Tag Archives: young love

Trading Places. #1stChFriday from THE STAR PRINCESS #romance #scifi #scifirom @DecadentPub

It’s time for another First Chapter Friday where I share the first chapter or up to 1,500 words from a different story each week. Sometimes, the selection will have a sale attached to it, and other times a new release, or just because it’s a story I love. Happy reading!


The eighth book featured in First Chapter Friday is THE STAR PRINCESS. This story is a New Adult Sci-Fi Romance that is set on another planet and a futuristic Earth. Enjoy!

THE STAR PRINCESS

by Jessica E. Subject

Chapter One

“Trade places with me.” Sweat poured down Prince Deion’s face. He’d never been more nervous in his life. Or maybe he’d caught a virus before flying to Minjet.

“What do you mean trade places?” Cyrus, his personal aide and friend, grabbed the nylon across his chest. “We’re strapped in because we’re landing soon. I can’t exactly get out of my seat right now.”

“No.” Deion released a heavy breath, wiping his forehead. “That’s not what I mean. I want you to take my place during the ceremony this evening. I don’t think I’m in any condition to meet the princess.”

“You’re kidding. What, are you afraid she’s beastly looking?”

“No!” He cringed. The women he’d met from Minjet had all been stunning diamonds sparkling is a solar system of rust and decay. “I have the stomach flu. Or the worst case of nerves ever. I just need you to sit in my place at dinner tonight.”

“And what do you want me to tell the royal family? That you think you’re sick?”

“Make something up.” Deion swallowed the bile burning his throat. “I feel like shit.”

“It’s fucked up that you’re so sick the day you’re to meet your future wife.”

“Yeah, fucked up is exactly how I’m feeling right now.” If his kingdom wasn’t depending on him to unite their planets and garner help, he would turn around and head home, but the last war on Earth had destroyed almost everything. Those who’d survived had turned to the stars for help, sure other life existed, and they’d found it. A whole lot more than anyone had ever expected. One hundred years later, the year of his birth, Earth was invited to join the Galactic Confederacy. To show Earth’s commitment, Deion’s parents had agreed to a prearranged marriage for him, to a female they’d never met from another star system. Deion and Princess Ro’sa had now reached their twenty-first year, and he’d been sent to meet her and her parents before bringing her home to marry. A lifetime commitment. His dedication to the unknown girl had begun long ago when his father told him of his betrothal, but that didn’t mean he would instantly love the princess. Maybe he never would. What a horrible life that would be.

“Okay then, but I want to wear the crown and robe today. It may be my only chance,” Cyrus said.

“Whatever.” Closing his eyes, Deion concentrated on breathing. In through the nose and out through the mouth. Whatever it took to keep the contents of his stomach from greeting the royal family.

***

At the whoosh of the space shuttle flying overhead, the feline on Ro’sa’s knee hissed before jumping to the floor. Ro’sa hurried to the front of the house, pressing her palms and nose against the window. Somewhere in that ship was her betrothed, the prince from Earth she would marry.

Ka’lyn, her best friend, squeezed in beside her, claiming the rest of the available window space. “What do you think he looks like? I’ve never seen anyone from Earth before. Maybe he has two heads, or one eye….” She nudged Ro’sa’s side. “Two cocks?”

“Ka, really?” Flaring heat rushed to Ro’sa’s cheeks and temporarily paused the fluttering of firetubes in her stomach. In seven rotations, she would say good-bye to her home, her family, and all of her friends to be with a complete stranger. She’d grown up knowing this time would come, but it had always seemed so far away. Until he’d arrived. Ro’sa swallowed her nerves. “His people just recently joined the Confederacy. I think the only reason they were invited was to prevent an intergalactic war when they learned of the existence of life beyond their own solar system.” They’d already destroyed most of their planet. Who knows what they would have done had the Confederacy not intervened?

Ka’lyn grabbed her shoulders and turned Ro’sa to face her. “I know all this, but what do they look like?”

“Humanoid, like us.” She searched her memory for the few Terran dignitaries she’d met. “But their skin is different shades of brown, from nearly white to almost black.” Though she had no idea where her betrothed fit into the spectrum, never having been allowed to travel to Earth. How she wished she had. If her parents had allowed them to meet earlier, she’d have far fewer worries and much more experience with how to interact with those from Earth, and with her betrothed. She’d retained her virginity for him, the only female her age on the planet who hadn’t experienced sex, though she hoped to know what it was like before she left for Earth.

“Weird. So, when do you get to meet him?”

“Tonight.” Ro’sa returned her gaze out the window, watching the shuttle descend onto the runway. Had the prince saved himself for her? “There’s an official introduction ceremony where we will shake hands and eat our first meal together.”

“That’s crap.” Her friend tugged on her fingers. “Let’s go meet him as he’s coming off the ship.”

Ro’sa shook her head, yanking her hand away. “I can’t. I have to follow protocol.”

“Then we’ll hide in the shrubs. Don’t you want to check him out before you’re introduced to him in front of everyone?”

Biting her bottom lip, Ro’sa watched the spacecraft disappear below the treetops. “I guess.” Then she wouldn’t look like a fool in her first reaction to him. She could hold her emotions in check, having already caught sight of the prince.

“Let’s go then.” Ka’lyn stood at the door before she had the chance to move.

They left her friend’s home behind. Darting through the woods on the packed dirt path, Ro’sa hoped they’d make it to the runway in time. If the castle guards hastened him away, they’d never make it in time. Why hadn’t her parents let her meet him years ago? Was he that horrendous looking? At least they could have shown her a picture.

Out of nowhere, something grabbed her foot. As she plummeted to the ground, Ro’sa stuck out her arms. The impact jostled her wrists and her elbows gave out, her chin smacking the hard dirt. She bit her tongue, immediately tasting blood. With a groan, she rolled on her side. “Starsnatchers!”

“Ro’sa, what happened?” Ka’lyn stood several steps ahead, hands on her hips.

“Something grabbed me.” She sat up, examining the surrounding woods. As she spotted the culprit, her cheeks warmed. “Or…I tripped over a root.”

“Well, let’s go! If you don’t get your butt moving, we’re going to miss him.”

Not even an are you okay? Geez!Why did her friend want to see him so bad? The prince was her future husband, the one who would take her away from Ka’lyn.

Ro’sa got up and brushed off her skin suit made from a thick and pliable material, not likely to have torn during her fall.

“I’m coming.” She ran to catch up, watching where she stepped at the same time. No need to delay seeing her betrothed again.

They neared the runway and ducked behind the orange shrubs at the edge of the woods. They found gaps in the branches covered in sharp spikes to peek through.

Ka’lyn released an excited squeal. “We made it. They’re opening the hatch.”

“Shh, one of the guards will hear you, and I don’t need any of them to tell my father I hid in the bushes to see the prince.” Though it was easier to think about her father’s possible scorn than the waves rolling through her stomach at seeing the prince for the first time.

Scooting forward, she focused on the cavity in the shuttle. Any moment her betrothed would step through and she’d catch a glimpse, maybe more, of him, before the guards ushered him away to the private guest quarters in the castle. She lived on level two, but he would stay on four, located several stories underground.

As a figure stepped from the shuttle, Ro’sa gasped at the same time as her friend. The prince. He had to be her betrothed, with the crown of gold on his head reflecting the sunlight. His hair cascaded to his shoulders in dark-brown waves, skin the same rich color of chocolate, her favorite treat from Earth. He wore a finely pressed black suit with a white shirt underneath. His plush cape reached the floor behind him. Pausing on the platform, he smiled, dimples forming in his cheeks.

Thank you, Earth! Excitement bubbled from deep inside her, and something more. She squeezed her thighs together and swallowed her own squeal to keep from giving away their location.

“He’s gorgeous,” Ka’lyn whispered. “Even the color of his skin is sexy. I wonder what he tastes like.”

Ro’sa shoved her friend. “None of your business. He’s mine.”

“And I’m so jealous.” Ka’lyn returned the punch. “I want to lick him from head to toe.”

So did she. “Don’t even think about it. You already have your own man.”

“Yes, but I can dream, can’t I? I mean, I love my sweaty woodsman, but, some days, I wish he was a prince.”

Before Ro’sa had a chance to respond, another man stepped out of the shuttle and slapped the prince’s on the back.

Ka’lyn shifted beside her. “Who’s that?”

“His personal servant?” She’d been told the prince would arrive with his own entourage. “Maybe a friend?” Would a servant be allowed to touch royalty? On Minjet, yes, but she’d been told the line between royalty and commoners was much more defined on Earth. At least before the last war.

“He’s cute, too. A stronger jaw, and look at those full lips. Imagine what they’d be like to kiss, how they’d feel on your breasts and between your legs.”

“Would you stop!” Ro’sa covered her mouth. Her words had come out much louder than she’d intended as she focused on the images her friend had planted in her head.

Ka’lyn poked her arm. “He’s looking this way.” Ro’sa glanced at the shuttle platform and found the man’s gaze fixed on her. He leaned over the railing before racing down the stairs.

Busted. “He saw us. Run!” Ro’sa bolted in a zigzag around the trees, staying off the path. If the prince’s friend had seen her, had her betrothed? Would he still want to marry her if he’d caught her spying? She didn’t want to disappoint her parents, after all they’d done to arrange the union, or delay her meeting with the prince.

But, star clusters, it had been so worth it. At their introduction ceremony, she would stand more confident in front of him, and, at night, when she retired, she’d imagine him in bed with her, taking her virginity. Or maybe he’d be there with her instead, and she wouldn’t have to fantasize about anything.

She slowed as she neared Ka’lyn’s hut. Though the same as every home built into the hill, Ka’lyn’s stood out with the bright pink flowers in the garden, the ones her husband hated but put up with because he loved her.

Ka’lyn caught up to her, huffing and puffing. “So…what did you think…of the prince?”

“Very nice. My parents chose well.” Yet, his friend’s stare came to the front of her thoughts. Hauntingly blue eyes, the color of the oceans comprising most of Minjet. And his lips…. Oh, stars, she melted imagining what they’d be like pressed to hers, his hands touching every part of her body. Ro’sa shook her head, clearing away the image. She had no reason to think of anyone but her betrothed.

“They did, indeed. Want to trade places tonight? Just for the ceremony. After I meet him, you can have him back.”

With a chuckle, Ro’sa rolled her eyes. “You know that could never happen. My parents wouldn’t allow it.”

 

“Yeah, and you’d never lie to anyone. I know how you are.” Her friend sighed, stretching her calf muscles. “I hope you’ll introduce me to him, though. I don’t want my best friend living across the universe with a guy I’ve never met.”

“Of course I will.” She hugged Ka’lyn, a shower of sadness washing over her. They had only a few days left together. After she departed, she had no idea how long until she would return for a visit. If ever. No one had told her the full extent of her marriage contract.

“Perfect.” Ka’lyn squeezed her in a hug before stepping back. “Now, get your butt back to the castle and get ready for the ceremony. Show him the sexy woman he came for. I suggest you show off a lot of leg and cleavage.”

No, that would not make a good first impression. Though it might work to get him into her bed quicker, her parents would send her back to her room to change into something less revealing. With reluctance, Ro’sa waved good-bye and headed back home. She had a full day ahead of her and a handsome prince waiting to seduce her, whether in her dreams or after the ceremony.

Trading places. Read the 1st chapter of THE STAR PRINCESS #1stChFriday #romance #scifirom Click To Tweet

About THE STAR PRINCESS:

In one week, Princess Ro’sa will board a spaceship, leaving her home on Minjet to be with her betrothed on Earth. The only problem is, she detests the prince’s selfish and arrogant ways, preferring to spend time with his personal aide, a man who stirs her desires in ways she never imagined possible with his radiant blue eyes and smouldering lips. And oh, the way he touches her.

Earth’s post-apocalyptic landscape offers little but the alliance offers much and a princess must do her duty, no matter the danger to her person and to her heart.

Available from:

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Also available in audio:

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Will Claire ask out the Sexy Santa? #1stChFriday from HEY SANTA #romance #alien #scifirom

It’s time for another First Chapter Friday where I share the first chapter or up to 1,500 words from a different story each week. Sometimes, the selection will have a sale attached to it, and other times a new release, or just because it’s a story I love. Happy reading!


The seventh book featured in First Chapter Friday is HEY, SANTA. This story is available now on its own, but is also be available in my LOVE IN A NEW WORLD New Adult Romance box set which released Monday. Enjoy!

HEY, SANTA

by Jessica E. Subject

Chapter One

“You can’t be serious.” Claire mustered the dirtiest look possible for her best friend.

Tiffany held out her hands and air-squeezed the man’s firm rear end from a distance. “C’mon. Look at that ass.”

“Yes, but a Santa Claus? How do I know what he looks like under that suit and beard?” Imagining removing the white hair to find a wrinkled old man, she shuddered.

“Only one way to find out.” Smacking Claire’s butt, Tiffany urged her forward. “Go ask him.”

She planted her feet. Thank goodness she hadn’t worn heels for their marathon shopping trip two days before Christmas. “If you’re so interested, why don’t you?”

Tiffany rolled her eyes, sighing. “Because I’m engaged to be married to the love of my life. You’re the Grinch who needs to get laid.”

“I’m not a Grinch,” she snapped. Breathing deeply, she counted backwards from ten. “I’m sorry. This is a very stressful time of year for me.”

“I know.” Tiffany cupped her elbow. “I just want to see you happy at Christmas again. It doesn’t have to be a miserable holiday anymore. That’s part of the reason I dragged you with me today.”

She swallowed the lump in her throat, tears welling already. Please don’t let me turn into a blubbering mess in the middle of the mall. While she appreciated her friend’s concern, she coped better on her own. “I…I should go home. I can’t pretend it didn’t happen.”

“No, but you can’t stop living, either.” Wiping the tears with one of the many tissues she kept stuffed in her purse, Tiffany gave her a brief smile. “You don’t need to be alone anymore. Give someone a chance for goodness’ sake. Your parents and brother would want you to be happy. I want you to be happy.”

But happiness no longer existed in her world. Hadn’t since she’d arrived home for the Christmas holidays four years ago. No one came to pick her up at the airport. Instead, she’d taken a cab and been dropped off at a smoldering pile of rubble that used to be her family home. Her parents and younger brother had been asleep when an arsonist set fire to the attached garage. All dead. Her family never made it out. The young punk had been caught and sentenced to serve the rest of his life in prison, but she’d lost everything.

She bit her bottom lip to avoid crying again. Without them, she had very little support. The only person remaining in her life who gave two shits about her was Tiffany, and she’d be married in a few months. Moving on with her life.

Maybe that is what I need to do. But who wanted a damaged woman who’d dropped out of university? Surely, no one worth spending her life with.

“Please, Claire.” Tiffany rubbed her arm. “Will you ask him already? I saw him before he changed into the suit. He’s hot. And he has to be patient since he works with kids. If this doesn’t work, I’ll never get on your case again.”

“Fine,” she grumbled. A bad date has to be better than sitting at home by myself. “This is the last time. No more double dates or trying to set me up with a guy in any way.”

Tiffany held out her baby finger. “Pinky swear.”

After sealing the promise, Claire patted the puffy skin under her eyes. “Is my makeup running?”

“No, you look beautiful, as always.” Grabbing her shoulders, her friend spun her around. “Now, go get him before he’s swarmed by a bunch of kids. And hopefully, soon he’ll fill your stocking with all kinds of Christmas cheer.”

Her cheeks warmed. She wanted more than a night of fucking, though that wouldn’t hurt, either. But Santa? Really? What was she supposed to say? Hey, Santa, I saw you bending over, and I think you have a nice ass. Want to go out sometime?

Andreas blinked, trying to wrap his head around what the sexy woman in front of him had just asked. He’d stared at her miles of long legs showed off by black tights, and her full, glossy lips, but he never expected her to leave her friend and come over, let alone ask him on a date. The only women who ever approached him were already married and concerned about the results of their child’s picture with Santa Claus. Or, the single moms who thought he’d make a great baby daddy. Um, no.

“You want to go out on a date? With me?” he asked.

She nodded, her eyes glassy, as if about to cry if he said no. He would hate himself if that happened. But, her expression changed in an instant, her stare hard. “Forget I said anything.” She stepped back. “You’re looking a little green anyway.”

Green? Shit. He thought he’d perfected his appearance. Guess not. Yet, he refused to let the woman leave before he agreed to see her again.

“Wait! You haven’t gotten your candy cane yet. And to get one, you have to sit on my knee and tell me what you want for Christmas.” Anything to get her closer.

She grinned, his cock twitching from her wicked stare. And when she sat on his lap, her soft hair brushing against his cheek, he groaned. No other female specimen compared to her in sex appeal. He stared at her lusty curves, wanting to touch and lick, imagining her pouty lips around his cock. So much time had passed since his last sexual encounter. He yearned to taste her, fuck her until she screamed his name. But so many reasons left him treading carefully around women, least of all to get caught groping someone while on the job.

He feared the authorities looking into his background. One he didn’t have. At least not until five years ago.

“So, you really want to go out with me, not knowing what I look like? This isn’t some dare, is it?” He’d been through that, too, from a bunch of giggling young women. Thankfully, he hadn’t fallen into their trap. He wanted the woman in front of him to be serious.

“Well, you’re the most muscular Santa I’ve ever seen. And your suit is tight in all the right places.” She shifted on his knee. “As long as you’re not old enough to be my father, then yes, I really would like to go on a date with you.”

“Not even close, I hope. I’m twenty-eight.” He tried to ignore his desire to find a quiet corner for a quickie. Frickin’ libido rejected the idea of letting the woman out of his sight.

“Works for me.” Her hip rubbed against his cock. “So, how about dinner?”

“Yes,” he hissed, changing his focus to imagine something fugly as a distraction, like the governor in drag maybe. In his bed. He had to get rid of his hard-on before some mother brought her kid over. With a shudder, he returned his attention to the woman on his lap. “When were you thinking?”

She faced the sign listing Santa’s hours. “You’re done at seven? How about nine? I’ll make reservations at Barnaby’s and meet you there.”

Barnaby’s? Not too chic, yet not a restaurant where he would run into more of the kids who sat on his knee all day. A much better place to get to know the woman in front of him. And maybe he’d have her for dessert.

A family lined up to see him, two screaming kids among them.

The woman on his knee rose. “I should go.”

“Wait.” He grabbed her wrist, but let go at the collective gasp from his elves.

Everyone in line stared. He cringed, waiting for her to slap him.

Shit. He had to save himself. “I don’t even know your name, how to get ahold of you if I’m going to be late.”

Sitting back down, she reached into her purse. Mace? He squeezed his eyes shut. Instead of spraying him, she rolled up his sleeve, pressing something against his skin. He dared to look, opening one eye at a time.

Claire Otton followed by her phone number. “If you get caught up, give me a call.” She stood again, facing him, her cheeks glowing. “Otherwise, I’ll see you at nine. And don’t make any plans for the rest of the evening, either.”

He swallowed the urge to follow her, take her into the closest storage closet or washroom. “Claire, you didn’t tell me what you want for Christmas.”

Leaning in close, she gave him a breathtaking view of her cleavage. “Stick around,” she whispered. “And you’ll find out.”

Shivers ran down his spine. Fuck, she knows how to send my dick into overdrive. But in an instant, she disappeared and one of his helpers placed a wailing kid on his lap.

Is it nine o’clock yet? Sneaking a look at the kiddie-pool-sized clock on the wall, he groaned. Fuck, only four.

Will Claire ask out the Sexy Santa? Read 1st chapter of HEY SANTA #1stChFriday #romance #scifirom Click To Tweet

About HEY, SANTA:

She doesn’t want a lot for Christmas…

Claire Otton dreads spending another holiday alone. When her best friend convinces her to approach the sexy mall Santa, she takes the chance and asks him out, hoping for so much more.

He’s waiting under the mistletoe…

Although Andreas Castellanos blends in on Earth, he knows he will never belong. But when the gorgeous woman he’d been staring at invites him to dinner, he has a hard time saying no.

All they’re asking for…

Can these two lonely souls find magic together or will their secrets steal their chance of a happy Christmas?

Available from:

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Also available as part of LOVE IN A NEW WORLD…

Buy from Amazon / Kindle    

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They are falling in love for the first time. LOVE IN A NEW WORLD is now available! #NewAdult #romance

Woo-hoo! Today is the release day for LOVE IN A NEW WORLD, a collection of my New Adult Romances, most of them sci-fi, and one contemporary. They are all stories of finding love for the first time in the most unexpected places. I hope you will check out this set…

An alien prince, a farm girl, two university students from a small town, and more are all ready to begin their lives as adults. They have everything planned out. But when drastic events crush their dreams, they must carve a new path. And they just might find unexpected love along the way.

Includes these New Adult Romances: Beyond Reach, Accidental Romance, It Took a Zombie Apocalypse, Hey Santa, and bonus story Alien Kisses at Midnight

Now available in ebook from:

Buy from Amazon / Kindle    

AMAZON US | UK | Canada | Germany | Australia

**The ebook is on sale for $2.99 through August 7, 2017.
On August 8, 2017, it will go up to its regular price $3.99.

Also available in paperback:

Buy from CreateSpace Buy from Amazon Amazon UK square  Buy from Barnes & Noble 

In my First Chapter Friday posts, I have been sharing the first chapters, or extended excerpts from the stories included in this collection. You can find them here to learn more about the stories…

BEYOND REACH

ACCIDENTAL ROMANCE

IT TOOK A ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE

HEY, SANTA – coming this Friday

Missy and RJ’s First Kiss. #1stChFriday from IT TOOK A ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE #romance #NewAdult

It’s time for another First Chapter Friday where I share the first chapter or up to 1,500 words from a different story each week. Sometimes, the selection will have a sale attached to it, and other times a new release, or just because it’s a story I love. Happy reading!


The sixth book featured in First Chapter Friday is IT TOOK A ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE. (This book is not divided into chapters, but three sections, so here’s over 2,000 words from the first section titled The Kiss.) This story is available now on its own, but will also be available in my LOVE IN A NEW WORLD New Adult Romance box set which releases July 31, 2017. Enjoy!

IT TOOK A ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE

by Jessica E. Subject

Part I: The Kiss

RJ strolled through the booths at the fun fair. Another gathering where people either glared at him or pretended he didn’t exist. Growing up in West Vitula, one would think he’d be used to it. But a lifetime of not being welcome in the small town never came easy. Why couldn’t his father have secured a position at a hospital in Ostrander, only an hour away?

Women stood behind rows of wooden tables, selling pies, bread, and jams to other women. Some men gathered in various groups, drinking beer from plastic glasses and telling recycled stories from their youth or checking out the college girls who had returned for the summer. Just as RJ had come to do. Yet, he hadn’t seen anyone worth his time. If not for the anniversary of his mother’s death, he would have stayed away from this town and insisted his father take some time off to visit him.

Kids ran from games to rides to carts selling cotton candy and candy apples, spending their parents’ money like it would never run out. But the longest line was for a booth at the very end of the park. Males of all ages, from kindergarteners to seniors who needed a walker to travel ten feet, lined up in front of a hand-painted sign reading $5 for a kiss, and beside the words, a pair of bright red lips.

RJ bypassed the line to see who was so in demand with the male population. Sidney Flowers, former captain of the cheerleading squad and all-around bitch. The disgusted look she gave the crowd after she’d kissed various men on the cheek proved she hadn’t changed. Yet, no one in line seemed deterred. Only him.

No way did he crave the touch of the girl who’d falsely accused him of killing his own mother and sending his father to the psych ward. All because RJ had caught Sidney helping her boyfriend cheat on a test. Though the rest of the school knew his mother had been killed on the highway by a drunk driver, they seemed to like her version of the story better.

He turned away. He wouldn’t pay a penny to receive a kiss from anyone in this town. Well, except one girl, but he hadn’t seen her yet this summer, not since two years prior when she’d left for Cremshaw without a backward glance.

***

“Melissa Ruth Smith, I insist you come back here at once.”

Missy rolled her eyes as she stormed away from her father. The man had helped her celebrate her twenty-first birthday yesterday—with a simple birthday cake and a glass of wine—yet still treated her like a child. “It’s to help Billy and the band, remember?” she shouted over her shoulder. “That’s why I came home.” Though she wished she hadn’t. Not with only two weeks off between her summer classes and fall term.

“But, the kissing booth?” Her father rushed to keep up with her. “Jesus wouldn’t approve.”

The religion card. What a surprise. “Jesus wouldn’t approve of half the shit that goes on in this town, especially how you treated that family next door.” She spun around and faced her father with her hands on her hips. “And you certainly haven’t been struck down yet.”

“Missy, please don’t talk to your father like that.” Her mother hooked an arm through hers and paraded her closer to the booth she was scheduled to volunteer at. “It’s just, aren’t you concerned about the germs? The diseases you could catch?”

“C’mon, Mom. I’m just kissing them on the cheek.” She glanced over at Sidney who tapped her watch before kissing Old Man Samson on the small patch of cheek not covered by his fluffy white beard. “Besides, you asked me to come home and help with this fundraiser.”

“I know, but there are other things you could—”

“I’ve gotta go, Mom. Sidney’s waiting for me to take over.” Jogging over to the booth, Missy took her place beside the bench.

Sidney grabbed her purse and left without a word, no different than when they’d attended high school together. Hence, why Missy had fled West Vitula right after graduating high school. No one who stuck around seemed to change.

The line thinned out with the departure of her former classmate, but there were still plenty of cheeks to kiss and a plethora of greenbacks deposited into the jar, money that would help her brother and the rest of the band get to Nationals. And maybe they would see there was life beyond this backward town.

After numerous kisses, her lips burned. She reached into her pocket for her lip balm and took a break to apply it and let it soak in. When she glanced back at the line, everyone had disappeared. All the males except the one her parents would blow a gasket if she kissed. Which made her want to lay her lips on him even more.

***

“Fifty dollars for a kiss.” RJ held the bill and waved it across the counter. “It goes in the jar if I get a kiss from you.”

“I’d do it for five.” She pointed to the paper sign on the jar. “But if you’re willing to donate more, go ahead.”

He walked into the booth and sat on the bench. “You misunderstand me, Missy. I don’t want a peck on the cheek. I want a real kiss, your lips on mine.”

Her cheeks reddened, making her all the more adorable, and she stepped back. “I, um…. It’s not…. I can’t.”

“It’s one kiss.” He waved the money around again, enjoying her discomfort. “The same money you’d make kissing ten old guys with beards, or ten creeps who gawk at your cleavage when you bend over to kiss them.”

The flush on her face disappeared. Maybe he shouldn’t have included that last observation.

“Hey.” He needed her attention back on him. “One kiss, and you never know, you just might like it.”

“Really?” She placed a hand on his knee then waltzed in front of him with a confidence he’d never seen from her before. “You’re that confident of the power of those full brown lips, are you?”

Before he had the chance to think of a response, she snatched the bill from his hand, leaned between his spread legs, and kissed him. He barely had a chance to close his mouth when it was all over.

“Thank you so much for your support.” Missy curtsied then stuck the money into the collection bottle.

RJ gripped the bottom of the bench, trying to process the fact the kiss had already happened. He’d hoped for so much more.

“Another.” He stood and yanked his wallet from his back pocket. “I’ll give you one hundred dollars if I can kiss you.” Yanking the bill from inside the leather fold, he held it out in front of him to prove he was good for it.

“Now, that’s against the rules.”

Her jaw shifted to the side, but when she tilted her head, he hoped she was actually considering his proposition.

RJ hopped off the bench and took a tentative step forward. He’d didn’t want her to automatically say no. “You know I’ve never played by the rules. Why would I start now?”

With a laugh, Missy playfully pushed on his chest. “You’re trouble, RJ. And you’re looking to get me into trouble with you.”

Returning to the stool, he stared into her crystal-blue eyes and smiled. She hadn’t said no. “Just a kiss.” He nodded to a patch of bushes with a bench set amongst them. “No one will see us over there.”

“Is that brown boy bothering you, Missy?”

The twang in the woman’s voice bothered RJ more than her reference to the color of his skin.

“No, Shelley.” Missy turned her back to him. “He was just leaving.”

“Good.” Shelley, another of their classmates, sized up the jar of money. “’Cause we don’t need his cash. We’re doing fine here without it.”

The punch to the gut that used to come with such ignorant comments never came. Some people refused to change, especially in this town. But he’d always believed Missy to be different. Maybe he’d been wrong.

“Are you taking over for me, then?” she asked Shelley.

“Yeah, your dad followed me around for the last fifteen minutes to make sure I was here on time. He was really freaking out about your kissing guys on the cheek.”

RJ walked away. He’d been dismissed. And if Missy’s father was that upset, he was probably waiting with disinfectant or something.

No, there was nothing good about coming back to West Vitula for the summer. His dad still worked the same long hours, so except for the day spent together on the anniversary of his mother’s death, RJ was spending his summer alone.

“Wait!”

He turned with the hope Missy was talking to him for some reason.

And she was, standing right in front of him. She grabbed the money he still held in his hand. “You forgot to put this in the jar.” Without giving him a chance to question her, she jogged back to the booth and shoved it through the glass bottleneck.

Did that mean he was going to get his kiss?

***

Missy raced back to RJ, grabbing his hand then pulling him toward the alcove in the bushes he’d pointed out earlier. She only had a couple of minutes before her father would be breathing down her neck again.

No, if she was to have anyone’s breath on her neck, she wanted it to be RJ’s. After he’d finished kissing her. Or maybe during. But, if her parents caught her lip to lip with him, she’d be dead. At least grounded until she left for Cremshaw again. They still believed her to be a good girl, pure until she married. No way would she confess she’d lost her virginity to a guy she didn’t even know. Still didn’t, only the smell of his cologne. And she’d said RJ’s name in the middle of sex with the stranger. That’s when the guy up and left, leaving her in the dorm bathroom to get dressed before someone else walked in.

She’d crushed hard on her neighbor for years but never had the courage to go against her parents’ expectations until she’d left home.

Sitting on the bench, she pulled him down beside her. “This is long overdue.” She fisted the front of his shirt and leaned into him, closing her eyes. His warm, minty breath met her lips before his soft skin. She nearly melted at the contact, unable to pull away.

What started as a gentle, sweet ballet of a kiss quickly turned into a frantic lambada. Missy clung to him, desperate for more. She straddled his lap, pushing against him. Why had she waited so long to act on her feelings for him? She’d had plenty of opportunities to be alone with him. Yet, what her parents thought had always seemed to matter. Not anymore.

When he slid his hands under her shirt, she moaned, anxious to feel them all over her body.

“Get your hands off my daughter!”

Missy pushed off RJ and turned to face her mother. “I was just…. We….”

“There is no excuse for that brown boy to have his meaty hands on you.” Her mother pursed her lips as if she’d sucked on a lemon. “Get away from him right now.”

“No.” Missy reached for RJ’s hand and intertwined her fingers with his. Her heart beat hard as she stood up to her mother for the first time. “I won’t. I’m an adult now, and I can spend my time with whomever I want.”

“Melissa Ruth, how dare you talk to me like that.” Her mother thumped her hands onto her hips and glared, the woman’s signature move when she was angry. “Your father is going to hear about this.”

“Good.” And maybe they’d let her go back to Cremshaw early, far away from this shithole of a town. She’d definitely outgrown West Vitula, but not her feelings for RJ.

Their first kiss. Read extended excerpt from IT TOOK A ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE #1stChFriday #romance Click To Tweet

About IT TOOK A ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE:

Home for the summer, RJ heads to the annual fun hair to see if his hot neighbor has also returned from university. When he spots her at the kissing booth, he can’t believe his luck. But even though she never spewed racial slurs at him like the rest of the community, will she grant him a kiss?

Missy is tired of the blatant prejudice she’s seen all her life. If not for her brother’s plea for help, she never would have returned to the small town of Ostrander. When the guy she’s had a crush on since grade school asks for a kiss, she knows it will piss of her parents and leave the entire town talking.

After one kiss, RJ wants another, but a sudden zombie outbreak puts him and Missy on the run. To stay alive, they must learn who they can trust. And even if they can trust each other.

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Available as part of LOVE IN A NEW WORLD July 31, 2017.
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