Where the Road Takes Me Page 1

Author: Jay McLean

Genres: Young Adult , Romance

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PROLOGUE

You know how sometimes you can tell that something is about to happen, even though there are no physical signs? Like when the hair on the back of your neck stands up, or your palms begin to sweat, or butterflies form in your stomach? Like, the beating of your heart thumps faster, harder—and even though you’re staring down at the floors of the familiar hallways of high school—you know that when you lift your gaze, something’s going to change? And then you look up—and the beating of your heart stops for a split second. The boy with the messy dark hair and the piercing blue eyes is watching you—a hint of a smile on his beautiful face that’s enough to kick your heart back into gear. But then he turns around and walks away—not for him—but for you. Because he knows that is what you want, and you know that he only wants you to be happy.

Blake Hunter—he was my change.

CHAPTER ONE

There was that familiar ache that I loved so much—a burn in my chest that spread to the rest of my body. There was just one other feeling I loved more. Well—two, if you included the high of sex.

Numbness.

A constant state of numbness was my euphoria.

You couldn’t tell. No one could.

My feet thudded against the pavement. Sweat dripped from my hairline, down my neck, and onto my bare back. I shut my eyes, urging the numbness to kick in. I wanted to feel it everywhere. Not just in my body but everywhere. Maybe I should quit basketball and take up smoking weed as a hobby. I laughed to myself—Dad would love that. Another reason to kick my ass.

I rounded the corner with my eyes still shut. I knew that path in the park better than I knew my own home. Which is why I was running at two in the morning on a Saturday night. Sunday morning? Whatever.

I was five steps past the corner—the numbness had just started to seep in—when I bumped into something. My eyes sprang open, and I found myself staring at someone on the ground.

“Fuck, I’m sorry,” I huffed, trying to level my breathing. I rested my hands on my knees, waiting for the thumping in my heart to calm itself. My skin stung and my muscles throbbed from the impact of our bodies. I was six foot three, and my frame matched the constant training and rigorous workouts it endured. Her—I couldn’t tell what she looked like—but I knew this much: if the collision had hurt me, it must’ve almost killed her.

She slowly came to a sitting position, resting her ass on her heels. Her head was bent, and her loose blonde hair formed a curtain around her face. She lifted her hands, palms up, and examined them. Blood.

“Shit! I’m so sorry.” A wave of panic whooshed through me. Squatting in front of her, I took her hands to study the damage. She yanked them away and sniffed, straightening her legs out in front of her. Her short-ass skirt left nothing to the imagination.

“Dammit,” she whispered, her head still down.

My gaze moved from the hem of her skirt to her knees. Blood.

“Fuck, I’m so sorry,” I said for the third time.

It was dark, the only light coming from the moon and a lamppost fifteen yards away. I wanted to see her face, but I sure as hell wasn’t going to ask her to look at me. “Are you okay?”

Before she could answer, a rustling from the bushes interrupted us.

A guy stepped out, close to my age. He looked rough, rougher than the kids I hung out with—and I use that term loosely. He wiped the back of his hand across his mouth, then eyed it. Blood. His eyes narrowed. Looking down at the girl in front of me, he seethed, “You fucking whore!”

Slowly, she stood up.

I swear I could actually hear the clicking of the pieces as it all fell into place in my mind.

Him—with his fat lip, torn shirt, and undone fly.

Her—now fully standing. The top of her tank was ripped, exposing one bra-covered breast.

I watched as her lips pursed and her eyes narrowed to slits, but then fire flamed in them as she yelled, “Fuck you!”

He took a step toward her with his hand raised.

Before I knew it, I was between them, gripping his forearm, my other arm behind me, wrapped around her waist. I could feel her shallow breaths against my back.

“Who the fuck are you?” he demanded, trying to pull away from my hold.

“Blake. Who the fuck are you?”

He laughed once, a snarl on his lips and a challenge in his eyes. “What are you, her bodyguard?”

I lifted my chin and squared my shoulders. I towered over him, eying him down. I knew I could take him. Easily. “I don’t know, dickface. Does she need one?”

He tried again to withdraw his arm. I grasped it tighter. Then a cynical laugh escaped him. “Good luck. She’s a fucking tease—dresses like a whore but won’t even suck dick.” He looked around my shoulder at her. “You cock-teasing slut!”

Something in me snapped.

Blood rushed to my ears, and the numbness I’d hoped for was well and truly gone. My arm—the one previously wrapped around her—moved fast. My fingers had formed a fist and would have made contact with his face—

Would have—if not for the tiny blonde girl standing in front of me. Between my intended target and me. With her entire body weight, she pulled my arm downwards, her eyes widening. “Don’t,” she said. “It’s not worth it.” Her voice was quiet, but her expression screamed for me to let it go. I was so surprised by her actions that I dropped Dickface’s raised arm.

Glaring at the guy behind her, I tried for an even tone as I warned, “You got three seconds to get out of here before I beat your ass.”

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