Naked and Far from Home by J.P. Grider
Publication date: October 18th 2015
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult
Tia Mercury was a freshman in high school and had her first serious crush – on a senior who wouldn’t touch her. At least not until she turned eighteen.
Clinton Daniels was not your everyday teenage boy, and because his tougher-than-nails father wouldn’t let him forget it, Clinton became a loner. And learned to distrust everyone.
Until he met Tia.
She was sweet, she was funny, and she knew nothing about good music. It was the nineteen-eighties for goodness sake – time to turn off that AM radio crap. So, while Tia drooled over Clinton, he was busy making her mix-tapes.
She was falling in love. He was ignoring his heart.
See, Clinton had a secret. But sharing it could cost him their friendship, and he was not willing to risk losing the only person he ever loved.
Naked and Far From Home is a serious story that spans a decade. A tale about unconditional love and what two people are willing to look past to prove that love.
The rest of the night, I watched as all the roommates drank, laughed, and shared in stories I knew nothing about. Psych classes? I didn’t even know there was such a thing. No wonder Clinton thought I was immature. Next to people his age, I guess I was.
“So, Clint, man,” Henry said, “you have to come with us to The Lounge next weekend. I’ll tell my cousin Michael to add you to the list.”
“The Lounge?” I asked Clinton.
“It’s a club.”
“Exclusive,” Lindy added. “It’s invite-only. Twenty-one and over,” she made sure to point out.
I wasn’t liking Lindy too much.
“Ya in?” Henry asked.
“Sure,” Clinton said gladly, not even glancing in my direction to see if I’d mind.
“Great. Saturday night I’ll call Michael.”
At about midnight, Clinton said, “I better get Tia home.”
Inwardly, I cringed.
“Make sure you come back,” Lindy cooed.
“Maybe. I’m kinda beat. Never slept last night.”
“You can crash here if you get too tired.”
Oh, shut up, Lindy. Just shut the hell up.
“I don’t have to go home yet,” I told Clinton outside.
“I’m beat, Tia. I’m gonna bring you home and come right back to go to sleep.”
He opened his car door to let me in. When he got in on his side, I said, “You can sleep at my house.”
“Okay.” My instincts told me not to push the subject.
He put the music on, but kept it low. “You’re not too drunk to drive?” I asked, trying like heck to keep my voice light and carefree.
“I’m not drunk at all.”
“You had six beers.” Damn. I just couldn’t keep my mouth shut.
“I’m fine.” His words came out a little on the curt side, so I didn’t continue my interrogation.
But he wasn’t fine. I noticed him swerving onto the other side of the road a couple times. They were empty, dusty roads, but still, I knew he shouldn’t be driving.
When I looked over at him, I saw his eyes were closed, and there was no way I was keeping my mouth shut now. “Clinton,” I yelled.
He startled. “What?”
“You’re falling asleep.”
“Sorry my ass. You’re gonna get us killed. You know, if you’re not gonna let me drink, you might as well teach me to drive.”
“Mmm.” He was too tired to even respond.
Luckily, we made it to my house, but when he got out to walk me to the door, I turned off his car and took his keys.
“Tia, what’re ya doin’?”
“You’re not going home. You’re tired and you’ve been drinking.”
“I’m fine. Give me my keys.”
I stuck them down my shorts, inside my underwear. “No.”
“Tia. Stop. You just don’t want me going back there. I saw you were jealous the whole night.”
“Go to Hell, Clint.” Isn’t that what Lindy had called him?
“See. I told you. Jealous. Now give me my keys.”
“Come and get them.”
He picked me up and put me on the hood of his car. “Give me my keys."
I shifted my hips up toward him. “Get them.”
He closed his eyes, breathed, and opened them. Daggers shooting from his eyes. “Is that what you want, Tia? You want me to undo your pants, so I can get my keys. You want it that way, Tia? Is that what you want?”
“What?” I was confused.
“You want me to fuck you right here? Waiting until you’re eighteen isn’t good enough for you? You want me to take your virginity right here over a set of keys?”
“What are you talking about?” He was talking crazy.
“You put your keys down your pants. Your shorts are quite short, so I assume you stuck them in your panties. Just like you decided to go braless today.” He turned and walked away from me. “Stop trying to seduce me, Tia. I don’t want to be seduced.”
I cannot tell you what those words did to me. My chest constricted. My head pounded. My body went numb. I couldn’t even slide off his car.
“Give me my keys, Tia.”
I heard his words, but didn’t move. Couldn’t move.
But I did feel his hands on my button, when several seconds later, he unbuttoned my shorts, slid down my zipper, and stuck his hands down my underwear. His hand stilled on my curls. When I looked up at him, we were both crying.
“This is not how I wanted the first time I touched you to be,” he whispered, moving his hand to my hips.
Reaching down my own pants, I pulled out his keys. “I just didn’t want you getting in an accident on your way home.” I was embarrassed at how choppy my sentence came out, but I couldn’t contain the tears.
He pulled his hand out of my pants, zipped and buttoned me back up, and pulled me against his chest.
“Something’s different,” I said into his chest.
“I know,” he whispered. “And I’m sorry.”
I think I stopped breathing. I wanted to ask him. I wanted to say something. But I couldn’t find the courage.
“I know we never defined our relationship,” he said over my head, “but we need to break up.”
“No,” I finally managed—a half cry, a half whispered scream.
“I’m so sorry.” He ran his fingers through my hair, but kept his chin on top of my head. I don’t think he could look me in the eye.
“You want what I can’t give you right now.”
Why did he have to keep talking?
“I love you more than anything in this world, Tia. You are everything to me. But…I can’t give you a physical relationship right now. And I know that’s what you want, but…I don’t. Not now. Not when there are so many differences in our lives.”
J.P. Grider is a New Adult and Young Adult author. She is the author of eight novels. Her young adult series The Honor Trilogy consists of A Touch of Honor, A Man of Honor, and A Heart of Honor, while her first two novels - Unplugged (A Portrait of a Rock Star) and Maybe This Life - are standalone adult contemporary novels. Her most recent release is the new adult romance Reaching Rose, which is the third in her Hunter Hill University series. All the books in the Hunter Hill University series are standalone books and can be read in any order. Currently, J.P. is working on two standalone novels that are not related to the Hunter Hill University series. They will be released in February, 2016.
You can follow J.P. on Facebook at J.P. Grider, Author, on Instagram and Twitter @JPGrider1, and on her blog at jpgrider.com