Living Louder

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Summary

Damon saves Emma from a near traumatic experience whereupon a whirlwind romance begins between the bad boy and good girl. Emma Montgomery has always lived her live on the sidelines. Forced by her parents into a career she doesn’t want, she tries to spice up her private life with online dating to finally find her one true match. At twenty-three, she is involuntarily inexperienced, and seeing as nothing in her life is served on a silver platter, she decides to take matters into her own hands. After one horrific date goes from awful to worse, tattooed bartender Damon Hall steps in and saves the day. Sparks fly between the former playboy and the chaste girl, and they all too soon fall head over heels for each other. But not everyone has gotten their happily ever after like Emma and Damon, and if they can’t have it, no one else is granted one, either.

Genre:
Romance / Drama
Author:
ShariJames
Status:
Ongoing
Chapters:
26
Rating:
4.5 2 reviews
Age Rating:
18+

Prologue

Emma

I hide another yawn behind my flat palm, trying to act as if it wasn’t the third one in the last five minutes. And, even if I didn’t hide it, I doubt Mr. I’m-so-awesome would even notice. I try to focus on his story, I really do, but I just can’t concentrate on all his non-sense about funds and stock markets. And let’s be honest, what twenty-two-year-old wants to talk about that during a first date? If I wanted to listen to someone lecture me about money, I could’ve asked my dad and it would probably be a lot more entertaining than this.

“Emma, I’m sorry, I keep talking about myself. What is it again you said you do for a living?” Hearing my name snaps me out of my daydreams, and I focus back on Zach’s deep brown eyes. He seems genuinely interested, and I almost feel a little sorry over the fact that I know that this first date will also be our last.

I take another sip of my wine, the only thing that has really brought me through the night so far, before clearing my throat. “I work at a marketing firm. We are working on a big project for Nike right now. I started there last summer, right after college.” What else was I supposed to say? I’m really thankful for my job, but if I know my opponent isn’t interested, I won’t waste my breath and tell him more than necessary. But Zach seems content with my answer because he immediately delves into other sports brands he likes and all kinds of sports he practices and is apparently very good at.

I refill my glass of wine and decide that this is just another failure to add to my long list of dating disasters.

This isn’t my first try at online dating.

To be honest, I’ve had quite a few dates like this already. I’ve met nice men, some more talkative than others, but all very nice. But for some reason, I’ve never made it further than a first date. Most of the times, it is a mutual agreement that there was just not enough chemistry to see each other again, and other times, when I actually thought someone was interesting enough to meet again, they would dump me.

It didn’t take a genius to realize that I probably wouldn’t find ‘the one’ via tinder, but who was I not to try? I was shy, inexperienced and looking for something serious. I can’t just walk in a bar and pick up the first decent guy I meet there. That just isn’t what I do. I want to, absolutely, but I guess I’m just not made for that.

After our dessert, I ask Zach to flag down the waiter for our bill, but apparently, he isn’t ready to leave the restaurant just yet. My back is to the restaurant and the staff, so I have no chance to take over the task and so it takes another thirty minutes until Zach pays our bill, and we finally make it outside to our cars.

I’d usually complain about a guy paying for me because even if it was a nice gesture, that isn’t what’s important for me. But after I had to listen to two hours to him talking about himself, I think it is only fair he pays for my meal as well.

“Alright, so your place or mine?” I almost fall flat on my face as Zach’s hand lands on my ass, just to give it a firm squeeze to empathize his words. “What?” I squeak and am probably staring at him as if he’s just grown another head.

Please tell me he didn’t just say what I think he did. “Well, yeah. I figured we’re going to bang, aren’t we?” A slightly panicked laugh escapes me as I take another step away from this man and closer to my car. “No, we are not going to bang! I just met you!” Apparently, that isn’t a good enough reason for Zach. “But…I paid your dinner?” My eyes widen, and I hold on tighter to the handle of my bag. Does he really not see where the problem is?

“Oh my god. And now you think I owe you? Hell no. There is my car, and I will use that car to drive home right now. Alone.” With that I unlock my car, nearly jumping inside and locking the door the moment I close it behind me. What just happened?

I speed out of the parking lot of the fancy Italian restaurant Zach’s invited me to and a few miles toward the highway before I drive to the side and take my phone from my purse, texting my best friend just like I always do after a date. It’s her way of making sure I am still alive.

Since when does paying for dinner mean I have to sleep with the guy as a thank you???

I start the engine in my old car just as my phone rings. I set my friend June on speaker as I start driving again. “Are you kidding me now? Emma, please tell me you’re fucking with me.” Laughter bubbles up my throat now that I realize how ridiculous this whole thing is. I should’ve left the restaurant within the first ten minutes after realizing he was an arrogant jerk. “I wish I was. You should’ve seen him, June. He was so confused when I said no.” A series of swear words leave her mouth and I grin at her protectiveness. If she could sneak in on every date I went to, I bet she would. She get’s so excited every time I go on a date, even if she doesn’t approve of the way I meet the guys. The thing is, even if I meet nice people, I meet just as many assholes. And Zach didn’t even make it to number one on my list of miserable dates.

Two weeks ago, I was at dinner with someone who got my name wrong all of FOUR times, and just last Saturday I was at the cinema with a guy called Dylan who wanted to know how often I pleasured myself and what I used to do it. Not to mention that I left that little detail out when I told my brother about the horrible date I had the next time he asked me about my dating life.

“I just can’t understand why you can’t meet guys like every other person.” She says and I roll my eyes. We have this discussion after almost every date I go to, so I’m used to it by now. My brother has the exact same option on online dating as June, with the difference that my brother Kyle is four years older than me and knows exactly what a bunch of dicks guys can be.

He’s also the only one that’s happy about my situation. What kind of situation, you ask? Well, I’m a twenty-two-year-old virgin. This is not a bad thing, really, I don’t mind. I mean, you can’t miss something you don’t know, right? But at the same time, I don’t want to awkwardly sit next to my friends whenever they talk about the things they love in bed. I want to be like them and enjoy the thought of going home to a man I love just to hop beneath the sheets with him.

“Are you home already?” June interrupts my thoughts after I don’t respond to her last statement, which is probably a good thing as I don’t want to pull myself down even more. I check the radio clock just to see it’s barely past nine at night. “Not yet, but I’ll be there in a few. You coming over?”

“Sure, I’ll be there in ten.”

Just a few minutes later I enter my small one-bedroom apartment with June on my feet before I go to the bathroom to throw my hair in a messy bun and remove my makeup.

“I’m sorry the guy was such an ass.” She says when I sit on the couch next to her and I throw my feet up on the small coffee table. I sigh and give her a thankful smile because there is not much I can do. I’m used to it by now.

“As long as I have you and Kyle, I don’t need another man in my life.” She chuckles, and I know she thinks about how much my brother would love hearing that he is the only man for me. Because it’s not as if my dad cares enough to look after either of us.

We end our night with a new episode of Game Of Thrones before June heads home and I fall asleep on the couch with an old episode of Friends playing in the background.

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