Fragile

By: M. Leighton


Her heart, as delicate as glass. His love, as strong as steel. Can either survive life and death?



Hardy Bradford is an eighteen year old football phenomenon who has the girl, the school, the town and the future in the palm of his hand. His life is all mapped out for him, right down to who he’ll marry and how he’ll become a professional football player. It doesn't seem to matter that Hardy would’ve chosen a much different life if it was up to him. But it's not. At least not until his miracle comes along.



The first time Hardy laid eyes on Miracle St. James, he didn’t know who she was, but he knew she was something different and that he’d never get her out of his head. And he didn’t. Now, months later, Hardy’s world is turned upside down when Miracle shows up in his class, stealing his heart and forever changing the course of his life.



Miracle’s sick. Very sick. And Hardy might be losing the only thing in his life that has ever mattered. How much is too much to sacrifice for the one you love? For just a little more time? For just one more chance? Can Hardy be the hero Miracle needs? Or is it Hardy that needs saving?





CHAPTER ONE



May



Hardy tried once more to block out the incessant giggling of the cheerleaders, but again, it proved impossible. Absently, he wondered how he’d been wrangled into bringing his girlfriend to a photo shoot, but then he remembered the tool of persuasion she’d used and he answered his own question.

Just then, Cheyenne tossed a coy smile over her shoulder, her sparkling blue eyes meeting his for the briefest of moments before she turned her attention back to her cohorts. Hardy knew she’d done it partly to tease him and partly to make sure he was watching her. She was incredibly vain like that, something he’d struggled to tolerate for three long years. Although she was one of the most beautiful creatures he’d ever seen, it never got any easier to endure Cheyenne and her abominable ego.

Gritting his teeth, Hardy forced his lips to curve up into the fake smile he’d worn for going on six months, ever since he realized how ill-suited he and Cheyenne really were. Lately, he had to continually remind himself he could end things with her after his senior football season.

Just a few more months, he thought.

Until then, Hardy didn’t want to change anything and risk throwing off his game. His entire future was riding on his football scholarship to LSU, and never a day went by that his father didn’t remind him there was nothing more important in life at this point.

With that in mind, Hardy reassured himself that he could put up with her unparalleled beauty, her insatiable sex drive and her iron-clad ambition for one more year.

“Is there any way you girls could perform one of your routines so I could get some good action shots?” the photographer asked, directing his question to Cheyenne.

Hardy knew what her answer would be before she gave it. Cheyenne loved performing even more than she loved having her picture taken, which was a lot.

“Of course,” Cheyenne answered, waving her hand dismissively, the gesture belying the excitement he knew she felt at having more eyes trained on her. Whether there were two people around or two hundred, nearly every eye within viewing distance of Cheyenne found their way to her. Not only was she the captain of the squad and the focal point of nearly every cheer and dance they performed, Cheyenne was also drop-dead gorgeous. She was always the center of attention and the majority of people were instantly fascinated by her.

Hardy snickered inwardly. Most of them just didn’t know what she was really like.

Hardy watched her hips sway inside her short skirt as Cheyenne made her way to the iPod docking station she’d brought. Her nimble fingers worked the lighted screen of her phone for a few seconds before she bent over and dropped it into the designated slot. She didn’t bother bending at the knees, happily displaying her “reddies” as she called them to Hardy where he sat in the grass behind her. When she straightened, she winked quickly in his direction before scampering back to the pack of vicious she-wolves she called cheerleaders.

Although his body twitched in response to the display, Hardy still couldn’t bring himself to sit through another of the routines he’d seen dozens of times already. Waiting for Cheyenne to glance once more in his direction, Hardy signaled to her that he’d be back and then moved quickly away. He couldn’t wait to escape the area cordoned off for the squad and head for the peace and quiet of the main park area.

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