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Authors: Janna Watts,Jolene Perry

10 Weeks (23 page)

BOOK: 10 Weeks
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“This is another intervention.”
and Jody grab me and pull me into
the life jacket shed

“Yes. Because the rest of them have worked so well.” I frown. “
’s not with Alex, and I’m guessing that Jody is still a virgin. Did I cover everything?”

“Stop it!” Jody yells, and we both stop to stare at her. “Just stop being such a bitch!”

I’m so proud of her that I’m stunned speechless—even though I’ve barely spoken to her and wonder a little bit at where this is coming from.

She breathes hard a few more times before maybe realizing wh
at she just did and sitting on the ground
. At least she didn’t apologize.

“I don’t know exactly what’s going on with you, but a very confused, very sweet black man with a body like…”
stops with a smirk.

“A body like a god,” I finish for her.

“Came by yesterday, and we all chatted with him, but we had to get campers in bed.”

“He’s so nice.” Jody sighs and sits. “He’s like…”

“…the kind of guy
should be with. Not me.” I turn to leave.

“Nice try.”
grabs my arm and
hauls me half back into the shed
. “It’s one thing if you don’t like him. Maybe he snores. Maybe he’s not great in bed. Maybe he’s just not for you.”

“But.” Jody stands up. “You
obviously like him. And you
being this miserable sucks.”

“Thanks.” I nod. “I’ll think about all of this.”


I turn and walk out
wondering if there’s a way for me to forget everything and just move forward.



When I get to the cabin my phone beeps, and I’m terrified to look.

It’s from a number I don’t recognize.


I know you probably think I’m stupid. And I might get my heart stamped on. But I tried. And I’m glad I chose love. He has a job, and I’m finishing school. Paloma


Stupid girl. I’m not sure if I’m glad she bothered to send
me a message or not. Who knows?
Maybe at eighty they’ll still be together and have this crazy story about how it all started.

Maybe he’ll turn out to be an asshole. Maybe she’ll turn out to be a destructive bitch like me.

No one knows.



I can’t sleep. At all. I’m not even tired. Tomorrow’s the last day, and I have no idea where I’m going.

I pick up my phone and scroll through Nate’s texts again.

And then again.

And then again.

I think about
and Alex, and how Jody was with the safe guy who ditched her, and how she ended up, or will end up, with the sexy Irishman.

Before I think about what I’m doing, I type Nate a text message.


I want us, but I don’t know how to do this.


And hit send. Then panic. Too late. It’s out. The worst that’ll happen now is he’ll answer back right away.


The worst that could happen now is that he won’t.

Again, the tears start to flow. I hate this. I’ve never cried so much in my life.

Chapter Thirty-seven

With shaking hands I call Austin.

He answers with a sigh. “I’m waiting. And you know what for.”

“I’m sorry.” Even though I know that doesn’t cover it. We don’t hang up on each other. Ever. It was one of the first rules he gave me when I moved in with him.

“You can do better.”

“I freaked out, and I’m sorry.” I close my eyes and lean against the back of the shed. My cigarette supply is gone, but this has become my thinking place. The problem is standing back here really makes me want a smoke.

“A little better.” His voice is pouty, but we’re fine. “Have you talked to him?”

“I’ve made a mess and I don’t know if I want to fix it or how to fix it, or if I want to bury myself in a smelly little cabin for the rest of my life.” I close my eyes and try not to see Nate.

It never works.

“Well, I miss having you around. Are you coming home when this is over?” he asks.

“I hope so.” And right now, that’s all I can give him.



We decorate Jody’s T-shirt for her to hopefully go and finally get laid, and
takes off with Alex, and I’ve still heard nothing from Nate.


I really did lose him.

Now what?

Do I go back to Boston and dancing and my brother and Mable? She said I could come back as long as I never pulled something like this again. But how can I go back if Nate’s there? Staying here isn’t an option.

I run my hands through my hair, which is damp with sweat from the sun and walk through the trees for my cabin. The light’s fading fast, and hopefully all the campers will be gone before it’s dark.

Most of the kids have driven home with their parents, and the place is emptying out fast. That’s good. I’m out of fake smiles.

I freeze when I reach my cabin, and my heart pounds in my ears.

“Hey, Sam.” Nate sits on the step, waiting. Patient. And a million other things I probably don’t deserve.

“Nate.” My chin quivers again because he came back. After everything.

“Can we go somewhere to talk?” he asks. “Kids keep running through here, and…”

He doesn’t jump up and throw his arms around me, or make any move to reach out for me or hold my hand or anything.

“Uh…yeah.” I fold my arms, feeling chilled in the shade. “Follow me.”

I’m terrified as I lead him through the woods to the old
. It’s small and further away from the main parking lot.

Did he bring me out here just to yell and tell me how horrible I am?

“I got your message and wanted to see you.”

I’m afraid to look at him, but find his eyes anyway as I sit. So familiar and comfortable, which makes him slightly terrifying. Though, being around him is a lot less scary now that I know what it’s like to be without him.

“So.” Nate sits on the bench the same way as I am—a leg on each side so we can see each other better.  “Is this what you really want?”

“What?” I’m not even sure what “this” is right now.

“For us to start over?”

“Yeah. I mean, I think so.”

“That’s not good enough.” He shakes his head. “Do
want us, or do you want us because
do? Because I can’t take you walking away from us again.”

I open my mouth to speak, but I can’t say it. Why can’t I tell him that this is what I want? That he’s what I want? That he stood in front of me, and all I could think was that he was everything?

“You rejecting me by running away I understood, because I understand you. And even you avoiding me. I hated it, but I know you, Sam. I understood. But turning me away to my face? That was different.”

He’s so right. And he should hate me for all of those things—not
because of the last one. I still can’t speak.

He sighs. “I can’t be in a relationship on my own.”

He starts to lift his leg to swing it over, but I hold my hand up, stopping him, unable to lift my eyes from the bench.

Here I am about to lose probably the only man who would put up with me, and he’s perfect for me in a million different ways, and now I’m trying to find words.

“I’ve never wanted anyone or anything the way I want to be around you, and that scares the hell out of me.” It’s hard to breathe, but I’m determined to get it out. “I don’t know how to be with someone that I feel so much for. It’s terrifying. People may seem good, but they’re not always good, and I—”

His hand cups my cheek as his thumb strokes my jaw.  “This is all I want from you.”

“All you want? This is everything.” I finally find the courage to look at him and he’s smiling. A perfect, soft smile.

“So. We start over. You being honest. Me being honest. Everything in the open.”

“Start over.” I nod.

It’s not so scary now that I know we won’t just jump back in to where we were.

“And no more about you not being good enough for me. I chose you. You chose me. No one is perfect. But
fit together. I never asked you for perfect.”

I nod. “You didn’t have to. I want it for myself. I want to be worthy of you.”

He laughs and tilts my chin so I’m looking into his dark eyes. “You are. You’re the most worthy girl I know. You think I would’ve wasted my whole summer for someone who wasn’t worth it. But you have to believe in yourself too. Let go of all that other stuff. I don’t care about it. We’re starting new. And every time you even try to put me up on a pedestal, I’m going to do something to jump off it.”

I grin. “Like what?”

His fingers trace my jaw and curl around my ears. “I don’t know. Maybe I’ll become really anal and take like fifteen showers a day.”

I bite my lip. “Maybe I’ll join you for those.”

I hope so. Now, c
ome dance with me.” He holds out his hand, and I take it. “This is where we started, and this is where we’ll start over. Okay?”

“Are you going to embarrass me by dancing out here with no music?” I stand up and wait for him to hold out his arms for me to step in.

His familiar hands slides around my waist, bringing our hips together.

“I can hum if you like,” he teases.


He starts to move his hips, and without conscious thought, I match his steps.

“We’re starting over, and we’re starting with the salsa?” I ask.


“Isn’t that a little sexy?” I tease even though I feel shaky and sort of in disbelief at what I’m moving toward.

“I hope so.”

“Are you going to try and have sex with me on our first date?” I whisper.


“So now we’re getting somewhere.” I let my body move with his.

“Somewhere really, really good.” His hand slides up my arm until our fingers clasp together, and we continue the salsa in the middle of the woods, alone, on the day I realize how crazy in love with this man I am.




About the Author

Jolene Perry
is most often seen behind her laptop, fingers flying across the keyboard with reckless abandon.

She survived growing up in rural Alaska, driving like a lunatic, and her husband’s careers in the military, as a law student, and now as an Alaska State Prosecutor. She also survived being a middle school math teacher using her degrees in political science, foreign relations, and French.

She started writing when she ran out of money for books and hasn’t stopped since.

You can find Jolene at the following places:

or her blog

on Twitter at


Janna Watts
is the pen name for one of Jolene Perry’s collaboration partners. Or possibly she is one of Jolene’s imaginary friends who sends mysterious tweets and texts in the middle of the night. Either way, she’s generally harmless except when it comes to her fierce loyalty for her friends and family. You can find her on Twitter at:

Look for these titles
by Jolene Perry


Now Available


Spill Over

Knee Deep

Night Sky

My Heart For Yours


Insight Series





Coming Soon



All I Want




Sometimes falling in love changes things you don’t expect it to…


Spill Over

© 2012 Jolene Perry


Antony loves his life in New York. He loves living with his mother and wearing designer clothes. He loves his private tutors for home school. It’s practically necessary since his mom travels the world as a reporter for NBC.

When an assignment overseas gives her the opportunity of a lifetime, she sees it as a chance for Antony to get to know his dad - a guy strange enough to live on a boat. Near dreary Seattle. Antony’s sure that the next few months will feel like a lifetime. He and his dad can’t
even fill up a five-
minute conversation on his birthday call.

When he meets Amber, the girl from five boats down, his prospects perk up, but when it becomes very clear, very fast, that all she’s after is friendship, Antony wonders if he’ll survive the next three months.

He is absolutely.
Completely. Totally. Displaced.

And then tragedy hits.

Spill Over is a novel about love, loss, and figuring out what’s actually important.


Enjoy the following excerpt for
Spill Over:

“What?” Her nose almost touches my cheek, putting our lips dangerously close together.

“I like you.”
my smooth line? I couldn’t come up with anything more clever than that?

But her eyes practically sparkle as she leans in.

Finally, touching her lips with mine has become more of a need than anything I’ve imagined in a long time. Just before our lips touch, she turns away.

“Where are you going?” I try to laugh but don’t pull it off.

“We’re climbing the tower, silly.” She jogs ahead of me.

“You’re killing me, Amber.”

Her laughter floats through me, punching holes in the darkness.

I jog to catch up to her. The tower is stone, tall, with only tiny windows for light on the winding staircase leading to the top. Her light steps on the boards are all I can hear, and blackness is nearly complete once I step inside.

When I break back out into the sun at the top of the stairs, I pinch my eyes shut for a few moments before daring to open them. The view from up here is even better than below.

“Wow.” I step to the railing on the edge, and rest my arms there, looking across the ocean and scattered islands.

“I know. Worth it, huh?” Her hands touch my waist from behind me and slowly slide around my stomach.

There’s no way she could know that this is one of my favorite ways to be touched. Her chest presses against my back and then her face as she rests her head on my shoulder blade.

“Very worth it,” I answer. My arms rest on top of hers, and I slide our fingers together.

She’s practically begging me to kiss her; all pressed into me like this.

I turn around and take her in my arms.

She stretches up. I lean down. Her breath touches my lips.

“Not yet.” She breathes out, spins around and runs for the hole to the stairs.

“Oh come on!” I laugh. “Surely I’ve earned it by now!” Killing me. But this little game we have going on is also pretty awesome. Distracting, if nothing else.

She laughs back and disappears into the blackness below.

I take one last look around and head for the steps.

The stairs look even blacker than before, but I move into the darkness. Her hand takes mine. She’s just a blur. My eyes aren’t adjusted. I smell her breath and then feel her lips against mine, sending a wave of want through me. Our fingers slide together. I lean forward and feel her smooth lips again. I need more of her. She feels even better than I’ve been imagining. Soft. Warm. Comfort. Electric.

She laughs and pulls away, running down the stairs.

“Wait!” My eyes have adjusted. Now I can see her.

Her laughter turns to shrieks as I get closer, but she’s fast and escapes my grasp. She disappears into the light. I run out behind her, but the sun hits my eyes, and once again I stop, unable to see. She grabs my shirt from the side and pulls me toward her as she leans against the side of the rock tower.

“There’s something sorta nice about being disoriented, isn’t there?” She’s as breathless as me.

I start to laugh again, but she pulls me too close. I don’t have time to think about how I want to touch my lips to hers, we just do. She’s warm, tastes sweet, and it feels like something big, something important. We’re finally kissing the way I’ve been thinking about for way too long.

I lose myself in her, in her mouth, the way I haven’t since maybe my first kiss ever. I press our bodies together as I pull her closer. I feel Amber in my chest, in places where I still hurt, like pin pricks on a fresh bruise. As if this simple act of liking her, of really liking her, completely changes what a kiss is.


All rights reserved.

Printed in the United States of America.


No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any form or by any means electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval systems, without prior written permission of the author except where permitted by law.


Published by

Next Door Publishing



The characters and events portrayed in this book are fictitious. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead is coincidental and not intended by the author












BOOK: 10 Weeks
12.3Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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