Authors: Lexi Ryan
Tags: #novella, #prequel, #new hope, #indiana fiction, #new adult romance, #lexi ryan, #unbreak me, #wish i may
by Lexi Ryan
Copyright 2013 Lexi Ryan
Copyright © 2013 by Lexi Ryan
All rights reserved. Without limiting the rights
under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be
reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or
transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical,
photocopying, recording or otherwise) without the prior written
permission of the copyright owner and the publisher of this book,
excepting brief quotations used in reviews.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places,
brands, media and incidents are either the product of the author’s
imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual
events, locales, organizations, businesses or persons, living or
dead, is entirely coincidental.
Ebook License Notes:
This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment
only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people.
If you would like to share this book with another person, please
purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you're reading
this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your
use only, then please purchase your own copy. Thank you for
respecting the authors’ work.
Cover © 2013 Sarah Hansen, Okay Creations
Interior Design by E.M. Tippetts
Editing by Rhonda Helms and Editing 720
For all my readers who loved Will and Cally
and wanted to read more. This is their beginning and it’s for
New Hope Series
Stolen Wishes: A Prequel Novella
Wish I May
Hot Contemporary Romance
Accidental Sex Goddess
Stiletto Girls Novels
Flirting with Fate
Decadence Creek Stories and Novellas
Just One Night
Just the Way You Are
“Come on, sweetheart.” Kenny Riles edges
forward, his snickering minions close behind. “I’ll give you fifty
dollars for a hand job. That’s twice what I paid your mom.”
I wrap my arms around myself, blaming the
chill in the early spring night for the shivers running through me.
I came to the dark stadium to be alone. Now, I’m wishing I had a
friend with me. Hanna to wrap her arm around my shoulders, or Lizzy
to crack a joke about the size of Kenny’s dick before telling him
to fuck off. The guys smell like beer, cigarettes, and a dangerous
lack of inhibition.
Kenny’s eyes sweep over me greedily. “You
ain’t out here for nothing. You’re looking to suck a little dick,
ain’t you? Let’s see if you’re as good as your mom.”
The sound of footsteps—a fast and noisy
hustle up the bleachers—has me pulling my gaze away from Kenny’s
I can make him out in the moonlight—a figure
in a hooded sweatshirt and athletic shorts running up the bleachers
and down the steps, up the bleachers, down the steps, zigzagging
his way closer and closer to us.
I’ve never been so grateful to see a jock in
“I’ll pass.” I try not to let him hear how
his words affect me. But fear lodges in my throat, making the words
smaller than I intended.
Kenny grabs my hand.
The clanking of feet on bleachers stops, and
silence seems to echo through the stadium. “Get your fucking hands
off the girl, Riles,” the jock calls, coming toward us.
“What? She your girlfriend?” Kenny asks.
“When did you start slummin’ it, Bailey?”
Bailey? William Bailey.
Rich kid, golden boy, quarterback. And so
very much the object of my fantasies. Really, universe? You
couldn’t have put
else here to witness my
“Does she have to be my girlfriend for you
to understand what
means?” William asks. He’s
closer now, his face dark and glowering.
“I’m just giving the girl some business, but
I guess if you’re her customer tonight, we’ll get out of your
Hate boils up in my stomach, and I have to
close my eyes. I can’t look at William when this guy is implying
such horrible things about me. I’m too scared to see his face, too
afraid he might believe them.
“Come on, guys. Let’s get out of here.”
Kenny and his guys exchange a few grunts and stomp away down the
I inhale deeply for the first time in
several long minutes and force myself to look at William.
“Are you okay?” He comes closer and pulls
the hood from his head. His smile is cautious, worried. I can
almost make out the warm blue of his eyes in the moonlight.
My stomach flips. Everyone in this town
knows who William Bailey is. He’s smart and popular and beautiful.
Everything I’m not. “I was just leaving,” I lie.
“You’re Cally Fisher, right?”
surprises me. We have one class
together—third hour French—but he’s always busy chatting with his
friends. I never thought he noticed me. “Yeah…”
“I’ve watched you.”
I raise a brow. “You’ve
“Wow. Not like that.” He chuckles and runs a
hand through his hair. He has these unruly blond curls girls go mad
over, present company included. “Now I sound like a bigger creep
than Kenny, don’t I? I’ve
you. You walk by the river a
lot. I worry about you. You’re always alone and it’s always after
“I like the stars,” I answer, then
immediately wish I’d kept the childish words to myself.
He shoves the sleeves of his hoodie up to
his elbows as he scans the empty stadium. “Me too, but you
shouldn’t be out here alone.”
That grin is back, and I feel like the
luckiest girl in the world to have it aimed at me. Stupid but true.
“Well, thanks for your help with the asshole
squad. I appreciate it.” I make myself head down the steps. After
the day I’ve had, another ounce of kindness from him and I’m bound
to make a fool of myself.
As soon as my feet hit the pavement at the
foot of the bleachers, he’s beside me.
I shift awkwardly. “You can get back to your
workout or whatever.”
“I could. Or I could use my chauvinistic
concern for your welfare as an excuse to walk a pretty girl back to
My cheeks burn. We walk in silence for a
while, cutting across the dewy grass to get to Main Street, where
the street lamps illuminate his face and make me feel
self-conscious in my ratty old long-sleeve tee.
“So, do you want to talk about it, or would
you prefer we continue with the romantic silence?”
I think he might be flirting with me. Which
is just… No. There’s no way. This is William Bailey we’re talking
about. He can have any girl at our high school, and probably a
healthy handful of the girls at the university down the street.
“Talk about what, exactly?” I ask
“About Kenny? Or the reason you spend more
time after dark wandering around New Hope than at your house?”
“Kenny’s just a jerk.”
“Agreed. And the other?”
How do I explain my nighttime walks to a guy
who has everything? The stars winking at me from the sea of black
sky, the sound of the river, the whisper of the wind in the trees.
In the crisp air, when everything is cloaked in darkness, I feel
closer to the stars. No one needs me. No one sees me. No one taunts
me. Looking at the stars and wishing for something better isn’t
just something I enjoy. It’s necessary for my survival.
I wouldn’t expect him to understand
“I like wandering at night.” I shrug. I
don’t want to tell him about what drives me to seek haven in the
darkness. Mom, lost in her pills. Dad, nearly as oblivious, lost in
“You don’t have to wander alone, you know. I
mean, you shouldn’t. Guys like Kenny look for any excuse.”
My steps slow as we near the turn to my
house. “Thanks for your concern. I’ll see you around.” I turn the
corner, and he stays by my side as if I hadn’t just dismissed
I stop and prop my hands on my hips. I don’t
want him coming any farther. He lives in one of the restored brick
mansions near the center of town, and I’m too embarrassed for him
to see the ramshackle doublewide trailer that’s barely big enough
for my family. “Goodnight, William.”
“Oh, so you already know my name? I thought
you just didn’t care.”
knows your name. And
His eyes drop to my mouth.
My heart slams against my chest and I think
for one stupid minute that maybe he’s going to kiss me, but then he
takes my hand and tugs me toward my house. “Let me walk you home,
We amble slowly, as if neither of us really
wants to reach our destination, my body romanticizing every second
of this and buzzing with anticipation, while my pragmatic brain
frantically denies any possibility that this guy—this
freaking out of my league
guy—could possibly be attracted to
me. He takes me all the way to my front stoop, and I when I turn to
tell him goodbye, his gaze is on my mouth again.
My heart pounds in my chest. I’m nervous.
Like a kid on his first date.
Cally has the biggest eyes and the softest
lips. This isn’t the first time I’ve noticed. She’s in my French
class. She’s quiet and always looks a little alarmed when Madame
Layton expects her to speak.
“Thanks for humoring me,” I whisper.
“For letting me walk you home. I enjoyed
it.” I smile and squeeze her hand. Am I the only one who feels this
electric pulse of energy when our hands touch?
I wasn’t lying when I said I didn’t think
she cared who I was. She keeps to herself in class, her nose in a
book unless she’s whispering to the Thompson twins, who sit next to
her at the front of the room. I’ve spent weeks watching the way she
bites her lip as she takes notes. I know she lets that curtain of
thick, dark hair fall in her eyes when she’s trying to hide and
which friends make her face light up when she smiles.
And I know the rumors about her mom, which
were no doubt the reason Kenny and his crew were harassing her
My hackles are rising from me just thinking
about the asshole leaning toward her on the bleachers, grabbing her
hand. “Listen, about Kenny—”
“Don’t worry about him. It’s fine.”
“It’s not fine, and I won’t let him say
those things about you.”
She frowns. “Why do you care?”
Because I have a wicked crush on you.
Because I’ve seen you staring up at the night sky like you’re
looking for something you’ve lost, and I understand that more than
“Because Kenny’s an asshole.”
She laughs and her whole face lights up.
“You can say that again.”
I want to make her smile like that all the
time. “My friend Max is having a party tomorrow night. His parents
are out of town. Any chance I’ll see you there?” I hold my breath
while I wait for her answer. I shouldn’t have asked, but I can’t
help wanting to see her outside of school. I can’t help wanting a
chance to make her smile again.
“Cally? Who are you talking to out
I didn’t even hear the front door open, but
Cally’s mom is standing on the porch in a thin white nightgown
that’s damn near transparent in the porch light.
Cally tenses and pulls her hand from mine.
“Mom, go inside. You’re not decent.”
Her mom looks down as if she needs the
reminder of what she’s wearing. “He’s cute. Is he your boyfriend?”
Her words are just slurred enough that I’m not sure if she’s drunk
or half asleep.
“No, he’s not.” Cally’s so emphatic I wince.
She turns to me. “I have to go.” Then she hustles to the porch,
wraps her arm around her mom and ushers her into the house.
Standing in the quiet night, I can hear
their muffled voices inside the house, but I can’t make out what
they’re saying. I’m starting toward home when I hear the porch
screen squeak open. I turn back, thinking Cally is trying to catch
me, that maybe she wants to say more, but then she sinks to the
stoop and looks up at the stars.
She’s not out here for me. She’s out here to
escape whatever is inside that house.
She has no idea how alike we are.
Kenny’s words have clung to me like tree sap
since he cornered me at the stadium. Thick and sticky and
impossible to ever completely remove. No matter how much I try to
scrub them away, their residue remains.