My voice cracked as I yelled for my two year old dog, Grace. “Gracie! Come here, girl!” The freezing winter wind slapped my face as I stood out on my front porch. She gave a slight bark from behind the house, probably to warn any bad things to stay away from the house.
Her head poked out from behind the house as she jogged over to me, her tongue hanging out and her tail up. I stared at her sternly. “Grace.”
She sat down and panted, her eyes shining from the exhilaration from her run. Her dominant trait was Great Dane but she had black lab in her, too, which made her almost the size of a pony.
“Whatever. Just come when I call the first ten times, alright?” I said as I opened the door. She shoved me aside with her bulkiness and ran to my dad.
“Close the door, it’s freezing outside!” He yelled out as he looked up from his disc-golf magazine. His dark brown hair (what was left of it, anyways) stood on end from his continuous twisting and tugging, his signature bored habit.
“You think I don’t know? I’ve been yelling for your dog for the past five minutes.” As if he couldn’t hear my loud mouth.
“Shyanne, leave your dad alone. You know how he is…he’s sucked into his own world ninety-nine percent of the time.” My mother said as she came through the living room with a basket of towels. “Alan!” She yelled.
“What?” My little brother yelled from his room.
“I have a request for the almighty highness.” She replied with sarcasm.
There was a slight pause as my brother thought about what she just said. A second later, his fourteen-year-old self came from the hallway, “what is this request, my dear peasant?”
She threw the basket at his feet. “There are your towels. Do those or your sister won’t take you to the movies later tonight.”
He frowned. “Isn’t that her choice?”
Aw, Alan, don’t get into more trouble.
Her blue eyes narrowed at him and she frowned. “I’m the mom in the house, so I say what’s going to be done or won’t be done.”
“Yeah, but it’s her car…” He mumbled as he sat beside my dad, who had the sense to keep out of the tiff.
“Yes, but mom’s giving me permission to drive the car. I may pay for it, but she gave birth to me so…she wins.” I said as I scurried from the room so I wasn’t pulled into the pit of trouble.
My phone started belting out ‘let there be cowgirls’ by Chris Cagle by the sink. I danced my way over to see it was Shaniqua, my best friend.
“Yellow?” I sang as I hopped onto the counter.
“Hey!” She cried happily. I could clearly hear the sounds of a party in the background, even though it was only six fifty.
“What’s up?” I asked, even though I already knew the answer.
“I’m at my sister’s house, having a few drinks…maybe you should come over! That’s why I called!” She said with a laugh as I heard some yelling on the other end.
“I don’t know, Shaniqua.”
“Well…you haven’t been to a party forever! It’ll be fun, I promise.”
“Why do you say that?” I asked as I looked out the kitchen window and gazed at the woods behind our house. The creek moved silently as the deer passed by. A squirrel passed in a hurry, rushing up to the top of the tree.
“Ian Brose just pulled up outside with a few friends! Come on!” she pleaded with a slight whine.
My breath caught slightly in my throat. “Ian?”
Ian Brose was basically the main man in our high school. He was the pitcher for our baseball team, quarterback for football and the best goalie for soccer. He was around six foot four and had dark hair. His eyes were the brown of dark chocolate. His upper body was big as a barrel and he was built. Not like the six pack built, but the kind of guy you can’t get by without his permission. He was also eighteen and was a volunteer firefighter during the summer.
“Yes! He just got here about five minutes ago. Come on, it may be your last chance at bagging him!”
I sat there, considering my options. I could go to the party and get drunk and relax. I could go and flirt like hell and have a good time… Or….
“ALAN?” I yelled. “What time does your movie start? Shan is asking if I can come over for the night!”
“Starts in half an hour,” He called back. “Did you ask mom if you could?”
“Yes, shy, you can go! Be safe.” Mom called from the laundry room.
“Be there in forty-five minutes.” With that, I shut my phone and sprinted to my room, knowing exactly what I was gonna do.
The loud cheers and bass from the party could be heard from about a half a mile away from Shan’s sister’s house. She lived in a super huge cabin back in the woods, where her husband has a logging business behind the house. They were high on the cash but super nice. Her sister reminded me of my own sister, Alice.
The rough and muddy terrain made me grin as I maneuvered my Jeep up the slope to the house. Rocks and limbs littered the drive and I ran over them, laughing inside like a little kid. What was it about the whole mudding experience that made me happier than a pig in mud on a hot day?
When I rose over the hill, the sight made my jaw drop. There was about fifty different trucks, Jeeps and SUV’s parked in the yard in front of the house. There was a mini football game going on in front of the house where all the jocks got to show off their prowess.
Shan was sitting on the lap of her boyfriend, Michael and they were talking quietly on the porch. He had his arm around her waist and holding a bottle of Bush in the other. His black hair was flopping over his eyes and he was in a pair of Levi’s and a sweatshirt from his baseball team.
Shan, on the other hand, had a pair of comfortable American eagle sweatpants on and a sweater the color of the evergreen forest. It made her curly blonde hair a bit brighter and her eyes pop out. Not to mention her camouflage cowboy boots…
I found an empty parking spot by a group of rough looking guys. I slowly turned off the ignition and got out. My boots sunk into the damp earth a little as I pulled a sweat shirt over my black tank. My hair shone like a firefly in the middle of the night as the sun hit the coppery strands just right.
“Hey there, pretty lady.” One of the men called in a slurred voice.
I turned to see the tall cowboy stand and stumble over my way. “You don’t have to come over here, cowboy; you look like you just need to rest for a bit.” I said.
One of his friends guffawed while the other one just watched me from beneath his black baseball cap and black sunglasses. His muddy jeans were torn on the knees and up by his thighs. His plaid shirt was folded up to his elbows, showcasing muscular forearms. The top four buttons were undone, showing his chest. A tattoo peeked from under the material, making me curious as to see what this cowboy had to hide.
“Come on, sweetheart. I can go get you a drink, if you’d like.” The drunken friend of his said with a smile. His blue eyes were glazed over and he couldn’t even stand in front of me long enough to look me in the eye.
“Trust me, buddy. You don’t need to be going anywhere else or getting more drinks.” I said coolly as I turned my back on him.
“I wasn’t done yet.” He growled softly as his big hand cupped my elbow. The grip was enough to leave bruises but not enough to hurt all that much.
“Let go of me, big guy. I don’t want to hurt you.” I said calmly as I turned to look back at the big butt.
His ball cap was lifted enough to show that he was bald and had a few tattoo’s on his scalp.
He scowled and gripped me tighter as he pulled me close enough to smell the whiskey on his breath. “I wasn’t done talking yet, little girl.”
“Well I am.” I said harshly as I jerked my arm.
His grip tightened, enough to make me wince slightly.
“Greg, let go of her. Leave her alone.” Tall dark cowboy said sternly as he moved toward us. He was taller and more bulky than I once believed. His mouth was set into a hard line, making his face more angled. The slight beard he had was more pronounced in the light as he stepped up by us.
“Jason, she just tried to walk away like I was nothing!” Greg, the ass hole who gripped my arm with a vice-like grip sounded like a baby.
With his friend as a distraction, I yanked hard on my arm, making him loose his grip. I then threw a right hook, my knuckles connecting firmly on his jaw, splitting his bottom lip almost instantly and knocking him right on his ass.
“Shyanne!” Shaniqua yelled as she came running up to me.
People were cheering drunkenly as they seen the big boy on the ground holding his face. But… my eyes were only for the tall cowboy Jason.
“You didn’t have to do that, you know.” He stated calmly but with humor twitching his lips. “He’s a good guy, he would’ve let go.”
Deciding to look at him sternly with my eyes, I slipped my glasses off and pinned him with my blue and green glare. “I didn’t know that. I was just protecting myself from having my arm being ripped off.”
He laughed quietly. “I wouldn’t have let him do that to your pretty little arm, sweetheart.”
My brows shot towards each other as I took a small step towards him. I could smell his spicy cologne that made my head spin in a good way. “Well, babe, I didn’t know that. For all I know, you could’ve came over and held me down. Now, it was such a pleasure to meet you that I’m going to go back with my friend and down a few shots, okay?”
With that, I turned around and put my arm around my best friend’s shoulder.
“What was that all about?” She whispered quietly, the faint whiff of alcohol on her breath.
“Some dick got a hold of me; I told him that I didn’t want a drink right now and as I was trying to walk away, he got physical. I punched him and he went down.”
“No! Was it Greg McAlister?”
My eyes narrowed. “What? Was I supposed to ask for his name before I punched his lights out?”
She rolled her green eyes. “No. I thought I heard Mr. Tall Dark and Handsome say ‘Greg’.”
“Well, that was Michael’s cousin that you punched in the face.” She said with conviction.
A snort was my answer as she ushered me into the cabin. The party was booming inside. There were four couples on the couch, all drinking what looked like margaritas and all the singles were grinding with each other in the middle of the room. There were a few guys chugging kegs and a few girls just gossiping with each other by the stairs. The adults (the very few who decided to not let people get too rowdy and leave drunk) were clustered together with Shan’s sister and brother-in-law in the study.
“Here ya go, sweet cheeks.” Shan handed me a frosty glass filled with what looked like a mixture of rum, whiskey, and orange juice.
“Are you trying to get me so drunk that I can’t even see Ian?”
She laughed and nudged me. “He’s out there with the guys in the hot tub.”
Gulping the alcohol, I peeked out the kitchen window.
And saw that huge dragon tattoo on his back; the tattoo went from the width of his shoulder blades down his back with the tail curling around his waist. The eyes were red and angry looking as it looked at you from its perch from on his neck. The body itself was a dark green with white designs around the legs and arms.
My stomach dropped at the pure and raw desire from my body. How could an eighteen year old look so….delicious?
I caught my jaw before it could hit the floor. “Damn.”
She nudged me with a wink. “Wouldn’t mind having that dragon curl itself around you, eh?”
“Not one bit.”
“Well…” She said with a smirk. “…tell him that.”
Ian turned around at the sound of her voice and our eyes clashed. Green against blue; ocean meeting grassy hills; the light green in his eyes against my dark blue had my mouth going as dry as a desert.
He smiled the most crooked smile. “Hey, Shyanne,”
“Uh, um, hi,” I stuttered like a school girl.
“You look good.” He said as he scanned my softball hoodie and ripped jeans.
My blush fought dangerously with my red hair. “Thanks. You do too, Ian.”
“Well, by the red face and the shocked silence from you, I’m gonna guess that some…naughty thoughts entered your pretty little head, eh?”
My strangled cough of embarrassment made my cheeks flame a tomato red…not the prettiest. “Um...” I cleared my throat.
“Shyanne,” the rich deep timber had me looking quickly to the dark cowboy that rescued me earlier. “Would you accompany me to the bar?” he said in an eerily dangerous tone, his grey eyes silently focused on Ian.
Ian’s cheekbones went a slight pink. “Jason.”
“Ian.” Jason replied coolly, his grey eyes sparkling slightly.
The testosterone about choked me to death as both the boys measured each other. Jason was around six foot five with huge muscles roped around his chest, shoulders, legs and stomach. He had a strong jaw and nose with lips that begged to be bit and devoured. Ian was about two inches taller but wasn’t as beefy. He was a lean muscular.
“Um, yeah; I’ll go with you.” I said awkwardly as I took a step towards Jason.
As I turned to look at Jason, a soft but menacing growl erupted viciously. My head swung around to look for the animal that made such a noise. All I saw was Ian surrounded by drunken minors and most completely ignored the sound. A few jerked around crazily before finally shrugging and continuing.
Jason tensed and stared grumpily at Ian. “Let’s go then, hon.”
With that, his warm and calloused hand wrapped around my wrist, causing a beautiful electric tingle along the arm, making me shiver with a goose bumps rising along my pale skin.