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Excerpt for Kiss Me Goodbye by , available in its entirety at Smashwords


Kiss Me Goodbye

(Inked Brotherhood, #0.5)

Prequel to ASHER and Inked Brotherhood series



by Jo Raven



At fourteen, Audrey has the perfect life: great parents, great buddies, and her best friend, Asher. Only lately Asher has begun to change. He seems distant and standoffish, ignoring Audrey.


Not all of the changes are bad. He’s growing from a pretty boy into a handsome man, and Audrey is all too aware of that. But if they cross the line from friends to something more, will things stay the same or will she lose her best friend forever?


This is not an erotic story. It is the prequel to the events that unfold in “Asher” and set up many of the characters of the Inked Brotherhood Series.



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Kiss Me Goodbye (Inked Brotherhood, #0.5)

Jo Raven

Copyright Jo Raven 2014

Cover art by Nathalie Aynié


All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the author.

The characters and events portrayed in this book are fictitious. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, events, is coincidental and not intended by the author.





KISS ME GOODBYE



AUDREY





Asher Devlin.

My best friend. My partner in crime. My savior in math class.

Chewing on my lower lip, clutching my backpack to my chest, I watch him from across the school yard. I’m worried.

He’s changed. In many ways. Lately he’s become distant, quiet. Doesn’t sit with me on the school bus. Doesn’t sit with me in English class. Doesn’t seek me out during break. Doesn’t share his chocolate bar with me, something he’s done ever since he moved into my neighborhood and became my best buddy five years ago.

There’s a hardness in his blue eyes that wasn’t there before. A stiffness to his posture. It’s as if he put on a steel armor with spikes that keeps me away.

As if I’ve grown invisible to his eyes.

“Audrey!” Dylan jogs toward me, grinning. “We’re going for ice-cream. Come on.”

The September sunlight is warm on my face, and ice-cream sounds good. Rafe and Zane are walking toward us, discussing something, their heads bent together.

“Where’s Tess?” I ask, distracted, trying to buy some time, see if Ash will come talk to me. I’ve been looking right at him for a while, but he’s pretending to be checking his cell phone.

I knew he’s pretending. Has to be pretending. I’m sure he’s seen me. He can’t not care. That isn’t possible.

An ache settles in my chest.

“Audrey?” Dylan is staring at me. “Tess can’t make it today, her mom is visiting her. Are you coming?”

“Go ahead. I’ll find you there.”

Dylan sighs and without looking, I know he’s disappointed. “Ash acting up again?”

I shrug.

“What’s up with him anyway?” Dylan and Ash are buddies in the soccer team. Best friends.

“You tell me.”

“He’s just being weird lately.”

Tell me about it.

Dylan gestures at Rafe and Zane and they depart together, leaving me to solve the Asher Devlin riddle.

Drawing a fortifying breath, I walk toward Ash.

Yeah, he’s changed in many ways, and I have to admit, not all of them are bad. He’s always been a tall boy, but now he’s begun to fill out, his shoulders broad and his chest strong. His jaw is now square and it makes the softness of his mouth all the more...

The more what? Heat rolls up my neck. What’s wrong with me? He’s a boy. Boys aren’t interesting. They’re stupid, arrogant, ugly, awkward and stinky.

“Ash,” I say loudly and stand in front of him.

His eyes flick up, ice-blue, framed by dark lashes, and okay, maybe this boy isn’t ugly. Or awkward. Or stinky. He smells way too good, like clean sweat and spice.

As for the stupid and arrogant part... The jury’s still out on that one.

“Auds,” he say, his low voice both familiar and alien, deeper than usual. Then again, it’s been deepening for a while now.

No reason why it should make me shiver. “Hey, Ash.”

“Hey.”

He has a dark smudge on his jaw. Is it a bruise? Tess says she heard Ash was in a fight after classes yesterday.

I can’t believe it. Ash isn’t like that, but the smudge sure looks like a bruise the more I look at it.

I clear my throat. “Wanna come for ice-cream? Zane, Rafe and Dylan are going.”

“Nah, I’ll pass.”

His voice always has a rasp to it, and today for the first time I can feel it on my skin, like a physical touch. How is that possible?

Then his gaze dips to my chest, darkening, and holy crap, I know what he’s doing. Ash is checking me out.

The shock sends me back a step. I’ve seen boys do that all the time, but he’s never done it with me. At least that I’ve noticed.

Because we’re friends. Best friends don’t do that.

Then why am I fascinated by his mouth, its beautiful shape, the way it tips up on one side in a crooked smile? His eyes are now fastened on my face and he leans toward me, a hand lifting as if to touch my cheek.

Then he shakes himself as if from a dream and lets his hand drop. “Gotta go.”

And with that, he pushes past me and strides out of the school gates.






The cafeteria is crowded. Nevertheless, Tessa and I find a half-empty table at the end of the long room and set our trays down. She got burger and fries, her standard fare. Girl likes cheap, greasy food. If I ate like that I’d go up three sizes.

She also rocks ripped jeans and dirty sneakers. Everything her parents don’t let her have when she’s home with them, in Chicago. The way she tells it, when she’s with them, she has to dress up in skirts and high heels, do her hair up and act all grown-up.

And rich. Because she is. That is, her parents are. But when she’s here in Madison, living with her aunt, she can do whatever she likes, and she’s quite wild. She has a list of TBK (to-be-kissed) boys and she’s been striking them off one by one. Nobody has come back to complain so far.

Only there’s that one boy who’s not on the list and yet he’s the one Tess really wants: Dylan. I know this because she flushes whenever he’s around and peeks at him whenever he’s not looking.

And the funny thing is, he does exactly the same thing when she’s not looking.

It’s too cute.

I have a plan to bring them together during Rafe’s birthday party at his house this Saturday. Okay, so it’s not really a planned plan, but an idea.

Fingers crossed it will succeed. I want to see her happy. Dylan, too. That boy has a list of his own, that much is obvious. It’s as if they’re both working their way through the school and around each other, making sure they never meet. I’m about to foil their carefully laid-out plans.

And this is one mission I don’t plan on failing.

The thought makes me grin and I turn to filch a fry from Tessa’s plate. Then I see Ash. He’s sitting down to eat a few tables away, together with a boy I don’t know. I raise my hand and wave at him, gesturing for them to come sit with us.

His gaze is right on me and I lower my hand, waiting for him to stand up, pick up his tray and make his way over. We always eat together. Well, apart from the times he never showed up, more and more often lately.

But he just sits there, working his jaw. Then he turns his gaze back down, to his tray, and picks up his fork and knife.

My jaw hangs slack. Why is he doing this? To me, his best fiend? I can feel everyone looking at me as I make a fool of myself—waving like an idiot and then my face crumbling when he ignores me as if I’m dirt under his shoe.

Christ.

“Just ignore him, Aud. He’ll come around. Full circle.” Tessa tugs on my arm. She must be going through her Buddhist phase again. It happens, like, once a year.

I struggle not to let the tears burning in my eyes fall. “You think? He’s been like this for weeks now. Giving me the cold shoulder.” Though it’s the first time he ignores me completely in a public place. The first time he won’t even eat with me. I lift my ice-tea and take a sip, willing its coolness to fill my veins with ice.

“Except when he’s looking at you. Then his eyes go like X-rays, shooting flames and everything.”

I choke on my ice tea. “What?”

“He just stares at you when you’re not looking, and he has this really intense expression on his face, like he’s suffering. Like you’re tearing his heart out of his chest and then—”

“Tess, shut up!” I shove her until she flops in her chair. “You’re watching too many soap operas.”

“I’m so not. He really does look at you like that.”

“Gross.”

But it makes me feel a bit better. I can’t forget the way he looked at me that day in the school yard, the heat in his gaze. I don’t understand why it unsettles me and pleases me so much. Why I want to see that look on his face again.

Can’t understand what is happening to him. Why he’s so contradictory when he’s always been the most stable thing in my life.

Zane slips into the seat next to mine. His dark hair is spiked in the middle and his dark, slanted eyes widen. “What are the long faces for?”

I bow my head over my food and swallow hard. My appetite is all gone. Then I look up again because I swear I feel a gaze on me, and sure enough, it’s Ash, staring right at me, his eyes bright.

He flinches when our eyes meet, and he turns away.

He’s acting so weird, honest.

“Coming to Rafe’s party on Saturday?” Tessa points a fry at Zane. “Say yes.”

“Yes.” He grins. “It’s gonna be awesome. Everyone will be there and it’s gonna rock ’cause his parents are out of town.”

“Alcohol?” Tessa asks.

Zane’s grin widens. “Didn’t I say it’s gonna be awesome? Dylan will be late but he’s coming, too, and Ash...”

“Who cares if Dylan’s coming?” Tessa frowns and stuffs her mouth with burger.

Zane shakes his head and grabs his coke. “What’s the deal with you and Dylan? I swear I don’t get you, fuckers. You either love or hate each other, and I don’t know which it is.”

“Hate,” Tessa says around the burger. “All out hate.”

Zane snorts. “And why would you hate him?”

Tessa shrugs and swallows. “Why not?”

“Right, what’s there not to hate?” I say under my breath. Dylan is tall and handsome, built like a god, his blond hair mussed. When he grins, he has a dimple. A very sexy dimple. Girls swoon over him all the time.

Come to think about it, maybe this is what Tessa hates about him. Makes sense.

I only need to shove them together so they kiss. I have this weird notion in my head that when you kiss someone you know immediately if he’s the one for you. Like a magical connection unfurling through the kiss.

Maybe I’m the one watching too many soap operas.

“Hey, Ash!” Zane twists around in his seat and waves.

Ash, who’s standing up from his table, lifts a hand. His gaze flicks toward me, and he suddenly beams a megawatt grin at me and winks.

Leaving me speechless.

Okay. What was that?

“Ash is coming to the party, too,” Zane says, turning back toward us. “I think he needs some cheering up.”

“What he needs is a kick in the nuts,” Tessa says cheerfully, and I laugh, giddy—because he grinned at me, and he winked.

Am I going crazy? Shouldn’t I be mad at him for ignoring me before? But my face is hot and I can’t stop smiling.

This boy confuses me so much.

“What has the fucker done now?” Zane asks.

“Acting weird,” Tessa says.

Zane doesn’t comment, digging into his spaghetti. And it strikes me that he’s acting weird, too. As if he knows Ash is not himself, as if he knows why—and doesn’t want to share.







The party is already in full swing when Tess and I arrive. It’s still relatively warm and the windows are open, punk rock music spilling into the garden and yard. If it gets any louder, I bet the police will cruise by to have a look.

Well, this is Rafe’s house, alright. That’s his kind of music. I hope it’s not the only music he’ll play tonight.

I also hope for one more thing: Ash. I hope to see him, hope he flashes that huge grin at me again, that he winks... That he returns to me. I miss my best friend.

Yeah, that’s the reason I want to see him. Just that. Not to inhale his spicy scent, or watch the play of muscles on his broad chest, or see the way his pale eyes darken when he’s happy.

Whoa. Is this what being drunk feels like? My thoughts are spiraling out of control.

“There’s Rafe!” Tessa drags me through the garden gate into the crowded yard. There are torches stuck in the ground, their flames wavering in the breeze, casting dancing shadows. Tall oaks line the back of the yard.

There’s a whiff of magic on the air, the subtle shift of summer slipping into winter. A scent of change.

I spot Dylan from afar. He’s easy to find: smack in the center of a group of giggling fangirls. The boy was made to be a star. I wonder if he’s giving away signed photos of himself.

Nah. There’d be a line snaking all the way out into the street.

I think I can see smoke rise out of Tessa’s ears. The girl’s got is so bad it’s almost funny. Fingers crossed I can throw them together tonight, and that they realize they’re both lusting after each other.

“Do you see Zane?” I need his help for my mission. I’m going to play it by ear, see if he has any ideas. I thought of initiating a truth or dare game to get them to kiss, but what if they’d rather tell the truth than kiss? I wouldn’t put it past them. Maybe we’ll have to resort to physical force, and just throw them on top of each other.

I hope Zane is game.

“Nope, haven’t seen him.” But she drags me into the crowd, kids our age standing around, sipping beers and soda and god knows what else. “Let’s get a drink.”

We survey the coolers at the back of the yard and I choose a chilled lemonade. No alcohol for me, dad can smell it a mile away and then I’ll be grounded.

Tessa’s aunt, on the other hand, couldn’t care less, apparently. Tessa grabs a beer and immediately inserts herself into a group of guys from our chemistry class, chatting away.

God, I envy her confidence so much. Though, come to think of it, she becomes so much louder and chattier when Dylan is nearby. Heh.

I wander off to find Zane but still I can’t see him anywhere. After I check the yard, I enter the house. Inside, the music is deafening, and the amount of people jostling each other and weaving between the tables and chairs makes me a tiny bit claustrophobic. I don’t like confined spaces and I can’t seem to step on solid floor; I keep walking on people’s feet.

But I’m on a mission and I won’t back down. I look into each room: the big living room, the kitchen, even the bedrooms and bathrooms. Where is Zane? He’s the one who promised a wild time at this party, isn’t he?

Finally I give up. Maybe he’ll come by later. No Zane, and no Ash. This party sucks already.

Still. My plans won’t be thwarted. I’m going to get Tessa and Dylan together no matter what. I can at least try.

Change of tactic, then. Since I can’t get Zane to somehow drag Dylan out of his circle of admirers for a blind date with Tessa, I’ll have to do it. Doing all the footwork tonight.

But when I step back outside, I can’t see Tessa anymore, and the circle around Dylan is now bigger. Zane was supposed to know what to say to make Dylan get his head out of his ass, or at least out of the fangirl parade, but what am I going to say to him? ‘Hey, leave all these gorgeous girls who want to kiss and paw you and come with me, because there’s another gorgeous girl waiting to do the same? Although she doesn’t know it or accept it? And, oh crap, I can’t see her anywhere. Just wait here, alone, far from the fangirls while I go find her, okay?’

Yeah...

“Audrey!” Rafe strides toward me, running a hand through his mane of blondish hair. His golden eyes are smiling. “You made it.”

“Happy birthday,” I say, forcing myself to stop looking for Tessa. God, if she’s making out with a boy, how am I ever going to get her and Dylan to kiss? “Great party.”

“Thanks.”

“Are your parents out of town, then?” It seems odd, on the day of his birthday.

“Yeah. Actually, my birthday was three days ago.” He grins.

Oh right. “Well, happy belated birthday. Hey, have you seen Zane? Or Tess?”

“I saw Zane just now. He was with Ash.” Rafe gestures at the house. “He just went in.”

There goes my concentration and interest in my mission. “Ash is here?” I snap my mouth shut, because I shouldn’t care, not after the way he’s been acting lately.

“Hey, there’s Tess.” Rafe points to the far end of the garden, at the old oaks and their shifting shadows.

I see a glint of her blond hair, then I see a boy, and I sigh. Maybe it’s already too late. Tessa is plastered all over a tall, long-haired guy. I think he’s a year or two older than us. Crap.

Why is she making this so difficult? Why is she kissing everyone but Dylan? If she’s trying to make him jealous, it doesn’t seem to be working. If anything, it seems to be turning into a competition of who will kiss more people.

For someone like me who’s never kissed anyone—on the mouth that is, pecks on the cheek don’t count—this is inconceivable. Kisses mean something. You don’t hand them over to just anybody. They’re like a question and an answer all at once, a test to which you only put someone you really want.

Maybe I’m the only one who sees it this way?

Rafe turns to receive birthday wishes from a group of girls and boys, and I retreat back toward the house. The thought of Ash draws me like a line with a hook, despite my unease, despite the anger and sadness roiling inside of me. The music changes as I enter through the French doors into the living room, going from punk rock to the soft sounds of a ballad.

Maybe the neighbors are starting to complain, I think, as a small confusion ensues on the dance floor. The jumping and shouting stops and couples begin to form, wrapping their arms around each other and swaying to the music.

I’d better get out of here. But as I turn, I spot Ash and Zane leaning on the far wall, deep in conversation, darks heads bowed together.

Undecided, caught between leaving and staying, I stare at them. An ugly feeling rears its head. I’m jealous of Zane. I’m angry with Ash. Until this summer, Ash used to tell me everything. I am his best friend, not Zane. What’s happening to our friendship? Their conversation seems serious—but why isn’t Ash having it with me?

Zane glances toward me and his dark eyes narrow. Oh crap, he caught me looking. I turn to go, the bottle of lemonade almost slipping from my hand. A girl jostles me and it drops, crashing to the floor a second before I follow, sprawling among the swaying bodies on the dance floor.

Time stops. My head thunks on the floor and I can’t make sense of anything. Colors swirl over my head, lights twinkle.

Then strong hands grab me and lift me to my feet. A face swims in my vision—pale eyes that have gone wide, dark brows, dark mussed hair.

“Auds!” It’s Ash, holding me up, pulling me to his chest. “Are you all right?”

Things still don’t make sense. I let him cradle me so my head rests on his shoulder. He’s breathing hard, as if he’s scared.

“I’m fine,” I manage. The music is a distant background soundtrack to the pulse that goes through my body. Or maybe it’s his heartbeat. I can’t tell.

It feels so good to be pressed against him, to be supported by his muscled arms around my back, to smell his spicy scent. It’s not cologne, I realize. It’s his skin. That’s how Ash smells.

“Are you dizzy?” he asks softly. “Do you want to get out?”

I don’t answer. I can’t.

The music plays on, and he doesn’t move. He’s breathing down my neck, warm, ticklish. I want to ask him why he’s been avoiding me, what is going on—but I don’t want to break this perfect moment when he’s acting as if he was afraid for me. As if I’m his whole world.

But then he’s moving, turning so he has one arm around my back, and he’s pulling me so I walk with him. Among the people. Out of the house. I can’t see Zane. Can’t see anything, hyper-aware of his strong arm, his warmth lining one side of my body, the hard body I’m held against.

The fresh air hits my face, clearing some of the haze. I’m walking out of Rafe’s house, in Ash’s arms. Am I dreaming?

He walks me over the lawn, steering me as if I’m blind—and it feels like I am right now, so that if you asked me what I’m seeing I wouldn’t be able to tell you—and around the side of the house. It’s more quiet here; no open windows to let the music and the noise out. It’s also cooler and I shiver.

Ash tugs me closer to his side. “Are you cold?”

I shake my head. We’re walking between the house and the trim hedge separating the property from another. Another oak spreads its branches over our heads, hiding the night sky. The foliage stirs and rustles. A bird flies away.

There’s a small stone bench. Ash stops and pushes me to sit down.

“Feeling better?” he asks.

His pale eyes are concerned, and I want to tell him I just tripped. I crashed into someone and that’s all that happened, but I just nod.

He sits down next to me, dangling his hands between his knees. Moonlight shines through the foliage, casting his face in black and white. The bruise on his jaw seems fainter than it was a few days ago.

I lift my hand to touch it before my mind can tell me no, and he flinches when the stubble scratches at my fingertips.

“Does it hurt?” I ask.

He turns to look at me. His eyes are silver in the moonlight. His hand comes to cover mine, pressing it to his cheek. I move my hand upward, where the stubble ends and his skin is smooth and soft. So hot. It scorches my fingers.

He dips his head toward me. “Auds...” The rasp in his voice rolls over me, tightening my skin, making my breath catch.

I lift my gaze to meet his eyes. Even seated he’s taller than me. His warm breath washes over me, smelling of something fruity he must have drunk.

I shiver again, and he lets go of my hand to wrap his arms around me. He doesn’t pull me to him like before, though. He keeps staring down at me, and his mouth is barely an inch from mine. It looks soft, so soft.

Why am I so obsessed with his mouth?

But his gaze drops to my lips. Looks like the obsession is mutual. He swallows hard, his throat working—and then he’s kissing me, a firm press of warmth to my mouth.

Oh god, Ash is kissing me, his lips softer than a cloud, warmer than sunlight. Then his hands press into my back, and his mouth moves over mine, sending jolts of pleasure down my spine. My hands rise of their own accord and curl around his neck, fingers tangling in the feather-soft hair there.

Ash makes a tiny sound in my mouth, like a moan, and his hands shift to my sides, making me gasp.

His kiss turns more intense, his lips moving frantically against mine, his tongue tangling with mine, his chest heaving. Our bodies shift closer and closer until there’s no space left between us; until I can feel every breath he takes, every slight shift of his hips.

This kiss... feels so right. Holding him, touching him, tasting him. Something clicks in me, like two parts coming together, a puzzle fitting and revealing a picture. This is so right it makes my chest ache and my eyes burn.

As the realization hits me, I break the kiss to draw a sharp breath.

Ash groans and gazes at me with dazed eyes. He licks his reddened lips and bends so our foreheads touch.

“You’re so pretty,” he whispers. “I think I...”

He never finishes the thought. His mouth finds mine once more, and I get this feeling he doesn’t want to ever stop kissing me. Like I’m his favorite dessert; like I’m his favorite place on earth and he wants to stay.

My heart flips over in my chest, missing a beat, because that’s exactly how I’m feeling. I never want this moment to end. I never want his arms to let go.

But a voice calls my name, and lifting my gaze I see someone coming toward us. It’s Dylan.

Ash jerks back, his eyes widening. He curses under his breath and releases me.

Cold rushes in as he stands up, turning toward Dylan. An icy band forms around my heart.

It’s okay, I tell myself. He can’t hold me forever. It doesn’t mean anything is ending. Rather something is beginning. A bad feeling roils in my stomach, though, making me nauseous.

It’s ridiculous. The kiss caught us both by surprise, I can tell. I need to give Ash time. Give time to both of us, because our relationship is changing. It began changing the moment our lips touched.

Dylan reaches us. A frown mars his forehead. “Have you seen Tessa? I can’t find her anywhere.”

“Is she okay?” I ask, getting up, his worried face getting through my tangled thoughts. “Why are you looking for her?”

He rubs the back of his head. “Someone told me she got into Ray’s car and he took her for a spin. I don’t trust him. With his car or her.”

Ray was the guy I saw her with earlier. I didn’t know he was bad news. “Did you try her cell?” I fumble with mine as I ask.

“I did. She’s not answering.”

I try nevertheless, but yeah, no answer. “Let’s go.”







We wander the yard and the house, looking, hoping she’s there somewhere. Feels like a deja vu from before. Zane and Rafe join the search, but the results are zilch.

“We’ll take the car,” Rafe says. “We’ll drive around until we find them.”

“Fucker, you can’t do that.” Zane raps a fist on Rafe’s shoulder. “If anything happens, if the cops stop us, you’ll never hear the end of it from your folks.”

“I don’t care. Dylan’s right, Ray’s kinda crazy and he likes racing. It’s dangerous.”

We’re gathered at the garden gate. The party continues behind us, loud and joyful. I try Tessa’s number again and again, fear wrapping icy fingers around me. What if something happened? What if Ray crashed the car? What if...

No. “I’ll call a taxi and we’ll go around looking for them,” I say. I sound calm and reasonable in my ears. How did this happen? How did I go from planning Tessa and Dylan’s magical kiss to fearing for her life?

I try not to think about me and Ash, the kiss we shared. It was magical. It was all I ever thought it would be.

Rafe tugs on my arm and the sound of a car engine cuts through my thoughts. Everyone rushes down the street as a red, beaten-up Honda races toward us.

I’m going out on a limb here, assuming this is Ray’s car, otherwise I don’t get the excitement.

It all gets more interesting when the car comes to a sudden stop and the door opens, spewing out Tessa. She slams the door shut and starts toward the house with long, angry strides.

Then she sees us and hesitates.

Dylan doesn’t, though. He jogs over to her and grabs her arms. “Tess, what happened? Did he do anything to you? Are you okay?”

Like Ash had asked me earlier, when I fell. My chest tightens again, and although I want to run to Tess and ask her the question myself, I stay where I am.

Because the way Dylan is holding her is nothing short of desperate, and the way she leans into him is sweet.

Maybe my unplanned plans aren’t really needed. I grin as Tessa mumbles something in Dylan’s shirt, the words muffled. He turns to glare at the car which is rolling away again, Ray not even coming out, and then puts his hand on Tessa’s hair and whispers something back.

Whatever happened in the car can’t be so bad, then. I breathe a sigh of relief and happiness as Dylan steers Tessa toward the house, and our little search party starts to disperse.

I turn to Ash.

He isn’t there.

I blink. He was right here, like, a second ago. Where did he go? I scan the party crowd. Rafe is dragging Zane toward the house, and Dylan is leading Tessa to the back of the yard, and I hope a kiss will be the next step, but Ash...

I finally make out his dark head among the people milling in the yard. He’s heading toward to the coolers.

Heading away from me.

I walk after him. We need to talk. I need to see him, see his face, his eyes; to read in his gaze that it wasn’t just me. That he felt it, too.

But by the time I catch up with him, he’s talking to another girl, and he keeps his back to me, even when I call his name and tap on his shoulder.

I thought I was invisible to him before. That doesn’t compare to now, when I seem to be insubstantial, as well. I’m a ghost to Ash. I don’t exist.

My heart crumbles. I can’t take this. It’s too much. I turn around and leave, leave the party, leave Ash.

I’ve never cried so hard before. It’s as if I can’t stop. Mom and dad try to get me to talk, to tell them what happened. Maybe when the tears stop, I will.

It takes time. Because as the days pass, my hope that Ash will realize his mistake, that he’ll come to me, fades. When I ask Tessa if he still looks my way, if he still has this heat in his gaze when I’m turned away, she shakes her head.

It’s all over. Not a word about what happened between us, about the way he kissed me, so desperately, so intensely.

That’s the beginning of the end. The end of our friendship, of the magic the kiss promised. Of my confidence. Of my belief.

I thought kisses were magical. That I’d know the moment I kissed Ash if he was the one for me.

And I was sure it worked. I knew—or thought I did—that he’s the one. I felt it in my bones.

But I was wrong.



THE END





Kiss me Goodbye is the prequel to the series:


Inked Brotherhood Series


Five boys brought together by fate. Five young men trying to overcome their troubled pasts. Five tattoos marking them as a brotherhood built on tragedy. Will they find understanding and rise above the pain?

Five girls tied by friendship. Five young women fighting their own demons. Five lives laced with sorrow. Will they be strong enough to save the men they love and make them happy?


The series composes of five interconnected, stand-alone novels: Asher, Tyler, Zane, Dylan and Rafe.


Where to get the books? HERE: http://joraven.com/books/








About the Author


Jo Raven writes New Adult erotic romance. She loves sexy bad boys and strong-willed heroines, and divides her time between writing and reading. When not cooking up plots, she putters in her cluttered kitchen and dreams of traveling to India and Japan.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorJoRaven

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AuthorJoRaven

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8161577.Jo_Raven

Website: http://joraven.com/blog/



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