Torn is officially LIVE and I'm so stinkin' excited, I can't even begin to tell you. I absolutely fell in love with Maverick and Ryan. Their hearts, their souls. Everything about them.
To give you a taste of what you'll see in their books, I'm sharing the first two chapters in both of their perspectives. Mind you, Torn is just the start of their story. You will get more of them in two weeks when Tattered releases on March 30th. So, grab yourself something to drink and scroll on further. Enjoy!
It was never my intention to fall in love with my best friend’s sister. I was thirteen when I moved down the street from Dean Blake. He had come into my life at a time I struggled to cope with the world around me. Our friendship came without any pressures, it was easy. He didn’t ask questions, but I think he knew what would happen if he did.
I closed off the door to my heart a long time ago. I didn’t want to feel. The pain that comes with letting the emotions in is more than I could ever bear. Even through it all, I still remember the way I felt when I met his twin sister, Ryan. It was like a jolt to my heart, forcing it to beat out of rhythm.
Ryan was all legs, chocolate brown hair flowing in the breeze covered by her backward snapback. The first thing I noticed was the intricate detail of the designs covering her skin, like vines wrapping around her arm.
If the sweet and innocent look on her face was any indication, she was too young to have tattoos of her own. I was drawn to the outward shell she presented to the world because I recognized it for what it was. A distraction from all the parts you want to keep buried deep. She was like a mirage of walking contradictions, which I knew to be true the moment she opened her smart mouth.
The passion she withheld under the surface was like a beacon of light shining in the dark night. Her fiery personality was the first thing to trigger a spark in the hollows of my heart.
All these years I’ve spent keeping my distance from her, out of fear of facing my feelings and the consequences that could follow. The hard part is, I know she feels the connection between us, too. The pull that keeps us tethered to each other, despite never allowing her to get close enough.
She’s turning eighteen in two days and the resistance I’ve been struggling to keep hold of is starting to wear thin. Nothing good can come from going down this path because no matter how much my heart aches for her, it’s inevitable I’ll leave her heart torn in two.
“Roll the window down, it smells like sex in here!” I shout, waving my hand in front of my face. Sticking my head outside, I take a deep breath and turn my head toward my best friend with a shit eating grin on my face.
“Says the virgin,” she mutters, rolling her eyes as she turns up the music to drown out any smart-ass reply I could fire back. I know she can hear me as I tell her to fuck off, which prompts her to wave her middle finger in the air at me while keeping her eyes on the road.
Papa Roach blares through the speakers, as I slide back into my seat adjusting my hat as I do. I can feel the energy from the music run through my body as I nod my head to the lyrics.
Nadia is my best friend, my A1 since day one. There’s not much I wouldn’t do for her and I knew it to be true from the day we first met.
We were in eighth grade, riding the bus to school, when Kara Parker thought it would be fucking funny to pick shit out of the garbage and throw it at me from where she sat in the back. She only messed with me on the days my twin brother, Dean, would opt to walk to school with his friends.
She knew better than to pull that shit around Dean.
Nadia had been sitting in the seat across from me. It was the first day we had ever talked to each other. After watching a pop bottle cap whiz past our heads, she turned toward me with her face hard as stone as she said, “You ready to put this bitch down?”
My response mirrored the same devilish grin she flashed me. She’s been my ride or die ever since.
“Did you talk to your mom about staying over at my place tomorrow?” she asks, shouting over the music. Nadia’s parents take on the role of parenting from a distance. They leave her money on the counter and make sure there’s always food in the cabinets. Otherwise, they’re hardly home, which makes it the perfect place to crash when we plan to hit up a party or two on the weekends.
"She hasn’t responded to my text message yet,” I mutter, clicking the button on the side of my phone to check for a response. “I’m going to call her and see.” Leaning over, I turn down the radio as I click the call button.
“Big Papa’s Pizzeria.”
My brother’s immature greeting has me rolling my eyes so hard I’m surprised they didn’t pop out of my head and roll across the floor. The worst part is the annoying laugh that follows finding his lame joke funny.
“Put Mom on the phone,” I snap, cutting off his obnoxious laughter, running my fingers over the frayed hole in my jeans.
“What’s in it for me?”
“Staying alive. Now quit being a prick, dick licker, and put her on the phone.”
“You wanna talk to your mom with that dirty mouth?” Dean laughs. I can hear the light chuckling in the background, and if I had to guess, Maverick is there with him.
“Seriously, D. I don’t have all night. If I don’t talk to her now, I’m going to be home late.”
“You better hope that’s not the case. After the last time, you know you’re going to end up grounded. Happy Birthday to you.”
I can picture his smug face as he sings the last part to me and I seriously want to junk punch him.
“Alright, Dad. Noted. Now put her on the fucking phone.”
I can hear the light rustling on the other end before my mom’s overly chipper voice filters through the phone.
“Yes, Ryan,” she says with a sigh.
“Hi, Mom,” I reply, my tone extra sweet which has Nadia laughing. “Is it cool if I crash at Nadia’s this weekend?”
“Not tonight, Ryan,” she replies curtly. “You can tomorrow since it’s your birthday, but it’s not necessary to stay over two nights in a row.”
“Can I stay out a little later tonight then instead? It’s a Friday night and we were going to meet up with some friends.”
“You’ve been late once already this month, even after I extended your curfew. You have until ten o’clock to be home, Ryan. By the looks of it, that gives you seventeen minutes. I’ll see you soon.”
Nadia glances down at the clock as the line disconnects.
“Ry, we’re not going to make it in time,” she says, voicing my thoughts. I don’t say anything because she’s right. My house is at least twenty-five minutes away on a good day.
“Shit,” I groan, running my hand over my face.
Nadia does her best to get me home in time, but when we hit a train on Rockford Drive, I know it’s no use.
“Look on the bright side,” Nadia says, peering over at me out of the corner of her eye. “If Dean is home, that likely means Maverick is crashing at your house tonight.”
Maverick is one of my brother’s best friends, which is both a blessing and a curse. He and Dean never go anywhere without the other. Dean is the annoying, obnoxious jock who likes to have all the attention on him. Maverick, on the other hand, is the complete opposite and sometimes I wonder what prompted their friendship.
Don’t get me wrong, Dean’s my twin brother, and he’s a great guy. I don’t know what they have in common besides skateboarding. Whatever it is, they are nearly inseparable. Maverick usually ends up staying over at our house, which I appreciate because it means I get to see him more.
“Like that matters. He acts as if I’m not there. I swear you’d think he hated me or something.”
“I don’t think that’s true.” Nadia laughs, shaking her head. “I think he’s very much aware you’re there. He just knows Dean would lose his shit if he knew he saw you as anything but his sister.”
Which brings me to why it’s a curse. Any chance of Maverick seeing me as more than his best friend’s sister goes out the window. I know he would never do anything to put their friendship in jeopardy.
I can keep a secret and what Dean doesn’t know won’t hurt him.
Nadia whips the car into the driveway, pulling in behind Dean’s beat-up Ford truck. The thing has seen better days, but he refuses to replace it.
“Text me when you can and let me know the damage,” she mutters, clearly concerned our plans for tomorrow could be ruined.
I push the door of the car open and lean the seat forward, pulling out my skateboard from the backseat. I sling my backpack over my shoulder and readjust my hat on my head.
“Wish me luck,” I groan, as I move the seat back in place.
We say our goodbyes as I head toward the front of my house.
My mom is in the kitchen loading the dishwasher when I enter the house. She doesn’t bother to look at me, which I know can’t be good. Kicking my shoes off near the door, I prop my board against the wall.
I spot Dean and Maverick lounging in the living room. Dean has his leg draped across the coffee table and a grin on his face, knowing what’s about to come. Maverick grimaces and I know this can’t be good.
“Welcome home,” my mother says, the force of the dishwasher closing draws my attention away from him.
“Ryan, this is the second time you’ve been late this month. Before you even try to argue, I want to point out your birthday is in less than two hours, and I know you have plans with Nadia.”
Dropping my bag down on the bench near the door, I slide the hat off my head and toss it on top before facing my mom.
“I’m sorry,” I sigh, knowing nothing good will come from me saying anything more. “I’m going to bed.”
I walk through the kitchen and into the living room. The urge to junk punch Dean has returned when I see the arrogant smirk on his face.
“Keep it up, fucker,” I mutter under my breath, careful to not let my mom overhear us as I flash him the finger.
“What’s that?” he retorts, turning his head to peer over the back of the couch.
Spinning around, I find both of their eyes on me. Seeing that my mom has since made her way out of the kitchen, likely retreating to our parents’ bedroom, I don’t hold back.
“I said keep it up, fucker. I should be the one laughin’ at you, sitting at home like a bum on a Friday night,” I snap, sounding bored as I lean against the wall.
There are about seven minutes separating the two of us. My parents were expecting to bring home two baby boys when I was born. What they didn’t expect was for the second child to be born a girl. My name is evidence of that.
Dean turns around, facing the TV and lets out an annoyed grunt, “Fuck off, Ry.”
My eyes bounce from Dean to Maverick and I’m surprised when I find Maverick’s are already on me. They shine bright with amusement, as he bites his lower lip in an attempt to hide the grin lining his mouth. Crossing his arms over his chest, he runs his hand over his jaw as he glances over to make sure Dean isn’t paying attention.
The thick muscles are tanned from all his days outside without his T-shirt on. His dark-brown hair is longer on top. The wayward strands give the appearance like he has ran his fingers through them one too many times.
The sleeves of my white T-shirt are cut off, giving it more of a muscle-shirt look. You can see my black sports bra from the side and a hint of my sun-kissed skin underneath.
My heart starts to pound as I relish the thought of him struggling to take his eyes off me. Taking two steps backward, I keep my eyes trained on him. I think back to my conversation with Nadia in the car when she said it’s Dean that’s holding him back.
The bold side of me wants to test her theory and see if it’s true.
Standing outside my bedroom door, I keep my eyes focused on Maverick as I grab the hem of my shirt and pull the cotton material over my head. I roll my shirt into a ball before tossing it in the direction of my dirty clothes but not bothering to check if it made it.
I watch as Maverick’s jaw clenches as his eyes travel over the length of my body, resting longer on my chest than necessary before finally bringing his eyes up to meet mine. He leans forward, pressing his elbows to his knees. Even then, he doesn’t take his eyes off me.
“D, I’m gonna use your bathroom quick and head out. I should’ve been home a little while ago.”