If Grace Johnson knew one thing at all, it was that all men were dirtbags.
All men … except Noah Bennet.
“I was lost in his eyes. Lost in his tears. My goal was to pull him out of the darkness … even if it dragged me in as well.”
If Noah Bennet knew one thing at all, it was he needed Grace Johnson.
Needed her … desperately.
“My pain was pulling me under … she was my only saving grace.”
Grace is willing to put everything on the line to help bring back the man she is hopelessly in love with. Even if it costs her the future she’s been longing for.
“If finding you means losing a part of me … I’ll do it.”
ADD TO GOODREADS
*Subject to change before publishing* Unedited version*
I sat in the library as I rolled my neck around and let out a sigh. My mind had been pre occupied and I couldn’t afford to not be focused. I’d fallen behind in my classes when Lauren got sick.
Glancing back down at my book, I tried to read the words on the pages but my mind quickly drifted off to a memory of Noah and me.
Sitting back, I let the sun warm my face as Noah rowed the canoe.
“So are you going to just sit there while I do all the work, Grace?” Noah asked in a teasing voice.
“Yep,” I said with a smile.
Keeping my eyes closed, I could tell he had turned directions. Trying not to smile, I asked, “Are you getting tired, Noah? Was last night to much for you?”
Noah chuckled. It was the first night I’d stayed over at his apartment he shared with one other guy who also attended A&M. I wasn’t sure why I was keeping how close Noah and I were getting away from everyone. Maybe it was my way of keeping this relationship distant from my real world. That or I didn’t feel like answering Alex, Lauren, and Libby’s constant questions.
Whatever my reasons were, I pushed it from my mind.
“Baby, you could never be to much.”
Opening my eyes, I tilted my head and gave Noah a sexy smile. As hard as I tried to keep from falling in love with him, I fell deeper every moment we spent together.
“Is that a challenge?” I asked as I leaned forward, making sure to squeeze my arms together so my breasts showed just the right amount of cleavage since I only had a tank top over my swimsuit.
Lifting his eyebrows, Noah glanced over to the shore. When I looked over my shoulder, there was a small path. Noah paddled us over and jumped out. Reaching his hand out for mine, I placed it softly in his. The rush I got just from his touch about caused me to let out a moan. Stepping up onto the shore, I watched as Noah pulled the canoe up and grabbed my hand.
Leading me down the path, he pushed me against a tree and smiled at me.
“That is indeed a challenge. Let’s see if you can keep up with me now, Grace.”
My heart dropped to my stomach as I fought back those three words.
Lifting me up, Noah pushed his hard dick into me as I gasped. Desire pulled in my lower stomach and I was ready for anything Noah was going to give me.
Except for the three little words he was clearly not afraid to say.
“I love you, Grace.”
My mouth parted open slightly as I whispered back, “I love you too, Noah.”
My phone buzzed on the table, pulling me from my memory. Glancing down, I saw it was Alex.
Alex: Hey. I’m finished with classes today. Want to go grab some food?
Me: Where’s your hubby?
Alex: Sleeping. We both have been trying to get caught up on classes.
Letting out a laugh, I nodded my head at my phone.
Me: I love Lauren, but she screwed this semester up!
Alex: Right? So food or not? I’m starving and my baby wants food.
Me: I’ll meet you at Fuego’s.
Alex: Yes! I was hoping you’d say that. See you there in a few.
Smiling, I stood and gathered up my books. Turning to head out of the library, I came face to face with Doug Richards.
My eyes traveled over his body as I suppressed the moan I wanted to let out. Damn he was fine as hell and it had been to long since I’d had sex. My mind had been filled with memories of Noah and I was horny as hell.
Pushing all thoughts of Noah away, I smiled as I quickly gave my lower lip a seductive bite and purred, “Hey, Doug.”
Doug’s eyes lit up. I’d always been friendly with Doug, but this was the first time I’d ever put a little bit of something more into my normal Oh hey Doug how’s it going.
Seeing Noah at the hospital with his new wife only proved to me that I needed to move on. I couldn’t shake the way Noah had looked at me though. I swear I saw the same look in his eye as I saw the first night he made love to me. Actually, the first time he ever looked at me I saw the passion.
“Plans for tonight?” Doug asked as he ran his fingers lightly up and down my arm. My body shook with the idea of being with someone. I needed a good hard fuck to pull me out of this funk. What would one mindless one-night stand do?
It would at least ease the throb between my legs. I’d gone through to many vibrators. I was ready for the real thing.
Licking my lips, I winked. “I believe you’re picking me up around eight? Taking me to dinner and then a little bit of … dessert afterwards.”
The smile that spread across Doug’s face caused me to smile. “I like that plan.”
My eyes roomed his body as they landed on his lips. Hopefully he was a good kisser. He had big shoes to fill.
Reaching into my purse, I took out a pen and grabbed Doug’s arm as I wrote down my address. “See ya at eight handsome.”
The second I turned to walk away I wanted to spin around and tell him to forget it. That I forgot I had plans with a friend. Worry my lip, I continued to walk toward the exit door.
No, Grace. It’s time to move on. What I needed was one evening of pure fun and Doug was the one who was going to provide it. Noah was married and I needed to stop feeling sorry for myself. What we had shared was amazing and I let it spoke me. I pushed away the only man I’d ever truly loved.
It was time to move on.
Tonight I was getting laid.
“What do you mean you have a date?” Alex asked with a stunned look on her face.
I took a bit of my taco and shrugged my shoulders. “You know, Alex. That thing you do when you’re single and haven’t had normal sex in I don’t know how long. Even my vibrator wants me out of the house.”
Alex giggled as she quickly looked around. “You’re terrible, Grace Hope Johnson.”
Shrugging my shoulders, I said, “Hey, you’re getting dick every night. I wonder if I should get a Brazilian wax?”
Laughing, Alex shook her head. “That was random as hell.”
“I just got to thinking, I think I want my hoo-ha to smooth for tonight.”
Alex started choking on her taco. “What? Grace, you can’t do that today and then have sex tonight?”
Pulling my head back in a shocked expression, I asked, “Why not?”
“Have you ever had anything waxed on your body before?”
Tilting my head, I thought about it. “Nope, I can’t say that I have.”
Leaning in toward the table, Alex motioned for me to come closer. “Grace, it hurts like hell to get waxed for the first time. I don’t think you want your hoo-ha to be tortured before you dive back into the whole sex thing again. I mean I get the whole, I just want mindless sex thing, but do you really want to mistreat her like that all in one day?”
About to state my case, I heard someone clear her throat. Alex and I both turned to see a mom staring at us with her daughter sitting there with her mouth dropped to the table. Smiling, I said, “I’m not going to have mindless sex tonight … well actually I am but I always use protection and… ouch!” I called out as I felt a stabbing pain in my shin from where Alex kicked me. Turning back to her, I yelled, “What the hell, Alex?”
Alex eyes were widened as she shook her head. “Grace, stop talking.”
The mother stood and motioned for her daughter to follow as Alex sat back and moaned, “Great, some mother I’m going to be.”
Letting out a laugh, I shook my head and said, “You’re going to be a kick ass mother. Just like Ellie. Hey, so we never really got to talk about how your parents and Will’s parents reacted to the big baby news.”
Alex, shrugged her shoulders. “I think they were all in shock. My father biggest worry was school. I’m so glad we’re all graduating this December.”
Taking a bite of my taco, I nodded my head. “Yeah, I’m glad too.” After swallowing the taco, I worried my bottom lip. I had been trying to figure out how to ask Alex if she had changed her mind about our plans.
Alex reached across the table and took my hand in her hand. “The baby doesn’t change anything, Grace. I want to still follow our dream of opening up Wild Flower. We’ve been dreaming of opening a flower nursery for years. Nothing is going to change that.”
I instantly felt my body relax. Our whole focus throughout school had been to open a nursery between Fredericksburg and Mason. The news of Alex having a baby had scared the piss out of me. Smiling, I said, “I’m not going to lie, I thought I might be doing this on my own and I was scared as hell.”
Letting out a chuckle, Alex shook her head. “No way. Will and I have already talked about it. I fully intend on pursuing our dream, Grace.” Shrugging her shoulders, she said, “Besides, we will own the place! I can bring the baby. She learn to dig in the dirt probably before she learns to walk.”
Sitting up straighter, I let out a gasp. “Oh my gosh! We can build a little baby nursery besides your office. I mean, I’m sure y’all will have more kids in the future. I bet my dad or your dad could easily add that into the design. Move that storage space somewhere else.”
Alex’s eyes lit up as she nodded her head. “Grace, that’s a great idea! This will be perfect for both of us.”
Narrowing my eyes, I let out a confused chuckle. “How is a baby room perfect for me?”
Giving me a sly smile, Alex said, “For when you have kids.”
Nearly choking on my tea, I held up my hands. “Whoa! Whoa! Holy hell woman! Don’t even speak such words. This girl has no plans for kids in the near future. Fuck, I’m not even having sex and the last time I checked … you can’t get knocked up from a vibrator.”
Alex looked around as she put her finger up to her lips. “Why do you have to talk so loud?”
“Why do you have to say such things? My God! There is already something in the water with you and Libby both getting pregnant. I’m sure Lauren is probably going to be announcing something in the next few months. Well … no thank you. I’m not having kids any time soon.”
Alex’s eyes looked sad. “Grace, do you not want kids?”
My heart instantly hurt as I plastered on a fake smile. “Someday I’m sure I’ll want kids. Right now it is the furthest thing from my mind. All I want right now, Alex, is to move on and have a good time.”
“Grace, I talked to Noah the day Lauren got out of the hospital. He desperately needs to talk to you.”
Swallowing hard, I fought to hold back my tears. “W-what did he say?”
Shaking her head, Alex said, “He asked how Lauren was and then for your number. I gave it to him. He said he needed to talk to you.”
Feeling my entire body start shaking, I quickly stood up. “Why would you give him my phone number, Alex? He’s married for Christ’s sake! Besides, it’s been over two weeks since Lauren left the hospital. He must not be that desperate to talk to me. Damn it, Alex. Why did you give him my number?”
Alex motioned for me to sit down. “Grace, just give me one second to explain.”
Grabbing my food and drink, I glared at Alex. “I have to go, I have to head home and grab a book a forgot and head to class.”
“Grace! Let me finish talking!” Alex called out.
Racing to the door, I pushed it open and quickly dragged in the fresh air. Glancing at my watch, I sighed. I was going to be late for class now. Quickly making my way to my car, my phone buzzed. Pulling it out of my purse, I saw it was Alex.
Alex: I didn’t mean to upset you. It’s just he seemed desperate. You really need to talk to him, Grace.
Rolling my eyes, I threw my purse and phone onto the passenger seat and headed back to the house I shared with Alex and Will. Now that Luke, Libby, Lauren, and Colt had moved out it seemed cold and empty all the time. Even when they did live there, I spent more time at Noah’s place than I did at home. Well, at least I did until I freaked out and pushed him away.
Wiping my tears away, I concentrated on thinking about nothing but my date tonight with Doug. I’ll deal with Alex later. Right now I needed to push Noah Bennet far from my memory. I needed to move on and this date tonight was long over due.
Copyright Kelly Elliott 2015
Kelly Elliott is married to a wonderful Texas cowboy who has a knack for making her laugh almost daily and supports her crazy ideas and dreams for some unknown reason…he claims it’s because he loves her!
She’s also a mom to an amazing daughter who is constantly asking for something to eat while her fingers move like mad on her cell phone sending out what is sure to be another very important text message.
In her spare time she loves to sit in her small corner overlooking the Texas hill country and write.
One of her favorite things to do is go for hikes around her property with Gus….her chocolate lab and the other man in her life, and Rose, her golden retriever. When Kelly is not outside helping the hubby haul brush, move rocks or whatever fun chore he has in store for her that day, you’ll find her inside reading, writing or watching HGTV.