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Running Wild(A Second Shot Novella)

By:Sara Jane Stone

Running Wild_ A Second Shot Novella - Sara Jane Stone

Chapter One

June 2012

NOAH TAGER SWERVED and avoided burying his pickup in the big blue mailbox on the sidewalk. Thank you, Jesus. He threw his truck into park and cut the engine. The street sign on the far side of the mailbox read “No Standing.” But leaving his dad with a parking ticket beat a totaled truck. And he had a feeling Forever’s Finest, the police force that patrolled the Oregon college town, would forget all about the ticket when he called for their help.

Chief Fairmore? I saw Travis Taylor lead your daughter into the alley beside The Three Sisters Café where he tried to introduce his palm to Josie’s face. Not his fist. No, the asshole went for the open-handed slap.

Through the windshield, he’d seen Josie Fairmore pull her hand free from her soon-to-be ex-boyfriend and block the slap. Noah had been too busy trying not to hit the mailbox to see if Travis had tried again.

But Chief Fairmore wouldn’t give a damn if his little girl’s boyfriend failed to connect with his target. And her brother? Dominic would jump at the chance to have a physical “conversation” with the asshole who had helped Josie earn her reputation as the town bad girl. Although he knew she wasn’t as “bad” as certain gossips led everyone to believe. Just a little wild.

Noah slammed the door to his truck and ran down the sidewalk toward the alley. Oh hell yeah, he was ready and willing to fight alongside the Fairmore men. Starting right now in the alley.

But a cloud of gloom and doom followed, hovering over his head. It rained questions as he reached the gap between the two-story historic buildings.

Was this the first time? Had Travis tried this before? Why the hell had Josie stayed with Travis’s sorry ass after the incident during the homecoming parade? After Travis had allowed the blame to fall on her shoulders?

Noah ground his teeth together. He’d talked Dominic out of throwing a punch—or ten—after Forever’s gossip-prone triplets, the owners of The Three Sisters Café, had stumbled upon Travis and Josie in the back of the hay wagon. It was bad enough everyone would be talking about the fact that Travis, the quarterback and hero of the hour, had been caught with Josie’s black silk panties in one hand. Beating the younger kid up would only add fuel to the gossip mill, Noah had told his friend.

Plus it wasn’t a fair fight. Travis was just a kid. Eighteen. And without his offensive line, Travis didn’t stand a chance.

But now Noah wished he’d kept his mouth shut and thrown a punch or two back then himself. He wouldn’t hesitate to use his fists today.

He rounded the corner and spotted Josie.

But Travis was gone.

Goddamn coward.

Noah froze on the edge of the pavement, one step short of entering the narrow, gravel-covered space between the two buildings. Josie stood with her back pressed against the cement wall, her head held high and her eyes open. He had banished the words “Dominic’s sister is freaking hot” from his vocabulary not long after Josie started high school. But he wasn’t blind. She possessed the kind of beauty that dared men to look away. Her long legs and curved hips could have walked her straight into a modeling career.

Except small-town Oregon wasn’t exactly bustling with scouts looking for the next cover girl. And even if someone saw her and offered her a contract, it would probably be a one-way ticket to the cover of Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit issue.

He’d witnessed Josie in a barely there bikini once. Yeah, he’d silently thanked the genius that had invented the two-piece swimsuit. Then he’d spent the rest of the pool party staring at his feet or talking to his friends—anything but looking at Josie Fairmore long enough to want what he could never have.

Right now, in the alley, it wasn’t her curves, barely hidden by her fitted spaghetti-strap tank top and jean cutoff shorts that stunned him. He’d left his truck planning to pull Travis off her. He’d expected to find her radiating fear. Travis had failed to lead his team to the state championship, but as quarterback that guy was still big. The threat of a slap from a man that size would inspire some serious terror.

But eighteen-year-old Josie Fairmore wasn’t cowering and calling for help. She stood with her feet planted hip-width apart, arms at her side, and stared straight ahead. Her body language screamed don’t mess with me.

He studied the red mark on her left cheek. Travis Taylor hadn’t received the message.

When I get my hands on him. . .

Even though she appeared calm and in control, her palms pressed against her outer thighs, the rise and fall of her chest betrayed her. His best friend’s little sister was five seconds away from hyperventilating in the alley.