Never Live (May Moore Suspense Thriller #3) - Blake Pierce

PROLOGUE

Giggling, holding onto Dylan's hand, Alyssa stumbled along the trail that led into the woods. Behind them, the raucous sounds of the post-prom party echoed in the summer night.

Alyssa heard laughter, drunken yells, the throb of music from the loudspeakers set up in the lakeside pavilion. Smoke and sparks from the bonfire wafted into the air.

Ahead of them, the woods were cool. Green leaves rustled. A tree root nearly tripped Alyssa up. She clung onto Dylan, shrieking with laughter, glad of the excuse to hold tighter onto his wiry, muscular arm.

“Not so fast! I nearly fell over,” she warned.

"Hey, sorry! You okay?" he asked, sliding his other arm around her.

"I'm okay," she whispered, snuggling into him. He had taken off the dress shirt he’d worn for the prom itself. Now, he was in a white T-shirt that was so thin she could feel the hard planes of his chest through it.

"Not too cold?" he murmured, and his breath warmed the nape of her neck.

"Not too cold now." She giggled again.

She was drunk, but she knew what she wanted. She knew what she'd been hoping for, since she'd seen that smoldering look on his face, when he'd danced with her at the prom. How breathless she'd felt when he'd whispered in her ear.

And now was the time.

He turned and kissed her, and Alyssa felt swept off her feet by the headiness of lust.

"You're so hot, Alyssa," Dylan said, and his voice was a little huskier than it had been before. His lips brushed her cheek.

Alyssa's heart hammered loudly against her chest. She'd known him since they were in kindergarten, but it seemed right that they were together now. They belonged together; she was sure of it. It was meant to be.

Dylan broke off the kiss and downed his beer.

"How about we sit here a while?" he suggested.

They'd gone further into the woods than Alyssa had realized. The party sounds had faded.

Now, there was a mossy smell that Alyssa didn't like. It was kind of damp, with an undertone of old, rotting leaves.

Dylan, as he slid down with his back to a tree, didn't seem to notice.

But drunk as Alyssa was, she didn't feel the same way as he grasped her waist, lowering her down beside him.

Her dress was too short for this. There were sticks and stones under the moldy leaves, and they were scouring her skin.

She didn't know how far she should go with Dylan. She really, really liked him. But she knew he had a reputation as a class stud. She didn't want him to dump her afterward. She knew he'd done that with other girls. It would be so humiliating if he talked about it to his friends, and laughed that she’d just been a one-night stand for him.

But had he looked at the other girls in the same way? With that melting expression in his dark eyes that made desire flare inside her?

"You're so special," he murmured. Now his hands were on her, easing their way up her legs, teasing open the zipper in the front of her dress.

It was wonderful, but it was terrifying, and her parents would be furious; and although drunk, Alyssa realized she wasn't drunk enough.

She suddenly didn't know if she was ready for this.

"Look, I'm not comfortable here," Alyssa began, fearing her words would shatter the moment and break the magical attraction between them. If this was serious, she didn’t want to mess it up now.

"Why? What's wrong?" Now his voice was sharper. She could tell he was pissed at her refusal to go along with things.

"I - uh - "

She wasn't sure how to voice her unease. Probably she shouldn't say that she was now thinking about how mad her folks would be.

"I'm not comfortable on the ground here. I'm - I'm worried about bugs. And ticks."

"Ticks?" Sounding incredulous, Dylan spluttered with laughter. "I don't think there are any ticks here. But I'll - I'll tell you what." He leaned closer. "My car's parked close to the pavilion, so I'll run back and go get us a blanket."

"Okay," Alyssa said.

That wasn't what she'd intended. She'd intended for them to both go back, to buy her some time. But now, Dylan had scrambled to his feet and was loping back in the direction of the pavilion.

Alyssa sat uneasily on the leaves. She was now feeling very aware that the zipper of her dress was too far down, the skirt had been pushed up to her thighs, and she was now alone. As she