Kiss Chasey, p.1
Kiss Chasey copyright © 2015 by Misti Murphy
All rights reserved.
This book is a work of fiction. Any similarity to real events, people, or places is entirely coincidental. All rights reserved. This book may not be reproduced or distributed in any format without the permission of the author, except in the case of brief quotations used for review. If you have not purchased this book from Amazon or received a copy from the author, you are reading a pirated book.
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Edited by Tami Lund
Cover Design by Clarissa at boomingcovers
Table of Contents
About the Author
“Chasey? Chasey Fitzwilliams, where are you? I’ve been calling you all day.” Molly McAdams, my best friend in the entire world, the one and only friend I’ve held onto from kindergarten all the way through college, comes flying into my studio apartment, the front door slamming against the exposed red brick wall.
“Jesus, Molly. You’ll break my door if you insist on making such an entrance.” Curled up in a cashmere blanket on the sofa, I glance up from the romance novel I’m reading. She smiles, drops a couple shopping bags, then her red vintage heels clatter on the wooden floor as she flounces across to perch on the arm beside me. Molly is like my flamboyant alter ego. We can’t live without each other, but where she’s loud, vibrant, and fifties glamor, I’m… just not. Hell, I don’t even get out of my bed socks these days. I stretch the sleeves of my gray sweater down over my hands and curl my fingers into it.
“Do you like my dress?” She smooths the skirt on the black and white polka dot number, a ruffle of red petticoat peeking out from underneath, while her colorful tattoos run from under the sweetheart neckline up over both shoulders and down her delicate arms like some one-of-a-kind designer shirt, adding more flair to her already dramatic appearance. “I picked it up this morning while I was shopping with Harry.”
I place the bookmark to the spot where I’m up to and close my book before laying it back on the glass coffee table. “Where was my invite?”
Molly rolls her eyes. They twinkle under this week’s blue, green, pink rainbow Hollywood glamor hairdo. “Did you not listen to a word I just said?” She flips her hair with a pout. “I’ve been trying to call you all day. I thought it would be good if you got out of the house for a while. It would help if you’d answer your phone every once in a while.”
It’s not that I meant to ignore them, or mean to ignore them since it’s becoming sort of a habit. “Sorry,” I say, slipping off the couch and traversing the tiny space to the coffeepot in my one-person-at-a-time kitchen. It takes me a minute to fill the coffeepot and put it on. “Coffee?”
“Chasey, we’re not drinking coffee on your birthday.” She squeals. “You need to have some fun, baby girl. We’re going out.”
“I’m not really in the mood.” I shrug, then have to tug my oversized sweater back up my shoulder. “I’ve just gotten to a good bit in this book I’m reading.”
She picks it up, leafs through to where I’ve bookmarked and skims the page. “I’d say.” She clears her throat and reads from the page. “I’m still cuffed to the bed, while he stands beside it, stroking himself with slow, purposeful movements. His hooded gaze peruses my naked body...”
“Stop it,” I squeak. I’m embarrassed enough to turn bright red, but laughing because this is Molly and she knows all my secrets. She knows my fantasies, my deepest desires. And she knows I’ve also never met a man who can compete with my book boyfriends, so the chances of my fantasies ever playing out are slim to none. And yet, she doesn’t judge me.
Not like my parents, who didn’t understand why I would want to move to a college on the other side of the country, or why I refuse to find a boyfriend they consider eligible enough to enter their world. Like Harry Ford. Perfect boyfriend material right there. I know he thinks so, anyway. He’s got my father wrapped around his little finger with his knowledge of electronic devices and the family business. But then that isn’t hard when our families have worked together since I was a toddler.
About to shut the book, Molly’s gaze lands on the photo I use to hold my page. “You perv. Do you fantasize about this guy you use as a bookmark?”
“Who, Reed? Of course not.” Only all the time. He’s my go to hero, the guy who features in all my little daydreams created from the books I read.
I wave two mugs in her direction. A polka dotted one that matches her dress and another covered with flowers. “Spots or flora?”
She ignores me, holding the bookmark like a fan. “Reed, huh? Sexy name for a gorgeous guy. My panties would catch fire in his presence.”
“It doesn’t take much in your case.” I grin as she rolls her eyes.
“All I’m saying is if this Reed guy were here, I’d consider staying home for him.” She places the bookmark back in my book and smooths it out with her fingers.
“That’s his last name. I don’t really know anything else about him. He was a good friend of my brother’s.” I can feel my brow furrowing as I let myself be dragged into memories I try to keep from getting absorbed in. “Not that I ever met him.”
She glances back at the guy whose picture I keep to remind me of Jonathon’s last words to me. The crumpled letter that came home with his belongings still tucked into a tin with my other mementos. A promise I’m supposed to keep, but haven’t been able to. “We all miss him. Jonathon was a true hero.”
The mugs clink together as I plunk them down a little too roughly, staring into the emptiness and trying to remember what I was doing. Losing Jonathon was losing a part of myself I can never get back. It doesn’t get easier. The knowledge that he’s gone doesn’t get less. It just is, and I’m used to, for the most part, the fact that I only ever get to spend time with him in my head. “Coffee? Or tea?”
The book snaps shut and lands back on the table with a thump, then Molly clears her throat and gets that bossy tone she perfected by the time we were ten. “I am not letting you stay home on your birthday with some fictional dude. I am not letting you wallow. Jonathon would want you to live your life, to get out there and enjoy yourself. So we’re meeting Harry at Oblique for cocktails and real live men. Maybe we could even find you some sweet guy to hook up with. Someone who might help you move past things.”
Someone to help me move past the assault is what she means, though she doesn’t say it outright. And she’s right that I should be trying harder to get my life back to normal, but it’s like I’m cracked and I’m scared any little shove in the wrong direction might rip me all the way open. “I’m not going to hook up with some random stranger.”
And I am certainly not going to hook up with Harry. Talk about awkward. As close as our
“You never hook up with anyone. How are you supposed to find this guy that’s going to fulfill all your fantasies if you don’t at least try?” She bounces off the couch and struts to my bedroom.
I follow behind her sheepishly. She is right, of course, like always. But fantasy life and real life are two different things, and getting close to a guy hasn’t been on my list of priorities. Besides, I tried to put myself out there those first years of college and that had been an epic failure. I like my fantasies. They’re dependable, constant. I don’t have to worry about whether the guy will change on a whim. I need to feel safe more than anything, which is something that’s been missing these past twelve months. “I really don’t want to go. It’s my birthday. Can’t I do what I want?”
“Of course not. You missed last year, I’m not going to let you sit home and mope through another.” Molly pulls the doors to my closet wide open and begins to rifle through the contents, tossing things on top of my single bed with its white lace bedspread. Dresses I haven’t worn, skirts that I refuse to wear because they show too much skin. Tops that highlight my shoulders, or cleavage. Things I prefer to keep hidden under long sweaters and jeans. “Oh, this is the one.”
“I’m not wearing that.” I chew my lip as she swings around the room, holding a short silver dress with barely any back.
“Yes, you are. You’re wearing this, and I’m going to do your hair and make-up. You’re going to look like a stone cold fox, and some guy, some real-life hero, is going to totally want to do all those wicked things you’re always day-dreaming about.”
I cringe, but I catch the dress when she tosses it at me. “You’re not going to let me out of this, are you?”
She searches through her clutch, pulling out a tube of red lipstick. “Not a chance. Now, be a good friend and get your booty into that dress.” She screws off the lid, paying close attention to the door length mirror in my closet while she applies another coat to her already glossy pout. “Especially if you want your birthday present.”
With a roll of my eyes and an audible huff I drop the sheath on the bed, and drag my sweater off over my head, before kicking out of my leggings and socks. Picking up the shimmery dress, I eye it. It won’t be so bad. I’ll be with friends. Maybe Molly is right that I need to get out of the house and let loose. I undo the zip and lift the dress over my head.
“No. Wait,” she says. “You’re not going to change your underwear?”
“They’re fresh.” I shrug. “I put them on when I had a shower after class.”
“Just no.” She hurries out of the room, coming back a minute later with one of the bags she’d dumped by the door. “Happy birthday.”
I take the bag and peek inside. Black lace? I lift out the soft see-through garments. Bra, panties, a garter belt, and stockings? “Why would you get me this? I don’t wear this kind of thing.”
One hand planted on her hip, she groans in mock frustration. “No, you like gray cotton boy shorts. Your underwear drawer is where sexuality goes to die.”
“Oh, come on, Molly. They’re comfortable.” I run my gaze over the black lace still cascading from my hand. “This is ridiculous.”
“No, it’s not. And when you have some gorgeous, sexy man undressing you later tonight, you’re going to thank me.”
Maybe, who knows? I can’t see tonight being any different from all those other nights where I used to think I might go home with someone and at the last possible minute backed out and caught a cab alone. I draw a deep breath. I have to start somewhere, don’t I? Counselling didn’t work. Self-defense classes only took me so far. And there’s the promise of a birthday present. Maybe this one time Molly will actually have gotten me what I asked for. “Fine. Let me get dressed.”
“Don’t take too long.” She grins and slips out of the room with a swish, shutting the door behind her.
Biting my lip, I collapse on the bed and stare at the lingerie, my fingers curling into the material. Sometimes, I don’t even understand myself. The idea of meeting someone, of getting to know them enough to have sex is scary, and yet, I’m sitting here imagining rough hands tearing me out of the expensive lace. A dangerous smile hovering above me, eyes full of sin exploring my body while his hands roam all over my skin. The little shiver of temptation that flits through me is enough to have me swapping my sensible underwear for the indecent panties.
Oblique is packed. Bodies are press together everywhere as Molly and I make our way through the crowds that start about a block before we make it in the door. Molly’s friends with the guy on the door. She may or may not have slept with him a couple times. I’m almost certain she has from the way his gaze roves over her and the flutter of her hand on his bicep. But she doesn’t admit it. He ushers us in ahead of the line.
A few voices raise, complaining when we climb the stairs to enter the club, and Molly turns around to stick out her tongue. “It’s her birthday. Give a girl a break.”
My face warms, all gazes turning on me until I duck my head, and we push through the black glass doors. Purple lighting reflects off the black walls and shiny floor, its almost mirror like finish making everything glitter in the strange dark lighting. Giant chandeliers hung with crystals shimmer overhead, their prisms adding to the luxurious surroundings.
Molly takes my hand and tugs me deeper into the crowd, and I stumble on high black heels while I try to keep my dress from riding up my thighs. We’re stopped a dozen times by people wanting to say hello to her, and a few who wish me happy birthday before we make it to the kidney shaped bar. The black glass is backlit with more purple. Chrome rails run around the bottom of the bar, and she steps up onto it so she can lean over and kiss the bartender smack on the mouth. “Cal, we need a couple of those redskin vodkas.”
Cal’s dark gaze pops, his mouth going slack for a second before he nods a little too enthusiastically under a mop of black curls. “Coming up.”
“You haven’t slept with him?” I yell into her ear, while we watch him create our drinks, his black shirt clinging to his torso and showing off a nice set of guns.
Shrugging, she bats her eyelashes in his direction. “He’s a cute kid, but I’m not his type.”
“He’s got a crush on you. But the guy at the door—”
“Was a mistake.” She doesn’t justify her answer, instead reaching for her clutch as Cal places two bright red frozen cocktails in front of us.
“What are we celebrating tonight, ladies?” He has dimples in his cheeks when he smiles. It’s kind of adorable, like a puppy dog, especially with it being so obvious that he’s panting after Molly.
“It’s my girl’s birthday.” She plants a hand to my back and pushes me closer to Cal. “We’re going to get her drunk and find her a nice guy to pop her cherry.”
“Oh my God,” I squawk, wanting to bury my head in my hands. “I can’t believe you, Molly.”
“Well, happy birthday, doll,” Cal says, pushing the cocktail into my hand. “All ready for fun and games?”
Then he’s moving on up the bar, and Molly is pulling me into the crowd. “I can’t believe you told him I still had my cherry, you liar.”
“Well it’s been so long, you’re practically a virgin again, what with all the cobwebs and dust bunnies you’re intent on growing up there.” She chuckles. “And Cal wouldn’t be a bad choice for your first time back on the horse, would he?”
“I’m not entirely sure I remember how to ride the horse a
“Well, it’s about time you relearned, and I know Cal is a gentleman.” She cranes her neck, looking for Harry and finally spotting him on the other side of the room.
“He’s clearly into you,” I say. “So that isn’t going to happen. Besides, he’s not my type.” I don’t know how I can be so sure of that. The last time I had a type, that type had turned out to be asshole. And Cal doesn’t seem to be like that at all.
“There’s my girls.” Harry jumps up from where he’s lounging beside the dance floor on a purple velvet sofa, ornate scrollwork along the top of its back and the arms. He combs his fingers through his blond hair, which needs a trim, sticking out around his ears and the collar of his business shirt. His red tie hangs loose around his neck.
He leans in to plant a kiss on my mouth, and I turn away, allowing him to graze his lips to my ear instead. “Happy birthday, baby.”
The stench of whisky and Jaeger makes me queasy, and I press my tongue to the roof of my mouth to keep from gagging as he pulls me down onto the sofa. Harry and I have been friends for a long time. Not as long as Molly and I, but long enough that I hate that I feel grotty around him when he’s drinking. When he tries to kiss me, or remind me that our parents think we would be a good fit, I find myself avoiding him. Which has been more and more of the time lately.
Both our families have made it clear that they expect us to get together at some point. It would be a boon if the families were united. Business ties would be strengthened. But I can’t see Harry like that. It’s not that he’s a bad guy. Normally, he’s pretty sweet, but we’re not right for each other. I don’t know why I’m the only one who can see it.
Still, I find myself sandwiched between him and Molly, while I sip the frozen drink laced with vodka through a purple straw. The dance floor fills up, people jostling each other as they dance. One guy almost falls over my feet as a fistfight breaks out somewhere toward the middle of the glossy dance floor. I kick my feet back out of the way, and keep my gaze to the ground as Harry slurs in my ear. “We should dance.”