Popular and beautiful, Cora Stephens has it all - including the perfect football-star boyfriend - until one fateful afternoon. Facing heartache and betrayal, Cora turns to long-time friend, Landon, for comfort. While his love for her grows, she does everything in her power to avoid getting hurt again - including flinging herself into the arms of another boy.
Then, just as Cora’s shattered world starts putting itself back together, life throws something her way that’s more horrific than she ever could have imagined. Through the emotional and physical pain, she begins to lose hope and abandon her faith. Will this once light-hearted, happy prom queen find her way back home?
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He grabbed my waist and crushed my body against his. Then his lips met mine with breath-taking force, only pulling away long enough to answer my question. “It was fine. Doin’ much better now that you’re in my arms, baby.” He kissed me again in a way much too private for the cinder block walls of our small high school.
I caught my breath as I pushed him away and playfully swatted his arm. “Now, Jeff, you know better than that! Principal Long’ll be out here in no time, pourin’ cold water on us!”
He winked at me and leaned in for one last kiss. He was much gentler this time, brushing his lips softly against mine. “Sorry, babe. You know I can’t resist.”
Just then someone bumped into him, nearly knocking me down. “What the—”
“Yo, Colton!” Christopher Johnson, one of Jeff’s teammates, interrupted me and rammed me against my boyfriend again. “What’s up, man?”
“Hey, man!” He turned to Christopher, who was oblivious to my presence. “Whatchya been up to? Where’s your first period?”
“I’m headed to English on the 300 hall. How ’bout you?”
“Calculus, dude. Sucks.”
I cleared my throat. “Um, Jeff, don’t you think we should get to class? Don’t wanna be late on the first day,” I said impatiently. Out of all Jeff’s friends, Christopher bothered me the most. He was cocky and egotistical. He had a habit of sleeping with girls, dumping them, and then bragging about it to all his friends.
“Well, howdy, Miss Stephens.” He grinned. “Didn’t even see you there.”
“’Course you didn’t,” I mumbled. “Can we go now, please?” I asked, tapping my high-heeled shoe impatiently. The carpeted floor muffled the sound, but the expression on my face was not hard to read.
“Yeah, babe, I’m comin’. Later, Johnson.” Jeff turned away from Christopher and grabbed my hand. Once we were out of Christopher’s hearing range, Jeff demanded, “What’s your problem?”
I came to an abrupt stop and put my free hand on my hip. “Oh, nothin’. Just that every time that guy comes around, you forget I even exist.”
“You’re gonna have to get over that. Chris is my buddy. We play football together. You oughta start bein’ nice to him. Now, let’s go.” He yanked on my hand and pulled me forward. I didn’t like the way he was acting. This was definitely not his most charming moment.
We walked the rest of the way to class in silence. I was pouting and Jeff was being stubborn. We barely said three words to each other during the next few hours, until it was finally time for lunch.
I decided to be the mature one and give in, as usual. “Sweetie, where are we gonna sit this year?” I asked, glancing around the crowded cafeteria.
Jeff’s expression was smug. He knew he’d won. “Chris is holdin’ a table for us.”
I rolled my eyes. Was he seriously suggesting that I sit with Christopher every time I ate lunch for the next nine months?
He made a half-hearted attempt to pacify me. “Don’t worry, baby, there’s plenty of room for your friends too.” He grinned down at me, knowing I wouldn’t argue.