RECKLESS - Part 3 (The RECKLESS Series)

RECKLESS

PART 3

By Alice Ward

This book is a work of fiction. The names, characters, places and incidents are products of the writer's imagination or have been used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, actual events, locales or organizations is entirely coincidental.

Copyright © 2014
Alice Ward

THE RECKLESS SERIES – RELEASE SCHEDULE

Part 1: October 10

Part 2: October 24

Part 3: November 7

Part 4: November 21

Part 5: December 5

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BOOK DESCRIPTION

This is the third part of RECKLESS - a
 
five part steamy new adult series by Alice Ward.
You should read part 1 and 2 first.

Letting go and living isn’t easy, especially when you’re used to planning everything.

Andrea Mercer’s entire future has been shattered, blown to smithereens by campus rocker god, Jace Richardson. Her fiancé knows about Jace, and Jace wants six weeks of her time.

Who will she choose?

Will she go with the safe choice, the man she’s loved and had planned to marry? Or will she abandon everything she’s ever known to give the rocker god the time he’s requested?

Andrea is being given a chance to rebuild her life. Unfortunately, she’s about to find out that, when you lose the original blueprints, you have to start from scratch. That’s awfully hard to do when you’ve been working from the same set of plans for most of your life.

Will she learn to let go and enjoy life instead of trying to plan every move? Or will all the decisions she’s made catch up with her to leave her even more shattered and broken than she’s ever been?

Find out in the next installment of Reckless!

The RECKLESS Series is intended for a mature audience, 18+ only.

CHAPTER ONE

“What do you say, Andy? Give me a chance?” Jace asked, pulling my attention away from the velvet box on the nightstand, the one that Sean had left there just moments before.

Sean and Jace were both asking for pretty much the same thing—a chance.

Sean had been my heartbeat for five years, and we’d been just months away from planning our wedding... but things had changed with us this last year, especially these past few weeks. Maybe Jace was the reason behind that, but maybe he wasn’t.

Speaking of Jace, the tattooed rocker god, this man had taken my hormones by storm. Not to mention his recent knight in shining armor acts of kindness. He was sex on legs, but it was so much more than just that; he was a walking contradiction, a band leader with direction and a man with moral convictions.

But I didn’t know what the hell I wanted.

Was I really supposed to throw five years of a relationship down the drain because of sexual attraction? Or was it more complicated than that? Were the fire and flames that consumed me at even the most basic touch from Jace directing my heart? Telling me where to go?

“Can I think about it?” I finally asked.

“Andy, you and I both know that’s not a good idea,” Jace said, a light chuckle bouncing around in the space between us. “You’ll reason it to death, create a list of pros and cons, and at the end of it all, you still won’t be any closer to a decision.”

I hated to admit it, but he was right. Damn it all.

“But I don’t know what to do,” I said, voice cracking a bit over the emotional exhaustion of my evening. First, my date with him, then the heart-stopping way he’d touched me, and finally, the mess I’d come home to—Sean, shattered and broken; the mess he’d left in my dorm room was nothing more than the external manifestation of that pain.

“Then follow your heart,” Jace said, squeezing my hands inside of his. “What is it telling you to do?”

“I—“ I bit at the inside of my cheek, trying to listen to my heart, my gut, whatever it was that was pulling and tugging. But all I found was indecision and ugly knots. “I don’t know.”

“Six weeks, Andy. That’s all I’m asking. Just say yes.”

I gulped, hard, as Jace’s molten brown eyes delivered an unspoken promise. What that promise was, I couldn’t say, but something inside me—a source I couldn’t put my finger on—pulled at the muscles in my neck, forced a small nod out of me.

It was just enough of a yes for him, or it must have been because his lips were on mine in the very next instant. Searing kisses left my lips and then trailed down my check, along my neck until he reached my ear. “You won’t regret it. I promise,” he said, the whisper hot against my skin.

Despite everything my body and emotions had been through that evening, I found myself responding to Jace’s touch—fingers tugging at his dark hair, my legs wrapping around his waist, and when he dropped kisses along my collarbone, just above the low-cut hem of my dress, my head fell back on a light moan.

Almost as if we were picking up right where we’d left off back in his apartment, he was climbing up on my bed, one knee between my legs, as he leaned me back onto the bed, his mouth finding every ounce of bare flesh. Each and every nerve in my body fired, betraying me and the conflicting thoughts that had possessed my head just moments before. My thundering heart contradicted the ache that I knew was resting just below the surface. My short, quickening breaths came, despite the words that I’d wanted to say but couldn’t.

I’m not ready.

I still love him.

Please don’t break my heart.

But I didn’t have to say them; they were all right there on the surface, resting in my pleading eyes as he pulled his gaze up to mine, his lips hovering just above mine. As if he could read my mind, he pulled his lips into a tight scowl, clamped those deep brown eyes shut, and released a small growl.

“We start tomorrow,” he said, gruffly, lifting himself off of me to stand beside my bed. “Six weeks from tomorrow.”

There weren’t any words to say. I could have said I was sorry, which I was. But I also wasn’t. Maybe it was the deflation speaking for me. Maybe it was the torn state of my soul. Either way, I was grateful that he’d understood, that he’d closed the door silently behind him, leaving me to reflect on the past hour of my life, the way his hands had claimed me, the way Sean had left my room in shambles, Jace’s proposition, and Sean’s pleading eyes and that gift I had yet to open.

After inhaling a slow, deep breath, I forced myself to pick up the small box. It felt like a soft stone in my hand, its weight compounded by the heaviness in my heart. The dread filling up my throat and my chest, I snapped the lid open. I gasped.

Inside the box, resting on a plush blue pillow, was the most beautiful ring I’d ever seen. The white gold offset my skin tone, and the blue princess cut stone perfectly matched my eyes. Inside, there was a note.

Andy,

I know we promised no rings until the planning, but when I saw this, I thought of you. Just couldn’t resist. Love you forever and always,

Sean

Becca walked through the door right about the time that the first tear fell from my chin. She immediately dropped her purse, came to sit beside me on the bed, and began running soothing circles over my back. “Talk to me, chick. What’s going on?”

Even if I’d wanted to tell her, I didn’t think I could, so I just handed her the note and the tiny velvet box. For the longest time, she didn’t say anything, which was rare coming from my outspoken best friend... but when she did, oh did she let me have it.

“I—Andy, what the fuck?” She shot straight up to stand in front of me, hands on a cocked hip.

My head shot back in confusion and shock, but she didn’t even give me a chance to answer.

“You’re really going to let him play this poor me, guilt trip shit on you? Really? After everything he’s done? I mean, look at this place!” She waved her hand around, indicating the mess that still had yet to be cleaned up. Photographs, books, papers—all still lying on the floor, most of them shredded or wadded.

“He’s not allowed to do that, and you—“ She dropped to her knees in front of me and lifted my chin, forced me to look at her. “—You, Andrea Mercer, aren’t going to let him. You’re going to stand fucking proud, you’re going to
enjoy
your time with Jace Richardson, and then, only then, are you going to look at this ring again.”

Ring box still in hand, she stomped over to her side of the room and yanked the drawer to her dresser open. After burying it beneath some of her clothing, she slammed the drawer shut again. “You were just getting over his shit, and then he just walks back in here to start it all over again,” she said, probably muttering more to herself than to me as she headed for the restroom. “Get some fucking sleep, chick. I bumped into Jace and he said he’s coming by early,” she said, closing the bathroom door behind her.

A few minutes later, I heard the shower turn on and I was left with nothing but the silence and my thoughts. Thankfully, sleep pulled me under quickly. Unfortunately, my thoughts quickly turned to dreams and nightmares. Dreams of tattoos and wedding dresses. Nightmares about shattered dreams and unrealized aspirations.

***

Jace’s voice was the very first thing I heard the next morning, which was a little ironic since he’d also been in my dreams; a knight in shining armor, that blasted tornado again, even a super rock god who suddenly forgot I existed. But now, here he was, hovering over my bed, shoving the hair from my eyes. “Rise and shine, sleepyhead,” he said before planting a kiss on my forehead.

“What time is it?” I groaned, voice gravelly.

“Early.”

I cracked one eye open, just enough that I could see his gorgeous, stubbly face. “How early?”

He chuckled lightly. “Six.”

“In the morning?” The high pitch of my sleep laden voice was like nails on a chalkboard, but Jace didn’t flinch. Instead, he nodded and smiled.

Groaning again, I pulled the covers over my head and rolled away from him. There was no way in hell I was getting out of bed before the sun came up. What in the world could be so important at such a God awful hour anyway?

“I could get the shower ready for you.” His tone hinted that he might be teasing, but I shot straight up on my bed anyway. No way in hell was I taking any chances; I hadn’t fully recovered from the trauma of the last cold shower he’d given me, the one that had come during my initial Sean depression.

Roaring laughter filled my ears. At any other time of the day, that sound might have elicited a more positive reaction than a wince... but I didn’t function at vampire hours, and neither did my patience. “What do you want, Jace?” I asked, shoving my covers aside to glare at him.

“I told you we’d be starting in the morning,” he said. That sexy smirk of his melted away at least a little of my early morning bitterness. But the Styrofoam cup in his hand practically sent me to the ground so I could to kiss his feet.

“Is that coffee?” I asked, sniffing the air to get a whiff.

“It sure is.” He gave me a quick wink and then waved the cup around, as if trying to fill the room with the nutty smell. “Now, be a good girl, get your ass in the shower, and it’ll be out here waiting for you.”

Putting on my best pouty face (I didn’t have to try hard), I stomped off toward the bathroom like an angry toddler.

“Shhh,” he warned, nodding toward Becca, who was still asleep, just before I slammed the door.

My shoulders lifted in a shrug, but I shut the door quietly anyway. Then, if for no other reasons outside of morbid curiosity and the hot coffee that was waiting for me outside, I hurried through getting ready. In less than fifteen minutes, I’d showered, dressed, brushed my teeth, and tossed my hair up. I even managed to put on a bit of makeup, even though I wasn’t sure that the day’s events required as much.

Jace was waiting with coffee in hand, the second I’d stepped out of the bathroom. I graciously accepted. But I also noticed something in his other hand, something large and grey with pink polka dots.

“What’s that for?” I asked, eying my overnight bag.

Instead of answering, he pulled open the door to my dorm, took a bow and spanned out the arm that held my bag. “After you, m’lady,” he said, smirking.

I narrowed my eyes at him, trying to intimidate the answer out of him, but it wasn’t working. He just grinned and, still holding his ridiculous pose, cocked an eyebrow.

With a huff and a scowl, I stomped out the door, down the hallway, and out into the parking lot. There, his truck sat, loaded and filled to the brim with... what was all that stuff?

I stopped and stared, open-mouthed. When he walked around me to toss my bag in the back, I followed behind, trying to get a glimpse at all the stuff in the bed of his truck. “Okay, Jace Richardson, what the hell are we doing?” I asked, peering over the edge of the tailgate. Propane bottles, duffel bags, and... was that a tent?

“You sure know how to ruin a good surprise,” he said, grabbing my hand and pulling me to the passenger side of the truck.

As he ushered me inside, I mumbled under my breath, “Maybe because I hate surprises.”

“Well, you’re just going to have to get over it,” he said, smacking my butt just before I turned to sit down in the seat.

“Oh!” I whipped around and tried to smack him, but he was already shutting the door behind me. I got my punch in the second he climbed into the seat beside me. One right to his shoulder.

“Hey!” He rubbed the spot I’d hit and shot me a wounded look. “You sure do pack a punch there, firecracker.”

I felt my chest swell with pride. “That’s what happens when you grow up with three brothers.”


Three
brothers?” he asked, raising his brows as he turned the truck’s ignition. “How did you ever survive?”

I felt the corner of my mouth quirk up. “By throwing awesome punches.”

His grin grew to epic proportions as we peeled out of the dormitory parking lot. “Oh, you’ll do just fine this weekend.”

That was all that was ever said about where we were going or what we would be doing... until we arrived at our destination.

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