Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance
Author: Jessica Lemmon
Series: Lost Boys #2
Available Formats: eBook
Jessica Lemmon’s heartfelt Lost Boys series returns as a steamy kiss stirs things up between a cocky college boy and the girl who won’t give him the time of day.
Caden Wilson is away at school chasing a bright future when a car accident rattles his brain and takes his voice away. Now he’s living at home again, faced with the prospect of losing his speech forever. Worse, his therapist just so happens to be a girl he knows… and despises. But as her gentle touch breaks down his barriers, Cade can’t deny feeling the heat.
Tasha Montgomery nearly watched Cade die on that lonely stretch of road. She knows how lucky he is just to be alive, and how grateful he should be that she’s helping him. But he doesn’t need words to express his distaste for her. Which is why Tasha’s caught off-guard when Cade lets his kiss do the talking—and puts a smile on both their faces.
Before long, Tasha’s falling hard. She just hopes that, once he’s recovered, Cade has the courage to speak up for the promises their bodies have made.
Includes a special message from the editor, as well as an excerpt from another Loveswept title.
I hadn’t slept much lately, so I on those nights when I lay awake, I came up here and cleared it out. Half the shit went into the garbage—stuff no one needed, like extra garden hoses and malfunctioning holiday lights—and the other half went into storage in the garage. Some of those boxes were filled with my mom’s stuff. I doubted she’d want it back, but I kept it anyway.
I unpacked a box, pulling open another dresser drawer to dump in my T-shirts and sweatshirts. That was the last of my clothes. I kicked the box off to one side. I’d carry it back into my old bedroom and pack up my closet next. Moving from the house to the space above the garage wasn’t my idea of living the high life, but my current job as a busser at Oak & Sage didn’t afford me much in way of a place of my own. That would change, and soon, but in the meantime this place gave me the privacy I needed.
I made the bed next, stretching a set of navy blue sheets over the mattress and surreptitiously checking out my therapist as she sat on my couch.
Blond-haired, blue-eyed, great ass. She wasn’t easy to overlook. She was tallish, but not too tall, which I liked. A lot. I’d first noticed her on campus at Ridgeway University on the arm of Tony Fry. That jackhole walked all over his women—and yeah, he had more than one. I figured Tasha knew. I wished I could remember myself as a bumbling, nervous idiot who simply blurted the wrong words in the presence of a hot girl, but that hadn’t been the case.
I’d made a move on her at a frat party before the accident. My intention was to flatten Tasha with a grin, disarm her with my charm, and get her into my bed shortly thereafter. Tasha hadn’t been charmed, or flattened. She’d been pissed. Snapping her head around to face me, she’d told me point-blank to leave her alone.
She didn’t think my offer of riding the “Cade train” was sincere, and—here’s the part I’m not proud of—it wasn’t. I’d pegged her as a rich girl who would go for the grin no matter what I said. I told my buddies as much before leaving them behind to approach Tasha. I was showing off.
I wasn’t proud of that either.
I’d since learned that I was right—Tasha was a rich girl—but also wrong. She never went for the grin. She’d truly believed that she and Tony were going to ride off into the sunset when it had been clear to me—and anyone else watching—that Tony was biding his time with her while biding his time with a few someone elses at the same time.
Being cheated on sucked. I knew firsthand.
Since my ex-girlfriend, Brooke, left me, I’d seen a lot of girls, but never, ever did I date more than one at a time. I wished that made me sound like more of a nice guy, but hey, at least I wasn’t a cheater. For a while I blamed my promiscuity on heartache. Now I blamed myself for being shortsighted while chanting “YOLO” like some frat douchebag who didn’t know the future could change in the blink of one of Tasha’s blue, blue eyes.
She’d followed me up here, which didn’t surprise me. Though her suggestion to work did surprise me. We had a routine, and the harebrained “workout for your mouth” idea she’d cooked up was not happening. I liked our routine. I’d sit on a beanbag chair on the floor of my room and play my game while she perched on my bed, papers spread on the unmade covers.
Today she was on the love seat I’d dragged in here with Devlin’s help, and I hadn’t bothered plugging in my game system. I was busy packing, cleaning out my space, and, lately, working on my new/old car.
Tasha was doing a good job of ignoring me at the moment, which I thought I preferred. Most of the time our interactions reminded me of an old married couple who’d grown sick of each other and no longer spoke. Only in my case, I no longer spoke because rare was the occasion I benefited from it. In the past it had gone something like this: I stuttered. Tasha morphed into teacher mode. I stopped speaking.
Nothing like the girl I liked way, way too much looking at me like I was needy and pitiful. Have I mentioned that I liked her liked her? There was no way to act on it, but having her near hadn’t cured me of my fascination. I was hot for teacher.
On second thought, maybe Tasha and I were a typical couple. Most couples I knew didn’t exactly have it together. My dad, Paul, and the woman I’d thought was my mother, Joyce, had split up years after Joyce had accepted my father’s affair and me as the by-product. She and I had been distant since the divorce but were more so now. She was humiliated that she’d lied to me all these years and I was pissed that she’d lied to me all these years. Her attempts to reach out to me after my accident were not met with much enthusiasm on my part.
I went into the kitchenette and opened the one cabinet over the sink, only to remember I hadn’t bought snacks of my own yet. I’d have to raid Dad’s fridge instead.
Tasha hummed some pop-music beat in the back of her throat while she wrote in her notebook. A pair of white earbuds dangled from her ears, the other end attached to her phone.
I had been so wrong about her last year. She wasn’t shallow. She wasn’t full of herself. And she cared. Legitimately cared. After the accident I cared about almost nothing. I still didn’t care. Although that couldn’t be true, could it? I was standing in my new “apartment” and I’d invited Tasha up.
Wonder why that was?
I pretended to unpack another box while I watched her without her knowing. Watched the way she pursed her lips in thought, pushed a few stray strands of blond hair behind her ear. Watched her eyebrows close in over her nose as she skimmed the textbook on her knee. She sat, her legs folded beneath her, in a short skirt, low-cut red shirt, and sparkly shoes she didn’t bother kicking off.
Tasha was gorgeous.
She represented everything in life I thought I’d have by now. She lived the definition of “the good life.” She would graduate this year, probably with honors.
When Tasha shot me down at that party, I’d been at the top of my game. Now she wouldn’t leave me alone and I was at rock bottom. What was it about broken me she liked so damn much?
She came here once a week and fulfilled her obligatory hour with me. She did it for my dad, I assumed. He’d asked for her help when the other therapists quit, though I assumed she’d been put on suicide watch, since it felt like she was being paid to babysit me. I wasn’t suicidal, but being perceived as needy and pathetic wasn’t the best cure for what ailed me.
Tasha bit the end of her pen, rolling the barrel over those soft-looking pink lips and making me regret, not for the first time, that I’d never found out how they tasted.
Thinking of college reminded me of Brooke, and thinking of Brooke reminded me that I wasn’t worth holding onto. Like Brooke, Tasha had expensive clothes, jewelry that looked real, and her college was paid for. Unlike Brooke, Tasha had a sweet face, cared enough about my voice to argue with me about it on occasion, and her perfume . . . Seriously. The girl smelled incredible.
Tasha lifted her chin and caught me staring. My eyes went to the delicate gold chain at her throat, the tiny turtle pendant sitting there. I wondered what it meant.
“Is our time up?” Her watch was gold like her necklace, with a big face and diamonds. Real ones, I’d bet.
“Yeah, work.” No stumbling. Nice. It was a rare treat when words came out like they were supposed to.
“Oh, okay.” She shoved her book into her backpack and unfolded those delicious-looking legs. Then she stood and tugged her skirt down, though it was too short to come close to her knees. I resisted staring, but only by biting down hard enough on my cheek to make my eyes water.
When she stood from the couch, we were close.
“Have a good shift.” She shouldered her bag.
My eyes returned to her lips. She lifted her chin and shifted from foot to foot.
I shrugged, not trusting my voice. Not moving or breathing.
“Okay, well, bye.” She twisted her lips.
I nodded but she’d already turned to leave.
Instead of changing for work, I lingered at the window, watching the driveway as Tasha strolled out, all that honey-blond hair bouncing on her shoulders.
She climbed into her car: A brand new BMW Z4, white, gleaming in the sunshine.
Gorgeous girl. Gorgeous car.
There was a time I could’ve had both.
About the Author
A former job-hopper, Jessica Lemmon resides in Ohio with her husband and rescue dog. She holds a degree in graphic design currently gathering dust in an impressive frame. When she’s not writing super-sexy heroes, she can be found cooking, drawing, drinking coffee (okay, wine), and eating potato chips. She firmly believes God gifts us with talents for a purpose, and with His help, you can create the life you want.