Fearless Attraction (Cassie Series), страница 1
Sequel to Burning Attraction
-a novel by Ashley Beale-
Fearless Attraction © Ashley Beale, 2013.
This publication is protected under the US Copyright Act of 1976 and all other applicable international, federal, state and local laws, and all rights are reserved, including resale rights. You are not permitted to give or sell this book to anyone else. Any trademarks, product names, service marks, or named features are assumed to be the property of their respective owners, and are used only for reference. All rights are reserved.
This book is a work of fiction and any resemblance to any person, living or dead, any place, events or occurrences, is purely coincidental. The characters and story lines are created from the author's imagination or are used fictitiously.
Published by Ashley Beale
Edited by Amanda King
The perks of having my best friend pregnant is being able to raid her closet any time I want. Since her belly is continuously growing, my wardrobe is getting larger and larger as well. I'm not typically into dressing up or anything, as Aubrey is, but I do enjoy changing things up once in a while.
Tonight I'm going on a date and I need something fabulous to wear. So here I am, searching through Aubrey's closet, and when I find a light blue and black halter Chanel dress, I'm instantly in love. I hadn't seen this one before, I don't think she has ever worn it before, but she isn't here to tell me no, so on it goes.
Since Aubrey hasn't been around much- her and Mason are attached at the hip now- I've come to learn how to fix my own hair and makeup. I guess I had to learn sometime. I recently chopped off most of my hair, so now it rests on my shoulders, and has become one length, making it much easier to deal with. I clip half of it up using a beautiful silver barrette, and pull down two strands on either side of my face. After some mascara, lip gloss, and perfume, I'm good to go.
As I'm buckling my last heel on, my phone buzzes. I pick it up, the message reads, cant wait to see you tonight. I respond, saying I'll be there in twenty, then I hurry out the door.
When I arrive at the restaurant, one minute later than I stated, he is there waiting for me, looking more handsome than ever.
"Hi," he says, with a smile and a quick kiss to the cheek.
I smile back and accept the seat he offers me. The waiter soon comes over and we place our drink orders while searching over the menu.
"So what are your plans for Thanksgiving?" he asks when I place my menu on the table.
I don't want to even think about Thanksgiving, but since it's in six more days, I guess I have no choice. "Every year I just have dinner at my parents’ house, and they have friends of theirs that come too. How about you?"
"Pretty much the same, except we do lunch, so most of us can sit and watch the football game that evening."
"And make the ladies do the cleaning?" I tease.
He laughs but doesn't respond as the waiter brings our drinks, and we place our food orders. I haven't been feeling well since I heard the news, and my appetite has been down, so the only thing I end up ordering is a salad with grilled chicken.
"Just a salad?"
I feel shy when he asks me, and I'm not sure how much I should tell him. It's a strange topic for me to discuss, and it's the same reason I don't want to think about Thanksgiving. My life was starting to look alright for the first time in over a year until I heard that dreadful news. Finally, I look up and nod. "Yeah, I'm not feeling that well, sorry."
"I was going to tell you that you're looking a little pale, maybe tired. I'm sorry. If you want to go home, maybe do this another time, that is okay with me."
Knowing that I won't feel good any time soon, I just softly shake my head. "Thanks, that's sweet and all, but I'll be fine. But the whole ‘do this another time’ thing sounds good."
He smiles and I'm happy he seems to want to go on a second date. The thing is though, he doesn't give me the butterflies. I'm not sure why I even accepted his invitation for a date in the first place, and I'm really not sure why I offered for a second. Don't get me wrong, Kevin is a great guy. He is attractive, smart, athletic, and we get along great, but to date him, he isn't my type. I'm just doing what everyone keeps telling me to do, getting out and enjoying myself. Trying to move on.
Kevin and I have Introduction to Criminology together, and have been partners since the beginning of the school year. He had asked me out a few weeks ago, but I told him things were complicated and I couldn't picture myself going on a date any time soon. Last week he overheard me talking to Amy, another girl in class, about how I needed to get out more, and he took the opportunity to ask me again. This time I said yes. I honestly haven't wanted to get out more, but I'm sick of Aubrey and my mom telling me I'm going to become a cat lady if I don't get out every now and again.
We continue our small talk until the meal ends, and conversation flows easily, but I'm not feeling any more of a connection than when in class. We're friends, that is all I can see us as. And I hope he feels the same way, too. I cannot be anything more than friends, who casually hang out or go on dates. And I refuse to do the whole hook-up process.
Kevin gets the check, and I offer to pay for my meal but he insists it's on him. After I thank him, the two of us stand together and walk towards the exit. This is awkward, and I'm not sure what is supposed to happen now. I turn to say thank you again but he lightly brushes his lips against mine.
The look of horror must be written on my face as I just stand here and stare at him. I don't mean to be rude, but I wasn't expecting that. Maybe I should have, I'm not sure, but it was not in my mind what-so-ever. Kevin clears his throat before saying sorry, and it snaps me out of my daze.
"No, please don't be sorry. I just wasn't expecting that."
He smiles softly, but I can see the hurt in his expression still. "Are you just going home now?"
"Yeah," I answer him, "I guess so."
"Want to hang out for a little while longer? I know someone having a pretty awesome party tonight. It isn't supposed to be anything big. We could swing by and see how things are going. We can even take separate cars if it makes you feel better."
I think on it for a moment before finally agreeing. Maybe it's just what I need. I can handle a beer and some conversation, and I'll make both Aubrey and my mom proud for doing something besides getting a Netflix overload.
"Yeah, that'd be great," I tell Kevin. He smiles and leads the way to the parking lot.
I follow Kevin's car and when I hit the familiar street my body tenses right up. Of course the party is at Beta Theta Pi. I talk to Carson quite a bit, and I absolutely love his new girlfriend, Shey, but being in this house brings up way too many old memories for me, ones I'm not ready to visit.
Well, actually, ready or not, I'm visiting those memories, because I'm not even aware of the fact I've parked and am walking into the house, until I'm actually in the house. How did that even happen?
Kevin guides us to a pledge and grabs each of us a beer. He seems a little surprised that I not only accepted the beer but drink half of it in one gulp. "Thirsty?" he asks me, amused.
A little embarrassed by my behavior I smile and nod, then I look around. Many of the faces are familiar, between the parties last year and classes this year, but no one I really talk to. And certainly no one I hang out with, since I don't hang out with anyone anymore. Wow, I really am going to become a cat lady if this is how pathetic my life has become.
I decide to shake off my nerves and loosen up a little.
When I finish my beer, much sooner than I meant to, I grab another and join in conversation with Kevin and a guy named Shane from o
"Cassie, is that you?" I hear behind me.
I turn to find Carson and Shey standing a few feet from me. "Hey guys," I say in response. I walk over and Shey gives me a small hug.
"I was not expecting you to be here. And damn girl, you look amazing," Shey says, looking me over.
"Yeah, I wasn't expecting it either. I was on a date with Kevin," I say, pointing my thumb over my shoulder, "and he suggested we come here. I figured I may as well."
I play it cool but I do notice Carson tense up when I mention my date. He may have a girlfriend, and we may talk and get along, but he still clearly has feelings for me. I don't think Shey notices, and if she does, she does a good job at pretending. I do as well, I'd never let on that I knew, mainly because boyfriend is not in my vocabulary anymore. Not after this last month.
Kevin comes over and puts his arm around my shoulder while Shey and I finish talking about my date, which isn't very detailed. I can feel the pride radiating off Kevin though, and I feel bad because I don't think he realizes I'm really not into him. It's not his fault though, had last year not happen, especially the last month, he would most likely be in the date-able category.
"I need some fresh air," I say when I all of a sudden feel a little overwhelmed.
"Want me to come with you?" Kevin asks. Shey and Carson both say bye and walk away from me as I turn towards Kevin and peer into his deep brown eyes.
"Actually, I just need like ten minutes. I'll be right back. I haven't been out in a long time, so I'm feeling a little claustrophobic."
He smiles in an understanding way. "Okay, I'll be right over there with Shane when you're done."
I thank him and walk out the back doors onto the lawn. Thankfully my favorite bench seat is open and I take a seat in it, breathing in the fresh California air.
"Sweetie, is there any way you could come over? I need to discuss something with you," my mom tells me over the phone. I didn't really have the time, I was getting ready to go out the movies, but I could tell this was something important, so I told her I'd be over.
When I get to my parent's house, something doesn't feel right. There is thick tension in the air, something I never experienced with my family before. My dad is sitting at his desk, clearly upset about something, and my mom is standing outside the door with tears running down her face. Shit, this really isn't good.
"Mom, what is going on?" I ask from the door of my dad's office. He glances up at me the same time I look at him, and the look of sorrow covers all his features. He looks like he has aged several years in the week since I have seen him last. I look back to my mom and she is starting to sob, unable to tell me what is going on.
When she finally catches her breath, she glances at dad before looking me directly in the eyes, her hazel ones looking sadder than I had ever seen.
"Sweetie," she says, "I'm leaving your father."
"What are you doing out here all by yourself?" I jump drastically when my thoughts are interrupted. I hadn't noticed my eyes were filling with tears, but thankfully the lids are closed so you're not able to see them. I quickly blink away the rest before they have a chance to fall, and since its dark outside, you shouldn't be able to tell I'm upset.
I look over at him next to me and my stomach hurts in an instant. "I needed breathing room."
"Mind if I join you?"
"I'd rather you not." I stand up and walk back into the house. Who does he think he is?!
I spot Kevin and smile, but by the look on his face I know I look like crap. "Hey, I think I'm going to get going."
"I'll walk you to your car," he replies, and does just that.
When I get to the car he runs his hand down my arm. "Thanks for the date Kevin, I had a pretty good night. Sorry I wasn't better company."
"Next time," he says, "if you still want to."
Not sure why I say yes, but that is the word that leaves my mouth. Kevin leans in and kisses my cheek.
"Night Kevin," I say as he pulls away.
"Goodnight Cassie. Drive safe."
"Since I live in walking distance, I'm sure I will," I smile and accept his hug.
I watch as he starts walking back towards the frat house and out of the corner of my eye I see another figure staring at me. Why can't he just leave me alone?! I hurry and get into my car, but it's not fast enough, because as I'm about to pull away from the curb my passenger side door opens.
"Seriously? Do you not get the hint?" I snap at him.
I can't resist those perfect green eyes staring back at me though, so I try my dammest to look straight ahead.
"Cassie, we need to talk. You've been avoiding me for a month now!"
"Avery, you need to get out of my car. If I'm avoiding you, it's for good reasons."
"The bullshit going on in our parents' lives is none of our concern. Please look at me. We can talk about this, we can work through this."
"There is nothing to work through," I yell. When I turn towards him my eyes are filled with unshed tears. "Seriously, how can it work?"
As I stare at Avery, I notice he is losing tone and definition. Is he not doing his physical therapy anymore? He was supposed to for six months after being in a coma for a week, and it's only been three months. His face looks sunken again, like he hasn't been eating, and his smile is not nearly as breathtaking as it always had been.
He reaches over and puts his hand on my knee. "Can we please just go back to your place and discuss some things? I think it'd be better for both of us. I won't ask us to work things out if you don't want, but can I at least get some answers. You can't break up with me through text message and expect me not to try and chase you down."
"I thought you'd stop after a while. I mean, it's been almost a full month, come on!"
"Cassie," he says with the saddest tone I've ever heard him use. It breaks my heart, and although this is going to be hard to be alone with him, maybe it is for the best he gets some answers. He looks horrible.
I don't answer, instead I continue to pull away from the curb and head towards my apartment. I hope to God Aubrey is there so that the two of us aren't alone in the apartment together. I might, just maybe, give in. And that wouldn't be good. I've been doing so well the last month, I can't give in to temptation now. And I certainly cannot be with Avery, no matter how much he begs, or pleads, or attempts to seduce me.
I see Aubrey and Mason's vehicles parked outside the complex and know they are home. Thank you God! Avery seems to notice too and he gets uncomfortable for a moment. "Can we go to my place? I want privacy."
"We'll have privacy. If you want to talk, then you can come into my place and talk to me." I get out of the car, do a dramatic slam of my door, and walk into the apartment building. I'm not even sure if Avery is following until I open the apartment door and feel him standing a little too close. He still gives me those goosebumps and butterflies, which now make me nauseous.
When I make my way towards the living room, where Aubrey and Mason are sitting, Aubrey sits up on the couch and her eyes pop out of her head. I assume it's because of Avery, but apparently she doesn't notice him, and instead screams at me. "You bitch!"
She doesn't sound like she is joking, not in the least. I pause and my mouth drops a little. Mason tugs on Aubrey's arm and gives her the same look as me. "What the hell?" he asks Aubrey, but she is still giving me a look of disgust.
"What the hell?" I repeat Mason's words.
"You need to start asking me before you wear my stuff! I hadn't worn that for a reason, and I hadn't wanted you or anyone else wearing that either."
I look down at the dress and remember thinking I had never seen it before. I should have asked, but she has never had a problem with me wearing her stuff before. But she is also extremely hormonal, so I need to take that into consideration. "I'm sorry," I tell her and shrug. "I didn't know, I'll ask next time."
Mason nods his head towards Avery, and I think it's the first time Aubrey notices him. "What is he doing here?" she asks, this
"We're going to talk," I tell her, "so I was going to ask if you could allow us to have the living room, just the two of us?" I don't dare to go into my bedroom alone, I know exactly what will happen.
Aubrey gives me a hug as she passes by me, and Mason gives me a pat on the shoulder. He says hey to Avery, then they walk down the hallway to Aubrey's room, leaving Avery and I alone. I tell him I'll be right back as I change into sweats, then come back out and join him on the couch. I make sure there is plenty of space between us, because the second he touches me again, I don't think I can resist. It was hard enough in the car with his hand on my knee.
"What do you want to talk about Avery?" I ask, knowing damn well what he wants to talk about.
"You know damn well," he says, repeating my thoughts. And I do. But I don't know where to start.
"We wouldn't work. It was too hard to end things in person. I'm sorry it was through text, but you know why I had to leave you, you know why we would never work out, and you know it was way too hard to leave you in person. Had I not left you, you would've left me. And if we hadn't broken up, we would have been pulled apart."
"You don't know that," he states with way too much confidence.
"I do," I tell him, being just as confident. "You know it Avery, don't you dare say different."
He grunts in frustration and runs his hands through his hair. He has let it grow out some and it looks delicious on him. But I can't think that, I shouldn't think that, because I left him, and we can't be together, and I can't find him attractive. Dammit!
"Cassie," he sighs, "we were doing perfect. You were the reason I pulled through so fast, you've been my life saver. You've been my blessing. You're my angel. I woke from the coma and I saw your shining face, and I knew right then that my world was perfect. I knew everything was going to be alright. I would do anything to be with you. If moving across the country will make us work, then I'll do it. I'll do whatever it takes."