Faster We Burn
by Chelsea M. Cameron
Series: Fall and Rise (#2)
Available as of April 20, 2013
Katie Hallman is done with douchebags. Done with guys who treat her like crap and leave her broken. But then Stryker Grant is there anyway. With his numerous piercings and bleached hair, he’s the polar opposite of all of her past relationships, which makes him the perfect candidate.
At first, Katie just sees him as a physical escape from her previous rocky relationship, and Stryker doesn’t seem to mind just being a distraction from Katie’s problems. But soon he’s getting under her skin, peeling back layers she’d rather keep covered. She tries to make it clear that she doesn’t want a relationship, but keeps breaking her own rules.
Then a tragedy sends Katie into the only arms who are there to catch her, and she’ll realize that she needs him more than she ever thought possible. But is she ready to let herself trust another guy with her already-battered heart? Or will she push him away to protect herself from getting hurt again?
From Faster We Burn:
I couldn’t find a good radio station, so I picked up my phone and put it on speaker, setting it in a little clip on my dashboard. I should have one of those headsets, but I thought they made people look like assholes, so I’d never gotten one.
He picked up on the second ring.
“Hey, I’m driving back and I just thought I would check in with my friend. How are you, friend?”
He sounded like he was in a room full of people.
“I’m good, friend. How are you?” The voices faded, as if he was walking away from them.
“You’re not in class, are you?”
“No, I was just getting something to eat.”
“When’s your next class?”
“Not for a while. I’m all yours, friend.”
“Well that is good to hear, friend.”
He went on to tell me about all the things that I’d missed on campus, from someone getting thrown out for setting a couch on fire, to the frat that was on probation, to the professor who’d gotten caught smoking pot on campus with a few students.
It was all silly and mundane and distracting enough that I could get out of my own head for a few minutes. It was a blessed relief.
He also filled me in on the crew. Lottie was dying to have me back and had stocked up on ice cream in preparation for lots of Law and Order marathons.
Trish had almost gotten fired from her job for mouthing off to her boss, Will and Audrey had finally kissed in public and Simon was trying to convince everyone to participate in some sort of charity event that involved running around campus in your underwear.
“I’m not freezing my junk off, even if it is for charity,” he said as I pictured his junk. It was pretty nice junk, and I wouldn’t like it if anything happened to it, even if I wasn’t going to be using it anytime soon.
It was all well and good to call ourselves friends over the phone, but in person, I had no idea how it was going to go.
“How’s your mom?”
“I guess she’s as good as can be expected. She goes from sobbing to cleaning like the Queen is coming over, then back to sobbing. I’m going back this weekend so Kayla can have a break.”
“Do you feel guilty?” Stryker always had a way of asking the questions I didn’t want to answer.
“Yeah. How can I not?”
I waited for him to tell me that I shouldn’t, but he sighed.
“Wait, what was that?”
“I said that you’re right. A little guilt is okay. It’s the big, soul-crushing guilt I’m worried about.”