Authors: Jill Sanders
Tags: #Contemporary, #Romance, #Western
~ West Series ~
Billy & Savannah
© 2014 Jill Sanders
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Spoiled rich girl Savannah has always had a lust for sexy men, a wild appetite for partying, and a blatant disregard for others. When she finds herself pregnant and alone after burning all her bridges, it looks like she’ll be getting a taste of her own medicine. Stubborn and set in her ways, she pushes away the only person who really cares.
Billy has one goal—to convince Savannah that hope and happiness are still within reach. But something’s got to give.
Savannah lay very still. Her small six-year-old heart beat way too fast in her chest, causing her head to hurt. Even with her eyes squeezed tightly shut, she knew that he stood over her.
She’d known he would come to her when she saw her parents drive away just before her bedtime. Her hands shook as the covers were pulled away from her little body. She didn’t cry out until his large hands reached around her tiny neck and squeezed. Then she retreated deep into her mind and everything went dark.
When she awoke again, it was to screaming. Her mother stood over her and cried out as her father rushed into the room.
“Mama?” she croaked out. Her throat hurt and when she tried to move, her little body screamed out in pain.
“Hush now.” Her mother came rushing to her side. “Don’t move, sweet baby.”
It was then that she glanced over at her father’s face. She’d never seen him look like he did now. When his eyes met hers, he blinked a few times and then turned and rushed from the room.
Her mother had gathered her up in her arms and was rubbing her long blonde hair, soothing all the aches and pains in her body. She cried in her mother’s arms until she fell back to sleep.
When she woke this time, the lights were bright in her eyes and she closed them again tightly. When someone’s hands touched her arm, she jolted and kicked out, screaming, “No!”
“It’s okay, baby,” her mother said right next to her. She opened her eyes and found her mother’s face. “The doctor just wants a look at you.” Her mother smiled and rubbed her hair again. “He won’t hurt you.”
Savannah looked over to an older gentlemen she’d known her entire life. Dr. Williams had been her doctor for as long as she could remember. She dropped her arms and nodded, seeing the doctor smile down at her.
Then he leaned back and nodded to her mother. Her mother frowned and hugged her tighter.
“I think Savannah would like a warm bath now,” the doctor said as he smiled down at her and patted her hand. “Ruth, why don’t you take her in and help her.”
When her mother lifted her from her bed, she cried out a little as her body shifted. “I’m sorry, baby,” her mother whispered, burying her face in her hair.
As they walked past her father, she noticed his face again. This time there were dark bruises on his left cheek, his nose looked a little off, and there was blood dripping from a small cut just below his left cheek.
“Pa?” She reached out for him as her mother carried her past.
“It’s okay, baby. I’ll be right here when you get done with your bath.” Her father kissed her forehead.
When her mother finally sat her in the warm bubble bath, she lay back and closed her eyes. “Am I going to school today?”
Her mother’s hand stilled from running the soft washcloth over her shoulders. “No, baby.” She watched as a tear escaped her mother’s eye. “No, baby, you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do ever again.”
Ten years later…
hose words had stuck in Savannah’s mind, and she had lived by them. It had cost her a few close childhood friends, but others had stood by her. Others who not only looked up to her but almost worshiped her.
It was her sixteenth birthday and tonight was going to be the biggest and best party the small town of Fairplay had ever seen.
Shortly after that evil night, her father had signed the paperwork that had forever changed their lives. Now the Douglases were rolling in money, allowing them to afford the biggest house for hundreds of miles and the best clothes they could buy in the city. Everyone in town respected them and gave them anything they wanted.
She smiled as she applied a little more makeup to her eyes. The reflection looking back at her was almost perfect. Picking up the tube of lip gloss, she applied the red color heavily on her lips and smiled. There.
Her new cream-colored blouse, which she’d bought the last time her mother had driven her to Houston, looked perfect. She’d gained ample cleavage earlier than most of the other schoolgirls. She frowned a little when she looked down at her large chest. Actually, she was still growing. The last trip into the city, she’d had to go up a whole bra size.
She looked at her reflection again and smiled. The boys in town, especially the cute ones, always stared at her chest. Her long blonde hair, her perfect features, and her toned body also got attention, but nothing made the boys come running like when she showed off her chest in tight clothes.
Standing up, she looked at her reflection in the full-length mirror in the corner of her large room. The dark blue silk skirt flowed when she walked towards the mirror, and she watched how her feet looked in the heels she’d bought. She’d spent more money than her mother had wanted on them, but they were perfect for her outfit, and they made her feet look smaller somehow.
Turning, she watched as her short skirt lifted, showing off part of her upper thighs. She’d worked hard in gym class to make sure she stayed in shape. Even though her teacher was a complete idiot and hardly ever had the class do squats, she could see the slight difference in her legs since she’d been doing them at home the last few months.
“Savannah?” her mother called from downstairs.
“I’ll be down in a minute,” she called back and rushed over to grab her new fur coat. Even though it was in the high seventies tonight, she pulled on the white softness and smiled again and then sprayed herself with her new expensive perfume. Tonight, everyone would be looking at her, and she wanted to be perfect. This was her night. Grabbing her clutch purse, she took one last look in the mirror and smiled.
When she walked down the stairs, trailing her manicured fingertips down the smooth wood, she smiled at her parents who stood at the bottom. Her mother wore a long green dress that she’d helped pick out just for the occasion. Her father looked as handsome as ever in his suit and tie. She didn’t see the lines on their faces or the fact that her father’s hair was starting to go gray. She could only see the love that these two people had given her.
“You look wonderful,” her mother said, smiling.
She could see a slight tear in her father’s eyes as he looked at her. “I can’t believe my little girl is sixteen.”
When she stood at the bottom of the stairs, she reached up to kiss them both.
Her father took her shoulders. “Before you head into town for your party, we wanted to give you our gift.” He smiled and kept holding her.
“Well?” She frowned a little when he didn’t move, so she held out her hands.
He chuckled. She’d always loved the sound of her father’s laughter and smiled back.
“Daddy, where’s my gift?” She stomped her foot lightly and smiled.
“In just a minute.” He glanced down at her again and leaned down to hug her once more. Then he turned and took her mother’s hand and walked towards the front door.
“We hope you like it,” her mother said as they opened the front door.
Outside, in their circle driveway, sat a brand new car. She squealed and rushed from the house.
“It’s the newest BMW. I hope you like it.” Her father held up the keys.
Savannah didn’t care what kind of car it was— it was red and a convertible. She was going to be the most popular girl in school when everyone saw her drive into the school parking lot in this.
“Can I drive it into town for my party?” She took the keys from her father. He smiled and nodded. Then she hugged them both and jumped into her very first car as they watched. “We’ll be right behind you,” he said.
She loved the smell of the new car. The leather interior felt warm and rich next to her skin. She set her small silk purse down in the seat next to her and put the key in the ignition. She’d gotten her license a few days earlier on her actual birthday, and she’d driven alone a few times this last week. But this was
car and she was heading to
party. She wanted this moment to last forever.
“We’ll see you in town.” Her father leaned in the door and kissed her cheek. “Drive safe.”
“I always do, Daddy.” She waved at her mother and shut the door. When she turned the key, the car turned on and she felt a wave of excitement rush through her.
She was telling the truth. She did always drive carefully. Just last year, several high school seniors had been involved in a crash. They’d been racing another car full of teens and had lost control of the truck. Everyone in school had heard the horror stories of how the paramedics had had to scrape several of them off the cement. No, Savannah wasn’t going to end up like that.
She gripped the wheel tighter and made sure to take the turn out of her driveway slowly. It took only a few minutes to get into town.
Fairplay, Texas, had always been home. Even though it was a small and somewhat boring town, she still loved it. She asked to be taken into Houston or Dallas for all her shopping, but living in a small town like Fairplay did have its advantages. For one, her family was the wealthiest in town, thanks to the deal her parents had made with the oil companies. That made her the best-dressed and most envied girl in town. She had more friends and more male admirers than anyone else in school.
When she parked outside of the large town hall building, she couldn’t help but feel excited. There were hundreds of cars parked outside and it took her a few minutes to find the perfect parking spot for her new car. She could hear the music pumping from inside and almost jumped out of the car, forgetting her purse.
Leaning in, she grabbed it off the seat just as she felt a wave of fear jump over her skin. She jolted up and turned around quickly to see a man standing a few feet away. The dark parking lot shadowed his face, but she knew instantly who it was.
“What do you want?” she almost screamed.
“Well, well. Look who’s all grown up.” He took a few steps closer to her, his eyes running over her top, which was exposed since her fur coat was open to the evening air. She quickly pulled it closed, hiding her large chest from his eyes. “Heard you were having a party. Thought I’d come and give my dear niece a present.” She felt a shiver run down her body at the word. “Especially now that she’s become a woman.” He smiled and stopped less than a foot from her.
Savannah’s back was up against her new car. The door was still open and just the smell of her uncle mixed with the new car smell soiled the wonderful scent for her, causing her stomach to turn even more.
“You’re not invited,” she said softly, putting her purse between them and holding her fur coat closed tightly. She felt herself shiver and hated that she was losing control.
She watched in disgust as his eyes raked over her. Her uncle Joe was nothing like her father. Even though they were brothers, Joe’s life had taken a turn for the worse early on in life. Or so her father had told her.
In the last ten years, Joe had been in and out of prison more times than she cared to count. And most of it was thanks to her.
“If you don’t leave, I’ll call the cops.” She tried to push her chin up. She was almost as tall as him now and yet he still made her feel like she was six years old.
His eyes darkened. “Call them. I ain’t doin’ nothing wrong.”
She frowned and whispered. “You’re alive.”
His eyes grew dark and just as his hands reached out to grab her, a car’s high beams hit them. She heard tires squeal as her parent’s truck stopped a few feet from them.
Then her father was pulling Joe away from her, and she watched in horror as her father’s fists slammed her uncle in the face repeatedly.
Her mother rushed to her side and pulled her towards their truck.
“Are you okay? Did he touch you?” her mother asked over and over.
“I’m okay,” she said, not realizing she was shaking. “Mom.” She stopped her mother when she realized she was trying to push her into the truck. “Stop daddy. He’s going to kill him.” She nodded towards her father who was sitting on top of Joe, still pumping his fists into his face.
“I’ve called Stephen,” she said, absentmindedly.
Stephen Miller was the sheriff of Fairplay and the only person in town, besides her parents, who knew what had happened to her all those years ago.
She nodded and got into the truck and watched as her mother rushed over to her father and pulled on his arm until he stopped punching his now-unconscious brother.
Her parents stood over the man until the sheriff’s car drove up.
When Sheriff Miller walked over to her, after loading her uncle into the back of his car, she answered his questions and avoided looking at him.
“Well, it would sure be a shame for you to miss your own party.” He looked around and she realized her eyes were wet and quickly dashed away the tears. “I don’t think anyone saw this mess.” He put a hand on hers and waited until she looked up at him. “Why don’t you freshen up and go have a good time. I know for a fact that every high school student in town is in the hall, waiting to wish you a happy birthday.”
She nodded and when he stepped away, her mother got closer. “If you would rather—”
“No.” She straightened her shoulders. This was her night. She wasn’t going to let anything or anyone take this away from her. She was Savannah Douglas, the most popular girl in school. She was going to clean up her face and walk into her sixteenth birthday party and have the time of her life.
Ten minutes later, she opened the outer doors to the hall, took a deep breath, and swore that no one would ever make her feel that way again. She would be the strongest person she could be and never let anyone see weakness in her ever again. She hated that a man could make her feel small, like she wasn’t in control.
When she stepped in, the music stopped and “Happy Birthday” started playing. Spotlights hit her face and she smiled and played the part of Savannah Douglas for the whole town to see. She hid her fears and insecurities so well from everyone that night that no one suspected anything.
After dancing with every boy that had been invited and chatting with and hugging every girl, she opened presents and blew out her candles while every eye was on her. She laughed, gossiped, and flirted until she felt her energy start to drain.
Then she pulled Travis, a boy whose attentions she’d been dying to have, into a dark corner and made out with him. She pulled him closer and whispered for him to take her somewhere private. Travis was in the same grade as her, and he was the star in almost every school sport. His father was the mayor of Fairplay and probably would be until he died.
Travis was tall and good looking, and she’d determined that she would allow him to be her first. She knew it wasn’t really her first time, but she was going to take control and force her mind to clear the past, making this her true first.
“Heard you got a new car.” He smiled down at her. “What are the chances of you letting me drive her?” he asked as they walked out the back door and headed towards the parking lot.
He lit up a cigarette and handed it to her. She’d never tried smoking, but she took the cigarette and took a deep puff, enjoying the richness of it. She wanted more than anything to leave her childhood behind her tonight, so she didn’t mind the sting in her throat or the fact that her lungs hurt and she felt like coughing. She sucked in another puff and followed him across the parking lot.
She thought about the mixture of new car smell and her uncle and shivered. “Sure, why not.” She handed him the keys and held onto his hand as they walked towards her car.
When she sat in the passenger seat, she forced every ounce of fear out of her mind and only focused on where she was, who she was with. She was determined to make the most of her life and that meant getting over her childhood fears.
Her uncle was right in one way. She was a woman now. And she was more determined than ever to never show weakness. After all, her party had been a huge success and she’d eaten up all the attention she’d gotten. She’d loved every jealous look from all the girls and every lusty glance from all the boys and was determined to continue getting every ounce of attention she could.
She didn’t mind so much that some friends had stepped away from her; you couldn’t please everyone. She smiled as Travis drove to the local make out spot and parked.