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Authors: Zara Cox

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Freefall (The Indigo Lounge Series, #5)

BOOK: Freefall (The Indigo Lounge Series, #5)
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Freefall

The Indigo Lounge Series, Volume 5

Zara Cox

Published by Zara Cox, 2015.

This is a work of fiction. Similarities to real people, places, or events are entirely coincidental.

FREEFALL

First edition. March 31, 2015.

Copyright © 2015 Zara Cox.

ISBN: 978-1507030301

Written by Zara Cox.

10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

FREEFALL

––––––––

INDIGO LOUNGE SERIES #5

BY

ZARA COX

TABLE OF CONTENTS

COPYRIGHT

LETTER TO MY 16-YEAR-OLD SELF

CHAPTER 1 - KEELY

CHAPTER 2 - KEELY

CHAPTER 3 - MASON

CHAPTER 4 - MASON

CHAPTER 5 - KEELY

CHAPTER 6 - KEELY

CHAPTER 7 - KEELY

CHAPTER 8 - MASON

CHAPTER 9 - KEELY

CHAPTER 10 - KEELY

CHAPTER 11 - KEELY

CHAPTER 12 - KEELY

CHAPTER 13 - KEELY - SIX YEARS AGO

CHAPTER 14 - MASON

CHAPTER 15 - KEELY

CHAPTER 16 - KEELY

CHAPTER 17 - MASON

CHAPTER 18 - KEELY

CHAPTER 19 - KEELY - SIX YEARS AGO

CHAPTER 20 - MASON

CHAPTER 21 - MASON

CHAPTER 22 - KEELY

CHAPTER 23 - KEELY

CHAPTER 24 - KEELY - SIX YEARS AGO

CHAPTER 25 - MASON

CHAPTER 26 - KEELY

CHAPTER 27 - KEELY

CHAPTER 28 - KEELY

CHAPTER 29 - MASON

CHAPTER 30 - MASON

CHAPTER 31 - KEELY

EPILOGUE

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

COMING SOON

ONE ON ONE BY LEXI LOCKHART

ABOUT AUTHOR

Copyright

Copyright © 2015 Zara Cox

Edited by Kate Reed

Cover by Angela Oltmann

All rights reserved. No part of this e-book may be reproduced in any form other than that in which it was purchased and without the written permission of the author.

This e-book is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This e-book may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return it to the retailer and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

Letter To My 16 Year Old Self

D
ear Crazy You,

It’s ten years from now, and this is what I’ve learned.

Don’t be afraid to stand up to the bullies who tease you for having big boobs at fifteen. Trust me, big boobs are badass. They’ll be even better at twenty-five when you’ve learned to use them to your better advantage.

It’s okay to be a nerd. Nerds rule the fucking world.

Don’t get in the elevator with that old man at Bloomingdales on your seventeenth birthday. If you do, you’ll never use tweezers again!

When Mom tells you it’s time to get on the Pill, please, please, PLEASE don’t fight her on it. I can’t stress this enough, Keely Nina Benson. JUST DON’T!

Now listen very carefully because this one’s important. Nineteen is going to be rough. Way rougher than you think you’ll be able to cope with. Hang in there. The pain may not go away. There may be times when you’ll want to end it all. Times when putting one foot in front of the other, or just breathing seems like a task too far.

Hang in there.

Because there will be moments of acute ceaseless joy. They may be fleeting, but...fuck it (yeah, you’ve taken up swearing. A lot).

Hang in there.

I love you, even though you may not feel it right now.

I. LOVE .YOU.

K Benson xxx

PS - that pink streak in your hair may look cool now, but you’ll hate it in a month. Do yourself a favor. Go with the purple. I’m older. I may not be a whole lot wiser, but listen to me anyway.

Chapter 1

Keely

O
rion’s Belt. Cassiopeia. Ursa Minor—

I feel him approach, but I keep my gaze upward on the piercing stars, flung carelessly in a blanket of velvet in the night sky. I search feverishly for patterns I’d learn a lifetime ago, before a time when I’d need something celestial to ground me in the darkness. Something to connect me to the universe, so I wouldn’t feel so uselessly untethered.

His footsteps draw closer. I keep my head up, refusing to let the consternation and bewilderment take over.

I am above that. I am woman.
I am strong
.

Yeah, maybe not that last part.

The blush grows from my neck and covers my cheeks, my face. Awareness engulfs me as he hovers behind me, his presence an entity I can’t deny.

I squint harder at the cold, bright stars, but my attention begins to waver. Nothing connects.

Damn it.

“What the hell do you want?”

“It’s thirty-six degrees out here, without the wind chill. I figured you could use a blanket,” his deep, growly voice says behind me.

As if reminded that I’m barefoot on a beach in Montauk in late February, goose bumps pile upon goose bumps, and my body screams distress signals to my brain. I shiver so hard, despite my determination to ignore my body’s distress, that I nearly upend myself. My discomfort isn’t enough to make me retrieve my shoes and go back inside though.

He steps closer.

“I don’t need a damn blanket. If I wanted one, I’d have brought one with me.” I lift the chilled, open bottle of vintage
Oenotheque
Dom Perignon clutched in my right hand and take a huge, bracing gulp.

Fuck yeah
.

My best friend, Bethany Green, just got officially engaged to the catch of the century and the love of her life. Personally, Zachary Savage isn’t my type—all that caveman, possessive shit just gets on my nerves. But they are ecstatically happy. He worships the ground she walks on, and after the year she’s had and the snippets of his past I’ve become privy to, they deserve a little, no make that
a lot
, of happy.

And if a small part of me is jealous of all that happiness, I intend to drown it dead with a little help from Dom P.

As soon as this intruder, the reason for me blushing like a damn schoolgirl virgin, goes away.

“I came out here,
Einstein
, because I want to be alone. So if you don’t mind...?” I dangle the question, seeing if he’ll take the bait. If not, it’ll be my pleasure to shove it down his throat.

“Take the blanket. Then I’ll leave,” he says again. This time I’m not sure if my shiver is to do with the ridiculously low temperatures, or his low, husky voice. Whatever.

“Fine.” I sigh and reach behind me, without taking my gaze off the constellations. I don’t want to turn around. I don’t want to see his face. Not after the freak out episode he just witnessed.

It wasn’t the things I’d just said ten minutes ago in Bethany’s kitchen that were embarrassing in and of themselves. Hell, I talk about my vagina all the time. I feel zero embarrassment for that part.

It was the desolation, the fear, the neediness as I’d clung to my best friend while I’d prattled nonsense, which makes me not want to face the man behind me now. I’m okay with feeling desperately sorry for myself. Not so cool with complete strangers seeing beneath my skin.

The last time I’d felt like this was six years and one day ago. After what my parents refer to as my
Unfortunate Episode
.

The date is engraved in my mind, since it was my nineteenth birthday. Valentine’s Day, for fuck’s sake.

It was the day I set out to end it all. And failed.

All of that same insecure fucking panic had been in my voice as I’d stood in Bethany’s kitchen and I talked about my clit, my neglected and lonely pussy and my need for a man with a big cock. Except, they were just euphemisms. A cry for help which my self-aware mind had contrived. I know this because I have above average intelligence. Some Stephen Hawking type person with thick, super nerdy bifocals told me so when I was sixteen.

Having what I already knew confirmed had, at the time, made me smug and superior for all of five seconds. Gradually, I’d come to see that news is a curse. It meant that most of the time I knew what was wrong with me but most often never had the tools to fix it. I especially hate that this ball of anguish, which I carry around inside me, will never go away because I don’t know
how
to fix myself.

Because I’d tried again yesterday. Tried to end it all. And failed.

Another shiver races through me along with the realization that the blanket isn’t in my hand.

I snap my fingers, impatient to get on with my new and highly enlightened
get-drunk-and-freeze-to-death
plan. A moment later, the weight of a fleece blanket drapes over my shoulders, enveloping me in unwanted warmth.

Manners dictate I should say thank you, but I don’t want to engage this man. He’s seen me at my most vulnerable. Besides Beth and my parents, no one else has seen that side of me.

So I walk away, just a few feet to where a large rock juts out of the water. The tide has receded a little, so I can sit on it without getting my feet wet. I perch and take another swig of champagne.

Then I hear him. He’s moving closer. Mr. Rusty Social Skills, as he’d called himself when I’d snarled at his eavesdropping in the kitchen, was clearly not into getting messages, even when they were spelled loud and clear.

“Are we really doing this?” I ask after a few more satisfying, but less than bracing gulps.

“Looking at the stars? Yep. The Plough is particularly bright tonight.”

I hang my head, my soul weary and my body chilled to the bone. “Please. Don’t,” I whisper, my voice barely audible above the sound of crashing waves.

“We don’t have to talk about the stars. We can talk about the Pygmies in Africa. Do you know they fuck every day for the month of May, then don’t have sex for the rest of the year?” he imparts.

My head whips around. “That’s not true—” I realize too late what he’s done, snap my head back around and raise the bottle to my lips. “Fuck off. Seriously,” I growl. But that quick look has sparked a tiny curiosity. One I’m determined to hide.

“Can I at least apologize for the accidental eavesdropping?” he presses.

“Why is it important to you? You won’t see me again after tonight. You really don’t need to apologize for being inadvertently privy to the sorry state of my clitoris and vagina. Go back to the party. Hell, you have my permission to share the gossip. With any luck, you can get my vagina trending.”

He remains silent for several minutes, and I don’t know if he’s digesting the information or is stunned by my direct talk. I know most men find my brazen mouth a little off-putting. I’ve given up caring. I’ve given up caring about a lot of things lately.

“I don’t like parties. And the state of your vagina doesn’t interest me in the least,” he says finally.

My mouth drops open and I start to turn, increasingly intrigued against my will. I stop myself at the last moment and glare at the black, roiling sea.

“Then what do you want?”

“Maybe I’m intrigued to know why a beautiful, intelligent woman is determined to freeze to death during her best friend’s engagement party. And please don’t make crude references to your female parts. We both know this has nothing to do with sex.”

The certainty and confidence with which he says all this throws me for a second. A particularly brisk wind slashes across my face, bringing me back to myself.

“Since you don’t know me well enough to judge my intelligence, how about I just thank you for the
beautiful
comment and the blanket, and let’s be done with this conversation?” I stand, ready to move off again.

I sense him rise to his feet, hear him brush sand from his pants. “Is there any reason you won’t look at me, Keely?”

My breath catches slightly at the way my name sounds on his lips, then I steel my spine. This has gone on long enough. “Because I don’t want to talk to you. Nothing personal, but I really want to be alone. Even a guy with rusty social skills can compute such a simple request?” My voice is growing exasperated, and I resent him for that.

“I could leave, but then Zach would cut off vital parts of my anatomy I prefer to hang on to should anything happen to you. Bethany too, I’m guessing, although I don’t know her that well enough to judge.”

A reluctant smile tugs at my lips as I think of my friend and her fiancée. But then I sober up. “What if I promise to just sit on this rock and enjoy my champagne?”

“Then I hope you won’t mind some silent company. We don’t need to talk. Hell, I won’t even ask how you know the mating habits of African pygmies, although I have a feeling it has something to do with the intelligent part.”

BOOK: Freefall (The Indigo Lounge Series, #5)
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