Authors: Wendy Knight
© 2015 WENDY KNIGHT
This is a work of fiction. Names, places, characters, and events are fictitious in every regard. Any similarities to actual events and persons, living or dead, are purely coincidental. Any trademarks, service marks, product names, or named features are assumed to be the property of their respective owners, and are used only for reference. There is no implied endorsement if any of these terms are used. Except for review purposes, the reproduction of this book in whole or part, electronically or mechanically, constitutes a copyright violation.
Star Crossed Hurricane
Copyright © 2015 Wendy Knight
Cover Art by P.S. Cover Design
Other Books by Wendy Knight
The Fate on Fire Series:
Feudlings in Sight
Feudlings in Smoke
Feudlings in Flames
The Spark of a Feudling
Riders of Paradesos Series:
Warrior Innocent (coming soon)
Banshee at the Gate (part of the Gates of Atlantis series)
To Mage and Clark
HERE WAS SOMEONE RIGHT BEHIND HER.
Savannah could hear the breathing, the pound of feet nearly on her heels. And she was tired. So tired. Her legs shook and her breath came in short, painful gasps.
They needed her. They screamed her name because they needed her to not give up. Digging deep, she found one last, brief burst of energy. She lengthened her stride, rounding the corner, her arms burning, pumping, weak.
“You got this, Savvy! Run!”
“All the way home, baby! Come on!”
Sawyer. Beckett. Out of the corner of her eye, she could see them running with her in the infield. She roared across the finish line and nearly collapsed as the girl behind her took second place.
Sawyer caught her.
Sawyer always caught her. He was her good luck charm.
Laughing, yelling, he held her against his chest, swaying back and forth and stroking her hair, and she never wanted to leave his arms. “You did it, Savvy!”
Beckett wrapped her in a bear hug from behind, lifting her up and away from Sawyer’s arms. She gasped as he squeezed what air she’d managed to suck in. “That’s my girl!”
“Hey. Good run. That was an awesome time,” Sawyer said to the girl who’d taken second.
“Thanks,” she gasped, walking in circles and shaking out her legs. “You too.” She nodded toward Savannah, though her eyes were still on Sawyer. Which wasn’t surprising. Once a girl’s eyes found Sawyer, they rarely left. He was that gorgeous.
And not yours to be jealous over.
“Thank you.” She smiled, because smiling didn’t take oxygen. “Beck, I can’t breathe.”
“Right. Sorry.” He released her, and just in time, because the world was starting to go an alarming shade of black. “Way to go, girl!” Kelly caught her in a hug, and then Laura was there, too. Her best friends in the entire world. They knew all her secrets.
Even the ones about Sawyer.
“Just do that again in the four by four, and we’ve got this. Easy as pie,” Kelly said.
Savannah grinned. “Yes ma’am.”
Sawyer dropped an arm over her shoulder, guiding her off the track so the next heat could start. “Let’s get you some water, huh?”
She grinned up at him, and tried not to melt against his touch, because that would be awkward, seeing as how he thought of her as his “little Savvy.” Not gorgeous Savannah that he wanted to kiss and touch and grow old with.
She swore under her breath. Kelly caught her eye, smiling sadly, reading her thoughts.
Savannah slid out from under his arm, because it was torture, exquisite torture, but torture nonetheless, and dug in her bag for her sweatshirt. She was a Utah girl — a state that could be as frigid as the best of them, but it was late spring. Why was it so cold and humid here on the Oregon coast? Now that she wasn’t running, she was freezing. “Holy creak, where is it?”
She took everything out, her water bottle, her protein bar, her Pepsi… that she wasn’t supposed to have. Glancing guiltily over her shoulder at the coach, she shoved it back in.
“Here.” Sawyer tugged his sweatshirt over her head. It fell to mid-thigh, longer than her track shorts so it looked like she wasn’t wearing them at all. Like a night shirt…
And then of course her mind took off in ten thousand different directions, all of which had her in Sawyer’s shirt and not much else.
Blushing, she buried her head in it and tried to remember how to breathe.
It smelled like him. Like nature. Like a night club. She didn’t even know how to describe it. She did know that no matter how often she smelled it, it took her back to the day they’d met, when he’d sauntered into her English Lit class and sat down next to her. She was a nervous wreck — it was her first class of her first year of college. She didn’t dare look up, but he smelled so good she nearly swooned right into his arms.
Yeah. She was so cool.
She’d fallen, and fallen
. The smell, the gorgeous gray eyes, the body… and the Texas accent.
And then she’d found out he was Beckett’s roommate. Beckett, the guy she’d been with for two years in high school. The guy she’d broken up with because she didn’t love him like she was supposed to. The guy who was still her friend. She didn’t want to ruin that.
She’d cried herself to sleep on Laura’s bed that night.
“Hey. You in there, Buttercup?” Sawyer waved a hand in front of her eyes and she blinked several times before he focused in front of her.
“Nope. Not here. Leave a message.” She grinned, dancing away from him when he rolled his eyes.
“Caleb’s up next. I’m heading over there. See you guys in a bit.” Kelly disappeared in the crowd, reemerging across the field to watch her boyfriend, Caleb, throw the javelin.
Laura was nowhere to be seen, which meant that she was either with Liam, her Australian high jumper, or Aaron, her sprinter boyfriend.
It was just Sawyer and Savannah… and Beckett.
Beckett pulled her into his lap, wrapping a blanket around both of them. “Keep me warm, Savvy.”
Laughing, Sawyer pulled a corner of the blanket out of Beckett’s hand and wrapped himself in with them. “It’s cold today, don’t you think?” His eyes sparkled dangerously as he grinned down at Savannah, like he knew exactly what he was doing, thwarting Beckett’s efforts.
If only that were true.
“It is cold. Coach says a big storm is coming. That’s why they’re running the heats so fast, so we can get back to our hotel before it hits,” Beckett said, pointing into the distance, where dark clouds roiled above the ocean.
“This would be a nasty place to get caught in a hurricane, so close to the coast.” Sawyer nodded, watching the storm roiling. He would know, coming from the shores of the Gulf of Mexico.
She leaned her head against Sawyer’s shoulder and closed her eyes.
You’re so pathetic.
Yeah. I know.
The wind picked up, out of nowhere, and
. It hurled the thunderous clouds across the sky, until they were right above the stadium.
And then the sky opened up.
It was like being caught in a waterfall, if waterfalls also had multi-forked lightning attacking everything in sight. Chaos erupted as coaches ushered their teams to the buses as fast as possible. Being in the middle of a field in a lightning storm — not advisable. Not at all.
Sawyer jerked Savannah to her feet, grabbed her bag, and picked her up all in one smooth motion, depositing her on the grass where she could run, since she hadn’t taken her spiked shoes off after her race. “Go, Savvy!” He yelled, and even then his voice barely carried above the wind.
But she was a smart girl, and nobody had to tell her to run. Keeping her head down, she sprinted toward shelter, Beckett and Sawyer hard on her heels. She leaped up the stairs and into the relative safety of the bus, but the wind was so fierce, the bus rocked and swayed and felt distinctly not safe.
She shivered and buried her head in Sawyer’s sweatshirt, watching her teammates scream and laugh as they fell into the seats around her. “There you are!” Laura collapsed in the seat in front of them. “Guess we’ll run our four by four tomorrow, huh?”
Kelly fought her way through the crowd to sit in the seat across the aisle, Caleb climbing over her to sit next to the window. “What’s a little wind? We could totally run in this!”
“Well, yeah. We could. But not everyone is as awesome as we are,” Laura said.
“Truth,” Kelly agreed.
“Hey.” Sawyer nudged her, flipping the hood of his sweatshirt so it fell back away from her face. “You okay?”
“Cold,” she whimpered. “And wet.”
“Come here.” He slid sideways in the seat and pulled her against him, so her back was against his chest, and he wrapped his arms around her. Savannah noticed Laura’s face light up as she fought to hide a grin — of
they knew about her crush on Sawyer. Everyone did.
Except him. And Beckett.
Savannah leaned her head back, every inch of her hyper-aware of every inch of him. The muscle in his jaw worked against her temple, and if she never had to move again, that would be okay.
“Anybody missing?” Coach Andrus yelled from the front of the bus. The wind howled, refusing to be drowned out by her voice or the roar of the engine. Coach fought to call roll, nearly screaming to be heard, and by the end, nearly voiceless. But everyone was safe and accounted for, so the bus lurched forward, fighting its way through the storm to their hotel. It was three in the afternoon, but the sun was lost in the clouds, and night seemed to have taken an early hold. Savannah never seen a storm like this before.
“I would kill for a shower right now,” Beckett said. “I smell like wet dog.”
“And you think a shower’s going to help that?” Sawyer asked, laughing when Beckett glared at him. His eyes moved from Sawyer to Savannah, still wrapped in Sawyer’s arms, and his glare narrowed.
“I think I’m okay now,” Savannah said, even though everything in her body screamed that moving away from him was the last thing she wanted to do. But she didn’t want to hurt Beckett. She slid away from Sawyer, trying to hide her shivering because dang—it wasn’t warm on that bus, and the trip to the hotel was a long one. The driver couldn’t go more than a snail’s pace through the storm.
“This is a good song. None of that country crap. Old fashioned love song, right, Savvy?” Beckett asked, sliding his arm over her shoulder. “Sing with me.”
Savannah glowered at him. It was an argument they’d had a thousand times, at least. “I like country!”
Everyone started singing — it was a popular song, and they’d heard it enough on this trip alone to know all the words. Savannah caved to peer pressure. By the time the bus lurched to a stop in the hotel parking lot, nearly the whole bus was singing. “
I’d sell my soul to save you, shred my heart to have you. Look at me…”
The whole bus, but Sawyer. He never sang. He always said he had the voice of a walrus. Savannah, who got chills every time he spoke, found that hard to believe.
By the time they reached the hotel, Savannah could feel her toes and fingers freezing slowly into ice pops. Maybe her limbs, too.
She grabbed her bag and followed everyone else off the bus, going out the back emergency door. Beckett took her luggage and Sawyer helped her down. She nearly passed out as her body slid all the way down his, with only soaking wet clothes between them. Suddenly, she wasn’t quite so grateful for his bulky sweatshirt.
Thirty college kids gathered in the hotel lobby while Coach Andrus checked them in, four to a room. It was a lesson in chaos. Kelly and Laura, of course, shared with Savannah. Dara, the starting runner in their relay was the fourth. She was not their favorite person. Not by a long shot. Dara hung out with the boys, lots and lots of boys. She didn’t like girls to invade her territory and she didn’t like competition. And the fact that she thought of Sawyer as one of “hers” didn’t make Savannah like her any better.