I’m a big ol’ Carey Heywood fan, this is no secret. So when she asked if I thought my readers would enjoy an AMAZING giveaway, I was all, “Hell yeah!” She also thought that you all might enjoy reading the first chapter of Sawyer Says, the companion novel to the super-swoony Him and Her! And I was like, “Double yeah! Read on, my friends!! And don’t forget to scroll to the bottom to enter Carey’s AMAZING giveaway! She’s offering a paperback of Sawyer Says, autographed by the authors who attended the Atlanta Author Occasion, an audiobook set of Him and Her, and some seriously cool swag!
Sawyer Says by Carey Heywood
My best friend Sarah is getting married in a week. I’m not sure how I’ve managed to help plan her wedding while simultaneously trying to block it out of my mind. The distraction of organizing the small details is a welcome escape in avoiding how different things are now. I’m happy for her. I am. Change is good, right.
I drag myself from my comfy cocoon of blankets and pad barefoot into the kitchen.
“Dude, it’s not Wednesday,” Jared mumbles behind me, his voice raspy from sleep. I pull a bowl for my cereal down from the cabinet and turn. “Huh?” He gives me a crooked smile and points to my ass. I’m still not used to living with a guy and I hadn’t thought to pull on pants after I woke up. I’m apparently wearing the wrong day of the week underwear. “Stop looking at my ass, perv.” I pull my t-shirt down as I move closer to the fridge to grab milk. I try my best to ignore the fact that Jared noticing my ass excites me.
This is Jared; the guy I spent almost every summer with after my parents died. Other people had been there too. It hadn’t been some weird Blue Lagoon or Lord of the Flies thing. Even though there were always adults around, we still managed to have fun. Those summers kept me sane. That’s why Jared needs to be not so attractive, especially considering he’s my new roommate. Any attraction I’m feeling has to be a symptom of the lack of sex I’m experiencing. With Sarah’s wedding, Jared moving in, and life in general, I have been too busy. And it isn’t helping that Jared is hotter than I remember.
I move to eat my breakfast in the living room. My eyes stalk him as he gets something to eat. His bare back to me, I admire the flex and pull of his muscles as he reaches for a glass and then the curve of his ass as he bends to grab something from the fridge. Fuck me, when did he get so hot? He was always good-looking but in a cute way before. Cute never did anything for me. I preferred the panty-melting type of guy, and that is exactly what Jared has turned into.
It would be a smart move to get some distance before I had to retire Wednesday from my underwear drawer permanently. I leave my half-finished bowl on the coffee table and silently flee to my room. Last thing Jared needs is me panting after him, and I’m not really panting after him. It’s like having a healthy appreciation of art. Just because you appreciate a painting, it doesn’t mean you need to mount it to your wall. Seriously, mounting anything is the last thing I should be picturing.
Jared is my friend, and he’s had a shitty year. Sarah told me herself they had a heart-to-heart over him coming to the wedding. She had been scared that it would bring up bad memories for him. From what she said, he had been nothing but supportive, even agreeing to be part of the wedding party. Would her wedding remind him of his own failed marriage? It was almost over before the ink dried on the marriage certificate. It had been such a rushed affair in front of the Justice of the Peace. Sarah and I weren’t even there. After the baby was born, they were going to do it right and have a bigger ceremony. All those plans dissolved when Kristy lost the baby. As hard as Jared tried to do the right thing, it was a huge relief when they broke up. Kristy wasn’t bad or anything. She just wasn’t good enough for Jared.
As much as I had my suspicions on how accidental her pregnancy was, I wouldn’t wish a miscarriage on anyone. Jared was a wreck after it happened. The only silver lining in everything that happened was being able to offer him Sarah’s old room. The few times we’ve gone out since he moved in, he rebuffed any girl who hit on him. I’ve gotten in the habit of acting like we’re together when we’re out. That has to be what’s causing all my problems right now. Of course, I’m not meeting anyone if I look like I’m already taken. Maybe if I was getting some, I could stop eye-fucking him. I need to get laid. I’m so going out tonight. It’s been a while since I bought anything cute. I shower quickly with visions of the mall dancing in my head. I hurry to get ready.
“Where’re you heading?” I gulp and glance back at him. He’s stretched out across the couch, thankfully, now fully dressed.
“I’m running to the mall.” He sits up. “Can I come with? I need a shirt for the rehearsal dinner.” My shoulders sag. There goes getting away from him.
“Hurry up, sweet cheeks.” I wait while he pulls on shoes and his coat. “Want me to drive?” he offers nonchalantly. I smirk and shake my head. I have no idea why everyone thinks I’m such a bad driver. It’s been forever since my last accident and almost a year since my last speeding ticket. Patience has never been something I had an overabundance of. If I were going somewhere, I’d rather get there sooner than later. Besides, a yellow Hummer on anyone’s bumper is just incentive to get out of my way.
We knock out finding a shirt for Jared first. I make him buy the first one that looks relatively okay so I won’t have to stare at how each one hugs his broad shoulders. He follows me into a trendy little shop I like. Those clothes are fun and not expensive. Part of the reason my cash has stretched as far as it has is I don’t splurge that often. Wandering around the store, I grab a few dresses to try on while Jared snags a chair just outside the dressing room.
“Are you going to model them?” he jokes, once I’m heading in. “You want to see them?” I ask surprised. He nods, leaning back further into his chair, getting comfortable. “You should catwalk.” I roll my eyes and shake my head as I close the dressing room door. I try on the first dress. Turns out “dress” is an over exaggeration. I’m short and this barely covers my ass. I walk out to show Jared more as joke since I can’t see myself buying it. He’s goofing off on his phone so I clear my throat to get his attention. I shiver, and I tell myself it’s the chill from the store’s AC, not the way Jared moves his eyes up my body. When his gaze finally reaches my face, I take in his wide eyes and open mouth. Is that in reaction to me? I start to turn.
“That one.” I look back at him. “Get that one,” he affirms. Seems like Jared likes what he sees. I might be seeing things, but I swear I catch him adjusting himself. I change back into my clothes and grab the dress Jared likes and another one. I can’t handle a repeat of the way he looks at me so I pray to the shopping gods that this other one fits. He follows me to the register, standing closer than normal. The sales person snaps me out of my Jared-induced haze when she asks for my card a second time. While she rings me up, I catch her checking Jared out. I take a step back to close the distance between us. I’m being stupidly possessive of one of my best friends. Without missing a beat, he rests his chin on the top of my head as if it’s the most natural thing in the world. That’s clearly all this is, a natural comfort level we have developed over years of being friends. Any desire toward him I might have felt before could potentially ruin that. Going out tonight and picking up a honey for the evening, is just me being a good friend.
Once we’re back at the condo, any hopes I have for ditching him crash and burn when he invites himself out with me. Saying no to Jared has always been nearly impossible. My whole objective for going out tonight was to get laid. Instead, here I am ordering another shot so I hope I won’t remember what a failure tonight is turning out to be. Based on Jared’s reaction to the dress in the store, I assumed it would be foolproof in attracting company for the evening. I’m not expecting Jared to glare at every man who looks at me. He’s easily the biggest guy in the place. So far, no one’s been brave enough to approach me.
“Why are you being such a cock blocker?” I groan. He tries to look innocent before shrugging. “These dudes are all losers. You should be thanking me.” A song I like coming on is the only thing that stops me from arguing with him. I head toward the dance floor instead, surprised when he follows me. This has to be some new level of torture. I try to imagine anyone else behind me and just lose myself in the music. When his fingers grip my hips, I start to melt into him before remembering this is Jared. With a jolt, I step away from him. Appreciation mode only. Safer for all involved to not mount my roommate.
My goal for the night suddenly shifts from getting laid to not throwing myself at Jared Keller