Okay, fine. Y’all are too awesome.

I asked, you delivered.  :)  When Will met Lake.

If you haven’t read the first chapter, read it here first, then come back to this one.

 

September 23rd, 2010

The introduction

 

I hold the phone to my ear with my shoulder and finish buttoning my shirt.  “I promise, Grandma,” I say into the phone.  “I’m leaving straight from work on Friday.  We’re running late, I gotta go.  I’ll call you tomorrow.”

She says her goodbyes and I hang up the phone.  Caulder walks through the living room with his backpack slung across his shoulder and a green, plastic army helmet on his head.  He’s always trying to sneak random accessories to school.  Last week when I dropped him off, he was out of the car before I even noticed he was wearing a holster.  I reach out and snatch the helmet off his head and toss it onto the couch.  “Caulder, go get in the car.  I’ve got to grab my stuff.”

Caulder heads outside and I scramble to gather all the papers scattered across the bar. I was up past midnight grading.  I’ve only been teaching eight weeks now, but I’m beginning to understand why there’s a teacher shortage.  I shove the stack of papers inside my binder, then shove it into my satchel and head outside.

Great,” I mutter, as soon as I see the U-Haul backing up across the street.  This is the third family to move into that house in less than a year.  I’m not in the mood to help people move again, especially after only four hours of sleep.  Hopefully they’ll be finished unloading by the time I get home today, or else I’ll feel obligated to help.  I turn around and lock the door behind me, then quickly head for the car.  When I open the car door, Caulder isn’t inside.  I groan and throw my stuff in the seat.  He always picks the worst times to play hide-and-seek.  We’re already ten minutes late.

I glance in the backseat, hoping he’s in the floorboard, when I catch sight of him in the street.   He’s laughing and playing with another little boy that looks about his age.  This is a plus.  Maybe having a neighbor to play with will get him out of my hair more often.

I start to call his name so he’ll come back to the car when the U-Haul catches my eye again. The girl driving can’t be any older than me, yet she’s confidently backing up the U-Haul without any help.  I lean against my car door and decide to watch.  This should be interesting.  How she’ll navigate that thing around those gnomes is beyond me.

I’m quickly proven wrong and she’s parked in the driveway in no time flat, gnomes untouched.  Rather than hop out to inspect her parking job, she kills the engine and rolls down her windows, then props her leg up on the dash.

I don’t know why these simple actions strike me as odd.  Intriguing, even.  She drums her fingers on the steering wheel, then reaches up and tugs at her hair, letting down her ponytail.  She runs her hands through her hair and massages her scalp, shaking her hair out until it spills down around her shoulders and frames her face.

Holy hell. The fact that it’s less than sixty degrees outside and I feel like ripping off my jacket is not a good sign.

Her gaze falls on the boys playing in the street between us.  Is she his sister?  His mom? She doesn’t look old enough to have a child that age, but I’m also at a disadvantage being all the way across the street.  And why is she just sitting in the U-Haul? I realize I’ve been staring for several minutes when someone pulls up beside her in a loaded down Jeep.

“Please don’t be a guy,” I whisper to myself, hoping it’s not a boyfriend.  Or worse, a husband.  My own thoughts surprise me.  Why would I even care?  The last thing I need right now is a distraction.  Especially someone who lives across the street from me.

The door to the Jeep opens and when the woman steps out, I breathe a sigh of relief.  Before I can talk myself out of it, I’m walking toward their house.  I suddenly have the urge to help people move today, after all.  I cross the street, unable to take my eyes off of her.  She’s watching Caulder and the other little boy play, and hasn’t once glanced in my direction.  I don’t know what it is about her that’s pulling me in.  That look on her face….I can’t tell if she’s sad or pissed off or…unhappy.

She still hasn’t noticed me.  I’m standing on the passenger side of the U-Haul, staring at her through the window, practically in a trance.  It’s not because of the fact that she’s attractive, which she is.  It’s that look in her eyes.  The depth.  I need to know what she’s thinking.

She says something to the boys, then opens the door to get out.   I suddenly realize how awkward it’s about to get if she catches me standing in her driveway, staring.  I glance across the street and contemplate how I can get back over there without her seeing me.  Before I have a chance to make a move, Caulder and the other little boy run around the U-haul and smash into me, laughing.

“She’s a zombie!” Caulder yells.  I grab both of them by their shirts, a good way to use Caulder as an excuse for being in their driveway.  The girl rounds the U-Haul and I can’t help but laugh.  She’s got her head cocked to the side and she’s walking stiff-legged after them like a zombie.

“Get ‘em!” I yell to her.  They’re trying to fight to get away so I strengthen my grip.  I look back up at her and we lock eyes.

Wow.  Those eyes. They’re the most incredible shade of deep green I’ve ever seen.  I try to compare the color to something, but nothing comes to mind.  The color is so unique it’s like her eyes have just invented their own hue.

Studying her features, I conclude she can’t be the boy’s mom.  She looks my age.  At the least, maybe nineteen or twenty.  I wonder if she’s single.

Christ.  This is the last thing I need in my life right now.  A crush.

I feel like she knows what I’m thinking, so I force myself to break our gaze.  The boy takes my moment of distraction and uses it to his advantage.  He breaks free and slices at me with an imaginary sword, so I look back up at the girl and mouth, “help.”

She yells “brains” again and lunges forward, pretending to bite Caulder on top of the head.  She tickles them until they melt onto the concrete driveway, then she stands back up.   Her cheeks flush when she meets my gaze again and she contorts her mouth into an uncomfortable pout, like she’s suddenly embarrassed. Her uneasiness disappears just as fast as it appeared and is replaced by a smile that suddenly makes me want to know every single detail about her.  I take a step forward to introduce myself.

“Hey, I’m Will,” I say, extending my hand out to her. “We live across the street.”  She places her hand in mind. It’s soft and cold and the moment I wrap my fingers around hers, the physical contact sends a shockwave straight through me.  I don’t remember the last time a girl has had this kind of immediate effect on me.

It must be my lack of sleep.

“I’m Layken,” she says, her uneasiness once again masking her smile. “I guess I live here.” She glances at the house behind her, then back to me.

She doesn’t look too pleased about the fact that she lives “here.”  That same look she had while sitting in the U-Haul consumes her features again and her eyes suddenly grow sadder.

“Well, welcome to Ypsilanti,” I say, wanting desperately to make that look go away.  She looks down and it occurs to me that I’m still awkwardly shaking her hand, so I quickly pull it away from hers and shove my hands in my jacket pockets.  “Where are you guys moving here from?”

“Texas?” she says, looking back up at me.

Why does she say it like a question?  Did I just ask a stupid question?  I did.  I’m making stupid small-talk.

“Texas, huh?” I say.  She nods her head, but doesn’t come back with a response.  I suddenly feel like an intrusive neighbor. I don’t know what else to say without making it even more awkward, so I figure my best move at this point is to retreat.  I bend over and grab Caulder by the feet, throwing him over my shoulder, then tell her I’ve got to get him to school.  “There’s a cold front coming through tonight.  You should try to get as much unloaded today as you can.  It’s supposed to last a few days so if you guys need help unloading this afternoon, let me know.  We’ll be home around four.”

She smiles. “Sure, thanks.”

Her words are laced with the slightest hint of a southern drawl.  I didn’t know how much I liked southern accents until now.  I continue across the street and help Caulder into the car.  While he’s climbing inside, I glance back across the street.  The little boy is stabbing her in the back and she grabs her stomach and falls to her knees.  Her playful interaction with him is just one more thing that intrigues me about her.  After he jumps on her back, she glances up and catches me staring at her.  I shut Caulder’s door and walk to my side. Before I get in, I muster a smile and wave, then climb inside the car with an overwhelming urge to punch myself.

***

As soon as the bell for third period rings, I open the lid to my coffee and pour two extra packets of sugar in it.  I’m about to need it.  There’s something about some of the students in third period that just rub me the wrong way.   Especially Javier.  That dude is such a jackass.

“Morning, Mr. Cooper,” Eddie says, as cheerful as ever.

“Morning, Eddie.”

She turns and kisses Gavin on the cheek, then settles into her desk.  They’ve been dating since right after I graduated.  They’re probably the only two people that don’t annoy the hell out of me in here.  Well, them and maybe Nick.  Nick seems okay.

After the students are all seated, I instruct them to get out their books.  The entire time I’m giving my lecture over the elements of poetry, my mind keeps reverting back to this morning.

Layken.

I really like that name.

105 Comments

I LOVED LOVE LOVE LOVED your books Slammed and POR, they BUTTERFLYING rock!!!! A friend of mine and I have made our own book club of just the two of us she suggested these books to me and while I was reading them we would text each other. I decided to come to your page to tell you that her and I love the story of Will and Lake and their entourage and howi it would be so awesome to see it on tv or a movie, it’s a great story! I love on your page the teaser of Will seeing Lake for the first time. Keep writing please. :)

    I and Love and You!! You’re Butterflying PHENOMENAL! I truly enjoyed reading your books: Slammed & Point of Retreat. You’re incredibly talented. Thanks for the teasers…Can’t wait to read Will’s story.
    ***I’d also like to see them come to life. Hope whoever gets their hands on your books does them justice. Thanks for all the ‘sweets’!

Love it! Just finished the other two books and found your blog thanks so much for this!!

I’ve read Slammed and Point of Retreat 3 times. I love it. I can not wait for more!!!

I love this! I can’t wait to read more… I can’t get enough of Slammed and Point of Retreat…. I know this one will keep me awake until the sun rises!

I can’t wait until this is released! I LOVE Will’s POV!

i have read both books in 2 day! they are AMAZING, i hope there is another one, or at least the teasers you have posted become a book soon! GREAT WORK! these books are in my top 10 all fav books!!!!!!!!!

can’t wait!!!!!!!!!! I haven’t told you in a bit but you ROCK!!!!!!!!!!!!

WOW! Could not put Slammed down. The vivid sensitive twist on how Julia deals with her cancer is wonderful. Slamming is a unique way to express innermost feelings. Thank you for the wonderful read. I am looking forward to more of your works!

This was fab… can’t wait for more.

please please please FINISH THIS BOOK!!!! I need rest the story. ALSO if you need an interesting name for Eddies baby since shes having a girl one of my twin daughters name is Kashlyn, its suppose to be spelled Cashlin (you can spell it that way if you want ;-) ) its Irish for little castle

LOVE this! Can you PLEASE continue the story from Point of Retreat as well? I would so like to read what happens next! Are there any future plans for continuing the story?

Sighh….. OK, that helped my withdrawal….. :)

    BTW.. thank you for introducing me to the Avett Brothers… they are great!! My curiosity got me searching them online and I am totally digging them. :)

Awwww…thats cute…i cant wait for more

Awesome! I CAN NOT WAIT! PLEASE HURRY! (I thought maybe shouty capitals might work. ;) I just finished Fifty Shades. Can you tell?) I love Will’s POV!

I am so ready to read this book i just cant wait. This is a GREAT start im super excited!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Love it! Ok so I’m confused. I read slammed, and point of retreat……. Is there going to be another book as well?

    Ooooooo yea! so there is another book…super excites… So colleen, you asked for some authors, I’m a huge fan of s.c Stephens the thoughtless series. It’s amazing! As well as nicky Charles the mating is super good definite books to read.

    The Mating series is VERY good I have to agree i love it!!!! and Nicky Charles is a great author

Can’t wait to read this…totally caught up in these characters life’s!

When will it finally be released?! Can’t wait!!!

LOVE! Please hurry and finish….heart your books so much that I’ve been gifting them to friends (kindle reading friends that is;).

GAH!! I can’t wait to read more!!!

“Butterflying” begging you to finish & publish this book. Absolutely wonderful books! Downloaded & read both in a day, couldn’t put them down. You are definetly now on my list of authors I will buy the book without even reading the overview. More Will & Lake please.

I seriously cannot wait to read this book! I need more Will in my life!

I LOVE this. I want more! I read slammed and point of retreat. It mentioned that there would be a another book so I have been searching and searching for more books on Layken and Will hoping you had wrote more and that it was already out waiting for me to read it. Thats how I found your blog. I love the sneak peeks you have been giving. Holds me over. I just hope that you decide to continue working on Wills story. I can not wait to read it all from his perspective. And wouldnt mind reading what happens with Will, Layken and the boys in the future.Thanks for giving us a little something to keep us going :)

Your writing is so easy to read. It’s simple, poetic, & beautiful. My favorite line: “Holy hell. The fact that it’s less than sixty degrees outside and I feel like ripping off my jacket is not a good sign.” LOL! Keep up the butterflying awesome work! Can’t wait to read more.

This book cannot be published soon enough! I want to read more! Like, yesterday! :)

Oh my gosh, so excited. I can NOT wait until you finish this book and it comes out. I really enjoyed reading from Will’s point of view in POR so I’m excited to see what he was thinking and feeling when all of the things that happened in the first book went on!

AAAw that was so sweet..?I just re-read it for the 3rd time today and this was just a nice plus to it !! i’m starting point of retreat again tonight ..YOU’re awesome !!

Love it!!! Just read both books last week! So glad there
is a 3rd in the works!

This makes me so damn impatient for more! Teaser – the double edge sword…

:]

Oh my god, more!! PLease! More!. I just reread both Slammed and Point of Retreat. I need to read more of this story. Come on!. Hurry your butterflying butt up!
=]

I BUTTERFLYING LOVE IT! I want to read Will’s POV of Slammed like right now ;) Can’t wait until its out :D

Love it!! Can not wait-any “to be released” date yet???

Love it! I want more, so much more!!! Thank you for the butterflyingly amazing tease!!!!!!

Yay!!!!!! I love it! So excited to read the whole book. Thanks for the tease! You butterflying rock!

I love it, please continue :)

I so miss Will……this is my sweet today!

What a great way to start off my last week of summer vacation! You captured it, Colleen! I had the jitters the whole time I was reading it – you know, the way new introductions really are! I can’t wait for more, but my stomach is already in knots anticipating their first encounter at school! Thanks for the “sweet!”

So fun to read this. Thanks so much! I love both the books and can’t wait for the next!

How is it possible that Will completely melts me EVERY time!?!?

I freakin LOVE Will!!

i want to read more :(

I just bit off 3 family member’s heads for tryng to TALK to me while I read this…the nerve! Colleen, I LOVED IT!

You absolutely delivered! Thanks for the teaser, Colleen! I hope we get another one for those of us flying to Chicago to meet you;)

Love it!! I can’t wait to read more of Will and Lake’s story!!! And, now that they’re married … looking forward to some good, descriptive intimate scenes. HINT, HINT, HINT. :D

Michelle McKinley July 30, 2012 at 9:21 AM

Omg I love it and such a tease!! I want to keep reading!!! When will it be released?!?!

PLEASE PLEAESE PLEASEEEEEE finish the book =) … I miss Will and Layken and Caulder and Kel! =) .. you butterflying rock! can’t wait till this book is done! i’m soo excited!

My suck is that it’s Monday :( But my sweet is this teaser…. Can’t wait for the next book!!!!! Thank you so much. You Butterflying Rock!!!!!

aghhh it is killing me.. i CAN NOT wait for Wills story to come out!!

i need this now!!!!! you are amazing!!!

Forget the ocean, I’ll take the Lake! Love it! Btw: I’ve started the “suck or sweet” with my neighbor down the street!!! Can’t wait!

My sweet for the day!!!!!!!! Can not wait to read the book!!! You are so talented Colleen :o) Thank you!!!!

OMG! I LOVE IT! Can it be August 28 Yet!!! It Butterfly hurry up I need my FIT of Laykey and Will!

Best way to start my Monday morning. Thanks for the sweet book treat Colleen!

Soooooooo good!

SO Awesome! I LOVE Will and Layken!

More Will, please! That rocked!

i love it. it is amazing

So great! Avett Brothers on Friday night and now this! Thank you, Colleen!

Love this… Thank you! Hurry up & release the book please. :)

Holy Cow!!!!!! That was Awesome!! :) :) :) Thank you for that beautiful insight into Will’s mind!!! LOVE! Someone needs to hurry the heck up and buy the movie rights, and please make sure they don’t screw it up! You ROCK!!! Enjoy your vacation, I think you said you were going to the beach….so get out and have fun, no pumkin carving!!!

Love it, thank u Colleen!

what a way to start off my morning.
love this.
can’t wait for the next book.
you’re bemazing. :)

Jennifer Raicevich July 30, 2012 at 6:16 AM

You are awesome :) This is great and I can’t wait to read the rest!
I love the way you used “retreat” :)

So…..good!!!!!!!!!! I love Will!

Love love love!!! I can’t wait :)

I loved that you put in the line ‘my best move at this point is to retreat’ it’s a lovely nod to the Point of Retreat title. It’s these little things that you do that make your writing so wonderful! I also particularly loved that Will had an overwhelming urge to punch himself. I love Will’s (your) sense of humour. But enough with the teasers! It’s torture, I won’t the whole story, yesterday. Please!!!

Thank you for today’s sweet!

Butterflying Beautiful!

Love It!!! Can’t wait until you are finished.

I. Don’t. Want. To. Wait! I am so excited!!!

<3 more please

This is the best thing I’ve read before work in a while. Today will be a good day! I loved it!

thanks so much for the teaser, it is perfect. Can’t wait till the book is finished. You have me swooning again :)

Awww…I love it! If only all guys were like Will! Can’t wait to read the whole book!

Love it!! Can’t wait :)

Absolutely perfect! Like I didn’t already have a crush on him…..Will is wonderful! Keep it up- you rock!! Can’t wait till it’s done!

Love it Colleen and I think I speak for everyone when I say that WE WANT MOOORE :-) Can’t wait for the book. You’re great

Such a good tease! Way excited for this book!!!

Ms. Colleen, I loved it! More please? <3

Omg! Thank you thank you thank you! Colleen you are the best!!! Loved it and I can’t wait to read the rest of Will’s story!

Absolutely perfect!! I cannot wait for this book!

wow!!!! i love it sooo much! thanks Colleen! You.Are.Wonderful. :)

I am so ready!!!

As soon as you say Go I’m buying. I can’t wait to read the whole thing! #newyorktimesbestsellingauthor!

Thats my SWEET for today. THANK YOU!!!

Cannot wait for the book to come out! I loved Slammed but LOVED Point of Retreat more…I am so excited for Will’s Story! You are a fantastic writer!

YOU DID IT AGAIN!! Now I’m having recurrent episodes of Will syndrome. And that’s a good thing! LOL. Thank you for this Colleen, you love us dearly <3

Kristie Wittenberg July 30, 2012 at 1:19 AM

Okay.. so after wanting to read that little tid bit, I realized I have tortured myself.. Is it selfish that I want more??? That was WONDERFUL!!! Thank you for sharing! I can’t tell you how excited I am for the next book!

*sigh* Thank you Colleen!! Now I’m looking even more forward to the book coming out :)

YEAH!!! Write faster please! Hee.

Awesome, Colleen! Thanks!!!

……. Finish the book… Please.. Soon…
just remembered, you don’t know what my “kick it” list is. Lol never got around to it that night. I’m glad for that!:D

    Dammit, Charlie! You must come back for a visit. I must know the kick its!

    Lol I could email you 98% of what I have so far?? Lol it’s pretty much a bucket list. And like I said, I’m not calling it that due to what I see as “copyright infringement” lol, thus “Kick It”((:
    Tis also funny becuz you’d be the first to learn of the contents of said list before anyone else does, including Michala, and she’s been after this info for quite some time;)

    And it’s not like the list is of AWESOME stuff.. It’s just kind of like an abnormal, continously changing wish list.. Although I have accomplished (crossed off) few things on it.((:

FIRST!!!!

Okay, now I’ll read it…

Trackbacks and Pingbacks

Teasers! | Madison SaysAugust 27, 2012 at 7:51 AM

[...] HERE to read the Prologue & First Chapter of Will’s story.  And click HERE to read about when Will met Lake! [...]

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