Boy, do I have a special treat for you today!!! As you may know, Into the Deep by Samantha Young is one of my favourite books ever. It is a truly unforgettable and deeply moving story of second chances at love and I cannot describe it any other way other than as an absolute must read. The story of Charley and Jake is so intoxicatingly addictive, you will find yourself cherishing the heart-breaking moments as much as the heart-warming ones. A today, the lovely Samantha Young is giving us something so special I have been bursting for weeks unable to tell anyone! We are getting a never-seen-before bonus scene from Jake’s POV!!!! But this is not any scene we are talking about – this is THE scene when Charley and Jake first met!
The light from the fire his new friends had created flickered and flared brightly, casting shadows over the juniors and seniors who’d descended upon Alex Roster’s party. Alex had invited Jake two days ago when they were hanging out at the diner together.
Moving from Chicago to a tiny place like Lanton in Indiana hadn’t been easy, but Jake liked a challenge. He’d decided to use the summer before junior year started to his advantage and get to know as many people as possible.
That’s why three days ago he was hanging out with Sturgis, this funny stoner kid who could rock out on the electric guitar, and only yesterday he was eating a burger with Alex, an All American jock type. At least no one was giving him crap for clique-jumping. He was the new guy, somewhat exotic, and had already obtained a bit of a rep, so most people wanted to hang out with him. Which was fine by Jake, since having people to hang out with was the only thing stopping him from running screaming from the absolute boredom of living in Lanton.
One of Alex’s senior friends, Dean, handed Jake a beer. “You made it, man.”
Jake lifted his chin in thanks. “Yeah.” His eyes scanned the woods, watching people joking and laughing, some couples branching off to make out. “Looks like the party is in full swing. So… where’s the guest of honor?”
Dean grinned. “You made your way through so many chicks you’re bored and looking for fresh meat already?”
That was definitely the worst thing so far about living in a small town. Everybody knew everybody’s business. It became clear to Jake, but unfortunately much too late, that he couldn’t get away with hooking up with girls here and walking away unscathed. One, there really was nowhere to run from them, and two, within seconds of hooking up with them the whole damn town knew.
Still, Alex’s friend Lacey had gone on and on about this Charley girl, and any time her name was mentioned someone had a funny story to tell about her. After hearing the stories, Jake was kind of intrigued to meet the girl who’d been given the nickname “Supergirl” by an entire town because she’d knocked her sister out of the way of a moving vehicle and took the hit instead.
That was pretty hardcore for a small town girl.
“Nah, it’s not like that,” Jake semi-lied. “I’ve just heard a lot about her.”
“It wouldn’t be like that anyway,” Dean informed him. “Charley’s not the kind of girl who gives it up to just anybody. She used to date Roster, man. She dumped him just before summer started.”
Surprised, Jake took a sip of his beer and muttered, “Alex didn’t mention they dated.”
“Yeah, well, he’s going to make his play for her again so I wouldn’t get in the way of that. Alex probably wouldn’t say shit but Brett would get pissy just because it gives him an excuse to get pissy,” Dean curled his lip in distaste and Jake understood why.
Brett Thomas was the other drawback to living in Lanton.
He was Alex’s best friend and a complete douche. Brett was narrow-minded bully, and Jake couldn’t stand him.
“Hey,” Dean nudged his elbow, lifting his chin in the direction of the fire, “That’s Charley over there with Lacey.”
Turning, Jake squinted past the flames to just beyond where three girls were standing laughing. Lacey caught him staring and turned back to chatter excitedly at a blonde girl he hadn’t seen before.
The blonde looked up at him.
Jake tensed as their eyes met, his hand tightening around his beer bottle.
Without even really meaning to, Jake found himself walking through the throngs of party-goers toward the girl with those eyes. Eyes that drew him in–eyes filled with questions, very few answers, and something a lot like possibility.
Jake blinked. Are you listening to yourself? He guffawed, trying to shake off whatever the hell that had been. This girl was just a girl. A particularly cute girl with phenomenal bedroom-eyes, but just a girl nonetheless. Despite his mom coming down on him for messing around, Jake had to protest. He was only sixteen. He had plenty of time to find a girl who would break his heart, just like his mom had broken his dad’s a few years back. It hadn’t been easy to watch his mom pack up their things and walk out on their dad because he’d been neglecting his family for work. It was even harder to watch how devastated and panicked his father was by it. Logan Caplin adored his wife and he’d been a wreck when she’d left him. It was the first time Jake really understood what loving someone like that could mean. And at sixteen he just wasn’t ready to go through that.
Even if a girl did have eyes like Charley Redford.
Jake stopped in front of her, Lacey, and Lacey’s quiet friend, Rose. Charley held his gaze, and he felt lost for a second, so lost he almost didn’t pull off his casual, “So, you’re the mysterious girl who’s been gone all summer.”
She shrugged. “And you’re the mysterious newbie.”
Hmm. There was something kind of intimidating about her.
It occurred to Jake that maybe he’d gotten a little too used to girls giggling all over him, and just maybe Charley’s casual reaction to him was a reality check. Laughing at himself, Jake decided now would be a good time to remember those manners his mother had raised him with. He smiled and held out his hand to her. “Jake.”
Thankfully she held out her hand to him. “Charley.”
As soon as their skin brushed, Jake felt pressure on his chest. The pressure he’d felt when they first locked eyes. The pressure he felt that he couldn’t explain.
Pressure he was adamantly ignoring.
He grinned at Charley. “I know. You’re famous. Supergirl.”
“I hate living in a small town,” she grumbled, taking another pull of her beer. And just like that, with the mock dirty looks she shot her friends, and the little purse of her lips, the air of intimidation around her disappeared. Someone modest, obviously brave if all the stories were true, and definitely adorable, shone through.
Their eyes met again.
His breath hitched.
“We’re going to get more beer,” Lacey suddenly announced brightly, grabbing Rose’s hand and dragging her not so subtly away from him and Charley.
Charley scrunched her nose up, clearly embarrassed by their obviousness. It was cute as hell. “Sorry.”
Jake wasn’t. Now he had her alone he could kick the encounter up a notch. “Don’t be.” He stepped closer, inhaling her perfume. “I’ve been looking forward to meeting you.”
She raised an eyebrow at him. “Oh, I’ve heard you’ve met lots of people already.”
The fact that she’d been paying attention pleased him. A whole lot. “You shouldn’t listen to gossip,” he teased.
“Especially when it’s true?” she answered dryly.
Smart ass. Hot, smart ass. Jake laughed. “I was just being friendly. Getting to know the new town. It’s not easy moving to such a small place after living in Chicago. Everything seems to move faster there and faster here causes shock.”
“Yeah, I can imagine it’s a huge change,” she said, sounding sympathetic. She leaned back against the post of the old gazebo the party was congregated around. Every small move she made, Jake followed it, as if he couldn’t quite look away. She tucked a lock of her gorgeous, long hair behind her ear, her silver bangles tinkling with the movement. She wasn’t overly tall, she wasn’t short either, and everything about her was graceful and sexy at the same time.
When their eyes met again she was frowning. “Why did you move here?”
Jake had the why, he even understood the why. Didn’t mean he liked the why. It was a question he’d been asked a lot since arriving, one he’d deflected, shrugged off, because he still wasn’t ready to deal with the fact that they’d moved permanently to Bumble-fuck, Indiana. And yet… he wanted to tell her. And he couldn’t explain why that was.
They’d just met.
Exhaling, trying to ease that pressure on his chest, he answered softly, ““My mom and dad are from small towns, they missed it. My dad was pretty successful in Chicago and my mom liked her life there. However, my kid brother, Lukas, got mugged coming home from school one night when he missed the bus. They pulled a knife but didn’t hurt him. Still, it freaked my mom and dad out so much, they upped stakes.”
“You know bad things happen everywhere,” she replied quietly.
Yeah, Jake was sure Lanton saw its fair share of murder and mayhem. “You get a lot of muggings in Lanton, do you?”
“Only when things are slow. I like to shake things up a little.”
Pleasantly surprised by her sense of humor, Jake laughed again. “Ski mask and all?” he joked with her, feeling lighter than he had since before arriving in Lanton.
She shook her head, deadpan. “Bandit eye strip, a banana, and a black trash bag.”
I want to kiss her.
Pushing those inner thoughts aside, Jake chuckled at her quip. “Let me guess—the banana works three-fold: a ‘gun,’ a snack to keep your mugger energy up, and then the slippery peel is a great tool in your escape.”
Those gorgeous eyes of her were laughing up at him in a way that made him feel ten feet tall. “Dude, you got this down.” Her smile turned flirtatious, knocking any breath he had left in his body out. “Want to be a bandit with me?”
He had to kiss her. More than that Jake had decided… he had to know her.
Shit. He was in trouble.
A moment of panic caught in his chest but as she stared up at him with eyes he could drown in, Jake squashed the panic and leaned in close.
“Definitely,” he murmured.