Autumn Dorey had no problem leaving her hometown of Newpine and the friends there who’d betrayed her. Everyone thought they knew what happened the spring night Autumn’s world fell apart. Vicious rumors about the incident circulated, and she had to be homeschooled the last year of high school to escape her tormentors. All she wants now is to get away from it all and start over at Cook University. She leaves everything but the memory behind—something she swore she’d never forget—and sets off to rebuild what was broken.
Blake Preston is precisely the type of guy Autumn wants to avoid. He’s gorgeous, arrogant and the college’s beloved football star. As much as she believes he’s someone she should steer clear of, avoiding him proves to be impossible. He shows up everywhere around campus, offering her a no-strings attached friendship.
Autumn can’t deny Blake stirs up emotions she thought fled years ago. But things he’s been hiding begin to emerge and collide with her past, leaving her heart ravaged in their wake.
My chest felt tight as he stepped forward and completely closed the space between us. His fingers caressed my cheek before he ran his thumb across my lips. “Can I kiss you, Autumn Dorey?”
He didn’t know how perfect he was making the moment for me. We were in a rundown frat house and he had turned our first kiss into something amazing I would remember forever. Because he was asking. Blake wasn’t plundering my lips as if it was his right; he was giving the choice to me.
“Yes,” I breathed and lifted up onto my toes. I closed my eyes and seconds later Blake’s lips were on mine. I had been kissed before, but kissing Blake was incomparable. Although his lips remained on my mouth, I felt his kiss everywhere. He ignited my body and I never wanted him to pull away. His lips were soft and the kiss sweet. With Blake’s reputation, I expected more tongue and more aggression. I had made so many wrong assumptions about this guy—because he knew exactly the way to kiss me that would leave me weak in the knees.
I didn’t know who pulled away first. I leaned into him and set my ear against his chest. His arms wrapped around my back and he rested his chin on top of my forehead. He felt solid against my body and it felt like I finally found someone who would get me. I had been ostracized, and living on my own felt like the only way I could be safe. But the amazing thing was being in Blake’s arms didn’t steal away my security blanket. Being with him gave me the sense I’d been wrong to shut away my heart. It erased the last lingering doubts I had about Blake being good for me.
Heather graduated from the College of New Jersey in 2005 and holds a bachelor's degree in English. Her freelance work has appeared in publications such as USA Today, Livestrong.com, Outlook by the Bay and Step in Style magazine. She resides in Trenton, New Jersey with her husband and two sons. Besides writing, Heather is a pop culture fanatic and has an obsession with supernatural novels and TV shows.
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