The Rebel's Own (Crimson Romance)

BOOK: The Rebel's Own (Crimson Romance)
13.36Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads
The Rebel’s Own
M.O. Kenyan

Avon, Massachusetts

This edition published by

Crimson Romance

an imprint of F+W Media, Inc.

10151 Carver Road, Suite 200

Blue Ash, Ohio 45242

www.crimsonromance.com

Copyright © 2013 by M.O. Kenyan

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, corporations, institutions, organizations, events, or locales in this novel are either the product of the author's imagination or, if real, used fictitiously. The resemblance of any character to actual persons (living or dead) is entirely coincidental.

ISBN 10: 1-4405-7237-2

ISBN 13: 978-1-4405-7237-1

eISBN 10: 1-4405-7238-0

eISBN 13: 978-1-4405-7238-8

Cover art © istock.com/Geber86

Dedication

To the brokenhearted . . .

Acknowledgments

I’d like to thank the Crimson Romance team and my readers.

Contents
Prologue

Charleston High, Spring 2006

“It’s almost prom, superstar. Have you chosen your prom sacrifice?”

Ryan Carville snickered obligingly at his best friend Matt’s question and looked around the crowded lunchroom. His target had to be someone none of his friends had been with, an untouched girl. The football team at Charleston High had a running game
off
the field. The United Tastes game awarded each football player points to “taste” a girl, the uglier the better. Fat girls, tall girls, black or Asian or Hispanic—any of the “different” girls who lurked on the fringes of the high school were fair game. And, most importantly they had to be virgins. Ryan knew he was stooping low by participating in the game, but felt weak against the expectations of his father and Mathew, and the pressure from his teammates.

“So have you, Ry?” His girlfriend, Clara, smiled up at him. He stared at the top of the petite blonde’s cheerleading uniform, his eyes drawn to the sweetheart neckline tugged low to show off her cleavage and the tops of her round breasts. It was against regulations, but high school was her kingdom and she was the queen bee.

The captain of the cheerleading squad, Clara had been the one to convince him to join the United Tastes game. She’d complained that his innocent demeanor was quickly making him—and by extension,
her
—unpopular.

Ryan had been uncomfortable with the idea, but he went along with it. He’d already gotten his football scholarship from Oregon and high school would be over in a couple months anyway.

He shrugged now and watched as Clara’s head whipped back to the crowded cafeteria, her blond bouncy locks flying with the motion. “How about . . .
her
?”

Ryan lifted his eyes from his girlfriend’s golden ringlets to the crowd. There was a group of girls where Clara was pointing, and obviously they were all from the Math Club. “Who?”

“The girls in the Math Club are so lame,” Matt groaned. Ryan’s best friend was the United Tastes’ scorekeeper and camera guy. “What? He’s gonna learn about the square root of pie between her legs?” He leered.

“One, I already know the answer to that, and two, that is a big club. They could jump me and destroy my football career before it starts by killing me,” Ryan joked.

“Especially the big one,” Matt sneered.

Ryan forced a smile. He needed the school year to be over already. He needed to get away from this psychotic group and hang around normal people “I was talking about the girl behind the math dorks,” Clara said. “The squad already did a background check on her. She’s a loner and most importantly a virgin. She doesn’t have any friends so you don’t have to worry about a group of ugly ducklings hunting you down. Plus she needs someone to pay attention to her, even if it’s for only one night.”

“I don’t know.” Ryan watched the girl sitting all alone eating her lunch for a few minutes. Her head stayed down the whole time, like she was worried someone might notice her. Unfortunately for her, Clara had already seen her. There was nothing and no one who could save her now.

Ryan sighed. The sooner he got it done, the better. He didn’t even know her name and he was already planning on how he was going to rob her of her innocence.

“If you choose her, I will make it worth your while.” Clara smiled at him suggestively. And when she winked at him, his heart and his penis throbbed.

“Alright,” he said, a slow sly smile creeping on his lips. Being with the prom sacrifice was a small “sacrifice” to be with Clara again. Just like the United Tastes game, their sexual relationship was based on a reward system. If he scored a touchdown, or was the leading scorer or did something that would make her more popular, he was rewarded with sex.

He sighed as he stood up, and then took a step towards his unwitting victim.

• • •

Kennedy Bailey moved her lunch around her meal tray. The crowded tables of the Charleston High cafeteria buzzed with conversation and laughter, but she kept her head down, methodically pushing her instant mashed potatoes into piles with her fork. The last thing she wanted was someone to notice her. She could almost hear the mocking already. When the other kids found out she shopped at the Salvation Army and that her shoes had been mended so many times the cobbler offered to buy her a new pair, they would tease her. She was going to survive high school only if she kept to herself. Kennedy felt people moving around her, and she ducked her head lower, her nose practically touching her lunch tray.

“Hey Kennedy!” She ignored the greeting, but could see one of the girls from the Math Club waving at the next table. The only reason they knew about her, was because her A+ in advanced calculus had prompted the school math’s professor to ask her to join the club. Of course, she’d turned the offer down, but the club members were hounding her trying to recruit her. She would’ve liked to join them, but with the way things were at home, that was impossible.

Her life was not her own; she had to help her mother with her ailing father. Her mother worked nights and took care of her father when Kennedy was in school. She had to get home before five every night, so that her mother could take off for her job. But the math club ran from four to six
p.m.
Although she knew they would probably allow her to leave early, it would mean she would have to tell them about the situation at home. She didn’t want her personal life on the lips of strangers. Kennedy knew from past experience what would happen when they found out about her dad.

Her father had never been great at holding a job, but he was a champ at holding his liquor. He was so bad at times, that Kennedy was sure all the blood in his veins was replaced by Jameson whiskey. Alcohol poisoning had caused his liver to fail, and six months ago he’d been diagnosed with lung cancer. With no health insurance, Kennedy and her mother had to play hospice nurses.

At least now, he was too sick to be a mean drunk.

Kennedy had this eerie feeling that someone was watching her, but to her surprise it wasn’t the Math Club. When she lifted her head, she could see the whole football and cheerleading teams staring at her. She pulled her hair out of its knot at the back of her head and pushed the thick braids forward to cover her face. But the creepy feeling persisted. After a few seconds she looked up again and met the unblinking stare of Ryan Carville, who was standing a few feet away.

The varsity quarterback
. Who didn’t know the team superstar? She obviously hadn’t had the time to watch any of his games. But by the number of people who wanted to associate with him, or the girls who would fight each other to touch him, pinning for him, she assumed he was good.

She felt her whole body go limp and her heart race when he started walking towards her. He couldn’t be coming to talk to her.

Could he?

She looked over to the jock and cheerleader table. Clara Smith, the cheerleaders’ captain, smiled back at her. The way her lips pulled over her magnificent white teeth, sent chills down her spine. Rumor was she and Ryan were dating, but Kennedy knew he’d been out with other girls too.

What she didn’t understand was what he wanted with
her
. She wasn’t his usual type, all made up in short skirts, designer shoes, jewelry, and layers of makeup on her face. Compared to those girls, she was plainer than the discolored mashed potatoes in front of her.

No, there was no way he was coming to talk to her.

Kennedy sighed and straightened up. But just as she’d begun to pull her hair back again, Ryan slid into the bench of her lunch table. Kennedy looked at him puzzled and lost for words.

“Hi!” he said as he smiled at her.

“Uh…Uhmmm…,” Kennedy cleared her throat to loosen the bundle of nerves there and finally said, “Hi.”

“My friends and I were wondering if you would like to come watch us practice after school.” The drawl in his voice pulled her in. And as if that wasn’t enough, the sparkle in his blue eyes brought out the jet-black color of his hair and bronzed skin, that she knew was from playing out in the sun. His arms were muscular, a thick vein running along each, the sleeves of his T-shirt stretched to the limit. And his smile was so bright he deserved to be in toothpaste commercial.

“Yes. I mean…I mean no, sorry, I can’t come,” she quickly said.

“But why?” He smiled at her once again and his hand reached out to hers. Kennedy’s heart jumped into her throat, a sliver of shock running through her body. He traced circles in her palm. “I promise to make sure you have a lot of fun.”

“I—” Kennedy gasped, fighting the need pulling at her body. “I’m sorry, I can’t.” Just then she wished she had a different family, that she could say yes to Ryan and follow him around like a sick puppy. Like that blonde cheerleader did. She’d thought that was his girlfriend, but maybe she’d been wrong.

He frowned for a few seconds, but then it vanished, a smile stretching on his face once more. “Hey, it’s okay. Maybe next time,” Ryan said. Then he stood up and walked away.

• • •

Maybe next time
. Six hours later,
the words echoed in Kennedy’s mind as she stared at herself in the mirror. Why would he want to be with her in the first place? A disgusted frown claimed her lips as she tried to look for a positive part of her body. She wasn’t fat, but she was bulgy, her braids were odd and due to be taken out. Her dark skin seemed ashy and unhealthy. There was not a single thing beautiful about her.

In a mindless rage, she grabbed her bottle of lotion and flung it at the floor-length mirror. She grimaced when the loud sound of glass shattering was followed by the tinkle of the glass falling to the floor. She bent down and assessed the mess she had caused and began picking up the shattered glass. She held a piece up and stared into her own reflection on its glossy surface.
Who was she?
She didn’t know. Ryan didn’t know. But with Ryan talking to her, she was going to be
someone.
The whole school would know her by first period the next morning. They would whisper behind her back about how lucky she was.

Who was she kidding? They would be comparing her to Clara, and everyone would realize how ugly she was and they would make fun of her.

But not Ryan. He had come to talk to her, not the other way around. She could tell he didn’t have an agenda and he definitely wasn’t prompted. She couldn’t wait to see him again.

BOOK: The Rebel's Own (Crimson Romance)
13.36Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

Fox Evil by Walters, Minette
It's in His Touch by Shelly Alexander
Tablet of Destinies by Traci Harding
Stormwitch by Susan Vaught
Simply Pleasure by Kate Pearce
Book of Shadows by Cate Tiernan