Wait for you, p.1
Wait for You, p.1J. Lynn
Published by J. Lynn
Copyright © 2013.
Cover by Sarah Hansen
Books also by J. Lynn
Gamble Brothers Series
Tempting the Best Man
Tempting the Player
Books also by Jennifer L. Armentrout
The Covenant Series
The Lux Series
Dedicated to those who are reading this book right now. Without you, none of this would be possible. You guys rock my fuzzy socks.
There were two things in life that scared the ever-loving crap out of me. Waking up in the middle of the night and discovering a ghost with its transparent face shoved in mine was one of them. Not likely to occur, but still pretty damn freaky to think about. The second thing was walking into a crowded classroom late.
I absolutely loathed being late.
I hated for people to turn and stare, which they always did when you entered a classroom a minute after class started.
That was why I had obsessively plotted the distance between my apartment in University Heights and the designated parking lot for commuter students over the weekend on Google. And I actually drove it twice on Sunday to make sure Google wasn’t leading me astray.
One point two miles to be exact.
Five minutes in the car.
I even left fifteen minutes early so I would arrive ten minutes before my nine-ten class began.
What I didn’t plan for was the mile long traffic back-up at the stop sign, because God forbid there was an actual light in the historical town, or the fact there was absolutely no parking left on campus. I had to park at the train station adjacent to the campus, wasting precious time digging up quarters for the meter.
“If you insist on moving halfway across the country, at least stay in one of the dorms. They do have dorms there, don’t they?” My mom’s voice filtered through my thoughts as I stopped in front of the Robert Byrd Science Building, out of breath from racing up the steepest, most inconvenient hill in history.
Of course I hadn’t chosen to stay in a dorm, because I knew at some point, my parents would randomly show up and they would start judging and start talking and I’d rather punt-kick myself in the face before subjecting an innocent bystander to that. Instead, I tapped into my well-earned blood money and leased a two-bedroom apartment next to campus.
Mr. and Mrs. Morgansten had hated that.
And that had made me extremely happy.
But now I was sort of regretting my little act of rebellion, because as I hurried out of the humid heat of a late August morning and into the air-conditioned brick building, it was already eleven minutes past nine and my astronomy class was on the second floor. And, why in the hell did I choose astronomy?
Maybe because the idea of sitting through another biology class made me want to hurl? Yep. That was it.
Racing up the wide staircase, I barreled through the double doors and smacked right into a brick wall.
Stumbling backward, my arms flailed like a cracked-out crossing guard. My over-packed messenger bag slipped, pulling me to one side. My hair flew it front of my face, a sheet of auburn that obscured everything as I teetered dangerously.
Oh dear God, I was going down. There was no stopping it. Visions of broken necks danced in my head. This was going to suck so—
Something strong and hard went around my waist, stopping my free fall. My bag hit the floor, spilling overpriced books and pens across the shiny floor. My pens! My glorious pens rolled everywhere. A second later I was pressed against the wall.
The wall was strangely warm.
The wall chuckled.
“Whoa,” a deep voice said. “You okay, sweetheart?”
The wall was so not a wall. It was a guy. My heart stopped and for a frightening second, pressure clamped down on my chest and I couldn’t move or think. I was thrown back five years. Stuck. Couldn’t move. Air punched from my lungs in a painful rush as tingles spread up the back of my neck. Every muscle locked up.
“Hey,” the voice softened, edged with concern. “Are you okay?”
I forced myself to take a deep breath—to just breathe. I needed to breathe. Air in. Air out. I had practiced this over and over again for five years. I wasn’t fourteen anymore. I wasn’t there. I was here, halfway across the country.
Two fingers pressed under my chin, forcing my head up. Startling, deep blue eyes framed with thick, black lashes fixed on mine. A blue so vibrant and electric, and such a stark contrast against the black pupils, I wondered if they were real.
And then it hit me.
A guy was holding me. A guy had never held me. I didn’t count that one time, because that time didn’t count for shit, and I was pressed against him, thigh to thigh, my chest to his. Like we were dancing. My senses fried as I inhaled the light scent of cologne. Wow. It smelled good and expensive, like his…
Anger suddenly rushed through me, a sweet and familiar thing, pushing away the old panic and confusion. I latched onto it desperately and found my voice. “Let. Go. Of. Me.”
Blue eyes immediately dropped his arm. Unprepared for the sudden loss of support, I swayed to the side, catching myself before I tripped over my bag. Breathing like I’d just ran a mile, I pushed the thick strands of hair out of my face and finally got a good look at Blue eyes.
Sweet baby Jesus, Blue Eyes was…
He was gorgeous in all the ways that made girls do stupid things. He was tall, a good head or two taller than me and broad at the shoulders, but tapered at the waist. An athlete’s body—like a swimmer’s. Wavy black hair toppled over his forehead, brushing matching eyebrows. Broad cheekbones and wide, expressive lips completed the package created for girls to drool over. And with those sapphire-colored eyes, holy moley…
Who thought a place named Shepherdstown would be hiding someone who looked like this?
And I ran into him. Literally. Nice. “I’m sorry. I was in a hurry to get to class. I’m late and…”
His lips tipped up on the corners as he knelt. He started gathering up my stuff and for a brief moment I felt like crying. I could feel tears building in my throat. I was really late now, like no way could I walk into that class and on the first day. Fail.
Dipping down, I let my hair fall forward and shield my face as I started grabbing up my pens. “You don’t have to help me.”
“It’s no problem.” He picked up a slip of paper and then glanced up. “Astronomy 101? I’m heading that way, too.”
Great. For the whole semester I’d have to see the guy I nearly killed in the hallway. “You’re late,” I said lamely. “I really am sorry.”
With all my books and pens back in my bag, he stood as he handed it back to me. “It’s okay.” That crooked grin spread, revealing a dimple in his left cheek, but nothing on the right side, though. “I’m used to having girls throw themselves at me.”
I blinked, thinking I hadn’t heard the blue-eyed babe right, because surely he hadn’t said something as lame as that.
He had and he wasn’t done. “Trying to jump on my back is new, though. Kind of liked it.”
Feeling my cheeks burn, I snapped out of it. “I wasn’t trying to jump on your back or throw myself at you.”
“You weren’t?” The lopsided grin remained. “Well, that’s a shame. If so, it would have made this the best first day of class in history.”
I didn’t know what to say as I clutched the heavy bag to my chest. Guys hadn’t flirted with me back at home. Most of
Blue Eyes’ gaze dropped to the slip of paper in his hand. “Avery Morgansten?”
My heart jumped. “How do you know my name?”
He cocked his head to the side as the smile inched wider. “It’s on your schedule.”
“Oh.” I pushed the wavy strands of hair back from my hot face. He handed my schedule back, and I took it, slipping it into my bag. A whole lot of awkward descended as I fumbled with my strap.
“My name is Cameron Hamilton,” Blue Eyes said. “But everyone calls me Cam.”
Cam. I rolled the name around, liking it. “Thank you again, Cam.”
He bent over and picked up a black backpack I hadn’t noticed. Several locks of dark hair fell over his forehead and as he straightened, he brushed them away. “Well, let’s make our grand entrance.”
My feet were rooted to the spot where I stood as he turned and strolled the couple of feet to the closed door to room 205. He reached for the handle, looking over his shoulder, waiting.
I couldn’t do it. It didn’t have anything to do with the fact that I plowed into what was possibly the sexiest guy on campus. I couldn’t walk into the class and have everybody turn and stare. I’d had enough of being the center of attention everywhere I went for the last five years. Sweat broke out and dotted my forehead. My stomach tightened as I took a step back, away from the classroom and Cam.
He turned, brows knitted as a curious expression settled on his striking face. “You’re going in the wrong direction, sweetheart.”
I’d been going in the wrong direction half my life it seemed. “I can’t.”
“Can’t what?” He took a step toward me.
And I bolted. I actually spun around and ran like I was in the race for the last cup of coffee in the world. As I made it to those damn double doors, I heard him call out my name, but I kept going.
My face was flaming as I hurried down the stairs, out of breath as I burst out of the science building. My legs kept moving until I sat down on a bench outside of the adjacent library. The early morning sun seemed too bright as I lifted my head and squeezed my eyes shut.
What a way to make a first impression in a new city, new school… new life. I moved over a thousand miles to start over and I already mucked it up in a matter of minutes.
I had two options at this point: let go and move on from my disastrous attempt to attend my first class of my college career or go home, climb into bed, and pull the covers over my head. I so wanted to indulge in the second option, but that wasn’t me.
If running and hiding was my MO, I would’ve never survived high school.
Reaching down, I checked the wide, silver bracelet on my left wrist, making sure it was in place. I almost didn’t survive high school.
Mom and Dad had pitched a fit when I’d informed them of my plans to attend a university clear across the country. If it had been Harvard, Yale, or Sweet Briar, they would have been all about it then, but a non-ivy league university? For shame. They just didn’t understand. They never did. There was no way in holy hell I was going to attend the college they had gone to or enroll where half the country club back home forced their kids to attend.
I wanted to go where I wouldn’t see a familiar sneer or hear the whispers that still dripped from people’s lips like acid. Where people hadn’t heard the story or whatever version of the truth that had been repeated over and over again until sometimes I questioned what really had happened Halloween night five years ago.
None of them mattered here, though. No one knew me. No one suspected anything. And no one knew what the bracelet hid on summer days when a long sleeve shirt wouldn’t work.
Coming here had been my decision and it had been the right thing to do.
My parents had threatened to cut off my trust fund, which I’d found hilarious. I had my own money—money they had no control over once I turned eighteen. Money I had earned. To them, I had let them down yet again, but if I stayed in Texas or around any of those people, I would be dead.
Glancing at the time on my cell phone, I pushed to my feet and slung my bag over my shoulder. At least I wouldn’t be late to my history class.
History was in the social sciences building, at the bottom of the hill I had just raced up. I cut through the parking lot behind the Byrd building and crossed the congested street. All around me students walked in groups of two or larger, many obviously knew each other. Instead of feeling left out, there was a precious sense of freedom in walking to class without being recognized.
Pushing my epic fail of a morning out of the way, I entered Whitehall and took the first set of steps to the right. The hallway upstairs was crowded with students waiting for the rooms to empty. I threaded through the laughing groups, dodging some who still looked half asleep. Finding an empty spot across from my classroom, I sat down against the wall and crossed my legs. I ran my hands over my jeans, excited to be starting history. Most people would be bored to tears in History 101, but it was my first class in my major.
And if I got lucky, five years from now, I’d be working in a silent and cool museum or library, cataloguing ancient texts or artifacts. Not the most glamorous of professions, but it would be perfect for me.
Better than what I used to want to be, which was a professional dancer in New York.
Yet another thing Mom had to be disappointed over. All that money thrown at ballet lessons since I was old enough to walk was wasted after I turned fourteen.
I did miss it though, the calming effect dancing had brought on. I just couldn’t bring myself to ever do it again.
“Girl, what are you doing sitting on the floor?”
My head jerked up and a smile broke out across my face when I saw the wide, bright smile stretching across the caramel tone of Jacob Massey’s boyishly, handsome face. We’d buddied up during freshman orientation last week and he was in my next class, plus art on Tuesday’s and Thursday’s. I’d immediately warmed to his outgoing personality.
I glanced at the expensive looking jeans he wore, recognizing the tailored cut. “It’s comfortable down here. You should join me.”
“Hell no. I don’t want my fine ass to be tainted by sitting on that floor.” He propped a hip against the wall beside me and grinned. “Wait. What are you doing here already? I thought you had a class at nine.”
“You remember that?” We’d exchanged schedules for like a half a second last week.
He winked. “I have a frightening memory for things that are virtually useless to me.”
I laughed. “Good to know.”
“So did you skip already? You bad, bad girl.”
Wincing, I shook my head. “Yes, but I was running late, and I hate going into a classroom after class starts, so I guess my first day will be Wednesday if I don’t drop it before then.”
“Drop it? Girl, don’t be stupid. Astronomy is a cake class. I would’ve taken it if it hadn’t filled up in two seconds flat when all the damn upperclassman took the class.”
“Well, you didn’t nearly kill a guy in a hallway racing to class—a guy who happens to also be in said cake class.”
“What?” His dark eyes widened with interest and he started to kneel down. Someone caught his attention. “Hold on a sec, Avery.” Then he started waving his arm and jumping. “Yo! Brittany. Get your ass over here!”
A short blonde girl jerked to a stop in the middle of the hall and turned toward us, her cheeks flushing, but she smiled as she saw Jacob hopping around. She cut her way over, stopping in front of us.
“Brittany, this is Avery.” Jacob beamed. “Avery, this is Brittany. Say hi.”
“Hi,” Brittany said, giving me a little wave.
I waved back. “Hey.”
“Avery is about to tell us how she almost killed a guy in a hallway. Thought you’d like to hear the story too.”
I winced, but the s
“Well, I really didn’t almost kill someone,” I said, sighing. “But it was close and it was so, so embarrassing.”
“Embarrassing stories are the best,” Jacob threw out, kneeling down.
Brittany laughed. “That is true.”
“Spill it, sister.”
I tucked my hair back and lowered my voice so the whole hall didn’t revel in my humiliation. “I was running late to astronomy and I sort of ran through the double doors on the second floor. I wasn’t watching where I was going and I plowed into this poor guy in the hallway.”
“Yikes.” A sympathetic looked crossed Brittany’s face.
“Yeah, and I mean, I almost knocked him over. I dropped my stuff. Books and pens flew everywhere. It was pretty epic.”
Jacob’s eyes gleamed with humor. “Was he hot?”
“Was he hot?” he repeated as he smoothed a hand through his cropped hair. “‘Cuz if he was hot, you should’ve used it to your benefit. That could’ve become the best ice breaker in history. Like you two could fall madly in love and you get to tell everyone how you plowed him before he actually plowed you.”
“Oh, my God.” I felt a familiar heat cross my cheeks. “Yeah, he was really good-looking.”
“Oh no,” said Brittany, who seemed to be the only other person to recognize how a hot guy made the situation all the more embarrassing. I guess you needed a vagina to understand that, because Jacob looked even more thrilled by the news.
“So tell me what this good-looking man candy looked like? This is a need to know kind of detail.”
Part of me didn’t want to say, because thinking about Cam made me about a thousand different levels of uncomfortable. “Uh… well, he was really tall and nicely built, I guess.”
“How do you know he was nicely built? Did you feel him up, too?”
I laughed as Brittany shook her head. “I seriously ran into him, Jacob. And he caught me. I wasn’t feeling him up on purpose, but he seemed like he had a good body.” I shrugged. “Anyway, he had dark, wavy hair. Longer than yours, kind of messy but in a—”
Wait for You by J. Lynn / Romance & Love / History & Fiction have rating 4 out of 5 / Based on32 votes