I did this for the blog tour back in October, but I never posted it here, so I figured I would, since people have been asking for it :) So, I give you Chapter One of My Favorite Mistake from Hunter's POV...
Author's Note: This is a rough draft, and has not been edited. This scene also contains adult language.
The first time I met Taylor Caldwell, I thought my heart stopped. When I'd gotten my room assignment the week before and I saw that there were three female names on the list, I thought I'd won the jackpot. I had no idea the apartments were coed, but I wasn't going to alert anyone in case it was a mix-up. I’d made my cousin, Mase, swear on his sister’s life that he wouldn’t say anything to his mother, Hope. She’d have my hide if she knew I was going to be living with a group of girls and trying to take advantage of the situation.
She knew me far too well.
I had my fingers crossed that when I opened the door, there would be a hot girl behind it. Turned out I underestimated the hotness on the other side.
There she was, shiny brown hair all sort of pulled back with a few pieces hanging out, shorts that hugged her in just the right way and everything else in just the right places. Her gorgeous eyes were wide with shock. They were the most amazing sort of blue, sort of green. It reminded me of the ocean, or some sort of beautiful exotic gemstone.
Those eyes assessed me as I tried to think of what to say.
“Are you Darah, Renee or Taylor? You look like a Taylor to me.” She totally did. Cute and sexy Taylor. I couldn’t stop myself from looking her up and down two more times. Damn. What I wouldn’t give to have those legs wrapped around me.
“There must be a mistake,” she finally said. Her voice was deeper than I would have thought. God, I wanted to hear her say my name. Over and over. I smiled, thinking about it.
“That’s a creative name. What do you shorten it to? Missy?” I congratulated myself in my brilliant, spur-of-the-moment comeback. I wasn’t at my best, since a lot of blood from my brain was going to other areas.
Her eyes narrowed.
“That’s not what I meant,” she said. I smiled, because she was staring at me too. She must have seen something she liked. I would have been content to stare and be stared at all day, but another voice interrupted us.
“Is that her?” It was another female voice. I’d completely forgotten about the other roommates. Actually, I kind of wished there weren’t other roommates. I wanted Taylor to myself.
“I’m Hunter by the way. Hunter Zaccadelli,” I said, so maybe she’d say my name back to me. She looked like she wanted to roll her eyes when I said my name. “So, should I bring my stuff in, or…?” She opened her mouth like she was going to say something, but didn’t.
“Who’s that?” said a dark-haired girl who came from one of the bedrooms. She had long bangs that hung over her eyes, and she was tall. She was sexy too. Not as sexy as little Taylor, but still. I counted to five in my head and rubbed my tattoo for luck.
“New roommate, hey,” I said, raising my hand like a moron.
“You’re the new roommate?” Instead of being stunned like Taylor, this one was skeptical. Yeah, well, I had been to when I got the list of names of people I’d be living with.
“Yeah, my housing plans fell through at the last minute. My cousin was going to let me live at his place, but that didn’t work out, so here I am. Do you mind if I come in now?” I nearly stumbled on my words, but I somehow managed to be coherent.
“You can’t live here,” Taylor said.
“Why? This is a co-ed living facility, last time I checked.” I walked into the room, mostly so I would have a reason to brush by her. A smell like candy or cake or something else sugary and delicious. This was not going to be easy.
To distract myself from Taylor, I looked around the apartment. It was small, but it wasn’t a shithole. I’d looked the rooms up online, but there weren’t any pictures. It was going to be tight. Really tight.
“Well, it’s better than sleeping on my cousin’s couch.” It was ten million times better.
“Can I see some identification?” The girl with the bangs said. I still didn’t know her name. “How do we know you’re not some random creep?” That made me want to laugh.
“Do I look like some random creep?” I wasn’t sure if I wanted her to answer that.
“How are we supposed to know?” She stepped closer to me, pulling herself up so we were almost nose to nose. She was feisty this one. Also, there was no way she was kicking me out of this place.
“Look, all I know is that I submitted an application and they sent me an email with a room number and your names. Here, I printed it out. Do you treat all your guests like criminals?” I got out the paper and handed it to her, and then she handed it to Taylor.
“Why wouldn’t they have notified us?” Taylor said. Her face fell when she read my name.
“Who knows?” The other girl was still looking at me like I was going to pull out a knife, kill them and then cut them up into little pieces.
“Oh my God, I swear I’m never moving again,” yet another voice said behind me. We all turned and I caught a glimpse of a set of tan legs and armfuls of boxes. “Who left their crap in the hallway?” She somehow stepped around my footlocker and guitar and somehow got through the doorway. “Has our new roommate showed up – oh, hello.” She turned so I could finally see her. She was a tiny bit taller than Taylor, and had a total baby face. Round, with big blue eyes. Some guys went for that, but it wasn’t my thing. Still, all three of them were crazy sexy.
Some more than others. Actually one more than the others.
“I’m guessing that’s your guitar in the hallway,” she said, dropping the boxes and giving me a come-hither smile. Five minutes ago, I would have been on that like white on rice. But that smile had nothing on Taylor’s gorgeous eyes.
“This,” Taylor said, pointing to me, “is our new roommate, according to housing.” Please say my name, baby. Please.
“No way.” New girl’s eyes got even wider. “Are you shitting me?” Cute as a button with a mouth like a sailor.
“What a reception,” I said. Usually girls didn’t speak to me with so much disdain and disbelief until after I’d slept with them. But, there was a first time for everything.
“Shut up,” Taylor snapped. God, she was adorable.
“I should probably get my junk out of the hall,” I said, so I’d stop grinning at her like an idiot. I got my footlocker in and set it down in the living room. “So, who am I sleeping with?” I leaned against the door to one of the bedrooms. I hoped beyond hope that it was Taylor’s.
“Did you seriously just say that?” Taylor said as the girl with the bangs said, “the only free bed is in Taylor’s room.”
“There’s no way he’s staying with me,” Taylor said. She crossed her arms again, covering her chest. Such a shame. “No, we’re calling housing right now and straightening this out.” She pulled out her phone.
“Tay, they’re not open on Monday,” the cute blonde said.
“I don’t care. There must be someone there. It’s move-in day.” She somehow found a campus phonebook and started frantically flipping through it.
“Aw, c’mon Missy, you don’t want to live with me?” Her cheeks flushed as she poked the buttons on her phone.
“Call me that one more time…” she didn’t get to finish as the phone rang on the other end.
“I’m Renee,” the little blonde one said as I shook her hand. Taylor had turned her back, so I got a full view of her ass. I wanted my hands on it.
“Darah,” the dark-haired one said.
“Hunter,” I said again. We all turned and watched Taylor.
“It’s best to let her go when she gets like this,” Renee whispered, but not quiet enough that Taylor wouldn’t hear.
“I wouldn’t mess with her,” I stage-whispered.
It looked like she’d gotten through to a message machine. She left a short and angry message and then dialed every other number she could find, leaving messages on every one. I was both shocked and impressed. She smashed her phone on the counter, and I thought it was going to break, but it didn’t.
“Feel better?” I said.
“No.” She grabbed the phonebook and threw that as well. “If you were a gentleman, you’d offer to sleep on the couch.” No way in hell.
“Well, Missy, you’ll come to find out that I’m not a gentleman. I plan to take full advantage of this situation.” She had no idea. Her mouth dropped open.
“Is it hot in here? I think I’ll open the window,” Renee said. I was a little warm, but that had nothing to do with the temperature in the room.
“Well, there’s nothing we can do right now. Let’s get his stuff in and then maybe we can go down and see if anyone is at housing,” Darah said.
“Sounds good to me,” I said. If I only got one night with Taylor, that would be enough. I went back into the bedroom and took stock of it.
Damn. There was peacock crap everywhere. My phone rang with Mase’s ringtone.
“Hey, you moved in?”
“No, I just got here.”
“Sweet. Which one are you again?”
“You want me to come up?” I thought for a second about how much Mase would love Darah’s dark hair and long legs.
“Yeah, that would be great.” I wanted to tell him more, but the girls were all listening. I shut the door so I could have some privacy.
“Dude, you have no idea what I’ve walked into,” I said.
“They’re all ugly, aren’t they?”
“Complete opposite. Every single one of them is sexy co-ed material.”
“I swear, I am not screwing with you.”
“Any one in particular hotter than the others?” He was fishing. He hadn’t had a girl in a few months, and he was ready for some action. I’d told him he could just find a girl and get her drunk and there you go, but his mother had instilled her Texas values in him.
“You could say that.”
“Which one in particular?”
“I shoulda known. Any one you think I might like?”
“Oh, so it’s like Sarah with a D?” We’d had a discussion about how to pronounce her name. You never wanted to say a girl’s name wrong. They were less likely to get into bed with you.
“I’ll be over in five.”
“See yah.” I heard the girls having a discussion outside, so I went to investigate.
“You weren’t talking about me, were you?” Taylor rolled her eyes and Renee was writing something on little slips of paper, folding them up and then putting them in a UMaine baseball cap.
“Pick one,” she said, holding it out to me.
“Okay,” I said, reaching in. I had no idea what was going on, but each girl was watching me like I was about to diffuse a bomb and save the world from disaster. I pulled out one of the folded slips of paper and handed it back to Renee. She unfolded it slowly, like she was working on a bomb.
“Taylor,” she said, holding the paper up so we could all see it.
“Shit,” Taylor said, closing her eyes.