Read Just You Online

Authors: Jane Lark

Just You

BOOK: Just You
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Contents

Jane Lark
Praise for Jane Lark
Chapter One
Chapter Two
Chapter Three
Chapter Four
Chapter Five
Chapter Six
Chapter Seven
Chapter Eight
Chapter Nine
Chapter Ten
Chapter Eleven
Chapter Twelve
Chapter Thirteen
Chapter Fourteen
Chapter Fifteen
Bonus Material
I Found You
About HarperImpulse
Copyright
About the Publisher

Jane Lark

I love writing authentic, passionate and emotional love stories.

I began my first novel, a historical, when I was sixteen, but life derailed me a bit when I started suffering with Ankylosing Spondylitis, so I didn’t complete a novel until after I was thirty when I put it on my to do before I’m forty list.

Now I love getting caught up in the lives and traumas of my characters, and I’m so thrilled to be giving my characters life in others’ imaginations, especially when readers tell me they’ve read the characters just as I’ve tried to portray them.

You can follow me on Twitter @Jane Lark or find me on Facebook www.facebook.com/Janelarkauthor.

Praise for Jane Lark's debut New Adult romance,
I Found You

"Jane Lark has proved what a writing talent she really is. This is an engrossing and telling read…. Be prepared to have your heart squeezed!"

BestChicklit.com

"An amazing book. It is dark and edgy yet flirtatious and even made me laugh. Its such a combination that made me not want to put my kindle down at all."

After the Final Chapters

"Dark, gritty and wholly mesmerizing, I Found You is a haunting and compelling read you will not easily forget!"

Bookish Jottings

"Emotional, romantic, and heartbreaking."

Imagine a World

Chapter One

Portia

My head hurt. It was like someone was firing a nail gun into the back of my skull. I must have drunk buckets last night.

The weight of my forearm lay on my forehead as I opened my eyes. I could see the sky through the skylight. The day was bleak. Gray. Miserable. Like I felt.

Memories flashed through my thoughts as if someone had switched a PowerPoint presentation running in my head, just images popping up, then sliding out. Shit. Justin. I sat up and my brain rolled forward like a ball of rock, hitting my skull… I felt sick.

I held still for a moment. I was going to be sick. Throwing the covers off me I dived for the bathroom.

It was on days like this I missed people. Anyone. It would just be nice to have someone around who gave a shit sometimes.

Ten minutes later, with an empty stomach, and a brain that didn’t belong to me, I came out of the bathroom and headed for the sink by the cooker. I poured myself a glass of water, then reached to get some pain-killers from the cupboard beside it. I drank some of the water, swallowed the pills and then washed them down with more water. My brain throbbed steadily, still protesting over the quantity of alcohol I’d had the night before.

I sat on the bed, with my feet on the floor, and let memories and images, play through my head.
Oh my God.
I tumbled back, lying across the mattress, with my hands gripping my forehead and partly covering my eyes; as if I could hide from the pictures, like a stupid kid playing peek-a-boo. The images kept telling me the things I’d done.

Shit.

Did I have sex with Justin?

I didn’t even like Justin like that.

“Oh my God, Portia. What have you done now?” I could remember him kissing me. I’d definitely kissed him. It was after we’d got in the pool. Jason had just disappeared. It was Jason my lonely brain had been interested in for weeks, though the guy was unavailable… But Justin? He wasn’t bad looking, but he was no Jesse Williams, and he was a joker, and a douchebag. He always hung around the girls at work, too much, so much it was kind of creepy. He was one of those guys who worked so hard at being nice it made you want to back away…

More images paraded in my head. We’d gone through all the clothes and stuff in Mr. Rees’s room looking for bikinis to wear in the pool… Yes, I had definitely been wearing one because there was an image in my head of his fingers slipping it aside to touch my breasts, and I could feel his fingers touching me too.

Shit. I shut my eyes, then opened them again as more pictures piled in.

His hand had been in my bottoms.

My palm gripped my forehead. When would I learn not to drink so much? Well it was January 1st; the day for resolutions.

I think I’d suggested looking for the pool too, but there had been four of us in it, not just me and Justin. It had been us and the other girls we sat near in the office, Crystal and Becky. Surely I wouldn’t have let him do stuff if the others were there though. Please tell me, even out of my head, I had better morals than that.

His friend Jason had been locked in the toilet, and I’d offered to go in there, and hung around to talk to him on the terrace. He’d reminded me it was his “
wife
” he was texting.

I had to give up drinking if it made my judgment so bad.

Shit. I bet Justin just spotted an easy chance.

I sat up again, reaching for my cell. There was only one way I was going to find out. I flicked up the messages, then texted: ‘Hey Becky. Happy New Year’s! Is your head as bad as mine? What the hell did I do last night?’ I tapped send on the text praying it wouldn’t come back with a hideous acknowledgement that, yes, I’d entertained them in the pool with a live porn show. But they’d have stopped us long before his hand had got in my bikini bottoms, surely?

I had obviously been too drunk to stop it myself though.

My cell vibrated in my hand, playing out the first few notes of One Republic,
Counting Stars.

‘Happy New Year’s! We left before you. You were with Justin in the pool. I don’t know. What did you do? ;)’

‘Not much then probably. But I don’t remember.’

‘You’ll have to ask Justin?’

‘Think I’ll pass.’

I threw my cell on the bed beside me. I couldn’t even remember how I got home. Let alone if I got dressed after getting out the pool–and what did we do with the wet swimming stuff. Mr. Rees didn’t even know we’d snuck into the pool. My dad would go psycho if someone had done that in his house. Maybe that’s why my subconscious had thrown the idea in when I was drunk.

Maybe that was why I’d got in too deep with Justin–pay back. My dad would hate that too.

But why did I have to do it at the work party? That was really going to impress my boss–if I’d stumbled back into his living room wearing his girlfriend’s bikini, dripping water, and puked on his polished marble floor.

I’d get the pointed finger tomorrow.
You’re fired.

Dad would go super crazy if I told him I’d done something so embarrassing. He’d think it would impact on his reputation.

But I wasn’t telling him because I wasn’t going to lose my job, there would be a way to convince Mr. Rees to keep me on, if I had to. I’d worked out a hundred wiles for manipulating people in my years of growing up. I’d needed to. When you grew up in boarding schools nobody took notice of you or gave you any particular attention unless you’d learned how to win it.

Well, New Year’s Day or not, it seemed to me the miserable weather and my hangover called for a day spent in bed watching any movie that didn’t take much brain power to follow it. I leaned over and picked up my laptop, then lay back down and flipped the lid open.

I went into Netflix, ignoring Twitter and Instagram, and everything else. I didn’t want to face any malicious office party pictures; I’d deal with them tomorrow. Today, I was all for pulling the bed covers over my head and hiding.

I scanned through the lists.

~

Justin

Fuck. My head was banging like mad. I cursed the free champagne and wished I hadn’t indulged so aggressively. But then, hey–it was free. All free stuff was good.

The first image in my head was of Portia–Portia in an emerald green bikini. All the girls had looked hot, but she’d looked the best, and she’d felt pretty hot in the pool, too–when the others had gone.

God, my head.

“Justin! Justin!” My eight-year-old kid brother piled into my room, thrusting the door aside. He jumped on my bed. My head spun, and my stomach rolled, as pain pierced through my forehead and out the back of my skull like someone fired a gun through it.

“Go steady–you pain in the butt.”

“It’s New Year’s, Mom’s cooking lunch, it’ll be ready soon. You’re lazy.”

“Cheers bro, but–get off, Dillon.”

He climbed off me with a huge grin and then ran away again.

“You getting up?” I looked up as another of my brothers, Robin, spoke. He stood, leaning his shoulder against the doorjamb. We shared this room, but he looked like he’d been up and dressed for ages.

Robin was seventeen. Then there was Jake who was fourteen.

“You were in late last night.”

“Yeah.” I sat up, my brain rolling around in my head. I needed food, and coffee. I pulled my T-shirt on.

“Mom’s checked your cell.”

“Great. I’m twenty-two, why the fuck has she got to keep checking my cell?”

“For the same reason you check on us. ‘Cause she don’t want you getting into trouble.”

“Like I’d have a chance.”

Robin smirked. I grimaced at him as I stood up and pulled my jeans on over my boxers, then ran my fingers through my hair to comb it.

“You look fucked.”

“Don’t copy my bad language. Mom‘ll smack you ‘round the ear for it. Do as I say, not as I do…” But I wished I had got fucked last night. Nearly.

I got another smirk.

Robin had grown out of idolizing me long ago, but we still got on, and we talked a lot, about everything. He rarely talked to Mom. But I kept him talking to me, ‘cause I didn’t want him falling in with any gangs.

I think if he did have any trouble, he’d tell me. I did look out for them, my brothers. All my brothers.

When I walked into the kitchen, I saw my cell on the counter next to Robin, where Mom was mashing potatoes to go with the chicken which stood on the side. Lunch smelt good, spicy. My stomach rolled over with hunger. That was all I needed to cure my hangover–food.

“Justin.” Mom looked up at me turning her cheek.

I leaned down and kissed it. “Morning, Mom.”

“Afternoon,” she corrected, “And where were you?”

I rolled my eyes. “At the boss’s party, like I was last New Year’s Eve. I told you where I was going. I told you I’d be late.”

She did check up on me for the same reason I checked up on Robin, Jake, and Dillon. ‘Cause she didn’t want me caught up in trouble–but she ought to know, I looked after myself. I’d got to twenty-two and stayed out of it. Surely now she could just trust me.

She made a face at me, still smashing the potatoes. I caught up my cell and shoved it in my back pocket.

Jake was sitting on the sofa watching Dillon’s cartoons, with his arms crossed over his chest. He looked like he was in a bad mood–but then the kid was always in a bad mood. It was a rite of passage for boys his age to be obnoxious shitheads. A rite I hadn’t had chance to claim. But Robin had gone through it and come out the other side… My fingers were crossed for Jake.

Jake didn’t talk to me much, but he talked to Robin. I figured if I kept Robin safe, Robin would do the same for Jake. I hoped.

Mom started dishing up. “Wash up and sit at the table.”

Dillon ran off to the bathroom to wash his hands, and Robin sloped off after him to check he did it. Jake hadn’t moved.

“Come on.” Mom urged. She turned with a pile of cutlery in her hand. I took it from her and laid it out on the table. Jake still hadn’t moved as Dillon and Robin came back.

I glanced back over my shoulder at him. He was staring at the TV. Dillon sat down and Robin moved to collect the plates as Mom finished them off with corn. Jake still hadn’t moved. I went over and knocked his leg with mine. He looked up.

With my gaze and a nod of my head I told him to
get the fuck up, asshole
. Mom worked hard for us. She’d been on her own for years, since before Dillon was born, but we’d never gone hungry or not had clothes. She deserved respect–even if she was like a bloody stalker at times.

BOOK: Just You
6.35Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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