Brooke Wright has only two goals her senior year at Charity Run High School: stay out of trouble and learn to forgive herself for the past. Forgiveness proves elusive, and trouble finds her anyway when she discovers a secret club at school connected to the death of her best friend. She learns that swim team members participate in a “Fantasy Slut League,” scoring points for their sexual acts with unsuspecting girls.
Brooke, wracked with guilt over her friend’s death, decides to infiltrate the league by becoming one of the “unsuspecting girls,” and exact revenge on the boys who stole away her best friend. An unexpected romance complicates her plans, and her dogged pursuit of justice turns her reckless as she underestimates just how far the boys will go to keep their sex club a secret.
(This is a New Adult fiction book with mature themes. It contains graphic sex and language and an explicit description of sexual violence. Please take the content warning seriously.)
(This is a New Adult fiction book with mature themes. It contains graphic sex and language and an explicit description of sexual violence. Please take the content warning seriously.)
All About Ryan
“Ryan, why are you so gorgeous and strange?”
My sister told me she laughed her butt off at that part in the book—the part where Brooke gets drunk. I wanted it to be silly and lighthearted to take away from some of the heaviness in the novel. I mean, good grief. If the entire novel were like Chapter 20, who on earth would read it??
But back to gorgeous and strange Ryan. It’s official. The ladies love him, and many of you were a little mad you didn’t get more of him in the book. In my defense, I will say that Going Under was not meant to be primarily a romance. In fact, I purposely wrote the romance as a side item. This did not make for completely happy fans. You were semi-happy, but not all-the-way happy. ☺ So here’s me making it up to you. I’m giving you a little inside information on our leading man that hopefully will allow you to forgive me in some way for not featuring him on every page. xo
Born: September 27 in Raleigh, North Carolina at WakeMed
Astrological Sign: Libra
Stats: 6’2”; 180 lbs; brown hair; blue eyes
Favorite food: Steak fajitas
Favorite music: The Smashing Pumpkins, specifically their Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness album. (His older cousin turned him on to ‘90s alternative rock.)
Favorite TV show: Game of Thrones
Activities: surfing, skateboarding, snowboarding (he’s really hot when he snowboards), swimming, making out with Brooke
Favorite book: The Call of the Wild by Jack London
Favorite movie: Snatch (Hey, what do you want me to say?)
College degree: B.S. Business Finance
Current job: Finance manager for a chain of local skateboard and skateboard supplies stores in Chapel Hill, NC
Idiotic move in college: Hosted a “hurricane party” at a friend’s place half a mile from the beach. These are popular parties during hurricane season in Wilmington, NC, and they really piss off the local authorities. No one was hurt, but a lot of college students got wasted and then naked. Ryan only got partially naked.
Biggest regret about Brooke: Not getting out of the car. He drove to NC State to see Brooke her freshmen year. He sat in the car in front of her dorm. He waited for hours and finally saw her walking towards the dorm entrance. And he wanted to go to her, but he was afraid. So he watched her swipe her key card, open the door, and disappear from view. He wouldn’t see her again for two years.
Sweetest Moment: Marrying Brooke. Simple. No fuss. A courthouse. The important people. A beautiful woman in a little white dress. Saying “I do.” And the next installment in their great big adventure.
~Broke his arm three times when he was in elementary school and middle school.
~Had braces twice: once in fourth grade and then again in seventh because he never wore his retainer.
~Played center forward in soccer until he messed up his knee.
~Pledged a fraternity in college and then quit.
~Turned down a make-out session with a girl in his freshmen composition class. Told her he was already committed to someone else.
~Became inseparable friends with Alyssa from philosophy. She was the only one who could stomach his incessant talk about Brooke.
~Wears one contact in his right eye to give him monovision (one eye sees distance and one eye reads up close).
~Does pushups every day.
~Tried vegetarianism for a week at the insistence of his friend, Charlie. Missed his steak fajitas too much to commit for life.
~Wants to give Brooke babies as soon as possible.
Okay fans. If that didn’t placate you, I will be collecting questions about Ryan during the tour that I will answer at the end. You have to email me at email@example.com to ask a question (please limit them to two), and I will post all the questions and answers by June 9. Sound good?
Video Game Scene (Ryan’s POV)
I watched Brooke look everywhere but at me. She was interesting: one minute forward—almost predatory—and the next minute acting like she’d never kissed a boy. It’s like she functioned in a constant state of confusion. Or maybe she had split personalities. God, I hoped not. I had no intentions of dating a lunatic.
“I feel shallow,” she said, sitting on my bed. I sat across from her in my computer chair. I knew what would inevitably happen once I got close to her.
“Because I’m so drawn to you and I don’t know really anything about you. Is it just your looks?” She looked up at me then, her face painted with mild desperation. Apparently she didn’t want to be drawn to me just because of the way I looked, and she was hoping I’d tell her there was a whole lot more going on between us. I didn’t.
“Is it?” I asked. She looked slightly put out.
“No, I don’t think so. I think there’s a lot more, but you’re not telling me,” she said, shaking her head.
I rubbed my jaw and thought for a moment. “I’m a Big Brother.”
“I know that. I’ve met Kaylen.”
“No,” I laughed. “For the Boys and Girls Club.” God, she was so cute.
“Oh, they take people that young?”
“Well, not usually, but I was pretty insistent. That, and I had a few strings pulled.”
“Why?” she asked. It almost sounded accusatory, but it didn’t offend me. It made me grin instead.
“Because I’m trying to be a better person, Brooke.”
I watched her face change from confusion to slight shame. She was thinking about something private, so I decided I wouldn’t ask. And then her demeanor changed in an instant.
“What? You’ve got sins to atone for?” she asked. It came out light and flirty.
“Doesn’t everyone?” I said.
“Most people just pray,” she replied. “Doesn’t take as much effort as volunteer work.”
Again with the cuteness.
“Praying only goes so far, I think,” I said, chuckling, and she laughed. I admit I really liked making Brooke laugh, especially since I sensed some underlying hurt in her. I really wanted to ask her, but I didn’t think now was the right time. We were still getting to know each other. Maybe it wouldn’t be right to pry into her deep dark secrets. We had already shared one with each other, and I confess it made me feel a bit too vulnerable. I wanted to be vulnerable with Brooke. I did. Just not like that. At least not yet.
“So tell me about your Little Brother,” she said, patting the space beside her on the bed.
Well, here goes. And she invited me.
“His name’s Chester,” I replied, sitting next to her.
“Okay, that’s not a name,” she said, and I laughed.
“Well, for this kid it is,” I said. “He’d be considered your typical white trash kid. Ten years old. So-so home life. I tutor him a lot and take him for pizza. He wants to join the Marines when he grows up, and I asked him why the Marines and not some other branch of the military.”
“His father was a Marine,” I replied. “He died a few years back.”
“Oh,” Brooke said. Her face fell, and I thought to lighten the mood.
“He’s a pretty good kid. I got onto him, though, when I found out he got into a fight at school,” I said.
Brooke smiled. “You sound like you really enjoy doing this.”
“I do. I mean, it can get exhausting, and sometimes I don’t wanna hang out, but I’m so glad when I do because he seems genuinely happy to see me. His favorite is kicking around the soccer ball. He wants to play in middle school.” I watched her as she thought.
“You play soccer?”
“Used to. Tore up my leg pretty badly last year, so I quit. The doctors said I was okay to play, but I didn’t want to risk damaging it more,” I said. My hand instinctively went to my knee, and I massaged it.
“Don’t trust doctors?” Brooke asked.
“Don’t trust anyone, really,” I replied.
“Do you trust me?” she asked. There was so much hope in her voice. It was sweet and sad at the same time. I mean, what was she thinking? I barely knew her, and I said it out loud.
“I don’t know you.”
Again, her face fell. “I know.”
How did I have that much power over her emotions? She should probably work on that—not being so affected by another person. For now, though, I thought I’d help her out. And I wanted to.
“But yes, I do. I don’t know why but I do trust you,” I said. It wasn’t completely true, but I loved the way her face lit up when I said it.
She stared at me for a moment, and then she wrapped her arms around my neck. It was like instant sunshine. I don’t know how else to explain it. I swear the sun burned brighter, spilling into my room through the open windows, and I felt a shift of power. Just a second ago I had all the control over her emotions. Now I’d do anything she wanted, as long as she kept touching me, burying her face in my neck, breathing on me in a silent invitation to kiss her.
And then she drew back abruptly, and I felt the sun fade.
“I don’t know why I did that,” she said, her face a rosy pink.
“Did what? Hug me?” I was confused. I thought this chick was mad for me. What was she playing at?
“No, the other thing,” she said.
“What other thing?”
She looked at me confused. “You didn’t feel it?”
“Feel what?” What the hell was she talking about?
“Oh, no you don’t,” I said. “Tell me what you’re talking about.”
The pink in her cheeks darkened. It was so cute. Everything about her was. I know I keep saying it, but that’s because it’s true. She was cute. And I wanted to pounce on her. I wondered if she’d be okay with that.
“I kind of licked your neck,” she said.
I fought hard not to laugh. “You kind of licked my neck?”
Brooke nodded. “Does that make me weird?”
I shook my head. “Not in the least.” I wanted to do something that would shock her, so I leaned over and ran my tongue from the nape of her neck all the way to that space right behind her earlobe. She squealed and shivered. “Good squeal or bad squeal?” I whispered into her ear.
“Good squeal,” she breathed, and I hopped up from the bed. Her expression was both confused and excited.
“I think we should play some video games,” I suggested.
Brooke looked at me like I’d lost my mind. I couldn’t help it. I laughed.
“Not a gamer?”
“I don’t even know how to hold the controller,” she grumbled. She was irritated. That was obvious. She wanted to get physical. That much was understood. But she didn’t know what I had planned, and if she’d only be patient and trust me, then she’d discover that I planned to give her what she wanted all along.
“I’ll teach you,” I offered, and turned on my TV and Playstation. I could feel her watching me as I started the game and settled on the floor in front of my bed. “Come here,” I said, and watched her climb off the bed to sit next to me. “No, not there. Here,” I said, pointing to the space between my legs. She arched her eyebrow and pursed her lips.
It was funny to watch. Like she almost thought not to. Because she was all sweet and naïve, right? Give me a break. I didn’t know anything about Brooke’s past, but I knew deep down that she was no virgin—that she had some experience under her belt. Oh God. That was the worst pun ever.
She eventually nestled herself between my legs, and I tried my best not to get an instant hard-on. The girl was between my legs, okay? She leaned against my chest, and I smelled her shampoo mixed with the tangy grease of the diner. She came straight over to my house after work without showering or changing. And I was glad for it. I liked the way she smelled. It was all so very “blue collar pretty girl,” and I liked that her dress provided me easy access.
I handed her the controller and placed my hands over hers, guiding her and teaching her about each button. She asked me a lot of questions, repeating the same ones over and over because she couldn’t commit the functions of each button to memory. At one point she suggested the controller be labeled, and I asked her how a player was supposed to look at the labels and the TV screen at the same time. She elbowed my ribs good-naturedly, and I kissed her temple.
“Ready to kill some bad guys?” I asked.
“I have a feeling I’m gonna be really bad at this,” she said, squirming between my legs. Brooke, stop doing that.
“You’ll do just fine,” I said, and pressed the X on the controller for her.
“You like to squeal,” I said, watching her die in the first few seconds.
“What is this game?” she asked, afraid to start another round. I watched her finger poised over the X.
“Oh, Brooke. You’re such a girl. This is Call of Duty. Freaking amazing game,” I said.
“It’s scary,” Brooke replied. “I don’t think—”
“You’re doing just fine,” I assured her. Just get on with the game, Brooke. I’ve got things to do!
I watched her start another game and promptly die in five seconds. But then she tried again. And again. And suddenly she was wholly invested. It didn’t even take that long. I liked watching her competitiveness. I’d never seen her like that, and it was a huge turn-on.
“That’s right, bitch!” she yelled when she killed her first enemy. I couldn’t help but laugh. It was adorable.
It felt natural to put my hands on her thighs. It felt even more natural to spread them a little, and she didn’t resist. I wanted my hand between her legs more than anything. I felt my body swelling because of it, my heartbeat ramping up, the testosterone surging through my limbs. But I also knew how to control it. Yeah, this was going to be about me, but I wanted her to think it was all about her.
Brooke put the controller down.
“What did you do that for?” I asked, raining kisses on her neck.
“I can’t concentrate,” she said. I thought maybe it was because of my kisses, so I stopped.
“Pick up the controller, Brooke,” I ordered. “And play your game.”
I’m a pretty easy-going guy, I think. I’m respectful and cautious. I take my time. But I admit that something changes within me when I’m being intimate with a girl. I turn a little controlling. I won’t lie. I like it. I like the power. I like to watch a girl yield to me, and not because I want to dominate her in a bad way. I’d never do anything to a girl she didn’t want. It’s just that I know if she allows herself to trust me, she’ll enjoy what I want to give her.
That feeling was compounded by a million as Brooke sat between my legs because Brooke was unlike any girl from my past. I wanted to turn her inside out, make her solely mine, even though it scared the shit out of me. I wouldn’t let her know that, though. I wanted her to hear my confidence, and I wanted her to do what I said.
She picked up the controller without a word and started another game. I ran my hands up and down her thighs, pushing her dress around her hips. I felt her shake just a little. I don’t know if it was nerves or sexual excitement. Maybe both. I didn’t really care at the moment. I was too interested in her panties and if she’d let me touch them.
I snaked my hand around her right thigh and ran my fingers over her panties. Right between her legs. And here was the moment I had to make the decision. Do I tear the controller out of her hands and push her to the floor? Or do I keep playing with her—my game—while she plays hers? I thought the game playing would be more tortuous, that I could have a hell of a lot more fun with it, so I pushed down that primal need to fuck her on my bedroom floor in favor of watching the TV screen and giving her tips. She was struggling, and I liked it.
I slipped my hand underneath her panties and touched heaven. Heaven isn’t brilliant light and fluffy clouds and angels singing. Heaven is warm and soft, secretive and dark. Heaven is wet and wanting. So I thought I’d give her what she wanted. I touched her gently, refraining from slipping my finger inside of her, and watched as her player got blown to bits.
“Try again,” I cooed into her ear.
“I don’t want to,” she whined, frustrated.
“Brooklyn, try again,” I said. I thought if I said her full first name she’d know I was serious. And I was. I wasn’t messing around. I was ready to show her just how explosive playing Call of Duty could be.
She obeyed and started another game. I didn’t waste any time. I slipped my finger in her, feeling what must be heaven’s core—complete and utter divinity—and stroked her until her player died all over again. I don’t even think she was trying at this point.
“I’m really bad at this,” she breathed. I liked the sound of her voice, like she’d turned into a seductress though she wasn’t doing anything to me. No, that’s not right. She was doing something to me. She was driving me fucking crazy.
“No you aren’t,” I said, feeling her growing wetness. Her head fell back on my shoulder. “No Brooklyn. Pick up the controller and try again.”
“Ryan!” she cried, and I took my hand away. I know. I was being monstrously unfair, and I didn’t care because I had her right where I wanted her.
“Play your game, Brooklyn,” I said, shifting behind her. There is no way in hell she didn’t feel how hard I was.
She knew the deal. If she didn’t pick up that controller then she wasn’t getting fingered. Yeah, that sounds crass, but it’s true. And Brooke wanted my hand on her. I knew because she didn’t put up much of a fight, and she didn’t turn around and climb on top of me. Nope. She wanted me to do all the work, and I was more than willing, but she wasn’t getting anything if she didn’t at least try to play the game.
She picked up the controller and started again. I slipped my fingers under her panties once more and continued stroking her. I had to hand it to her. She tried. She really did, and it was a rush listening to her soft cries and whimpers mix with the gunfire and cussing on the TV. My exploration turned more rhythmic. I didn’t want to make her suffer for too long, so I concentrated until I found the spot she seemed to respond to the most and rubbed her incessantly. I felt her body yielding, her legs starting to shake, the inevitable build of something delirious and delicious. God, what I wouldn’t do to have my mouth on her! She kept giving it to me, like a fountain, and all I could think about was the way she tasted.
And then she screamed, slamming her head against my shoulder, a great crescendo of her voice mixed with rapid gunfire. The gunfire stopped abruptly; her cries petered out. She slumped against my chest, letting her head rest on my shoulder, and took deep breaths in an effort to still her shaking.
She was quiet as I slipped my hand from under her panties. My fingers were coated with her, and it felt natural to bring them to my lips.
“You are the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen,” I said, and tasted her on my fingers. Fuck. Holy. Fuck. Again, surge of primal need. Testosterone overload. I want to fuck this girl right now. I want to fuck her until she sees stars.
“I’m embarrassed.” I heard her voice from far away and tried desperately to get control.
“Why?” I asked.
“Because I think I sounded crazy.”
I smiled. “No. Not crazy. Perfect,” I said. I leaned over and kissed her cheek. Oh, what the hell? I was going to say it. “And you taste delicious, by the way. Scrumptious, really.”
I figured she’d run away from embarrassment, but she didn’t. She turned around and tucked her legs underneath her, grinning at me. “Scrumptious, you say?”
I nodded, feeling an odd drowsiness. I hadn’t come, but I thought that I put myself through a lot of work just now. Not bad work, by any means. I’d do it again in a heartbeat, but work, nonetheless. It’s not like every girl’s body is the same. I had to learn Brooke for the first time today, the places she liked to be touched most.
“I think I like playing video games,” Brooke said.
“Oh, you do, huh?”
She nodded and looked down at my lap. What was she up to?
“I think you should play this next round,” she suggested, and her hand went to my belt buckle. And suddenly I had to make another major decision: let Brooke touch me or give it time. I wanted her to touch me. My body screamed for it. But I knew it wasn’t the right time. We’d probably already gone too far too fast as it was.
I shook my head and watched her furrow her brows.
“You’re new at video games, Brooke,” I said. I wouldn’t even try to hide the reluctant resignation in my voice, but I knew I was doing the right thing. “Let’s just take it little by little.”
She paused before saying, “Yeah but doesn’t practice make perfect?”
So cute. She was so fucking cute.
“In small doses,” I replied.
I could be cute, too.
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About S. Walden
S. Walden used to teach English before making the best decision of her life by becoming a full-time writer. She lives in Georgia with her very supportive husband who prefers physics textbooks over fiction and has a difficult time understanding why her characters must have personality flaws. She is wary of small children, so she has a Westie instead. Her dreams include raising chickens and owning and operating a beachside inn on the Gulf Coast (chickens included). When she's not writing, she's thinking about it.