Release Date: June 24, 2019
Cover Design: Pink Elephant Designs
Models: Daniel Rengering & Emily L’Nae
Photographer: Jean Maureen Woodfin at JW Photography and Covers
We were never meant to meet; our paths shouldn’t have crossed.
And yet they did.
As an undercover DEA agent, I always thought things through. I didn’t take chances, because I knew one misstep could have disastrous consequences.
Until I met her.
The little sister of my next target.
Lola was a feisty young woman trying to claw her way out of a bad neighborhood.
She was forbidden in every sense of the word, and not just because of the sixteen year age gap.
We were taught to expect the unexpected, but nothing could have prepared me for what was about to happen.
I fell hard.
I fell fast.
I freefalled heart first.
But there was a secret I was keeping, and if revealed, it’d destroy the lives of those I’d vowed to protect.
One wrong move and everything could erupt in our faces.
All that remained was one question…
Was she worth it?
We had a tradition every spring that we never forgot about, no matter how bad things got. On the first day of April, we cleared out the small backyard, scrubbed the grill, and had a cookout. Friends from the neighborhood were invited, and we ate and drank, and had a good time.
This wasn’t the normal party that Hut threw—this was different. It was about friendship and having a good time without getting absolutely shit-faced. Of course, drugs were in the house and consumed, but people put a limit on themselves—the only time they ever did.
I wondered whether it would happen this year, but when I woke up, and Hut was scrubbing the grill outside, I nearly broke my face with my grin. There were many memories I remembered, both good and bad, but this one was always good. I could even remember my dad being sober one year, and that was a miracle in itself.
Hut gave me money and Ford drove me to the store where I got all our usual food along with some extras to try something new. We were back at the house prepping meat before I knew it.
“Grill’s all set,” Hut announced, walking into the kitchen with his arms caked in dirt. “I cleaned off the chairs and table out there too.”
“Awesome.” I looked back at the meat I was mixing for the burger patties and glanced back up at him. “You should get a shower before people start getting here.”His lips quirked, reminding me so much of the fun-loving teenager that he used to be. “That right?” He stepped forward. “Maybe I wanna stay dirty.”
My smile dropped, my hands stilling in the meat. To anyone else, it would have been a few innocent words, but that wasn’t how he meant them, and I knew it. I used to play pretend and act like I didn’t know what he meant, but I couldn’t do that anymore. Not after last year.The breath whooshed out of me in a rush as I stared at his hazel eyes. What I thought would be a day to forget everything and just be the way we used to, was vanishing before my very eyes.
“I’m joking, Lola.”I chuckled, but it was forced, and he knew it. “I know.” I lifted my fingers out of the meat and moved to the sink.
“Hey, Hut?” Ford called from the living room. “We need some more beer.”
Hut huffed and stomped into the other room, leaving me on my own to prep the food. I didn’t mind doing it, and if it meant being away from him for a while, then I’d stay in this kitchen for as long as possible. Anything to keep me from remembering that night and what he’d tried to do.
The time flew by as soon as people started arriving, and Hut set about starting the grill up. The house was a hub of activity as I cut chicken breast and pushed them onto skewers with some vegetables.
“Looks like you’re having fun there, kid.”I rolled my eyes at the name and twirled around to face Brody. His jaw was covered in light stubble, showcasing his infectious grin. “So much fun that I can’t even contain myself.” I held up the skewers in front of me. “I’d ask you to help, but I know you’d rather go drink beer with the guys.”
He tilted his head, his dark eyes watching me the same way they did when we were at the pancake house over a week ago. I hadn’t seen him since then, at least not enough to talk to. He’d been in the house when I left yesterday morning, but I was running late and didn’t have time to say hi. Plus, I didn’t want Hut to think that we were talking behind his back. He was paranoid, and it would only set off his alarms. That was the last thing I needed. “I can help,” Brody announced, pulling his leather jacket off and placing it over the back of one of the kitchen chairs.
“Oh, no.” I chuckled, nerves flowing through me at being so close to him again. “I was just joking.”
Brody shrugged, causing his muscles to dance from the move, and dammit, I was mesmerized by it. How the hell did he walk around looking like that and not know it? Or maybe he did know it and used it to his advantage. Maybe I was becoming one of those girls.
“Where do you want me?” he asked, moving to stand next to me. It was a loaded question, one that I wasn’t sure I could answer. “You cut, and I’ll skewer?”
All I could do was nod and pick the knife back up. I was back in seventh grade when my crush said hi to me for the first time in the hallway. My voice had disappeared, and my movements were jerky, something that really wasn’t good when handling a sharp object.
Brody washed his hands, and then he placed two vegetables on the skewer followed by a piece of marinated chicken. “So how’s classes?”
I halted in my movements, the knife halfway through a chicken breast. “Classes? How do you know I go to class?”
“Because you told me.”
I tilted my head to make eye contact and blew out a breath. “Right. Sorry.” I was too on edge and needed to calm the hell down. “Classes are good.” I smiled wide and placed some cut-up pieces of chicken on the edge of the board. “I spoke to an advisor on Friday about what classes I needed to take to become a teacher.”
“Yeah?” His hand reached over to my board, and I couldn’t look away from his long fingers. His nails were cut short, his knuckles scarred.
“Yeah.” I shuffled on the spot and cut the last pieces of chicken. “I started tutoring recently and…” I bit down on my bottom lip and flicked my gaze up to him. His attention was fully focused on me. My skin buzzed, liking the way he stared. “I realized that’s what I want to do. I want to help kids learn and be there when they struggle. I want to help them work it out on their own, and have a positive impact in their lives.”
He blinked several times. “Well, shit, Lola, that’s as good a reason as any.”
My shoulders slumped, and my face broke out into a smile. A smile that only seemed to break free when it was meant for Brody.
“I thought so too.” I picked up my board and knife and moved over to the sink. “I just want to be more than”—I waved my hand in the air, signaling the house—“this.” I turned the tap on, waiting for the warm water to replace the cold. “I want to be more than Hut’s stepsister. I want to be Lola Martin. Only Lola Martin.”
“I get it,” Brody said, his voice rougher than usual. “You want to create your own path. Ain’t nothin’ wrong with that, darlin’.”
Butterflies swarmed in my stomach at his words, and I glanced up at him, finding his gaze glued to me. There was something behind his dark-brown eyes that I couldn’t place, but I was witnessing it more and more. Maybe I was imagining it, but my gut told me I wasn’t. Something was fizzling between us, a spark wanting to come alight.
“Brody…” I turned the tap off and turned to face him fully, those butterflies becoming even stronger now. “I—”
“Lola?” Hut shouted, his footsteps stomping into the kitchen. “We ready to start grilling yet, or what?”
The butterflies disappeared, seeking refuge from the one person they hated the most. “Yeah.” I cleared my throat. “Burgers are on the table.”
One of Five ARC’s for Free Fall
Down Fall (Fallen Duet #2)
Release Date: July 10, 2019
Blurb Reveal: June 24, 2019
About the Author
Abigail Davies grew up with a passion for words, storytelling, maths, and anything pink. Dreaming up characters–quite literally–and talking to them out loud is a daily occurrence for her. She finds it fascinating how a whole world can be built with words alone, and how everyone reads and interprets a story differently. Now following her dreams of writing, Abigail has found the passion that she always knew was there. When she’s not writing: she’s a mother to two daughters who she encourages to use their imagination as she believes that it’s a magical thing, or getting lost in a good book. If she’s doing neither of those things, you can be sure she’s surfing the web buying new makeup, clothes, or binge watching another show as she becomes one with her sofa.
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