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Authors: Jaycee Ford

Hornet's Nest

BOOK: Hornet's Nest
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Hornet’s Nest

Copyright © 2015 Jaycee Ford

Published by Jaycee Ford

 

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form, including electronic or mechanical, without written permission from the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

This book is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This book may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each person you share it with. If you are reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then you should return it to the seller and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the author’s work.

Published: Jaycee Ford

Publishing assisted by Black Firefly: http://www.blackfirefly.com/

(Shedding light on your self-publishing journey)

Cover Design: by Michelle at AlexandMe Designs

Credit photo: copyright 2014 Rob Lang/roblangimages.com

Formatting by: http://www.blackfirefly.com/

 

For endless writing sessions ...

“Charlotte was a Hornet’s Nest of rebellion.”

General Charles Cornwallis

 

I HAD TO get there.

I had to get there as soon as I could. Why hadn’t I come to visit her before? What if it were too late? My vision blurred from tears as I sped down the snow covered highway trying to get to Olde Town as quick as I could. My heart thumped erratically inside my chest and my left knee bounced to a nervous beat.

My best friend. He took my best friend!

I was going to kill him. I was going to kill him if Jordan hadn’t killed him first.

But if he…

I shook my head and wiped my tear stained cheeks with the back of my hand. My gloves scratched against my face as the exit ramp for the middle of nowhere crept up on me. I clicked the blinker as I shifted lanes on the desolate highway. It was five in the morning, I was in the middle of nowhere, and my best friend could be dead.

Guided by the bright beam of my headlights, I maneuvered the dark, winding country roads until my GPS told me to “turn left.” I cranked the wheel. Gravel popped beneath my tires.  I tried to remember if I had ever driven my car over gravel. My experience with the country was driving through small towns in South Carolina on the way to Myrtle Beach for spring break. This was totally out of my comfort zone, but I was doing this for Jordan. I would do anything for Jordan. She was the closest thing I had to a sister.

I came to a rolling stop in front of a two-story farmhouse. Two lights flanked either side of the door, lighting up the walkway. I hopped out of the car, tossing my bag on my shoulder and hooked my purse on my elbow. The mountain cold took my breath away. I gasped while I grabbed my suitcase out of the trunk. My full load banged in the five a.m. quiet as I pulled it up the steps and rolled it onto the porch. I inhaled a few times trying to find that calming breath, but I knew it was of no use. I wouldn’t rest until she was found.

Please, God. Let us find her.

As I exhaled, I knocked softly on the door. If everyone was asleep, then I could just rest in my car until dawn. The floor vibrated under my feet. I looked down at the wooden planks and then up again as the sound of an army of boots rushed toward me. The door swung open to five men. Five really hot men, all staring at me as my eyes widened. This was not the sort of welcome I was expecting.

Really hot men.

“Whoa, is this the Jordan Hawthorne search party welcome committee?”

I glanced at the muscular cowboy with dark brown hair and piercing blue eyes standing in front of me holding the door open. That was Tom. I knew that from the dozens of pictures Jordan had sent me. The guy to his right sported short dark blond hair and his police attire matched the two men standing behind Tom. My eyes fell to the guy on his left. They wanted to linger for a moment longer than they should have. His floppy light brown hair was in utter disarray. A thick flannel shirt hung open, exposing a t-shirt, untucked from a pair of worn out jeans. I caught the sparkle of green as his eyes lifted. My stomach twisted as his gaze focused on me. Jordan warned me about this guy: the eternal womanizer. His lips just spread into a crooked smile I couldn’t stop staring at. In one swift moment, I knew that I was fucked. I tore my eyes away and focused on Tom. I refused to be fucked.

“Katherine,” Tom said as he reached out toward me. I dropped my bag as he pulled me into a hug. I kept my eyes closed for the simple fact that I was a mere foot away from Lance, and I didn’t feel like locking eyes with that sparkle again.

“So, is this
the
Katherine?”

Tom released me from our hug. My eyes opened slowly, spotted Lance, and then instantly narrowed at him … and that shit-eating grin.

“Yep, that’s me.” I cocked my eyebrow without amusement and turned back toward Tom. “I’m so sorry for coming so early in the morning. I’ve been in London all week, and for some reason, my phone was not working so well. I flew over as soon as I heard about Jordan. My flight landed about three hours ago in Charlotte. I came straight here.”

Lance bent down and scooped up my bags. The room silenced as we all watched this supposed player become a southern gentlemen. I couldn’t contain the eye roll. He was not getting anywhere near my pants much less into them. I watched him with a blank stare as he straightened and said, “You must be exhausted. Let me show you to Tom’s room. Sleep a little bit and you can catch up with Cal and Marie when you wake up.”

My heart broke hearing the names of Jordan’s parents. I couldn’t let Lance distract me. I came here to find my best friend, not to play some silly game with some silly country boy. I nodded at his request. I needed some sleep first. If I was going to be of any use finding Jordan, then I needed to get back on North Carolina time. At the stairs, he stepped aside to allow me to go first. I rolled my eyes again and climbed up, groaning as I felt his hungry eyes behind me.

I stopped the climb as I was met with two pairs of boots. A man that looked much like the cop downstairs and a girl with fire-red hair that could only be one person stood in front of me.

“Y’all, this is Jordan’s friend, Katherine,” Lance said behind me.

Her eyes locked with mine and she gasped while throwing her arms around me. “Katherine, I can’t believe you made it.”

“It’s so good to finally meet you, Ellie.” I squeezed her into a hug. I had only talked to her a handful of times on the phone, but I knew that if Jordan trusted her as a friend, then I would too.

“Y’all talk on the phone, too, huh?”

Ellie and I turned to who I assumed was Paul. I glanced at Ellie and nodded as she replied, “Of course.”

“Let’s go, city girl,” Lance said behind me. I smiled at Ellie and Paul as they headed downstairs. I turned my head to watch them go as Paul reached out for Ellie’s hand. I envied them for a second until I glanced at Lance with that same shit-eating grin still planted on his face. I groaned and continued up the stairs, ignoring that damned sparkle in his eyes.

When I reached the landing, I stepped aside to let him go before me. I kept my head down to avoid his wandering gaze and followed a safe distance behind. He opened the door to what appeared to be Tom’s room. The neutral color scheme grayed in the morning sun. Hidden behind snow clouds, the light just barely crept into the room through a small window facing the horizon. At least I should be able to get some sleep.

The bags dropped to the ground and Lance broke the silence. “How about we start this again?”

I turned around to his extended hand as he continued, “Hi. I’m Lance Walton. I’m twenty-four. I work for my best friend Tom, and it’s so lovely to meet you.”

I glared at his hand as I folded my arms across my chest. “I’m Katherine Klein. I’m twenty-three. My best friend was kidnapped and I would like to sleep now.”

He moved his hand away as he stepped back to the door. “Well, if you need any help, you just let me know.”

With an unnecessary wink, Lance finally left me to my sleep. I turned back toward the bed and kicked off my shoes. I crawled underneath the khaki coverlet and rolled onto my side to find myself staring at a picture of Tom and Jordan on the nightstand. I had never seen her that happy with Ryan. Not once. Tears pooled in my eyes again and I closed them tight. We would find her. We had to.

• • •

After a three hour nap and a long hot shower, my arms were wrapped around a man that I wanted to detest for the simple fact that I liked having my arms wrapped around him; however, I could barely feel my arms as I rode on the back of a four-wheeler in a foot of snow. Lance shot us airborne and we hit the snow hard. My ass was going to be sore from this ride… and not in a good way.

“Do you even know how to drive this thing?” I didn’t even know this guy and he already infuriated me with that stupid smile and those sparkling green eyes. I hated him. Damn it. I had to.

“Yes, I know how to drive this thing.”

Not a moment later, he ran us into a snow pile, almost throwing me off.

“Damn it, Lance!” I jumped off the back of the death machine and walked away to calm my nerves, but the weight crept onto my shoulders. As they sagged, I couldn’t help the tears that came. I crouched down, covered my face with my gloved hands, and cried. The snow crunched behind me as Lance approached. Could he not just give me a minute? He placed his hand on my shoulder and I shrugged it off. I didn’t want his comfort. I just wanted my friend back. He breathed out and placed his hand on my shoulder again.

“Katherine?”

I peeked through blurry eyes as he squatted down next to me. I became mesmerized once again with his shade of emerald green. They sparkled fervently even through our distressed state. Just his presence alone was doing something to me, and I didn’t like it. I didn’t want it. He squeezed my shoulder gently and said, “We’re going to find her.”

The tears continued to roll down my face, stinging against the cold, and I nodded, hoping he was right. He wrapped me in his arms and I buried my face in the crook of his neck. I inhaled deeply, willing myself to stop crying, but the only thing I could focus on was his scent. Damn, he smelled good. I snapped myself out of it and pushed away, walking back to the four-wheeler. Before hopping on with determination, I turned to him and mumbled, “Thank you.” Although, in attempting to not appear swayed by his attention, I pointed my finger in his face, and said, “But don’t think this makes me like you.”

His cheeks lifted into that sexy smirk of his, and with the fullest country accent, replied, “Yes, ma’am.”

• • •

The search ended hopelessly. I found myself sitting in front of Tom’s fire hoping to feel my appendages again. I was lost in thought of the possibility that I would never see Jordan again. She was my best friend. She was like my sister. When Tom started to cry, I lost all hope and let my tears fall as well. Lance shifted his arm and rested it around my shoulders. I gave up fighting my necessary hatred toward this guy and I melted into his body, feeling the need to be held as I mourned my friend. Lance pulled me closer, wrapping both arms around me. He attempted to rub soothing circles on my back, trying to relax me, but it wasn’t working.

Breaking our somber disposition, the door abruptly swung open, crashing against the wall. We all stood and turned toward the front door as Paul ran in from the cold.

“Tom! Get up! Help!”

Tom ran outside as hope fired though me. I looked up at Lance and his green eyes sparkled again with the same hope that my friend would be alive. As Tom came back in gripping Jordan in his arms, I cried with joy. Lance wrapped me in a full embrace. Being so close to this man all day, I did the only thing that felt natural in that moment…

I grabbed his face and kissed him with everything that I had.

BOOK: Hornet's Nest
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