Home > Friend Zoned (Barnett Bulldogs #2)

Friend Zoned (Barnett Bulldogs #2)
Author: Jennifer Sucevic


 

Prologue

 

Sam

It’s the light scraping of the window pane being forced up that has my eyelids feathering open. Not a moment later, a small lithe body slips through the opening before dropping quietly to the floor of my second story bedroom. Cautiously she treads across the wooden floorboards so as to not wake my parents before toeing off her black Converse sneakers and shedding the gray hoodie. When she’s in nothing more than a thin pink tank top and a pair of stretchy black yoga pants, she continues moving towards me again. Without a word spoken between us, I simply hold open the blankets so she can slip silently beneath them.

Carefully I pull the sheet and comforter over her, tucking them around her body. “Nightmare?” It’s sleepily that the word falls from my lips into the swirling darkness. Without looking at the clock, I know it has to be well after midnight.

“Yup.”

That’s all she says and because this is a well-established routine, one we’ve been doing for about two and a half years now, I know it’s pointless to push for more. I’ve learned that all Violet really wants is for me to chase away the dreams that continue to haunt her. The last thing she wants is to talk about them.

And so I do the one thing I love best, I curve my six foot two frame around her small body, pulling her against me until we’re both comfortably settled. Even though I had been slumbering soundly before her arrival, I always sleep better with her tucked safely in my arms.

An unintentional sigh of contentment falls softly from my lips as the fragrance of her rosemary mint shampoo hits my senses. I’ve learned to simply enjoy this time of the night with her because come morning, when my alarm goes off at six thirty for school, she’ll be long gone. Back in her own bedroom about fifty yards away.

And it’ll be like it never even happened.

Violet doesn’t talk much about her parents or the younger sister she lost in a car crash when she was just fourteen years old. It’s what sent her life spiraling into chaos, forcing her to move in with her grandparents the summer before eighth grade.

But I know the nightmares still claw at her during the darkest part of the night. When they do, she’ll scamper up the scarred hundred year old oak tree that stands right outside my bedroom window with its gnarled root system and thick branches. Because I never know just when she’ll show up, I leave the window unlatched so she’s able to come and go as she pleases.

Violet burrows into my embrace before a soft contented sigh, one which echoes my own, leaves her mouth before arrowing straight through my beating heart.

“Comfy?”

I don’t know why I even bother asking. I can tell by the way her entire body goes lax against mine that she is. Then again, maybe I just want to hear her say the words. Maybe I want her to finally acknowledge that when she needs comforting, it’s me she runs to. I’m the only one who can keep the nightmares at bay. There aren’t many people Violet allows herself to be completely unguarded with. I count myself lucky to be one of the chosen few. Protecting her has become second nature.

More like a reflex.

Again she sighs in pleasure, “Mmm hmm.”

But it’s enough.

Enough for now.

“Good. Now go to bed so we can both get a little shut eye.” Although I would stand guard over her sleeping form until the sun came up in the eastern sky if that’s what she needed. If that’s what it took for her to get just a little bit of rest.

Violet may not realize it, but she completes me in the most basic sense of the word. When she’s wrapped up tight in my arms, it’s like I can finally breathe again. Which is kind of strange because, before Violet Winterfield entered my life, I never realized that I wasn’t sucking in full breaths of oxygen.

This girl is mine. I marked her as my own when I first locked eyes on her as she stepped out of her grandparent’s navy sedan three summers ago.

Just as my eyes start to droop, she murmurs into the darkness that continues to cloak us, “Don’t let go, okay?”

Her words have me pressing my lips against the gentle curve of her cheek before whispering fiercely, “I won’t let go, Vi. Not ever.”

 

Chapter One

 

Sam slides his big muscular body onto the chair parked next to me about thirty seconds after the start of class. His thick jean clad leg presses up against mine as he settles himself in. Not taking my eyes off the professor who has already launched into the lecture for the day, I carefully whisper from the corner of my mouth, “So nice of you to finally join us, Mr. Harper.”

Even though I’m not looking his way, I know he’s grinning from ear to ear. I can all but feel it. His smiles are just as brilliantly blinding as the sun. Heat radiates from them in thick heavy waves. Any minute his warm breath is going to feather right across my-

“Hey, I had to haul ass all the way from the stadium.” He snorts before adding, “Coach scheduled a midafternoon practice just for the fun of it.”

Well... that last comment is completely debatable. After all, it’s early November. And damn chilly out. The Bulldogs have been on an incredible winning streak this season, which means ramped up practices and workout schedules so they can keep their number one seed going into the playoffs. At this point, everyone in their conference is looking to tear them down.

Finally glancing over at him, I notice his dark blond hair is all shiny and wet from the shower he must have just taken. His bright blue eyes spear mine with a sparkle of mischief simmering within them. His cheeks are flushed and his breathing is just a bit labored.

He looks…

He kind of looks…

I’m slammed with the notion that this is probably how Sam looks right after a rowdy bout of sex. Something deliciously hot arrows clean through me before settling deep within my core. Not knowing where the hell that thought sprang up from, I abruptly shift my body away from his. My brows pull together in bewilderment.

What the hell is that all about?

Even more bothersome than that- those kinds of pesky thoughts regarding Sam have been cropping up with a disconcerting amount of frequency lately. And, I swear to god, it slammed into me out of nowhere. It’s not like anything even happened between us. More like I blinked one day and suddenly he just looked different to me.

That being said, I just need it all to go away.

Sam and I are friends.

Good friends. But friends none the less. And I really don’t want that changing.

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