More by Clare James
One chance to forget the past.
One opportunity to make things right.
There’s no denying the heat between Jules Taylor and Foster Sutton. They are two wild souls with a fire burning inside. Together, they create a hot and dangerous mix of emotion and lust.
But after a terrible accident leaves one friend dead, Foster is bound by a secret that keeps him from getting closer to Jules. And he’s left with only one thing to offer her – friendship.
For Jules, her relationship with Foster is getting old. He falls down and she picks him up, but they never move forward. Their occasional hook-ups are no longer enough, and Jules vows that this is her summer to forget Foster and find love. If it were only that easy.
It seems fate is pushing Jules and Foster together at every turn. And it’s only a matter of time before they give up and give in.
MORE is the highly anticipated companion story to BEFORE YOU GO. It can also be read as a stand-alone book.
I bite my lip when his tattoo peeks out from under his shirt. Yes, it is completely cliché. And yes, I do look like some kind of B-list porn star lusting after this man and going into heat every time he shows a little skin. But seriously, he is that delicious.
Sweet Mother Mary, help me.
Deep black ink spreads across Foster’s toffee-colored skin along his lower left ab. I was with him when he got it—a tribal eagle. It’s an important symbol for the Ojibwe people. Foster’s people. Though he’s never really embraced his roots, not even after his dad died in junior high, he’s trying to figure it out now. He’s trying to figure out a lot of things—usually over whiskey Cokes.
My eyes remain glued to his abs. It’s ridiculous, I know. Still, I can’t help it. Foster Sutton does this to me. Every. Fucking. Time.
I’ve been up close and personal with his markings of guilt on a few occasions. And guilt is precisely what I’m feeling now as I stand here drooling over Foster’s body. It’s more than a bit shady—gawking at him while he’s passed out—but I can’t tear my eyes away. Click—I take a mental picture and store it away for…later. I have a million photos of Foster in my brain file. None of them, however, quite capture this side of him. Or, this much of him.
His shirt is riding up and the fly of his jeans is open, telling me he tried to take off his clothes before passing out. But it looks like the booze won this time. He sent me a text from the bar about an hour ago, incoherent and needy—his telltale signs of being three sheets to the wind. Of course, I rushed right over.
When duty calls…
Foster sighs and his eyes flutter open.
“Come here, baby,” he says, reaching for me from a pool of drunkenness.
And I want to, believe me. Oh how I want to, but we’ve played this game too many times before, and what a girl needs is her dignity—not a purse holding her panties while she does the bull-legged walk of shame in broad daylight.
I skillfully avoid Foster’s grasping arms, knowing I just have to keep away from him for the next few minutes. He always gets a second wind right before passing out completely. Trouble is, I don’t want to stay away. I want to climb in bed and lick him like a Popsicle.
Dignity is overrated anyway.
I want to take away his pain—at least for a little while. But I’ve been trying to do that for the last two years and nothing changes. We never move forward. We never get back to that place we were before the accident. Before everything went to hell.
The thought helps me pull away from those delectable abs to get the supplies I need. When I move down the hall, I swear Foster is hissing at the sunray beating down on him. The afternoon light is annoying me as well. It’s glaring through the apartment as if to say, “Look around, woman! Look at this mess of an apartment, this mess of a man.”
I tell the bitchy sunbeam to zip her lip and then close the blinds in the tiny studio. Foster mumbles what I assume is a thank you from the futon. The sorry sack didn’t even wait until nighttime to hit the bar today. But it’s been months since I’ve had to play Nurse Jackie, so that has to be a good sign.
I grab his blanket from the floor and drape it over his body, covering that damn tattoo.
There, that’s a little better.
Foster’s place is a dump, but it’s close to campus and it’s all he could afford after Noah finally kicked him out last year. I don’t blame Noah in the least, Foster’s act is getting old. Even for me.
Sure, after the accident we all had our issues. It was a tough few years, but now Noah and I have Tabby in our lives, and I also have my friends at group who make me face my shit—a group Foster’s not a part of, obviously.
If he was, things might be better.
“Here, take this,” I tell him from the side of the bed, holding out three Advil and a glass of water.
Foster takes the water glass from my hand and sets it on the bedside table, but instead of taking the Advil, he grabs both my wrists and yanks me onto the bed. The pills fly through the air and he has me pinned under him in less than a second.
“I’d rather take you,” he growls in my ear.
This is exactly what I was afraid of. His eyes are bloodshot, hair disheveled, and he smells like cigarettes and whiskey. Doesn’t matter, he’s still hot as Hades. This is the one area of his life where he knows exactly what he’s doing—and though I have, on occasion, reaped the benefits from his sexual prowess, it still pains me to know how he got it.
Foster runs the back of his hand along my cheek, and I swear I see the guy I fell in love with back in high school. The kind, funny, impossibly gorgeous—Foster.
“I’ve missed you, Jules,” he whispers.
Instantly, my traitorous body responds. It cares nothing about dignity.
“Me too,” I tell him with a lump in my throat, because I have missed him. I’ve missed this.
“Maybe we could try again.” There’s pain in his eyes. “Maybe I could change.”
He brushes his lips across mine, an apology for so many things that have gone wrong.
“Maybe,” I say into his mouth unable to move my greedy body away.
I love the weight of him on me—the pressure, the heat. Foster’s mouth finds my neck and he nips and bites his way down to my collarbone, while I turn completely liquid.
My hands trail along his sides, under his shirt. He groans at my touch before meeting my eyes. His chestnut hair falls into his face and obscures his beautiful eyes. His locks have grown and it’s too long, too incredibly sexy. I fist my hand in it, pulling his mop away from those amber pools. I love when his eyes light up like this, almost glowing. It makes me feel like I’m the one who put the sparkle in them. It makes me want to do almost anything to keep it there.
His fingertips slide under my tank and I whimper at his touch.
Then his mouth plunders mine. His tongue parts my lips, demanding attention. I let him kiss me because I hope his words hold some truth to them this time. I hope he can change and we can start over, but I’m not convinced he wants to. Not yet anyway.
Foster senses my hesitation. And in a blink, I feel him go back to the empty shell he’s become. He continues kissing me, but the sweetness is gone now. His hands move under my shirt, but they feel like a stranger’s. I roll over on top of him and grab his face in my hands, trying to reach him again. I search and search, trying to find the old Foster, the real Foster.
Dragging my shirt over my head, he pulls me in. Skin on skin. There are almost sparks on contact. Our bodies know what to do, even when our heads aren’t in the game. Soon we are diving into each other, maybe both trying to forget. Trying to get lost in each other.
This is usually the point he passes out, but there’s no sign of that now. He’s frantic—touching, kissing, pulling, grasping.
I help him take my pants off and he pins me again under his weight.
And just as I’m falling into the moment and into him, he nestles my neck and says, “You feel amazing, Ash.”
All the air in the room has been sucked out. I can’t breathe. He’s screwed it up again. I can’t believe it. My heart almost stops and my fists clench, ready for a fight.
He actually called me by the wrong name. The. Wrong. Fucking. Name.
So I do the only thing I can. I knee the asshat in the balls.
Jesus, forgive me, for I know not what I do.
Scratch that, I do and it feels damn good.
While Foster’s grunting from the fetal position, I push off him with an ache that runs the length of me—head to toe. I pound my fists in his back for good measure.
“You ruin everything, you asshole.” I let a few tears escape. It doesn’t matter, not like he’ll remember any of this tomorrow.
“Wait,” he sits up, flinching. “Don’t go.”
I shake my head and put my pants back on, unable to look at him now. I grab my sweater and pull on my boots, fighting the overwhelming urge to throw them at his head.
“You ruin everything,” I say again before walking out the door. “Everything.”
I stomp down the hallway, leaving a fiery wake.
I suppose it could be worse; I could be toting my panties in my purse.
About the Author
Clare James spent her childhood writing, reading, and dancing. Not much has changed since then, except she can no longer get up on toe shoes like she once could. And don’t even ask her to go into the splits because she may never get back up.
A new adult and contemporary romance writer, Clare loves a happy ending. She lives in Minneapolis with her two leading men—her husband and young son. BEFORE YOU GO and MORE are her new adult novels.