What? A different chapter from The Girl He Knows? Get out!
Here's what happened.
As the days drop away and bring me closer to the release of The Girl He Knows – I get more excited. Today, as I was trying to decide which books I wanted to buy and which I wanted to get from the library, I found myself looking for free chapters or excerpts.
And then I had that “DUH” moment. You know the one where you slap your head, twice, because you can't believe you missed such an obvious thing.
So now I can stop banging my head on the table.
I present to you- an excerpt- the beginning of my first chapter from The Girl He Knows. For your reading pleasure (I hope you find it enjoyable). If you want more, you'll can swing by the book page, access your link of choice and pick yourself up a copy. If you like what you read and want first crack at my new releases- sign up for my newsletter. I don't spam (or write often) but when I do…I always have something to give away.
Until then, my friends. Keep Moving Forward. And here you go-
The Girl He Knows
“Hank, honey. Time to get up.” Hank’s mom, calling through the door, wakes me from my sleep.
Disorientated, I sit up with a jerk. The blanket falls, exposing my bare breasts. Gasping, I pull the sheet up to my chin, squint, and do a long blink. My contacts are dry, which makes them feel stiff and scratchy and my vision blurry. Each blink offers a short snapshot of my surroundings.
I know where I am. Mortified, I drop my head and cover my eyes with the sheet. Why had I agreed to come here? What would make me throw caution to the wind and risk ruining a friendship?
Lust. That’s what.
“Hank, Dad says you have a tee time in one hour. Time to get up, sleepyhead,” his mom calls.
“Sweet Jesus,” I whisper. Panic seizes me as I glance to my left. Lying next to me is my best friend’s older brother, Hank. I’ve known Gigi and Hank my entire life. This is her childhood bedroom, now a converted guest room, and the voice on the other side of the thin door is their mother, Ms. Becky. I’d rather face all of hell’s demons than have her find me here, in her guest bed, naked, with Hank.
“Hmmphh? To slee….” Hank mumbles and his warm body rolls away, exposing his firm, well-defined backside. I close my eyes and count to ten. Now is not the time to get distracted by his assets or lost in the memory of how wonderful last night was. Now is the time to get the hell out of Dodge. I clutch the sheet to me as I shake his shoulder.
“Wake up,” I whisper. When he doesn’t move, I lean close to his ear. “Wake. Up. Your mom is at the door.”
He opens his eyes, or at least the one eye I see as he’s lying on his stomach.
The doorknob rattles, and I fling myself back, pull the covers up over my head, and try to burrow underneath him.
“I’m up, Mom,” Hank says, not even moving an inch.
“Well hurry. Dad’s anxious to get to the course.” Her voice fades, indicating she’s moving down the hallway.
“You can come out of hiding,” he says.
I flip the covers off my face, then clench them to my chest, “Hush. I don’t want them to know I’m here.”
“I figured. I don’t think they’ll care if they find you here.” His voice is a low baritone and I worry it will carry.
“Whisper,” I say. “I don’t care what you think. I don’t want them to know. I don’t want Gigi to know. I don’t want anyone to know.” Just saying it makes my stomach clench with apprehension.
“I don’t see the big deal.”
I sit up, rest on my elbow, and face him. “Of course you don’t. Let me tell you how it will go down if anyone finds out about last night.”
“This should be good,” he mumbles.
I continue, “I’ve been divorced a year now. Everyone wants to set me up because they think I need to be getting serious again. If our family gets wind of this…they’ll go nuts.” I shake my head. My mother would put an announcement in the social page of the paper, the engagement section, not five minutes after gaining this knowledge.
“I’m not so sure they’ll react like you think.” He’s a guy so he doesn’t understand the way a mother’s mind works, or his sister’s for that matter.
“You tell no one.” I point to emphasize my words.
“How do you figure you’re getting out of here if not through the front door? Dad and I are headed to the golf course. My mom is staying home.”
I give the room a quick scan. I want to leave unseen.
“There’s my exit.” I point to the window. I roll away and sit up again, tucking part of the sheet under my arms and wrapping the rest around my backside. I search for my clothes.
“The window? Really?”
“Sure. Trust me, it’s easy. I’ve done this before. Lots.” I wave my hand to emphasize that it’s no big deal.
Hank raises a brow. “You’ve done…what before?”
“Oh my God, not that. I mean, I haven’t done this”—I point to him—“but I’ve snuck out the window. With Gigi.”
His lips twitch. I’m prepared to slap my hand over his mouth should he start laughing.
“What if someone goes outside and sees you? It’s”—he turns to look at a clock— “eight-thirty.”
“They won’t know I’ve come out the window. They’ll think I’m coming from the back.” Gigi’s bedroom is on the side of the house. Gigi and I have run every possible scenario. This is something I’ve done often enough I could label it a skill. “And you’ll be in the kitchen distracting your parents. Close your eyes.”
“Huh?” He rests his arms behind his head and yawns. It must be nice to be so relaxed.
“Close your eyes. I want to get out of bed and get dressed.” I’m not ready to be naked in front of Hank in broad daylight. I’m pretty confident my backside isn’t as well defined as his.
“Do you not remember last night?”
“Just shut up and do it.” When he closes his eyes, I toss my pillow over the top of his head. I swing my feet out of bed and lower them to the ground. The crinkle of a wrapper halts my flight.
I peer over the edge of the bed where condom wrappers lay scattered.
“Holy shit,” I whisper and look over at Hank to find him smiling.
The light of day casts a whole new perspective on last night’s choices, and even
though I thought I was making a sound decision, it’s obvious now I was conned by lust…and alcohol. Enough to impair my common sense and my moral compass, but not so much I can’t remember.
“Hurry, I want to get up, too.” He grunts when I punch him in the gut.
I slide out of bed, pulling the sheet with me. Hank pulls back when I’m three feet away, my bra and panties are just out of reach. I give a firm tug and meet resistance. Hank still has the pillow over his eyes, but is it enough? Will he look? I snap the sheet in a hard tug and let go when he resists. The fabric floats back, covers his head, and I dash to scoop up my panties and bra. I have one leg in my jeans when another knock at the door startles me, and I fall back onto the bed. When the doorknob rattles, I roll onto the floor and try to crawl under the bed, but bump my head on the frame. I don’t fit.
“Hank, here’s coffee,” his mom calls.
Hank jumps off the bed and snatches up condom wrappers. He puts his pants on with amazing speed, tucking the wrappers into his front pocket. I jump up and hop toward the closet as I pull on my pants, stopping only to gather my shirt, purse, and boots. I ease the folding door closed. The closet is empty save for a few Rubbermaid bins. I dress with deliberate movements, careful not to bump a wall, pausing, one arm in my shirt, the other midair, when the low creak of the bedroom door opening paralyzes me.
“Oh, you’re getting dressed. Good. I thought you might be having a hard time waking up. You got in pretty late. Did you have a good time last night?”
I cover my mouth with my hand to keep from snorting. He’d better say he had a fabulous time. I press my head into my palms. What is wrong with me? I’m talking about Hank. Yes, last night I experienced alter-my-psyche, toe-curling sex with him, my best friend’s brother. It’s the last part that makes me want to hurl. If our acquaintance was recent, not a familiar one with the baggage of a past, if I wouldn’t have to hear about it for years to come from my family or his sister, if I knew he could walk away after a few more encounters wanting nothing more, I wouldn’t hesitate to repeat last night. Often. This is wrong on so many levels I can’t even wrap my mind around it.
The last thing I should care about is whether or not he enjoyed last night. I should care about leaving without doing any more damage. Still, I wonder—what did he think of last night?
“Yeah, it was fun. Tell Dad I’ll be ready in a minute.”
Fun? He closes the door and I resume dressing. My bra is on inside out, but I don’t care, I want to leave. I put my purse on messenger-style and reach to pull on my knee-high socks.
Hank opens the closet door. “You can come out. She’s gone.” He has a mug of coffee in his hands and a grin on his face.
“Remind me why we came here?” I look up from the closet floor. Neither of us lives here, in Lakeland. We spent last night at a concert in Orlando and could have gone north to my house instead of coming south.
“I’m helping Dad balance his business accounts this weekend. You said you
thought it’d be fun to come with me.”
“Yep, fun.” I say. There’s that word again. Fun. Clearly, it’s synonymous with
“I’ve had fun. You haven’t?” He offers me his hand.
“You would describe last night as fun?” I pull on my boots, forego his hand, and
scoot past him until I can stand.
“Yeah, fun. What did you have?”
“I don’t know.” Maybe I had my mind blown, a fantastic night, or experienced a
whole different level of pleasure. Whatever I had, Hank had fun.
“Never mind. Help me with this.” I walk to the window and ease up the blinds. Hank doesn’t move, just stands by the closet with his coffee. His dark hair is so
short it hardly looks mussed and last night’s smooth face and jawline are now covered with the shadow of a beard. When we first kissed, yesterday, I held his face between my hands. Today, I want to stretch across the space, hold his face again, and compare the touch, to commit both to memory. My palms itch with need.
“You’re really doing this? You think this is a better option than going through the front door and saying you crashed here because you drank too much?” he asks.
“Yes, I do.” I ease up the well-oiled window and pop out the screen like a pro. Ten years later and I still have skills. Gigi and I used to sneak out of her room without even waking the dog. I lean over to lower the screen to the ground and check to make sure no one is outside. The desk chair is the perfect height to get me up onto the windowsill, and Hank steps aside to let me drag it over.
I whisper, “I’ll hand you the screen, you can put it back, and then you’ll need to go distract your parents.” I climb up and lower one leg over the sill.
He sips his coffee, makes a face, and puts it on the desk.
“Did you hear me?” I ask in a loud whisper. If I wasn’t sitting on a windowsill, half in, half out, this moment would be like all the others I’ve shared with Hank: comfortable, easy, laughable at one point or another.
“Yeah, yeah. I heard you.” He shakes his head with what I’m sure is disbelief. After all, I’m a twenty-five-year-old sneaking out a bedroom window like a fourteen- year-old.
“Just do it,” I tell him then jump off the sill onto the ground. I hold the screen and wait for his head to appear. When it does, I hand it to him.
“Don’t forget to distract your parents.”
“How could I?” he mumbles and fixes the screen.
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