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Blinding Echo by Tina Saxon (1)

Chapter One

Kase

The second she opened her eyes I couldn’t look away. Gray fog rolled in, blanketing the blue in her eyes, the storm was about to release and wreak havoc. Her fist cocked back and landed right smack on his cheek. I heard a crunching sound; I wasn’t sure if it was his cheek or her tiny fist. Cheers erupted around us. “That’s for snapping my bra,” she screeched at the boy doubled over, crying. In that second, I knew I needed her in my life. We were ten, and I was already sure I would marry that sassy girl.    

“Have I told you how much I’m going to miss you?” I trace the lines in Everly’s palm with my finger.

“In the last hour? At least, fifty times,” she giggles, squeezing her hand shut on my finger.

“Overkill?”

“Absolutely not. You can tell me every second of the day, and it still wouldn’t be enough,” she pouts. She sits up and straddles me in the bed of my truck. “It won’t be forever though.”

I try to hide the satisfaction of her sitting on top of me. She can’t fault me for having a hard-on. I’m eighteen. It takes one kiss and I’m hard. But when she’s sitting on me, holy shit, all bets are off. 

“It’ll feel like it.”  I swallow, trying to ignore the heat coming from her core. “Eight weeks is a long time.”

“Don’t remind me.” She wrinkles her nose at me and jabs her finger into my chest. “Have you told your dad?”

Why would I do that?

“Screw him,” I growl as I focus on the cloudless blue sky before finding her gaze again. “He won’t even notice I’m gone.”

She doesn’t push the subject. It won’t make a difference. My mom died five years ago. The cancer was God’s way of setting her free from the devil himself. My dad. I begged her to leave him. She wouldn’t, no matter how hard he hit her. I wasn’t old enough or big enough to stop it. When she died, things got worse. He turned his rage on me. I took it for a couple of years. The hits, the bruises, the pain. Those exact things lit the fire inside me, making me stronger so that one day he would never touch me again. I didn’t run. I fought back.

It makes me smile, thinking about the day my dad tried to hit me two years ago. He ended up in the hospital with two broken ribs and a broken arm. Nothing compared to what he’d done to my mom or me over the years. The cop looked the other way when my dad tried to bring charges against me. Everyone in town knows what type of man my dad is. A coward. God should have taken him instead. 

“I’ll notice that you’re gone.” She bends down again and kisses me softly on the lips. Her pouty lips are one of my favorite things about her. Their plump softness makes me go crazy every time they touch my skin. Wrapping my arms around her narrow waist, I pull her closer.

“I love you, Everly,” I whisper before our lips fuse.

The shade of the tree offers little to no relief from the heat coming off her body. Or maybe that’s just my body. Either way, it’s freaking hot. Tires spinning on the dirt road drown out the buzz of the surrounding locusts. We both sit up and stare at the black Ford pickup coming at us.

“Great,” Everly says, sarcastically. “Why can't Wayne understand you’d rather spend time with me right now?” I smirk. He knows. He’s just being an ass like normal, feeling left out.

His truck slides to a stop next to mine and he sticks his head out the window. “You better make it to the water tower tonight,” he says.

I open my mouth to respond, but Everly beats me to it. “Really, Wayne? Do you have a phone?”

“I sure do.” He smiles and holds up his phone, taunting her. She rolls her eyes.

“Well, why don’t you use it? You didn't have to come out here to interrupt us.” Her huff is adorable. These two have fought like brother and sister since we were ten. He’s my best friend, she’s my girlfriend and I’m stuck in the middle.

“Dude, we’ll be there,” I say to diffuse the situation. The faster he leaves, the faster those lips will be back on me. He’s throwing me a going away party tonight. I leave for boot camp on Monday. Eight weeks without either of them will be hard. But I’m ready for the challenge. I’m ready to leave this town.

He points at me. “You better be. I’ll come hunt you down.” We’ve been best friends since we were babies. Our moms were best friends until my dad’s hot temper turned physical. Wayne’s mom tried to talk her into leaving too, but instead of taking her advice, my mom shut her out of her life. She forced her way back in the day mom told everyone she had cancer. She’s been like a second mom since my mom died.

He drives forward, does a quick U-turn, creating a cloud of dust and drives past us going back the same way he came. He yells, “Bye, Buttercup.”

“Jerk!” Everly yells back. I laugh at how red her face gets every time Wayne calls her that. It’s the nickname he made for her when we were twelve because she ate so many Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups she got sick. Now, she won’t even eat peanut butter without gagging. She turns her red face toward me and lifts her brow. “Are you laughing right now?” She acts mad, but she’s not. I can tell when she’s mad; she clears her throat and her eyes turn gray. Right now, she’s biting her bottom lip so she doesn’t smile.

A squeal comes out of her mouth as I grab her and flip her on her back. The blanket underneath us gives a little cushion to the ridges of the truck bed. “I am. What're you going to do about it?” I stare into her eyes. Today, they're green. Her eyes are like a mystery door, you never know what color you will get from one day to the next. She tries to tell me it’s what she’s wearing, but my theory is it’s more like a mood ring. Green is horny. It’s what I’m telling myself right now as I squeeze her ass. And after years of staring into them, I’m usually right.

Her hands run up my back and through my hair.  “I would tell you, but I don’t want to think about Wayne right now.”

“Me neither.”

My hand crawls up her thigh, underneath the skirt she intentionally wore, and she squirms as I run my finger along the edge of her cotton underwear. Her breathing quickens, and she hums as I slide my finger under, tracing her opening. The second I feel her wetness, I groan. Something inside me ignites, and it wipes my mind of everything except one thing. Everly Cole.

Our hands tangle in a mad rush to unclothe each other. We’re hidden away in our special spot on my grandfather’s land. Wayne is the only person who knows where we go, but that’s only because the asshole followed us one night to see where we always disappear.

I reach into my shorts pocket to grab a condom. Feeling nothing, I flip the shorts over and switch pockets. I curse under my breath.

“What’s wrong,” she asks, her voice as sweet as the sin we’re about to commit.

I dig my head into her shoulder and groan as my dick shoots out a pain knowing it’s not getting any action. “I can’t find the condom. It must have fallen out somewhere,” I mutter.

“It’s okay. I’m on the pill.”

I jerk up, propping myself up with my elbows. “Since when?”

“Since last month.”

“Do your parents know?” That’s a stupid question. If her dad knew, I’d be six feet under right now. Jake Cole is the town’s sheriff. No one messes with him. He’s never been a fan of me, but he learned early on it was better to keep his enemy close because his daughter was going to date me whether or not he liked it.

“Kase. I’m eighteen now, they don’t need to know everything I do.”

I’m trying hard to think with the right head because right now my dick is the hardest it’s ever been. “Are you sure?” I murmur, studying her face for any hesitation. When she reaches down between us and wraps her warm hand around my hard dick and guides it inside her, I know she’s sure. The heat alone almost makes me lose my shit. It’s never felt this good.

It’s perfect.

She’s perfect.

She’s mine.