Home > Part of Me (The Seaside Chronicles #2)

Part of Me (The Seaside Chronicles #2)
Author: Kelly Elliott



End of Senior Year


I’d always heard that when you meet your soul mate, the one you were meant to spend the rest of your life with, you would feel it in the very depths of your soul. That your two hearts were forged in the same fire. I never felt that with Jack Larson, my now ex-boyfriend. I cared about him, but when his eyes met mine across a room or he smiled at me, something was…missing. Jack had a way of making me feel like I was the lucky one to be with him. It wasn’t a partnership. He was quick to point out my faults, and then fast to explain that he didn’t mean to hurt my feelings. It was clear that he would never change. It would always be his needs above anyone else’s. That wasn’t a soul mate.

My older sister, Adelaide—whom everyone called Addie—and her ex-boyfriend, Gannon Wilson, were soul mates. Everyone could see that. Jack and I…were far from it.

And here I sat, alone on a beach, after Jack had informed me that he wanted to call things off. We were both on our way to college, and he felt like he needed to explore other…options was the word he’d used. I should have been sad, but I wasn’t. Once again, he’d been cruel with his words, like always.

He’d actually wanted to have sex only minutes before, even with everyone gathered around the dune at the bonfire. Everyone. Including my sister, Addie, and Gannon—who was home on leave from the Navy, along with his older brother, Brody. There was no way I was doing that with Jack. Plus, I wasn’t ready. At least, I wasn’t ready to take that step with him.

I heard someone walking toward me, and I quickly wiped my face.

“He’s not worth a single tear, Sutton.”

Looking up, I saw Brody standing there. He smiled, and my stomach flipped while my chest fluttered. When his eyes met mine, my heartbeat picked up. The way he made me feel was like nothing I’d ever experienced with Jack. Not one single time. What did that say about me and Jack?

I was the first to admit that I’d had a crush on Brody for as long as I could remember. But when I saw him show up with Gannon tonight—with his nearly black hair shaved in a military buzz cut, and his body more muscular and hardened—my entire insides felt like they melted on the spot. I knew Jack had seen my reaction, and it was the reason he’d pulled me aside and tried to pull the whole “we need to sleep together before we leave for college” stunt. I also knew in my heart that sleeping with Jack wasn’t what I wanted, and if there was one thing I could control in our relationship, it was if and when I gave him my entire self.

I cleared my throat and looked up at Brody. “I’m not crying over him. Only the words he spit out.”

Jack had said that I wasn’t worth the wait and that we were over. His words weren’t said in anger, really, but from somewhere deep inside of him. It had hurt only because a part of me knew it was a sign that he’d always known, like I did, that we were never really in love.

It was hard to love someone when you’d already given your heart to another man, regardless if that man realized it or not.

Brody sat down and handed me the beer he’d been drinking. I took a sip and handed it back, then rested my head on his shoulder. He was four years older than me and had joined the Navy right after he’d graduated from high school. I remembered sitting in my room and crying for hours because he was gone. I would no longer be able to see that crooked smile of his or the dimple in his cheek. Or those beautiful hazel eyes with the gold flecks sprinkled in as if they were a gift from above.

For as long as I could remember, I’d sworn I was in love with Brody. Then I’d met Jack, and I really had liked him. He’d been so sweet at first, and in a strange way, he’d reminded me of Brody. He’d made me forget that my heart was broken after Brody had left Seaside.

At first, things with Jack had been good. He had a sense of humor, was a charmer, and had a way of making me smile…when he wanted to. Of course, looking back now, I realized it had all been an act to get me to sleep with him. He’d probably had plans to break up with me regardless if I’d slept with him tonight or not. I’d never felt real love for Jack, only Brody. I knew that was why I wasn’t heartbroken, but simply relieved.

Of course, Brody had no idea about my feelings for him. He’d never seen me as anything other than a kid, flashing me an occasional sweet smile, or giving me a pat on the head as he said hello.

Until tonight.

Brody hadn’t come back home in over a year. When he’d walked up to the bonfire and had spotted me standing there, it was clear he no longer saw the little girl he’d remembered. His gaze had traveled down my body slowly, and I had thanked the stars above I’d worn the black shorts and tank top that Adelaide had talked me into. My body had developed a lot since the last time I’d seen Brody, and it was obvious he’d noticed. The way his eyes had taken me in sent a shiver racing through my body and had caused a feeling deep in my stomach I’d never experienced before.

“He’s an asshole, Sutton,” Brody said now. “And if you’re not ready yet, any decent guy who cares enough about you would wait.”

I swallowed the lump in my throat. “It’s not that I’m not ready. It’s just…I don’t want my first time to be with Jack.”

Brody stiffened next to me. “Why not?”

Turning to look at him, I worked up the courage I needed to admit my feelings. This would be the last time I’d see Brody for months. Maybe even longer. He was set to leave again soon, heading out on a ship for his first tour of duty. “Because I want my first time to be with someone I love and care for deeply.”

Under the light of the moon, I saw Brody’s eyes search my face. “You don’t love Jack?”

I slowly shook my head. “I’ve never loved him.”

Then I did something I never thought I’d do. I kissed Brody Wilson.

I fully expected him to push me away or tell me to stop. But he didn’t. Instead, he brought his hand up behind my neck and deepened the kiss.

Jack had never kissed me the way Brody did. It was powerful. Emotional. Amazing. I swore I felt that kiss to the tips of my toes.

I let out a soft moan, and Brody tugged on my hair, pulling my head back so he could take in more of me. Our tongues danced in a beautiful rhythm, and I was positive no man would ever kiss me like this again. I would remember it for the rest of my life. Even when I was an old woman in my bed, drawing in my last breath, Brody’s kiss would be seared into my memory.

When he finally pulled his mouth from mine, we were both panting.

“Sutton,” he whispered.

Before he could say another word, I quickly moved to straddle him. I knew we could be caught at any moment, but I didn’t care. This was my chance, and I was going to take it by the reins and go for everything I wanted.

I’d finally kissed Brody, and Lord above, he’d kissed me back.

“Brody, please,” I whimpered as I lowered myself onto him. I could feel he was hard, and that did all kinds of things to me, but most of all, it gave me the courage to show him…tell him what I wanted. He had always treated me like a kid sister. Now…now his body clearly said that was no longer the case. And that thrilled me.

He cupped my face in his hands and brought my mouth down to his. This time, the kiss felt different. Searing and full of want and desire, and my goodness, did my body react to it in the most amazing ways.

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