By Nicki DeStasi
Anna lives every day the best she can while struggling against the demons that threaten to consume her and drag her back into the darkness of her troubled past. The last thing she needs right now is a guy, especially one as sweet and sexy as Jed.
When the attraction becomes too strong to resist, she gives into it. Even when she knows it’ll only end in disaster and leave her more her scared and broken than she was before.
Jed wants to find the right woman and he’s drawn to Anna by carnal magnetism, but she also brings out an alpha side of him that he’s never known. When his alpha rears its head, it triggers memories in Anna and her carefully crafted wall of protection begins to show cracks.
When fate and misunderstandings threaten their already delicate relationship, can they survive? When Anna’s demons threaten to be unearthed and Jed’s inner alpha only seem to make them worse, can they overcome?
Is it even worth it?
It’s Wednesday now, and I’m watching something stupid on TV. Well, I’m not really paying attention to the TV. My focus is on Anna, who is curled up next to me, studying some papers. It’s fascinating to watch her study. She chews on her thumb with a pencil tucked behind her ear, and her beautiful blue eyes skim across the page. Every so often, her eyes will narrow in concentration, and she’ll pull the pencil out and jot something down or underline a sentence. Then, she’ll twirl the end of the pencil in between her plump, lush pink lips. That’s when I redirect my attention back to the TV, so I’m not tempted to rip the papers out of her hands and replace the pencil with my tongue. I discreetly adjust myself as I try and fail to rid myself of the image of her lips wrapped around the pencil…or around my cock. Shit!
When I glance back down, she’s out, and I inwardly chuckle. Here I am, imagining my cock in her mouth, and she’s so tired that she passed out in the middle of studying against me. I’m glad she’s getting a little rest though, and I take the opportunity to drink her in. She’d probably be embarrassed that I’m studying her right now. Her cheek is kind of squished, and her mouth is parted a little more than normal. She’s beautiful. I take my finger and gently—so I don’t wake her—trace the line of her jaw, the curve of her nose, and along her eyebrows. My dick stirs when my finger travels across those pouty full lips.
Her brow furrows, and she frowns.
My lips tip down, too. Huh. I wonder what she’s dreaming about.
Her body tenses into a rigid plank, and her face crumples. She looks like she’s in pain and maybe embarrassed.
Jesus, what the fuck?
“Um…Anna,” I whisper.
“Sthop! Wahda ya doin?” she slurs, whispering.
What the hell needs to stop? What the hell is she dreaming about? I’m starting to panic. Should I try to wake her up? Isn’t there an old wives tale that says not to wake people up, or they’ll go on a murdering spree or something, right? Wait—no, that’s sleepwalking. I should try to wake her.
“Anna,” I say a little louder, giving her shoulder a shake.
Her face contorts. She whispers, “Ged offa me.”
My stomach drops, and my jaw clenches. Get off of me? Christ, I need to wake her up and get her out of whatever hell she’s in.
“Anna,” I say louder, shaking her shoulder a little harder.
“Plleeaasse sllopp,” She starts trembling.
Oh fuck. I’m freaking the fuck out because I’m almost positive she’s dreaming about rape or something just as shitty. I want to jump in her head and bash the shit out of her dream attacker. I feel helpless, and I hate it.
“Anna!” I yell and shake her hard.
Her frantic eyes pop open, and she sits up so fast that she almost knocks me off the couch. Her wild eyes search the room.
“Are you okay, baby?” I ask. I’m sure the horror and concern are all over my face.
She finally stops her wild searching, and when her eyes meet mine, her face falls, and she ducks her head, squeezing her eyes closed. That’s the moment I know. I know this wasn’t just a dream. It was a memory, and it was exactly what I thought it was. I swallow thickly, and I try not to show an ounce of my rising anger because I don’t want to scare her. I need to comfort her and make sure she knows that she’s safe.
“Hey,” I start softly, “you’re okay. I’m right here.”
“I should go.”
“I have school in the morning, and you have work. It’s getting late. I’m sorry I passed out,” she says, getting off the couch. She moves to the chair where her coat and schoolbag are, and she starts shoving everything in.
It takes me a moment to recover from the shock. This is not the reaction I was expecting.
“Don’t go right now. Talk to me.” I stand up and approach her carefully.
She plasters a fake smile on her face, but I can see the panic behind it. It’s rising, and I can see her hands shaking as she puts on her coat.
Ah shit. I’m trying to tamp down the urge to physically keep her here. I can’t have her take off in the state she’s in right now.
She smiles a wobbly smile, and I can see tears forming in her eyes.
“Nothing to talk about, but I should get going.”
I can’t let her run from me—not like this, not right now. “You’re staying. Talk to me.”
She clenches her jaw. She won’t look at me as gathers her things. As she pulls her purse over her shoulder, she turns her back to me.
“You talk in your sleep.”
She freezes and turns slowly to look at me. Her face is full of pain, embarrassment, and regret. She opens her mouth to say something, but then she quickly closes it. I see the tears well up again. She swallows thickly, and I can tell that she’s trying with everything she has not to cry.
“Talk to me. What happened?”
She shakes her heads with a tiny jerk. “I’ve got to go.”
Before I can stop her, she flies out the door.
Shit. I throw on my shoes and grab my keys, and then I rush out the door. She’s sprinting toward her car, but I’m close behind her.
Fuck, it’s cold out here. I forgot my jacket.
I reach her car a few seconds after she closes the door, and I knock on the window.
Her head is buried in her hands, and when she finally looks up at me, her face is tearstained. She looks so tortured, and the thought of something happening to her is tearing me up. I’m fighting against my conflicting emotions—my need to comfort her and the rage I feel toward whoever did this to her.
I open the door and kneel down in front of her. I reach out to wipe away a falling tear. “Let me in.”
She squeezes her eyes closed, and then she gives a jerky shake of her head. “I can’t.”
I take her face in my hands and lean in close. She needs to open up. I need her to open up.
“Did someone hurt you?” I ask.
I can feel her jaw clench under my hands. She looks scared and hurt. I can also see the shutters slam down like a steel door.
“I’m sorry, Jed, but I need to go,” she says in a quiet, even voice.
She reaches for the door handle, but I grab her hand a little too hard.
“You—” I start to say, but when her eyes widen in terror, the words die in my throat. I drop her hand quickly, and my mind starts spinning.
Her face turns blank. “I need to go.”
I’m so shocked that I stand up and step back. She closes the door, starts the engine, and drives off. The whole time, I just stand and stare. I know it’s fucking freezing out here, but I don’t feel a thing. As her taillights disappear, I come out of my daze, and I want to punch something.
What the fuck just happened? And why is this girl trying to drive out of my life?
I thought we were finally getting somewhere. She said on Saturday that she’d open up to me one day, and tonight was a perfect opportunity. Instead, she ran. I’m trying to understand that she’s scared and she panicked, but I’m pissed that she wouldn’t unload on me when I’ve been telling her and showing her that I’m here for her, that she can come to me.
My patience is wearing thin. I know she cares about me, and God help me, I’m not letting her go. She might be broken, but I’ll help her put herself back together if it’s the last thing I do.
Meet the Author
Nicki DeStasi was raised in a small town in Massachusetts. She attended Fitchburg State College and studied Early Childhood Education. As a child, she enjoyed reading, but only recently began doing it again. She has always had an inventive imagination and finally decided to put those ideas on paper for others to enjoy. Worth It will be Nicki’s first self-published book. A few personal facts: Sloth from The Goonies is her third cousin, she acted and stared in several plays throughout high school and college, and she can play four different instruments. Nicki’s philosophy is to appreciate the good things in life. If we didn’t make mistakes and have bad things happen then we wouldn’t know how truly wonderful the good things are. No matter how difficult life is sometimes, if we look to the people that love us, then we can get through them and on to the good stuff.