by Noelle Adams
Publication Date: July 7, 2014
Genres:Contemporary, Humor, New Adult, Romance
•Synopsis: Ethan was Ashley’s secret crush, until he became an asshole. Asshole is too good a word for him. It’s bad enough that he stopped talking to her brother, who was his best friend since preschool. It’s even worse that he went wild and got involved with criminal types. But the worst thing of all is the way he trapped her on this ridiculous road trip. That’s what it is. Ridiculous. It just isn’t normal for a girl to get dragged from Virginia to South Dakota in a stolen car with just $1000 in cash. With Ethan Moore, who is way too hot and way too infuriating to be tolerated. But she’s stuck with him on a trip that is taking way longer than it should, sharing cheap hotel rooms, destroying cars, and eluding bad guys. Yep. There are bad guys chasing them. Even worse guys than Ethan, and that’s saying a lot. Plus, she’s having trouble keeping her hands off Ethan. In fact, she’s falling for him hard—when she isn’t wanting to wring his neck. So, for two crazy weeks, her pride, her heart, and her life are all threatened. Ashley isn’t sure which she’ll lose first.
As she picked up a basket from the side of the entrance and walked through the aisles, picking up essentials like milk, Coke, and chocolate, she couldn’t help but remember the years Ethan had been like part of her family, ever since he and Mark had become friends in elementary school. He’d played games with them in the back yard and come over for dinner regularly. She’d horned in on more of their fishing trips than she could remember.
She wasn’t sure what had happened to him in the last two years, and it really hurt again when she thought about it.
She was standing in front of the one small shelving unit in the shop with pantry items, trying to remember if her parents had enough coffee, when a voice came from behind her, “You shouldn’t leave your car unattended.”
She whirled around and scowled at Ethan. “If you ever decide you’re going to obey all the rules, then you can start bossing me about them.”
“Seriously. What if the pump doesn’t click off when it’s full? You’d have gas all over the ground and you’d have to pay for it. Or Miss Horner would. That’s her truck, isn’t it?”
She just rolled her eyes and grabbed some coffee. If her parents already had some, it wouldn’t matter. They could always use some more.
She wasn’t going to risk being out of coffee.
“Are your folks back in town yet?” he asked, following her to the next aisle. He had a bottle of water in his hand—which he’d obviously come in here to buy—so he must just be trying to annoy her now.
She wasn’t surprised he knew they’d been gone. Everyone knew everyone else’s business in this town. “Not yet. They’re driving home after visiting Mark. He used to be your friend. Remember?”
“You know, it might be smart not to draw conclusions before you know all the facts.” He sounded cool, almost offended. “Mark was my friend. But I thought you were too.”
She turned on him, practically gnashing her teeth in her outrage, “And what facts don’t I have now that would help me to draw different conclusions? If we’re not friends anymore, then you have no one but yourself to blame.”
She realized she was getting too upset, so she walked away from him again. She didn’t need this. He upset her too much. She was going to have a secure future without any mess or heartbreak.
And Ethan always, only led to mess and heartbreak.
She was still stewing—hurt and angry and indignant—as she paid for her stuff and brought the bag back to Miss Horner’s truck.
The gas pump had stopped and hadn’t overflowed, so she turned the cap and pulled out her purse, setting it on the hood of the pickup so she could put her change back in her wallet.
And, damn it, there was Ethan again.
“Ashley,” he was saying, “I don’t know what you’ve heard, but I don’t think it’s as—“
He never finished his sentence.
His eyes darted over her shoulder, and, before Ashley knew what was happening, he had slammed into her from the side, pushing her down to the pavement in a move that scratched up her palms and knees. Shocked and winded, she stared up at Ethan, who was pretty much on top of her now.
She started to ask what was going on and request that he get off her, but he interrupted by hissing, “Quiet.”
Recognizing real urgency in his voice, Ashley shut up and waited, her heart pounding and her breath uneven.
Then there was a gunshot. Or what sounded like a gunshot.
When she turned her head, she saw that one of Ethan’s truck tires had been blown.
After another second, Ethan ordered, “Get in.” He hauled her to her feet, grabbed her arm bruisingly, and dragged her into Miss Horner’s truck, pushing her over into the passenger side and taking the driver’s side himself. Ashley didn’t pull away. Not that she had much choice. She could never have freed herself from Ethan’s powerful grip.
She was terrified, although she did spare a quick thought for her purse, which was still on the hood of the truck.