Emerge by S.E. Hall
Release date: May 20
A coming of age, NA romance with sexual content (mature audiences recommended)
Emerge is Laney Walker's story; an 18 yr old quick witted, athletic, southern girl who lets few get too close and uses her sarcastic zingers to deflect most situations. This is her coming of age journey...starting at a new college, with a new softball team and a quirky roommate, all while living in a co-ed dorm.
It changes all which she thought she knew and awakens something, someone, within her that she didn't know existed.
A tale of friendship, loyalty, first love, primal love and...life.
Dane’s POV in Chapter 34, All In
“Dane,” she whispers in a shaky voice, avoiding looking at me, lowering herself into the water, no longer sharing my lap or her naked chest to my view. “I have to tell you something.”
My stomach clenches instantly. What is she about to say and why does it scare me so much? I’ve been with many girls, but never have I felt that my whole world balanced on the next words out of their mouths. What has Laney done to me?
Rocked my damn world—that’s what.
She’s got me bringing her to my house, buying jewelry, taking trips…and now she’s seducing personal information out of me that only a select few are privy to. I couldn’t be happier about it. I’ll give her the combo to my safe inside if she shows me anything else. She’s mystical. Without even trying, she makes me want to invest myself completely. So captivating, gorgeous, kind, and driven; I simply can’t get enough of her.
Knowing she’s so untouched, a virgin to almost every sexual act, makes me crazy. Makes me want to lock her away in a tower forever—my own personal flower to devour. Shit, that’s a little weird. She’d run scared if she could read my thoughts right now. But damn! I’ve never been with a genuine girl, never stopped to have a real conversation aside from how much I could spend on them. There’s never been a girl I actually cared about, let alone one who burrowed their way into my soul like Laney.
As much as I can’t stand the thought of Evan, I do respect and feel for the guy. He, too, had taken his time with sweet Laney, a poor sap not unlike me, just basking in any time spent with her. Now he’s suffering the effects of not having her near him at all. I can’t imagine the misery. Heartbreak was evident in his voice when he’d called. I saw how he looked at her that night. I don’t envy him in many ways, but in so many other ways I do.
He has her past. Her secrets. Her memories. He’s still the luckiest bastard I don’t know.
Terrified, I answer her, “Tell me, baby, anything.” She’s chewing her lip nervously and I want to be her lip more than I want my next breath.
“I’m, well, I’m a little nervous.” She shifts to angle herself away from me and her precious little chin quivers just a bit, drawing a twitch from me. “I’m not ready to have sex yet, and I…”
She’s the most charming thing I have ever seen. I want her, like “I’d gladly gnaw off my own arm but for the chance” want her, but there’ll be no rushing. I want her to give herself to me when she’s completely sure—positive she never wants anyone but me, forever. I
nsane? Yes, but I’ve given up even trying to make sense of it. The fact is, I’m tore up crazy about Laney, starting about five minutes after I met her, and it’s not going away. She’s my counterpart on every level—physically, emotionally, intellectually, musically—and I know she feels it, too. She calms when I touch her. She relaxes when I whisper to her. I am now the comfort she seeks. There’s nothing in the whole world I’d rather be, and for no one else. When something big or funny happens, I’m who she calls to tell all about it and Lord knows I live for each time she does, hanging on her every word.
“Baby, hear me on this.” I angle my head and wait for her big beautiful brown eyes to finally meet mine. “I’m not just looking for that, Laney. I don’t want you to think that’s what I’m expecting every time I touch you, okay?”
“Okay.” Who does she think she’s kidding? She doesn’t believe me.
“No, baby, it’s not okay for you not to believe me or be nervous at my touch. I want to do whatever you want, nothing more and nothing less. Especially nothing less.” I wink to let her know I’m almost completely kidding. “Don’t hold back or give in with me, Laney. Do or don’t do what feels right to you, always. I’m following your lead, baby and I’m more than okay with whatever you decide.”
Now she knows I mean it. I see the minute she accepts and trusts my words; her face is like a book.
Excerpt: Prologue- Lil Laney
I simply cannot hang out with the girls at recess. No one should expect me to, right? At the ripe old age of 10, I’ve already figured out one should be interested in far more than boys and gossip; the only two things they ever seemed to talk about. Besides, they don’t want anything to do with me anymore. Michelle, the loud one, has made it clear that her mother thinks “it’s a shame I have no female influence,” so surely my dad will completely understand the call from Principal Mills…again.
Principal Mills doesn’t really ever get mad at me. He’s a lot like my dad, easygoing and a bit of a softie, so it’s easy to sit with him in his small, cramped office until Dad gets here. I’m not too concerned about getting in trouble; I never get in any real trouble. I’ve heard them talk many times after sending me out to the hall. They think I’m “angry and acting out.”
I’m not angry and I don’t need their pity. They should pity her. She’s the one who gave up. Well, she gave us up, anyway. Who knows what her greener grass was exactly.
Soon enough my dad strides in, casual as always, and all too comfortably takes a seat. He’s here at least once a month, after all. They shake hands like they’re poker buddies or something. I’m not even sure Dad calls him Principal Mills, or even Mr. Mills, anymore. I think he just calls him Paul. They talk for the first ten minutes about this year’s high school hopefuls. This town lives for high school football and baseball, depending on the season. Hopefully they forget my dilemma altogether.
No such luck.
“Wanna tell me what happened, slugger?”
I put on my best puppy dog face, “Daddy, ‘member what you said about not starting a fight, but I could damn sure finish one? “
The fine Principal tries to hide a chuckle and my dad reminds me to watch my mouth.
“Well…Andy Collins shoved me first, cause he’s a sore loser, so…I finished it. I whooped him in Horse and then I whooped him for shoving me.” That should clear all this up, right?
“Now, Laney, one shove only warrants one shove back. If I got a call, you musta tore the boy up. Why didn’t you just go tell a teacher?”
Is he serious right now? I’m not a snitch.
“Daddy, please. I didn’t tear him up that bad…I didn’t have to.”
“And why is that?” He cocks one eyebrow curiously.
Principal Mills answers for me. “Cause Evan Allen did it for her.”
It didn’t take long to find Mr. Allen. Turns out the Allen family had recently moved in right down the street. Dad wanted to let the man know that he thought what his son had done was noble and sure hoped Evan wasn’t in any trouble. Confirming he wasn’t, it’d only seemed right to invite the boy fishing with us.
At least, that’s how Dad explains it to me. It doesn’t stop me from pouting the whole ride to the pond and trying to ignore the intruder in the back seat with me.
“Thanks for inviting me, Mr. Walker. I love fishing.” Sure he does; what a butt kisser.
“My pleasure, Evan, we’re happy to have ya’ along. Aren’t we, Laney? “
“Of course, Daddy.” I smile sweetly before continuing. “Say, Evan, you know how to bait your own hook, right?” What? I’m genuinely concerned. I don’t want to end up doing everything for the kid.
Evan just looks at me from the corner of his eye, not answering.
“Dad, did you bring him a life jacket? We wouldn’t want him to fall in and drown if he hooks a big one.”
Dad doesn’t answer me, either. They both look uncomfortable; I’m not the least bit perturbed. There’s more where that came from, boys! I can do this all day and it’s well-deserved, as far as I’m concerned. How dare Dad invite this boy into our time together? My time with Dad is sacred. We don’t need company.
“Hey, Evan…” I drawl, kicking the smartass act up a notch as we climb out of the truck and grab our gear, “don’t get used to this. One rescue, one trip. Got it?”
Dad acts like he doesn’t hear me and walks ahead to the water. He thinks his new little hero can hold his own with me. We’ll see.
“Rescue, huh? That’s what you think that was?”
So… Evan can answer. “Whatever, you know what I mean. I don’t care what anyone thinks of me. My dad and I are just fine without them. I don’t need new friends any more than I needed saving. I can take care of myself just fine.”
“Oh, I could see that, tiger. That’s not why I did it.”
Tiger? Could he not remember my name? Typical boy. “Why did you then?”
He thinks for a minute, kicking the dirt with his toe, and then shrugs. “I’ll let you know as soon as I figure it out.”
I never heard what he came up with. Turns out, we had plenty of other things to talk about.
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