Sometimes the hardest thing for a proud person to do is lean on others.
Since her father went to prison, Mercy Taylor’s life has been crap. With forty dollars in her pocket, and a determined look on her face, Mercy decides to do something about it. She hitch-hikes her way to Myrtle Beach to start fresh.
Never say it can’t get worse, because for Mercy, it does. For her, rock bottom consists of eating out of a trash can. But, once you’ve hit bottom, there’s nowhere to go but up.
Jaxon Harrison left Devil Creek, West Virginia for a new start. He’d fallen in love and had given his heart to a woman who had chewed it up and spit it out. He doesn’t need that kind of heartache again. The problem is, there’s a sweet, stubborn girl who refuses to get out of his head.
The moment when you get your feet firmly set on the ground, life tends to throw something else your way. What will the future hold for Mercy and Jaxon?
I absolutely loved this book! I started reading and just couldn’t put it down! It’s now 2:30 am and I’m finished. This is the first book in a VERY VERY long time that I just had to stay up to read! It had me laughing and crying (both sad and happy tears)! What an emotional roller coaster!! I would be laughing and then tears would come. It was worth it though! Great story, great characters! Absolutely amazing!!
I was dead on my feet when I finally got home. I locked my door behind me, kicked my shoes off in the living room floor and dragged my hind end to the refrigerator. I had one Pepsi left, so I popped the top and settled onto my bed to relax for a minute. I needed a shower. I stunk like fried food and beer. I let that warm water wash the stench of hard work away. I shrugged on my favorite long t-shirt and pink polka-dot panties and collapsed into the bed. I’m pretty sure I was snoring before my head hit the pillow.
Bang! Bang! Bang! Slam! What the? More noise. It was coming from my door or one of my neighbors. The alarm clock’s red numbers read four thirty-eight in the morning. Bang! Bang!
“Come on. Come on. Come on. Please! Mercy, wake up! Please!” Bang! Bang! Bang!
June? I padded to the door and released the dead lock. June stood with her fist ready to bang my door again. Her eye was black and her lip was split open and bleeding.
“Oh my God! What happened?”
“Let me in. Lock the damn door! Hurry!” She slid past me, pushed me away and engaged the deadbolt. Before I could question her further, banging came from the door again. This was different. Hers had been desperate, scared. This was angry and aggressive. “Open the door, June. You think you can fucking run from me?” Bang! Bang! “Open the door!”
I pushed her behind me and grabbed her hand. It was shaking. I shoved her in my closet with my emergency cell phone. “Call 911.”
She looked at me blankly. “Snap out of it. Call 911, June. Okay?”
She nodded and her trembling fingers sought out the numbers as she huddled into the closet floor. I ran to the edge of the bed and felt beneath the mattress. The banging became louder, more urgent. I grabbed the only thing of my Daddy’s I’d taken with me from home: his gun. Safety off. Click. Clip engaged. Check.
I made my way to the living room again. “The cops are on their way, buddy. Get your ass off my porch!”
“Fuck you! Where’s June? I know she’s in there!”
“Are you the one who messed her face up? You’re a pussy!” Yeah. I said it and I meant it. Only pussies hit women. Daddy had always said that.
“Come on out and I’ll show you what a pussy I am, bitch!” He sounded big, and mean. Definitely mean.
I heard a muffled, but familiar scratchy voice. “Excuse me. I think you should leave.” My heart dropped. Celeste.
The sound of footsteps leading down my porch steps spurred me to action. I threw the lock, opened the door and stepped outside. “You leave her alone or I’ll blow your ass to the moon, Dickweed.”
He scoffed. “You even know how to use that thing?” He staggered, half-grinning, half-sneering at me. He looked like a normal guy–neat blonde hair, jeans, light blue polo with what I assumed was June’s blood. I’d expected a leather-clad, bad-ass biker, or tattooed gang member from the looks of June and the banging he’d done on my door. He wasn’t even big. Just an asshole who like to hit woman. My blood boiled. I clicked the safety off, just in case.
“Celeste, go back inside and lock your door. The police should be here any minute.”
“No. I want to see you pump his sorry ass full of lead!” she protested.
Huffing, she crossed her arms over her chest. “This is better than COPS. No way am I leaving.”
“I’ve had enough of this shit. Where is June?” Pretty boy started back toward me. Big mistake. I squeezed the trigger. The bullet hit the pavement about six inches from his sparkling white Nike’s. Shock washed over his face. “You tried to shoot me.”
“Nope. I didn’t try to shoot you. I don’t miss. If I had tried to shoot you, you’d be laying on the pavement. Now, you sit your sorry ass on my bottom step and don’t move.”
“No way. I’m outta here. You crazy chicks probably did call the cops.” Wrong answer. He turned to leave so I fired off another shot. He raised his hands in the air and turned back around, walked to the bottom of my staircase and sat down. Sirens sounded in the distance. God, I loved the sound of justice. Especially when it came down to my girl, June. I didn’t hope they threw the book at him. I hoped they beat his sorry ass with it.
It took hours for the police to take statements from Celeste, June, me, and the Dickweed. Dickweed’s really name: John Templeton. Even sounded like a rat and really? I could smack my best friend. Johnny and June? So yesterday.
The cops called the EMS and our trusty Paramedic Brody showed up with his medic kit full of goodies. He treated June’s lip, jaw and body clenched tight the entire time.
“You deserve better.”
I didn’t mean to eavesdrop, but oh, who was I kidding. I meant to eavesdrop.
“What attracted you to him?”
“I don’t know. He seemed nice when he asked me out. I needed a distraction, so…”
I didn’t see it, but dang if I could feel the sexual tension. I heard June moan a little. “How’s that for a damn distraction? I want you so bad and if it wasn’t for this stunt tonight, I’d take you home and have you ten ways from Sunday. Feel me?”
“Yep. Got it.” She rasped.
“Good. You’re going home with me. My shift is officially over and we’re going to bed. To sleep. For now.”
“Okay,” he said. “Let’s go.”
I pretended to be exiting the bathroom, but June knew. Brody passed us both by and went to put away his medical supplies. Her eyes were wide. “Oh, my God. I should have gone out with him. I blew him off. After he asked me out at the beach, I blew him off. I shouldn’t have blown him off. I’d have been with him and not John. This would never have happened. I’m so stupid.” And the tears started.
Funny thing is, I never cried. I didn’t cry when Daddy was taken away. I didn’t cry when they told him he’d spend the next fifteen years in prison. I didn’t cry when Mama repeatedly fell off the sobriety wagon, or when she let dirtbag after dirtbag into our home. I didn’t cry when I packed up and left town. But for whatever reason, seeing June hurt, made me hurt, and I cried right along with her. I cried for her.
— ~Michelle Hart