Albert Camus

Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.

Saturday, June 2, 2018

they try to resist - Tainted (Wyatt #1) by Amanda Cowen

Smiling, Ivy lead the way, pulled open the front door and walked down the porch steps. I followed behind her and opened the passenger side door. When she slid onto the seat, I became vaguely aware that asking Ivy to come to my set may have been a huge mistake.


Release Date: June 22nd, 2018

Rhys Wyatt is as arrogant as he is beautiful, and Ivy Bishop has been infatuated with him forever. The night Ivy makes her move, it ends horribly, leaving her utterly heartbroken.

Three years later, Ivy is dating Blaine Wyatt; Rhys’s loving and tender younger brother. With Rhys and their past somewhat out of her mind, everything about her relationship with Blaine seems perfect. But when Blaine leaves Ivy alone all summer; neither of them anticipated Rhys to return, or him and Ivy to be stuck living under the same roof…

Rhys never believed Ivy would be all grown up and everything he’s ever wanted – gorgeous, perfectly alluring, and an infuriatingly tempting beauty he has to keep his hands off of. But the more they try to resist each other, the more intense their urges become, until one night changes everything, and Wyatt brothers will never be the same.

“Where are you going?” 

I would have recognized her sweet voice anywhere. I turned around slowly to see Ivy standing in the kitchen, holding a glass of water in her hand. 

Ivy looked gorgeous in a red and navy flannel shirt tied up at her waist and white shorts that cut off right around her bottom. It took a moment before I could speak. “What are you doing home?” I asked, levelling my gaze with her. “Your shift isn’t over for another hour.”

“Arlene sent me home early,” she said eyeing me conspicuously. “The resort wasn’t busy today.” 

I scratched my jaw and nodded. Well this was awkward. 

“Where are you going with your guitar?” she started walking toward me, and I instinctually started to take a few steps back. She stopped a few feet away from me, maybe detecting my discomfort at how hard it was to be surrounded by her beauty. I remembered the way she’d looked back in high school, sweet as hell in oversized sweaters and dark rimmed glasses, and compared that to the beautiful woman standing in front of me. I could tell even then that Ivy was the prettiest thing I had ever laid eyes on. But I don’t think I understood exactly how much she truly affected me, until that very moment. She was sassy and glowing, and yet somehow delicate…though there was something else, some spontaneous firecracker beneath her innocent exterior. 

“I have a gig tonight,” I said. 
Ivy took a long sip from her glass before she responded. “Where?”
She met my eyes, sizing me up. I put a little distance between us and murmured, “Polson.”
She feigned in shock. “You’re playing at McDougall’s Pub?” 
“Wow,” she smiled. “That’s no amateur open-mic night. That’s a real gig.” 

McDougall’s Pub in Polson was the only venue for real artists to perform a live set. Ivy was right, it wasn’t amateur…it was, by Montana standards a big deal if you played at McDougall’s Pub. No one from around here played there because it was always booked by out-of-town country musicians promoting an indie album. 

“Yeah. I guess you could say that,” I ran a hand through my hair and looked down at her. I was about to ask her something I was sure I would come to regret. “Ah, um…would you like to come?” 

She blinked away, smiling politely. It struck me that Ivy could make me cave so easily into doing things I knew I shouldn’t. 

“My plans consisted of taking a walk down to the lake and reading another chapter of a novel,” she shrugged. “But going to a bar and listening to you sing does sound like a lot more fun than what I had planned…” she smirked. “I guess I could come with you.” She looked up at me with a challenge in her eyes. “I did always enjoying watching you play.”

Every Saturday night, since I was fifteen, Eddie and I would play an acoustic set at Jones Tavern downtown in Moose Creek. On more than one occasion the owner would sneak Ivy and Missy into the bar to hear us play. And even though Ivy would be stuck in the back corner away from all the loud and drunk patrons, I hated to admit it even to myself, but I loved knowing she was there…watching me. 

“My set ends pretty late…” I leaned in and whispered against the shell of her ear. “Think you’ll be able to handle it?” 

I felt her swallow, felt her shaky breath before she straightened, putting an acceptable amount of distance between us. There was no hesitating when she looked up at me. “I can handle anything,” she said. 

Shaking my head, I fought a smile. “Alright. Maybe if you are lucky, I’ll play your favorite song.”
“You don’t know my favorite song.

Hell yeah I did. I remembered Ivy begging Eddie to play her favorite song one night when we were jamming together in their basement. Her request made me cringe, because I preferred classic country - unlike her request - but her request also made me smile. She liked country love ballads, and no matter whether they were mainstream or classic, they were also my favorite too. 

“Strip it Down by Luke Bryan.”
“You remember that?” she whispered, eyes hooded as she looked up at me. 

A beat of silence passed as we both reflected on the memory. Ivy sat curled up in the corner of the basement on an old bean bag chair, working on her homework while Eddie and I jammed out our favorite country songs. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t remember how her nose scrunched while she concentrated or how her golden curls fell past her shoulders in the strapless sundress she wore. I always noticed a lot of things in the past when it came to Ivy, and sometimes even back then, I wished I would just stop noticing. 

“Come on, Ivy. It’s either now or never.” I reached into my jacket pocket and pulled out my car keys. “If we don’t leave now, I’m going to be late.” 

Smiling, Ivy lead the way, pulled open the front door and walked down the porch steps. I followed behind her and opened the passenger side door. When she slid onto the seat, I became vaguely aware that asking Ivy to come to my set may have been a huge mistake.

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About the author:
Amanda Cowen can be found eating cupcakes, singing off-key, or watching a good RomCom when she isn't trapped on her computer writing stories. She is an "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" fanatic, a hater of roller-coasters and a country music junkie. She lives in Thunder Bay, ON where the summers are short and the winters are long.

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