A past she wants to forget, a secret that will change everything and a hunky guy who should have known better.
Katrina Quinn escapes the press but runs headlong into a past she longs to forget and the one guy in the whole world who could expose her biggest secret.
“So, why are you leaving?” I asked, growing brave.
“Well, what reason is there for me to stay? My parents are pricks, they grounded me just because I was out late last night with the guys. I’m fucking eighteen, Janie. They need to treat me like an adult. So what I busted the tractor and ruined half a field with my late night drive out with the lads? I said I was sorry. Then Eve was just as unreasonable. Told me I needed to grow up! She was just jealous I wasn’t out with her. She’s so fucking controlling, Janie. I just want to break away, make a new start. Because where am I going otherwise?”
“Aren’t you going to uni, then?” I asked, naïvely.
“Oh, Janie”—Ryan leaned over the hand brake and covered my hand with his—“you’re so sweet. But surely by now you know I’m completely thick. I can’t go to university. I’m just going to end up working for Dad.”
“You… You… You… You’re not thick,” I stuttered, my body humming with his touch, my voice fighting to break through the earthquake of emotion. “You’re really bright. And good with your hands. I’ve still got the jewellery box you made me for my tenth birthday.”
“You still have that?” Ryan asked, eyes widening, mouth softening into a smile. His hand was still over mine, heating my fingers to boiling point.
“Sure, it’s beautiful. Actually, it’s in my bag now.”
He scrunched his eyebrows in confusion.
“I’m running away too.”
“No,” he exclaimed, “really? Why are you running away?”
“Maybe you are thick, Ry,” I scoffed gently. “Can’t you guess? My dad left us, my mum’s not been the same since and I’m the butt of everyone’s joke at school. I can’t take all that anymore.”
I swallowed hard—a lump had formed in my throat. My skin felt electrified and there was a waterfall of tears pressing at the backs of my eyes.
“Oh, Janie, it’s been really tough for you, hasn’t it?”
His strong, soft hand cupped my cheek, and as a tear slipped down he gently wiped it away with his thumb.
“I still think you’re the best girl in the world,” he whispered, his breath caressing my lips he was so very close.
“And you’re not bad, for a boy,” I replied with a wry smile, remembering back to the first argument we’d ever had. Ryan hadn’t wanted to play pretend mummies and daddies with me even though I’d told him he could be a builder for his job and I’d let him play with my Lego. I’d run off crying and he’d followed me and told me he was sorry and that he thought I was the best girl in the world.
I had still been mad at him, so I had just said, “You’re not bad, for a boy.”
We’d laughed then, like six-year-olds do, and had got back to playing.
I snapped back to the present, his lips so close to mine, his hand on my cheek. I felt as though I was shaking, my whole body taken by a quake of shock and lust. His lips met mine and I stilled. Quiet peace reigned for a moment. I was at the pinnacle of bliss, everything was perfect and light. Then he moved his lips and the agitation returned. I burned deep in the pit of my stomach, my skin itched for his touch and I burned up, waiting for more.
He was my first kiss. I didn’t know what I was doing but instinct pushed me forward. I reached out to grab at his biceps, needing to feel more of him—he kept me grounded. I’d fall away into a chasm of darkness if I let go. I wanted to know it was real. Could I get him to pinch me to make sure I wasn’t dreaming?