CHAPTER ONE: QUINTESSENTIALLY (the one)
Eight years ago
Peeking over her shoulder Kandace giggles as she climbs the ladder up to the hayloft. “Hurry up.”
Her long auburn hair sways down her back, stopping before her perfectly round ass covered by her blue-jean shorts. I can’t help but stare at her tanned long legs as I climb a few rungs behind her, balancing an old cooler under one arm.
There’s something about Kandace, there always has been. Even though I don’t live in Riverbend year-round, I feel like we’ve known one another for our entire lives.
Summers in Riverbend are supposed to show me life away from Chicago. Like every teenager, I complained about the small town, but the truth is that I like my summers with my grandparents. I enjoy the hard work that comes from helping my granddad’s friend Bruce Gordon on his farm. Each year, the town welcomes me back as if I never left.
Kandace peers over the ledge as pieces of straw fall to the floor below. “What’s the matter, Dax, can’t keep up?”
I take the remaining rungs two at a time until I’m standing on the loft. Dropping the cooler, I reach for Kandace’s waist and spin us around. With the moonlight streaming through the opening in the ceiling, I stare into her eyes. The color is a mesmerizing blue, light like the summer sky early in the morning. Her laugh energizes me as we both fall to the soft bales of hay, and I pull her on top of me.
“Do you want a beer?”
Lifting her face over mine, Kandace shakes her head. “I’m not one of the girls at IU. You don’t need to get me drunk.”
I tuck a rogue strand of her silky hair behind her ear. “Have you thought about coming to IU?”
“My degree may come from a community college, but it’s still a degree.”
“Don’t you want to see more of the world than Riverbend?”
Kandace rolls off me and stares up toward the rafters high above us. “I know you think this is some hick town, but look up there.”
I follow her eyes to the large square opening in the roof. The purpose is an access to drop hay bales onto the loft. Through the opening, the velvet black sky twinkles with stars. “What do you see?”
Kandace lifts her arms and clasps her hands behind her head. “I see the big world. I also see that we’re such a small part.”
“I’m not going to be a small part.”
“Everyone is.” She rolls toward me, wrapping her arm over my chest, and lifting her face as she stares at me. “It’s not bad. It’s like when I flew to visit Florida. From way up there in the sky, houses and cars are nothing but specks. People are even smaller. I like living where I’m more than a number, where I have friends and family.”
I frame her face and stare at her features, her incandescent gaze, perky nose, high cheekbones, and full lips. She’s perfect without makeup or trying. “You’re not a speck, Kandace. You’re so much more than that. You could transfer to IU. Your grades are better than mine.”
“You could transfer to the community college, and we could…” She doesn’t finish the sentence. Her words fade away to the cobwebs and summer heat.
Finally, I speak, “You’re not, you know?”
“I’m not what?”
“Like the girls at IU. You’d blow them away with your looks, laugh, and smarts. You’re more than they are.” Still holding her cheeks, I pull Kandace toward me until our lips meet.
My body roars to life as she kisses me back, our hunger not to be outdone by the other. My tongue is the first to breach her lips. She tastes sweet like peppermint as her tongue twists with mine. Beneath her thin t-shirt, her nipples bead against my chest as she moans.
Reaching for the hem of her shirt, I pull it over her head as her long hair cascades over her shoulders. “*uck.”
Kandace’s smile grows.
“You’re not wearing a bra,” I say, staring at her round breasts before me.
“It’s not the only thing I forgot.”
“You’re killing me, Kandace.” In one swoop, I have my shirt pulled over my head.
Her fingers splay over my chest. When her eyes meet mine, she grins. “I remember when you were skinny and scrawny.”
Between working summers on Mr. Gordon’s farm and football back in Chicago, I’m no longer the skinny boy who used to visit. Hauling bales of hay has a way of bulking a person up. It’s a better workout than summer football training. It took one year of farm work for my high school coach to approve my missing summer practice.
Now that I’m about to be a sophomore at Indiana University, I no longer play football. That doesn’t mean I don’t work out during the school year. I do.
I’m not the only one who has changed over the years.
I lean down and suck one of Kandace’s nipples and then the other. Her back arches and her tanned flesh covers in goose bumps. “And I remember when you didn’t have this rack.” Or the soft curves.
“It’s hardly a rack.” Her fingers weave through my hair as she pulls me toward her, and I continue my teasing of her breasts.
Sitting back, my gaze meets hers. She doesn’t say a word as I unsnap the front button on her shorts and tug on the zipper. With each movement, my heart thumps harder, the circulation echoing in my ears drowning out the night sounds of crickets and frogs. Even in the dark shadows I can tell that she isn’t wearing panties under her shorts.
“I want to taste you.”
She tugs on her lower lip. “I’ve never.”
“Tell me to stop and I will.”
Under the shimmer of the sky, she nods. “I trust you.”
Her core glistens in the moonlight. I’d like to say that I’m well experienced in the sex department, but if I did, I’d be lying. At nineteen, this is my first time to go down on a girl. I heard stories. As Kandace spreads her legs for me, offering me this gift, I grow painfully hard beneath my jeans.
I’m immediately addicted to her scent, sweet like her name. My first lick is as if I’m about to taste a new flavor of lollipop or popsicle.
If I could buy this, the stores would constantly be sold out.
Not only does Kandace taste sweet, with just one lick, her legs tense and her hips buck. The second and third are even better.
It’s as I swirl her clit that Kandace yells out. “Stop.”
My entire body freezes, wondering what I did wrong. I’d told her I would stop if she asked. Keeping my word has never been so difficult. “Did I hurt you?”
“No. I’m going to…come.”
A smile spreads over my face. “That’s the point.”
She leans up on her elbows. “I know, but…are you sure?”
“Am I sure that I want to be the first one to make you come with my mouth? Yes.”
“Okay,” she says in a whisper as she lays back her head.
Adding my fingers to the mix, I lick and nip until her core pulsates, and I drink her essence.
Crawling over her, I kiss her lips to show her how good she tastes.
When her blue stare meets mine her cheeks are flush as she smiles. “That was…amazing.”
I lie back on the hay and stare up at the ceiling, afraid that if I move I might too come. Soon, Kandace is over me, her nude body draped over my leg and torso.
“Do you think Mr. Gordon knows that people use his barn…for this?”
“I doubt he knows.”
“I’ve heard rumors that this is the place many people have lost their virginity.”
My eyes open wide. “Kandace.”
“Where did you lose yours?” she asks.
Her forehead falls to my shoulder. “Me either.”
Continue reading on July 28 with QUINTESSENTIALLY (the One), a sweet, funny, and sexy secret-baby, second-chance contemporary stand-alone romance that brings back the feelings of what it’s like to be young and in love.