REDEMPTION (Forgiven Series Book #2)
I am not what I have done. I am what I have overcome. And once I have faced my problems, only then will I find redemption.
Josh Walker and Lauren Pierce are opposites in every way. While Lauren is a committed student and girlfriend, Josh is a player with a very twisted moral compass…
Or is he?
Growing up with an addict for a father, Josh experienced disappointment from an early age. He puts on a front, shielding himself from everyone. Until he meets Lauren.
Lauren has it all. An accomplished softball player she maintains good grades, has great friends, and is in love with her dedicated boyfriend. Her life is pretty much perfect…until it’s not.
When two bruised souls collide can they help each other overcome their problems? Or are some souls just destined to be lost?
I’d calmed down by the time Lauren came back from the ladies room. She sat back down and immediately grabbed her drink from the bar, downing half of it before she turned to me. “So, how much crap has Em given you about paying attention to me?”
My head snapped in her direction. “What do you mean?”
She laughed. “I know that’s why she’s shooting dirty looks from the dance floor. She’s afraid that I can’t handle you.”
“And what wouldn’t you be able to handle?” I asked devilishly.
“Apparently you’re known for your one-night stands.”
I choked on the beer in my mouth. This girl was blunt. “Excuse me?”
“You heard me,” she said, turning to look me in the eye. It was as if the fragile girl who’d caught her boyfriend cheating was gone, and in her place was a woman willing to put it all out there.
We sat there staring at each other while I tried to wrap my head around what she was saying. Earlier she seemed shy, but now I wasn’t so sure. Her behavior was extremely erratic. Maybe she had more to drink than I thought? Or maybe she’d decided that she didn’t want to be taken advantage of anymore and was going to get the upper hand. But even more important than that, I didn’t understand why it mattered so much to me what she thought.
“You didn’t expect me to be so honest, did you?”
I shook my head. “Not really, at least not without a few more drinks in your system.” I moved my gaze to hers. “So, since we’re being honest, I think you’re hot as hell and would love to dance with you right now.”
“Horizontally or vertically?” she asked, but then her cheeks blushed scarlet. “Oh my God, I can’t believe I just said that.”
Hearing her say that, plus the gorgeous color in her cheeks, had my dick hard in seconds. What was this girl doing to me? I’d never had this kind of reaction to a girl before. I shook my head. Get it together!
“How about we start with vertically and maybe move to horizontally later at my place?”
She leaned over and put her lips on my ear. “I’m still not so sure about that but we’ll just have to see where the night takes us,” she whispered.
The feel of her breath on my skin sent the blood rushing straight from my head. This girl was definitely messing with me, but it didn’t make me want her any less.
I put my hand out to help her down from the barstool and felt the heat between us as she touched my fingers. Pulling her behind me, I led her to the middle of the dance floor. She came easily into my arms and we began to move together just like we’d done at the party earlier. This time, however, she turned around and danced with her back to me. The feel of her ass moving against me had need coursing through my veins. Slowly, I moved her hair over her shoulder and lowered my lips to the back of her neck. Hearing her moan softly, I kissed my way up her neck to the spot just behind her ear.
“Josh,” she sighed and brought her hand up to wrap around the back of my neck.
“Your skin tastes as good as you smell,” I whispered in her ear. I could see the rise and fall of her chest and knew her breathing had sped up. Nothing was going to keep me from having her.
It was our one-month anniversary. Unlike most Saturday nights, which I usually spent in a bar trying to pick up a chick without a date. My goal was always to convince a chick to go home with me for the night. But that wasn’t the plan for tonight. Tonight I was spending the night with Lauren.
Having never had a relationship last this long, I had every intention of making it unforgettable. We had to celebrate. The night would start with dinner, and end with her for dessert. Instead of going out, I’d decided to try my hand at cooking. Caleb could do it, so why couldn’t I? Especially since he’d given me the directions. I’d thought about skipping my afternoon class to get things ready, but I knew that if Lauren didn’t kick my ass for it, Emily and Angie definitely would.
The moment the professor let us go, I was out the door on the way to my car. Thankfully, it was running today so I didn’t have to wait for a ride.
Thankfully, the trip to the grocery store to get the ingredients on the list Caleb had made for me was quick and within no time I was back at the apartment. Caleb had me making some type of chicken and pasta recipe that according to him, “Wouldn’t be too hard.” Before jumping in the shower, I set the water on the stove to boil, and put the chicken in the oven.
After the quickest shower in history, I dressed in a pair of jeans and grey button down and went out to the kitchen to finish dinner. I threw the pasta into the boiling water and got the sauce that Caleb had premade, from the fridge. It was a nice gesture, although I think he’d done it more for Lauren than for me.
The timer on the oven buzzed, letting me know both the chicken and pasta were done. I pulled the chicken out and drained the pasta, placing it back in the pan so I could mix the sauce in. As I poured the sauce from the container, a big glob of it landed on my shirt.
“Shit,” I cursed. This was the only nice clean shirt I had. Glancing at the clock, I realized that Lauren would be arriving in about a half an hour.
Think, you idiot.
I knew I didn’t have anything else suitable in my closet, but Caleb had a closet full of clothes. Even though I was a little bigger than him, I knew one of his shirts would work. Making my way quickly down the hall to Caleb and Angie’s room, I went straight to the closet. Damn. The thing was overflowing between both of their clothes. How in the hell was I going to find anything in there?
I looked around the room, trying to come up with some idea to save my butt. That’s when I noticed the shirt laid across the bed, the tags still attached. Angie had made him go clothes shopping earlier in the week. I knew this because he’d complained for almost two days straight. Baby. Caleb was taking Angie out tonight so that Lauren and I could have the place to ourselves. My guess was he planned on wearing it out to dinner, but that wasn’t going to happen.
Deciding my need was greater than his, I pulled the tags off and had it buttoned halfway when I heard the front door open. Damn it. Lauren must be early. At least that’s what I thought before I heard the familiar voices coming down the hall.
It was Caleb and Angie. Not wanting to get caught, I dived under the bed just as they reached the door, still trying to finish buttoning Caleb’s shirt.
They were quiet for a minute before moving farther into the room and closing the door behind them. They needed to hurry up so I could get dinner on the table before Lauren showed up.
“Angie,” Caleb whispered.
Oh my God. Chills ran down my spine when I heard them kissing. Okay, they’d better there. At least I knew that they had dinner reservations, so they didn’t have a lot of time. I figured I was safe until I heard Angie moan and it sent a chill through me. Angie was like sister, and I did not want to know what she sounded like when she was all hot and bothered.
“Baby, I need to see you,” Caleb growled.
Ugh! This needed to stop. Suddenly, the bed above me squeaked as their bodies fell onto it.
“Caleb,” Angie moaned.
The sounds coming from above me were giving me indigestion. I tried to cover my ears, but the sounds of Caleb and Angie having sex above me were being permanently seared into my brain. The moans and groans were like something out of my nightmares. I didn’t think I would ever recover from this experience. The cries in the room got louder, and I pulled myself into the fetal position, clasping my hands tighter against my ears.
It felt like hours, but I finally heard Caleb and Angie moving around the room. After a few more minutes, the door opened and they left.
Slowly, I unbent my arms and legs and slid out from under the bed. Oh God. I needed to get my lips on Lauren’s to try and erase the noises that were playing on repeat in my brain. Making my way to my room, I flopped down on the bed and tried to forget.
A little while later I heard her voice floating down the hallway. “Josh, are you home?”
“I’m in my room,” I called.
She came into the room and raised her brow. “Is everything okay?” she asked.
I pulled her down to the bed and cover her body with mine. “It is now you’re here.”
Lowering my lips to hers, I tasted her, sliding my tongue across her soft, smooth lip. Her mouth opened, allowing my tongue to slip inside. No matter how many times we kissed, I would never get tired of the way she tasted. My hands slid down her side of their own accord, as I got lost in the feel of her against me.
That’s when I heard them.
The sounds I’d hoped to never hear again in my entire life. Except this time it sounded like they were coming from right outside my door. My head snapped in that direction, and I noticed that Lauren’s body quivering beneath me.
Not that our kiss wasn’t mind blowing, but it wasn’t enough to send her over the edge. Slowly, I turned and saw her face was bright red as she tried to hold back her laughter. She put her hands up in surrender. “I’m sorry. They made me do it,” she said as she gave up trying to control it, and collapsed in hysterics.
I jumped up off the bed and made my way to the door, wrenching it open to see Caleb and Angie bent over, laughing just as hard as Lauren.
“You assholes,” I grunted.
Lauren came to stand next to me and she and Angie burst into another fit of giggles. Caleb’s laughter was somewhat under control as he clasped me on the shoulder. “Serves you right,” he smirked. “You shouldn’t have been stealing my shirt for the night and hiding under my bed.”
“Damn it. All of that, just to mess with me?” I growled.
“Yep,” Angie and Lauren said in unison.
“Great,” I said turning my gaze on Lauren. “I’m glad you find this so funny, but now I didn’t get a chance to finish dinner.” So much for my perfect night.
“Actually,” Angie said as she started to move down the hall, still trying to hold back her laughter.
When I refused to follow, Lauren took my hand and dragged me behind her. We reached the kitchen and I stopped in shock.
Everything was done.
Dinner was finished and on the table, music played from the iPod dock, and candles lit up the room. My eyes immediately snapped to Caleb and Angie who were dressed to go out, big smiles on their faces. Angie came up and wrapped me in a hug. “Happy Anniversary, Josh,” she whispered in my ear. “Now it’s time for you to make it a night to remember for Lauren.”
I pulled back and looked down at her. “Thank you,” I whispered.
Letting her go, I reached for Lauren and pulled her into my arms. Caleb was standing across from me with Angie’s hand in his. I mouthed my thanks. Caleb nodded and moved to the door with Angie in tow.
With the apartment to ourselves, I looked down and I saw Lauren staring at me. Bending down, I lowered my lips to her for a quick kiss. “Happy Anniversary, Lauren.”
“I love you too,” she answered, followed by her own smoldering kiss.
In that moment, I realized that nothing else mattered except the girl in my arms. This night would be perfect no matter what, because she was here with me.
But that didn’t mean I could easily ignore the feel of her pressed against me. I lifted her chin until her eyes met mine. “How about we come back to dinner later and skip to dessert.”
In answer, she linked her arms around my neck and jumped up to wrap her legs around my waist. This girl really was perfect.
Perfect for me.
FORGIVEN (Forgiven Series Book #1)
What happens when one moment changes the course of your entire life? Do you sit back and accept it, or fight to live the life you choose? Caleb Jacobs has a past that has haunted him for two years. Knowing he can never forgive himself for the events that led to his departure, Caleb chooses to live a quiet life—concentrating on school, sports, and shots. But when he is paired with Angie for a history project he realizes that no matter how much you try to hide from your past, one way or another it will find you.
Angelina Powers knows what she wants from life. Growing up with only an alcoholic father for company, Angie learned early on in life that you can only count on yourself. But that doesn’t stop her wishing for her white knight. She’s confident, happy and focused…until she meets Caleb. So how will she feel when her potential white knight turns out to be more of a black shadow?
Rebecca Brooke grew up in the shore towns of South Jersey. She loves to hit the beach, but always with her kindle on hand. She is married to the most wonderful man, who puts up with all of her craziness. Together they have two beautiful children who keep her on her toes. When she isn’t writing or reading (which is very rarely) she loves watch SOA, TrueBlood, and The Walking Dead.
Stay in touch with Rebecca Brooke