Falling Away (Fall Away)

ISBN 13: 9780349405834

Falling Away (Fall Away)

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9780349405834: Falling Away (Fall Away)

K. C. Carter has always followed the rules-until she makes a mistake that leaves her the talk of her college campus and brings her carefully arranged life crashing to a halt. Now she's stuck in her small hometown for the summer so she can complete her court-ordered community service. To make matters worse, trouble is living right next door. Jaxon Trent is the worst kind of temptation and exactly what K. C. was supposed to stay away from in high school. But he never forgot her. She was the one girl who wouldn't give him the time of day and the only one to ever say no. Fate has brought K. C. back into his life-except what he thought was a great twist of luck turns out to be too close for comfort. As they grow closer, he discovers that convincing K. C. to get out from under her mother's shadow is hard, but revealing the darkest parts of his soul is nearly impossible.

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About the Author:

Penelope Douglas is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Fall Away series. She earned a bachelor's degree in public administration from the University of Northern Iowa and a master of science in education from Loyola University in New Orleans. Penelope lives in Las Vegas with her family.

Nelson Hobbs lives on the sand with a classical guitar in one hand and a glass of sangria in the other. His villa on the beach is lined wall-to-wall with a coveted library of romantic classics. His voice resonates in this paradise which has led to the natural transition to audiobook narrator.

Abby Craden is a professional actress and voice artist who can be heard in numerous TV and radio commercials, video games, and audiobooks. An AudioFile Earphones Award winner as well as an AudioFile Best Voice of 2012, Abby is an award-winning stage actress and a resident artist with the prestigious theater A Noise Within.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

PRAISE FOR
THE FALL AWAY SERIES

ALSO BY PENELOPE DOUGLAS

FALLING AWAY PLAYLIST

  

 

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

PROLOGUE

K.C.

Three whole years.

I’d had a boyfriend for three whole years, and I still had more orgasms when I was by myself.

“Damn, baby, you feel good.” His sleepy whisper felt wet on my neck as he dragged his lazy lips over my skin.

Packing. That was what I’d forgotten to add to my to-do list for tomorrow. It wasn’t likely I’d forget to pack for college, but everything needed to go on the list so it could be checked off.

“You’re so hot.” Liam’s fish lips tickled my neck in short, slow pecks. It once made me giggle, but now it kind of made me want to bite him.

And a pharmacy run, I remembered. I wanted to stock up on my pill so I wouldn’t have to worry about it for a while. Packing and the pharmacy. Packing and the pharmacy. Packing and the pharmacy. Don’t forget, K.C.

Liam thrust his hips between my legs, and I rolled my eyes.

We were still clothed, but I wasn’t sure he realized that.

If I weren’t so tired, I’d laugh. He rarely got drunk after all—tonight only because it was an end-of-summer bash. And although I’d never been overwhelmed with a desire for sex, I did love that he tried to jump my bones at every opportunity. It made me feel wanted.

But it just wasn’t happening tonight.

“Liam,” I grunted, twisting up my lips as I pushed his hand off my breast, “I think we’re done for the night, okay? Let’s lock up the car and walk to your house.”

We’d been in his car for over a half hour—me trying to indulge his fantasy of sex in risky places and him trying to . . . Hell, I didn’t even know what he was trying to do.

I felt guilty for not being more into it lately. I felt guilty for not helping him get into it tonight. And I felt guilty for making mental additions to my to-do list while he was trying—keyword, trying—to get it on with me.

We hadn’t made love in a long time, and I didn’t know what my problem was anymore.

His head sank into my shoulder, and I felt the weight of his hundred and eighty pounds collapse on my body.

He didn’t move, and I let out a sigh, relaxing into the passenger seat of his Camaro, my muscles burning from trying to support his body weight all this time.

He’d given up. Thank God.

But then I groaned, registering that his body had gone a little too still, except for the slow, soft rhythm of his breathing.

Great. Now he was passed out.

“Liam,” I whispered, not sure why, since we were completely alone in his car on a dark, quiet street outside my friend Tate Brandt’s house.

Arching my head up, I spoke into his ear that was nearly covered by his blond hair. “Liam, wake up!” I wheezed, since his weight was hindering my oxygen intake.

He moaned but didn’t budge.

I slammed my head back onto the headrest and ground my teeth together. What the hell was I going to do now?

We’d gone to the Loop tonight for the last race before college started next week and then Tate and her boyfriend, Jared Trent, had thrown a party at his house, which just happened to be right outside, next door to her place. I’d told my mom that I’d be sleeping over at her house when I was really planning on spending the night with my boyfriend.

Who was now passed out.

Tate’s house was locked, I didn’t know how to drive Liam’s car, and the last thing I was ever going to do was call my mother for a ride.

Reaching for the handle, I swung the car door open and pulled my right leg from under Liam. I pushed against his chest, raising him off me only as much as I needed to squirm out from underneath his body and stumble out of the car. He groaned but didn’t open his eyes, and I wondered if I should be worried about how much he’d had to drink.

Leaning in, I watched his chest rise and fall in quiet, steady movements. I grabbed the keys he’d dropped on the floor and my wrist purse with my cell phone and slammed the door shut, locking the car.

Liam didn’t live too far, and even though I knew it was a lot to ask, I was going to have to wake up Tate. If Jared was even letting her get any sleep at all.

I ran my hands down my strapless white summer dress and powered quietly down the sidewalk in my rhinestone sandals. Pretty dressed up for the race track earlier, but I wanted to look nice at the party. It was the last time I was going to see some of these people. For a while, anyway.

Squeezing my little purse—small enough for my phone and some money—in my hand, I traipsed up the small incline into Jared’s yard and up the front steps of his house. No light shone from inside, but I knew there had to be some people still here, since the street was littered with a few unfamiliar cars and I heard the low beat of music still pouring out. Lyrics saying something about “down with the sickness.”

I turned the knob, stepped into the house, and peered around the corner into the living room.

And stopped. Dead. What the . . . ?

The room was dark, not a single light showing other than the blue glow from the screen on the stereo.

Maybe there were other lights on in the house. Maybe there were other people still here. I couldn’t say.

All I could do was fucking stand there as my eyes stung, and a lump stretched my throat, at the sight of Jaxon Trent damn near naked on top of another girl.

I instantly looked away, closing my eyes.

Jax. I shook my head. No. I didn’t care about this. Why was my heart beating so fast?

Jaxon Trent was Tate’s boyfriend’s little brother. Nothing more. Just a kid.

A kid who watched me. A kid I rarely ever talked to. A kid who felt like a threat just standing next to me.

A kid who was looking less and less like one every day.

And right now he wasn’t coming up for air. I jerked my body toward the door, not wanting him—or her—to see me, but . . .

“Jax,” the girl gasped. “More. Please.”

And I stopped, unable to move again. Just leave, K.C. You don’t care.

I squeezed the doorknob, sucking in quick breaths, but I didn’t move. Couldn’t move.

I didn’t know why my hands shook.

Chewing my bottom lip, I inched around the corner again and saw him and the girl.

My heart pounded like a jackhammer in my chest. And it hurt.

The girl—I didn’t recognize her from school—was completely naked, lying on her stomach on the couch. Jax was sprawled on top of her from behind, and judging from his jeans pushed down below his ass and his thrusting hips, he was inside her.

He didn’t even get fully undressed to make love to a girl. He couldn’t even look her in the face. I wasn’t surprised. With the arrogance he displayed around school, Jax could do whatever he wanted, and he did.

Holding himself up with one arm, he used the other to wrap around her face and twist her chin toward him before he leaned down and covered her mouth with his.

Liam had never kissed me like that. Or I’d never kissed him like that.

The girl—long blond hair fanning around her face and spilling over her shoulders—kissed him back with full force, their jaws moving in sync as his tongue and teeth worked her.

Jax’s smooth, sculpted hips ground into her in slow, savory movements while his hand left her face to run down her back and then slide underneath her body to cup her breast. He didn’t do one thing at a time. Every part of his body was in this, and everything he did looked as if it felt good.

And why wouldn’t it? Jax was coveted by the girls in this town for a reason after all. He was suave, confident, and good-looking. Not my type, but there was no denying that he was sexy. According to Tate, he was part Native American.

His skin was like toffee—smooth, unblemished, and warm-looking. His hair was a deep brown, almost black, and it hung halfway down his back. He often braided pieces of it before tying it back into a ponytail midskull, which he did all the time. I’d never seen his hair hanging loose.

He had to be six feet tall by now and would probably be exceeding his brother in height in no time. I’d seen Jax on the lacrosse field at school and at the gym where we both worked out. The dips in his biceps and triceps flexed as he held himself above the girl and worked his body into hers. With the moonlight coming through the window, I could just make out the V in his torso as it descended to his abs and lower.

He didn’t break pace as he whispered in her ear, and as if she were given an order, she dropped her foot to the floor, bent her knee, and arched her back.

Jax let his head fall back and bared his teeth as he sank deeper into her, and I stared, absently tracing the scar on the inside of my wrist.

I wanted it to be like that for me. I wanted to be breathless like her. Gasping and desperate. Passionate and hungry.

Liam had made me happy once, and when he messed up, I took him back, because I thought the relationship was worth it.

But now, seeing this . . . I knew we were missing something.

I didn’t know when the tear spilled over, but I felt it drop onto my dress, and I blinked rapidly, wiping my face.

And then my eye caught something, and I blinked again, noticing someone else in the room. Another girl, nearly naked in her bra and panties.

I swallowed a gasp, sucked in air, and then swallowed again.

What the hell?

She walked across the room—she must’ve been over by the windows, because I hadn’t seen her until now—and leaned down, kissing Jax hard.

Acid bile crept up my throat.

“Ugh!” I growled, and stumbled backward, hitting the opposite wall in the entryway. Scrambling, I yanked open the front door and flew outside without looking back.

Jumping the steps, I had hit the grass running when a deep voice commanded behind me, “Stop!”

I didn’t.

Screw him. Screw Jaxon Trent. I didn’t know why I was mad, and who the hell cared?

Running across the lawn, I bolted for the sidewalk, wishing I’d worn sneakers instead of sandals that flopped around on my feet.

“Stop, or I will take you to the ground, K.C.!” Jax’s loud bellow threatened behind me, and I brought myself to a sudden halt.

Shit. My eyes darted from left to right, searching for an escape. He wouldn’t really do that, would he?

I inched around slowly, watching as he stepped off the stairs and walked toward me. He was wearing pants, thank God. But I guess that was easy, since he never really took them off. The dark-washed jeans hung off his hips, and I got a damn clear look at the muscles framing his abs. He had a swimmer’s body, but I wasn’t sure if he was actually a swimmer. From the way the top of his jeans barely hung just above his hairline, I guessed he wasn’t wearing boxers . . . or anything under the jeans. I thought of what was just beneath his pants, and heat warmed my belly. I clenched my thighs together.

I shot my eyes down to the ground, wondering how I could stand the sight of him. He was just a kid. Did he do things like that with a lot of girls?

He came up to stand in front of me, hovering down, since he was nearly a half foot taller. “What are you doing here?” he accused.

I locked my mouth shut and scowled at the air around him, still avoiding eye contact.

“You left with your dipshit boyfriend an hour ago,” he pointed out.

I kept my hot eyes averted.

“K.C.!” He shoved his hand in my face, snapping his fingers a few times. “Let’s process what you just saw in there. You entered my house uninvited in the middle of the night and witnessed me having sex with a girl in the privacy of my own home. Now let’s move on. Why are you roaming around in the dark alone?”

I finally looked up and sneered. I always had to do that to cover up the way my face felt on fire at the sight of his blue eyes. For someone so dark and wild, his eyes were completely out of place but never seemed wrong. They were the color of a tropical sea. The color of the sky right before storm clouds rolled in. Tate called them azure. I called them hell.

Crossing my arms over my chest, I took a deep breath. “Liam’s too drunk to drive, all right?” I bit out. “He passed out in the car.”

He looked down the street to where Liam’s car sat and narrowed his eyes before scowling back down at me. “So why can’t you drive him home?” he asked.

“I can’t drive a clutch.”

He closed his eyes and shook his head. Running his hand through his hair, he stopped and fisted it midstroke. “Your boyfriend is a fucking idiot,” he snarled, and then dropped his hand, looking exasperated.

I sighed, not wanting to get into it. He and Liam never got along, and while I didn’t know why, I did know it was mostly Jax’s fault.

I’d known him for almost a year, and even though I knew small details—he was into computers, his real parents weren’t around, and he thought of his brother’s mother as his own—he was still a mystery to me. All I knew was that he looked at me sometimes, and lately, it was with disdain. As if he was disappointed.

I tipped my chin up and kept my tone flat. “I knew Tate was staying with Jared tonight, and I didn’t want to wake up her dad to let me in the house to crash. I need her to help me get Liam home and to let me in her house. Is she up?” I asked.

He shook his head, and I wasn’t sure if that meant “no” or “you’ve got to be kidding me.”

Digging in his jeans pocket, he pulled out keys. “I’ll drive you home.”

“No,” I rushed. “My mom thinks I’m staying at Tate’s tonight.”

His eyes narrowed on me, and I felt judged. Yeah, I was lying to my mother to spend the night with my boyfriend. And, yes, I was eighteen years old and still not allowed the freedom of an adult. Stop looking at me like that.

“Don’t move,” he ordered, and then turned around, walking back to his house.

After less than a minute he walked back out and started across the lawn to Tate’s, jerking his chin at me to follow. I assumed he had a key, so I jogged up to his side as he climbed the porch steps.

“What about Liam?” I couldn’t leave my boyfriend sleeping in his car all night. What if something happened to him? Or he got sick? And Tate’s dad would have a fit if I tried to bring him inside.

He unlocked the front door—I wasn’t sure if he had Tate’s or Jared’s keys—and stepped inside the darkened foyer. Turning to me, he waved his hand in a big show, inviting me in.

“I’ll get Jared to follow me in his car while I drive Dick-wad home in his, okay?” He hooded his eyes, looking bored.

“Don’t hurt him,” I warned, crossing the threshold and walking past him.

“I won’t, but he deserves it.”

I swung back around to face him, arching an eyebrow. “Oh, you think you’re so much better, Jax?” I smiled. “Do you even know those skanks’ names in there?”

His mouth instantly tightened. “They’re not skanks, K.C. They’re friends. And I’d mak...

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Penelope Douglas
Published by Little, Brown Book Group, United Kingdom (2015)
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Book Description Little, Brown Book Group, United Kingdom, 2015. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Jaxon is the guy she s supposed to avoid . . . K. C. Carter has always followed the rules - until this year, when a mistake leaves her the talk of her college campus and her carefully arranged life comes crashing to a halt. Now she s stuck in her small hometown for the summer to complete her court-ordered community service, and to make matters worse, trouble is living right next door.K.C. is the girl he won t let get away . . . Jaxon Trent is the worst kind of temptation and exactly what K.C. was supposed to stay away from in high school. But he never forgot her. She was the one girl who wouldn t give him the time of day and the only one to ever say no. Fate has brought K.C. back into his life - except what he thought was a great twist of luck turns out to be too close for comfort. As they grow closer, he discovers that convincing K.C. to get out from her mother s shadow is hard, but revealing the darkest parts of his soul is nearly impossible.See the trailer!! I read this book in one sitting. Rival was as gripping as it was sexy! - Colleen Hoover Quote from Penelope Douglas:Bully was my love. Until You was my responsibility.Rival was my pleasure.But Falling Away was my destiny. Every whisper, every breath, every kiss, and every word came from my gut. This is the book I m most proud of. Bookseller Inventory # AA29780349405834

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Book Description Little, Brown Book Group, United Kingdom, 2015. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Jaxon is the guy she s supposed to avoid . . . K. C. Carter has always followed the rules - until this year, when a mistake leaves her the talk of her college campus and her carefully arranged life comes crashing to a halt. Now she s stuck in her small hometown for the summer to complete her court-ordered community service, and to make matters worse, trouble is living right next door.K.C. is the girl he won t let get away . . . Jaxon Trent is the worst kind of temptation and exactly what K.C. was supposed to stay away from in high school. But he never forgot her. She was the one girl who wouldn t give him the time of day and the only one to ever say no. Fate has brought K.C. back into his life - except what he thought was a great twist of luck turns out to be too close for comfort. As they grow closer, he discovers that convincing K.C. to get out from her mother s shadow is hard, but revealing the darkest parts of his soul is nearly impossible.See the trailer!! I read this book in one sitting. Rival was as gripping as it was sexy! - Colleen Hoover Quote from Penelope Douglas:Bully was my love. Until You was my responsibility.Rival was my pleasure.But Falling Away was my destiny. Every whisper, every breath, every kiss, and every word came from my gut. This is the book I m most proud of. Bookseller Inventory # AA29780349405834

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Book Description Piatkus Books. Book Condition: New. From the New York Times bestselling author of Rival comes another book in the Fall Away series. It's time for Jax's story . Series: Fall Away. Num Pages: 432 pages. BIC Classification: FR. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 129 x 198 x 31. Weight in Grams: 338. . 2015. Paperback. . . . . Books ship from the US and Ireland. Bookseller Inventory # V9780349405834

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