Thank you everyone who liked and shared my author page. I’m so unbelievably grateful and appreciate each and every one of you. As promised here is chapter one from Tragic Love.  FYI~ Releases on November 6th

Chapter One

Presley

“Lie still!” His breath is hot next to my face as I try to walk through the cloudiness gripping my thoughts. My head is spinning and dazed from the last round of Uncle Robert’s belt lashing. I can feel the blood seeping into the mattress below me, it’s sticky and warm. “Stop moving. I need to get this perfect, my little worm. It’s all for a reason. I couldn’t have found better bait if it fell into my lap.” He walks away, laughing, digging into his pocket and pulling a fat, long cigar out before moving it to his lips.

He is studying me in deep thought—inquisitively. Plotting and treachery covers his face. Then, he moves back toward me, placing the freshly cut strands of my hair around my body.

Robert reaches back into his pocket and pulls a razorblade from its depths. When the blade extends the tip is covered in dried blood. My blood. The buckle of his belt shines in the minimal light, as he starts to pull if from the loops.

I’m scared to speak, but I need to understand what’s happening to me. I’ve been here for a week, and he’s told me nothing. All he keeps reminding me of is that I’m bait; for what I don’t know. I begin to whimper as I think about the boy I met only months ago. A boy who’s been my solace from all the loneliness living in my heart. For the first time since my parents’ death, I’ve felt alive. Happy, even. Until Robert took me away, strapping me to this bed. Once again, all that happiness I was feeling is ripped away from me.

Drake.

Drake, please find me.

Please save me.

“Stop that crying you little bitch!” The whip of his belt slices into my legs and I scream out in agony as he continues to tear my skin from my body. His breathing is labored while his eyes are murderous. “This will all be over soon. Once I have her in my hands, your pain will be over because you’ll be dead.”

I snap myself up in bed, breathing erratically as I try to gather my wits. My room. I’m in my room. It was only a nightmare. I lean forward, holding my head in my hands, trying to get my heart to beat normally again. My t-shirt is clinging to my body as the dampness of my skin covers every square inch of me.

They’re becoming so much more real. The nightmares I have almost every night, and some during the day, are melding with my reality. What is real and what is a memory are becoming impossible to decipher. I’m slowly dying inside. Every night, Robert is there haunting my dreams, readying himself to kill me. I can’t escape him and I can’t release him from my thoughts. He has become my demon. For the last two years, he’s been growing at an accelerated rate.

I look over to my side and see the love of my life fast asleep. Drake is naked from the waist up, hard chest shining against the rays of moonlight. He has become my only means of survival. If I can’t feel him—feel the high I get from him—then I hate to think what would happen to me. Being underneath Drake has become the only way I can suppress the evil drowning inside of me.

***

I pace back and forth in the living room while clasping my phone in my sweaty hands. Then glance out the living room window. I’m extremely nervous and can feel the small butterflies swarming in my stomach, but I’m also happy for the first time in a while.

It’s been almost two years since the torment started, since the first scar scored my body, yet his face is all I see at night when I shut my eyes. He may be gone from this world, but Robert is very much alive in my mind. I can still feel the blood on my skin and taste the cigar smoke in my mouth. He consumes my mind at night, drowning me in fear every time my lids shut from exhaustion, however I say nothing.

I can’t say anything. Reggie killed Robert. If I start to talk to someone, then the truth will eventually come out. Then life as the Evans family knows it will be over. After everything they’ve done for me—saving me from the torture of Robert’s hands—I could never expel the nightmare living inside me. Day after day, I feel it fester and expand with every breath I take. The demon is growing in my body, becoming my body. However, the guilt of talking about it tortures me more than Robert. If I talk, Drake would be devastated, Darcie would never forgive me and Jake would probably kill me. I could never betray the people who risked their lives to save me.

I rub the heels of my hands into my eyes and quickly shake my head of its wandering thoughts. I can’t think of Robert, not today, because today is going to be a good day. Two weeks ago, I found out my oldest friend from Memphis, Delilah St. James, is doing an internship for school and chose to do it in Sulfur Heights.

When she told me she needed this credit for her sociology class and wanted to work with disadvantaged children, I explained Sulfur Heights is a cesspool for the underprivileged and would be the perfect place for her internship. Reggie said it would be cool if she stayed at the house with us. Once I told Delilah, she jumped on the opportunity to move here for the summer. She will be sleeping in my room—Reggie’s old room—and I will be officially moving into Drake’s room—can’t freaking wait to be in his bed every night—while the twins will stay where they already are, in the basement.

Delilah is a year ahead of me in school and is enrolled at the University of Memphis starting her second year of college this coming fall. We’ve been emailing back and forth since I moved to this wonderfully shitty town and today, I can finally see her in person. I can’t wait to hug her. I’ve missed her so much.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Darcie—she’s been a great friend—but Delilah has known me since I was six-years-old and has seen me at my worst. And right now, my esteem needs a little uplifting that I think only Delilah can provide.

I will never forget the first day I met her. I was outside for recess, hiding under the slide to get away from Marcie Krantz, a snobby daddy’s girl who lived to torment me. Whenever the opportunity arose, Marcie would call me baby or make some off-the-wall comment about me wearing diapers and sucking on a bottle or pacifier. Sometimes she would go so far as to pull my hair just to make me cry then turn around and make fun of how my cry sounded like a baby’s. I freaking hated Marcie.

One day, she found me tucked away under the stairs of the slide and the taunting started. Soon after, all the kids joined in and the next thing I knew, I was crying—again. The southern twang of Delilah St. James’s voice rang out and Marcie was the one who left in tears. Apparently, Marcie had a bed wetting issue and was still wearing toddler training underpants. Needless to say, she never bothered me again and Delilah made a point to always keep me under her wing. She’s been taking care of me ever since and I thank my lucky stars she’s been in my life.

I’m still standing my post at the window when the back door slams against the wall. Jeremy and Drake make their way into the living room where I can see that they both have fresh grease spots on their clothes and the smell of dirt and oil wafts in with them. It’s a smell I’ve become familiar with since I moved in with the Evans family. Oddly enough, it’s a smell I’ve come to recognize as comfort.

In the short time I’ve been staying here, Jeremy and I have never shared more than ten conversations amongst ourselves. Drake explained to me that he’s simply a quiet guy, but the way he always looks in deep, calculating thought makes me wonder what’s really going through his mind. My thoughts are short lived, though, when I take in the man who’s been my lifeline since I moved to this godforsaken town. This is the man who instantly had me wrapped around his finger from a single flash of his dimple and a gentle touch from his hand. He is my beloved. He’s perfect and unbelievably amazing in every way.

In the last year, Drake has filled out to be quite the fine specimen of a man. Hitting a record breaking growth spurt, he grew to be six-foot-four-inches of walking eye-candy. His skin is smooth and the rich color of caramel. His body is strong with tight, lean muscles, while his deep, sexy, smooth voice sends me over the edge every time he utters a single word. However, it’s the killer smile, milk chocolate eyes and dimple I fall victim to whenever Drake flashes them my way. I’ve never been able to resist anything he does to me, especially when he looks right into my eyes.

It’s funny to see us side by side because we look completely opposite. He’s tall, dark and handsome where I’m barely five-foot-two-inches, pale, with long, dark brown hair, dull brown eyes and, looking like your average everyday teenager.

Drake is the center of my happiness. He is the only reason I’m happy most days. If it weren’t for him, it would be nearly impossible to function. I couldn’t bear it if we ever lost that dynamic. Right now, my life with him is perfect, and as long as I keep the demon inside me quiet, my life will stay perfect because I have him.

My breath hitches as I watch Drake cross the living room, his hips swaggering in my direction. When he wraps his long, lean arms around my small frame, I’m completely engulfed in his embrace; in my security blanket from the pain. He then leans down and presses a light kiss to my cheek and I can’t help standing on my tip toes in order to attach my lips to his.

He breaks our kiss and says, “Hey beautiful, are you getting excited to see Delilah?”

“Yes!” I shout a little too loudly. “Sorry…yes, I can’t wait for her to get here.”

“Well, I can’t wait to meet her. You’ve talked about her for the last couple of years. It will be nice to finally put a face with the name.” Drake runs his hands slowly up the curve of my back and my knees instantly become weak. His touch is hot and liquefies me into a puddle in his hands. Just like that, Delilah’s arrival is the last thing in my mind.

I release a deep breath and slip my hands under Drake’s shirt, mimicking his movements with my hands. His skin is warm, slightly wet with sweat and very kissable. I move my hands to the front and trace the pad of my fingertips along the ridges of his muscled abdomen then slowly walk them up toward his upper body. I can feel a light brush of fine hair under my fingertips as I run my hands across his chest.

My body is heating up with lust and I have to bite down on my lip to suppress the moan attempting to escape from my mouth. The palm of Drake’s hands cups my face. His touch is slightly rough from working at the steel recycling factory, but it’s very manly and very sexy. He bends down and kisses me deeply, making me react to his kiss by wrapping my arms around his waist, pulling him closer.

Drake suddenly pulls away with lust-filled eyes and I know what’s about to happen. It’s the same thing that always happens when he looks at me that way. The desire in his eyes causes my core to heat and inhibitions to dissolve into nothing. My arms quickly move around his neck and he yanks me up his body. I latch on with my legs while smashing my lips into his as we walk clumsily back to his room.

Drake and I fall onto the bed, immediately working at each other’s shirts. My hands are shaking with anticipation. I unbutton the confining fabric, dying to get his skin pressed against mine.

Once we had decided to cross this bridge—to be with one another intimately—we now always somehow manage to find ourselves naked. Every time with Drake is perfect and as amazing as the first. I crave his touch. These moments with him are when I feel completely content, whole again. I seek these moments out. Drake is my heroin and I’m a full blown addict to everything that’s him. When I feel my depression—the demon— starting to take me over, it’s Drake who takes it all away with a single, solitary touch. It erases all thoughts of Robert and, in that moment, I am happy.

A light tap raps on the door. Drake has me panting when he breaks free from my lips to hear Jeremy inform us that a blue Mini Cooper pulled up in front of the house, so we quickly make ourselves presentable and then I make a mad dash down the back steps to prance toward the street.

Delilah opens her car door and her waves of long, blonde hair blow in the warm breeze. As she steps from the car, I recognize the friend I’ve been missing. My feet start to move as I run further down the driveway. Delilah lets out a little squeal as she pulls me into a tight hug. I wrap my arms around her shoulders and pull her tightly to me. My eyes begin to leak with tears as the reunion with my best friend overwhelms me.

After several long moments, we break our embrace and study each other at arm’s length. Delilah is a couple inches taller than me, which still classifies her as short, but it’s her womanly figure that has me shocked. Delilah has the perfect hourglass figure. The last time I saw her she was anything other than curvaceous. Her boobs have now grown a lot; she can no longer be mocked by jerks about her flat-as-a-board chest. Her waist is still tiny, but she now has hips and a butt. I almost question if she got plastic surgery because she looks completely different; ample in all the right places. If it weren’t for her beautiful, blonde hair and Caribbean blue eyes, she would’ve been simply another person on the street.

“What are ya lookin’ at, doll? Do I look that different?” Delilah says with a deep southern twang residing in her voice.

“You! I can’t believe you are here and you look so…” I’m still in shock as I hold the car door open.

“This is what college can do to you, not that I’m complaining. I finally have a rack to be proud of. A nice, healthy C cup, but my rear… Honey, you could park a car in the shadow of it.”She dramatically turns to the side, sticking her ass out for me to see.

I release a huge laugh. Delilah is always quick with her comments and I love her for it. “Well, according to all the magazines, having a perfectly round, full ass is exactly what guys like these days. Look at Jennifer Lopez; I would say yours is as perfect as hers,” I respond, trying to lift her spirits.

Delilah comes from a long line of southern beauties and pageant queens. It’s been ingrained in her DNA to always care about her appearance. She’s always getting ragged on by her mother to keep herself up for appearances sake.

“Speaking of difference, I didn’t think it was possible for you to get any skinnier. Look at you. You’re nothing except skin and bones. And your skin, it’s so pale.” A concerned look is plastered all over her face and I know what she is referring to, yet that is so not the case. Well, it is, but it isn’t. It’s the growing fear taking up residence in the pit of my stomach.

“Yeah, well…it’s not what you’re thinking,” I try to assure her. “What college has done to you, Sulfur Heights has done to me.” I stare down at my feet, unable to look my best friend in the eye. She knows I had some problems living with Robert, which is why I now live with Drake, but she has no idea what really happened in that house. I’m not sure I can ever tell her. This is the kind of secret you keep until the day you die. I told myself earlier that today was going to be a good day. Robert isn’t going to ruin me today. So I pull myself together a bit and try to change the subject. “Enough of this depressing talk, let’s get you settled.”

We pull a couple of bags from her backseat, but I know that is not near enough for Miss Delilah. She usually packs this much when she’s staying over a day, but for the summer, she should have at least seventeen more bags.

“Where’s the rest of your stuff?” I ask, lifting the garment bag onto my shoulder.

“Well, my car can hardly hold what I need so I had the rest of my stuff over-nighted, and I should get it by tomorrow.” Delilah gives me a wink as we make our way up the drive, holding hands like we used to when we were six.

It feels so good to have her here. I’ve missed everything about Delilah. We’ve been connected at the hip since we were kids and there’s nothing we wouldn’t do for each other. I always wanted to have a sister growing up and am fortunate to say Delilah has been my sister from day one. Now, I’m truly lucky because I have two girls I claim as my sister. Delilah is the older, mature sister I’ve always looked up to for advice, and Darcie is my badass older sister who will always beat the crap out of someone for looking at me the wrong way.

“Put those bags down, babe. I’ll come get them,” Drake says while wiping his hands on an old grease rag.

Delilah’s breathe hitches once she takes notice of my very sexy boyfriend. She’s seen pictures of him, but they do not do him justice because my man is H-O-T, hot.

“Oh, honey, is that Drake?” Delilah leans in to whisper in my ear.

“Yes, ma’am,” I whisper back with a proud ring to my voice. Normally, it’s Delilah with the stunners on her arm, and now she’s in complete awe of the man heading our way.

Drake walks down to the end of the driveway, lightly kisses me on the lips and then extends his hand to Delilah. “Hi, I’m Drake. Nice to meet you.” He flashes his perfect smile and I’m sure Delilah’s panties just melted off. I release a little giggle, knowing exactly how she feels. When I first met Drake two years ago, my panties did the same thing. I was simply less obvious about it.

Delilah grabs his hand a little shakily. “Likewise, doll.” And just like that, she has composed herself enough to properly function and walks with me up the driveway. Her parents’ pageant dollars hard at work.

***

Drake carries Delilah’s bags into her room and leaves us to get reacquainted. I give her the small tour of her room and show her where the bathroom is. She comes from money and is used to having better accommodations, but she seems perfectly content in my old room. I help her get clothes out of the garment bag and start hanging them in the closet. Then the girl talk starts.

“So you need to fill me in on this Drake situation. I know you’ve let him have his way with you because how could you not, but what you didn’t do is provide me with the details.” Delilah stands in front of me with her hands on her hips, trying to give me her best scolding look.

“You’ve been here all of ten minutes and this is what you want to talk about?” I ask, trying to avoid the conversation. As exhilarating as our first time was, I’ve never explained it in detail to anyone. Our life that way is private.

“Hello…” Delilah is getting annoyed as she rolls her eyes at me. “We’ve been friends for twelve years; of course I want all the details.”

I sit down on the bed and start to reminisce in my mind about the first time Drake and I made love. It was very romantic. He wanted our first time to be special and knew how important the moment would be for me, for us. Of course I was a little scared, but once I got over the initial pain, it was just wonderful.

Feeling a little silly, I open my eyes, my cheeks are on fire. I look down to shield my red face and whisper, “It was perfect. Drake was perfect. I will never forget it, but I’m not telling you.”

Delilah grabs my hand and is completely captivated by my expression. “Well, if it’s so absolutely amazing you can’t even talk about it, I hope it’s like that for me.”

I look at her with a little shock. Delilah is gorgeous and has never had a problem getting the guys, even when she wasn’t so ample in certain areas, so I’m a little surprised she has never had sex. Plus, she’s had a serious boyfriend for the last six months. A man she met at college, and she’s still telling me she’s never had sex with him. According to her, Emerson Knox is the bees knees—her words not mine.

“Are you telling me you’ve been with Emerson for over a half a year and you’ve never had sex?”

“Not everyone is looking to sleep with the first guy who looks their way, Presley. I’m honestly surprised you would assume I would just let my innocence go after hanging onto it for so long. I was raised to be a lady and, as my mama says, ‘A lady always saves herself for her husband. That’s what’s pure. That’s what God wants’.” Delilah has always been dramatic and I merely shake my head and laugh.

“Okay, so here are the one hundred thousand dollar questions. Did it hurt? How big is he?”

An obnoxious sound comes from my throat. I’m in absolute shock from her questions. Seriously, if I were drinking something at that moment, I would’ve spit everything all over her face. I was totally not expecting that.

“His size is none of your business.” I smirk, knowing it’s huge, well, it feels huge to me. I really don’t have anything else to compare it to. “And yes, it did hurt the first time, but once you get over the initial pain, it’s the most incredible feeling in the world. Can we stop talking about this now?”

“Yes, for now.” Delilah winks and pulls me off the bed. “I want to meet everyone else you talk about, especially Darcie. She sounds like fun.”

I’m not as excited as she is. It will take a lot for Darcie to tolerate Delilah and her southern bell, lady-like personality. When you look up polar opposites in the dictionary it’s their pictures you see, but I am more nervous for her to meet Jake. Like everything in Sulfur Heights, he will be a rude awaking to Delilah’s perfectly manicured existence.

Tragic Love

 

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