A Flawed Heart
A New Adult Erotic Romance coming from Secret Cravings Publishing in July 2014
by April Emerson
Claire Brighton has just finished college and is abandoning her warm, southern home in favor of gritty New York City. She searches Craigslist for the perfect roommate and finds Lydia Taylor. Lydia lives a life of privilege in her father's Manhattan penthouse, but like Claire, she's ready to go out into the world on her own.
Claire and Lydia find a little apartment in the hipster mecca of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, not far from Lydia's older brother, Jason. Claire is intrigued by Lydia's stories of Jason, who is the black sheep of the family—and a musician. The minute Claire hears him sing, she falls for him. Though Jason is involved with someone else, Claire and Jason’s attraction is too powerful to be denied.
Claire thrives in her new urban surroundings, treasuring her time with Jason and exploring her new found sexuality, but both Claire and Jason carry shadows with them. They're each fighting to move on from wounds of their past, but they learn that they will need each other to do it.
Jason takes a seat at the table where Lydia and Kat are chatting. I'm distracted, watching his body move. I don't want to get caught looking, so I focus on my food. When I do look up, Jason's staring at me with a sexy little grin on his face. I feel a current running between us and I wonder why he's affecting me with such intensity. I’ve never felt something like this, for anyone.
I open my mouth to make small talk with Lydia, but I don't get the chance to get the words out.
"Are you enjoying your sandwich, Claire?" Something about the way his mouth shapes my name is doing things to my body.
"Yes, thank you."
I watch him as he eats. His lips are big and pouty for a guy. He breaks a piece of the grilled cheese off and pops it in his mouth. Rather than using his napkin he licks his fingers. His jaw bone protrudes as he chews and his Adam's apple bobs as he swallows. He slides back in his chair and relaxes as he eats. When he finishes his sandwich, he places his plate in the sink and walks out of the kitchen without looking at me again.
"You mind washing the dishes, Lydia? I can't risk having the dish soap dry out my hands before the show." He calls back at us, and I hear him laughing.
"Dick," Lydia says.
The door opens and in walks a guy wearing a Metalica shirt and green cargo pants. He has short, dark hair, and from where I'm sitting, he looks like he's eight feet tall.
"What up. I'm Ben." He gives me a salute.
"This is my roommate Claire. She's from Georgia," Lydia says.
"Welcome to the jungle." He walks toward the bed rooms.
"That's Jason’s roommate. You ready to get out of here?”
I nod. "Alright, yeah, let's go."
Lydia, Kat and I walk out onto the sidewalk and Skye, Ben, and Jason join us shortly. Jason has his guitar case slung on his back and he's smoking a cigarette. Skye chats with Ben about someone named Alana and Lydia joins them. I reach into my bag and grab my cigarettes but I can’t' find my lighter and I fumble around with the zippers and pockets.
"Hey, let me light that for you."
Jason pulls out a Zippo. His thumb flicks it and it opens with a flame. I wrap my lips around my cigarette, place the tip in the flame and look up at him. He looks from my eyes to my mouth and back to my eyes again. The flame is reflected in his eyes and he still has that sexy grin on his face. I puff and pull away from his light but not his gaze.
Lydia grabs my elbow and pulls me along with her, which ends the moment.
"Let's go get wasted."
She squeals and tugs me along beside her.We walk about ten feet ahead of everyone, her arm linked in mine. I look back over my shoulder and Jason is holding Skye's hand. I feel a lump rise in my throat.
"How long has your brother been dating Skye?" I ask Lydia.
"Like a week. I don't think they're, like, really a thing though. I don't think Jay asked her to go out, or whatever. She's totally into him and she’s like, mentally willing him to be hers or something. I don't trust her. She's a typical groupie. She has a boner for Jason because he's a musician. Maybe she thinks she'll be a rock star's wife one day or something. She's pretty lame, but I'm sure Jason could do worse. Ben, on the other hand, has been talking to Skye's friend Alana. She's awesome. Oh, that reminds me—Alana wanted me to tell them she'll be coming late tonight. I'll be right back."
Lydia frees her arm from mine and runs back toward Ben and Skye. Jason is no longer walking with them. He's walking toward me. He takes long strides and quickly catches up.
"Hey," he says.
"Hey," I reply.
His pace is even with mine. The wind blows and I get whiff of his cologne. It smells spicy and I recognize this smell from his pillow. I blush at the memory, wishing now more than ever that my fantasy had been real.
"So, you moved in today?" he asks.
"Cool. You have a job yet?"
"No. I was thinking of looking into substitute teaching or something. I was an English major.”
"Really?" he turns his head and looks me up and down. "I had you pegged you for a dancer, what with your legs and everything."
Just then I trip over my own feet. Jason grabs my elbow before I eat the pavement.
"Shit. Yeah, I'm definitely not a dancer. Beauty and grace are not my thing."
His gaze locks with mine and I'm once again caught in that crazy current. He lets go of my elbow and slides his hand onto the small of my back. I startle at the intimacy of his touch, and the closeness of his body. He brings his mouth to my ear, and I feel his hot breath on me as he whispers, "Hmm. I don't know about that."