Authors: Ashley Johnson
Published by Ashley Johnson
Robin Harper/Wicked By Design
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“Come on Hope, tell
him! If you don’t I will. He’s my cousin so I can treat him like shit whether you’re engaged to him or not. I have an extra ticket and I won’t take no for an answer, so ask and call me back. You can’t dwell on the past, I know it hurts but you have to move on. You have five minutes or I’m coming over there.”
“Fine Amber! Just calm the hell down. I’ll ask as soon as we hang up. I just know he’s going to be funny about it.”
“Ask. You know if Karlee were still alive she’d be dragging you there whether he wanted you to go or not. Again, I’m telling you to at least ask. Bye bitch.”
I groan as I hang the call up. Amber has been on my ass for weeks now about going to this damn rodeo with her. I’m quite the procrastinator and damn proud of it. The rodeo is in two days and I just hate myself for having answered her phone call. I could care less about going. I’ve only been to one rodeo, that night started out great and ended tragically and abruptly. Just thinking about it still tears me apart today. Why do I want to sit there and practically re-live the very night that turned my entire world upside down? That night was unforgiving; it tore me to shreds, to pieces. Those pieces will never be able to be put back together again.
The fact that she brought up Karlee has my stomach tied up in knots. Karlee was my older sister by two years. She’s been dead for two years now. We weren’t close as kids. As a matter of fact we fought all the damn time. As we grew up, our bond strengthened and we were inseparable. I’m having a hard time telling Brad I want to go with Amber because of that night. That fateful night Brad begged and pleaded for me to go out with him on a date for our anniversary which coincided with the rodeo but my sister somehow trumped him. .It’d been a long time since the two of us had actually done something and she told him she already had the ticket and wouldn’t take no for an answer. Brad decided to let me go on the condition that we celebrate our anniversary the next evening. That was supposed to be the plan at least. On our way home, she fell asleep at the wheel causing her brand new car to veer off the road and smash head first into a tree. She died instantly and my heart filled with sadness and blame. That should have been me too, but my life was spared. Our family was torn apart. Mom and Dad never treated me any differently because of her accident but all this time I’ve continued to carry more guilt than I should. No one knows I do except Amber. Brad would make fun of me. According to him, what’s done is done and I should be over it. He is an asshole! How do you get over losing one of your best friends? I should have stayed awake with her and kept her company but she kept insisting that it was ok for me to rest. If I stayed awake maybe she would still be alive today.
I take a deep breath as I drag myself to the living room to tell Brad I want to go to the rodeo. Amber won’t stop and I sure don’t want her coming over here playing the Karlee and cousin cards. Brad would do anything for Amber. After being with him five years, I would think he’d do the same for me but in reality he was much stricter with me. I don’t know what it is but sometimes I’d rather not be around him. Don’t get me wrong I love him to death; we’re getting married in two months. My head has been spinning with planning this wedding while he just sits back and continued to do what he does, work.
I hate that he took the job at the police department. Ever since he started there, he’s worked longer hours and he’s always tired. He’s constantly picking up extra shifts for other guys. Any time I get with him, I try and make the best of it. Yet another reason I don’t care to go to this rodeo.
He’s lying on the couch watching some Steven Segal movie. I crinkle my nose because I’m not the biggest fan of action movies. Give me a chick flick or something hilarious and I’m your girl, I just can’t handle the senseless blowing shit up and all that.
He looks up at me and smiles. I remember always drooling over him as a teenager. He is two years older than Amber and me, the same age as Karlee, but that didn’t stop my little teenage hormones from going nuts. Amber thought it was gross I had a crush on her cousin, but one look at those beautiful blue eyes and that messy brown hair and I suddenly found it necessary to be more girlie and aim for his attention once he got back from summer camp. I needed him to see I was no longer his cousin’s awkward teenage friend Hope. One hot pink bikini later, he cornered me on the back porch at Amber’s house asking if he could take me out that night. Of course I said yes much to Amber’s dismay, eventually told me she was happy for me. Things went rather fast for us after that date. We spent every waking hour together and two years later we moved into the apartment we now share. When he proposed, I was the happiest woman on earth. It seemed that for once in this shitty piece of my life, things were turning around. Every piece of my heart just knew he was it for me. He was going to be my safe place, my happily ever after.
“Hey babe, I saved you a spot.” He winked as he patted the spot beside him on the couch. He enveloped me in his strong arms and I relaxed. I miss the messy hair he once had. He lost a dare at camp that year and cut his hair. He ended up keeping it short after that.
“Amber has an extra ticket to this rodeo in a few days; I’ve decided I want to go with her.”
He sees me scrunch my nose and laughs. “The rodeo, huh? You don’t seem too excited.”
“Well I’m sure you know I don’t really want to but it’s a free ticket. I think she got a hotel for the night too so we don’t have to drive back.” I put my foot down on that one. What happened with Karlee may have been a freak accident, but frankly it scared the hell out of me. I can still hear the sound of the car smashing into the tree and I can still see the smoke everywhere. Why we didn’t get a hotel room that night still baffles me to this day.
He stuck his lip out and began to pout. “If I say yes, what do I get out of it?”
Shit, I knew this was coming. It aggravates me to no end that he doesn’t seem too concerned about the real fears I have bubbling beneath the surface. He of all people should know that almost reliving that night scares me to death. The entire night constantly haunts me. I also hated that he uses sex as a pawn with me. As our wedding inched closer, I told him even though we’d slept together already I’d like to wait until our wedding night to make it more special. It was literally three months away when I decided this. He whined and complained saying things like
I was taking his manhood away
why don’t I just go ahead and cut his balls off
. He also said a few other choice words that made my skin crawl. He was such an asshole at times. He made me feel like absolute shit but once I was sure he saw my side, he let it go. Every so often he tries to pull his smooth moves on me; I’ve only given in once. After that, I stood my ground and it pissed him off. He’s the only guy I’ve ever slept with. I gave him my virginity in some ritzy hotel room after my senior prom. How stereotypical? But he made it magical and I wanted that magic for my wedding night.
I leaned down, my shoulder length auburn hair brushing against his cheek, and kissed his lips. “Don’t try that with me Brad, come on. I’m trying to be serious. You know how I feel about this.”
He acts like he’s listening to what I say but his eyes tell a different story. I let out an agitated sigh and roll my eyes getting another reaction out of him. “What? Can’t blame a guy for trying. You’re sexy. Come on just slip your shorts off babe. Let me feel you.”
He’s smiling the smile he knows I can’t resist. Dammit. His hand slides across my front and rests right on the edge of my shorts. As he begins to slide his hand down inside them, I let out a small moan. Sometimes we do engage in a little foreplay so he doesn’t whine so much but sometimes all it does is make it a little more frustrating when he wants to have sex and I put my foot down. He teases me for a few seconds before he thrusts a few fingers inside me. I close my eyes as I call out his name. “Oh Brad…” He stops for a brief second and I pop my eyes open glaring at him. “Don’t stop.”
His eyes lit like a fire as he smiled continuing, “You like that, Hope?”
“Yes.” I whimpered lifting my hips up enough to let him fully remove my shorts. I’m exposed, tense, and dying to feel him. I don’t want to but I can’t help the effect he has on me.
The voice of reason tries to come up but I won’t listen. He’s my fiancé, I mean I do want him to make love to me. I reach for his zipper and he lets out a moan. “Damn baby.”
His pants are off, he’s leaning down with his lips a few mere inches away from mine and suddenly sends them crashing towards me. I kiss him hard, burning full of desire to feel him inside me. The jeans he wore are kicked off and hang semi-off the couch. I can feel him pressing to enter me and I moan thinking about how amazing it’s going to feel. He sits up; reaching for his wallet to pull out the extra condom he always carries around. The tear of the package fills my ears and he begins to slide it on. I feel weak for a split second that he’s getting his way. I want this though. I’m convinced as he slides inside me. Oh god, I missed this. He’s swift but passionate at the same time. For a moment, I get a peek at the Brad I fell in love with several years ago, the Brad who gazes into my eyes as he proves his love for me, the Brad who would move Earth just to make me happy.
Just as I’m about to come, his phone goes off. He stops to look at the message that comes through. He slides out of me quickly and gets up walking into the kitchen. I lay on the brown micro fiber couch trying to catch my breath and not go slap him in the arm when I realize he isn’t coming back to finish what he started. This has never happened. He’s never just gotten up and walked away like this and the thought of something being severely wrong is eating away at me. The fireworks were ready to go off, the big finale just within reach and then nothing. He finished and just left me hanging.
I sat up frustrated when he comes walking back in. “You should know you can go. You can make sure Amber doesn’t get in trouble or try to run off with any cowboys and you’re right, you need to get over it and move on.”
The way he speaks those last words feel like he just spit in my face. The words were dripping with sarcasm and hit me where it hurts. “What the hell Brad?”
He pauses turning to look at me like none of this is a big deal.
“Am I that unattractive to you Brad? A fucking text message is more important than me?”
“Calm down Hope. I mean shit, it’s not like we have sex all the time anyways. You want to hold off and wait, so I don’t see what the big deal is.”
“You’re a fucking asshole!” I yell. He doesn’t even flinch at my words, instead he grins and pure anger flows through my veins.
“Tell me something I don’t know Hope. Look, I’m going to the gym. I’ll be home later.”
“So you’re really just walking out?”
“Yes Hope, I’m walking right out this door. You got what you want so I’m not really seeing why you’re so upset.”
He doesn’t see why I’m upset? Anger continues to roll through my veins and the more I think about it, the angrier I get. “Just fucking go Brad. Next time, I’ll do this shit to you so you can see how it feels.”
I’m ready to argue with him, that’s what it seems he wants to do all the time anyway, but instead he gathers his gym bag and has the nerve to give me a small kiss before he walks out the door. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t completely frustrated, more frustrated than anyone knows. This isn’t the first time he’s pulled something like this. I’d tell Amber but I know she’ll say nothing but I told you so. She loves Brad and she loves me but even though she said she was excited about us getting together deep down I know she really wasn’t. She made that clear to me once or twice and she doesn’t even know half the crap he does. I just figured she was worried if something bad happened between Brad and me, it would destroy our friendship. She doesn’t know how he talks down to me seventy five percent of the time or how he pulls things like what he just did. I love him though, but here lately my mind has been consumed with doubt. I’m comfortable with him, our relationship has been through a lot but I can’t shake this feeling that things are just getting worse everyday.
I grab my phone and tap Amber’s name. She answers by the second ring. “Tell me you have good news or I swear I’ll be there in two minutes.” She lives about a block away so she’s not kidding.
Amber and I have been best friends since birth. Our parents lived next door to each other so I’m sure you can figure the rest out. We’ve been there for each other for everything from broken hearts to when her parents divorced. She’s the yin to my yang.
“I told him I’m going and he didn’t protest it.” I begin twirling a strand of hair around my finger trying to get my mind off the events that just occurred.