April 18th is right around the corner. I can't believe I'm about to release this story. I started in the fall writing my first new adult, and now its coming down to hitting publish soon. eek! Enjoy chapter one and consider adding it to your goodreads lists.
I’m discovering who I am in this world. Venturing out on my own, away from my parents, and finding out what life is really all about. College isn’t as easy as I thought it would be, especially with my best friend Evan becoming someone I hardly recognize.
But then I met Gabe. He changed everything. My life will never be the same.
I lived my life day to day, waiting for something great to happen.
Then she walked into the coffee house, with her long legs and killer smile. I had to know her. Nothing was going to stop me. She hypnotized from the moment I laid eyes on her.
And after the first kiss, my fate was sealed to Paisley.
“I wish you were coming with me, Paisley. I can’t wait to get out of this place. I can’t believe you’re sticking around.” As usual, my best friend Kristy was complaining.
I shrugged. I liked it here. I’ve lived in the same house my whole life, and the idea of packing up and leaving scared me. I was already going to be forty minutes from my parents when I moved out. “My parents got me an apartment near campus. So, it isn’t like I’m going to be under their roof anymore.”
“But still, live a little. Thank God Evan lives here, too. Hopefully, he can make sure you get out some.”
I rolled my eyes. All I ever heard from her and my childhood friend, Evan, was to let loose and live. “I think I can get into a good bit of trouble living here in downtown Athens.”
“If you say so. I hope you actually go to some college parties this year.”
Parties, crap. I’d almost forgotten Evan was taking me to one tonight. “I’m sure I will. But I’m not you, and don’t have this desire to spread my wings and fly.”
“I’m just sayin’.” Kristy leaned against her car.
Yeah, I heard her all right. She’d been giving me a hard time because I didn’t have the same desire as her to live in Florida and party it up on the beach. It was hot here, especially today. It’d be even worse in Florida. Though, I suppose I’d have the ocean to dip in… “I got to get to work soon, and I need a coffee ASAP.”
“All right, text me later. We’ve only got a few short weeks before we start college.” She hugged me. “When do you get the keys to your new place?”
God, she was really going to kill me now. “My parents already have them.”
“Paisley!” She shook her head. “You need an intervention. It’s time to cut the cord from your ‘rents.”
Grinning, I giggled. “Get out of here.”
As she climbed into her car, I heard her mumble something, but I didn’t pay much attention. I had just over thirty minutes before I needed to be at the used bookstore I currently work at. It’s within walking distance of campus, as well as where I currently stood, thank God. But first, I needed coffee, and I knew just the place I wanted to go. I hadn’t been there yet, but each time I passed the place, I wanted to stop in. I wasn’t putting it off a moment longer.
As I walked down the sidewalk in the Georgia heat, I tried not to let what Kristy said bother me. I wasn’t attached to my parents. Not really. I had a good relationship with them. We didn’t fight much. The horror stories Kristy used to tell, though. Her mom and her did not get along. She spent most of her time with me because of the constant screaming. I wasn’t surprised she had no problem leaving the state and not looking back.
So maybe it was time to move out. I was eighteen, nineteen in a few months, after all. I guess it was time to do it, but I just wasn’t feeling that push. Maybe once classes started and the commute was too much.
Next to the entrance of the coffee shop was a bike. Not a bicycle; a big motorcycle. I rolled my eyes at the pretty piece of machinery. How could someone be so inconsiderate to park there? It wasn’t a parking spot. Some people had no common sense, or even cared about how rude they were. Hopefully, some cop would ride by and give this jerk a ticket.
The dimly lit shop threw me as I stepped inside, the only lights by the register. The walls were painted a deep blue, and it was cool, almost to the point my skin bubbled up with goose bumps.
Note to self: Don’t come here to study without a flashlight and sweatshirt.
The various drink offerings were written in neon chalk on a giant chalkboard by the register. I had to admit, it looked kind of cool. The place had a laid back air to it and would probably be a great place to hang out with friends.
As I stared at the board, I got the feeling someone was watching me. Glancing over my shoulder, I noticed him in the back corner. He was definitely staring at me.
I tried to look away, but I was drawn to him. He sat there, leaning back in the chair, as he took a drink from his cup, still gazing at me. Then I noticed the helmet on the table. There was no way that guy had the motorcycle out front. He wore a pink button-down shirt and dark jeans that appeared to be pressed.
“Can I help you?”
I spun and saw a young woman behind the counter. “Uh, yeah. Sorry.”
“Didn’t mean to scare you.” She smiled as she twirled her long, brown locks.
I didn’t mean to stare at that guy for so long. It was like he’d hypnotized me. “I’ll take a tall iced mocha.”
The girl picked up a cup and with sharpie in hand asked, “Name?”
After I dug out the exact change—yes, I’m one of those people—I stepped back to wait. Every nerve in my body told me he still watched me, but I wouldn’t look at him. Absolutely not. Okay, one glance won’t hurt.
Damn. He was hot. He kept his dark hair short, but long enough that if I kissed him, my fingers could tangle in his hair.
Kiss him? I would not be doing that.
“Paisley,” the lady behind the counter called.
I turned my attention from the strikingly sexy guy back to the barista and thanked her as I took my cup. I needed to get out of here. Keeping my focus on the door, and away from the hot guy, I made a beeline for the door. Before I could make my escape, he reached out and touched me, stopping me in my tracks. Wow, I hadn’t realized his table was so close to the door.
“Hey.” He grinned, oh so sexily.
Taking a deep breath I said, “Hi.”
“I’ve never seen you in here before.”
If I’d known this place was full of hotties, I’d have been here more. “First time.” I took a sip of my drink.
“I hope it’s been a good experience. Perhaps I’ll see you again.” He tapped his fingers on the table, never blinking.
“Maybe.” I needed to get out of here before I found myself in a staring contest with him again.
I opened the door, virtually blinded by the sunlight after being in the dark coffee house. As I sipped the amazingly good coffee drink, I spotted the motorcycle again. Maybe I should go back inside and tell him what a parking spot is. Or maybe I shouldn’t. Chances were I’d never see him again.
My cell beeped in my back pocket, reminding me I had ten minutes until I had to be at work. No time to dwell on Mr. Sexy Coffee Guy, or his choice of a parking spot.
* * *
I grabbed my purse from under the counter and filled out the time sheet. It was Friday night, and Evan was dragging me to a damn party. After the last few invites, I’d run out of excuses to avoid going.
Evan and I had been neighbors our whole lives. Our parents always envisioned we’d marry, and all that junk, but he was just a friend. I don’t think either of us ever saw the other as anything more.
After saying goodbye to my boss, I left the book store and saw Evan leaning against a light pole. I was glad he was there. With it dark out, it would’ve been harder to find him. He was dressed in cargo shorts and a T-shirt with some logo on it. He’d been growing his blond hair out a bit, and it was to the point he could brush it to the side.
“Evan,” I called, waving my hand.
“Hey, Pais. Ready to go?” He came over to me, and his cologne was so strong I almost gagged.
“Ready as I’ll ever be.”
He looped his arm with mine. “Let’s take your car. I feel like getting sloshed. We can crash at my place after, if you want.”
Evan had already moved out and in with a roommate a week after graduation. I didn’t exactly like the guy he lived with. “I don’t plan on getting drunk.”
“That’s why you’re driving, Little Miss Goodie Two Shoes.”
I rolled my eyes feeling like this evening was going to suck already. “Don’t make fun of me, or I won’t go.”
“Oh, you’re going.” He pulled me toward my car.
“Just promise not to drink too much. I don’t feel like dragging your ass down the sidewalk in these shoes.” I unlocked my car, and we climbed in. “Buckle up.”
He winked and glanced at my strappy sandal heels, but didn’t say anything.
“Got an address?”
Evan handed me his phone with the navigation app already open to tell me how to get tonight’s party. The drive was quick, and I parked on the lawn like many of the other vehicles. I had secretly been hoping the party might be a bust, but from the crowd already amassed, and the loud thump of bass coming from the house, that definitely wasn’t the case.
The music grew louder as we entered. I wondered how long it would take until the cops showed up. A couple guys hollered out Evan’s name and he waved. He then leaned close to my ear. “Want a beer?”
I raised an eyebrow.
“Just one, Pais. That’s it.”
Glancing around, it seemed like everyone had drink. Talk about pressure. “I guess. But just one.”
I followed Evan like a lost puppy through the crowd. He popped the top off a brown bottle and handed it to me. I took it, but didn’t take a drink.
“Now what?” I felt so out of place. This wasn’t my first party. I’d gone to several in high school, but I’d known everyone. So far, I hadn’t recognized a single person. I hated this. I didn’t want life to change.
“Mingle. Half the people here are toasted. Just go talk to them.” He put an arm around my shoulders. “My roommate’s over there. We’ll start there.”
Great. This night was improving with each passing minute. We walked through the crowd to see Pete, who had a pretty brunette sitting in his lap—of course. “‘Sup?”
“How’s it hanging?” Evan tugged me hard against his side. What was up with that?
“I’m feeling pretty good right about now.” Pete tilted his bottle up, finishing it. “Hey, Paisley.”
“Hey.” I tucked a loose strand of hair from my ponytail behind my ear. I socialized with Pete as little I could. Since Evan had started living with him, he’d been getting into more and more trouble. I blamed Pete.
I noticed the way Pete eyed Evan’s arm around my shoulder. Did I want Pete to think Evan and I were together? At least then he wouldn’t approach me. Evan said the guy liked women—a lot. I’d never seen him with the same one twice.
Pete leaned close to the girl on his lap. “Will you go get me another?”
She hopped off his legs and wandered off. I felt like following her and telling her the things I’d heard about Pete. Save her the heartache, but for all I knew, she might be like Pete.
“You gonna let loose tonight?” Pete asked as his gaze wandered over my body. “Let your sexy blonde hair down.”
“You never know.” Though I knew that wouldn’t be happening.
I felt Evan’s hand in my hair, tugging at my ponytail. I jerked away from him.
“What are you doing?”
He took a drink. “He has a point. You look better with it down.”
Since when did he care? “My hair’s been up all day. It’ll look like shit if I take it down.”
Evan groaned and appeared irritated, but I didn’t care. Whatever had gotten in to him was pissing me off. If we weren’t such good friends, I’d get out of here. I took a long swig from my beer. Maybe this would take the edge off.
“Fuck. What’s he doing here? I hate that guy.” Pete sat up straight, staring at the door as the brunette returned and resumed her place in his lap.
I turned to see who he was talking about. Standing at the entrance of the house was Mr. Sexy Coffee Guy. And once again, he was looking right at me.
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