Away by B.A. Wolfe
What good is running AWAY when you only end up lost?
Cassandra Pierce had her whole "perfect" life planned out by her parents. One night of pure weakness and lust has her running away from it all and seeking refuge in Alamosa with her best friend. But it seems life has other plans for her when she finds herself lost in the small town of Keaton.
Jason Bradley is a charming country guy. He lives a simple life that’s nothing like what Cassandra is used to. A single moment in life changed everything he thought he once knew, leaving him with a broken heart and an unplanned future.
What happens in Keaton is nothing Cassandra or her heart could have ever prepared for. The instant connection she shares with Jason is no secret, but what they're keeping hidden from one another is. Will these two be able to find a way to trust each other or will their secrets tear them apart?
“Hey, there. This seat taken?” I asked before I sat down.
“For a girl like you? It’s never taken,” he said, flashing me a grin.
I loved his grins, his sweet ones, his cocky ones, and most of all, his sexy ones. Yet, looking at him right now, I could sense there was something hiding behind his gorgeous green eyes of his that was plaguing him. I wanted to help him, I wanted to tell him whatever was haunting him he could tell me, he could confide in me, but how could I tell him that when I couldn’t even come clean about the demons I kept hidden away? I started biting the inside of my cheek, feeling like such a hypocrite.
“What are you thinking about over there, Cassie?” he asked, breaking my thoughts. I swiveled my stool to face him. He had his elbow leaning on the bar, resting his head against his hand.
“Nothing,” I said, I didn’t have the courage to battle him.
“I can tell you’re lying,” he said. I took in a deep breath and exhaled it slowly trying to ease the drumming in my chest.
“Fine, you seem sad Jase,” I told him. His gaze immediately shifted down to the floor as he fidgeted with his drink, which looked like water too. “You can talk to me,” I offered. I put my hand on his knee, trying to get him to look at me, but he didn’t.
I moved my hand and grabbed my water, taking a long sip when he finally looked up at me. He didn’t have to say anything; his eyes said it all. They were warm and even though they still were sad; I could see through them, he was glad about something. I wasn’t sure what, but I was hoping he was about to tell me. He put his glass on the counter and jumped off his bar stool. I could feel his breath behind my ear as he spoke softly.
“You can talk to me too you know,” he whispered, making a shiver run from my neck to my toes.
It wasn’t what I wanted to hear. I longed to hear him divulge his deepest secrets to me so I could help try and take the pain away, but that wasn’t going to happen tonight. He pushed my water back and took my hand in his, then swiveled my stool so I was facing him.
“Let’s dance pretty girl,” he said.
I was thankful to change the subject. As much as I was not in the mood to talk about myself, clearly he wasn’t either. I was also ecstatic to have someone ask me to dance. The only other time I was asked to dance was at my high school prom, and that was with some cheese ball jock that didn’t dance with me. Instead, he hit on every other girl at prom while he was there with me. Something inside told me that this would be much different, that Jase actually knew how to dance and treat a lady. The only problem? Honky-tonk wasn’t really my strong suit, let alone my suit at all. My breathing suddenly turned heavy as I stayed still on the stool that Jase was trying to pull me off of.
“There’s a slight problem,” I said quietly. He moved in closer to me putting his hands on my knees as he leaned his ear by my mouth. “I don’t know how to dance country,” I confessed.
He moved his ear away from my mouth and started laughing, his loud contagious laugh was rumbling through his body. I put my hand over his mouth to try and stop the rest of the bar from hearing and looking over at us.
“Stop it, this is serious,” I told him. He stopped and took my hand off of his lips.
“I’ll lead, you just follow. You’ll be okay. Just go with it, Cassie,” he said, pulling me off of the stool, like a parent helping a toddler off of a chair.
I guess this meant we were going.
He walked us out to the dance floor where Moose and Kasey were already getting their country on. The music running through the speakers changed immediately from drums and guitars to a sweet soft melody. Jason grabbed my right hand with his left. My eyes stared at them, admiring how perfectly they fit together. His other hand touched the side of my cheek, gently pushing it to face him. Our eyes intently locked together, and like I was a doll and had no control over my own body, he moved my other hand and put it around his upper back. He placed his hand around my lower back and pushed us closer, body to body.
“Don’t be scared, just like we practiced in the street.” He looked at me. His eyes glistened as the spotlights above us hit them just perfectly, showing their true emerald color.
JASE POV – BAR SCENE
JASE POV – BAR SCENE
“I gotta go. I promised Kasey a dance,” Moose said before running off like he was up to something.
I shook my head and took another sip of water.
“Hey there. This seat taken?”
I didn’t even have to look at her to know who the voice belonged to. The sweet sound made everything inside of me melt. “For a girl like you? It’s never taken,” I told her as I finally realized what Moose was up to.
She smiled back, but this time, she didn’t take her eyes off of me. I knew the feeling all too well. I didn’t ever want to stop staring at her. She looked away and began fidgeting with her glass. The contents were clear and only confirmed what I thought I knew.
“What are you thinking about over there Cassie?” She swiveled her stool in my direction and I couldn’t help but watch her cheeks flush. It was the perfect shade of red on her. Jase, get a grip man.
“Nothing,” she replied.
The look in her eyes said otherwise. “I can tell you’re lying.”
“Fine, you seem sad, Jase,” she said.
How could she tell? How did she know? Was I not hiding my feelings or past good enough? I gazed down at the floor as I held my glass tight in my hands.
“You can talk to me,” she said, placing her hand on my knee. My skin blazed with heat under her touch. It was all I could do to keep from screaming out to her what was wrong. She had too much going on in her life to have to deal with my problems too. I was stuck. I couldn’t tell her the truth. She wouldn’t accept it and then it would just be heartbreak. At least at this point, we weren’t anything but friends. I wanted more. I couldn’t deny that part of my heart that was internally punching me for not making a move already. It wouldn’t be fair to her though.
A sudden coldness lingered over my knee. Her hand was back up on the bar. I missed her touch. I needed to touch her. We had to dance.
I hopped off the bar stool and stood behind her gorgeously dressed body. It was all I could do not to put my lips on her bare shoulder as I inched my mouth closer to her ear.
“You can talk to me too you know,” I whispered.
I moved her stool around so she was now in between my legs. “Let’s dance pretty girl,” I said.
A smile tugged on her lips. Her hand was still in mine as I started to walk away, except she didn’t budge.
I looked back; her eyes were double their normal size. “There’s a slight problem,” she said, quietly.
I moved in closer, put my hands on her knees, and leaned my ear by her mouth. She smelled so good. Jase, man you have got to stop. Focus.
“I don’t know how to dance country,” she confessed.
What? I moved back and started laughing, uncontrollably. That was what her problem was? It was adorable and innocent and in turn, only made my feelings for her that much stronger. Why couldn’t it have been that she had to go the restroom or something awkward like that?
The flesh of her palm suddenly covered my mouth and instantly stopped my laugh. My stomach knotted. It took all of the control I had in me not to press a kiss to the inside of her hand that so roughly covered my lips.
“Stop laughing, this is serious,” she said. Yes, it is serious; seriously cute.
I reluctantly took her hand off my mouth. “I’ll lead, you just follow. You’ll be okay. Just go with it, Cassie,” I told her. This time I made sure she came with me as I pulled her off the chair similar to a parent helping a child off.
The song that played through the speakers was perfect. I didn’t even plan it, but it worked out to my benefit. I really hoped she recognized it, but I wasn’t positive she would. I didn’t know if she was feeling the same pull I was and if our moment in the street was one that would stay with her, like it did me.
I took her hand in mine and placed her other behind my back. I pressed our bodies together as I wrapped my other hand around her lower back. I made sure there was no space between us, not even room to breathe. The song had me wanting her badly, and getting her as close as possible was all I could think about.
“Don’t be scared, just like we practiced in the street,” I said. Her eyes gazed into mine as if they were seeing them for the first time.
My mission at first was to get her to let loose and have fun tonight, but now, all I wanted to do was recreate the moment in the street. This was far surpassing that though.
I took control and did as I told her I would. I led and swayed us, keeping it smooth and slow, just like the song. Our eyes hadn’t stopped staring into one another since we stepped onto the dance floor, and every ounce of me wanted our skin to touch. The music kept us moving as I slowly rested my check against hers. The heat of her skin immediately radiated onto mine. It traveled down to my torso and only continued further. This girl had me flushed from head to toe. Her body suddenly relaxed into mine as my hand held onto her. It was that moment that I knew I had her; I had all of her, mind and body. And it was then that my voice box let loose and started humming along with the song.
Her body tensed in my arms and a second later her warm soft cheek slid away from me. Her eyes peered into mine as she searched them. I continued to hum as the wheels in her head seemed to turn. I know you know this song, Sweetheart. Come on. I know you do.
“This is the song you were humming in the street isn’t it?” she asked, her lips smirking.
God yes. She knew it. It came to her. My lips grew into a smile that was larger than life. I pressed our bodies back together and finally without having her eyes to distract me, I moved my lips by her ear.
“It’s called Wanted by Hunter Hayes,” I whispered gently.
Feeling her body mold next to me as I held her, I thought to myself how nothing could ever explain how badly I wanted this girl.
Her hands moved and delicately cupped behind my neck. Feeling her latch onto me was enough to make my brain fog over and my knees want to collapse. I did everything I could to contain myself as I locked both of my hands behind her back. We were a chain link; nothing could break us apart now. Our cheeks were no longer side by side, as our eyes were now peering softly into each other. Her eyes. Those damn eyes could kill a man. The soft hazel color could get you lost if you stared into them long enough. They swirled green and brown and became lighter the happier she was. They were like a drug as they caught your attention and didn’t let go. They pulled me in and I’d be lying if I said I tried to stop it. Her whole face was drawing me in like a gravitational pull. Those eyes, those flushed red cheeks, and those pink lips. They took me in and pulled me so close I could feel her warm breath hitting my lips. We weren’t inches apart or even centimeters. We were mere millimeters, a breath and one second apart.
As the song winded down my heartbeat only grew louder. It was the only thing my ears were hearing. Boom. Boom. Boom. It accelerated faster as I moved and passed our millimeter mark. One last breath and one more second my lips would be on hers. The rights, the wrongs, and every reason why I shouldn’t kiss this phenomenal girl in front of me silenced as my breath hitched and now we were only one second from kissing.
Her eyes seared into me, her body was snug against mine and her lips were within reach. They were almost grazing, and then it happened. We stopped moving toward each other and gravity now yanked us apart. The song changed, the mood altered, and the crowd around us went chaotic. Our moment was gone, vanished. Only one second away from our lips connecting and one second was all it took to steal it away.
Was it a sign? I knew I was playing with fire, but maybe it was bigger than a matchstick flame and more like a bonfire. I almost kissed this fantastic girl. What was I thinking? I couldn’t have her. She wasn’t mine to take. She would kill me if she knew the secret I was withholding from her while I stood there, trying to kiss her and make her mine. I was more than sure this was a sign and I was even more positive it was needed.
“My turn next,” Moose shouted as he grabbed her hand. The very one that was just around my neck.
The stinging pain behind my eyes threatened as I watched her face. It had lost its luster as we both stared. Was she thinking the same thing as I was? Were the wheels turning in her mind about the coincidence of the moment we lost? The first moment I reluctantly stopped and then this one that was cut short for us? I tried to smile for her but I’d be lying if I said it was easy.
Kasey grabbed my hand and led me off in another direction, far away from the only person I wanted to be next to. I lost sight of Cassie as we got closer to the edge of the dance floor, away from the crowd. We were dancing, but it was weak and the allure of having fun on a dance floor vanished the minute my hands left Cassie.
The look in Kasey’s eyes snapped me out of my thoughts. “Why are you looking at me like that?” I asked.
“What was all that about?”
I popped a brow and looked at her like I didn’t have a clue what she was asking.
“With Cassandra. Stop playing dumb. I know you better than you think.”
I felt the tension in my shoulders relax as I let out a breath. She knew me well. Too well. Growing up together didn’t help the fact that she already knew the things going on in my life and the blank emotions I wore on my face to hide my feelings.
“I don’t know what to do Kasey.”
A smile surfaced on her face like she knew something. “Make a move you pansy ass. She likes you. A whole helluva lot. I had to get the scoop out of her too.”
“What did she tell you?” I asked her, sounding way too eager for a guy that’s twenty two.
“I’ve already told you enough. She likes you, you like her. Make your move already.”
“I don’t think it’s a go-.” She hovered her hand over my mouth and stopped what she knew was going to come out of it; the reasons why I should not make a move.
“Just go with it Jason. I see the way you look at her. Even when you brought her over for dinner at Maggie’s,” she said as her eyes went soft. “What is it you always say? Let the-the-“
Damn her and her smarts. “Chips fall where they may,” I reminded her.
“That’s it. Let them fall where they may. Make a move and let the rest work itself out.”
“We’ll see. I can’t promise anything, but I appreciate the subtle nudge.” I laughed.
“You deserve to be happy too, Jason,” she said. Her eyes went from determined to soft as she gave me a knowing smile.
She was right. I needed to follow my own damn advice. Tonight I’d let the chips fall and not look back.
B.A. Wolfe is a girl with a passion for reading and writing, and lives in the good ol’ state of Colorado with her husband (her biggest cheerleader), and her two crazy min pin fur babies. These days, her life is anything but calm, and there isn't one thing she’d want to change. B.A. spends all her free time either furiously typing stories on her laptop or happily reading through her endless TBR on her Kindle. Her list of favorites would be long enough to fill a book, but most would likely fall under the romance category. She is a sucker for a good love story that makes her cry, and an amazing book boyfriend who will melt her heart. ‘Away’ is B.A. Wolfe’s debut novel.