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Authors: A.M. Hargrove

Tags: #contemporary romance, #new adult, #romance and betrayal

Exquisite Betrayal

BOOK: Exquisite Betrayal
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EXQUISITE BETRAYAL

 

A.M. Hargrove

Published By A.M. Hargrove

Smashwords Edition

Copyright © 2013 A. M. Hargrove

All rights reserved.

No part of this publication
may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by
any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic
or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the
author, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical
reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright
law. For permission requests, write to the author, addressed
“Attention: Permissions Coordinator,” at
[email protected]

 

This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance
to peoples either living or deceased is purely coincidental. Names,
places and characters are figments of the author’s imagination, or,
if real, used fictitiously.

 

Cover Design by Sarah Hansen at Okay
Creations

Cover Photo by Kelsey Keeton at K. Keeton
Designs

 

EXQUISITE BETRAYAL

 

A.M. Hargrove

 

Sometimes an Exquisite Betrayal leads to
Better Ways…

 

 

BETTER WAYS ©

 

Before you carry me to safety

Before I get what you deserve

Before we drink and blame the alcohol

Before I bleed to make you hurt

 

I’m choosing better ways of proving I’m not
afraid

 

We’ll just stop in for the night

We’ll just set things all right

Be sure this time

If we’re falling off the ride

If I sing you a lie

Be sure this time

 

Before you rattle our mementos

Before I wish that I’d gone home

Before we scream and blame the
amplifiers

Before I decorate our ghosts

 

I’m choosing better ways of proving I’m not
afraid

I am choosing better ways of proving I’m not
afraid at all

 

Further down the way, I'll forget the
reasons

I could never stay, I could never sleep
in

Further down the way, I'll forget the
reasons

I'm choosing better ways of proving I'm so
afraid

 

We'll just stop in for the night

We'll just let these wrenches fly

Be sure this time

If we’re falling off the ride

If I'm singing ‘goodbye’

Be sure this time

 

We'll just stop in for the night

 

Music and Lyrics by She Said Fire

Copyright © 2013

Joshua Hawksley, Peter
Strzelecki, Chris Moss and Christina
Vitucci

Chapter One
Fallon

 

Ever since this bucket of metal called a
plane left the ground, I’ve been asking myself if spending my last
nickel on this trip will be worth it. Even though it means going
without food at times, I stashed away every tip I earned to save
for this. My mountain of debt is enormous, but then again, I keep
telling myself, you only live once, right?

When the plane suddenly lurches, I know it’s
going to roll completely over at any minute. I want to get off this
carnival ride so badly I can taste it. My fingers tightly clench
the armrest and I’m pretty sure if I ever deplane, my imprints will
be left behind forever.

I feel a light patting on my arm and then I
hear, “It’ll be just fine, dear. Those are only crosswinds from the
desert. We always have those in Vegas.” The flight attendant
announced moments before that we’ve been cleared for landing, but
from the motion of the plane, I fear we won’t make it.

Glancing to my right, I see the tiny,
elderly woman sitting next to me. My nerves are so shot, my attempt
at smiling is an epic fail.

Fallon, sweetie, always remember to keep
your chin up. Negative thoughts will only bring you down.

Dad’s words come back to me, a soothing balm
to my tattered nerves and empty bank account. God, how I wish he
were still here. I wouldn’t be in this damn mess of debt right now.
It’s been six years, but sometimes the pain is so raw that it feels
like yesterday.


Honey, is this your first time
flying?” The voice next to me breaks me out of my
daydreaming.


Hmm? Oh, yes, ma’am,” I
squeak.


Ah, I see. Well, this is all part of
flying and very normal.”


Really? I feel like I’m on a sideways
Tilt-A-Whirl at the county fair.”


Oh no, honey, this is smooth. I’ve
been on some real doozies, I tell you. So what brings you to Vegas?
Are you going to lose all your money to the slots?” she
laughs.


Huh?” My anxiety has me so edgy, I’m
not following the conversation for a second and then it hits me.
“Oh, no, ma’am. I’m here for the Wicked Wench’s Conference.” I
don’t have a spare nickel to spend on the slots as it
is.

She nods and eyes me for a second. “So, are
you a Wench then?”


Oh no! I’m a blogger,” I tell her,
glad for the distraction from the chaotic flight.

The noise of the engines has picked up so
she is leaning closer to me now, trying to hear. “A what? A
booger?”


No! Not a booger! A
blogger!”


Oh, a blogger. I’ve always wanted to
see you girls dance. Do you have those fancy clicking shoes? Can
you kick your legs high up in the air? I bet you can. You look like
you could be limber like that.”

By the time I start to explain that I’m a
blogger and not a clogger, the plane rolls to a stop and the
seatbelt light goes off. For an elderly woman, she moves like
lightening as she shoots out of her seat and flies down the aisle.
I sit and stare at her with my mouth hanging open. Obviously she
knows the ins and outs of flying much better than I do. I’m lost in
the sea of shoving people as eager as I am to get off of that death
trap.

As I’m pushed along the jetway, I finally
emerge into McCarran International Airport. The place is huge!
Taking a deep breath, I knock the monster of intimidation back and
follow the signs to Baggage Claim, eager to meet my fellow book
bloggers for the first time.

We are a gang of five that met online over
our love for romance novels. We teamed up through Twitter first and
then Facebook. As we found ourselves chatting and becoming friends,
our interest in the same genre triggered the idea for us to start a
book blog where we could review and post about our favorite books.
I think it was Kat’s idea originally, but it took off like a forest
fire in a Santa Ana wind.

We decided to celebrate our first
anniversary by attending the Wicked Wenches Con in Las Vegas
together. It would finally give us the chance to not only meet each
other in person, but also some of our favorite authors of romance.
Kat Graham, Amanda Cook, Mandy Henderson and Andrea Simpson are my
partners, though I look at them as my family. They’ve done more for
me in the last year than my mom has in the past five. Honestly, if
they had purchased me a paper clip, they would’ve done more than my
mom, however that’s another story.

I finally locate the conveyer belt thingy
and watch for my bag when my phone dings. I look to see it’s a text
from Kat.

Kat:
I’m
here. Are you?

Me:
Yep…just
waiting on my suitcase
.

Kat:
Where?

Me:
Carousel
#15

Kat:
On my
way!

Five minutes later, the bags start to roll
down and mayhem ensues. I’ve never seen anything like it. From what
I can tell that belt keeps going around in a big circle and
eventually it’s going to get back to me again. I can’t figure out
why those people are in such a frenzy over it.

Suddenly, I hear a giant screech followed by
a squeal and turn around to see a blur with long, light brown hair
flying towards me. It comes as no surprise that we both end up on
the ground, hugging and laughing. As women tend to do, we find
ourselves talking a mile a minute and eventually notice the area
around Carousel #15 has cleared out and mine is the only bag still
circling on the belt. We laugh for another few minutes before
standing up to collect it.

Kat takes one look at my bag and breaks out
in peals of laughter. She’s hugging her sides and bent over while
I’m worried she’s going to topple on her head.


Stop already!”


I’m sorry, but damn, Fallon, where
the heck did you get your luggage? From duct tape’s anonymous? You
need to go to duct tape rehab.”

I shrug as I give Kat the evil eye, but then
I break down in giggles. My suitcase does indeed look like
something the Tin Man from The Wizard of Oz would carry since it’s
mostly silver. Granted, underneath the strips and strips of tape,
there is a black bag somewhere, yet I’ll be damned if I can see it
now.


Okay, you win. It is awful, isn’t it?
I didn’t have a choice, though. It was either that or less money
for shooters and the shooters won.”

Kat nods. “Excellent choice. Come on, let’s
go hunt down Amanda.”

We head out of Carousel #15 and don’t have
to look far. Walking towards us and shouting at the top of her
lungs is a gigantic hot dog nestled inside of a bun, complete with
squiggles of mustard and ketchup. The only thing human about it is
the face and it’s yelling out, “Where’s the Virgin for Vegas?
Where’s the Virgin for Vegas? Have I got a wiener for you!”

I take one look at her and do a one-eighty
with the intention of running away. However Kat grabs my wrist
before I get the chance. “Oh, no you don’t. You have to take this
like a woman!”


Oh my God. You can’t do this to me!”
I’m ready to drop to my knees and beg.


Oh, yes we can! Now smile and look
pretty,” she laughs.

I can’t believe this. What are they doing?
Amanda approaches, dressed up like a fully loaded hot dog and hands
me a tequila shooter. “How ‘bout a nice shooter for the Vegas
Virgin?”

At this point, I down the tequila and want
to crawl inside my bundle of duct tape. “Please, you all. Don’t do
this.” I frantically look around to see if anyone’s watching.


We’re not doing anything except for
kissing that dreadful virginity of yours good-bye,” the wiener
announces.


Shit, shit, shit!”


Don’t worry, Fallon. It’ll get better
with more tequila,” Kat assures.

I poke out my arm and say, “Then give me
some more and make it fast.”

Amanda hands me another shooter. “How ‘bout
a nice, juicy wiener to go along with that, ma’am?”


Oh, dear God.” If anyone ever died of
embarrassment, I was sure it would be me. Like right this
minute!

Kat puts her hand on my face. “Amanda, I
think we need to cool it. Her face is on fire and I’m not sure if
it’s the tequila or you.”


It’s her.” I grab my hunk of duct
tape and march straight outside.

Behind me I can hear, “Little Virgin, wait
up. Little Virgin, we have to meet Mandy and Andrea!”

I frenetically wave my hand behind my butt.
Right now, I only care about one thing and that’s getting away from
the giant wiener that’s determined to get me drunk on tequila
shooters and announce to the world that I’m a ‘Little Virgin’. I
continue to shoo them away as I turn to check if they’re following
me when I barrel into something quite firm and hard that sends me
flying flat on my ass. The concrete is scorching and my thighs
instantly feel like fried eggs hitting the frying pan on sizzling
butter.

BOOK: Exquisite Betrayal
10.38Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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