I promised last week, after sharing a teaser that was just Cross without Catherine, that I would do the same this week but for Catty.
So, finally got around to doing that.
In other news, it is the 30th, which means we are just a couple of days away from the release of Always, if you can believe it.
I am beyond excited to share this story. Beyond.
If you haven't already you can pre-order Always on all the major vendors.
Find them below:
Pre-order Always here:
Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AUS
Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Kobo
And now, for the teaser ... Enjoy!
“Okay, somebody needs to tell me what happened yesterday,” Catherine said.
She was getting really sick of being stared at as though she was diseased.
Liliana barely looked up from her phone. “You haven’t heard yet?”
“How can I hear anything? I’m the new school pariah, for Christ’s sake.”
That meant she wasn’t being talked to, but talked about. Her friends were keeping a distance—except her cousin—and everybody else kept staring and whispering while her back was turned.
“I guess Cross and Derik traded punches in the locker room at the pre-game practice yesterday,” Liliana said, offering the information as though it meant nothing.
“Maybe that’s why Derik wouldn’t answer my text last night.”
“Oh, and then after, Dina made a scene with Cross in front of the office while the team and her friends waited.”
“Why were they waiting there?”
Yes, Catherine, that is the most important thing in what she just told you.
Catherine ignored her inner voice.
“Probably to see if they were going to lose Cross as their quarterback—they did, by the way, and the game.”
Catherine didn’t care about the game, or the school’s loss. “That explains why she and her little band of merry bitches have been particularly awful to me today. What do you mean she made a scene with him?”
Liliana shrugged, still typing out messages on her phone. “I heard she yelled a lot, tried to hit him a few times, and that your name was mentioned. Someone said she called you a whore—Cross told her to shut up, or something like that.”
Well, the staring, whispering, and lack of friends was starting to make a lot more damn sense. Catherine didn’t understand why she had been the topic of conversation for anybody, though, but especially Dina and Cross.
“What was the fight between the guys about?” Catherine asked.
Liliana side-eyed Catherine. “Seriously?”
“I don’t know!”
“You, Catherine. They were fighting about you.”
“But … that doesn’t make any sense.”
They had no reason to fight about her.
Liliana shrugged. “Ask Derik or Cross, then. All I know from what was spread by some of the guys in the locker room was that Derik told Cross to back off, said something about you, and Cross kicked the shit out of him.”
Catherine cringed. “Yikes.”
“I don’t know. Derik should have known better, to be honest. Cross goes for the jugular in a fight. He’s out to win, and he’ll break his hands on somebody’s face as long as that means they’ll be staying down. Derik is an idiot.”
“What did he say about me—Derik, I mean?”
“That, I don’t know,” Liliana said. “But hey, maybe you could find out.”
Her cousin pointed across the parking lot. A familiar silver Audi pulled into one of the few parking spots closest to the school’s entrance. Derik’s car.
Catherine didn’t even think about it; she pushed off the wall of stones, and headed in Derik’s direction. She made it to him just as he stepped out of the car. He barely passed her a glance as he slammed the door, but it was enough.
A fat lip.
Catherine didn’t know what Cross looked like, but she was willing to bet it wasn’t as bad as Derik.
“You got into a fight with Cross Donati?” Catherine asked.
“Yeah. Came to grab my shit for the week. Seven-day suspension.”
“Why would you get into a fight—”
“Because the guy doesn’t know how to back off on something that’s not his,” Derik muttered.
Catherine stiffened, remembering what her cousin told her. The fight in the locker room had been about her. “Wait, say that again.”
“I told him to back off. What part of that don’t you understand?”
“No, the other thing.” Catherine tipped her head to the side, adding, “Because I’m pretty sure I’m not anybody’s, Derik. And certainly not yours. You don’t get to stamp your fucking logo on me like I’m a product for you to brand and then go around making a scene about it.”
Derik nodded, scoffing. “Right, okay.”
“No, I’m serious. What exactly did you say that pissed Cross off enough to do this?” Catherine asked, waving a hand at his face. “Because I’m not with Cross, I’m not dating him, and the first time I’ve actually spoken to him in a year was yesterday morning when I was running late for homeroom. So if he felt the need to break his fists on your face, there must have been a reason. What was it?”
The guy wouldn’t look at her.
Catherine took that as a bad sign.
“Well?” she demanded again.
“You know what,” Derik said with a shrug, “you’re not even worth it, Catherine. Not the effort or the trouble. Maybe if you were putting out, then I might give a shit. But not like this, and not like you are.”
Catherine managed to fold her arms over her chest instead of slapping Derik across his stupid mouth. “Is that so?”
“Yeah, it is.”
“Great, thanks for letting me know that now. Go fuck yourself, Derik.”
“Give me a few days to fix this,” he said with a smirk and a gesture to his face, “and I’ll certainly be fucking someone. It just won’t be you.”
Catherine smiled sweetly. It was something she learned from her mother.
Smile before you gut them; they never see you coming. And go for the throat. Every time.
“But that wasn’t by your choice, was it?” Catherine asked, sickeningly saccharine. “Remember that, Derik.”
Red filled his cheeks—a sure sign of humiliation.
Catherine smiled once more, knowing she had won, and walked away.
She belonged to no one.
Author. Canadian. Mother. Lover. I write about bad guys who fall for their women and fall hard.