My friends often tell me that I would be late for my own funeral. As I heard someone knocking on my dorm room door, I rolled over and glanced at the clock. My eyes widened at the time and I scrambled out of bed thinking they’re probably right. I ran to the door and threw it open, only to see my best friend Logan staring at me with amusement on his face.
“Good morning Chloe. I see you’re going to make us late, as usual.”
Logan was one of the most attractive guys I had ever seen. With his sandy blond hair, blue eyes, and ripped body, he’s every woman’s wet dream. The fact that he was one of the sweetest people I knew just gave him extra points. I had no doubt that he would have several women chasing after him once they noticed him around campus.
“Oh my God, I can’t even be on time for our first day!” I shouted as I made my way around my room hunting for something to wear. I quickly found an old pair of jeans and a black Stone Sour T-shirt that I had thrown down beside my bed. I ripped my pajamas off and threw them on my bed before jumping into my jeans and shirt.
“Well at least you had on underwear and a bra before you did that,” Logan mumbled, staring at me with a devilish look in his eyes.
“Very funny, Logan. It’s not like you’ve never seen me in a bikini. Underwear and a bra are pretty much the same thing.”
I rushed over to my dresser and grabbed my brush, running it through my hair before pulling it into a low ponytail to keep it out of my face. It was a good thing I wasn’t the type of girl who messed with makeup much, or we really would have been late. With my blond hair, blue eyes, and blemish-free fair skin, I was often referred to as a porcelain doll by my friends. Not that I was pretty, just average enough to blend in with every other female out there—at least that was my opinion anyway.
The only thing that could possibly make me stand out on a campus full of thousands of blond girls was what my other best friend Amber liked to refer to as my blond rocker-chick look. While most girls around here wore the cute pink look or the camo look, I preferred to take a darker approach to life: almost every shirt I owned had some kind of rock band on the front and I had both of my ears gauged out slightly. My hands were usually covered in rings and I felt naked if I didn’t have at least five rubber bracelets on each wrist. I liked my look, but Amber had always insisted I scared more men away with it than she could count.
I grabbed my bag off the desk and headed out the door, locking it behind me.
“Seriously Logan, I am so sorry. I was sure that I would be up on time today. I guess I didn’t hear my alarm clock again.”
He looked over at me and grinned. “I wouldn’t expect anything less of you. The fact we managed to end up in the same dorm is probably a blessing. Without me as your unofficial alarm clock you really never would make it to class.”
I linked our arms together as we stepped out of our dorm and headed across campus to our first class. “What would I ever do without you as my hero?”
“Hmmm, I’m going to guess you’d be late every day.”
I elbowed him in the ribs. “Thanks Logan, you’re the best.”
We made it into the building and found our classroom with only a moment to spare. Glancing around the room we found two empty seats in the last row and quickly sat down, hoping the professor at the front of the room wouldn’t notice our almost late arrival. As I sat my bag on the floor, I glanced at the guy sitting next to me and my heart nearly stopped.
I had never seen a man as gorgeous as he was in my entire life. Whereas Logan was all light and sweet, he was the physical embodiment of the stereotypical bad boy. His hair was so dark it could be considered black, and it hung down into his eyes and around his face in a shaggy yet attractive mess. I couldn’t see the color of his eyes, but they looked as dark as his hair.
I noticed that he had piercings in his eyebrow and his lip, as well as a few tattoos poking out of his shirtsleeves on both of his arms. As I stared at the tattoos, I wondered if he had any others hidden under his shirt. Not that I was the type to fall for the body-modification, bad-boy type—despite my own appearance—but this guy could have worn his hair dyed pink and in pigtails and pulled it off looking hot.
As if he somehow sensed my eyes locked on him, he glanced up at me. I quickly looked away, blushing furiously that I had been caught staring at him. I chanced another glance and saw he was still watching me, which made my blush deepen. He must have noticed it from the smile appearing on his face as I quickly turned away from him again.
The rest of class, I refused even to look in his direction. I listened to the professor go over everything, taking notes when I thought I needed to. Before I knew it, class was over and I was putting my books into the bag sitting at my feet. As I threw my bag over my shoulder, I noticed my hot neighbor already walking out the door. I stood and headed out of the building with Logan by my side.
As we made our way down the stairs I saw him standing only a few feet away from us smoking a cigarette. I noticed him smirking at me out of the corner of my eye. I kept my focus on the conversation I was having with Logan as we made our way past him, refusing to give him the satisfaction of catching me staring at him again.
“Hey, do you know that guy?” Logan asked when we were out of earshot.
Lost in my thoughts, I looked at him confused, “Who?”
“That guy standing back there, he keeps staring at you.”
I glanced over my shoulder to see him referring to the hot guy still standing there smoking, still staring at me with that damn smirk on his face.
“Oh, I have no idea who he is,” I said as I turned away from him before he could notice that I was blushing from being caught yet again.
Logan and I finished the walk across campus with an easy silence. It had always been this way with us, I always felt comfortable and safe with him as long as we had been friends. He transferred to my school our freshman year of high school and was assigned the seat next to me in Mrs. Jenkins’s English class. We had instantly bonded over guessing whether her hair was real or a wig and the rest was history.
We had spent every moment of high school attached at the hip, which had caused problems with some of his old girlfriends. They were convinced that we were secretly together or that he had a crush on me. We had always laughed the rumors off, but I had felt guilty more than once about ruining some of his past relationships.
Our next class, Spanish, went much like the previous one, except the hot guy was nowhere to be seen. I actually felt kind of relieved, seeing as every moment I was within a mile of him my cheeks were permanently red. I had no idea what my problem was when it came to him. I did not get flustered around men, yet with one look he could almost bring me to my knees. I needed to get a grip.
Once the professor dismissed us, we headed across campus to grab some lunch. Logan and I had nearly identical schedules on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, but our Tuesday and Thursday schedules were totally backward from each other. My only saving grace was the fact that his first class on those mornings was at the same time as mine, so I knew he would make sure I was up and out the door on time.
I glanced up at him as we grabbed our food and headed toward an empty table to eat. He really was gorgeous, even as his best friend I had noticed this. Truthfully, when I had first met him, I had a slight crush on him, but after getting to know him so well, my feelings had changed from a crush to friendship. Without him around, I really would be lost.
When the time came to apply for colleges, I had flipped out for weeks until I knew that we would be going to the same college. I had kept up a perfect 4.0 GPA all through high school so I had several options available, but Logan was determined to attend West Virginia University and I wanted to be with him. When we both received our acceptance letters in the mail on the same day, I had rushed to his house and tackled him with excitement. I knew college would change us both, but I hoped that we would always remain best friends. I don’t think I could handle it any other way.
“What? Do I have food on my face?” he asked as he wiped at the imaginary food on his chin.
“Well, because you have been staring at me for the last five minutes.”
I grinned up at him. “Sorry, I was just thinking about how I would be lost without you here with me. You know that right?”
He pulled me into a tight hug. “Don’t ever worry about that Chloe, you will always have me. We will be old and gray and still together.”
I hugged him back. “I’m glad. Hopefully my future husband and your future wife won’t mind us being permanently attached to each other.”
His face grew tight at my words and I looked at him in confusion. “What’d I say?”
His face quickly relaxed and he smiled at me. “Nothing, I was just thinking that you will never find a guy good enough to be your husband. Speaking of guys not good enough, what was up with that guy who was sitting next to you this morning? He was staring at you like he wanted to eat you alive.”
I rolled my eyes. “I have no idea what you’re talking about. He wasn’t staring at me. He just happened to look up when we did. There was no way a guy like that would ever be interested in me.”
He frowned at my words. “Chloe, you’re crazy. Any guy with eyeballs can see how beautiful you are.”
I started to give a sarcastic reply, but he cut me off.
“That is, until you open your mouth. Then they run in terror.”
I punched him in the arm. “I have a wonderful personality, thank you!”
He laughed at my disgruntled expression. “I’m just kidding. In all seriousness though, you really are great Chloe. I hope you’re right about him not being interested in you though, I don’t like him.”
I laughed. “And you would know you don’t like him how? You’ve never even talked to the guy.”
“I don’t have to. I know his type, the whole bad boy vibe he puts off. He’s probably a total womanizer and you’re better off if you stay away from him.”
“Seriously? Why are we even talking about this? The guy isn’t into me and that’s that.”
If only I’d been so lucky.
â€¢ â€¢ â€¢
Logan and I parted ways after lunch. He had another class and then planned on spending the rest of the afternoon downtown applying for jobs and I had promised to meet up with my other best friend Amber after her last class. Amber and I had been friends since middle school, bonding over our mutual taste in heavy metal instantly. Whereas Logan and I were close, Amber was like my twin, on the inside at least.
Her features couldn’t have been more different from mine if she tried. Her skin was a naturally tanned color and her hair was a dark brown. She had these amazing green eyes that could make anyone do her bidding, and a perfect size-six figure. My blond hair and blue eyes were nice, but I often felt boring and self-conscious when I stood next to her. The only thing I had going for me when she was around was my D-cup breasts, which might bring me attention from time to time, but they tended to get in my way more than anything.
Even with her amazing looks, she was one of those people who had a heart of gold; not only was she gorgeous on the outside, but on the inside as well. She had always been there when I needed her, and I loved her for that. There were few people who could put up with me like she did on a full-time basis.
I sat on the bench outside her building for a few minutes before she emerged, shielding her eyes with her hand from the sun glaring down at us. She noticed me and waved, walking over to where I sat.
“Hey girl! How’d your classes go?”
I smiled and we started walking toward our dorm. “They were good, a bunch of boring stuff over and over mainly.”
She nodded as she walked alongside me. “Yeah mine were the same. I’m so glad we decided to only take a few classes this semester until we get adjusted.”
She and I had both decided to go easy on the classes our first semester and squeezed by with the bare minimum to be considered full-time students, unlike Logan, who had enough classes for two people.
“Anyway, have you seen some of these guys walking around here? I think I’m in love!”
I laughed at her boy craziness, but a certain tattooed guy popped into my head. “Yeah, I noticed a couple.”
She stopped dead in her tracks and spun to face me. “What? You noticed someone? I thought for sure you were a nun in hiding!”
I elbowed her in the ribs. “I am not a nun. There just hasn’t been anyone to catch my interest. We can’t all be as boy crazy as you are.”
“Whatever. So, who is this guy?”
I fidgeted a little and glanced at my shoes, which was a total mistake. Amber knew the shoe staring was my thing when I was trying to keep something from her.
“Don’t you dare look at your shoes, woman! Spill!”
I sighed and looked up at her. Her eyes were practically glowing with excitement, waiting for me to spill my guts to her. “I don’t know his name or anything. He is just a guy who was sitting in the seat next to me this morning.”
She raised her eyebrows at me. “And what does this mystery guy look like?”
I glanced around, making sure that no one was around us before answering her, “He’s cute I guess. His hair is so dark it’s almost black, and he has these beautiful, piercing eyes. Oh, and these really hot piercings in his lip and eyebrow. And he had some tattoos poking out of the bottom of the sleeve of his shirt, but I couldn’t tell what they were.”
Cute was the understatement of the year, but I wasn’t about to start gushing at his hotness in front of her—she really would combust from the excitement—so I kept it to the bare minimum.
As I spoke I saw her mouth dropping in slow motion. “You don’t like just any guy, you like a bad boy. Holy shit, I’m pretty sure hell just froze over, my little Chloe crushing on the bad boy!”
She pretended to faint and I elbowed her again. “Shut up. I don’t like him, I just find him kind of attractive. What is this, middle school?”
She busted out laughing at me, “Touchy aren’t we? Sorry, I’ll stop bothering you about the tattooed, pierced, and kind of attractive bad boy.”
We started making our way across campus again and were nearly to the dorm before she spoke again. “So I know it’s a Monday and all, but some girl in my English class invited me to a party across campus at one of the sorority houses. Will you please come with me? I need my wing woman!”
“I really shouldn’t. I still have a couple boxes to unpack, but I’m sure your roommate would be glad to go with you.”
She looked at me with those big green eyes and her lower lip sticking out in a pout and I started feeling guilty. “Please, Chloe? I saw Chad today and I really need a night out. We won’t even have to stay late, I promise!”
The Chad she was referring to was the ex-boyfriend she had been with since the summer before our senior year. He had seemed like a really good guy and I had truly liked him. That is, until she surprised him by stopping at his house one day unannounced and catching him in bed with Carrie Jenkins, head cheerleader and the biggest slut in town.
The weeks following had been brutal. Amber had never seen it coming, and neither had I for that matter. After countless nights of staying in her room all night with tubs of ice cream and enough tissues to keep Carrie’s bra stuffed for a year, I was finally able to coax her out of her house just before we moved into our dorms. I knew Chad was here on campus as well, but I had hoped that she wouldn’t have to see him, at least for a while.
I sighed and pulled her into a hug. “All right, I’ll go, but only because I have that super cute dress I’ve been dying to wear.”
She squealed and started jumping up and down. “Yay! And I love that dress, I told you so when I bought it for you! Plus, I have the cutest shoes to go with it!”
She grabbed my arm and pulled me into the dorm and up to her room. As soon as we were inside she started rummaging through boxes in her closet and pulled out a pair of killer red heels.
I smiled as she handed them to me. “Thanks. I’m going to head to my room and try to get the rest of my stuff unpacked before tonight. I’ll meet you back here around eight o’clock?”
“Okay, that works for me.”
I gave her one last hug before leaving and making my way up to the floor above where my dorm room was located. Even though Amber and I hadn’t ended up being roommates, fate must have been smiling on us. Logan, Amber, and I had all ended up in one of the few coed dorms on campus. We were stacked on top of each other with Amber on the first floor, me on the second, and Logan on the third. It was good to know if I needed either one of them they were just a set of stairs away.
I unlocked my door and stepped into the havoc I had left in my wake this morning. Groaning, I started gathering my dirty clothes and throwing them into the hamper by my closet. After I had managed to find my floor, I moved on to the boxes stacked against the wall. Did I really want to unpack all this stuff? That was a dumb question, of course I didn’t, but I couldn’t very well live out of boxes for the next year. I grabbed the top one and started unpacking the clothes inside. I had already put most of my clothes away this weekend, but there were still a couple of boxes like this one with the sweatpants and baggy shirts I used as pajamas sometimes.
I managed to get a couple boxes put away before my phone started playing “Blood” by In This Moment and I grinned as I grabbed it off the bed.
“Hey Logan, find any jobs?”
He groaned in frustration. “I’ve already applied to half the town, so I’m sure I’ll find something. There are still a few places I want to check out though.”
“That’s cool. I’m trying to get the rest of this crap unpacked. I was going to suggest you come over and help me, but I guess that idea is out.”
He laughed at me. “Yeah, I think I’d rather be applying for jobs than helping you put your underwear away. Actually, on second thought . . .”
“Well, when you put it like that, I can’t really blame you. If you’re free before we leave you should come with Amber and me to a party at one of the sorority houses.”
“I think I’ll pass on this one, but just be careful. Don’t leave your drink alone, and if you need me to come get you just call me, okay? You know I worry about you.”
I rolled my eyes at his words. “Yes, Dad. I promise to be good.”
“I’m serious, Chloe. I don’t know what I’d do if something happened to you.”
“I know that, and I promise I will be careful. I should probably go and try to get the rest of these boxes sorted. I’ll call you when I get home, promise.”
“All right, just remember to call me later or I’ll be beating on your dorm room door in the middle of the night in only my boxers.”
I laughed at him. “Well, as much of a thrill as that would give the girls on this floor, we wouldn’t want that. Talk to you later.”
I hung up and threw my phone back on the bed. I loved how protective Logan was of me, even if he made me feel smothered at times. He had always been this way, and it made me feel safe to know he was always there for me.
I managed to get all my boxes unpacked with a little over an hour to spare, so I decided to take a shower. Grabbing my bathroom bag, I made my way to the showers, which were almost completely empty with the exception of a few girls standing by the sinks. Not wanting to push my luck, I took the fastest shower on record before heading back to my room.
I left my hair in a towel to dry as I dug through my now excessively cramped closet to find my dress. I found it pushed against the back wall and quickly started trying to pull it out before any of my other clothes could drag me into the mess and hold me prisoner for eternity.
When I managed to untangle it from the disaster that was my closet, I held it up in front of me and smiled. I had to agree with Amber, the dress really was gorgeous. The bottom was skintight and ended several inches above my knees. The top of it was a halter top with a built-in bra, which was lucky for me since the back was too low cut for me to wear one. It wasn’t my usual style, but I loved it.
I quickly squirmed into it before pulling my hair out of the towel and running the brush through it as I blow-dried it. My hair was almost to my waist and took forever to dry, so I rarely spent the time required to blow-dry and straighten it, but tonight was my first college party and I wanted to look my best. After I got my hair under control, I started applying my makeup. My roommate, Rachel, walked in just as I was finishing and flopped facedown on her bed groaning.
“Rough day, Rachel?”
She groaned again and nodded. “Remind me again why I signed up for all these classes?”
I laughed as she rolled over to face me.
“Hot damn woman, you look amazing. And FYI, if that dress comes up missing and finds itself in my closet, it wasn’t me. I swear it.”
“Thanks for the warning. I know how these things grow legs and walk straight into someone else’s closet, but mine usually end up in Amber’s somehow.”
“So where are you headed looking like that?”
“There’s some party at a sorority house Amber is dragging me to. You’re welcome to come if you want.”
She considered my offer for a minute before shaking her head. “No thanks, I’ve had a rough day. I’m just going to curl up on my bed and read. I don’t think I could take on a party tonight if I tried.”
I had seen Rachel’s schedule the day we moved in and I knew she wasn’t kidding. Her days started first thing in the morning and except for lunch, ran solid up until early evening. The girl was crazy in my opinion, but her parents had pushed her to take everything she could.
Rachel was what you would call a sexy nerd. She was one of the smartest people I had ever met, but with her long red hair, perfect face, and amazing figure she was a total babe by anyone’s standards. When I had first met her, I was terrified she was going to be one of those self-absorbed girls, but with her down-to-earth personality, I had liked her within the first ten minutes.
“All right, but next time you’re going with me even if I have to drag you.” I glanced at the clock before slipping into my shoes and heading for the door. “I don’t think I’ll be out late, but if I am I promise to be super quiet when I come in.”
She grinned up at me. “Don’t worry, I’ll probably still be between the pages with a certain Mr. Maddox. Lord knows I can’t put him down once I start.”
I laughed at her current book obsession as I walked out the door. “Can’t blame you there. Later.”
I made my way back down the stairs carefully so I wouldn’t break my neck in Amber’s amazing but super high-heeled shoes. As I reached her room, I knocked once before heading in.
“Hey! What the hell? Oh, it’s just you. Don’t do that to me!” Amber yelled as a welcome.
She was standing in just her bra and a super chic miniskirt, staring at her closet like the perfect shirt was about to jump out at her.
“I have nothing to wear!”
I raised my eyebrow as I pointed at her closet. “You have about a million shirts in there, surely you can pick out something.”
She finally pulled out a cute yellow tank top and threw it over her head. “I guess this will do. Come on, we better hurry or we’ll be late.”
“Can you even be late for one of these things?”
She rolled her eyes as she breezed by me and headed out the door. “I don’t know, but if you can, Lord knows you would be.”
I tried to smack her, but my heel caught on the carpeting in the hallway and I nearly fell down.
She started laughing like an idiot at my usual clumsiness. “That never gets old. Seriously though, gravity has never been kind to you.”
I stuck my tongue out at her back as we made our way out the door and across campus to our first college party.
Book 1 in the Torn Series
Book 1 in the Torn Series
Chloe hasn’t had the easiest childhood. With a mother who was absent most of the time, she practically had to raise herself. Determined to start a new life and leave her demons behind, she heads to West Virginia University with her best friends Amber and Logan. On the first day of classes, she spots a student who takes her breath away. Drake is a pierced, tattooed bad boy, and no matter how hard she tries to fight it, he’s all she can think about.
Drake has never cared about anyone other than himself, but when Chloe grabs the empty seat next to him in class, he is instantly drawn to her. Drake is left wondering whether this girl can take his cold, womanizing heart and alter him forever.
Developing feelings for each other was never a part of their plan, and when it happens, things do anything but fall into place. Long-hidden emotions are revealed and friendships are tested to the brink as Chloe and Drake become helplessly entwined in each other’s love.
- Atria Books |
- 272 pages |
- ISBN 9781476752136 |
- September 2013