Authors: Suzannah Daniels
everyone who’s ever been in love.
Copyright © 2013 by Suzannah
part of this book may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or
by any means, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without the
prior written permission of the author.
book is a work of fiction. Any similarities to any person, living or dead,
events, businesses, or places are coincidental and not intended by the author.
Electronic Edition: August 2013
(Dangerous #2) / by Suzannah Daniels
voice was nothing more than a whisper brimming with dejection, and I glanced up
from my seat on the couch as Dara knelt at my feet.
laid her cheek against my knee, and I smoothed wisps of soft, blond hair away
from her face. I searched for the words that would ease her pain and brighten
her spirits, but somehow I knew they couldn’t detract her from the betrayal and
disappointment that had seeped into her soul.
boiled within me, and I took a deep breath, attempting to retain my control.
Dara was my world, and as much as I wanted to think there was no way in hell I
would let anyone hurt her, some things were out of my control.
covered her face with her palm, and her slender shoulders began trembling. I
hated to see her cry, and my hands instinctively reached for her.
was not what I had planned.
often does a girl turn eighteen? I had wanted Dara’s birthday to be special,
and I thought I’d done a pretty good job, considering it was the first birthday
party I’d ever thrown. But now, I felt like I had failed her.
urged her up from the floor and pulled her into my lap, tucking her face into
my neck and muffling her sobs. I said nothing, just held her, stroked her,
she finally quieted, I scooped her in my arms, stood, and then set her on the
couch. “I’ll be right back.”
kicked a plump, pink balloon out of my path and went to find my mother. In the
last eight months since Dara and I had agreed to date exclusively, my mother had
grown to love Dara almost as much as I did. Mom agreed to have the party at
our house, and she took it a step further by insisting that we have the whole
thing catered. I had decorated our living room in pink and white streamers
with a boatload of matching balloons, some filled with helium and some drifting
along the hardwood floor.
I had watched Dara walk the last guests, Crimson and Scarlet Cruze, to the
front door, I thought she was happy. It was obvious now that she had pasted on
a smile and laughed with her two best friends in an effort to hide what she was
rammed my hand in my hair, wishing I knew how to make her world right again.
mother was in the kitchen, wrapping plastic around leftover food.
briefly explained the situation.
take care of everything here,” my mom assured me.
bent down and kissed her on the cheek. “Thanks, Mom.” I grabbed a pink mint
off the plate in her hands and popped it in my mouth. “Have I told you how
awesome you are?”
might’ve mentioned it a time or two, but moms never get tired of hearing it.”
She finished pressing the plastic on the edge of the plate and shooed me with
her hands. “Now go take care of Dara.”
joined Dara on the couch. “I know what you need,” I said, wrapping my arm
around her shoulders and hoping to lighten her mood.
need a motorcycle ride with one extremely good-looking guy.”
corners of her mouth tilted upward. “Well, let me know when you find one, and
maybe I’ll give it a try.”
stood, pulling her to her feet. “As luck would have it, I didn’t have to look
glanced over her shoulder, wiping away any remnants of her tears. “Where is
he? I don’t see him.”
nice, Dara Golding, or I won’t let you rev my engine.”
that supposed to be an enticement? Because….”
put my forefinger over her lips to silence them. “It’s your birthday. You
win. Since you can’t seem to find a good-looking guy, I guess I’ll have to
do. Where do you want to go?”
want to go to our spot,” she whispered, the playfulness gone from her voice.
cupped her cheek, rubbing my thumb across her silky skin, and nodded my head in
took her hand in mine and led her out the front door and down the meandering
sidewalk until we reached my motorcycle, which was parked in the driveway. She
and I both tugged on our helmets, and I settled into the seat as I waited for
her to mount the bike and press her body against mine as she clung to my
torso. As much as I loved riding alone and the freedom that I felt when it was
just me and my bike, I equally loved having Dara behind me.
barreled down the long driveway, causing her to squeeze my ribs as she
acclimated herself to the speed.
short ride later, we arrived at Quail Mountain Park. We had come here on our
first outing together, and it had quickly become one of our favorite spots.
Before the weather had grown cold, we had spent many evenings sitting beneath
the lone willow tree that stood tall and proud in the middle of a grassy field.
I knew that’s where she wanted to go.
parked the bike as close to the tree as possible and waited for her to climb
off. We placed the helmets on the mirrors and walked silently, our hands
clasped together, to the tree. We ducked below the hanging branches that were
greening with new growth, and I sat at the base of the trunk. I held my arms
open to her and motioned for her to sit in my lap.
you okay?” I asked as she plopped across my thighs.
looked down at her hands, studying her freshly painted nails intently, and
nodded her head. Lifting her face to mine, she gently kissed my lips. “Thank
you for the party.”
for my girl.”
laid her head against my shoulder and exhaled softly.
called her,” I said.
told me that she would come.”
she had car trouble,” I suggested. “Why don’t you try to call her?”
want to, but I’m afraid of what I’ll find out. That she just didn’t want to
come. Or that she forgot. Do you think she forgot?”
looked at me with vibrant, green eyes, expecting an answer, but I remained
chin quivered, and I closed my eyes, hating to know that she was in so much pain.
I squeezed her fingers, silently letting her know that she still had me.
think that’s what scares me the most,” she whispered, her voice quaking. “To find
out that my mother doesn’t even think I’m worth remembering.”
it. I felt like calling her mother and chewing her ass out. How could she
treat her only daughter like this?
definitely worth remembering. Whatever problems your mother has, they’re her
problems, not yours. Stop driving yourself crazy. Just call and ask her.”
pulled her phone out of her pocket and dialed the number. She stood up and
walked to the edge of the dangling branches, waiting for her mother to answer.
As she turned, her eyes sought mine, a look of horror in them.
mind worked furiously, trying to decipher her expression.
number’s been disconnected,” she gasped. “She’s changed her number and didn’t
even give me her new one. I never got her address, so that I could send her my
still time,” I told her.
had hoped that at least one of my parents would see me graduate,” she
continued, “but I guess she’ll miss that, too.”
likely, she’s having money problems. She’ll probably get paid in a few days
and have her phone turned back on. Come here.” I patted the ground between my
walked toward me and sat between my legs. I gathered her hair, pushing it over
her shoulder, and began massaging her tense flesh. “Just give her some time.
She’ll call you.”
waited for her for so long, Stone.”
it would’ve been better if she never came back.”
squeezed her shoulders. “No, it wouldn’t. You’d have all kinds of questions
screwing with your head. Over the last few months, you’ve come a long way with
building a relationship with her. Just give her the benefit of the doubt. And
no matter what her reasons are for not showing, don’t let her spoil your day.”
leaned against my chest, and I wrapped my arms around her waist and rested my
chin on the top of her head as I listened to the birds chirp loudly in the
branches above us.
would I do without you?” she asked, resting her hands on top of mine.
rather imagine what you could do with me,” I said, running my fingertips along
the edge of her jeans.
shameless,” she scolded, grabbing my hand and brushing her sweet lips across my
I kinda am.” I slid my hands under her shirt and traced tiny circles along her
flat abdomen with my fingertips.
giggled, shot up, and turned to face me, lowering her bottom back to my
thighs. I leaned against the tree trunk and watched her, relieved to see a
smile back on her face. She placed her palms on my chest and brought her face
close to mine. I remained still, my head tilted back against the trunk, and
waited to see what she would do.
watched me with hooded eyes, all traces of her smile gone. Her shimmering pink
lips parted softly as if she were anticipating a kiss. Her palms slid up my
chest until they reached my neck, and her fingertips skimmed upward until they
were tracing my jawline.
beautiful,” she whispered, leaning in closer.
didn’t respond. I just watched her as her fingertips explored my face.
so in love with you, Stone,” she said as she finally lowered her lips to mine.
My hands grabbed her butt and pulled her closer to me while my mouth took
control of the kiss.
Dara. You don’t know what you do to me,” I groaned against her mouth while my palms
continued to press her against my body.
kissed her with all the urgency that rushed through my veins, with all the
desire that was locked inside of me for this amazing girl who had become my
love you, too,” I whispered, trailing searing kisses along her lips, continuing
along her jaw until I reached the slender column of her neck, where her pulse
thundered mercilessly against my intense affections. She tossed her head back,
giving me complete access to the tender flesh, and my lips blazed further
downward until I reached her collarbone.
splayed fingers clung to my face, bringing my lips back to her own. She pulled
away, watching me, her thumbs caressing the corners of my mouth.
hands are cold,” I said, capturing them in my own palms to chase away the chill.
The sunny, April day was moderately warm, but a cool wind oscillated the
hanging branches of the willow. “Do you want to sit in the sun?”
I want to sit here, in our spot, with you.” She folded her arms between us and
leaned against my chest. I wrapped my arms around her back and held her close,
pressing my lips against her forehead and smelling her strawberry-scented hair.
A year ago, I couldn’t have imagined myself so wrapped up in a girl. It scared
the hell out of me. Loving someone meant relinquishing my control, leaving
myself vulnerable to the whims of someone else.
didn’t like vulnerable. I had been exposed enough when my twin brother, Luke,
died. It had taken me years to come to terms with his death, and I still
struggled with it daily.
a long time, it felt like I was being punished for choices that I had made.
Some days, it still felt that way. Since I started dating Dara, I tried to
contemplate the consequences of my actions before I acted, but I was
impulsive. How did one fight his very nature?
sucked at it, which was why the thought of something happening to Dara terrified
me. I didn’t want karma to retaliate against something I’d done by taking her
exhaled contentedly, her rhythmic breathing revealing the level of comfort she
found in my arms. It made me want to protect her from all the disappointments
of this world, including her mother.
know,” I said quietly against her temple. “I haven’t given you your present
had expected her to sit up, but she just snuggled against my chest. “My party
was present enough. Being here with you is enough.”
slid my fingertips into the back pockets of her jeans. “Well, you’re right.
Being here with me is a damn good present.”
thumped her fist half-heartedly against my chest. “Conceited much?”
a sweet, little honey like you draped all over me, how can I not be conceited?
I must be doing something right.”