over and gently smacked on Hope’s cheek.
“Hope? Hey wake up Hope.” I said while patting her face.
She woke up and began screaming, not realizing where she was or what was going on. I held my hands up and placed them on the ceiling of the car. “Whoa, wait a minute. You were approached by a stranger and I stopped and got him to leave. I swear Hope.”
She stopped screaming and trying to get out, and looked at me, finally remembering what happened.
“You passed out in my arms. All I did was carry you to the car. I couldn’t leave you alone so I stayed to make sure you were alright.” I explained.
She looked at her clothes and then her arms. “Did anything else happen?” She asked.
It felt like she kicked me in the balls. I didn’t want to be accused of hurting another person again. I put my head down and frowned. “I promise you that I would never do that. If you are okay, I think it would be best if I got going.”
As I went to climb out of the car, I felt her hand grabbing my arm. “Wait. Please.”
I sat back down in the car and looked directly into those blue eyes. “What?”
“If you hadn’t come, I don’t know what would have happened today. You may have saved my life.” She said while still holding on to my arm.
I grabbed her fingers and removed her hold on me. “I don’t know about saving lives, but I am glad you’re safe Hope. I guess maybe I will see you around.” I said as I climbed out of the car and grabbed my helmet.
When I climbed onto my bike and fastened my helmet I noticed Hope climbing over the seat to get to the driver’s side. She started her car and readjusted her mirror. I saw her looking at me, but chose to ignore it. Maybe it was just a coincidence, or perhaps she was just thankful for me being there at the right time. It would have been a shame if something happened to her on her way home from such a bad morning already.
I decided to wait until Hope pulled away before I left, and as she pulled away I forgot all about wanting that pack of cigarettes.