Finding Charley (Full Circle #2) by Casey Peeler
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One bottle of Jack and the words “I’m sorry” are all it takes for Charley’s world to turn upside down… again. Charley has a decision to make. Does she sink or swim?
After Dylan reminds Charley that he always has the upper hand, she decides it’s time break free. But how? She uses her past, present, and what she hopes to be her future to find her freedom.
With the help of Cash Money and the Kluft Girls, she devises a plan to take down Dylan. Will she succeed, or will she find that she will never escape his hold? Once this plan is put in place, who will be by her side when it comes to an end? And will this plan include Jackalope Joe?
We push through the glass door and past the bouncer who eyes me from head to toe as we make our way into Hank’s. Of course, we form our usual beeline to the bathroom and the stall with no door.
“All right, ladies, what’s the plan tonight? Who’s getting a piece before they go home for a month?” Hayden questions. She scans all of us, and most have their hands raised but Georgia and me. “Char, I hate to break it to you, but if you don’t get a piece, it’s your own damn fault. Georgia, we know you well enough to know that you’re gonna have those hips rockin’ the dance floor with one guy all night long.”
I just shake my head. Sometimes being sober isn’t fun. Hell, it never is, but tonight’s about cutting lose and staying in control.
We make our way to the bar and order Bud Lights all around plus my water. Then, it’s to the dance floor. The sound of Flo Rida’s “Wild Ones” echoes through the speakers, and we know exactly what to do. We hit the dance floor and go hard. It’s about us girls having a good time tonight. Here we don’t have to worry about some ass trying to interrupt or put moves on us that we don’t want. Hayden starts acting a fool by doing that damn sprinkler dance move, and I totally lose it. We all take turns goofing off and busting out old school moves.
When Drake’s “Started from the Bottom” comes across the speakers, we quit goofing off and start dancing our asses off. Before we know what’s going on, the entire baseball team is surrounding us and enjoying the view. Songs bleed from one to the next. Once sweat begins to drip down my back, I pull my hair up into a messy bun and continue to enjoy the night.
By song number four, a smokin’ hot baseball player has his strong hands wrapped around my waist. I swear I’ve just met Chipper Jones fifteen years ago! I continue to dance and take in the aroma of sweat and Dolce and Gabbana. Holy crap. I never thought those two things would go together. The songs change pace and begin to slow. I know I need to separate myself from him, because at this point I’m not looking for someone new. As I start to pull away, he grabs my hand and pulls me close.
“Hey, Char, I’m Tucker, or can I call you Squirrel?” I must have looked like a damn deer in headlights because I completely froze. No one called me that but Joe. WTF? My breath begins to heighten, and I can feel sweat building under my arms. Tucker must have noticed as well. “Um, did I say something wrong? I thought that was your nickname?”
I swallow hard. “Well, that’s what Joe calls me.”
“So, is it okay if I call you that?” His eyes looked as sincere as they could with the amount of alcohol he had flowing in his veins. I shake my head no.
“I’d rather you not.”
“All right, but just so you know, he’s a complete idiot for letting you go that easy.” Here we go. Another night with my drama. What do I do? I have to get him to shut up about Joe before I freakin’ lose it. I take my hands and run them up his washboard stomach. I can feel every chiseled ab and indention. I look up at him, and he gets the point. Not one more word about Joe. As the song comes to an end, he pulls me in close and lifts my chin. “Like I said, he’s a fuckin’ idiot.” Then his lips brush mine.
My mind takes a moment to focus on what is going on. Warm, soft, hungry lips are covering mine. Tucker pulls away from me and kisses my forehead as the next song, “Roar” by Katy Perry, begins to play. I start to laugh inside thinking about Hayden and then I glance at the Kluft girls who are thinking the exact same thing. I smile at Tucker and make my way to the Kluft girls about the time the chorus begins, and we begin to sing at the top of our lungs. You would have thought our life depended on it.
I know it’s near closing time, which means the one song that always ends a night at Hank’s is about to be played. I push that thought to the back of my brain and just let loose for the next twenty minutes. When the first chord of “Let’s Get It On” begins to play, I back away from the dance floor.
As I turn to walk away, piercing blue eyes are staring back at me. Joe. Joe’s here? My heart begins to hurt. I want to forgive him, but just can’t. Not yet.
Joe gives me no option. He takes my hand and guides me back to the dance floor. Georgia looks like she is shooting darts straight at him. He ignores her and wraps his arms around mine. I drop my head to his chest and tears begin to fall. Why can’t my nightmare end? Why?
We attempt to dance, but our worlds have stopped. He stands with his arms around my trembling body, and I look up to him as the song ends. Barely audible words escape his lips. “Squirrel, I’m here when you’re ready.”
I wipe the tears from my face as I pull myself from his embrace. I turn and leave him standing alone on the dance floor. The Kluft girls are waiting for me at the door. Georgia pulls me in for a hug. We exit Hank’s and pile into the Love Machine, and I don’t look back. As I take a deep breath, crank the van, and begin to pull out, I see Joe walking out of Hank’s. Our eyes meet, and I turn my head as quickly as possible. I do not want to feel any connection to Joe, but my heart tells me otherwise.
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About the Author
Casey Peeler grew up and still lives in North Carolina with her husband and daughter. Her first passion is teaching students with special needs. Over the years, she found her way to relax was in a good book.
After reading Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neal Hurston her senior year of high school and multiple Nicholas Sparks’ novels, she found a hidden love and appreciation for reading.
Casey is an avid reader, blogger (Hardcover Therapy,) and now author. No Turning Back (Full Circle #1) is her debut novel released September 30th.
Her goal is to one day be an author who is recognized nationwide like Jamie McGuire, Colleen Hoover, Tiffany King, and Amanda Bennett.
When Casey isn’t reading, you can find her listening to country music, spending the day at the lake, being a wife and dance mom, and spending time with friends and family.
Her perfect day consists of water, sand between her toes, a cold beverage, and a great book!
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