Authors: Marquita Valentine
Tags: #Contemporary, #Romance
Copyright © 2013 by Marquita Valentine
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, transmitted
downloaded, distributed, stored in or introduced into any information
storage and retrieval system, in any form or by any means, whether
electronic or mechanical, without express permission of the author, except
by a reviewer who may quote brief passages for review purposes.
This book is a work of fiction and any resemblance to any person, living
or dead, or any events or occurrences, is purely coincidental. The
characters and story lines are created from the author’s imagination or
are used fictitiously.
Professionally edited by Cynthia Shepp
Professionally Formatted by Dead River Books Formatting
More Books by Marquita Valentine
Holland Springs Series
Seduction of the Billionaire
Drive Me Crazy
Driving To You
Third Time’s A Charm
His Christmas Wish
Not Over You (coming Dec. 9th)
Be Mine (Coming February 10th, 2014)
Boys of the South (New Adult Series)
Live For You
Only For You
All For You
True For You
Wish For You (coming January 20th, 2014)
me, failure has never been an option, not with Everett Morgan
controlling my entire career. But when my efforts to win back the
girl who got away end up with me helping my rival, I concede
defeat--and sneak away to a private island off the coast of South
Carolina to lick my wounds.
I wasn't counting on the seamstress for the band driving the getaway
car. Or waking up the next day, with Bliss in my bed and a ring on
her finger…and absolutely no memory of the wedding.
terrifies me while giving me =hope that I can be more, that I
can be this guy no one else can see, but her. Only I'm not sure who I
want to be…except free.
I may not have
finished high school, but I graduated with honors from the school of
hard knocks. Four years ago, after barely surviving the second most
terrifying ordeal of my life, I ran away from my foster parents and
never looked back.
with one reckless decision, I wind up married to Jaxon Hunter,
country music's biggest bad boy. Only to me, he's Jackson Morgan,
equal parts sweet and selfish, thoughtful and arrogant…prideful
as I might not to, I'm falling in love with him. Only a future with
Jackson can't happen without reconciling with his past. But I'm not
sure if I can endure the drama, the secrets…or competing with
the only woman Jackson has ever loved
no other place I’d rather be than on stage, singing to a full
house. Women scream my name. Guys want to be me, though they’d
never admit it out loud.
tonight, they’re yelling for an entirely different reason. They
want a reunion between my ex-girlfriend and me. She’s the only
woman I’ve ever loved.
to my right, I nod at the stage manager. He moves out of the way, but
my ex-girlfriend isn’t standing there. Bliss Davenport is.
She’s dressed like usual, loose jeans and a loose top with
curly hair falling over her shoulders.
watching me, like always. Only I don’t mind. In fact, I want to
join her in the shadows... I want to put my mouth on her again and
make her cry out my name.
Violet appears, holding her guitar and waiting for her cue. She rolls
her eyes when she catches me staring.
not staring at you
I want to shout, but I can’t, because we’re on stage and
I have to pretend I love Violet.
mean, I do love her.
sashays on stage, waving at the crowd and flirting with me. She’s
pretending she loves me, right now. She’s pretending that, as
we sing, there’s no one for her but me. Only I know she’s
wishing she was singing for another guy. The one she really wants to
be with, the one that has her heart now.
that’s not going to stop me. Oh, no.
the song is over and we exit the stage, I search for Bliss, but she’s
not there anymore, and try as hard as I might to prevent it from
happening, my heart sinks anyway.
supposed to look at Violet, not the damn wardrobe girl,”
around, there’s no one for miles it seems. The hallway is
empty. “I’ll do better tomorrow night.”
right you will.” Out of nowhere, he hits me in the back of my
head. Black dots dance in front of my eyes. “Just in case you
forget, there’s more where that came from.”
to give him the satisfaction of seeing me in pain, I make my hands
stay at my side, and I make my face remain neutral. “Just in
case you forget, I’m bigger than you now,” I snap.
barks out a laugh. “You won’t hit me back. Hell, you
won’t hit me first.” He walks away, confident that I
won’t take a swing.
rage fills me. I’m twenty-four years old and still afraid of
the one man that was supposed to keep me safe.
messed up is that?
head to my bus, throwing open the door, and immediately heading to my
favorite cabinet. Bypassing a glass, I hit the bottle. When the first
pull of whiskey burns my throat, I smile. And by the time half the
alcohol is gone, I’m floating a million miles away.
little girl with big green eyes and curly brown hair holds out her
hand. “I won’t hurt you,” she whispers.
did you find me?” My fort is the same color as the bushes, hard
to find unless you know exactly where to look.
wiggles a foot, her hand falling to her side. “I heard you
swipe the back of my hand under my nose. “Boys don’t
morning, I’d made breakfast for my momma’s birthday. Only
she’d gotten mad when I’d tripped in her room and spilled
syrup all over her new rug. She’d shoved me down, face first
into the rug, and smacked my bottom until it burned, and then started
smacking my legs.
she screamed something about her hand hurting and reached for one of
her slippers. My daddy had been the one to save me from her, but I’d
run away as soon as they’d started fighting.
is where I always go when they fight, or I’m feeling scared.
One day, though, I’m going to have my own house. A special
place that only the people I love and love me get to stay.
Junie. What’s your name?” Junie gets on her knees and
crawls in beside me.
While I was making breakfast for my momma, I saw Junie and her dad
pull up. Her daddy had gone into my daddy’s garage. She’d
skipped alongside them.
a nice name.” She holds out a bag of hot snaps. “Want
One time I ate a bag of those, and my stomach felt like it was on
fire for the rest of the day.
old are you?” she asks and eats a handful of those spicy
just five, no quarters.” She smiles at me, big enough so I can
see that there’s a tooth missing from the top of her mouth.
do, but my butt hurts too much. I’m wiggling around a lot, like
when I have to go pee, but can’t, because I’m not done
practicing my music lessons. “Swinging is for girls.”
gets all quiet again, then, “What would you like to do?”
she says, and then sighs. “My daddy and your daddy used to go
to school together. They were bestest friends.”
you like school?”
like school. My teacher is nice.” She keeps talking and I keep
listening, until she hands my guitar to me. “Play for me?”
she asks, batting her lashes at me.
my guitar in my hands, I feel better. Playing music always makes me
feel better. “What song would you like to hear?”
shrugs. “I dunno.” I play a couple songs for her. She
claps for me, and my chest puffs up.
as I might, I can’t think of a single happy song to play.
Instead, I set the guitar down and glance at her. “Does your
momma hit you?”
that why you were crying?”
I grab one of my ARMY men and pretend to shoot the bad guy, not
wanting to look at her.
time I tried to get my ball from the road, and Mrs. Willis almost hit
me with her car. My momma hugged me, popped my bottom, and then
hugged me again,” Junie says, and my head jerks up.
did your daddy do?”
popped my bottom, too, and then fussed at me for not listening.”
scrunched up my nose. “That’s it?”
hugged me later and I promised to listen next time.” Her eyes
get even bigger. “I’ll never, ever go in the road again.”
gets quiet again, and so do I. I wonder if she’s lying to me,
because sometimes kids do that when they don’t want to get in
trouble. I lie all the time so I don’t get in trouble with my
they hit you again, I’ll come save you.” Like my daddy
would. He always saves me. “Or if you just need me, I’ll
save you, no matter what.”
looks at me and leans close. She has freckles on her nose and cheeks.
“If you need me, I’ll save you, no matter what.”
I can tell her boys don’t need saving, her daddy calls her
She gives me a hug and leaves my safe place, pausing at the front to
whisper, “I’ll be back tomorrow.”
shows up again and again to play with me. Mostly we play big kid
games, but sometimes, Junie wants to play baby games, so I let her be
the mommy and I’m the daddy.
can’t tell anyone, or I won’t play with you anymore,”
I warn, not meaning it. My parents never let any of my friends from
school come over. I’m only allowed to go to their house. For
some reason, I don’t get invited very many places.
promise. “ Her face is serious as she hands me her baby doll.
“Hold her like this so she’ll feel safe.” She
brushes my shoulder with her hand, and I make a noise.
wrong?” Before I can stop her, she lifts up my sleeve,
revealing the four adult-sized fingerprint bruises on my skin. “Did
you fall down?”
hold on to her baby doll, trying to not to cry. “No.” I
hadn’t fallen. I’d gotten in between my momma and her
pills. I thought that if I threw them away, she’d be nice all
you want me to save you? I’ll tell my daddy—”
I shout, throwing her doll to the ground. “I don’t want
to play this stupid game anymore.”
starts to cry and picks up her doll, carefully checking her. “You
didn’t have to hurt my baby.”
not a real baby. It’s pretend and stupid.”
lower lip pokes out, fat tears rolling down her cheeks. “Friends
aren’t mean to each other, and they don’t say stupid.”
She starts walking away, and I can’t stand it.
I didn’t mean it.”
turns around. “Say you’re sorry,” she sniffs.
holds out her doll to me. “Now tell Teresa you’re sorry.”
Teresa,” I mumble.
job,” she says, like I’m her dog or something. Then she
holds out her hand. I stare at it, and then take it. “I hope
your boo-boos go away.”