Drunk on you, p.1
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       Drunk on You, p.1

         Part #4 of Hope Town series by Harper Sloan
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Drunk on You


  Drunk on You

  Copyright (c) 2017 by E.S. Harper

  All rights reserved.

  No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without the written permission of the author, except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.

  This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locations is entirely coincidental.

  All rights reserved. Except as permitted under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the prior express, written consent of the author.

  This book is intended for mature adults only.

  Cover Design by Sommer Stein with Perfect Pear Creative Covers

  Cover Photography by Sara Eirew

  Models: Tiffany Robinson and Mike Chabot

  Editing by Jenny Sims with Editing4Indies & Ellie McLove with LoveNBooks.com

  Formatting by Champagne Book Design

  Table of Contents

  Title Page

  Copyright

  Drunk on You Playlist

  Contact Information and Other Books

  Disclaimer

  Note about Shane ;)

  Dedication

  Chapter 1

  Chapter 2

  Chapter 3

  Chapter 4

  Chapter 5

  Chapter 6

  Chapter 7

  Chapter 8

  Chapter 9

  Chapter 10

  Chapter 11

  Chapter 12

  Chapter 13

  Chapter 14

  Chapter 15

  Chapter 16

  Chapter 17

  Chapter 18

  Chapter 19

  Chapter 20

  Chapter 21

  Chapter 22

  Chapter 23

  Chapter 24

  Chapter 25

  Chapter 26

  Chapter 27

  Chapter 28

  Chapter 29

  Chapter 30

  Epilogue

  Thank Yous

  Drunk on You Playlist

  "Home Alone Tonight" by Luke Bryan "Sexual" by NEIKED

  "That's My Girl" by Fifth Harmony "Starboy" by The Weeknd

  "Closer" by Nine Inch Nails

  "Shape of You" by Ed Sheeran

  "Play That Song" by Train

  "Simple Things" by Miguel

  "Shameless" by Sofia Karlberg

  "Remember I Told You" by Nick Jonas "Lights On" by Shawn Mendes

  "No Promises" by Cheat Codes

  "Torn" by James TW

  "Ruin" by Shawn Mendes

  "Bad Reputation" by Shawn Mendes "Does It Feel" by Charlie Puth

  "Come Running Back" by Us The Duo "I Can't Fall in Love Without You" by Zara Larsson "Yeah!" by Usher

  "Sex You" by Bando Jonez

  "Pony" by Ginuwine

  Link to playlist

  Contact Information and Other Books

  To Contact Harper:

  Email: [email protected]

  Website: www.authorharpersloan.com

  Facebook: www.facebook.com/harpersloanbooks

  Other Books by Harper Sloan:

  Corps Security Series:

  Axel

  Cage

  Beck

  Uncaged

  Cooper

  Locke

  Hope Town Series:

  Unexpected Fate

  Bleeding Love

  When I'm with You

  Loaded Replay Series:

  Jaded Hearts

  Standalone Novel:

  Perfectly Imperfect

  Coming Home Series:

  Lost Rider

  Kiss My Boots

  Cowboy Up

  Disclaimer

  This book is not suitable for younger readers due to strong language and adult situations.

  Note about Shane ;)

  Shane, my sexy little control freak, likes to throw in some of his fluent French here and there ... these have all been translated by my amazing helper Barbara Hoover - while all are correct, sometimes the translation from French to English gets a little sideways. So, I've included a link with each phrase to take you to the translation, knowing that Google won't always get them spot on. I hope that this helps and that you enjoy Shane's delicious words as much as I do.

  To Gel. You, my friend, are a gem. You bring my books to life with the most breathtaking teasers and never fail to knock me on my rear with your ... Tempting Illustrations. ;-) I'm so blest to have you in my life, friend!

  I'M GOING TO SNAP.

  I'm not going to just snap either. It's going to be so glorious; it'll put the Britney Spears head shaving incident of 2007 to shame.

  For real.

  Maybe.

  I should've seen the giant pile of hot mess coming today, seeing how it started and all--with the ex who just won't stay gone. And if I'm being honest, I probably should have just parked my butt at home and watched HGTV on repeat.

  Each one of my kids can tell I'm in a mood, as much as I hate to admit that, but there is just no shaking it at this point. I stupidly thought I would be able to at least shake it off for the kids--all twenty-two of them--but no, not even the best kids in Hope Town can make me happy today. Usually, all it takes is stepping foot in my classroom, and I'm instantly happy--but no matter how big of a dream job I have teaching twenty-two of the cutest second graders around, they're just adding to the stress of what has become my day.

  See, even with ignoring the whole before I got to work part of my day, there hasn't been a single hour during school that hasn't been a challenge. Bobby Lords showed up with a stomach bug, which wouldn't have been that big of a deal ... until he threw up all over his desk and Stacey Johann's lap. Not being able to handle the vomit erupting from the desks near her, Laurel Matison went all exorcist meets angry Kardashian and threw up not only on herself but also the two girls standing near her.

  If two puking kids, more surface area than I care to remember being covered in vomit, and the lingering scent left over from allll of that wasn't enough, lunchtime surely had been the tipping point.

  And the return of the whole dang reason I'm in such a mood.

  Seth.

  My very, very ex-boyfriend. Only, it seems he was the only one who didn't get the memo about us being over. It's been like this for months; ever since I caught him cheating on me over a year ago--and ended it--for whatever reason, Seth recently decided he doesn't want to accept that I really do mean done. And by done, I mean I hope he plays in traffic.

  "Come on, Nik," I grumble to myself, tidying up my desk before pumping out some hand sanitizer. With one last disgusted look at where the puke party of 2017 happened earlier today, I all but run out of my classroom to the faculty parking lot.

  Thankfully, Seth decided not to corner me as I left the school. Small favors, that jerk. Why couldn't he give me the same respect this morning when he showed up at my apartment or when he showed up at the school office wanting to have lunch with me?

  I grab my phone and make quick work of shooting off a text to my best friend, Ember Reid, letting her know I'll be ready for our weekly wine Wednesday a little later than normal--the last thing I want to do is take my foul mood out on Em.

  Saying a silent prayer that Seth has stopped his stupid quest and won't be waiting at my place, I take a heavy breath and put the car in drive to head home for a bath and reboot before my date with Ember. In all honesty, I have
a feeling that if he is there, I might be starring in the real Orange is the New Black instead of that promising bath.

  Thankfully, by the time I get home thirty minutes later, luck appeared to have shifted to my side. There wasn't any sign of his SUV being here when I pull into my complex parking, no weird notes taped to my door begging me to forgive him, and--best of all--no sign of Seth whatsoever popping up like a poorly placed Where's Waldo. I know it's too good to be true. I'm not stupid enough to believe that today is suddenly going to be the day he buys a clue, but I'm hoping I at least get a little break from his annoying stalking.

  I place my schoolbag by the door, rolling my eyes when I realize I dragged it home even though I do not intend to work on my lesson plans at all tonight. My schoolbag--it's huge. You never know when you're going to need something, and on top of the bits and pieces of random things I may need, it holds all my planning and grading books, laptop, and the huge container of fish food I forgot to leave at school. Basically, it's heavier than I care to lug around. Big boobs give me enough back, neck, and shoulder pain without adding a million-pound tote bag.

  The ringing of my cell has me pausing halfway to my bathroom. I had just started pulling my top off, so I rip it the rest of the way off and jog back to my bag. Grabbing my phone, I answer with a breathy hello.

  "You sound like you did that one time I called and you were watching porn."

  I smile at my best friend's voice, roll my eyes, and laugh. "I wasn't watching porn," I exclaim in mock outrage.

  "You were totally watching it, Nikki!"

  Balancing my phone between my ear and shoulder, I unsnap my slacks, slide them off, and then kick them into the corner. Reaching behind me, I unsnap my bra on the way to the bathroom.

  "I wasn't watching it; I was studying it. There's a big difference, Emberlyn."

  She snickers. "The way I see it, it's basically the same thing, girlfriend."

  "It's not even remotely the same thing. If I was watching it, I would have been unable to answer the phone because I would have been enjoying it. I wouldn't answer the phone while watching porn."

  I hear her daughter's squeal of laughter in the background followed by Ember's husband mumbling something closer to the phone, making her giggle. My heart swells, happy as pie for my friend and the man who has always held her heart.

  "You seemed on edge when you texted me. Everything okay? Do you need to skip this week's wine night?"

  I scoff, kicking the thong I just pulled down my legs to the side and turning on the bath. "You could tell I was on edge from a text?"

  "You're my best friend, Nik. I could probably tell you're on edge with less."

  "I'll fill you in later. Wine night is never off, Em."

  "Well, in that case, let me know if I should bring ice cream or an extra bottle."

  "Probably both, just to be safe and all." I laugh, pulling the phone from my ear. Pressing the speakerphone button, I place it down on the vanity and pull my long blond hair up into a messy bun. "Just kidding. All I need is my bestie and that amazing Moscato we found last month."

  "Then you've got it. I'll be over around six. I'm going to help Nate bathe Quinnly, and then I'll head out."

  After disconnecting the call, I set the alarm on my phone for an hour from now before prepping my bath. Arbonne relaxing bath salt and flickering fragrant candles--the perfect cocktail for relaxing my mind and body. Now all I have to do is settle back and pretend I have a clue as to what to do with Seth and his persistence. Something's got to give because I need--for my own sanity--for him to disappear from my life.

  "Yoo-hoo!"

  I jerk awake in the bath, lukewarm water splashing more out of the tub than in, as I blink the sleep from my vision.

  "What the hell," I grumble, reaching out to nab my phone off the closed toilet seat and frowning at the time. "I know I set the alarm."

  "You probably set it for a.m. instead of p.m. like you always do, chick." Ember follows her voice into my bathroom, sitting down on the toilet and crossing her legs with a smile.

  "You're literally the only person who has ever walked in on me in the bath and not snuck a look at my lady mountains. Also, I don't always screw my alarms up." One dark brow arches higher than the other as she gives me a "you've got to be kidding me" look. "Let me rephrase; I haven't done that since me and Siri made friends, and he stopped ignoring me."

  "Siri isn't real, Nik. And your phone wasn't ignoring you ... You just couldn't stop screaming long enough for the phone to actually hear your prompt."

  "Same thing."

  "I have a whole bottle of your favorite wine waiting. How about you get your pruned ass out of the tub and come fill me in on what happened today?"

  I smile up at her. "Are you going to sit there while I climb out naked and get ready?"

  With a roll of her eyes, she looks away and down at her hand, holding it up in indifference. "Your naked body lost its shock value years ago, Nikki. It's not like you have anything I don't."

  Looking down at my chest before glancing at hers, I frown. "Yeah, keep telling yourself that."

  Ember gets up before I finished talking, snickering to herself while leaving my bathroom and bedroom. I look back at my phone, groaning when I realize how well my bestie knows me, and cancel the alarm for six a.m. tomorrow morning. The bath went a long way in easing the knots of tension in my body, and I know, by the time we're drunk calling her husband to come get her, the rest will be just a memory.

  Twenty minutes later, with the AirPlay finally connecting my laptop to the TV mounted across the living room from us and a pile of junk food--and wine--on the coffee table, we're finally ready to begin wine Wednesday.

  "We missed the beginning," I whine under my breath when the live Facebook video we're after pops up on the screen, and our friend Angie's voice fills the silence. I say our friend, but we've never met her, and aside from these live feeds, we've never seen her. But there isn't anyone who can watch Doodles of Pearls and not feel like they're long-lost friends with the crew.

  "We wouldn't have if you wouldn't have been soaking yourself to raisin status. I was on time."

  "We'll just have to watch it later when she switches to the next video."

  "And miss an opening? I don't think so."

  I'm fully aware that we sound insane, being this amped over a pearl party ... yes, a pearl party. We had stumbled across them late last year when a mutual Facebook friend had shared her video. What started as a "wtf is this" quickly turned into hours of rapt attention as we became friends with Angie and collectors of pearls in no time. And hey, at least watching someone open oysters to reveal beautiful pearls isn't anywhere near as weird as watching pimple popping videos.

  "I'm dying for one of those pink pearls, Nik," Ember says with a sigh, watching raptly as Angie inserts the shucker into the oyster. "Did you see that neon looking pink one last week? I almost called you, but Nate threw my phone across the room and said, I quote, 'This pearl shit is out of hand.'"

  I turn my head from the TV and gape at her. "I hope you denied him sex that night."

  "Have you seen my husband lately?" she smarts.

  "So you let him come between pearl time and rewarded him?"

  Her head falls back on the couch cushion behind her as she laughs maniacally. "I'm pretty sure I was the one being rewarded."

  Joining in her laughter, I lift my wine glass up toward her. "That might be so, but seriously you went to Pound Town over Doodleville?!"

  "Nothing in this world would have me turning down my husband and his wicked promises."

  I snort, having just taken a sip.

  "Plus, I watched all three of her videos that I missed the next day, so in reality, I really won."

  I nod my head in understanding, having watched missed parties the next day myself, but my smile slips when I realize the biggest difference in Ember's situation and mine. She has an amazing husband who keeps her from our obsession with these parties while I have no one.

 
; "Tell me," she says, instantly picking up on my change in mood.

  "Seth."

  "You've got to be kidding me! Still?"

  I exhale, long and full of frustration. "I'm starting to think he's never going to stop."

  "It's been over a year since y'all broke up. Why on earth would he be so persistent now?"

  A humorless burst of laughter escapes. "Probably because, for the majority of that time, he still thought the grass shined with emerald dust on the other side. By the time he realized it's not any better, I was still alone, giving him the illusion I've been pining after him all this time. I mean, it is so like that son of a Bieber to think I would actually be waiting, let alone pining for him."

  "How does he know you haven't met someone?"

  "Oh, come on, Em. It's Hope Town. We might not live in some teeny tiny town, but we do live in one that isn't nearly big enough to keep the whispers from echoing around. We both know I haven't dated, but the difference is, we know the truth those whispers keep from his ears. I don't date because I'm hung up on what he did to me; I don't date because I don't want to give another man a chance to hurt me like he did."

  "That isn't exactly any different, babe." She nods with sympathy, almost spilling her wine when she attempts to sip while still nodding.

  "Uh, how so?"

  "The common factor in both is that you, my friend, are still letting him affect the way you live your life. While not in the same way, of course, but either way, he's the one keeping you single. Not you being single because you want to be."

  "But I do want to be single."

  Ember's nod turns to a very emphatic shake. "No, you don't. You're the most loving person I know, Nikki, but you're also someone who loves being loved. Relationships, platonic especially, are something you thrive on. You're happier when you're not alone. Why do you think you love being a teacher? Why do you think you lasted so long with Seth when you stopped loving him a long time ago to begin with? Before Nate, I probably wouldn't have seen it so clearly since I spent years before finding my way to him in self-imposed solitude, but because of my relationship with him, I see right through you."

  I swallow what feels like a mouthful of heavy air. "And what, my drunk friend, do you see?"

  She leans toward me, narrowing her eyes. "I see someone who's letting a douchebag rule her life because she's too afraid to have some fun."

 
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