Taming Alex

By: Jill Sanders

Dedication





To all those good girls

out there

with a secret wild side…





Prologue



Alex stood in the grocery store. She looked up and down the aisles before slipping the small figurine into her coat pocket. Oh, she knew that stealing was wrong, but since God had taken away her mother a few months ago, she figured He owed her one. Besides, her ma had promised to buy the small horse for her on her seventh birthday. That day had come and gone last week. She'd prayed and prayed that her mother would get her the small metal horse from heaven somehow, but after she'd opened the last of her presents at her small birthday party and there was still no horse, she’d known exactly what she needed to do.

It was the first day of school, and she'd convinced Lauren to walk with her to the Grocery Stop after school. The Grocery Stop was Fairplay's only market, and was only a few blocks from their school. They had a whole hour to wait for their pa before he'd be able to come and pick them up.

Getting her sister to leave her alone in the aisle where the small statues sat in a large glass case took a lot of talking. Finally, Alex had told her big sister that she had to use the bathroom. When Lauren wanted to come into the small room with her, Alex had thrown a fit.

“I'm a big girl. I don't want you watching me.” She'd stood there with her hands on her hips, just like their ma used to do. Her sister finally told her that she'd wait for her at the front counter and left her alone. She waited in the bathroom long enough so that her sister could make it up front. Then she peeked out the crack of the door to make sure that she had disappeared. She tiptoed down the aisle and pocketed the horse smoothly. She hadn't counted on a hand dropping onto her shoulder.

“You aren't supposed to do that.”

Alex spun around to see Grant “Do-gooder” Holton standing behind her. Grant was the same age as Alex and had earned the nickname by being the town’s biggest tattletale. He thought that just because his daddy was the town’s hotshot lawyer that he had to tell everyone else what to do. All the other kids at school made fun of him about it.

Grant was a little taller than she was. Then again, almost everyone was taller than she was. Her mother had said that she was a small statue. Alex didn't know what that meant, but she wasn't happy that Haley, her little sister, was already taller than she was.

She looked across the aisle at Grant. He was chubby and wore glasses that were always sliding off his nose. He was always wearing his best church clothes, or so Alexis always thought, since she'd never seen him in a pair of jeans or a T-shirt, ever. His hair always looked like he had just combed it, and she had never seen him dirty.

Alex thought the glasses made him look smarter and desperately wished that she needed glasses so she would do better in math class, but the doctor had said she had perfect eyes. Grant’s hair was a shade darker than her own blonde, but his had a curl to it. She wished she had curly hair, since her hair was so thin it was hard to braid.

She wrapped her small fingers around the cool metal of the horse in her pocket. “I'm not giving it back.” She stomped her foot. “God owes it to me since he took my mama away.” Her eyes started to water up and her bottom lip quivered.

“Stealing is a sin. Besides, you can go to jail if they catch you.” His face started turning a darker shade of red. “I'm gonna have to tell.”

She reached out and grabbed his coat before he could walk away. “Don't you dare, Grant Holton.” She looked up at him and thought of a way out of this mess. “If…if you promise not to tell anyone…” Her little mind desperately reached for some means to hold him to a promise. “I promise…” He waited, his big blue eyes looking into hers, and she blurted out. “I'll let you kiss me.”

Grant's eyes got bigger behind his glasses. He thought about it a moment, then said, “For real?” He looked around.

What was it to her? She'd seen her ma and pa do it lots of times. She didn't see what all the fuss was about, since it looked sloppy and gross, but if it got Grant to shut up about the statue, she'd tolerate it.

She nodded her head her eyes and smiled. “Sure.”

“On the lips?” His head tilted as he waited.

“Why not? Is it a deal?”

Grant thought about it for another second, then nodded his head as he pushed up his glasses. When he took a step closer to her, she almost lost her nerve. Instead, she closed her eyes and puckered up her lips like she'd seen her mother do. When his lips touched hers she wanted to pull back and wipe her mouth off, but then something happened. She started to like it. His lips were soft and not wet, after all. They felt like feathers tickling her lips and she actually felt her feet and hands start to tingle.

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