Authors: Michelle Watson
December (The Page Sisters #1)
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations, or persons living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
All rights reserved. No part of this book can be reproduced in any form or by electronic or mechanical means including information storage and retrieval systems, without the permission in writing from author. The only exception is by a reviewer who may quote short excerpts in a review.
Copyright©2015 Michelle Watson
To my very (extremely) special friend Michelle Russell.
You are amazingly wonderful.
I’d like to thank God. This book would have been just a lovely idea without prayer.
This book wouldn’t be comprehensible without the help of my only Beta reader in the world, Michelle Russell. She edited and worked tirelessly to help me make sure everything was as clear as possible and spelled correctly. It’s because of Michelle that December is even readable. So thank you Michelle. And if I didn’t scare you away with bad grammar, I’d love to work with you again.
And I want to thank myself because December kicked my ass so many times. I almost gave up. Writing is extremely difficult at times and success is hard to come by. I’ve been writing vigorously for four years and I struggled endlessly. I gave up school and a “real” career to pursue my dream of becoming an author. I’ve been hit relentlessly over the head with adversity. I wanted to quit writing altogether each and every time I encountered hardship, but then all I could do to make myself happy and release my irritation was write more and more.
I’m following my dreams.
There’s no telling where that will take me.
I hope you’re all in for the ride.
Luck has never been in my favor. There are many reasons to support my claim. The first one I will point out is that my name is December and my mother wasn’t creative enough to give me and my three older sisters proper names. Oh, no. She couldn’t name me Julie or Sarah. Maybe even Trisha. I think I look more like a Trisha. No traditional names for any of us. My lovely mother named me after the month I was born because of a lack of an imagination. FYI, she has proudly told us this many countless drunken times. She told us it was either the months which we are born or the numerical order we were born in.
I would be Four in that case.
Then my dad up and left my mom high and dry a week after I was born. I mean what the fuck? She had to go from a two parent household to one, not only that but dear old dad was a neurosurgeon. He was
brain surgeon you wanted inside of your head if you needed someone poking around in there and he was more loaded than Scrooge McDuck. Mom and my sisters had a life of riches and rubies served all on a silver platter with huge silver spoons. Not so much after he left us. Mom had to pawn her wedding rings for cash. Apparently, that was more than enough to move us from the insane mansion of sunny California to a decent neighborhood in the very small gloomy town of Huntersville, Utah.
This cues the third biggest tragedy in my life. I moved across the street from the Oliver family. The Oliver family includes a house full of four Native American boys, Danny, Miles, Jarvis, Gray, and their dad, Papa Pete.
They’re all insanely attractive brothers. You see my life completely changed after I met Danny, the eldest. It all happened a cold night in September. I was fourteen years old and locked out of my house because I forgot to carry my key with me to the Lazy Ville Sanctuary. (I wanted to see the zebras, which they just got.) Mom always told me to carry my key everywhere I went just in case no one would be home and also because I never carried my key with me. I mean never. Someone was always home.
It was Friday night, Football Night, and my sisters, January, May, and July were all at the game. Friday nights in Huntersville, Utah is always football nights. I would have remembered to carry my key but my excitement to finally see the zebra exhibit overshadow the memory of Football Night and the importance of carrying my key.
I sunk on the last cement step of my porch and watched the moths buzz around under the bright street lamps. There wasn’t much to look at. The entire town was at the HT Ville High School’s football game. Therefore, my neighborhood was vacant. The houses of brick homes were dark and unoccupied, the curtains drawn closed. The driveways empty. Not a soul in sight available to offer a handy phone so I could call Mom or one of my sisters. I was alone, until Danny pulled into his lot with his nice black pickup truck. I knew it had to be Danny because he was the only brother I’ve had yet to meet. Mr. Oliver told us he joined the military and he would be home around September.
It was September.
He climbed out of his truck and shut his front door, rounding the hood. My eyes were glued to him and I all could see was his cap and army fatigues and the shadowy silhouette of his body. He looked to be in great shape and vastly tall, but that’s all I could determine. I didn’t know if he was as ridiculously handsome as the rest of his brothers. Or even what color his eyes were. He wore shades. It was too dark for all of that.
He tossed his keys that glinted silver under the moonlight high in the air a few times as he walked to his porch in no hurry. He made it to the first step and then paused suddenly to turn back to look at me. When his shades caught sight of me, my heart plummeted to my stomach that was infested with frantic butterflies and my breath was coming out in uneven spurts. He was just staring at me like he had nothing better to do, like he could look at me all day. I couldn’t make out his eyes through those dark shades, but I felt his gaze all over me. It was demanding and a palpable thing.
And way too intense for me.
My gaze fell away almost instantly. I balled my clammy fists in my lap, shutting my eyes and took a deep breath to calm my excited lungs. I felt jittery as if I ate too much chocolate and was on a sugar high. My chest was just as tight and stiff as the rest of my body. Something strange was happening to me. I just didn’t know what it was back then.
“Aren’t you going to get up, December? Or are you going to stay there forever?”
My breath got stuck in my throat when I heard his gravelly voice callout my name. I was too stunned to respond, so instead I got up on my feet and crossed the black asphalt street, my steps slowing and then coming to a complete halt when I reached him.
He was absurdly tall.
My gaze slid from his laced up black boots and my chin tipped up, up, up and onward as I took in his army fatigues. His pants were snug and his shirt seemed to be stretched to its limit across broad and muscular shoulders. He was built like an ox—strong and unyielding. I thought he could stop a train by simply standing on the tracks in front of it with one of his hands held out. He didn’t seem like he needed two. No. One hand was all it would take.
My gaze continued to travel up his powerful neck to his clean-shaven hard jaw and I discovered that he has a tiny mole that looked too perfectly placed to be a happy accident on the right side of his chin. It looked like a freaking beauty mark that only added to how freakishly handsome he already was. Then my eyes landed on his full lips that were pressed together tightly.
I stared into dark shades that stared right back at me, reflecting my ashen face and watched in fascination as his black thick brows lifted above the frames of his sunglasses. “Are you done, little lady?”
My head nodded all on its own because I had no idea what he meant by that.
He jammed his key in and unlocked the door, allowing me in first. “Have a seat on the couch, flip on the TV, or put a movie in. Choice is yours. I’m sure you know where everything is. I’m going to the kitchen to make a sandwich. I’m starved. Do you want a soda or anything?”
I shook my head, walking to their massive leather couch and picked the remote up from the oak coffee table, powering on the TV.
He came back with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and a can of soda. Why was he eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich? I thought only kids ate that. G.I Joe Danny was supposed to eat raw meat and bowls of shredded metal, because he looked like he did. Danny was all testosterone and hard muscle.
He flopped down on the cushion next to me, lifted his dirty booted-feet up to rest them on the coffee table and crossed his legs at the ankles. Then popped open his can of soda, took a big swig and set it by his boots, after that he took a huge bite of his sandwich.
My tummy tripped over itself when his tongue quickly came out of his mouth to swipe the breadcrumbs off his deep raspberry-colored lips. He wasn’t even doing it to be sexy or noticed. But, goodness, did that make him sexier and in that single instant he gained all of my attention.
His shades turned to me and my entire body jolted. I’ve never flinched so hard before. I aimed my face to the television screen. But that was useless. He already saw me gawking at him. That jitter came back, but it was worse this time. This time it was a nervous jitter, a jitter that made my lungs constrict, causing me choke on my depleting air supply.
He reached out to pat my back three times and that made me suck in a breath. His touch was more powerful than his gaze.
Something weird was happening to me.
Every nerve in my body started to tingle.
“Here,” he orders, handing me his opened can of soda. “Take it and drink it before you choke to death, December. We can’t have that, can we?”
I shook my head, pressing my lips to the ice-cold rim of the can. I swallowed the strong contents of Cola and set the can back down. “Thanks,” I murmur, wiping the droplets off my bottom lip with the sleeve of my light purple bubble coat.
His mouth broke out into a pretty smile. “You’re welcome, little lady.” I watched him eat his sandwich in four bites. Then he sunk back into the couch and tossed his shades down on the table. I tried to see what color his eyes were but he shut them before he took his shades off. His eyes were closed and his arms were propped behind his head, his face expressionless and lifted toward the ceiling.
My eyes took inventory of his face that seemed less severe with his eyes shut. He had black thick lashes that curled upwards, a straight blade of a nose, and a mouth sculpted to be praised. Danny also had a distinguished scar on the left side of his face and near the corner of his eye. It was the exact width of his eye. His scar wasn’t puckered or anything. In fact, I found that it only added to his beauty like the mole did. He wasn’t as cute as his brothers. No. Danny was the best looking one out of all of them, which seemed impossible because all of them were weirdly beautiful.
“I’m Danny by the way,” he said with his eyes still shut. “Your mom told me she knew you were locked out because you forgot your key. She was about to leave the game to attend to you. She seemed to be having a good time, so I told her I had you.”
“Thanks,” I whispered as I stared at his beauty mole. I wanted so badly to lick my finger and touch it to see if it was real.
“Anytime, little lady,” Danny replied softly. “I’m wiped. Your mom and sisters should be back in another hour or so. I’m going to take a nap. You want food, go get it. Same with something to drink. Okay?”
He was out cold a half an hour later. I paid no attention to the TV in front of me and I couldn’t with Danny asleep next to me. He occupied my curious mind. The only thing I wanted to do was get closer to him and to get to know him.
My hand reached out to gingerly touch his chest that raised and fell steadily with evened breaths. I moved my palm side to side and felt how incredibly hard his muscles were under the material of his soft shirt. I leaned closer and took a big sniff of his neck. My heart stuttered. He smelled like manly spice and heat. Danny smelled like fire and sex, though I had no idea what sex smelled like. But if I did, I knew it would smell like Danny. I watched his Adam’s apple bob slowly and I broke out into a sweat.
My eyes darted to his beauty mark again. Overwhelmed with foreign emotions, I sucked on my thumb and rubbed my wet finger on the flat mole. It didn’t remove like I thought it would. It was real. His beauty mark was a happy accident.
Danny’s hand swiftly and tightly grabbed my wrist. His grip on me was quite painful at first, but he gradually loosened his grip without letting me go. I stared at his long fingers wrapped fully around my wrist. My wrist looked fragile in his clutches. He could have broken it if he wasn’t careful. My gaze traveled up his to his eyes and an electric surge hit between my legs. It was so powerful and strange, I gasped and doubled over.
“You shouldn’t touch people when they’re sleep, December. I could have really hurt you.”
I nodded, staring into the darkest of all brown eyes. His eyes were the color of dark chocolate with a starburst of a striking rich gold-hazel color. They were dark like the rest of his features, but his eyes were a deep shade of coffee, so rich and soulful it completely took my breath away.
“Sorry. I thought your beauty mark was fake,” I explained.
His unusual eyes narrowed and then dropped down to my mouth. My heart decided to jump in my throat as his gaze lingered there. I nervously licked my dry lips and his hand squeezed my wrist in some kind of warning.
That strange jittery feeling came back again.
He cocked his head to the side, his expression inquisitive. “Do you make a habit of touching strangers?”
“No, and I wouldn’t have touched you if it weren’t for your damn mole,” I muttered through gritted teeth. I yanked my wrist, but he only held on tighter. “Now let me the fuck go.”
He blinked once and smiled slowly. I think Danny liked the fact I have a smart mouth.
I became aware of many voices floating from the outside porch and someone pushed their key into the lock and opened the door. I leapt from the couch and glared at Danny, who was still smiling at me.
“Thanks for having me, Danny. See you around,” I said before shoving my way through a crowd of rowdy boys.
I made my way home, ran up to my room and shut the door. I flung off my bubble coat, kicked off my rain boots, and jumped into my bed. I closed my eyes and saw Danny’s face and his fucking beauty mole.
What I didn’t know was that night was the night I fell in love with someone who is ten years older than me.
I fell in love with Danny Oliver.
That was the past and tonight I’m celebrating my twenty second birthday. But that’s a hell of a challenge when Danny Oliver comes home for Christmas and sends me blood-red roses. He sends me a bouquet of roses every year I get older and I always leave them on the porch to die.
I hate Danny Oliver.
I loathe him.
To understand why, you would need to know our tragic history, which I don’t plan on revisiting any time soon.