Scratch by Rhonda HelmsPublished by: Kensington
Publication date: September 30th 2014
Genres: New Adult, Romance
The most painful scars are the ones you never see.
In her DJ booth at a Cleveland dance club, Casey feels a sense of connection that’s the closest she ever gets to normal. On her college campus, she’s reserved, practical–all too aware of the disaster that can result when you trust the wrong person. But inexplicably, Daniel refuses to pay attention to the walls she’s put up. Like Casey, he’s a senior. In every other way, he’s her opposite.
Sexy, open, effortlessly charming, Daniel is willing to take chances and show his feelings. For some reason Casey can’t fathom, he’s intent on drawing her out of her bubble and back into a world that’s messy and unpredictable. He doesn’t know about the deep scars that pucker her stomach–or the deeper secret behind them. Since the violent night when everything changed, Casey has never let anyone get close enough to hurt her again. Now, she might be tempted to try.
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He looked down at my mouth again, then back in my eyes, and his eyelids grew hooded. He leaned a fraction closer. “I have a confession.”
My pulse kicked up just a notch. “Why?”
“Why . . . what?”
I swallowed, fought every instinct to stare at his mouth. His full lips, now only six inches from mine. My body began to respond to his nearness, and I dragged in a ragged breath of his cologne. He smelled fresh, like a soft breeze on a spring day at the lake. I wanted to inch closer. No, stop it, I ordered myself. This was dangerous, to let myself even be this close to him.
“Um, why are you confessing something to me?” I finally asked him.
“You ask me the most unusual questions.” He gave a ghost of a smile. “Honestly, I don’t know. But I feel like I want to talk to you all night. Which is why I wanted to confess that I haven’t been able to get you off my mind.”
I swallowed, let his words sink in, then swallowed again. His honesty was disarming me, chipping piece by piece at the careful shield I had around myself.
“Casey,” he said on a soft breath. “You intrigue me.”
He opened his mouth to speak again, but before he could get out another word, I pushed my head forward, past the last few inches separating us, and pressed my lips to his. Daniel froze in surprise for just a moment, then slipped a hand to my forearm, stroking down until his fingers met mine.
With his other hand he cupped the back of my head and teased my mouth open with his tongue, tilting so he could deepen the kiss. He tasted like chocolate and Coke and something purely male, a combination that intoxicated me more than the beer.
My heart thrummed in a wild, erratic beat as he drank from my mouth. I opened wider, our tongues slipping and sliding, my breaths falling into his mouth in little pants. I moved closer, breasts brushing his lean and firm chest. His hand tangled deeper in my hair, and his body heat flooded through my thin shirt into my torso.
I was dizzy, drunk on him, aching with a surge of something intangible coursing through my veins. My core tightened; my belly fluttered.
He pulled back for a moment with a small gasp of air, eyes nearly black as he peered down at me. Then he gave me a crooked smile and kissed me again. Took my mouth in a sensual move that fluttered my lower belly.
I cupped his shoulders with both hands. His muscles bunched and flexed beneath my fingers. Heat poured off him, thickened the air around us.
His fingers stroked my scalp as he tasted me. The thumb on his right hand brushed against my thigh then moved up my leg, to the crease between my thigh and torso. The sensation of him so close to my stomach gave me a brief pause.
When his hand moved aside the bottom of my shirt and the very tip of his fingers brushed my bare stomach, I jerked away, pulling back to the other side of the car. It was like a bucket of ice water had been poured over my head. I tugged my shirt down as low as it could go, heart jackhammering against my rib cage.
God, please tell me he didn’t feel it, I prayed. I wasn’t ready. I wasn’t ready.
When she isn't writing, she likes to do amateur photography, dig her toes into the sand, read for hours at a time, and eat scads of cheese. WAY too much cheese.
Rhonda lives in Northeast Ohio with her husband, two kids, a dog and a really loud cat. Visit her website at Website for more information about her and her releases.