Scratch by Rhonda Helms
Age Group: New Adult
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: September 30, 2014
Amazon ♥ B & N
The most painful scars are the ones you never see.
In her DJ booth at a Cleveland dance club, Casey feels a sense of connection that’s the closest she ever gets to normal. On her college campus, she’s reserved, practical–all too aware of the disaster that can result when you trust the wrong person.
But inexplicably, Daniel refuses to pay attention to the walls she’s put up. Like Casey, he’s a senior. In every other way, he’s her opposite.
Sexy, open, effortlessly charming, Daniel is willing to take chances and show his feelings.
For some reason Casey can’t fathom, he’s intent on drawing her out of her bubble and back into a world that’s messy and unpredictable. He doesn’t know about the deep scars that pucker her stomach–or the deeper secret behind them. Since the violent night when everything changed, Casey has never let anyone get close enough to hurt her again. Now, she might be tempted to try.
The world faded from me, and I started to sway. Music wove itself into me, into that blissful place where I escaped, into those moments that made me the happiest. I found my arms starting to raise over my head as I got caught up in the blind sensations I was experiencing.
Before I knew it, the heat from Daniel’s body poured toward mine as we moved closer together, a fraction at a time. My nipples brushed against his chest, my pelvis bumping his. I resolutely kept my eyes closed, though my body instantly responded with a telltale tightening, tingling. He didn’t push me, though, didn’t try to tug me closer. He let it be. His fingers squeezed ever so slightly on my hip, and something deep in my core intensified in response.
I inched toward him and peeked open my eyes to find his locked on my face, his pupils so wide his eyes were nearly black. My lips parted; my heart slammed against my rib cage. I let one arm fall to my side and the other drape over his shoulder, which drew us even closer together. His hand slid to my lower back, but still he didn’t pull me against him. Neither of us spoke, but our shared silence was potent with emotions.
He was letting me dictate the terms, decide how fast I wanted us to proceed. A heady rush of power swept through me. I could see in his eyes, in the erratic flutter of his throat, that he wanted me. And my own pulse beat in time with his. Music poured between and around and through us. My breath became ragged.
I rested my hand on his hip so that our bodies were flush. He swallowed, then dropped his mouth to press a sweet kiss against my forehead. The gesture was so strangely tender that I found my throat closing again.
Someone bumped into my back, then moved away with a muffled apology. I’d been so wrapped up in him that I’d hardly noticed anything around me. But now I realized we’d moved deeper into the crowd, submerged fully now. It was liberating to just get wrapped up in the moment. I lived my life on the other end of the DJ booth, watching but never a part of it. Controlling the music while I worked but never letting it sink beneath my skin.
The music suddenly dropped into a heavy beat. Daniel smiled and threw his hands up, and I did the same. Arms shot up all around us as people ground and danced with abandon to the song.
And I got it.
Now that I was inside it, among the writhing masses . . . I could suddenly see why people love going to The Mask to dance. What made them come back for more, let down their hair and give everything they had into the song. There was something wildly intoxicating about letting myself fall into the music this way, surrounded by others doing the same. A group madness, one I had craved without even realizing it. Our bodies moved against each other, and a languid swell of sensuality filled me. I was fluid, light-headed, pulsing with a dark desire to be closer to him. He wrapped both hands around my waist and brushed his lips against my brow, the shell of my ear, the curve of my throat. I arched against him, rubbing my thumbs along the waistband of his jeans. I ached.
His mouth moved down to lick the sweat-tinged flesh of my shoulder, and I bit back a moan. My lower belly thrummed in response. He gave a muffled groan and looked at me, piercing me with his stare. Desire was etched clearly in his face. I knew it was in mine too.
Rhonda Helms started writing several years ago and loves writing teen and New Adult romance. She has a Master's degree in English and a Bachelor's degree in Creative Writing. She also freelance edits manuscripts.
When she isn't writing, she likes to do amateur photography, dig her toes into the sand, read for hours at a time, and eat scads of cheese. WAY too much cheese.
Rhonda lives in Northeast Ohio with her husband, two kids, a dog and a really loud cat.