Stand Close 2 (Stand Close New Adult Romance Series)

BOOK: Stand Close 2 (Stand Close New Adult Romance Series)
13.59Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
Stand Close 2
Sabrina Lacey
Lacey Publications

tand Close 2

Copyright © 2014 Sabrina Lacey

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Published by Lacey Publications

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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.

o part
of this book may be reproduced, or stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the express written permission of the publisher.

Chapter One

the outside bleakness of John F. Kennedy International Airport, Jenna asks, “How do we get a taxi?”

“I think we go that way.” I point to the right where there’s a long line of people and a shorter line of cabs. Some have no markings, just black sedans waiting for someone who wants to ride in them, and not many do. I ask a woman who’s puffing on a cigarette she’s waited five and a half torturous hours to inhale, “Excuse me, what are those? Are those limos?”

At first she looks at me like she thinks I was going to tell her to put it out. Relief sags her eyelids, and she jerks her chin toward the cars as smoke wafts around the crown of her head. “Those are what they call Car Service, for Brooklyn. Yellow cabs wanna go all the way to Manhattan ‘cause it’s a bigger ticket.”

“Ah. Thank you.” I turn back to Jenna who’s rubbing her arms like I am to generate warmth. We’re both wearing baggy boyfriend jeans and long, loose fitting tank tops over tight ones, wishing we’d brought jackets. Her flip-flop covered feet are slapping the pavement like a horse getting ready to buck, and our overnight bags–hers in pink leopard print and mine in dark purple–are waiting for a place to go. I wish I could help them.

“I was thinking we just grab one of those, but looks like we have to do the line. But we’re excited, right?”

“Jeez, it’s cold here!” Jenna says, frowning hard, and ignoring my attempt at cheer.

“Yeah, but I’m so glad we’re finally off that plane.”

“I told you to get First Class tickets.”

“I know! I should have listened. I’m not used to being able to do that.” She reaches over and rubs my back, letting me know she gets it. “If you’re so wise, why didn’t you tell me to bring a jacket?”

“Ha. Ha,” she mutters, dryly.

“Okay. So I didn’t plan ahead, but this is gonna be great! You know what? I’ve got an idea. Come on. Follow me.” Without question, she grabs both rolling bags as I pull out my wallet and race to the front of the line, straight up to the dispatcher. “Hi, we need a cab. Can you get us one with a heater?” Hiding it from sight of the line behind us, I hand him a hundred dollar bill, biting my lip at my extravagance. He looks at me, then at the bill. “Please!” I beg, and hand him another one, with a weird I’ve-never-done-this-before smile. As one who’s been around, he stares at me from under thick eyebrows, and cuts his eyes over to Jenna without moving his head. She smiles big, a move that makes the corners of his mouth turn up. It appears she has more of an effect on him than I do, so I give her a signal, a look to keep it up. We’re going to freeze out here if this guy doesn’t warm up to Jenna’s charms. She bends one knee so that her hip juts seductively out. “Hi! We forgot jackets. But we’re not complete morons. We’re just not too bright.”

He mutters on a laugh, “Alright,” and unexpectedly hands one of the hundreds back to me, tucking the other in his jacket’s inner pocket. “I’ll keep this one.” He turns to signal the cabbie at the front of the line that there’s an exception, to not take the next person in line, a woman around forty or so, wearing a warm coat, obviously glad she’s next. The cabbie nods and motions to the traveller she’s out of luck as I grab my suitcase from Jenna and we run up with them trailing victoriously behind us. The woman shoots us a bloodcurdling look, and hurls a few choice curse words we have to dive under to get in the cab. There’s a collective groan from the line, too.

Sticking my whole body out the window, I throw a heartfelt apology to the lady and the crowd, “Sorry! We didn’t bring jackets.” Some guy takes my picture. “Shit,” I mutter, sinking back inside. The cab driver tosses our bags with a vengeance into the trunk, slamming it shut.

“Did you see that?” Jenna asks, pointing out the back window. I look over to the angry people who are dressed warmer than we are.


“Another guy taking our picture.”

I turn around, annoyed. “Yeah, I saw him. Hey, look at this.” We both raise our eyebrows at the T.V. screen anchored in the backseat. As soon as we pull away from the curb, it turns on. Commercials of New York City with Tina Fey doing the voice-over, flash before us. It’s surreal being here, and this just added to that wondrous feeling. “It’s so strange that you can be on one side of the country, and then not even six hours later, you’re all the way on the other end.”

We caught the Delta Airlines 9:30 a.m. flight and arrived ahead of schedule at 5:32 p.m. with the time difference. The sun’s going down here, but back home that’d be hours away.

“Yeah. But look at this!” Jenna scoffs, “I thought Brooklyn was supposed to be cool?” She motions to the graffiti-covered buildings passing by our window so fast you think we were being chased by cops.

“It’s probably just the area by the airport that looks like this. Airports are always far away from where people want to live. Too much noise. Remember Bobby, the guy who went on tour with Lady Gaga? He’s from Brooklyn. Williamsburg, I think…was that it? Yeah, I think that was what he called it. He said it’s a lot like Silverlake.”

“Ooo! I’m getting excited, Ruefus!” Her hand is tapping on her leg even though there’s no music. Our cab driver is doing the same; his bearded chin bobs like there’s a beat in his body, too. I’d ask him to turn on the radio, but then what would happen to the song in their heads?

“Me too! Very excited,” I whisper, watching the darkening sky loom over a gray blur of industrial buildings and structures that no one should be living in. My mind detours back to Alec yet again. The way his hair fell over his eyes. The way he looked at me like he wanted to tear me apart. The way I reacted to the urgency emanating from him. The way he smelled.

Why am I tormenting myself? He ran away from me and told me what Sean said about him was true. And then there’s my new brother. Sean doesn’t want it to happen. And if what he warned me is true, then I shouldn’t want it, either.

But I do want it. I

The ache in my chest feels like the seeds for obsession, and that would be a first for me. “I think I’ve got it bad, Jenna. It’s not possible to fall in love with someone in one night, is it?”

Jenna sends a raised eyebrow my way. “The problem with meeting someone famous is you feel like you already know them.”

Making a little noise, I stare out the window, not sure if she’s got a point. “It felt like more than that. I know it’s crazy, but I think he felt it, too. Never mind. I’m being crazy.”

My phone rings, and I’m more than happy for the distraction, but pulling it out, I don’t recognize the number. Jenna and I exchange looks; distressed another slandering of my mother’s good name is on the way. “Ugh. I swear, if this is another...” I swipe to answer it. “Hello?”

“It’s Jack.”

“Oh! Jack! Hi!” Jenna exhales with me. “What’s up?”

Authoritative and low, his voice sounds as clear and as scary as if he were sitting right here next to me. “You’re coming over for dinner tonight. Mom wants to meet you.”

Jenna makes a face, wondering why I look like someone punched my stomach after a heavy meal. “You want me to meet
your mom
tonight?” I say, repeating the request for her benefit, and her jaw drops while I slap her legs to get the crazy out of me. “Hang on. I’m getting another call.” I hit mute, exclaiming wildly, “I don’t want to meet their mother!
mother slept with her husband!”

“And then there’s the part where you’re on the East coast,” Jenna flatly adds.

“Shit.” I hit the mute again. “Sorry. I’m back. Tonight? Really?”

Sarcasm drips heavily from his unimpressed voice, wetting my ear in the process. “Yeah. Tonight. Don’t put me on hold again. And don’t tell me you have to work.”

“Hang on.” I hit mute again. “Oh my God. I’m on the schedule at work tonight, too! I didn’t call them. I didn’t even
of calling them!! What am I gonna do?”

“Holy shit.”

“Right???!” I hit mute again, bringing back the call, feeling very strongly that I really didn’t think this through. “Jack? I’m on the schedule tonight.”

That’s the truth.

“I can’t come to dinner. Sorry.”

Also true.

Jenna reaches over, pinches my arm, and grins like the kid cutting school with Ferris Bueller. I bite back a yip at the pain.

Jack implodes, his growl guttural and hair-raising. “You
be there,
. You
call that job and tell them you’re not coming back. And you
sit your sweet little
at that table and meet Mom tonight. You got it? You owe her.”

Retaliatory fire blazes through my veins instantly. Like I’m possessed, my voice lowers and my spine straightens as I lean forward, finding a power I didn’t know I had. “I
her? I don’t even
her. I didn’t ask for any of this, Jack. Don’t talk to me like that. If and when I choose to meet your mother, it will be because I want to, not because you order me to do so. You. Don’t. Own. Me.”


With my heart pounding fiercely, I bring my phone to my chest and hold it there, steadying my heartbeat. A white-hot heat took over me just then, and I don’t recognize myself.

“Did you just hang up on Jack Stone?” Jenna asks, incredulously. I don’t say anything, so she gets louder. “Did you just
tell off
Jack Fucking Stone?”

I shrug, but my hand begins to shake. “He’s a jerk. If he thinks he can boss me around, he’s wrong.”

“Wow. I didn’t know you had it in you, Ruefus.”

“Yeah you did,” I whisper.

She laughs. “Okay, yeah. I did. But still, phew! Most people would throw themselves at his feet and you! You just impressed the hell out of me!”

“Yeah, well…” I stare at the fireworks on the T.V. wondering what I’m going to do about this rivalry I have with the man who is apparently my family. Jack and I have gotten off on the wrong foot to say the least. I don’t want it to be like this, but he has a way of pushing all of my buttons until I’m spewing things I’d never say to anyone else. Why am I being so mean about his mother? Can’t I show her some sympathy and meet the poor woman? At the very least show her I’m not as evil as she must think I am? But Jack keeps pushing me over the edge. What does he think I am? Well, I
what he thinks I am.

He thinks I’m trash.

I have to prove him wrong.

I cut my eyes back to my friend. “Can you imagine sitting down to dinner with the woman who’s husband cheated with your mother?”

her husband is your dad!” Jenna digs in her bag for lip balm. “I can’t imagine any of this. I’m just along for the ride.”

“Should I have said yes, Jenna?”

She pops the cap off the tube and applies it to her lips while talking. “Rue, how are you supposed to say yes when you’re not even in the same state?”

Blankly, I stare at her. She stops, the balm frozen to her lip as she stares back at me. We burst out laughing and don’t stop until our sides are splitting with cramps.

At the Brooklyn Bridge, our driver speeds through the toll, thanks to his prepaid pass. Jenna and I both get quiet as we stare out at history, the skyline of a shimmering New York City growing larger. She reaches across the seat and grabs my hand. Gives it a tight squeeze. “Thank you for bringing me here.” I glance over at her, surprised. Her face is turned away from me. She’s not the most emotional or vulnerable person on the planet, so her saying that means a lot. Emotion warming my stomach, I smile and give her hand a squeeze back.

“Of course, Jenna-bean. You’re my best friend.” I look out my window at the water below us, and the boats in the distance. An adventure is waiting for us on the other side of this bridge. I cannot wait.

BOOK: Stand Close 2 (Stand Close New Adult Romance Series)
13.59Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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