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Saturday, November 1, 2014

Completed: Chapter One

COMPLETED: a Devoured novella
Chapter One

I’d spent so much time in Los Angeles over the last few weeks that I’d forgotten how much I adore Nashville. It’s my city. The city I was raised in, the place I’d returned to after I found myself completely homesick earlier this year. Sure, there were the bad memories—like my mother, who’d made my life hell time and time again, and the man who’d attacked me a few months back, but there were also the good things. Amazing things, really. Like the family I could still count on, who could count on me. Like the friends I’d reconnected with since my move back to the area.

They were the reasons why I loved coming home so much.

Parking my rental car a few feet behind my own sedan, I stare thoughtfully at the front porch of Gram’s cabin. She’s expecting me—it had been my plan all along to come back to Nashville for a couple weeks since Lucas will be recording in Georgia—but I’m sure she’s not exactly expecting me to waltz into her house with a giant rock on my finger. I’ve spoken to her since Lucas proposed two nights ago, but I haven’t mentioned the engagement.

It’s something I want to announce to her in person and I warned my social media whore of a brother not to utter a word to Gram. I run the pad of my thumb over the diamond and drag in an excited breath. I’m happy. Ridiculously happy, and I can’t wait to share the news with my grandmother.

I pull the keys from the ignition, but pause from opening the door when my phone rings inside my handbag. Normally I’d ignore it, but the ringtone, “All Over You,” alerts me that Lucas is on the other end, so I answer the call wearing a big ass grin.

“I’m on my way to Nashville. To you,” he tells me immediately before I can finish a proper greeting.

The inside of the Toyota is still toasty from the heater that I’d blasted on high before turning the car off, but I still shiver when his voice caresses over me. “You’re just screwing with me,” I laugh.

“I’m sure as hell not, though I have plans to later.”

“What happened to recording in Atlanta?” I question, my breath catching. He’s silent for a long time, and as I wait for him to respond, I twist the engagement ring anxiously around my finger. “You love to do this to me. The evasive thing, that is,” I finally say to break the silence, and now it’s his turn to chuckle.

“Maybe, but I needed to hear your voice.” He groans. “You send me over the fucking edge every time, Red. You know that, don’t you?”

I rub my palm back and forth over my chest. Beneath my coat and scarf and clothes, I know my skin is on fire. Lucas Wolfe has that kind of effect on me—he always has. “Be good. I’m sitting in my grandmother’s driveway and I’m seconds away from walking inside her house.”

He makes an appreciative noise in the back of his throat. “And now I know you’re blushing. This is going to be a long drive for me.”

“Are you really on your way here?”

“Just hit I-75.”

Butterflies flit around my belly, and I swallow hard. “What happened to the new album?”

“That’s coming, but I need to be near you first. I need to touch you. Then—and only then—can I make music.”

“I could have come to you,” I say softly. When he replies, I can imagine him shaking his head slowly, a deliciously sexy grin taking over his face as he corrects me.

“I’d rather come to you, Red. Always. I’ll be there before you know it.”

Ending the call a couple minutes later, I’m grinning like a lovesick fool as I drop my phone into my bag and exit the rental car. I make it to the front steps before Gram opens the front door, smiling broadly.

“You’re home!” She meets me halfway on the porch, wrapping me up tightly, not seeming to care that wisps of my long red hair blow into her face. “I missed you.”

“You too, Gram,” I whisper against the top of her head. I draw away from her, immediately feeling a little weepy myself when I notice that the corners of her bright blue eyes are damp. “We have so much to talk about.”

Saying that aloud makes the engagement ring feel like it weighs five pounds.

“We do,” she agrees, ushering me inside the house. I shrug out of my coat and hang it on the rack by the staircase. I face her with a smile, which quickly falters. With her arms crossed over her chest, her body is angled away from mine. Her bottom lip is pulled between her teeth, and she’s looking in the direction of the kitchen.

“Gram,” I say, and she turns with a smile that’s a little too forced. “Why do I feel like you’re about to tell me that Seth got another on-campus alcohol violation and he’s camping out here? Because if he has, I’m going to kick his skinny ass.”

She makes a noise that’s not quite a laugh and opens her mouth to speak. Before she can though, a voice that makes me automatically grind my teeth speaks up. “You always were on Seth’s back.”

My nostrils flare. Lifting my chin toward the entrance to the kitchen, my blue eyes lock with my mom’s bright green gaze. She smiles a dazzling grin—porcelain veneers because I know for a fact a few of her teeth were broken after she got into a fight in prison. When had she gotten dental work? 
More importantly, when the hell had she gotten released?

And why hadn’t Gram—or Seth, for that matter—told me she was out?

“Why is she here?” I hear myself ask, my voice detached.

“Good Lord, I didn’t raise you to be so rude,” my mother—no, Rebecca—drawls, and I clench my hands by my side. She didn’t raise me at all. Gram did. “So I guess I should set a good example. Welcome home, baby girl. I hear congratulations are in order.”

Chapter Two Coming Monday Night!

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