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Chapter One

A tornado is about to tear through my life. I just don’t know it yet.

And neither does he.


“What the hell?” I murmur to myself, slowing down the car. I look past the passenger seat and up into the driveway of my house.

There’s a man there, and he’s busy hitting a punching bag.

And he’s only one pair of compression shorts away from being completely naked. You know, the kind that athletes wear under their regular shorts?

Why isn’t he wearing more clothes?

Forget that! What is he even doing in my driveway?

I blink a few times before checking to see if I’m at the right place. Yup, this is where I live alright. Number twelve, Madison Lane.

Maybe I’m at a different Madison Lane. I almost pull out my smartphone to open up the GPS app—

Oh, for God’s sake! Of course this is the right place! I’d recognize my own house anywhere.

Leaving the car parked on the street, I slowly walk up the driveway, a little nervous, a little alarmed – and a little curious.

I’m several feet behind him, and each time he hits the bag, it’s a heavy thud, and the metal chains attaching the bag to the frame clink and clank rebelliously.

He’s just massive. His back is broad, and he’s so defined that I can see a butterfly-shaped muscle between his shoulders with each punch he throws. Sweat beads on his sun-bronzed skin, glistens.

I can’t get a clear view. He’s got tattoos creeping down both of his arms, on his shoulders and chest, too. They’re serpentine and unspecific, and the first thing I think when I see them is, ‘Chaos’.

Wait, where did he even get a punching bag?

He hasn’t noticed me yet, and I find myself creeping closer still, though I don’t know why. I should probably just announce my presence, or something.

Behind me, an old sedan trundles by, belching out a puff of black smoke. But that doesn’t distract him from his… work out? Exercise routine?

Feeling a little ashamed of myself, I let my gaze travel downward to his ass, and, yeah, he’s got a great ass, alright, and it’s super-obvious in those compression shorts. Clearly muscular, incredible shape, not the flat-butt so many guys get.

What the hell am I doing?

I’m about to clear my throat and announce my presence when, without warning, he whips around, and his raven-black hair, a little long and sweat-soaked, falls down over his face.

He brushes it to the side, and the most brilliant hazel eyes I’ve ever seen fix their gaze on me.

I’m disarmed by them, paralyzed by them, like he’s turned me to stone. I feel a surging heat in my chest, and it spreads down my body, into my butterfly-filled stomach, lower still…

Then his lips pull to the side in an uneven smirk. I feel hot under scrutiny of his unwavering gaze, and when he looks me up and down, settling on my hips, I’m given the distinct impression that he’s a predator and he’s picking me out to be his prey.

“Um, can I help you?” I ask, my heart racing, my skin feeling suddenly warm.

And then it clicks. Doh! This is Liam, the Australian exchange student, a college senior who’s going to be living with us for a year. He’s here on a wrestling scholarship!

God, I never imagined he’d look like this. To be honest, I expected somebody with cauliflower ears, about five-six, and stocky as all hell. Not this tall, lean, underwear-model body with piercing eyes, tantalizingly full lips, and a granite jaw.

We’re going to be going to college together, though I’m only entering my sophomore year. I don’t imagine we’ll have much occasion to be friends, though, since this year I’m moving into college dorms while Liam will be living in the house with my parents.

Besides, it’s not like psychology majors taking education minors on the side (who spend all their time in the library) mix well with the jocks, right?

But he was arriving today? How did that slip my mind? And I thought his plane was supposed to land in the evening?

“Liam,” I blurt out. “I’m Larissa Silverstone! We emailed a couple of times. You’re, um, early.”

That smirk he’s wearing grows into a full grin, and a lone dimple digs into his cheek. His eyes seem to shine a little brighter, like his day somehow got twice as interesting.

“How you going, Riss?” he asks me.

Oohhh… that accent. The Australian accent is definitely hot.

Wait… How am I going?

Is that what they say down there? He said it really quickly, too. The words were just kind of smushed together.

“Fine, and you?” I say, before blinking a few times. Did he just call me ‘Riss’?

Uh-uh. No way. I am not a fan of nicknames. High school was the worst. Rissy. Rissa. Reese. Lara. Larry (!). Larry Legend (??). Leisure Suit Larry (wtf?).

To be fair, only the nerdy guys called me the last one. I still don’t know what it means.

“By the way, it’s just Larissa,” I add.

“Strong tailwind, apparently,” he says, and his eyes don’t leave mine for a second. That half-smile doesn’t leave his face, either.

“Ah,” I murmur, unable to tear my eyes from his. So that’s why he’s early. My heart is pounding, and I can hear blood in my ears, and I’m busy thinking that this is the guy who’s going to be living with me for a year?

I let my eyes fall down his sculpted body. Lord in Heaven… wide shoulders, defined arms, cut abs. He looks like he was just rolled off the Your Fantasy Male factory floor.

I also fail to stop my eyes from falling lower, over his lower abdomen, his Adonis belt that’s like a runway straight to his… bulge.

For a few moments, I can’t take my eyes off it. It’s enormous.

He clears his throat, I snap my eyes up to his, cheeks flushing. He just caught me checking out his package! What the hell? No, I wasn’t checking it out, I just followed… the lines… of, um, his body. They all pointed downward like guiding lights on an airstrip!

Okay, so this is not getting off to a great start.

His tongue darts out to wet his full, unfairly kissable lips. He takes a step closer to me. The proximity is dizzying. Heat radiates off his body in waves. God, he’s like a furnace.

Say something, Larissa!

Desperate to end the weird static tension that has encased the both of us, I break eye-contact with him and look around. For what, you ask?

 
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