Publication date: January 29th 2018
Genres: New Adult, Romance, Suspense
He died that night, alone, in the rain, in the dark, the boy that called me baby girl.
I was only seventeen; we were going to be together forever.
On his way to pick me up for prom, he swerved. I’ll never know what made him do it, what killed the boy I’d loved my whole life. With roses clutched in his hand, he bled out in icy wetness all alone.
His best friend is here though, and I’m pretty sure he loves me.
But after the accident, I left for a year and didn’t look back.
Now I’m back in town and my heart is like shattered glass.
Do I pick up the pieces and risk getting cut? And do I let another boy call me baby girl?
“What?” I whisper, because we both know what he just said.
Just like he did at the funeral.
The words that trigger me more than anything … Baby fucking Girl.
Jerking away from Phoenix's arms, I stumble and fall from the porch, knees sinking into the mud. My breath chokes out of me as I scramble up, Phoenix's fingers curling around my arm and jerking me back around to face him.
Rain plasters his hair to his forehead, the same way it did to Codrick's when he was lying dead on the road.
“Ey girl, listen to me!” Phoenix is shouting, but I try to pull away from him anyway.
He's strong, but so am I. I've spent the last four hundred and twelve days working out every spare second I can get.
We end up tussling, falling into the mud and rolling around until Phoenix literally pins me to the ground.
“I'm not letting you drive away like this!” he screams, my muscles straining as I struggle to pull my arms from his grip. “No way, no how am I letting you go, me.”
Phoenix yanks me to my feet and picks me up, tossing me over his shoulder.
I kick and flail, pushing myself off his muscular back and biting him.
That's how pissed off I am.
Except … his skin tastes good, musky and sweet at the same time. There's a hint of that mint soap my mother makes, a bit of sweat, the icy drench of rain.
Phoenix growls beneath me, a rumbling beast of hard muscles and tattoos, and then sets me down on the porch.
His girlfriend is still standing there in an oversized pink t-shirt, big blonde curls frothing around her face.
As soon as Phoenix lets go of me, I shove past her and she makes a sound as I smear mud across her perfect arm. Heading through the narrow living room, I push open the door on the far end that used to lead outside and to the outhouse.
Freshman year of high school, my dad came out here and built the Benoits a bathroom with a toilet, sink, tub, and shower. Hell, it's nicer than the one at our own house. My dad never does anything in half-measures. He takes fucking pride in his work.
I slip inside and slam the door behind me, locking it and stripping off all my muddy clothes. Rinsing them as best I can in the sink, I turn on the hot heat of the shower and climb under it, sitting down on the ground with my arms wrapped around my knees.
A few minutes later, after the bathroom is shrouded with steam, I stand back up and open the little window on my left, letting the cool night suck some of the heat from the air. It feels so good to stand like that, hot water scalding my flesh while freezing cold air fills my lungs.
“You hit like a tank and bite like a snake,” Phoenix mumbles, making me jump. I jerk back part of the curtain to glare at him, standing there with a black tank on, like he's got something to hide underneath it.
“I don' remember sweet Embry being so damn feisty.” He pauses and looks me straight in the face, making me acutely aware of my nakedness. My nipples harden to points and I swallow the sudden lump in my throat.
I haven't seen the man in four hundred and twelve days.
He has a girlfriend standing right outside this door.
“What the fuck are you doing in here? I locked the door for a reason. Get out.”
“First off, you know I can pick a lock like nobody else, me. Second, this might be the only moment I get to talk some sense into you. You trapped in dere unless you want me to see you naked.”
Phoenix smiles, but the expression is tight, haunted, far away.
He's so fucked-up.
She hates tapioca pudding, loves to binge on cheesy horror movies, and is a slave to many cats. When she’s not vacuuming fur off of her couch, C.M. can be found with her nose buried in a book or her eyes glued to a computer screen. She’s the author of over thirty novels – romance, new adult, fantasy, and young adult included. Please, come and join her inside her crazy. There’s a heck of a lot to do there.
Oh, and Caitlin loves to chat (incessantly), so feel free to e-mail her, send her a Facebook message, or put up smoke signals. She’s already looking forward to it.
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