She returns home with secrets.
He’s determined to help her move past them.
But not all secrets are meant to be told.
Devastated, Annabelle Waters returns to her hometown and the skeletal remains of her burnt childhood home. As she takes care of her surviving parents, the new farm duties she’s tasked with and her studies for a nursing exam, begin piling up. With her life thrown into a spinner, Annabelle doesn’t notice when the commitments she’s made back in San Francisco, begin to haunt her.
Excited to have Annabelle back home, Derek Fields pulls all the stops to convince his next-door neighbour, the girl he’d last seen as a kid, to stay for longer than a month. His best friend’s scrubby little sister has grown into a woman who fills his dreams and his offer to share his home, comes at the perfect time.
The moment their paths cross, neither realizes that their friendship draws attention from all the wrong people, and results in consequences they’re not ready to face. Annabelle and Eric are about to be tested by a man who’s had a plan for Annabelle Waters for much longer than she’s known him because sooner or later, all secrets come out.
Join the Annabelle and Eric as the couple rekindles a friendship and starts a scorching romance while fighting through secrets that should stay buried, forever.
Warning: This novel is intended for mature audiences only. Double Crossed is Book 3 in the Crossed Series.
Prologue - Derek
Three weeks earlier
On my third day stalking, the urge to be closer to Annabelle Waters had grown to the level of uncontrollable despair. I sat by the bar, watching from a distance as she laughed with her friends. She turned to the side, exposing her sun-kissed neck. Watching her like that, without her being aware of the lecherous thoughts I had, I felt like a predator. This morning I promised myself that I’d actually talk to her. Yet here I was, at nine in the evening, feeling my pulse race each time she gently brushed her long hair to the side, exposing her jugular. Was the adrenaline overwhelming my body similar to what a leopard felt when it saw a gazelle? My mouth watered as I thought about my lips on her skin and my teeth biting into her flesh. Except it couldn’t be just adrenaline, because what I’d felt for Annabelle was pure lust.
Maybe if I was lucky, she’d recognize me. The girl I remembered from my hometown as a kid was nothing like the bombshell I was looking at right now. Annabelle had freckles and strawberry-blonde hair, similar eyes to Eric’s—my buddy who’d asked me to check up on his sister—that glowed from a distance and pursed lips that were begging to be kissed. And that new body she grew into was to die for. Over the past three days I’d been thinking about the different ways she’d changed since the last time I saw her. She was barely a teen back then. And looking at her now, I felt so drawn to Annabelle that extending my one day stay in San Francisco was a necessity. I just couldn’t let her go.
“Can I get you something else?” the waitress asked. She batted her lashes at me like a provocative siren, and if I hadn’t been this hard for Annabelle, maybe I’d have looked away. But a man wants what a man wants, and right now, my groin was controlling my mind. And if what’s-her-name offered to relieve me, I’d have no choice but to jump at the chance.
“Yeah, another one of these.” I pointed to my glass filled with bourbon. I wasn’t sure how I’d get back to the hotel. I wasn’t drunk just yet, but enough to know that I couldn’t drive.
She leaned forward, her double-D tits almost spilling out of her top, forcing my gaze to rest there. How couldn’t I look? With the amount of testosterone pumping through my veins, I was ready to succumb to anything that oozed with sex. And this waitress was definitely oozing.
She licked her lips invitingly, saying, “I’ll be right back.”
My gaze flew to the table where Annabelle sat. She threw her head back in laughter, and if I thought that her beauty would drive me insane, I didn’t know that the sound of her voice could raise the hairs on my arms and cause my blood to course through my body like Viagra.
If Eric had seen me drooling like this over his little sister he would have killed me for sure. What the hell was I expecting to find here? The girl had left our hometown almost four years ago, and three years before then I’d been away on a classified mission. I was sure that the last time I’d seen her, she barely began puberty. And there was no way I could talk to her. She’d know that Eric had sent me, and I gave him my word to be discreet when I agreed to check up on her. I wondered whether she’d even recognize me. Could I take that chance? I should have left on day one when I saw her chatting with the same two friends in a park, or yesterday when she was humming a song under her breath at the grocery store. Why was Eric so worried? She appeared extremely happy during the three days I’d been following her. I felt like a fucking stalker. As much as I wanted to go over there and see her now, or better yet, ask her to come back to my hotel room, I couldn’t. I had no choice but to turn on my heel and go back to my country home in Ogden where I’d wait until she returned from school in a few weeks.
“Here you go, handsome.” The waitress lowered my drink, and leaned over the table. Her red curls brushed my arm, temporarily shifting my attention to the well-endowed beauty. “You don’t look like you’re from San Francisco.”
“Has anyone shown you around town?” That hungry look in her eyes and the way she licked her lips and squeezed her arms to make her tits look even bigger definitely made me consider whether I should reciprocate her flirting.
“There’s no need, thanks.”
“Well, if you do find a need, any kind of a need, this is where you can find me.” She reached between her boobs and pulled out a napkin with a scribbled phone number.
“Thanks,” I winked. “Maybe I will.”
I’m such a douche.
From my peripheral vision, I saw Annabelle leave her table and walk toward the ladies’ room. “Excuse me,” I said to the waitress and headed in the direction of the restrooms. I wasn’t too sure why I’d done that. My body took over my mind, and all I knew was that I wanted to be closer to her. It wasn’t as if I’d follow her in there. The mystery of what drew me to Annabelle would remain just that. I leaned against the wall in the hall leading to the men’s room, waiting patiently. Maybe I wanted her to recognize me after all. I could say I was meeting a friend here, right? Would she buy that? No way. Annabelle was too smart for that. And I for one couldn’t lie to a woman.
The sound of a flushing toilet echoed from behind the door. I listened as water flew from the faucet and drained into the sink for a few seconds before it was shut off. And when the door swung open and the first sight of her caught my eye, I whipped my body around, bumping right into my waitress, pinning her to the wall. My mind was buzzing with alcohol and adrenaline all mixed into a blend of what the fuck am I doing? and hoping to hide from Annabelle, I grasped the waitresses’ arms and closed my mouth over hers. She welcomed my tongue, giving in as soon as my lips touched hers.
This felt good and bad at the same time. In my mind, I pictured Annabelle on the receiving end of my kiss, moaning into my mouth, complying with my hands wandering over her curves and cock hardening against her belly. The waitress pressed into my body. Her hips writhed and fingers dug into my arms. But something felt off. The boobs squishing against my lower chest felt like overgrown watermelons instead of two juicy oranges, and I felt the blood begin to drain from my cock. There was no way I could find relief as long as Annabelle Waters was on my mind.
“Get a room,” Annabelle chuckled as she passed by. Knowing the shy girl she was, I was sure she didn’t pay too much attention to us making out in the middle of the hallway.
As soon as I was certain that Annabelle had returned to her table, I pulled away from the waitress
“What’s your name, sweets?” I asked, holding her steady. I knew I’d had a bit to drink, but she looked like she’d just had a few ounces of liquor as well.
“Karla. That was incredible,” she panted, wrapping her fingers around my neck and pulling me back to her hard mouth.
I gently pushed back, saying, “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have done that.”
“And I’ve been waiting the entire evening for you to make a move.”
“Listen, this was a mistake.”
She looked down to my crotch where my bulge was dying down at the pace of a turtle, and smirked, “You sure about that?”
How the hell was I supposed to get out of this?
“I just don’t want you to get fired. How about I call you?” I asked, giving her unnecessary hope.
Shit, I didn’t want to lie. “Yeah, I do.”
If I don’t lose your number, I added in my mind.
“All right, then. Do you know these girls? You’ve been watching them for a while now.”
I followed her gaze to the table where Annabelle sat.
“Not all of them. One is my buddy’s sister.”
The front door opened. A cold gust of wind blew through the restaurant, which was odd for a hot day like today. The clouds darkened outside as a man walked in. He stopped by the door, his hands on his hips, looking around. The overgrown beard on his face made him appear older than he probably was. There was something spooky about him. From the dark clothing to the soiled boots and a long trench coat, he looked like he just traveled thousands of miles. And for whatever reason, I didn’t like him at all. An eerie feeling passed over me. That look of hate in his eyes would make the devil himself squirm.
“I better let you get back to work.” I walked the waitress back to the bar, my gaze never leaving the new arrival. I sat down on the stool, waiting for him to move. He scanned every single table before resting on Annabelle’s. My heart raced. This couldn’t be good. Was Eric’s instinct right? Was Annabelle in trouble? And just as fast, the guy’s eyes softened and hard jawline curved out. He casually walked over to her table. Annabelle froze for a moment, obviously startled by him, but recovered within a second. That moment of fear I thought I saw in her eyes disappeared quickly.
At that moment, I wished I could read lips. It appeared that Annabelle was introducing the man to her two friends. Was he important? He didn’t strike me as someone she’d hang around with. And after a few words, he leaned down, kissed the top of her head and squeezed her shoulder. For a moment I thought the press of his fingers was bound to leave marks and I cringed. But instead of pulling away, Annabelle smiled. Maybe it was a thing they had?
Shit, this isn’t good. She has a boyfriend.
Annabelle stood up, waved to her friends, and gave him her hand. He laced his fingers with hers and my heart sunk. When Annabelle turned away from her friends, I thought I saw sadness fill her eyes. Was she upset she was leaving this early or was it something else? I couldn’t help but feel he had something to do with it. And now I not only didn’t like him, but hated him. If the girl I’d dated was sad, I would stop the universe from spinning to get to the bottom of her sorrows. She obviously didn’t want to leave. I was on the verge of interrupting them when I saw him lean over. He took her lips just as she was about to say something and I couldn’t take it anymore. She leaned into his body with ease and everything inside me shut down.
I shouldn’t be here.
I left San Francisco that same night.