I Need You Too: Stand Alone Novel, Contemporary-Erotic-Suspenseful Romance, Psychological Thriller, page 1
I Need You Too – Need #4
Copyright 2015 by Cynthia P. O’Neill. All rights reserved.
First Print Edition: November 2015
Formatting: Champagne Formats
Editing: Mia Mincheff
Cover Photo: Eric Battershell Photography
Cover Model: Christian Petrovich
Cover Designer: Randy Potvin of RP Designs
No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to locales, events, business establishments, or actual persons – living or dead – is entirely coincidental.
Table of Contents
A Note from the Author
About the Author
I Need You Always
I Need You Now
I Need You Here
A Learning Series
Learning to Trust
Learning to Let Go
Learning to Love Again
Learning to Move Forward
I Need You Too – Need # 4
The songs can be found out on Spotify:
“Something I Need” – One Republic
“Crazy For You” – NSYNC
“Shut Up and Dance” – Walk the Moon
“You Make Me Feel” - Cobra Starship, Featuring Sabi
“Fight Song” – Rachel Platten
“Earned It” – Kina Grannis, Max
“Need You Tonight” – INXS
“It Was Always You” – Maroon 5
“Love of A Lifetime” – Firehouse
“Honestly” – Stryper
“Stay The Night” – Zedd, featuring Hayley Williams of Paramore
“Learn to Love Again” – Lawson
To my family, my husband, my life…I couldn’t do any of this without all of you! You mean everything to me!
To Eric David Battershell for another amazing image – without your talents inspiring my stories, this would not be possible. To think this all started with one photo to create only one book – and now we are at book 4! You rock my friend!
To a new friend, Christian Petrovich, for inspiring the look of the main character in this book and waiting patiently for me to write it. You and Eric are both amazing to work with!
MY EYES FELT HEAVY and my brain no longer processed what was in front of me. Where was I? What was I doing? I fought the urge to sleep and realized I was behind the wheel of a car. Wake your ass up, Ethan. Something’s wrong, and you need to pull over before you have an accident.
I knew I had to pull over, but I couldn’t make my hands or feet respond. My body didn’t feel right. I needed help. I needed to call 9––. What number did I need to call again?
I took my foot off the gas, trying to guide the car over to the side of the road. So sleepy.
I heard a woman scream, the sound of crunching metal, and then––nothing.
I screamed at the top of my lungs, wanting to wake up from this nightmare but felt held down by some invisible force. My body thrashed, trying to break free of whatever bonds that held me. I continued to yell, “Let me go! Leave me alone!” My voice was hoarse from its efforts.
Two warm and inviting hands gripped my shoulder, shaking it. “Wake up, Ethan!”
My mind responded instantly with, “Leave me alone.” It’d become my automatic response to everything, my ability to push people from my life, so I could wallow in my guilt.
“The accident was not your fault, Ethan. It was that asshole, Tom’s fault.” The angel’s voice assured. Who kept shaking me? Why?
“No! It’s all my fault.” My lungs felt heavy and full, making breathing difficult. I could feel panic rise within me.
A strange noise came from somewhere. I couldn’t identify it. I felt the cool rush of water over my skin and began to cough, finally waking me from my dreams, as I sat upright in bed.
I was soaked to the bone. “What the fuck?”
I reached over to my nightstand and turned on the lamp, only to see Marjorie looking like an angel sent down from above, but I didn’t deserve anything heavenly. I should be in Hell. Well, at least my dreams were torture.
Her arms were crossed, making her breasts more pronounced and they caught my eye. She was a beauty, but all I could ever be with her was friends. Neither one of us was in any shape to be anything more to the other. She had just gone through a nasty divorce and I was still plagued by the guilt of having taken Gabi Prescott’s life.
I still couldn’t understand how her entire family, with the exception of her husband, had found it within their hearts to forgive me. I know Tom had intentionally slipped GHB into my drinks, but still, I should’ve pulled over the moment I felt that something was wrong.
“Are you going to sit there staring into space all night, or are you going to finally acknowledge that I’m here?” Marjorie didn’t like to beat around the bush; she got right to the point.
I reluctantly looked her way, only to realize that all she had on was a t-shirt that fell to mid-thigh. I couldn’t move or she’d see the wood I now sported, despite the cold water she’d tossed on me. She was definitely hot, but way out of my league.
I ran a hand through my messy hair. “What are you doing at my place? And why don’t you have more on?”
“I heard you screaming. It was five minutes or so before I remembered I still had the key to Dane’s old place in case of emergencies. I guess grabbing more clothes didn’t seem like a priority. I wanted to get to you to make sure you were all right before you woke up half the damn building!”
“Thank you, but you didn’t have to throw water on me.” I snapped back at her.
“I had no choice. You wouldn’t wake up when I shook your shoulders this time. It was either that or let one of our neighbors call the cops on you.”
She walked over and put a hand on my shoulder, her touch sending a shock right to my balls. Her face was full of concern. “They’re getting worse, Ethan. When are you going to admit that you need help to get over all this?”
“Look, I don’t want to feel guilty anymore or feel like I should have d
Her arms wrapped around me. “I know you hate when I hug you, but you need one.”
No one at work, and no one in the Prescott family, knew how fucked up the two of us really were. We’d hit it off as friends, recognizing each other’s pain, and commiserating about what the other was going through. How were we ever going to heal? Were we both too far gone?
Her arms dropped away from me and she took a seat on the side of the bed. Her t-shirt rode higher on her thighs, and I was certain I’d never be able to leave the bed as long as she was around.
Her hand came down on top of my thigh. God have mercy on me, please. Do you have to tempt me? “I feel your pain, Ethan. You know how I suffer with my own issues. A regular shrink didn’t help me either, but I’ve been talking with Carol down at the club lately and she’s showing me some new ways to deal with things.”
I ran my fingers through my hair, trying to distract myself from the impure thoughts I was having about my friend. “Fine. I’ve had you, Dane, Rafe, and now Nate bugging me to talk with Kent. I don’t know if I can handle any of that kinky shit they do there, but I understand that he’s helped them with some of their issues. Just text me his number and I’ll give him a call.”
“Are you going to be okay for now?”
I nodded. “I think so. Thanks for waking me before it got too bad. You’re a good friend, Marjorie.”
She stood up and hugged me again. What was it with her tonight, being all touchy feely? “I care about you, you big lug. And I need you.” Her voice was barely audible, yet full of emotion.
I felt overwhelmed by her admission and tried to ignore the possible implications. Could it be that she needed me as a friend, as someone who’d listen to her, or did she need something more? Don’t put the cart before the horse, man. If you’re interested in tapping that, you need to wait it out and see what she wants.
I told my mind to shut up. Although I assuredly wanted to tap that ass, I knew it was out of the question. The Prescotts said that they didn’t blame me for Gabriella’s death, but I’m fairly certain they wouldn’t welcome me into their family, either. I was broken and still seeking forgiveness, a forgiveness that might never come from the two people I needed to hear from most – Jackson and myself.
I waved my hand in the air, shooing her away. “Yeah, yeah. I don’t need all this mushy shit. You should go back to bed and get as much sleep as you can; we only have a few more hours before we have to get ready for work. Can I catch a ride with you again?”
“Sure. I’ll let myself out, so you can clean up.” She quirked her lips, waggled her eyebrows and winked, seeming to focus on my crotch. I looked down and instantly grabbed a pillow to place on top of my obvious erection.
As she turned to go, she waved airily and said, “Goodnight, Ethan.”
After she’d closed the door, I replied, “Goodnight, Marjorie. I Need You Too, more than you will ever know.”
MY HANDS FISTED THE covers after she left relishing the scent of her perfume that still lingered in the air. It had matched her mood tonight, that of a tease. Did Marjorie have any idea how hard I had to fight to keep from grabbing her and laying her across my bed – taking her hard?
The thoughts of her hardened nipples pressing against the t-shirt she’d worn into my bedroom, along with visions of those creamy white thighs wrapped around me...Damn it! No wonder I couldn’t get out of bed while she was here. Just the thought of her, the scent of that perfume, and the subtlety of her arousal had me aching even more. She was the vision of perfection, nothing like the girls today that wanted to be too thin. No, Marjorie had all the curves in the right places, looking like a 1950’s pin-up bombshell with auburn locks, a fair complexion, emerald eyes, and a hypnotic smile. Just thinking about her lips wrapped around my…
I needed a distraction, so I ripped the sheets off the bed. I didn’t want the water she’d thrown on me to seep into the mattress, and I couldn’t stand her scent that lingered on them. It was too tempting. I thought about remaking it, but, with the maid coming later today, I could easily sleep in the other bedroom or on the sofa for the remainder of the night, although, not before taking a shower to rinse off the sweat of my nightmare and the scent of her from my skin.
The cold shower did little to relieve my pent up frustrations. Never in the past had the sight of Marjorie’s dress, or in this case lack of it, bothered me to this degree. I tried everything under the sun to get my other head to think on an even keel. After a half-hour of enduring frigid water, enough to shrink most men’s jewels into sun-dried tomatoes, I relented and got off to the only thing that would allow me any peace – her.
I stared at myself in the mirror, running a hand through my dampened hair, realizing Marjorie was right. The nightmares had gotten worse and my emotions were out of control. I had hidden the anger and rage I’d had toward Tom for a long time, but now add to it the overwhelming feelings of lust I was having toward her and…You can’t be anything more than friends with her and you know that. Think about some of the shit she’s told you that ex-husband of hers put her through. It will take a long time before she can trust another man, and how can she trust you when you can’t even trust yourself anymore?
My subconscious was right. I could never be more than friends with Marjorie. Truth be told, I was no good for anyone. The rage inside me began to fester and grow from within, seeking a means of escape. I knew I was a Roman candle with a short fuse, ready to explode at the first light.
I looked to the clock and realized I had enough time left to still get some sleep, if only I could find where Nate hid my sleeping pills or the anxiety medication. Either one would do. I tried to reason half a dose of either would help me get a little rest, but in truth I hated how they made me feel disconnected.
The sleeping pills let me sleep more peacefully, but they also kept me trapped inside my head as my dreams went on, while my body slept. I couldn’t react to anything, I was a spectator held to the sidelines watching my life be destroyed before me.
The anxiety medicine wasn’t much better. It did alleviate some of the day-to-day stress I was dealing with, but kept me in a constant fog, weighing me down. I felt like I just existed in life, not really living it.
Nate was the only one to know that I’d had suicidal thoughts with the medication in my possession. I’d tried taking an extra pill here and there to determine how much was too much, only to discover my body, thanks to the accident, had built up some resistance to the strength of most medications. When I’d sat counting the pills in front of him, making sure I had plenty left, we both realized I needed his help.
We agreed that I’d leave the apartment and he’d hide them in a place only he could find. Now if I could find that damn hiding place! There was no way in hell I’d be able to pull through the meetings and finish with the design changes on the new software we were working on, in coordination with Dawn’s mother Sophia, by the end of today.
After twenty minutes of tearing my place apart, I slammed the cabinet doors in the kitchen and had a medicine bottle roll out from the top shelf and onto the floor. It was empty except for a note inside:
I slammed my fist onto the kitchen counter, screaming at the top of my lungs, “Why the hell does everything have to change?”
I looked over at the calendar and realized one of the reasons my nightmares were worse - it was coming up on the second anniversary of the accident that forever changed my life. I must have subconsciously been avoiding the date. The previous year I didn’t have to deal with it because I was too looped from a surgery that had promised to restore my left leg to a like-new condition. I guess it was easy to skip over the date when I was in the hospital recovering and on extreme pain pills for about a week afterwards.
If it weren’t for that little fucker, I’d have my life back. I had everything going for me prior to that night. I’d been named the manager of the software development department at the firm I worked for (with the promise of making partner in the coming years), had the best friend a person could ask for in Nate Lawson, and had my eyes set on the woman of my dreams. I was only days away from declaring my interest. I wanted to take it beyond our current friendship and see what life held for both of us.
I leaned back against the counter, ran both of my hands through my hair and wondered aloud, “Why am I still here? What purpose did it serve to let me live? Why did everything have to change?” That was my biggest problem…I hated revisions that were forced upon my life.
Whether I wanted it to or not, things had shifted. Imagine waking up from a four month sleep to find out that you were in a horrid car accident that took another’s life, forever altering a family. When I learned she was pregnant and leaving behind the child and a husband, I had to admit that I wanted to die, too. It was a nightmare come to life and nothing I could do to change it.
I couldn’t understand how the Prescott family could be so forgiving and caring toward me. I was ready for them to ream me and ask for my butt to be thrown in jail. However, to my surprise all of the Prescotts, especially Alexander, have shown compassion for me by making sure my medical bills were paid, and making sure that the true culprit of the accident was found. They’ve told me time and time again that I was drugged and had no ability to control the car I was in. They went on to tell me how Gabi died not from the accident itself but from an undetected aneurysm in her brain; she would’ve likely died during childbirth.