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The following is part 6 an extended sneak peek of:
The Keatyn Chronicles: Book 4
by Jillian Dodd
A wonderful sense of powerlessness.
I walk slowly down the hall.
I’m done freaking out. I look good. I’m loving me. I’m doing all the things at school that I wanted to do. I’m acting. I’m proud of the fact that I’m still here. That I came face-to-face with Vincent, not one, not two, but three times, and managed to get away.
But at the same time, I feel like my luck is starting to run out.
Maybe I need another four-leaf clover, I think with a grin.
As I turn to walk into the front hall, I can feel Aiden’s eyes on me. I feel like I’m making a grand entrance at a ball.
Now presenting, Miss Keatyn Elizabeth Douglas.
I just need a little dude standing here with a trumpet. Oh, shoot. Script change. I mean, Miss Keatyn Elizabeth Monroe.
Aiden is wearing a suit. This one is charcoal grey with skinny chalk-colored pinstripes. He’s wearing a pale pink dress shirt with white French cuffs. Very appropriate. And he looks so very handsome. I know I go on and on about his appearance, but I’ll just say this.
He looks like he walked out of my dreams.
He walks toward me, grabs my hand, kisses it, and says, “Vous êtes belle, mademoiselle.”
“You look pretty handsome yourself.” And then I notice his tie. It’s pink and has little black Eiffel Towers sketched all over it. “We going a little overboard on this whole French theme?” I ask him, pointing at his tie and laughing.
He chuckles. “This was my family’s way of giving me shit because I barely passed French last year. I got a 70.2 as my final grade. I told you. Fate.”
He leads me outside to the car that is almost as gorgeous as he is, walks me around to the passenger side, opens the door, and lets me in.
I slide into the leather seat, loving that Aiden has good manners.
I think back, trying to remember if Dawson has ever opened a car door for me.
Aiden opens his door and slides in next to me.
He reaches over, grabs my hand out of my lap, and holds it on the stick shift under his. “You ready?”
“Yeah. I’m looking forward to seeing if you can read the menu. You have to order, you know that, right?”
He grins at me and puts the car in gear.
And I may be slightly obsessed with the way his hand feels on top of mine. The way he presses down on it slightly when he shifts. It’s like he’s in control.
And for some strange and surprising reason, I find this oddly comforting.
No, comforting isn’t the right word. I feel like he’s taking care of me. Kind of like the old-fashioned version of how a man is supposed to be. Usually I have to drive a relationship. I have to know where it’s going. With Aiden, I have this wonderful sense of powerlessness.
It’s kinda thrilling.
Even though it drives me nuts.
“I love your dress,” he says. “And we match.”
“Your sister picked it out. I wasn’t planning on wearing it. I was sort of saving it.”
“You know, like a rainy day.”
“That dress is too pretty for a rainy day. You look like you should be in Paris having tea and eating macaroons.”
My eyes practically bug out of my head.
What the hell?
Can he read my freaking mind now, for real?
“I, uh, how did you know that?”
“That I was saving it for Paris.”
He squints his eyes at me. “I didn’t. I just said that it looks like you should. So, does Dawson know we’re going on a date tonight?”
“I thought it was tutoring with food?”
Aiden pushes his hand down on mine as he shifts. I force myself to breathe normally. I am a normal person.
“No, it’s definitely a date. So what did you and my sister talk about?”
“You know, clothes, shoes, boys.”
“Well, yeah. We were talking about wooing. What you said made me think.”
“And what did you decide?”
“So far, Dawson is not wooing me. He’s also not thrilled about our field trip tonight.”
“You told him we were on a field trip?”
I laugh. “Naw, I told him it was tutoring with food at a remote location.”
“So you lied?”
“Technically, that would not be a lie. And no, I didn’t. I told him it was a date. Even though you were a little unclear about it, your sister says it’s a date because you’re taking me to a nice restaurant. Plus, you’re wearing a suit. It’s totally a date.”
He downshifts, stops at a light, pulls my hand to his lips and kisses it again. When the light turns green, he pushes it back on the stick shift, revs the motor, and slams through the gears.
And I must admit, it revs up my own motor.
“You’re driving awfully fast.”
“I know. It’s fun, huh?”
Okay, so I have to gush.
OH. MY. GOSH.
Is he sexy, or what?
Him, the suit, the tie, the car, the adrenaline rush, all of it.
He is, well, it’s no surprise, he is God of all Hotties, for sure.
We get to the restaurant, where he opens my car door, opens the restaurant door, and pulls out my chair for me. He is quite chivalrous. But then he flips open a menu written in French.
French is like his Achilles heel. His one weakness. And it’s adorable. Plus, it’s good to know he has at least one weakness.
“I like that you suck at French,” I tell him.
He slides his chair closer to mine and tries to read the entire menu.
And he doesn’t do half bad.
He figures out what he wants and attempts to order. And I maybe have to correct his pronunciation a few times, but he does good.
And it is the most adorable thing ever when he orders for both of us.
As Grandpa would say, His Momma done raised him right.
Damn, did she ever.
The waiter takes our menus away. Aiden holds my hand and gazes into my eyes.
I’ve never felt so important or like what I had to say was so important. Like you know how lots of times you’re talking to a guy and his eyes are looking everywhere but at you? Then they will glance back at your face, to verify that you are still talking, then they look down and stare at your boobs, to verify that they are still intact, I think. And then their eyes sort of get that dazed look, and they continue to stare at your boobs, and you want to scream, Uh, hello, I’m speaking with my mouth, not my cleavage, you wanna just occasionally glance up?
Aiden’s not doing that. I have his full attention.
And he sure freaking has mine.
I also realize that his pull on me is not as shocking.
Maybe it’s like when you go stay up in the mountains, and you get acclimated to the altitude. I’m sort of being acclimated to his magnetism. I’m not quite as tongue tied as I usually am around him, and I’m able to think more clearly.
He flashes his smile at me. “Why are you glad I suck at French?
“It makes you more human,” I stupidly say. Oh jeeze, I’m an idiot. “I mean, uh, I wouldn’t have gotten to come here for dinner if you, um, didn’t, right?”
Clearly the air is still thin here at the top and is affecting my brain.
He reaches out and pushes my hair behind my ear, like he’s done it a million times. “I just noticed your earrings. Love the feathers and how they match your shoes.”
“Thanks. You look quite handsome tonight yourself. Whoever tailored your suit is quite talented. It fits you meticulously.”
“I wanted to look nice for you. So I know you and Dawson are complicated, but what about Dallas? You were kissing him in the video.”
“Dallas and I are very not complicated. We’re friends. We smoke together sometimes, and then we kiss. It’s no big deal.”
“When we go out, there will be none of that.”
“We’re not gonna go out.”
“You can’t fight fate.”
“I can give it my best shot.”
He runs his thumb across the palm of my hand, causing me to shiver. “You’re silly. Pretty soon you won’t be able to resist me.”
The waiter sets down our appetizers. A traditional French onion soup along with sautéed escargot served in a mushroom and red wine sauce.
“It’s too bad we don’t have a nice Bordeaux to go with this,” he says. “When we go to France, we’re drinking wine with every meal.”
“Have you ever been to France?”
“Once to Paris. Do you like to travel? I love it.”
“Yeah, I do. I like to see the different cultures, experience the foods, see the sites, the countryside. Where all have you been?”
“Hmm. Let’s see. Venice. London. Hawaii. Berlin. Amelia Island. Cayman Islands, St. Kitts and St. Croix.”
“What did you think of St. Croix?”
“It’s like paradise. I would love to go back, but my parents are on this kick where they won’t go back to the same place until they have been everywhere on their list, or something. But I would love to go there and just relax.”
“Maybe I could arrange that.” I can’t help it. I’m smiling big.
“Oh and how you going to do that?”
“Good friends of ours have a place there. They don’t go very often, so I can use it whenever I want.”
I nod. “Okay, so this is way out of left field . . .” Then I stop myself.
Keatyn, what are you thinking? You are not making plans with another boy only to be let down. You will go to St. Croix by yourself for Thanksgiving break. You will have fun relaxing. You will work on loving yourself. “Um, never mind, so this week play practices start getting serious. I can’t believe in a few weeks, we’ll be performing it in front of an audience.”
He holds a spoonful of soup up to my mouth. I’m trying not to swoon over the fact that he is feeding me.
“Don’t do that,” he says.
“Don’t do what?”
“What you just did. You were going to ask me something. Something that you were excited about, but then it’s like you got scared to tell me.”
I soak an escargot in wine sauce and eat it. “This is all really good,” I say, avoiding the subject.
“Boots . . .”
“What, can you read my mind?”
“No, but I sure wish I could. I would love to know what you’re thinking. Tell me.”
I bob my head around like an idiot, trying to think up a lie. But as usual when I’m with Aiden, all that’s in there is cotton candy.
“I’m going there for Thanksgiving break. I was going to invite you. Like the place is big. Peyton and your family could come too. But it was a silly idea. I’m sure you have plans and stuff.”
“We’ve always gone to my grandma’s for dinner, but she passed away last year, so I’m not sure what our plans are. Why were you hesitant to ask?”
“Um, well, it’s, like, a month away, and who knows if we’ll even still be friends then.”
He tilts his head and gives me those green eyes. Those eyes that see straight through me. “Boots, we’re gonna be a lot more than friends by then.”
Great. More. As in we’ll be sleeping with each other.
“I doubt it,” I say, disappointedly.
“Yeah, I should probably take into account your track record.”
I can’t believe he just said that. I look down at the tablecloth, suddenly feeling like I could cry.
He touches my forehead with his. When I look up, he bats his dark brown eyelashes at me and smiles. “You know I’m just teasing you. Come here.”
I don’t move, so he puts his hand under my chin, pushing it up, straight to his waiting lips.
Once again, our kiss is so simple, so chaste, our lips touching, barely moving.
He kisses me for a few seconds then cruelly pulls his perfectly formed lips away from me. “I’d really like to know what you’re thinking right now.”
“I’m thinking no one has ever kissed me the way you do,” I answer honestly. And surprisingly. Why the hell did I just say that?!
He stares at me for a few beats of my heart, then says, “So we have this Greek weekend coming up. You do realize that since we’re on the Social Committee that we have an obligation to be together the entire weekend to make sure everything goes as planned?”
I squint my eyes at him, trying to gauge if he’s joking. “I didn’t know that.”
“Oh yes, I had it written into the bylaws. So Friday night after the game, you have to sit with me at the movie and sing along. Lame.”
“It will be fun and you know it.”
“I think anything we do together will be fun.”
And I can’t help it. My mind goes to doing things with him. His tongue blazing a trail across my body. The gods only know the things that boy can do with his powerful mouth. “Uh, yeah, probably,” I manage to mutter out.
“Then Saturday, you’ll have to cheer me on while I compete—shirtless, apparently—in the gods of the Olympus competition.”
“I think the whole shirtless thing was pretty brilliant. I wonder who came up with that idea?” I tease.
“I think I’m going to freeze,” Aiden laughs. “And then there’ll be the feast, where you will toast in my honor—”
“Only if you actually win.”
“I’m going to win.”
“Just because you danced your way to Mr. Eastbrooke, doesn’t mean you can win at wrestling. Do you even know how to wrestle?” I want to add that maybe we should get naked and he could practice, but I don’t.
He puts his chin on his fist and licks his lips. Which means I get to see his tongue. He smirks and raises his eyebrows at me. “Maybe I’ll have to show you.”
I gulp then nervously grab a curl and wrap it around my finger.
He grabs my hand out of my curl and brings it to his lips. “What? You don’t want to get naked and see which one of us is stronger?”
Um, honestly, I don’t know what I want. Part of me wants him to be like every other guy. Wants him to be a player.
But most of me wants him to be different.
I flash him a fake smile. “That sounds fun,” I say with zero enthusiasm.
What’s wrong with me? The hottie god wants to get naked with me and now I don’t want to?
And to top it off, I suddenly feel like crying. I can feel little tears prickling in my eyes.
Am I about to get my period or something? Why am I feeling so emotional?
Aiden tilts his head at me, looks into my soul, and somehow knows exactly what I’m thinking. “Boots, I swear to you that I am not like all the guys you’ve dated. I know that comment sounded like it, but I was just teasing you.”
My heart soars and drops all at the same time. “So you don’t want me naked?”
He slowly blinks his eyes. When he opens them, the hunger I saw briefly in his room when he had me pinned against his wall is back. And once again, it is so. fucking. sexy.
“I definitely want you naked. Just not yet. We should take things slow. Be friends.”
I sit here. Not sure what to say to that. Part of me wants to fight him on it. Part of me thinks he’s right. Part of me just wants to see him naked.
“So back to this weekend,” he says. “We will also be required to kiss and hold hands.”
“You’re trying to create a Greek atmosphere with kissing?”
“Oh, no. That will be because you want to.”
“I want to? No. You’ll want to.”
“What makes you think that?”
My response is interrupted by the waiter bring our entree. It smells heavenly. He went a little cheesy romantic on the entree, ordering chateaubriand for two. It’s served with a béarnaise sauce, roasted fingerling potatoes, and spears of asparagus. He cuts into it and feeds me the first rich morsel.
“Because you are wooing me,” I tell him after I finish chewing.
“Me? Naw.” He grins. “What was your first clue?”
“Honestly, the way things have gone between us, so up and down. Like one minute you pulled the she-loves-me petal off and the next the she-loves-me-not petal. But today, I was telling your sister about wooing and I realized all that you’ve done.”
“I like it.”
We finish dinner, talk over dessert, then head out to his car. Again, he opens the door for me and I slide in.
He gets in the other side, puts the keys in the ignition, but doesn’t start the car.
He leans toward me and pushes my hair behind my ear. “I want this feather. Can I take it off?”
I’m sort of puzzled by this request, so I say, “Uh, sure.”
He glides the hook out of my ear then runs his thumb across it. “It’s a soft as it looks.” He runs the feather lightly down my arm.
“Mhmm,” I groan softly.
He pushes my hair from one side of my neck to the other, so my neck is fully exposed on the side closest to him. Then he runs the feather up the side of my neck.
Which may be the sexiest thing anyone has ever done to me.
My dress has a plunging neckline and when he runs the feather down into my cleavage, I decide it is indeed the sexiest thing anyone has ever done to me.
How does he come up with this shit?
His mother is Aphrodite, that’s how. Durrr.
I lean back into the headrest and close my eyes. Just feel the feather gliding across my skin, leaving me with goosebumps everywhere. He glides it up on my face and slowly across my eyelids.
I swear, I’m taking this feather home and having it bronzed.
He runs it across my lips.
Although having it dipped in gold would probably be more godlike.
I feel his chest touch mine as his lips replace the feather.
I run my fingers into his hair at the nape of his neck, and finally he kisses me more deeply.
Still no freaking tongue, but the kiss is deeper. His lips are pressed tighter to mine. His mouth more forceful. Who was it that said we need to come up with another word besides amazing?
Oh, I forget.
His hands tangle in my hair, then slide down my shoulders. My eyes are shut tightly, taking in every touch. He kisses gently down my neck and then I feel one single finger follow the outline of my dress.
On. My. Naked. Skin.
The finger starts on my collarbone, making a slow descent down the side of one boob, pausing briefly in my cleavage, and then back up the other side.
My back is pressed tightly against the seat, and even though my eyes are closed, I can’t stop smiling.
And making little contented sighs.
He grabs my chin and turns my head toward him.
I half open my eyes.
Did I mention that I am in love with this boy? One hundred percent completely, stupidly in love with him?
But I am an idiot, who clearly has no clue what real love is.
But I don’t care right now.
I gaze into his eyes and then kiss him back.
Eventually, sadly, the kissing stops and he drives us back to school. He parks his car in the lot and holds my hand as we wander slowly toward my dorm.
I’m still in a bit of a daze. Must be an after effect of kissing a god.
I’m thinking about what’s sure to come next—an amazing good night kiss—when I hear a voice say, “Keatie?”
It’s Dawson, sitting on the steps in front of my dorm, obviously waiting for me.
I freeze and drop Aiden’s hand. “Uh, hey, Dawson. What’s up?”
Aiden grabs my hand back in his, turns me around to face him, and completely ignores the fact that Dawson is here. “I had a great time tonight.” He leans in, kisses me on the cheek, and says quietly, “And I’m keeping the feather.”
Then he turns and walks away.
Dawson says, “You’re really dressed up. So you got French food?”
“Yes, we did. Aiden was able to read most of the menu. How was your night? What’d you do?”
He grabs my waist like he always does and pulls me in toward him. And you would think that after the feather and the amazing kisses that my body would not respond. But it does. My hips involuntarily move towards his.
I give him a little hug.
But I can’t kiss him.
I just can’t.
I pray he doesn’t try to kiss me.
“I complained to Bryce the entire time you were gone. He finally told me to shut the fuck up, so I came out here to wait for you.”
I pull away from him. “Oh, I’m sorry, but I have to get in there. Sign in. I don’t want to get in trouble. Just text me or something.”