I’m so excited to share the first unedited chapter from my upcoming book, Beautiful Defiance. Beautiful Defiance is a mature high school, new adult romance. Release date is August 16th, but this baby will probably be releasing a month early. The MS goes to my editor in a week. Happy reading!
Chapter One: Leigh
I disliked him the moment I saw him on that first day of school. He is everything I detest in a guy. Arrogance. Power. Influence. An ego the size of the Pacific Ocean.
Seven Shanahan is all of that and more with the cocky smirk on his face and the way he struts down the hall, flanked by his friends. He and his friends, Trace and Malice, are gods at Cambridge High, where ninety percent of the student body is loaded.
Well, their parents are anyway.
Trust fund kids. Spoiled. Impressionable. Tolerant of the jerks at the top of the food chain. Seven and his friends keep everyone in line from their perch, wearing their black and yellow letterman jackets as a symbol of their high school royalty status.
From my vantage point behind the open door of my locker, I sneak a glance at the stars of Cambridge High’s football team, Mayhem. Seven Shanahan, quarterback. Trace Saints, wide receiver. Malice Sterling, offensive lineman.
The guys are similar in looks with their chiseled jawline, dark tousled hair under their backward baseball caps, and intense eyes framed by thick brows and fringed with long lashes that could give any girl lash envy. They are also equal in height, six-feet, give or take a half inch.
Seven and Trace are lean but not lanky. Their clothes mold to their bodies like a second skin, showcasing their wide shoulders, muscular arms, broad chests and washboard abs. Malice fits his lineman position. He is bulk and muscle, a human bulldozer.
The jockholes are a photographer’s cover model dream come true. It’s a shame the “model” part doesn’t extend to their behavior. Be different from them or challenge their established social hierarchy and there’s a guarantee you’ll be public enemy number one.
I hold my textbooks to my chest and close my locker.
No matter which high school I’m sent to, the halls are chocked full of the same cliques. Jocks. Nerds. Stoners. Gang bangers. It’s so universal, it’s laughable. There are also the same kinds of guys and girls. Nice. Mean. Smart. Funny. Blessed with good looks, or not.
Seven and his teammates amble down the hall toward me. I look away but too late, my resting bitch face catches Seven’s attention.
“What you staring at, Safari?” He sneers.
Safari? Okay, I can see how he’s interpreting my outfit as such. There’s a red bandana around my neck, tied at the ends. And I’m wearing a buttoned-up, long-sleeved white shirt half-tucked into tiki brown cargo pants. Not to mention my boots are professional grade—sturdy, leather and steel-toed.
“Nothing. I’m looking at nothing.” I blow at the nails I’ve painted a mustard yellow. The color clashes nicely with my favorite shade of lipstick—Fatal Plum.
He looks me up and down and flashes straight white teeth, his sneer doing nothing to lessen how good-looking he is in this confusing mix of menacing and holy hotness kind of way. I swear the girls loitering nearby sigh with longing.
“Did you peg me as a nobody?”
The conversations around us stop. The other students stare. My stomach knots. If we weren’t on full display, I’d run for the nearest bathroom and hurl my breakfast into the garbage bin.
But we are the center of attention and I can’t waver. If I show an ounce of weakness, I’ll give a jerk like Seven the power to hurt me. I’m done with hurting. What I’m not done with is putting up a brave front and fighting an equal grounds fight.
“You’re a good for nothing nobody.” I make it clear what I think of him and his you’re-dirt-beneath-my-expensive-sneakers attitude.
Boys like Seven and his friends are a dime a dozen where I grew up until the mention of a paternity suit landed me in the rich farm town of Cambridge, Washington.
Here, away from the housing developments and the sly grins of my foster brothers, I can spread my wings, inhale the crisp, clean air, and find purpose for my existence.
Now, I just need to extract myself from the crosshairs of Seven Shanahan’s attentions. Damn it, I should have looked away quicker. We are two weeks into the school year and from the hardened gleam in his dark as coal eyes, he plans on punishing me for mouthing off.
I’m right. He leans in and whispers near my ear, “Watch your back, Safari. I’ll take a chunk out of you if you’re not careful.”
I’m on the edge of clucking my tongue and sassing him, but for the sake of not calling further attention to myself, I shrug and shove past him and his friends. I expect him to punish me but not so soon.
He sticks out his foot. I trip and fall forward, landing on my hands and knees. Books go flying. Papers fall from my notebook. Male laughter echoes off the walls. I glance over my shoulder and glare at him, refusing to wince or cry out in pain. He rolls his eyes and mimes giving a blowjob.
I grit my teeth. So be it. Seven Shanahan, this means war.