Home > Save My Heart (Sticks & Hearts #3)

Save My Heart (Sticks & Hearts #3)
Author: Rhonda James

PROLOGUE


SKYLAR

Click. Snap. Click. Snap.

The shutter on my camera opens and closes with lightning speed as Scott makes his approach. He stops a few feet from me, and I don’t miss the small smile hidden beneath the scowl he’s wearing.

“What are you doing, Sky?” He groans when I snap one more before lowering the camera to my side. “You need to find another subject.”

A sheepish grin forms on my lips as I close the short distance between us. “I’m capturing this moment for posterity.” He makes a disgruntled noise in the back of his throat, but his arms wrap protectively around my waist. “Don’t grumble at me, Scott Rivers. You were amazing out there tonight. Twenty-five saves! That’s bound to be a record. Right?” I push up on my toes and plant a kiss on his cheek

Tonight, our school went up against one of our biggest rivals in the division. Of course, Leland won. Scott is Leland High’s starting goalie and the best around. So good in fact, he was recruited to play for Great Lakes University after graduation. Which means, in just three short months, he’ll be leaving me.

“Nope. There’s a senior in Minnesota who just made twenty-eight,” he corrects me.

“Pish-posh. A measly three shots. I still say you could beat him in your sleep.”

“Our defense sucked ass tonight. I just had to work a little harder.”

“That’s what makes you the best player out there.” I beam proudly.

I lean in to give him another teasing peck, but this time he doesn’t allow me to pull away. One hand weaves its way into my hair, and his lips momentarily connect with mine before I draw back and give him a playful shove.

“Boy, I give one little compliment and you automatically think you can take advantage of my sweetness.” I cock my head and give him a touch of attitude. “Maybe I didn’t want you to kiss me. You ever think of that?”

A small smile flirts with the corners of his mouth, and his gaze darkens as his hands fall to my hips. “Is that so? Well, I happen to have it on good authority that your toes curl whenever I kiss you.”

I swallow the giggle forming in my throat then lower my voice to whisper in his left ear. “Nu-uh. Your kisses don’t have that kind of effect on me. If anything, they bother me.”

“Is that a fact? Well, too bad, Blondie, because I happen to love bothering you,” he drawls, and his voice is raspy with want. “In fact, I plan on bothering you all night. Tomorrow, too. If you’ll let me.”

“Really?” I can’t help smiling, because all kidding aside, I really do love being in his arms. I don’t think I’ve ever felt as safe as during those moments when he’s holding me. Kissing me. Loving me. I step into his open arms and tilt my face up to look into his eyes. “I can’t think of anyone I’d rather be bothered by.” My lips part, and I feel the slow slide of his tongue as it meets my own. The hand in my hair tightens, drawing me tighter against his hard body, and he nibbles on my bottom lip before fully breaking away.

“You’re good for my ego. You know that, Dennison?”

“I knew there had to be a reason you keep me around.” I poke him in the side with my finger. My tone is playful, but inside, I’m serious as a heart attack. Why does he keep me around?

We couldn’t be more opposite if we tried. He’s insanely gorgeous. I’m somewhat average-looking. He comes from a close-knit family that’s warm and loving. I’m an only child whose mother is rarely ever home. Scott is extremely popular and school would probably shut down if he didn’t show up. And me? Well, I’m not a social outcast, but let’s just say I could stay away for two weeks and can count on one hand how many people would notice.

“Hey.” He takes me by the arm and guides me into a darkened storage closet. Before I know it, my back is pressed against the closed door and his arms are on either side of me, caging me in. “Stop tearing yourself down. You know how much I hate it when you do that. There are many reasons for us to be together, and none of them include you worshiping the ground I walk on.”

I open my mouth to protest, but he cuts me off with another kiss that nearly sweeps me off my feet. For the moment, his kisses make me forget our differences. He nips and pecks his way across my jaw, teasing my skin with an occasional flick of his warm tongue. This feels so good. He feels so good. Strong hands meet the back of my thighs and I’m lifted off the ground. My legs instinctively wrap around his narrow waist and lock at the ankles, while my arms cling to his neck. Hanging on as if my very life depends on staying this way. Sometimes I think maybe it does.

His lean body bears down against mine, and I don’t miss the hard press of his erection between my parted legs. I won’t deny I love having him this close. Love the feel of his breath on my skin. The weight of his body pressed against me and the press and pull of our tangled mouths as his tongue melds with mine.

If only this was all he needed from me.

I’ll admit he’s been very patient with me. But I know his patience is bound to be wearing thin. I mean, a guy like Scott can only handle so much teasing from his friends before his resolve begins to crack.

This is our last year of high school. We’ve known each other most of our lives, but we only began dating last October after he approached me in the library. I love going to the library, love getting lost between the pages of a book. For weeks, I would see him there with his friends, and from the corner of my eye, I would catch him watching me. Most of the time, I would pretend I hadn’t seen him, then one day, something happened, and when our eyes met, I held his gaze. There was something about the way he looked at me, almost as if he could see right through me. As if he suddenly knew all my secrets and dreams. I’ve always noticed Scott Rivers. Of course, I have. He’s pretty hard to miss. But that day I saw something different. Something more than just the outward appearance the whole school is privy to. I remember going home that night wondering if I’d somehow been able to see through him as well. Two days later, on a warm October afternoon, he joined me at my table, and before I knew it, we were dating. Being with him was easy, and for the first time in my life, I felt alive; but after a few days, I knew our differences surpassed anything I could have ever imagined. Despite all my protesting, he still wanted to be with me. I immediately told him I was a virgin. I figured there was no sense in pretending to be someone I’m not. I’m sure my little revelation hadn’t come as a surprise. I’m not exactly popular. Or exceptionally pretty, for that matter. Scott is the star goalie for the hockey team. Homecoming King. Adored by everyone. Desired by many. He could have any girl he wants. But he chose me.

“W-why me?” I blurt against the press of his lips. Even though I’ve asked him this question before and I know the answer, my own insecurities beg to hear him tell me again. “You could have any girl at this school. Probably anywhere. What made you choose me?” My voice drops to barely a whisper, and my hands fidget at my sides. “I’m nobody special. Not like all of them.”

“Don’t,” he warns. “We’ve been over this before, Sky.” His hand comes up to tuck a few wayward strands of hair behind one ear. He kisses one side of my mouth and then the other. Looks me in the eye and lifts the corners of his mouth up into a sly smile.

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