It's Throwback Thursday!!!!
So lots and lots and lots of you have asked if there is going to be a second Bet in the Dark book. And I know some of you know this... but if you just downloaded BitD for free this week, then you might not be aware that YES there is going to be a second book.
And it's called Bet on Me!!!
My release date is sometime in the middle or end of June.
I know. You're shocked by how specific I can be.
To hold you over until then, here is the first chapter of the book. I posted this a while ago but the book has always been put on hold while I struggle to catch up with my other deadlines. I'm almost there... I'm almost completely caught up! So.. It's time to prepare you for Beckett's love story!!! :)
Here it is.
Chapter One of Bet on Me.
“Beckett, where’ve you been all summer?” a tall blonde asked as soon as I walked in the door. I had no idea what her name was, but that was usually the case when it came to coeds and me-- except for one.
Trying to forget someone. “Traveling,” I smiled down at her. She was tall for a girl, but couldn’t compete with my 6’2 frame. And she was forgettable. I could spend the rest of my night tolerating a sure thing or I could scratch this itch that had somehow turned into a chronic, never-ending rash. “I’ll find you later, yeah?”
“Alright,” she giggled. She put a delicate hand on my shoulder and rubbed my collar bone with her thumb.
There was a time in my life when I would have taken that hand and immediately led her to a back room at whatever campus party we happened to be at. That time was six months ago.
But I was a changed man these days.
Thanks to a drunken decision and the softest lips I’d ever kissed. That’s right, Beckett Harris, one time baseball star and all around ladies’ man was felled by a drunken make out.
It did not get more pathetic than this.
Since the last three months of summer were spent in desperate pursuit of forgetting all about that one night stand-- and believe me, nobody was clearer on how that description was being wrongly used than me- and the girl who wanted nothing to do with me.
Which was almost inconceivable to me. I was a catch-- a goddamn eligible bachelor.
She was kind of quirky and way too focused on school. She was young, way too young for me and best friends with my sister. She was every brand of wrong for me.
And I couldn’t get her out of my head.
I pushed my way through the crowded living room of some random undergrad and kept my eyes open for her. I was very aware that my behavior was stalker-ish and not okay in any way. But to be fair I stayed away for the last three months.
So that was nice of me.
I accepted a Solo cup full of beer and drank it without hesitating. I knew girls had to be careful at these parties, but honestly, who wanted to roofie me? I would be pretty useless knocked-out cold. And I was used to pranks of any kind-- that’s what I got for growing up with two older brothers and a sister who liked to “prove” herself.
The beer was cold, but tasteless and light-- typical college fare. I wasn’t an alcohol snob per se, but Lennox often brought back interesting beverages from around the world and shared with Grayson and me. I’d much prefer a craft beer over this garbage-- or better yet, twelve year scotch.
Dark hair floated in my peripheral and I craned my neck to see if it was her. I played a damn detective to find her. I just got back into town last night and couldn’t suppress the need to hunt her down. I wanted to make sure she was doing alright this semester, make sure she hadn’t taken on more than she could handle.
Ok, enough bullshit, I wanted to make sure she wasn’t dating anyone.
It wasn’t like I wanted to date her.
But I did not like the idea of someone else taking her off the market. Not at all.
I decided to make my way toward the backyard. The house was packed with undergrads, all celebrating the first week of classes. I had another week yet before grad school started, but I knew enough of the student body to show up anywhere unannounced. Playing baseball the last four years helped with that.
I walked through a group of guys watching ESPN highlights on a pathetic excuse of a TV and answered their greetings, but kept my destination in sight. The longer it took to find her, the more uncomfortable I started to feel.
What if she wasn’t here?
I got a text from one of the guys I played ball with. He had a confirmed visual, but that was over an hour ago. She could have easily left by now.
Except her MO usually kept her at the same party all night. She didn’t come out to parties often, but when she did choose one she wanted to stay at and made an all-night appearance.
I liked that about her, although I couldn’t really figure out why. It was like she was picky, but when she finally decided on something, she committed all the way. I liked that kind of loyalty. I liked that she wasn’t flakey like most of the other girls I spent time with.
I glanced back at the TV, hearing a particular score I was curious about. The announcer brought back a rush of memories and I couldn’t stop the smirk from changing my expression. I was definitely finding her tonight.
The first- and only- time we’d hooked up had been at a party just like this one. We ran into each other during a game of beer pong. We played against each other, flirting and laughing the entire night. We were both pretty tipsy by the time the game was over but when we went our separate ways I didn’t think anything about it.
It was later in the night, after most everyone else had disappeared, that I was sitting in a recliner, watching the late-night highlight reels. She came out of the kitchen looking like an exotic goddess in her long, flowing dress and long curtain of thick, dark hair. She crawled right onto my lap. Her knees straddled my hips, her hands rested on my neck and her huge green eyes looked down at me like they were starving.
She bent down and kissed the corner of my eye. It was sweet, not sexy and I was confused by the gesture- I didn’t need my little sister’s best friend developing any kind of crush on me. At the time I was worried she was about to make things really awkward, but she felt exactly right wrapped around me the way she was and my alcohol-infused brain was really good at pushing away any argument to talk her out of whatever she was about to do.
“I want to be a fan-girl tonight,” she murmured seductively and then slid her tongue over my bottom lip.
I immediately forgot any reason she shouldn’t be right where she was. Her luscious ass fit perfectly in my hands as I cupped her from behind and adjusted her just a little bit tighter against me.
“Let’s pretend I love baseball,” she whispered while leaning forward to nibble on my ear. “And that you’re my favorite player.”
“I am your favorite player,” I reminded her in a voice I barely recognized. God, this girl had turned me on faster than anyone I could remember in recent history.
“So then you won’t mind if I….?” she trailed off and gave me a slow, hot kiss right on the mouth.
“No, I won’t mind,” I breathed in between her lips.
I deepened the kiss immediately until she was wiggling and squirming. I liked the whole girl-on-top thing she had going on and in my pickled brain, I admitted to myself that she was the sexiest thing I’d ever had my hands on. She was gentle, but hungry at the same time she was a little bit innocent but still so sweetly responsive.
One of my hands started traveling north up the curve of her hip, over her flat stomach and to a place I’d fantasized about more than one time in our brief interactions. I groped her carefully, gauging how she would handle this. When her moan broke our kiss and her back arched her further into my hand I think maybe I lost my mind completely. I did the same thing with my other hand and her other breast and her reaction was even more intense. This was turning into a very good night.
But then she pulled away and laughed at me. “No, no, no, Beckett Harris. I’m not that much of a fan girl,” she shook her head and moved my hands down to her waist.
I let her; obviously I wasn’t a douche. Her waist was nice too, and I gripped her tightly, digging my fingers in to the curve of her hips to keep her in place. I had one thing on my mind and if she was pulling back, I was gearing up to convince her to stay right where she was.
“Besides,” she continued, wiggling her hips a little bit just to make me groan. “I don’t even like baseball.”
“Now you’re just being cruel,” I yanked her forward so that our bodies were impossibly closer and she let a squeal of surprise. “Where you going, Britte? I’ll be good. Promise.” At this point all I could focus on were those gorgeous lips and how they felt against mine. I was a desperate man-- desperate to taste her again. But she was driving me crazy with her teasing kisses, the way her tongue tangled with mine and her body moved against me in this perfect rhythm of careful desire. I’d obviously lost my mind if I was promising her insane things like good behavior and begging for a simple make-out.
“I don’t believe you,” she whispered, granting me another long, slow kiss. “I don’t think you’re capable of being good.”
I returned her gesture and teased her with a seductive move with my tongue that always worked. She whimpered against my
“Sure I can,” I tried to sound serious but it came out more like a growl. “This time.”
“Alright,” she quickly agreed. “This time.”
And as I kissed her into oblivion, I kept my promise to her while I swore to myself I would have her next time- that there would be a next time. And because I had something to look forward to, I was on my best behavior that night.
And ever since then.
But only because she wouldn’t give me the goddamn time of day.
I noticed her then, in the kitchen, sitting on the counter next to the keg. She was wearing sinfully small white shorts that made her long legs look like they went on for days. Her huge green eyes had red eyeliner around them. She chose the weirdest colors for her makeup but somehow they always made her look sexy as hell. She was wearing a loose, silky tank top that didn’t exactly hug her figure, but it did show off her shoulders- which made me feel a little strange that I was checking out her shoulders. At this point I couldn’t help myself. She was drawing me into her like a force of nature and she hadn’t even realized I was here yet.
Which gave me the advantage.
I needed to stay on offense- get to her before she could make her getaway. She had gotten really good at avoiding me, but I was hoping she hadn’t heard I was back in town yet.
Her head tipped back and she laughed in her infectious, giggly way at something one of the guys around her said. She looked back at him with an adoring look that made me instantly murderous. Bastards. Whoever they were. But then she patted him on the head like he was a child and poured him a cup of beer. That was a good sign- girls didn’t treat men they wanted to sleep with like children.
I sauntered over to her, throwing off my signature confidence; even though for the first time in a long time, I didn’t actually feel as smug as I acted. She had rejected me too many times for this to feel like a sure thing.
Two things kept me moving forward. One, those damn legs. And two, if I didn’t kiss her again soon I was going to die. I was. It was a forgone conclusion. Somehow while I had been making out with her, convinced I was just doing it so I wouldn’t hurt her feelings, she’d made me addicted to her.
And I’d been too long without a fix.
The three guys- all younger than me- moved out of the way when I made it obvious where I wanted to be. Britte looked down at me and immediately glowered. She obviously wasn’t happy to see me and I was right, she hadn’t heard I was back in town by the subtle lines of surprise that lifted her eyebrows.
I bravely walked up to her and stepped in between the nirvana of her legs. “Hey, B,” I used the voice I reserved for the bedroom and trailed my fingertips up her thigh because I couldn’t help myself.
In every other area of my life I was the picture of self-control- my work outs, my diet, my studies. But this girl was going to ruin me with her bare skin and summer tan.
“Beckett, you’re in their way. They wanted drinks,” she motioned to the guys still standing awkwardly behind me, like they were waiting for me to leave.
I glanced back at them dismissively, knowing they would figure out what was going on before she did. “They’re good.” I shrugged casually and I felt them disappear back into the party.
“Why did you do that?” she hissed. “They were legitimately thirsty!”
“In no way were they legitimately thirsty,” I laughed. “At least not for beer.”
Her scowl deepened. “What do you want, Beckett?” Her hands rested on my shoulders, as if she hadn’t remembered to push me away yet. I took that as a good sign.
“A drink?” I improvised.
“You do not want a drink.” She sighed, but her fingers trailed a line along my collarbone and I felt like shivering. I didn’t- I was a man after all. But it was proof of what just her touch could do to me. I wasn’t leaving here without her tonight, I couldn’t.
“Maybe I’m not thirsty for beer either,” I murmured suggestively.
Her lips twitched like she was trying not to smile. “I thought we talked about that.”
“We did,” I agreed quickly. “But I forgot the finer points of our agreement. Maybe you should spend some time reminding me.” I swiped my tongue along my lower lip, unable to hold back my anticipation for something I decided was in my reach.
“I am so not drunk enough to make those kinds of bad decisions,” she laughed. I laughed too, I couldn’t help myself.
She pulled me into every part of her- especially her laughter.
“Then let’s get you drunk enough,” I suggested, shooting a glance at the keg.
“You’re cute,” she smiled at me.
I did not want to be cute. No guy wanted to be cute. Sexy, irresistible, hot as all hell, but not cute.
I moved my hands from her thighs to her hips and jerked her forward so that she straddled my waist and our lips were that much closer together.
“I promise I’ll be good again,” I whispered. I leaned in and ran my nose up the graceful line of her jaw. I forced my mouth to stay closed, to wait to kiss her until she couldn’t stand the thought of not kissing me- until she was as tortured as I was.
Her sharp intake of breath told me I was heading in the right direction.
“Beckett, you are bad, very bad idea,” she murmured even while she turned her head and kissed my jaw. “I don’t have time for you.”
Okay, that stung my pride a little- or a lot.
“I don’t have time for you either,” I declared. But it was a dirty lie. I would make time for this girl at any moment she would give me.
“But, god, Beckett,” she hissed as I finally gave into temptation and kissed her throat.
“I promise I’ll be good again, Britte,” I whispered against the fleshy part of her ear. What the hell was I thinking? I in no way wanted to be good with this girl.
“I don’t know,” she hesitated, pulling back again.
I let my lips trail a path down the column of her neck, inhaling her as I went. I wasn’t at all drunk, the half of beer I’d consumed did nothing to affect me. But hell, if she wasn’t more intoxicating than alcohol.
“As long as we-“
She was just about to let me have my way when a clearly masculine voice spoke from over my shoulder.
“Oh, hey, Britte,” he sounded awkward after interrupting what we had going on. He should feel uncomfortable, damn it.
“Sorry. I was just looking for the keg.”
“You found it,” Britte laughed nervously. She shoved my shoulders so I would step back. I stopped kissing her, but I earned this spot between her legs. I won it, and I was an f-ing athlete. We never gave up our trophies. Fed up with me she growled lowly, “Move, Beckett.”
I wasn’t one to force my way with any girl so I obliged by backing up and leaning against the counter space next to her. I turned my attention on the guy who’d ruined everything for me tonight and met the curiously annoyed eyes of Jameson McKay. I probably would have punched him. But he was one of Ellie’s friends and so that made this... obnoxiously polite.
“Hey man,” I nodded.
“Hey, Beckett,” he nodded back. “Didn’t know you were back on campus.”
“I got in last night,” I offered. I put a palm on Britte’s knee- staking my claim- but she shoved it
off her and huffed like I was annoying her. Me? Annoying? Impossible.
“Alright, well, see you guys around,” Jameson tipped his full cup our direction and then rejoined the party.
“Oh my god, Beckett!” Britte screeched furiously. “You have got to leave me alone!”
An outrageous thought slithered down my spine and I instantly bristled at the idea. “You don’t mean because of him?” I pointed toward the still-swinging door that led out to the rest of the party. Then I glanced at Britte as she blushed crimson red.
“Please, Beckett, just, can you leave me alone?” she whispered, her voice shaking with embarrassment.
I didn’t realize I had competition. What the hell?
But it wasn’t exactly like I could do anything but what she asked. I was a good guy. Or at least I kept telling myself I was. If she wanted me gone, then I had to go.
I stood up and walked to the middle of the sticky linoleum floor and turned around to face her. I narrowed my eyes and crossed my arms- classic tough guy look. Maybe I could intimidate her into what I wanted- those were obviously good guy actions. I stifled a frustrate groan.
“Beckett,” she whined, sliding off the counter. “I don’t have time for this.”
“You already said that,” I reminded her dryly. And then I decided I didn’t want to be the good guy anymore. I gave it a shot. It didn’t get the girl. There had to be a better way, a speedier, more efficient way. “I’ll make you a deal.”
Her eyebrows furrowed suspiciously, “What kind of deal?”
Smart girl, she didn't trust me. She shouldn’t trust me. “I’ll leave tonight and you can go… you can go back to the party.” The idea of what or who she was going back to at said party made bile rise in my throat like before any important game. My stomach churned and my fists clenched. Game face. “If you go to coffee with me tomorrow afternoon.” I didn’t drink that bullshit but from experience I knew girls loved that kind of stuff.
“No way,” she shook her head quickly.
Time to put the pressure on, “Fine, let’s go find Jameson then. I’ve been wanting to ask him about… his running program anyway.” I lied. It didn’t a genius to figure that out.
And Britte was beyond genius level. “Liar.”
“Really? Because I could talk to him about running all night long. I have a million questions about running. I can’t wait to talk to him about running.” Ok, now I was just being an asshole, but I’d make it up to her tomorrow.
“Fine,” she agreed quickly when she realized how determined I was. “Fine, just go.”
I broke into a smile. Victory. I loved to win. But I wasn’t going to stick around for her to change her mind either. “I’ll pick you up tomorrow at three.”
“No, I’ll just meet you-” she tried to counter.
“You know what?” Now I was just taunting her. “I’ve always wanted to know how they train for hurdles. It can’t be easy-“
“Fine, Beckett. Pick me up. I don’t care. Just get out of my hair tonight.” She shoved my bicep, obviously exasperated with me.
“See you tomorrow, Britte. I hope you can keep your mind off all the wicked things I planned to do to you tonight. I hope I didn’t interfere with the rest of your evening.”
I turned around then, leaving her sputtering and bright red. Good. She could hang out with Jameson as often as she wanted as long as she had my mouth on her mind.
I’d get my chance tomorrow anyway.
Chapter One of Bet on Me!
Who is Rachel?!?
Rachel Higginson is the author of The Five Stages of Falling in Love, Every Wrong Reason, The Star-Crossed Series, Love & Decay Novella Series and much more! She was born and raised in Nebraska, and spent her college years traveling the world. She fell in love with Eastern Europe, Paris, Indian Food and the beautiful beaches of Sri Lanka, but came back home to marry her high school sweetheart. Now she spends her days writing stories and raising four amazing kids.
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