Caught in Us by Layla Hagen
Publication date: August 3rd 2015
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Dani Cohen knows Damon is trouble the second he walks in during senior year. He has bad boy written all over him. . .from his arrogant smirk to his perfectly toned abs. He is arrogant, intense, rebellious.
Dani has her future all planned out. She’s not the type to fall for a bad boy, no matter how panty-melting his grin is or how shamelessly he flirts. But something about Damon draws her in, awakening a desire she’s never felt. Slowly, she uncovers the secrets Damon hides: underneath his arrogance lies a tortured soul, his flirting smile masks despair.
Damon arrives in Dani’s life against his will. Carrying the scars of a dark past and facing an uncertain future, he knows he should stay away from her, but can’t. Her innocence consumes him, as does the desire to indulge in the passion igniting deep inside her.
An all-consuming bond blooms into a reckless love. But when mistakes from the past threaten their already fragile future, can their love survive?
A steamy and emotional full-length, standalone love story from the USA Today Bestselling author of Withering Hope.
As usual, I get too engrossed in my reading and am almost late for class. Sitting next to Hazel, I take out my books when Damon appears in front of our desk.
"You dropped your phone in the hallway," he says politely.
"No, I didn't." I look in bewilderement as he drops my smartphone in my hand. Damon smiles mischievously, walking over to his desk as Ms. Evans enters the class. Wouldn't I have noticed if my phone had fallen on the corridor during our altercation? Not really...I was too preoccupied with him to notice anything else. My skin heats up at the memory of his closeness. I swivel to ask Hazel something and find her staring at me with curious eyes.
"Do you have anything to share about your morning?"
"I read a book," I mumble.
Ms. Evan starts talking about the Bronte novel we had to read when I receive a text.
You should take better care of your things.
The sender appears only by number, not name, but I know who it is. Sure enough, one glance in Damon's direction confirms my suspicion. He's not looking at me or his phone, but lifts the corner of his lips. It dawns on me that I might not have dropped my phone at all. He must have taken it from my pocket.
And you shouldn't steal other people's things, I reply.
Hey, you were eavesdropping, so don't go all saint on me. You were the first offender.
I smile, overcome by a strange giddiness. I can't believe he stole my phone, or that he got my number, or that he's texting me right now. I'm grinning like an idiot. It's the first time a guy has written to me and not asked for my notes or something similar. Given our less than friendly interactions yesterday and this morning, this is a surprise. Sometimes it takes a healthy fight and a familiar pain to gain a friend.
"After the battle of stares yesterday follows the battle of messages?" Hazel murmurs, smiling. "Bad boy is showing quite an interest in you."
"No, he's not." Something light settles in my stomach.
"I heard that a junior tried very hard yesterday to make him ask for her number and failed. He must be very interested in yours if he got it on his own."
"This doesn't mean anything." The lightness grows, the giddy feeling bubbling up inside me.
"Maybe not." She leans in conspiratorially. "Maybe it does."
When Ms. Evan announces she'll question us about Wuthering Heights, I have the feeling Damon might take this opportunity to display the same unpleasantness as yesterday.
Be nice if Ms. Evans asks you something, I type quickly. Please.
He doesn't type back, and as Ms. Evan begins to ask questions, I brace myself. She deliberately avoids asking him anything though. Then she asks Beckett what his opinion is about the motives behind Heathcliff's behavior. He stares at her with a blank face, clueless.
It's Damon who answers. "Heathcliff felt out of place. He didn't belong to their class, and everyone else never let him forget it."
Ms. Evans' eyes widen, but all she says is "Do you think that justifies him?"
"No. That's no justification for being a dick to everyone," Damon says nonchalantly.
Ms. Evans flinches. "That language doesn't belong in the classroom, Damon." Her tone is firm. I'm proud of her. "I'll let you out of the questioning round because you're new, and I gave this assignment a week ago."
Damon's lip twitches, and I can tell he's about so say something obscene back. I sit up straighter, staring at him intently. He catches my eye and winks at me. I instantly flush, dropping my gaze to my hands.
"I had to read the book in my junior year," Damon replies. Ms. Evans nods, and then continues questioning Anna. I think about something the principal mentioned today... Damon scored mostly A’s at his old school. My assessment was spot on yesterday. Under the mask of carelessness hides a perfectionist. Someone who is clearly smart. As Ms. Evans instructs us to look up a certain passage in the book, I shift in my chair, holding my copy in my hands and pretending to flip through its pages. In reality, I am sneaking glances at Damon. Who was he before he came here and whom did he lose?
Thank you for not being rude, I text him under the desk. I receive an answer almost immediately.
Ouch. That sound like something you'd tell a dog. I'm not a poodle; don't try to train me.
I write back quickly. You're definitely not a poodle. More like a pitbull. I hear those are hard to train. Whatever they do, it's because they want to.
There is a pause in which I wait breathlessly, and then my smartphone vibrates. They also tend to attack their owners.
My fingers almost snap as I hurry to reply. I don't believe that. They just have a bad reputation. Don't believe everything you hear. It's all appearances.
Another short vibration. Ms. Evans looks at me, so I just chance a quick glance at my phone. So what should I make of your Linkin Park t-shirt?
Frowning, I text back as best as I can while pretending to pay attention to Ms. Evans. What's the harm in liking Kinky Fuck?
Damon's next message confuses me. Is that an invitation? I read what I wrote before, and shame washes over me.
Abandoning all pretense of paying attention to the teacher, I write It was autocorrect. I meant Linkin Park. OMG, I'm so sorry.
He doesn't write anything back, and when I look at him, he appears on the verge of bursting out laughing.
My name is Layla Hagen and I am a New Adult Contemporary Romance author.
I fell in love with books when I was nine years old, and my love affair with stories continues even now, many years later.
I write romantic stories and can’t wait to share them with the world.
And I drink coffee. Lots of it, in case the photo didn’t make it obvious enough
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