Emerge, Book One(The Evolve Series)(8)

By: S.E. Hall

“Not a chance in hell, Jones. I got her.”

There’s Evan with that perfect timing again. There was zero chance I was getting drunk tonight, but I’m glad to have the back up. Not to mention, Evan’s now spoken twice!

“Damn, Evan, lighten up, dude. Laney needs to have some fun,” Parker argues.

Evan says nothing back; he simply puts his hand at the small of my back and leads me to the wagon. I’m not sure what’s going on with him tonight, but I hope it ends soon. Evan’s very seldom in a bad mood, and I never don’t know why, or how to fix it. I’m so getting to the bottom of this.

The wagon takes off, and as we get lower and lower in the valley, I get more anxious for the actual bonfire; I always get cold easily. Sitting beside me, Evan takes off his letter jacket and drapes it around my shoulders. Even more than the warmth, I enjoy the manly scent that is signature Evan and flush. Oh my God, did I just inhale out loud? Judging from Evan’s low chuckle, I did. Nice.

More than Evan’s weird mood, what is going on with me tonight? I’m at a party, I’m dressed like a Kaitlyn-bot, and now I’m audibly sniffing my best friend’s jacket? MM should be handing me a membership application any minute now. I do a count in my head; nope, not premenstrual…

Not a second too soon, we arrive at the back pasture and the ride stops. Evan unloads ahead of me and he turns, putting his arms out, ready to catch me. He gives me a smile that causes my breath to catch and says, “come on, let’s live a lil.”

So I do what any girl who has a gorgeous, all-American boy waiting with his arms out would do…I jump.


This party is actually pretty fun and I like almost everyone here. Kaitlyn has obviously nominated herself the non-designated driver. She’s chugging drinks down and flirting with every guy here, including Evan. I’m happy just sitting on my bale by the fire actually giggling a bit at her, when Matt Davis quickly slides in the empty spot Evan left in search of some non-barley based drinks for us.

“Hey, Laney. To what do we owe the honor?” Matt slurs.

“You don’t owe me anything, but I’m flattered you consider it an honor,” I retort, with a snap in my voice. I’m not oblivious to the fact that Matt has always had a “thing” for me, one I do not reciprocate. I’ve often wondered if he’s the culprit behind the creepy notes, but he’s had an alibi on too many occurrences.

“You want a drink?”

“No thanks, Matt. How are you getting home tonight?” He’s not a completely bad guy and I for sure don’t want to see him hurt.

“I don’t know. Wanna gimme a ride?”

“I didn’t drive tonight.”

“That’s okay; you can still give me a ride.”

Oh, isn’t he clever? His drunken innuendo doesn’t warrant a response and it’s not the right time for Evan to walk up, I assure you. Matt’s legs are dangling in the air before I even register it completely, as he’s lifted by his shirt collar in one of Evan’s huge hands.

“You’ve got five seconds to apologize to the lady,” Evan growls.

“Geez, sorry, Laney, I was just kidding,” Matt musters insincerely.

I don’t tell him it’s okay, because it’s not, but I do say, “put him down, Ev, so not worth it.”

“You sure, Laney? Your call.”

“Yes, I’m sure, Brutus. Put him down and let’s take a walk?” I don’t have to ask him twice. Matt’s flat on his ass and Evan’s at my side in a flash. Walking away for a little breather, I latch my arm through his. “What’s up with you?” I nudge him.

He shrugs. What’s this? Evan never broods. He’s my rock, my Mr. Grain of Salt.

“Evan, it was no big deal. Just a drunk comment by a boy scorned. Why are you stressing over it?”

“I can’t stand the way he talks to you. Not to mention, he’s always staring at you and talking about you; he’s obsessed. I don’t like it one damn bit, I’m on to him. If I find out he’s the one stalking you…” He runs his hand through his hair and blows out a breath. “I’ll kill him.”

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