Emerge, Book One(The Evolve Series)(10)

By: S.E. Hall

“Yessss?” Am I flirting?

“Can we pretend you’re really mine, just mine, Evan Mitchell Allen’s, at least for tonight?”

I think of the gentle hand on my cheek, the soft then rougher kiss, the protection from Matt, the #14 on his back every week, the Disney movie marathons, and I say, without a doubt in my mind, “with pleasure.”

The smile that spreads across his face and the fist pump I doubt he realizes he’s just thrown assure me I should feel as good about my answer as I do. At least for tonight…is that all I want? All he wants? I refuse to overanalyze right now; this is new, overwhelming, and exhilarating…I’m just gonna ride this wave without worrying; there’s a first time for everything.

I’m not sure which of us sets the pace for the walk back, but neither speeds it up. Once back, still hand in hand, I immediately notice that Kaitlyn is slow dancing with Matt, so she’s definitely way past drunk, or maybe he used a better line on her. Whatever. As long as I can see his hands, I’ll let her enjoy herself. Evan nudges me, so I look up.

“Dance with me?” Evan asks with an eyebrow raised and sexy plea in his eyes.

It’s “Big Green Tractor” by Jason Aldean in the background; we both love this song. I nod.

Evan sings the song softly in my ear as we dance. He has no idea what a good singer he is, and apparently my body just received the memo tonight as well. All the times we’ve cruised around together, singing at the top of our lungs, or played iPods while we fished…it did not have this effect on me. Why oh why could this not be the longest song ever written???

When the song ends, Evan guides us to settle in on staggered bales. Evan sits behind me and I lean back between his legs. He’s pressed against my back and his hands rest on my shoulders, hanging over slightly. His pinky moves up and down the outside of my arm, lightly, but I feel it.

Oh, do I feel it.

Turning my head to look back at him, I give him a smile. His own reflects back to me as much happiness as I’m feeling. It always feels good being around Evan, but something has shifted and now it feels even better. Consumed by these new stirrings and the cover of the night sky, I’m emboldened. I place my hand on his thigh and pull his leg in until it’s tight against me, hearing his sharp intake of breath. His body stiffens for a moment and then relaxes with his exhale.

“How long are we staying?” I ask quietly.

“We can leave whenever you’re ready. I’m only here because you are.” He tucks my hair behind one ear as he says it and I’ve never felt more feminine in my life.

“I’ll be right back,” I say as I get up to go wrangle Kaitlyn home.

I secure a ride for Matt, who again apologizes for his earlier behavior, probably because he and Kaitlyn think it’d be a great idea for her to ride with them; which I respond to with a laughing “hell no.”

Holding Kaitlyn up as we wait for Evan to bring the truck proves to be a challenge and I wonder how I’ll get her past my dad. Her rancid breath is really testing the duties of friendship right now…and if she pukes in Evan’s truck, Lord help her.

“Laney, did you have fun?!” Kaitlyn shrieks from the backseat when we’re finally loaded.

“I actually had one of the best nights of my life. Thanks for making me go,” I tell her, casting a sidelong glance at Evan. So worth it; the smile on his face as he reaches for my hand is one I will never forget.

“Me too, beautiful. Me too.”


Hit or Miss


This is a huge risk, but it’s one I’m willing to take. Ever since I finally kissed Laney Jo Walker, fantasy and reality collided, and my two worlds will never be separate again. I’ve dreamed of kissing her since I was ten years old. I knew I’d never be the same when and if it ever happened. It isn’t.

Girls seem to throw themselves at you when you play ball, and temptation has gotten the better of me a time or two, but it’s never taken more than a couple days for the comparisons to mount up and my total focus to return to her, even if she’s oblivious to how I feel. She’s finally coming around and I have to push forward and never let her backtrack.

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