Synopsis: Worth It by Nicki DeStasi
Anna lives every day the best she can while struggling against the demons that threaten to consume her and drag her back into the darkness of her troubled past. The last thing she needs right now is a guy, especially one as sweet and sexy as Jed.
When the attraction becomes too strong to resist, she gives into it. Even when she knows it’ll only end in disaster and leave her more her scared and broken than she was before.
Jed wants to find the right woman and he’s drawn to Anna by carnal magnetism, but she also brings out an alpha side of him that he’s never known. When his alpha rears its head, it triggers memories in Anna and her carefully crafted wall of protection begins to show cracks.
When fate and misunderstandings threaten their already delicate relationship, can they survive? When Anna’s demons threaten to be unearthed and Jed’s inner alpha only seem to make them worse, can they overcome?
Is it even worth it?
The Past: Anna
A few weeks later, I approach the lunch table, and Shannon shouts, “Happy birthday!” I think she enjoys embarrassing me. The smile on my best friend’s is the only thing that stops me from smacking her.
“Why don’t you say it a little louder Shan, I don’t think people across the street heard you,” I mutter as I plop in between her and Jared.
She rolls her eyes. “Smile, it’s your birthday. You’re not allowed to be grumpy.”
Jared snakes an arm around my shoulders and pulls me into a half hug and plops his usual friendly kiss on my head. “Happy birthday, beautiful. How does it feel to be fifteen like the rest of us?”
“Feels like any other day. It kinda sucks to be born in the fall though.” I smile up at him as our hug separates. Until I met Todd, I wanted Jared. He’s sweet and gorgeous with dark brown hair and matching eyes. My eyes shift and catch his newest girlfriend scowling at us. A month ago, her presence would be a smack in the face, a reminder that my feelings weren’t shared. But now I have someone who does share my feeling.
Thinking about him, my eyes drift around the cafeteria to see if I can catch a glimpse of Todd. Even though we’ve officially been dating a month, he still doesn’t want people to know that we’re together, and that is a little jab to my heart. I don’t want him to be embarrassed of me, but I try and understand. I want to make him happy, so I swallow my disappointment.
“Who are you looking for?” Alison asks. Alison and Aaron, who are dating, are the final two in my little group of friends. Well, Shannon’s boyfriend too, but he goes to a different school.
I quickly bring my attention back to the table because Todd doesn’t even want my friends to know and I don’t want my wandering eyes to spark questions. “No one.”
“Really, you looked like you were looking for someone.”
“Nope,” I say. “So are you guys going to the football game on Friday?” I know I won’t be able to go because my dad is working, and someone needs to be home with my sisters, and although Mom will be there, she’ll probably be in her bedroom. Again.
The distraction works and they chatter on with their plans for Friday night and no one is surprised when I say I can’t join them. I zone out until I notice everyone has stopped talking. When I realize that their eyes are focused behind me, I look over my shoulder and worry seeps through my veins. Todd stands behind me with clenched fists and a blank stare that just barely conceals the anger underneath. My heart races and my palms sweat as my worry turns into panic. Something is wrong. Very wrong.
“Savannah,” he says evenly. “Can I talk to you in the hall for a minute?”
I glance back at my friends who wear matching shocked expressions. When their eyes shift back to me and I see the questions forming, I stand up and mumble, “I’ll be right back.”
I start to follow Todd when Jared puts a hand on my arm stopping me, and I turn to see his brow furrowed. “You okay?”
I open my mouth to respond, but Todd interrupts him with a curt “She’s fine. Let’s go, Savannah.”
My gut is a jumbled mess, but I give my friends a half smile and turn to follow Todd out into the hallway.
When the cafeteria door closes behind me and the two of us are alone, he turns to me and pushes me against the nearby wall. “What the fuck are you doing? Are you trying to make me angry?” he hisses and inch from my face.
My eyes widen and my body electrifies with anxiety. I wrack my brain to figure out what I did wrong, what I did to make him so angry. My heart races as I stammer out, “I’m sorry. I…I don’t know what you mean.”
“Why is that little shit putting his hands on you?”
His jaw clenches and his hand on my arm squeezes tighter, but he says nothing.
“He’s just my friend. We’ve been friends since middle school,” I rush out. Even though, I had a crush on Jared since I’ve known him, my feelings for him are nothing compared to what I’m feeling for Todd.
“If he’s just a friend, why the fuck did he kiss you?” His eyes flash with anger.
“I…I don’t know. He’s always done that,” I explain quickly.
“I don’t like him. I don’t want you hanging around him.”
My face drops. Jared is my friend and has been for a few years now. I don’t want to make Todd mad at me, but I don’t want to lose my friends either. “But he’s my friend.”
“That little asshole wants in your pants, and I don’t want him anywhere near you.”
My face flames at the mention of sex. Todd was my first kiss and other than a few make out sessions, I’ve never done anything more than that. Jared doesn’t see me that way anyway, so I shake my head. “He doesn’t.”
His hand grips me harder and I wince. “So you want him, then huh? Is that it?”
“What?! No!” I guess, on some level it’s a lie, but I’m not pining after Jared romantically anymore. I have Todd and I care about him. I think I may even love him, so I don’t want him to think that I want Jared. He might leave me and that thought makes me tense and scared.
“You sure?” he asks, his face softening a little making the stiffness in my body begin to melt away.
“Yeah, I only care about you,” I reply softly.
He rewards me with a gorgeous smile and my body relaxes completely when he envelops me in his arms and presses his lips on top my head. He keeps them there for a few beats allowing contentment to settle over me.
“I think you should prove it,” he mumbles against my head.
Nicki DeStasi was raised in a small town in Massachusetts. She attended Fitchburg State College and studied Early Childhood Education. As a child, she enjoyed reading, but only recently began doing it again. She has always had an inventive imagination and finally decided to put those ideas on paper for others to enjoy. Worth It will be Nicki’s first self-published book. A few personal facts: Sloth from The Goonies is her third cousin, she acted and stared in several plays throughout high school and college, and she can play four different instruments. Nicki’s philosophy is to appreciate the good things in life. If we didn’t make mistakes and have bad things happen then we wouldn’t know how truly wonderful the good things are. No matter how difficult life is sometimes, if we look to the people that love us, then we can get through them and on to the good stuff.